My makes

Multiple makes: practicality or obsession?

Hi there! How’s life? Hope all’s going well.

So I wanted to talk today about multiple makes. It’s a slightly longer post, but it does cover 7 garments in one sitting, so bear with me!

As the weather’s got cooler, I’ve found myself in need of good wardrobe basics, particularly given my weight loss since this time last year.  Most of last year’s wardrobe isn’t wearable and in a bout of determination not to put the weight back on again, I’ve had a clear out of autumnal clothes I was putting up with last year and sent them all to the charity shop.

Which is all well and good, but it does rather leave one out in the cold, so to speak!

Consequently, I’ve found myself making multiple versions of two “basic” patterns, Agnes and Linden.

I’ve spoken before of my delight in the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top.  This top is basically what I want to wear off duty most of the time, particularly on jeans days.  Whilst I’m not a ruching kind of girl, the multiple sleeve lengths, and the short sleeve I worked out for it, make this a truly versatile pattern all year around.  I find at this time of year in particular, a long sleeve top which can be combined with a jumper and / or a scarf for warmth is just what I need.

So I made 4.

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One of the things I’m finding (and knew but didn’t understand, if that makes sense) is how much difference the type of jersey makes to a stretch pattern.  Sadly, since I do most of my fabric shopping on line, I’m still not au fait enough with what to look for to judge this before the fabric arrives, rather than afterwards.  But these 4 tops are a pretty good illustration.

My favourite of the bunch is the stag head top, using Art Gallery Fabrics jersey.  Whatever you need to do to get some of this, do it, it’s amazing! It’s soft, it has great recovery, it’s neither too heavy nor too light for this type of top…. perfection.  It’s in the wash almost weekly and it’s showing no signs of wear yet.

At the other end of the scale is the stripy floral number, made from some Fabworks jersey.  This stuff, it turns out, is rather low on stretch and it’s very light weight.  I spent a long time getting the stripe match along the side seams, but it’s not my favourite to wear as it just isn’t as comfy or as warm.

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My second favourite doesn’t have quite the recovery of the AGF stuff, but it’s more traditional t shirt feeling jersey. I have no idea of the content, I bought this in Jo-Ann’s whilst in Florida this summer, but I loved the subtle grey on black print.

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And finally, there’s my least favourite, which I made for the Sew Dots challenge on Instagram, a very worthy way of raising money for RNIB.  I made this in the same ponte as my latest Moneta dress, but in this case, I don’t think it was the right weight for the garment.  Again, it’s low on stretch and it just isn’t as comfy to wear. Also, for no reason I can put my finger on, I just don’t feel the print works?

So that’s 4 versions of one pattern.  A pattern which, for the shorter sleeves, takes 1m of fabric, or 1.5m for long sleeves, and which I can now get from starting to cut to finished garment in under 2 hours.

My second multiple version pattern is the Grainline Linden. This is another pattern I’ve made before, but last year’s makes don’t look so good as they’re now too big.  I signed up for the Linden Swap on Instagram, organised by @sewmyown so I had to trace the pattern again anyway for my recipient.  I decided to trace it off for me too, and graded this time between a 6 and an 8 at the hip.

And then I made myself 3 versions plus the Linden Swap version!

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The first one was in another of my holiday fabrics, a lovely textured sweatshirting, again from Jo-Ann’s (from the “juvenile” section, but who am I to take the high ground with a good fabric?) This is a great, fleece backed sweatshirting with the little hearts sewn on.  It has very low stretch, as you’d expect. But it was lovely and stable to sew and with the ease in this pattern, the lack of stretch wasn’t an issue.

I’m still getting used to my new overlocker, so some of the finishing inside was a little less perfect than I would have liked, but it’s passable and I always sew up on my machine first, using a ballpoint needle and a walking foot.  I’m really pleased with the improving finish I’m getting on the neck and wrist bands, and particularly on the cuffs, which I still find tricky.

Next up was a make with my Sew Up North plunder, something I’ve seen popping up all over Instagram since then.  It’s a heavy, textured quilted knit, and having cut into it, there is wadding in between two layers of knit which give it the textured finish.

