Tag Archives: tailoring

SewMyStyle February – Rumana Coat

February has been a really busy month for me and I wondered at times if I would get my Rumana coat finished in time!

I didn’t have any dedicated chunks of sewing time so I had to squeeze in the odd hour here and there but I got there in the end!

For those that haven’t seen it yet, the Rumana coat is the latest release from the girls at By Hand London. It is a fully lined, mid calf length coat pattern with princess seams that is an absolute classic shape and will be something to treasure for years to come.

I have some lovely grey wool in my stash but fancied making my first Rumana out of a navy cupro, to give it more of a trench coat vibe. I also wanted to check the fit and length before I cut into my expensive wool so was happy for this to be a toile if necessary.

I wanted to have a really interesting lining for a dramatic flash of colour and I found the most perfect tropical print viscose from Minerva Crafts. The colour match of the blue with the cupro is pretty spot on.

As per my previous post, I used an polyester lining for the sleeves to help them slip on and off more easily.

I needn’t have worried about the fit – it is spot on, and surprisingly the length is great on me, considering I am only 5’2! I have seen a lot of shortened versions on instagram but I love the longer length.

In terms of the construction, there are a lot of parts and I think it pays to be really organised. I like to keep my pattern pieces pinned to the fabric so that I can be sure which bit is which.

I did find the instructions/illustrations to be a little bit confusing in some places – it was really great to have the Facebook group for SewMyStyle so that we could all hive mind where necessary as it seems a lot of people were encountering the same issues. I think until the sewalong on the BHL website is finished, it may be a project to shelve for now if you are quite new to sewing, as it does need a little more handholding than the current instructions allow for.

I had to make some alterations to the pattern to allow for the fact that I wasn’t using a thicker wool. I redrafted the sleeve heads based on the lining pattern, as there wasn’t much difference in the weights of the two fabrics and I didn’t need to allow so much for “turn of cloth”. I managed to get the sleeves in with no puckers or gathers in the end, but it did take a while. Similarly, I had to shave some off of the collar band to account for the thinner fabric. Again that took a lot of patient easing in and unpicking!

I waited until my coat was finished before deciding on button placement. I ended up going with three wooden buttons which give a really nice shape and finish.

I will definitely make this coat again in a wool so that I have a lovely classic winter coat in my wardrobe. I’m just going to give myself a breather and some more “quick win” projects for a little while first!

Who else has made the Rumana and how did you find it?

Sarah x



Pauline Alice Sorell Trousers Pattern Review

Is it just me or did summer seem to pass us by in the blink of eye? I seem to have abandoned all hope of sunshine and am now honing in on my winter wardrobe.

As I am now working in a more corporate environment than the last few years, I am finding that my handmade wardrobe needs a bit of a reboot. One noticeable gap was a really good pair of tailored trousers.

I spotted the Sorell trousers by Pauline Alice on Instagram a few weeks ago and immediately a dark grey pair sprung to mind and, as luck would have it, when I visited Backstitch in Cambridge last week, they had the perfect fabric. It is a charcoal grey cotton suiting with a tiny bit of a nap so that when you run your hands across it, one direction is definitely smoother, so I bore that in mind when cutting out the trousers.

As they stocked the printed patterns as well at Backstitch, I bought that too, as the packaging is so pretty.

I had some of this gorgeous Miss Matatabi cotton lawn left over from making a top. If you look closely, they are actually tiny cats!

There are two versions of the trousers, you can make a patch pocket version, but I opted for the welt pockets as I thought they looked smarter.

The welt pocket instructions seemed a little confusing and are unlike any other welt pockets I have sewn before, so I was a little nervous about going ahead, as once you’ve slashed into them, there is no going back! Luckily, I checked on Pauline Alice’s website, and she had done quite a detailed tutorial on making the trousers, so I read through that thoroughly and it put my mind at ease.

I decided to make the pockets one at a time, just in case I messed up, as then I wouldn’t have ruined both sides of the trousers! The first side took me about 40 minutes to figure out, but I got the second one done in 5 minutes, so it is a breeze once you know what you are doing.

My only mistake with the welt pockets is that because the lining is all cut from one piece of fabric, my print ended up being upside down due to the way it is folded. Not a massive big deal as it is on the inside, but it does annoy me slightly and I think that if the pattern piece was the other way around, it would resolve this issue.

I love the tailored details of the Sorell trousers. The dip in the back waistband, is a technique used in men’s tailoring, and gives them a really lovely finish.

I also love the fully functioning watch pocket on the front of the trousers! This can be a little bit tricky to sew and you need to be absolutely sure of the fit before you add this in, as there is no going back afterwards!

