Fall Style Blog Tour | Sophisticated Leisure

Style Maker Fabrics | Fall Leisure Outfit

Can you believe fall is finally here? It seems like we have been waiting forever!

It’s no secret, fall is my favorite season! I just love all the colors and flavors and the excuse to wear lots of cozy layers. In putting our fall collection together I started dreaming of all the sweatshirts, cardigans and coats I wanted to make this season. If you follow along with us on Instagram, you may have seen the stack of knits I snagged and already started sewing for myself. Sometimes I have little self control…

Style Maker Fabrics | Fall Sewing Plans

To kick off our Fall Style Blog Tour 2017, I decided to experiment with the “athletic” trend that continues to be popular this season. We are pretty casual here in the Pacific Northwest and I normally live in knits and jeans so this seems like a good fit for me and my lifestyle. Leisure suits, joggers, sweatshirts, hoodies and puff coats—all great pieces!

The release of Named’s FW17 collection sealed the deal! I immediately fell in love with their Gemma sweater and Ruri sweatpants. Sophisticated but comfortable, these patterns help elevate what could be overly casual into something that is more unique and dare I say stylish.

Style Maker Fabrics | Named Patterns

Now for the hard/fun part… picking the right fabrics. For Gemma, the pattern calls for medium to heavy weight knits that can be color blocked or reversed for the geometric detail at the front. After looking at a few French terrys and sweatshirt fleeces, I settled on a stretch velour in a really pretty heathered taupe with a cream reverse. I’m loving the darker neutral tones!

Ruri suggests a mid-weight sweatshirt fleece but I think any medium weight, thicker knit would do. Since I was going for a little less casual look, I laid out several different ponte knits but couldn’t settle on the right one. In the end I made kind of an unconventional choice, I picked out a stretch double twill (aka tricotine) in a deep espresso brown. Not only does it have a great weight and stretch for these pants but it is also the perfect color to pair with the velour!

With the fabric and patterns selected, time to get sewing! I sewed up both of these pieces over a weekend and only made a couple of slight changes. Based on the sizing I selected a size 8 (my normal size for Named patterns), but decided to lengthen both garments a bit. I am 5′ 9″ and tend to like things on the longer side, so I always look at the finished garment measurements to check the length or inseam. For the Gemma sweater I added 2″ close to the hem so I didn’t alter the piecing details. And on the Ruri I again added 2″, this time lengthening at the knee.

Actually sewing the Gemma was a lot of fun! It is like a sewing puzzle that you aren’t quite sure how it is going to go together. Named does a great job with the instruction, just be sure to follow them, especially when it comes to which way to press the seam allowance! The sequence in which the pieces go together is perfectly planned and interlock perfectly. The velour fabric I picked sewed together beautifully and was not difficult to work with at all. Probably the biggest thing to watch for is the direction of the nap on the wrong side. It doesn’t matter so much when it is on the inside but on the pieces that are visible you want to make sure you have them going all the same direction, in my case that was downward.

Style Maker Fabrics | Velour Gemma Sweater

One last minute change I made was flipping the funnel neck so that it matched the geometric accent. I like the additional cream contrast and the extra softness around my neck. I also didn’t have grommets for the drawstring at the hem so I made due with button holes. Not a big change but I thought I would mention it in case you don’t have grommets on hand either.

Style Maker Fabrics | Ruri Sweatpants Snap Hem Detail

I don’t have much to note on sewing the Ruri pants together. The process was straightforward and rather simple as well. I love the faux fly front and the partial elastic waistband. And those snaps at the bottom cuffs are spot on! The only change I made was since I used more of a woven fabric, I did serge the hem before stitching it in place just to prevent any raveling. In the future I might also figure out making the pocket bags slightly larger so that I can catch them in the waistband seam just to secure them in place.

Now for the big reveal…

Style Maker Fabrics | Ruri/Gemma Leisure Suit

Style Maker Fabrics | Fall Leisure Outfit

Style Maker Fabrics | Fall Leisure Sweater

I love how this outfit turned out—the perfect combination of sporty and sophisticated and the velour sweatshirt is so cozy! Not only would I feel comfortable wearing this out-and-about, I think it would also be work appropriate. Both garments fit great and I am definitely glad I lengthened both of them. The Ruri pants are technically designed to be more of a cropped length but I think I am liking this ankle length a bit better—perfect to pair with booties!

Style Maker Fabric | Gemma Sweater Up Close

Style Maker Fabrics | Ruri Leisure Pants

I can definitely see myself making more versions of both these garments. I’d love to try the Ruri pants in a sweatshirt fleece as recommended just to see how cozy they really are! And on the Gemma I think a color blocked version would be fun or one in all the same fabric with top stitching to accent the piecing. What do you think? Any other amazing ideas/interpretations?

That wraps up Day 1 of our Fall Style Blog Tour 2017. Join us again tomorrow for Day 2 over on the Chalk and Notch blog. We can’t wait to see what Gabriela sewed up—she picked out some pretty amazing fabrics!

Happy Fall Sewing!

Michelle

P.S. Learn more about our fall fabric collection and get the full tour schedule HERE.

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Keeping Warm with the Esme Maxi Cardigan

Bundled Up in Esme Cardigan | Style Maker Fabrics

Every once in a while, the planets align and you find the fabric of your dreams for the perfect pattern— almost like a match made in heaven. It doesn’t happen everyday but when it does you know that all of that searching, designing and sewing are worth it!

