Up until now I had made every pattern that Helen’s Closet has released except the Winslow Culottes. I was hesitant to make culottes at all because they are super trendy and I like to stick to more classic styles. I also was hesitant to make them because I just don’t think they are very flattering. I’m a pear shape but also pretty short. Due to the length they make my legs look shorter and there is just SOO much fabric around the hips. For these blog photos I decided to pair the culottes with my nettie body suit which has bold horizontal stripe in order to draw more attention to my upper body/ seem more balanced.
To be quite honest, it is still way too cold in Wisconsin to wear these outside. However, it is SUPER FUN to wear these! they are just so big and swishy but you don’t have to worry about flashing people. I’m not sure at this point how much I’ll actually wear them but I think once it warms up a bit I’ll wear them more often.
I mean – just look at all of that fabric! The good news about this pattern is really the only measurement that matters is the waist measurement and there aren’t that many fitting issues that could come up.
This fabric is tencel twill from the Blackbird Fabrics shop. I originally was planning on making the knee length version of the culottes again because I think this length isn’t great on me but I had enough fabric that I decided to just make the longer version since I can always hem them again if I decide I don’t like this length. I’ll probably wait a few months to see how much I actually wear them at this length and then make a decision. What do you think? Should I chop these off and make them knee length?
I have leggings on my 2018 make 9 but I wasn’t sure which pattern I wanted to use. I have previously made leggings using a self drafted pattern but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep using that or if I wanted to try a different pattern. When Helen asked if I wanted to be a tester for the Avery leggings I was super excited. They have a wide waist band and a gusset, which my self drafted leggings did not have. Because I’m pretty short I made view A for both pairs of leggings since I suspect that the super high waist would hit me in a weird place.
I had some fabric in my stash that I was planning on making leggings out of but the fabric was just plain black, which isn’t very fun for pattern testing. The fabric I had in my stash also does not have the right stretch percentage. The biggest thing I learned in making this pattern is how important stretch percentage is! Make sure your fabrics have the right percentage! 70% is quite a bit so don’t just assume that because your fabric has spandex in it that it will work. This is particularly tough ordering fabrics online since many sites do not list stretch percentages. I ordered two different fabrics to test with from Stonemountain and Daughter without knowing the stretch percentages and I have pretty varied results.
The first fabric I used was this incredible Yoga Cloth in Gray. This fabric is the perfect fabric for these leggings – it has the right amount of stretch! I’m 5′ 1 1/2″ and since the pattern is drafted for someone 5′ 6″ I shortened the legs by 1″. I normally would shorten pants by a little more but I would much rather have leggings that are slightly long than leggings that are slightly too short so I decided to err on the side of caution. They fit great! The waist definitely hits me above my belly button so even though this is view A because I’m so short it fits a bit more like view B, which I love.
The second version I made was out of this pleather look scuba knit (WARNING: This fabric absolutely does not have enough stretch!) It looks like the color I used is sold out but they still have it in black. The fabric just barely stretches to 70% crosswise (but its definitely feels strained) and stretches to maybe 40% length wise. I decided to go for it anyway because I really liked the idea of pleather look leggings.
For this version I did not shorten the legs by 1″ and I also did not hem them because hemming them would have made them too short! I’ve never had an issue with too short pants before but since it is a scuba knit it is totally fine to leave them unhemmed.
I also used a smaller seam allowance to give myself a little more room. They are definitely a tad tight and not as comfortable as my yoga cloth ones but I love them anyway. If I was going to make leggings with this fabric again I think I would size up a full size and also make view B to give myself a longer waistband and longer leg length.
I love my first version of my blackwood cardigan so much that I definitely need a second version. This pattern is by Helen’s closet and it is the perfect combination of cosy and stylish. I highly recommend this pattern if you haven’t tried it yet! This time around I wanted to use a more versatile color. I chose this charcoal gray fabric from Harts. Although I love the look of this fabric it is a bit itchy for me. I think it will be much better in the cooler months when I’m layering over long sleeved shirts but I think next time I’ll definitely go for a non-polyester fabric for my cosy sweaters. Lesson learned.
This sewed together fairly quickly, especially since I already had made one version. One thing I did this time around to reduce the amount of stretching around the pockets is I used wonder tape to attach them and hold them in place to sew them. This also acts as a stabilizer, and reduces the waviness of the fabric around the pockets.
I’m wearing this cardigan with the other two basics I made for the summer of basics challenge – my newest Ginger Jeans and my Rumi tank. I know I’m going to get a lot of wear out of all three of these items. Also – these are all patterns that I can make multiple times and really get to fit the way I want. This is my third version of the Ginger Jeans, and I have a fourth planned! This is also my second Blackwood Cardigan and I love both versions so much I could definitely see myself making another one. Although this is my first Rumi Tank I’ve been in need of a basic tank top that actually fits pretty much my whole life. Once I get the fit down on this I’m probably going to make like 20 of them so I never ever have to wear a tank top that doesn’t fit.