I made my trousers in the smallest size, as I like high waisted trousers to really fit well, with no gaping at the back. I did, however, let out a quarter of an inch on both side seams after trying them on as the fly front was pulling off to the side ever so slightly.

I hemmed mine using the blind hem function on my machine. It gives a really lovely finish and saves all of that pesky hand sewing! You can see in the pictures below what it looks like from the inside and outside.

If you would like me to do a tutorial on how to use the blind hem foot, please let me know.

Rather than a buttonhole on the waistband, I opted for a trouser hook and bar as I wanted a clean finish on the outside.They are a bit fiddly to attach but I think the finished look is worth it.

I really love the look of these trousers and I think they will be a real staple in my winter work wardrobe. I’ve purposely left them a little long so that I can wear heels with them, but I also think they will look fab with a pair of brogues.

I’m thinking a pair in a black stretch cotton will be next on the list!

I have a enough fabric left over for a pencil skirt, so if anyone has any pattern recommendations, please let me know!


Handy hints:

  • When sewing the triangles of the welt pockets, use your zipper foot to help you get really close to the fabric
  • Bar tack the tops of the belt loops for a strong finish
  • Consider the print direction of the welt pocket facings
  • Use a blind hemming foot to make hemming a breeze
  • Use a metal teeth zipper for a professional look
  • Consider the shoes you are most likely to be wearing when deciding on hem length




Rosa Shirt

The Rosa shirt by Tilly and the Buttons is on my Make Nine list for this year.

I have actually had the pattern since it was released and even had the fabric washed and ready to go but just hadn’t got round to making it.

I have made quite a few men’s shirts before, so am quite familiar with tailoring techniques and was really keen to sew a nice button up shirt for myself.

I was going to start with the shirtdress option but I then changed my mind and decided to sew up the shirt version in a stunning cornflower blue viscose that I bought from Sewn. This is one of my all time favourite colours – so much so, that the front of my house is painted in this shade!

I chose a floral blue and white cotton for the button stand, collar stand and the inside of the cuffs (more on that later).

collar band and button band

Cutting out the viscose was a little tricky. Despite a new rotary blade and lots of pattern weights, the fabric slipped and shifted around like nobody’s business! Most of the pieces were ok, but the collar and collar band were pretty unrecognisable from their original shape so I decided to interface both pieces , rather than just the upper collar and band. In order to do so, I cut the pieces out of the interfacing first, and then fused them to the main fabric, before I cut it out. I only used a lightweight interfacing and it worked out pretty well.

inside collar

As the viscose was pretty lightweight and drapey, I decided not to use a traditional thicker topstitching thread as I thought it would look out of balance. I just used the matching polyester thread that I was using on a longer stitch length of 3.5 for any topstitching.

collar close up

I had decided to use the longer cuffed sleeve bonus pattern that Tilly released after the main pattern was on sale. I made one modification though as I recut the cuff pattern so that I could have the contrast fabric on the inside of the cuff. This was all going well, until I tried the shirt on during construction to check the rough fit and found that I really loved it as a sleeveless shirt!! I therefore decided to abandon the sleeves and finish the armholes with some bias binding instead.

inside sleeve

I promise that it has nothing to do with the fact that I hate ironing sleeves.

OK, maybe it has a little to do with it.

OK, maybe a lot!

But genuinely, I really loved the look of the sleeveless version and thought it showed how well the colour complimented my skin tone, which you just wouldn’t have seen with a full sleeved shirt. (Plus, ironing!!)

A quick run down of how I altered the pattern to make the sleeveless version…

  1. I ran a basting stitch at the 5/8 inch seam line on the armhole
  2. I measured the seam line to work out how much bias binding I would need and cut it to size
  3. I sewed the bias tape together (cutting across both ends on the diagonal to ensure a straight line
  4. I sewed the side seams of the shirt together
  5. I sewed the bias tape on the outside of the shirt at the 5/8 inch seam line, making sure I was on the basting line
  6. I clipped the excess fabric back to the level of the bias tape
  7. I pressed the bias tape to the inside of the armhole, ensuring I turned a couple of millimetres of the main fabric to the inside so that the facing didn’t show on the outside
  8. I pinned around the armhole to keep the binding in place
  9. I hand stitched the bias tape to the inside using an invisible slip stitch
  10. I pressed the finished armholes to make sure they were nice and neat

Seam line

Bias binding

Pinned armholes

Overall, I am really pleased with the result. It will be perfect for the Spring/Summer, but I think I can get some good wear out of it now, with the aid of a thick cardi!

Unbuttoned collar

Back view

So that is four makes out of nine done, and January isn’t over yet!

Finished shirt