Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane



Here’s how another One Thing can lead to another, which can lead to many more…..I just love the trail of thoughts and ideas and discovering where they all end up. Starting points……

Mags sent me to Croftmill for grey ponte at £7.00 p/m: Elaine sent me to Kaliyana for asymmetrical zip jacket and the Anti-Suit: one of the lovely ladies from our Sewing Away Day donated a fine grey spotted cotton jersey: Julie wore a jacket on the same day that had droopy back pockets and was so casually impressive and understated that I want one: Anne showed the most beautiful Chanel suit this week: many, many other blog active sewers have been showing and telling their cropped/wide leg/trousers/culottes. I put in the hours of planning, cutting and sewing.  Armed with a bag of assorted open ended plastic zips, some almost-matching thread, some patterns and a bit of flexible time – this is the result from my too short half-term break.


Many patterns were gathered, edited and then finally selected to the finalists – Vogue 8641 five easy pieces, Vogue 1550 Paco Peralta, Vogue 8559 Marcy Tilton, self-drafted Three Bears T.

I’ll start with the jacket as it is a wee bit impressive, even if I have say so myself because there’s no one else writing this. We’ll call it an idea in progress.

Start with Marcy Tilton’s 8559 (OOP) cardigan-wrap top; no side seams and cut on the fold, no back seam either. A waterfall front, centre back seamed collar and shoulder seams. Clever pattern placement can easily incorporate selvedge edges too, although using the dark grey ponte fraying isn’t an issue and raw edges are abundantly on view. I added a whopping 9″ to the length, then got to work on adding zips!

Three zips on either side. Hopefully they form some sort of design feature on their own but they are also functional – an infinity jacket? I had to press gang Doris into modelling today because, quite honestly I couldn’t have been bothered. Hopefully you’ll understand why in a just a moment.


Left open and unzipped, the zips provide a bit of weight to help the fabric drape (ha – I like to believe this is similar to Chanel’s chain on the bottom of a jacket – dream on….).

Zip 1 – short centre fronts. Zip 2 – bottom right edge matching with a right hand side princess seam location. Zip 3 – 45 degrees on right hand side and shoulder width on left.


All the zips zip into one another; that is, zip 1 will zip into zip 2; zip 2 will zip into zip 3 and so on. This multitude of zips allows for a multitude of closure options; exaggeration of the draped front and hemline, cowl necklines, loose or square body shape.


Zip 3 zipping into zip 3 pulls and is quite difficult to do up so I might have to rethink the position of these ones. However, I can close zip 1 with zip 2 or zip 3 for yet more variations.


If zips do not provide enough variations for your taste, then add a sewn brooch to merely clip various points of the jacket closed to suit your mood and the weather conditions.


But wait, that’s not all. Being very impressed with Julie’s jacket, I added a deep strip of leftover fabric to the back and sides of the jacket matching the raw edges to provide those covetous voluminous back pockets and I also managed to get two at the fronts too. They will be very handy to hold emergency rations such as Kendall Cake and Mars Bars.


And because this ‘pocket’ band is on a different grain there is a gentle shading that I always find attractive in unique clothes. Other waste selvedge cut offs were added to the sleeves as mock cuffs, adding weight and extra finishing.


I did experience the dreaded jersey wobble – which could be an acronym from suburban New York for cellulite but I mean the stitching of a zip to stretch fabric. Is there a remedy? I know I could have added interfacing but this is an unlined jacket and visual evidence of reinforcing would be unacceptable. All suggestions welcome for both problems……….DSCN7564

The tunic top was quickly made from the donated cotton jersey in Vogue 1550. There’s nothing fancy or notable about this, apart from the fact that IT IS Paco Peralta. I didn’t add the signature inserts but did manage to do admirable mitred corners on the side drape points.

The pale grey ponte was put into use as a pull on pair of trousers from Vogue 8641 (OOP). Again, not too much to declare about these apart from adding two, shaped patched pockets on the front and cropped, more because of fabric restrictions than trends.

Finally, I just had to make use of the leftovers and cutoffs and managed to sew a Three Bears T (see link above) that became more of a sweatshirt. It has two layers below the bust seam that allows for minor variations of styling. There’s a few raw edge seams to follow the theme, such as cuffs, hems and bust line.

I don’t like the matchy-matchy trousers and top – too much like PJs. It looks much better with a dark grey bottom and believe me, I have many dark grey trousers to wear with this.


So, there you have it – four pieces that became an outfit and what’s better, they can all be worn with existing wardrobe items that hopefully coincide with Oska and Kaliyana aesthetics.

This has got me thinking of joining SWAP this year although I am late to the party. My primary colours being grey and adding highlights of whatever colour I like because grey is such a neutral. Is there a colour that does not wear well with grey?


This style of dressing is definitely not form fitting, no pencil skirts or slim-line trousers here but so comfortable, transitional and, dare I say it, unique?


I mean, how many of your jackets have back pockets?

Now, in which pocket did I put that Mars Bar?

52 thoughts on “Zippy

  1. You look amazing as usual. Great job and love your sense of adventure with the Marcy Tilton jacket!

  2. Great pieces and they look so good together. I can’t believe how much sewing you do, wish some of it would rub off on me. I am full of good intentions planning what to do and churning out makes but find it hard to start. (PS a Mars bar could be very uncomfortable if sat on, and disastrous if it melts).

    • Believe me Chris, the Mars Bar wouldn’t last too long in any of my pockets!
      This set was relatively easy because all the fabrics matched each other and it was easy sewing – no fitting issues etc. Thanks so much.