Just recently I experienced just such an occasion! On one of our buying adventures this fall we stumbled across the most amazing chunky sweater knit from Italy. Of course we had to have it for the shop, in two colors I might add. When it arrived and I got to see it in a larger piece in all its glory, I knew instantly that it needed to be a long, cozy cardigan. Enter the Esme Maxi Cardigan from Named— the ideal fabric for the perfect pattern!

Named Esme Cardigan | Style Maker Fabrics Sweater Knit

With everything going on in December, I wasn’t able to get to this project. Of course, the one that I really wanted to sew, right? So I made it my goal to get it sewn in the new year. One week in and mission accomplished! Now for a closer look at the fabric, the pattern and the slight changes I made to suit my style.

First up, this fabric! It is probably one of the most stunning pieces we have had in the shop. It is wonderfully thick and cozy but the best part about it is the texture and the pattern. The undulating lines and varying thicknesses and textures in the knit give it amazing movement, shape and feel. I washed it up like I would anything else and it came out even softer and more huggable. I could already tell this is going to be a cardigan that I am never going to want to take off!

Italian Chunky Sweater Knit | Style Maker Fabrics

Italian Chunky Sweater Knit

Now, the question of how to cut this maxi cardigan out? I decided to start with the back and have one of the curving designs go right up the middle. I did redraw the back piece so that I had the full back (instead of one half) and could make sure I got it centered correctly. The “straight lines” in the knit also proved to be quite helpful! With the back cut out, it was on to the front. Each side is made up of two piece, above and below the pockets, and I was able to cut these out so that not only they were mirrored but they also would match perfectly when I sewed them together.

The sleeves also got the smaller wavy pattern centered on each of them so they matched. With the fabric that I had left I cut out the front button stand, the cuffs and the pockets. I tried to play with the texture/size of the knit pattern and its placement on the cardigan. I went for the thicker texture down the front and back, especially around the shoulders and chose the lighter texture for the sleeves and the button band. A great use of the fabric and really shows off all its dimensions.

Esme Sleeve Placement | Style Maker Fabrics

Sleeve Placement on the Chunky Sweater Knit

Construction proved to be relatively easy. The only kind of fussy parts were attaching the pockets, which was actually very similar to my Tamarack jacket, and attaching the button stand. I used the stretch stitch on my machine as designated in the pattern but I think I could have just went with my serger for most of these steps. That would have saved a lot of time! That stretch stitch is a slow one! I also went with my cover stitch machine for the stitching the hem and finishing the button band. With the grey thread that I had, the stitches were barely noticeable and it helped give the back side a nice finished look.

Cover Stitched Cardigan Hem | Style Maker Fabrics

Cover Stitched Hem and Button Band

Now for the changes… I find myself always tweaking a pattern slightly to suit what I have envisioned for it. My first change on my Esme was the length. After perusing Pinterest for styling over-sized cardigans, I settled on knee length or just above. Before I even cut anything out I took 6 inches off the back, lower front and button stand. After getting my cardigan “mostly” together I decided another 6 inches needed to come off. This gave me the perfect length and I think it is a change a lot of people have made as well.

Pinterest Cardigan Inspiration | Style Maker Fabrics

Pinterest Styling Inspiration

The next change came in the fit. In trying the cardigan on after it was assembled but not finished I thought there was way too much bulk under the arms. I think that is the style for this cardigan, over-sized and slouchy, great for an overcoat but not the “sweater” I was going for. The thickness of this knit also made it kind of bunching under the arms and felt a little weird.

To adjust this I laid the cardigan flat and marked about 3 inches along the sleeve seam at the underarm. Using chalk, I then drew a line tapering down the body and back out to the original seam, roughly just above the pocket seam. In the other direction I tapered down the arm and back out to the original seam about mid arm. I then serged along this line, taking care to match up the sleeve seams as I went. The results were perfect, they gave my cardigan a bit more of a fitted look while still keeping it relaxed and a little slouchy.

Altered Cardigan Underarm | Style Maker Fabrics

Altered Underarm and Removed Bulk

Last but not least, I threw out the cuffs and skipped the buttons! I attached one cuff and decided to just hem the sleeves instead— less bulk and much simpler. I also decided to go with an open style cardigan so the buttons were unnecessary (and it saved me from making button holes!).

Let’s see the results! I absolutely love how this cardigan turned out! Not only does it show of this fabric better than any other pattern could, it is also the warmest, coziest thing I have ever made. Perfect for the below freezing temperatures we have had this winter. And, yes that is snow in the pictures and it is over a week old. That is how cold it is!

Esme Cardigan Side View | Style Maker Fabrics

Esme Cardigan Front | Style Maker Fabrics

Esme Cardigan Back | Style Maker Fabrics

Bundled Up in Esme Cardigan | Style Maker Fabrics

Overall, my maxi cardigan turn out exactly how I imagined it— don’t you love it when that happens? I will definitely be revisiting this pattern and hopefully soon! I’d love to try a lighter weight knit, like a jersey or lighter sweater knit. Maybe try something like True Bias’ recent make. Anyway, definitely check out the Esme Maxi Cardigan, it is perfect for this mid-winter weather!

Stay warm and happy sewing,

Michelle

P.S. We are so excited to announce that a selection of Named patterns are now available in the shop, including the Esme Maxi!