Tag Archives: anise jacket

Ultimate pencil skirt or is that ultimate suit?

Hello everyone!  Forgive my excitement …. but have you ever made something that turns out better than you imagined it would?  I know that I have frequently been surprised the opposite way!  Like when I made those Burda trousers for example (which I cannot link to because it was *one of those posts* that got deleted when my laptop got spannered, honest).  Or when my visions are maybe executed too hastily & I am aware of less than polished finishes/ bodges!  BUT today my expectations have exceeded my vision.

Ultimate pencil

When I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the Ultimate Pencil skirt by Sew Over It I had no doubts that it would be a corker.  But as I usually look to my stash first before I hunt for new fabrics I came upon the idea to use the swathes of grey flannel left over from the generous yardages given for my Anise jacket.  My vision developed from here – but this is the important thing- as an incidental shrug: “Oh yeah, it might make a wintry suit”.

Ultimate pencil

Folks.  I give you the wintry suit of AWESOME.  Well I think so anyway, and I am sorry if my lack of humility is on the offensive side, I just can’t help it.  I had no idea these two garments, made independently of each other would look so fantastic as a two-piece.

Ultimate pencil

I have worn this to work.  (Different shoes because I was walking) .  But as a whole, with the Pussy Bow Blouse of course.  And my beret & leather gloves.  If it wasn’t for the beret I’d feel a little Miss Marple.  Maybe I can create that look with my Mimi blouse & brogues.

Ultimate pencil

OK so you understand now just what I think of the end result.  Want to know more about the skirt as it is a new pattern?  Folks it has CURVES drawn in.  You look at the pattern pieces & they are staring at you right under your nose- a curvy high-waisted wiggle skirt- no poker straight side seams here, but curves swinging from hips to hem- which means if you are shortening it, shorten using the lines in the pattern (which I did being of small stature).  Another simple pattern (like the Ultimate trousers) –  a front, a back & a waist facing.  Having no idea about how this would fit, I cut generous seam allowances to allow for some finetuning – especially as my sausage waist might not fit the wriggle aesthetic.  I also decided to line it in the polka dot satin, also left over from my Anise jacket.

ultimate pencil

So in cutting the lining I decided that I wasn’t going to use the facing pieces to cut flannel facings, but instead I cut the full skirt pieces (with a little bit extra width) in the polka dot satin.  I used the facing pieces to cut interfacing and fused this to the skirt pieces- to the flannel.  I don’t like itchy waists do you?  When attaching the lining to the top, I understitched to make sure it wouldn’t peep out unwanted.

ultimate pencil

Hahahaha – typical me – rushing & not getting the t-shirt tucked in nicely!

As with the ultimate trousers, this is a simple skirt to make with clear instructions, but a vavavoom end result.  I found the fitting was not far off.  I really wasn’t sure how much ease would be needed in a skirt this snug & with such thick fabric- so I played along with the pattern & then tried it on as I went along.  If anything I could do with taking a little bit of excess out at the very  top of waist, but it’s eminently passable- my dummy, does not mirror my measurements, so it is better on than what you see on Barb.

Ultimate pencil

This adorable skirt has a kick pleat as well.  I would love to know if there is a tutorial any one can recommend for lining the kick pleat.  I tried.

ultimate pencil

I used Sunni’s excellent tutorial for lining a vent & tried to adapt it, but gave up & made it a skirt with a vent after all.  Love that there is a cheeky pop of lining every now & then!

ultimate pencil

Did I tell you that I love the whole concept of a winter suit?   The whole concept of clicking around the streets with the full ensemble (handbag in the crook of your arm of course) then arriving at the office, removing your coat/jacket for work is rather compelling.


It does of course rely on the point of arrival being centrally heated & toasty enough to survive in just a blouse!  This skirt is super cosy yet as it is lined it feels incredibly luxurious to wear.  The whole outfit looks pretty good with my tan chunky boots as well, & if I was to float the idea of heels & pencil skirts you would already be there.

Ultimate pencil

 Polka dots to the max!

What do you think?  Have you ever had such a serendipitous result?  Do you wear winter suits like this?   Are they practical – or not?  And does anyone have a link to how you would line a vent?  So many questions!!!  Looking forward to hearing what you have to say.  Nearly the weekend everyone- have a great one 🙂

Anise jacket

Apologies in advance for repeating this post- but through all my laptop debacle & having to use the WordPress app on the iPad I have inadvertently deleted some of my recent posts.  I am trying to put it right, but I’m sorry I lost all of the lovely comments you all left me.  I need to keep a record of this jacket on my blog though, so here it is again.  Hopefully word for word.  If you missed it the first time around, hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

So here it is, the most proud moment of my sewing history I think I can say. I am reporting back on my Anise jacket and I am stoked. It’s lined, it has welt pockets and bound buttonholes. It has the cutest Peter Pan collar that sits with such a lovely roll over the neckline. It fits me like a glove, with enough room for a cardigan or sweater. I feel a little je ne sais quoi in it, when I wear my beret and leather gloves. It’s cute, cosy, but most of all, I feel I have done a really good job. You might be like me with the things you make – the first one to point out the flaws when someone offers you a compliment? Well, that is my default position too. However for this jacket there is only one slight 80 degree corner at the inner lining I would hastily show you if you said, “nice jacket”. And for me that is a record. I see just one flaw, & if you see any others, please keep them to yourself & maintain my illusion!!

