Hello again! This month’s pattern is a bit of a blast from the past. With Autumn just around the corner I’ve chosen the Slouchy Gilet to whip up.
This pattern came free with an old issue of Love Sewing magazine. Perhaps you have it in your pattern stash? Well, I’ve been wanting to make this for ages. When I dug it out I remembered why I had procrastinated over it for so long – I really couldn’t get my head around the instructions.
I cut the project out a few weeks ago so that I would have to tackle it or waste the fabric. I then spent a considerable amount of time reading and re-reading those instructions. I was nervous about a few things. The pattern requires an open-ended zip, which I’ve never used before. I also knew that I was going to sew a zip on jersey fabric which would also be a new experience for me. The other thing I was nervous about was how the collar was constructed. Both things turned out to be non-issues for me in the end. The zip went in first time no problems, and once I got started, the collar was obvious too.
This pattern will work with a knit or a woven fabric, but I went for a cosy quilted-effect ponte roma jersey from B&M fabrics in Leeds. This has been in my stash for nearly two years, and because it’s so bulky, I was pleased to get it out of there as it was taking up so much room!
This pattern has separate pattern pieces for the lining. If you’re using a lighter weight fabric you can use the same fabric both for the shell and the lining. Mine was far too bulky to be a lining too so I went back to the stash to see if I could find anything appropriate. There was nothing! If the stash doesn’t come up trumps, then that’s a good excuse to buy more fabric isn’t it? A quick order in to Minerva Crafts for some cheap viscose jersey and I received beige-pink and highlighter yellow fabric. Not being able to decide between them I put a poll on Instagram and pink was the winner!
The first tricky bit to get your head round is the insertion of the open-ended zip. I’m afraid the instructions are a bit lacking here, especially if you haven’t inserted one before. It took a bit of head-scratching, but I fathomed it out eventually.
You line up the tape of the right-hand zip (the half without the zip pull) with the raw edge of the front bodice as shown below. The teeth are pointed inwards and the zipper tape is upside down. The zip will get sandwiched between the outer and inner front bodices.
The other side of the zip goes on the left side bodice (your left as if you’re wearing it). There are notches here to show where it starts and ends. You may find it helpful to baste the zip in at this stage or use wonder tape like I did!
The next task is to attach all the panels of the outer shell together. This was fun as it grew so quickly! You will be sandwiching the left-hand zip between the left side bodice and the left front bodice. You may need to wriggle the zipper pull around as you sew it but it’s quite straight-forward. Don’t forget to use your zipper foot! The photo below shows what the zip looks like once inserted.
You end up with a very large garment, but it looks just like the picture in the instructions!
You then put the inner front bodices on top of the outer front bodices, pin and stitch the triangular bits. In the picture below, I’ve stitched the left-hand side and pinned the right side ready for stitching. You may need to trim off the corners (and any excess zipper tape) to allow you to turn it through later. The instructions say to turn it through but don’t do that yet. You need to attach the lining first.
The back-lining piece is slightly larger than the back-shell piece. The excess fabric is folded into little pleats at the top and the bottom. This means less strain on the fabric as you move about. There are notches on the pattern piece to show where the pleat goes. Fold from the notch to the middle on both sides and pin in place. Now I think I did something different to what the instructions say here. I did not stitch downwards but I think you’re supposed to. I just basted across the top to hold the pleat in place. It turned out fine.
You then sew the side seams of the lining pieces just like you did with the shell. You can see the pleats at the top and the bottom of the fabric in the photo below.
Now it’s time to attach the lining to the shell. You need to pin the side bodice lining pieces to the inner front bodice, right sides together. Once you’ve done that you can sew all the way along the bottom of the gilet. You can then turn through to the right side.
We’re nearing the end now and the gilet is coming together nicely. The next job is to close off the top. Unfortunately, this stitching will show (although it’ll be on the inside of the garment) so don’t do something daft like me and use white overlocking thread! To close off the top you can overlock, or zig-zig stitch the entire open bit (the bits which have clips attached in the photo below). This does mean navigating around some sharp points and bendy bits. You may need to snip into the seam allowance of the fabric to make it easier to sew up.
I forgot to take photos of the next bit so sorry about that. I was in ‘the zone’. The next thing to do is fold the whole gilet right sides together so the collar bits line up and stitch them up. This is clear from the instructions. You’re then going to sew the gap closed and attach the collar to the back bodice. I promise that, despite not taking photos of this bit, it is obvious what you have to do!
The very last thing is to finish the armholes by turning up the seam by 1cm (although with my bulky fabric I went for 1.5cm) and stitch.
Ta da! A lovely, cosy gilet that will take me through the Autumn! The only thing that’s missing is pockets and I’m wondering whether it would be possible to add them in the side seams before attaching the lining.
This project was complete in just a couple of evenings so was fairly quick – about 3 hours in total. Have you ever sewn this pattern? Do you have this pattern somewhere in your stash? It may be worth digging it out and giving it a go!