I wear my Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet all the time – so when when Helen asked me to test her new Pattern, the Suki Kimono, I was totally on board. I already have two robes – one is a really fluffy light pink bath robe that my Grandma gave me for Christmas one year and another one is one I got at one of the Victoria Secret sales a couple of years ago. To be honest I don’t really wear either of those robes… but I was pretty sure that this one would have something to offer that neither of those have.
I chose a rayon satin from Harts Fabric. I wasn’t really sure what rayon satin is since I’ve never worked with it before. It turns out that rayon is the material the fabric is is made of and satin refers to the weave of the fabric. The satin weave is what makes the fabric smooth and glossy looking.
One of the great things about this pattern is how customizable it is. You can easily make the sleeves longer or make the front band extend all the way down. I made view B without contrast bands. I used a size S bust and graded out to a size M at the hips. I also shortened the front and back pieces by 2 inches.
The most frustrating step in this whole project for me was cutting out the fabric. The rayon satin was extra shifty and slid around easily, which made it super difficult to cut out. It ended up taking me way longer than I expected to cut out the pattern.
Once I had everything cut out though it was pretty smooth sailing. I appreciated that Helen had you do some of the smaller steps ahead of time like making the loops. That way you can get them out of the way while you still have a lot of momentum going.
I length of the sleeve is perfect – they aren’t going to get in the way at all but also add a little bit of drama to the robe. The inner ties and the tie that is secured at the back really help to keep everything in place. I don’t ever feel at risk of the robe falling open. I also love how high up the neckline is. It really makes a huge difference in how comfortable I feel in the robe when I’m not worried about it staying in place.
I used french seams for a clean finish on the inside. Helen added instructions for how to do a clean finish in the final version, but I sort of winged it. When I got to the front band I also wanted that to have a clean finish so I ended up sewing the outer neckband to the front, sewing the front seams, including adding the front inner tie, and then folding the front band over the front edge, and hand sewing the inside of the front band down. In the end I’m really glad I decided to use clean finishes on this since I wanted something a little more special than the two robes I already have. This definitely fits that. I can see myself wearing this in the mornings on the weekend and wearing it to sew in when working on a project where I need to try on something multiple times.
I LOVE being warm. I live in Wisconsin so layers are key. I love feeling cozy which generally means wearing sweatshirts. I love this new cardigan because it gives you the cozy feeling without adding a ton of bulk and still showing off your outfit and looking cute. This is the Blackwood cardigan from Helen’s closet with the Ogden cami from True Bias. I met both Helen and Kelli at Camp Workroom Social last fall and they are both so sweet and talented. Helen wore an early version of the Blackwood Cardigan at camp and I’ve been wanting to make it ever since!
I ended up grading from a size small at the bust to a size medium in the waist/hips. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to grade up for the waist/hips since the pattern is open in the front and thus would be fairly forgiving. However, since the cardigan is a slim fit I decided to get go ahead and grade out. In the end I’m glad I did because the fit is really great! I also shortened the sleeves by two inches. The sleeves are meant to be long and cover your hands for an extra coziness.
I used a crimson sweater knit from Fashion Fabrics club for this. It was my first time ordering fabric from there – they have a huge selection of fabric on their website and this fabric was exactly what I had been wanting to use. This is 97% cotton and 3% lycra. When I bought this fabric they were having a sale so it was only $3.95/yard. I ended only spending $7.90 on fabric for this cardigan. Also- so far the fabric seems like it is pretty good quality and it is super soft. Most of the time the things I make would be way cheaper if I just bought them in the store but not this time! I’m definitely willing to spend more on fabric especially if I know it was sourced ethically, etc but when you find the exact fabric you wanted and its super cheap I’m not going to say no!
This cardigan went together fairly quickly. I actually really loved sewing this up with my serger since the majority of the seams end up intersecting with other seams, which left very few loose serger thread tails to deal with at the end. I love the hem band, the sleeve cuffs, the length, the pockets. I can’t think of anything I’d change on this cardigan. The one thing I’d do differently next time is take more time in the zig zag stitch around the front band. I rushed through that bit and it ended up slightly wavy in some places.
The Ogden cami was also a super quick sew. My least favorite part of most sewing projects is cutting out the fabric. Since there aren’t a ton of pieces and none of the pieces are super fiddly this may be my very favorite pattern to cut out. For this one I just stuck with the size that matched my bust measurement since it didn’t seem like I would need extra room at the hips.
I used a rayon poplin that I got from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics. I love the drape on this fabric and also the that it is completely opaque. I also love this print – it makes such a great basic cami that is interesting but also easily paired with other things.
The deep v in the back adds more interest to this cami. This is such a good pattern – I want to make a ton more for summer!It is super flattering and easy to pull off. I already have some more versions planned. This pattern is also very versatile – tons of people have been adding gathered peplums and Kelli has a some hacks for making this in to a dress.