I highly doubt B&M fabrics have much of this left, given how many people bought this, but if they have, go buy it now, it’s amazing! It is so incredibly warm and snuggly and, other than the wadding catching on the edge of my walking foot now and again, it was a dream to sew.

And I am so pleased with the final garment, it’s perfect for the cold weather. The addition of one of my many scarves will bring the needed shot of colour, but I love it!

Before doing my final Linden (and, sadly, after making my Linden Swap garment, I’m so sorry partner!) I went through a tutorial on The Makery website for sorting out tension on your overlocker.  I can highly recommend this, it’s made all the difference.

My final version may be my favourite.  It’s made in a very Christmasy, lighter weight black jersey which is slightly textured and woven with some gold thread which gives it a lovely sparkle.  I originally bought only 1 metre of this from B&M, for the princely sum of £5, thinking I would put plain black sleeves in as a contrast, but then couldn’t find the plain black in my stash.  I cut the front and back and then couldn’t fit the sleeves on (big surprise!) until it occurred to me that the fabric had good 4 way stretch and I whacked the sleeves on the cross grain, just fitting them in.

Bit of a gamble, but it paid off!

The difference on the overlocker tension is amazing; it’s still a little unhappy around the neckband, which I think is probably because it was a very narrow band by the time the fabric had decided to curl on itself so the blade wasn’t cutting much if anything off.  But the different weight of fabric on this makes it much more drapey and glam, perfect for the Christmas events where you need a bit of something but know that you’re likely to freeze your arse off and feel overdressed in a standard, going out top. And despite the sparkle, it isn’t even slightly itchy; result!

The funny thing is that, even after making all these, I still have different versions of both garments in my head.  And they are pretty good palette cleansers; both can be made from 1.5m of fabric and completed from start to finish in an evening (assuming the kids are in bed by 8, which clearly doesn’t always work out!)

So the question is, is that just good, practical use of very well drafted “basics” patterns, or are we verging into addiction territory now?

Clearly it won’t stop me, but I do wonder!

What are your go to patterns for winter basics?

Becca x

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14 thoughts on “Multiple makes: practicality or obsession?

  1. Just cutting my 8th Agnes. All totally different and I made my 3rd Linden at the weekend. When it works don’t knock it!! All yours are great. You have some really different fabrics. Yes AGK is just the best K xXx

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  2. I love a Linden too, for comfort warmth and versatility. I have 2 cut now waiting their turn under the needle.

    Never made an Agnes, but need to find a good long sleeve t-shirt for layering. Layering is key this time of year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As always we are sewing twins and i’ve been working on this exact area of my wardrobe too and for the same reason – practicality. I need some nice, basic layering tops for my winter wardrobe. I’ve only made one agnes so far but also have several others in my head. I think the obsession is more with being warm and comfy than with the patterns themselves and i’m totally with you!

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    1. We clearly remain women of impeccable taste, Lucy 😂. And I agree, I think warm and comfy are moving ever further up my priority list, especially since my eldest started school and I have to spend time standing shivering in the playground, waiting to collect her! I must be getting old!

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  4. I sew the same pattern over and over, if I’ve spent ages getting the fit spot on with muslins I will make sure I get use out of it, with basics I have made the Deer & Doe Plaintain heaps too. Plus on the financial side I would rather buy fabric than patterns which are similar that I can adapt from what I have (except when fab patterns are released)

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  5. Great! I like the idea of multiple makes from a pattern. I haven’t got a TNT yet but am working on it. Re the neckband – I recently made a tee with a neckband, stretch fabric but probably not quite enough stretch – anyway, I decided that as it was going to be a toile (ongoing fit issues), I’d not trim neckline as advised in the pattern. It didn’t lie correctly at all until after it was clipped. I couldn’t believe the difference!

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  6. I’m going to go with ‘practical’. As well as economical! Repeating a pattern you like again and again is the only way you’re going to get a perfect fit, a bargain garment (accounting for the cost of the pattern as well as the fabric) and a quick make into the bargain. Although if you make more than ten of anything, I might change my mind. I wish I could stick at the same pattern long enough to make four versions, but so far my limit seems to be three…

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