  3. I love that jacket! You seem to really be finding this style that suits you, and you look great and very happy in the photos. Good for you! I love this sort of Issey Miyake-esque stuff too.

  4. Wow, that looks great! I am following your Oska and Kaliyana experimentations with great interest, as my tastes run in the same direction. Except that i am much shorter, so less suited to voluminous clothing, although I always think i can scale down the proportions to suit me. I wish someone was making patterns for Oska and Kaliyana jackets, or pants, or everything really. When I was teaching I got more holidays and had more time to fiddle, but not these days unfortunately. So I’m always glad to bounce off someone else.

    • Hi Rivergum, you should check out the Tilton sisters’ patterns for Vogue and Butterick. There are many styles there that easily fit into this design aesthetic. I don’t believe that height has anything to do carrying off such styles – try it and see. Make the very best use of your holidays.
      Thank you so much.

  5. I love your style and sense of adventure in sewing. Tempted to try your style of pants though I may be too short – then again what’s holding me back.

  6. Love the zipper jacket, great ideas! Love the Paco Peralta top with the gray ponte pants, too. I think I have to make exactly that outfit for myself now. Gray is definitely my “color!”

  7. Wow…I love every piece and they look great on you. I can’t figure out the jacket and the zippers, but I am impressed by your experiments. Enjoy your blog very much. Thanks for sharing.

  8. That jacket. You’re amazing. All of the prices are great.

  9. Haha. Pieces not prices. They are priceless!!

  10. Such a stylish and unique jacket, and a very attractive capsule. Is jersey wobble to do with how the garment drapes, or putting the zip in, please?

  11. Great pieces. I am always impressed by how prolific your sewing output is, too. Would tear away stabiliser help with the ‘jersey wobble’, do you think?

    • Thanks Tracy. Tear away stabiliser is one product I’ve never used yet so maybe that would work.
      There’s a whole world out there of gadgets and products that I have yet to explore, maybe now is is the time.

  12. You may be able to resolve the stretching problem by stay stitching the fabric first. I use two rows and shorten the seam allowance slightly , like you were going to gather the fabric. I find the knit fabric will still stretch when you sew the zipper. Hope this helps. Love your work.

    • Thanks so much Mary. I used two rows of stitching on the zips but never thought of stay stitching the fabric first. It seems so obvious now that you point it out. Thank you.

  13. Love your zippy jacket and by the look of the responses, we all want your jacket. Well, want to make one. It’s difficult to tell where you placed the zips, I wonder if you could do a sketch that would show the placement of them on each side. And as for eliminating the wobble, I would try sewing the zips on by hand. The whole outfit is wonderful. You are so creative. Brava!

    • Thank you Barbara.
      The position of the zips was really and truly random. I suppose it depends on your own body shape and drape of the jacket, although I will try to do as you ask.

  14. Woa, i am awestruck by your jacket! Awesome! And you wear it so well, your height of course, but also the mischievous smile, seem to me to just go so well with a bold jacket like that. And the rest of the pieces making a harmonious set. Fabulous! Im afraid i have no advice for the zipper wobble. I get it too which is why i always avoid zippers in my knit dresses. Perhaps a walking foot on the machine to avoid even a little stretch as you sew? I once went to an exhibit of alaia clothes and was speechless at all his stretchy and knit clothes with plenty of zippers and not a hint of even a single wobble. But have never had the honor of holding one in my hands to flip it over and see if there’s a visible something doing the magic…

  15. Fantabulous outfits. Amazingly creative imagination with the zips. Just think of the fun you could have playing with it on boring journeys!

    To stop the wobble you could always use lite steam-a-seam 2 – the 1/4″ tape. This is a double stick fusible web so you can stick the zip and fabric together then sew. Stops the wobble for me and doesn’t alter the hand of the fabric (and Amazon sell it if you don’t have a local source).

  16. Such a clever jacket; very tempted to try it myself! All the pieces look really good on you. That was one amazingly productive half term.

  17. A grey based SWAP is almost complete. Go for it. These pieces are so versatile. As many commentators have said these shapes really flatter you nicely.

  18. Wonderful, unique outfits. My favourite is the dot PP top and ponte pants.

  19. I have outfits like yours all over my Pinterest board 🙂 drapey, soft, flowy, matchy BUT not too matchy as you say 🙂 Love your whole outfit and the idea of making a whole outfit is rather novel to me in itself but I love it. Really classy and so finely constructed.

    • Thank you Kathleen. Buy two or three fabrics that coordinate and then you have an outfit…
      I have to check out your Pinterest board – link very welcome [please.

  20. Loving all the makes, but that jacket is awesome! It’s genius, you really are fearless with stuff like this. And I didn’t even notice Julie’s jacket that day…

  21. Now that’s a new look! I love how you fiddled with this and that and made it your own. You look FABULOUS, DHARLING!

  22. Another fabulous ensemble Ruth. I was going to suggest Wonder tape for your jersey/zip problem but I see it’s already a suggestion.
    I think any jacket that has dedicated space for emergency provisions is a perfect garment 😃

  23. I’m with Maryellen on the double row of stitching before the insertion. I’m imagining the sound from Disney’s old movie the Sorcerer’s Apprentice with fabric flying in all directions and zippers being tossed about and then voila’ the latest pieces are created and as if by magic…they all look so good together!!!! Why is grey such a neutral…think dryer lint…when all colors combine, you get grey, the perfect companion to all the others. Thanks for sharing such a wild ride and great outcome!!!

  24. Great pieces…they look beautiful together. I really like the jacket! Great job!!! 🙂

Let's talk.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s