Sunday, 18 September 2016


It has been a couple of weeks of intense sewing over here in the McTavish household. I entirely credit the upcoming school year (now since started) and all of my old (like five years +) RTW clothing that is covered in grease stains and holes (nothing says professional like wearing rags to work).

Making good on my last post complaining explaining my complete and utter disregard for properly matching patterns to their proper fabrics, I went ahead and purchased a few patterns that would work well with what I have on hand (yay stash busting!).

Two of those patterns are the Linden sweatshirt and the Axel skirt. To be honest I wasn't entirely sold on Axel until I saw Megan's killer striped version (SWOON) and only then thought how I may just be able to make it work.

FIRST// Linden v.1
I had read that the Linden was pretty roomy so I made a wearable muslin using some leftover fabrics from previous projects. I had to do some creative piecing as a result, but I am pretty happy with the look overall.
I cut a size 6 in the bust, 8 in the waist, and 14 in the hips as per the measurement chart and indeed found the fit a bit roomy for my preferences (although it doesn't really look it except for maybe in the photo above).
I added a wee pocket just for some visual interest to break up the grey.
Overall opinion of the pattern at this point: I was surprised the seam allowances were so small but then after giving it some thought I really liked it. I saved a lot of time from trimming my seam allowances down for neatness. I like this sweater and will wear it but it will probably be my camping/lounging-around-the-house sweater more than my wear-out-to-a-fancy-dinner sweater.

SECOND // Axel v.1 Linden v.2
My "sexy" come hither face?!
Axel: This is my first version of Axel, in a terrible, almost scracthy, black, vintage (80s) polyester that almost ended up in a donate bin, but I thought the better of it figuring I should make a wearable muslin of this new-to-me pattern before ripping into my soft, supple ponte.
I cut a small waistband and a large hip. I actually tried to grade between the sizes by making my own curve from the waistband to the hip, similar to the original pattern, but found I had to pinch out a ton of fabric that was weirdly pooling just above my hips at the widest part. This first version of the skirt is snug (you can see the pulling across the front) and I found the slit comes up too high for comfort, but I think this has to do a lot with me measuring my natural waist instead of where I would prefer to wear the skirt. As a result of this natural waist measurement, the waist creeps up and thus, so does the skirt. In the end, I'll wear the skirt, but not to work (maybe a date night?).
Overall opinion of the pattern at this point: I actually didn't fix the weird pooling until after my third version so I was a little frustrated with the fit, and the fact that it was riding up to be risque, BUT despite this I was SO happy that from cutting to finish, this pattern took me two hours to complete. We are talking world record speed sewing here folks. Also, I do like the slit and the fact that the skirt is midi giving it the sexy librarian vibe. I was very excited to try out a second version very soon.
Linden: After the roominess of the first version, I figured I could try cutting down to a straight size four and get away with it. I went for version two this time, again using some leftover fabric, and let me tell you I don't want to get out of this top. It is my new favourite thing! It is comfy and trendy, and yet not so trendy that I couldn't get away with wearing this in a few years.The fabric itself is a poly/rayon ponte knit that is very light for ponte (I got away with wearing it in our ridiculous summer heat a few times), which gave me an idea for v.3.....

THIRD // Linden v. 3 Axel v.2
Linden: I had just recently been talking to a certain someone about the Penny Raglan from Grainline when I was in the process of finishing my second version of Linden. When I saw how well the Linden worked in a lighter weight fabric, I got the idea to make Linden in this luscious drapey navy rayon jersey, essentially mimicking the Penny Raglan, but with longer sleeves (this could easily be remedied but I actually like the longer sleeves on this version).
The only thing I would do different if I tried this again is I would use a slightly longer neckline binding piece. I'm not sure if my neckline stretched out or if the binding just wasn't stretchy enough to fit, but I really had trouble getting it to fit. I may also cut the sleeve length if I use a lightweight fabric. I've already got two more Lindens cut out and ready to go, one of each version, using a nice fuzzy sweater knit I've been hoarding since last year. I can't wait for those!
Axel: So, let me start by saying I almost got rid of this fabric because I felt it "wasn't me" (seriously July Carlee, WTF?). When I got the Axel pattern, I saw the fabric in the pile and rethought my decision. This is also a vintage 80s polyester, but this one is much less scratchy than the black poly for version one.
Gratuitous leg shot
Some changes that I made: I added about two inches of length above the slit so that the slit would still retain its angle without potentially exposing my underwear. I then cut maybe two inches off the bottom, but this was only because there wasn't much of this fabric left and the pattern would not have fit otherwise. I graded from a small at the waist to an extra large at the hip. I still have the same problem with the skirt inching up (I didn't realize the waist issue mentioned above until after both skirts were made), but the extra length above the slit gives me a bit of wiggle room before I need to yank the skirt down. For my next Axel, I will properly measure out where I want the waistband to sit instead of at my natural waist to prevent this. This fit is much less snug, but still very form fitting (a.k.a. fitted but not unflattering to a pear girl like me).
Overall I am really quite pleased with this version of the skirt in particular and have gotten quite a few compliments on it at work already. I hope to make some more soon but its more likely that a few other projects will have to move up the queue first for practicality's sake. I highly recommend Axel, especially since it is such a quick make (2 hours the second time too...woo hoo!). A great stash buster and a great sewjo booster. I look forward to my next versions!

What about you? Have you tried either of these patterns? Do you want to now? What are your thoughts?

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