It’s officially that time of year – black and grey layers from head to toe. My favorite!
I feel like I spend the beginning of every winter on the prowl, looking for pieces that will keep my warm and comfortable, without looking like a complete slob (only, like, 30% slob. I have my limits, you know). Every year, I wear said pieces until they are ratty beyond repair, so each new season means new duds. Honestly, none of the pieces in this post are particularly earth-shattering, which is why you get a 3-fer post, ha.
The grey/black cardigan is hands-down the coziest cardigan I have ever made – it even works as a light coat! The pattern is the Oslo from Colette’s Seamwork Magazine. I didn’t care much for the pattern when it was first released, however, I kept noticing cool versions popping up and eventually became mildly obsessed with the idea of making my own. I love the long, butt-covering length, as well as the big shawl collar. In September, Oslo was granted the glory of being “Pattern of the Month,” which knocked the price down to $5 and thus justified my immediate purchase.
Anyway, I can see why everyone and their mom has made an Oslo – it’s a great pattern! It’s a super simple, super quick make, and the resulting garment is a great layering piece that I find vaguely reminiscent of those knit duster cardigans we all wore back in the late 90s (I bought mine at Rave. SUP.). It works especially well with heavier knits – which is great, because I keep buying them but I never know what to make them into! I don’t want a super heavy tshirt. I’ll wear a super heavy cardigan/duster hybrid, though, hell yeah I will.
Speaking of heavy knits, this was certainly one of those! I bought this double-cloth Italian wool sweater knit months ago, and while it’s really awesome – it’s also super thick. It’s basically two layers of wool knit – black on one side, grey on the other – fused together to make one really heavy layer. It makes for the perfect Oslo, because it’s super warm, but I had no idea what to do with it when I originally bought it. Also, it was kind of expensive, so I only bought 1.5 yards. I BARELY had enough yardage to eek this out – I had to do some piecing at one shoulder, and cut everything on the single layer, but I managed!
Tetris-ing the shit out the cutting layout took a long time, but the actual sewing part did not take long at all! I used my serger for everything – shit got REAL bulky when I was attaching the shawl collar, but other than that was smooth sailing. I cut the size XS and sewed the pattern as drafted with folded back cuffs, although I didn’t add the buttons. I wish I’d had enough fabric to add front patch pockets, as I feel like that’s the only thing this pattern is missing.
The next piece is a boring ol’ black tshirt! Haha! Well, I used a new pattern to make this – so that makes things a little less boring :)
This is the Grail tshirt from Vesta Patterns, a new company in the pattern world. These patterns are drafted and produced for 3 different body shapes, so that you don’t have to do so much futzing with the flat pattern for a good fit. I’ve been super interested in the idea but haven’t had a chance to try out the patterns, despite having them in my arsenal for a few months now. I have both the patterns for E & S (well, I had A too, but I gave it to an A-shaped friend ;) ), so I started with the E in a size Small. The patterns are drafted to have a bit of ease, which I found to be too much for my personal fit preferences – I had a bit of excess from the underarm down to the waist, but that was easy to nip in before I hemmed the sleeves and bottom. Next time, I may go down a size for a closer fit, or use a more stable fabric like the pattern suggests. That being said, I am really impressed with how well and proportional the neckline and shoulders fit!
Like the cardigan, construction was straightforward and simple. The pattern doesn’t include a lot of information for construction – the steps are written out, but they are short, concise, and don’t include pictures or line drawings. Having made zillions of tshirts in my time, this does not phase me. I don’t need a full booklet with step-by-step instructions for sewing a shoulder seam, you know? But if you need the hand-holding, you may want to consider finding a tutorial online or consulting a book for further assistance.
The one construction element about this pattern that differs from most knits that I’ve sewn, is how the neckline was finished. Strips of fabric are sewn as a sort of binding around the neckline, wrapping the raw edges. It’s similar to how I did the binding on my Mission Skater dress, although without the serged edge. I think it makes a really nice, clean finish that looks really good from the outside. I hemmed the sleeves and bottom at 1″, and just used the zigzag on my sewing machine.
I stayed on the wool bandwagon with this top, and used another wool knit to make it up. I found this weird “black cozy knit” (their description, not mine) on the Mood website – appears to be sold out now. Y’all, this was a WEIRD fucking fabric! I don’t know what I was expecting to get, but what I received was what I would describe as a wool crepe knit. It has that crepey, spongey texture – but it’s a true knit, and stretches as so. I’ve never seen fabric like this before. It’s borderline semi-sheer, but works well for a tshirt. Because of the crepey texture, it has a fantastic drape – perfect for a loose-fitting shirt. It’s also surprisingly not itchy. Just, well, cozy :) It also attracts cat hair like a magnet, sooo, sorry bout that!
Finally, pants! These are the Pinot Pants from SBCC Patterns and they are my FAVORITE lounge pants ever ever. These are just basically yoga-style pants – not true yoga pants, as they don’t have a crotch gusset, but they do have the flared leg and elastic waistband. I have actually practiced yoga in these pants (not my preferred style of yoga pants – I like slim leggings – but I went to yoga with Jenny when I was in Boston, and hey, I actually had yoga pants in my suitcase!), and they worked just fine. Terrible fabric choice for hot yoga, but I had a great range of movement hahaha.
I made the size XS and cut a longer inseam so I’d have some length to play with (which I immediately cut off, and now they’re a smidge too short. Wah!). I added the free pocket add-on, which was the best decision ever! There aren’t any instructions for attaching these, but I just topstitched them on with a straight stitch (and left the edges raw – other than the top opening edge, which is finished with a self-fabric band). Leaving the edges raw is fine with this sort of fabric, as it’s not prone to unraveling or fraying (and, speaking of raw edges – these pants are unhemmed. Like I said, I cut them too short as it is and I couldn’t afford to lose any length! haha!). I also left off the elastic waistband, and instead used some heavy-duty power mesh in it’s place. Betsy had mentioned once that she preferred power mesh over elastic for a flat, yet stretchy, waistband, and I was immediately intrigued. I actually have some heavy power mesh that is way too heavy for general lingerie (I believe it’s probably good for shapewear, though), so I used that in the waistband. Just cut a waistband layer in the mesh, basted it to the wrong side of the fabric waistband, and sewed as normal. It holds as well as elastic does, but it’s flat like a traditional yoga waistband. I love it!
For fabric, I used black nylon/rayon ponte de roma, which is AWESOME and I wish I had more! It holds shape really nicely and doesn’t stretch out. Like I said, it’s not so great for shit like actual yoga – it retains heat a little too well – but for general lounge pants, it’s perfect.
You can really see the texture of the knit here. And check out that bound neckline!
Here is where I had to piece the shoulder area of my Oslo, in order to get the pattern pieces to fit on my limited yardage. You can’t really tell it’s there when I’m wearing it.
Ok, that’s it! Sorry for the overwhelming amount of black + cat hair, ha.
This is the kind of ensemble I reach for when I’m feeling crappy (sick, sad, hungover, etc) but still need to look somewhat presentable out of the house. As much as I love my plaid flannel Carolyn pajamas, they definitely look like pajamas! With these pieces – either all worn together, or individually with other garments – they keep the comfy factor without compromising the yes-i-put-on-pants-to-leave-the-house element. I consider that a win!