Anise jacket 1


I have made a couple of more complex semi-tailored items before, with my Vintage Vogue jacket, my Spearmint coat and more recently my Andy coat, so anticipated a lot of groundwork & preparation and quite a lot of nerve-wracking techniques in making this jacket. You have to be patient with a make like this. I would suggest it will not be completed in a day unless you are pretty pro or don’t sleep.

Anise jacket 2


I chose this grey flannel fabric for the outer and polka dot satin for the lining. I also used calico (muslin) for underlining. It took me about four sittings to make this (quite long stints- between 4 and six hours). It was my post Christmas – pre New year make. Something to lavish attention on having sewn like a whirling dervish as I made Christmas presents for friends and family in every spare moment.

The Anise jacket pattern by Colette patterns, has a supplementary instruction booklet you can buy if you need more help, but I have to say that the instructions were extremely clear in the pattern alone. Maybe though I have a few coat makes under my belt and so have those experiences to build on.

It’s funny that there is a whole lot of work that you have to do for a jacket like this before you start constructing the jacket itself, eg attaching the underlining, thread tracing the pattern markings.

If you opt for bound buttonholes you need to make them as one of the first steps, which feels odd since buttonholes and buttons are usually one of the finishing touches for a shirt or skirt. You can make this jacket with regular buttonholes, but I was always going to make bound buttonholes, and can never make bound buttonholes any other way than without followingKaren’s e-book. It is my bound buttonhole bible! And I think they look pretty smart this time.

Anise jacket 3


So having completed the buttons, you then get on to engineering the collar. It’s cut with two pieces- an upper collar and the undercollar. The undercollar is cut on the bias. There is also an extra piece of interfacing, with its own special pattern piece that looks like a stretched sliver of a crescent moon. This is for reinforcing the collar roll, and I am convinced it’s what adds to the collar behaving itself beautifully, with enough loft before, yes, rolling as it folds. When I mentioned this to my Mum, conversation went along these lines,

Anise jacket 4


ME:”There’s even an extra piece of interfacing like a crescent along the collar at the neckline”

MUM (matter of fact) :”Yes, I know”

ME: (In my head) “How come you know all this stuff – there is nothing you don’t seem to already know! I wish I could know as much about sewing as you do!” You see I can remember my Mum going to evening classes in the 70s, when classes like “tailoring” were run up & down the country at local technical colleges, even in Somerset! Sigh. OK back to the story, the Anise story.

Anise jacket5


I can’t remember if I made the welt pockets before or after the collar. But what a joy they were to make too, but you feel more practised having four bound buttonholes under your belt – welt pockets follow similar principles, with that nerve inducing & very final slashing through the centre of the rectangle you’ve just sewn in the actual front of your jacket, for the pocket linings & welts to get manipulated within.

Anise jacket 6

I’m afraid I have no drama to recount about putting the jacket pieces together to make a 3D garment.  The sleeves are cut in two pieces & set in with some gathering stitches at the sleeve head.  This fabric by the way sucks up gathers like a sponge, absorbing the tucks into its wonderful dense self.  And it is like a blanket.  I love it!  The jacket lining has special pieces for the front & back, but uses the same sleeve pieces (but with a shorter hem).  The centre back is designed for a massive expansion pleat.

Anise jacket 7

Attaching the lining to the jacket- this time I made the decision not to bag the lining.  That was quite a biggie for me as it is how I have done it before, & you know me, I try to machine as much as I can.  This time, however, I followed the instructions in the pattern – attaching the sleeves to the lining at their hems, then handsewing the lining sleevehead into the lining body.   The main hem is handsewn – first the jacket’s hem itself, then the lining’s hem is handstitched but hidden under the lining’s hem fold.

Anise jacket

My most fiddly bit is the front facing corners where the lining at hem & facing meet to form a right angle.  One side is better than the other, hence one side being 80 degrees & a bit squirched.

So, I promised to share the trials & tribulations with making this jacket, & I have to say they fall mainly into the whoop whoop department.  And working with this flannel was a joy – it was easy to press underneath a silk organza cloth, with steam.  I had no problems with it at all.  And it is very forgiving, handstitching just disappears within its dense fibres.

Sewing this jacket has helped me decide that I need more makes like this in my projects, so that some at least of my future handmade wardrobe is invested with risk & learning (as set out here).  I don’t need to always make fast clothes!

ANise jacket 9

A big thank you to my Dad who took the on location photos.  Aren’t they so much better than my usual! And I’m wearing my new Miette skirt..

….and breathe…..

Hello lovelies!  I need to wish you Happy Christmas before it’s too late!

I hope you all have a most wonderful time doing what makes you happy.  I am hosting this year and we are going to use our outdoor pizza oven to cook some of the roast!  Even if it’s standing under a golf umbrella with wellies on…or wrapped up with scarves & gloves.  Of course we won’t eat outside, that would be foolish.

I have to confess that I took too much on this year & upon reflection all those hand made ideas that in themselves seemed relatively simple & straightforward, all add up.  It turns out that I have made something for everyone I give to this year.  And for some (ie my men boys) they got more than just the one handmade.  I have felt like I have been on a mission & gift-sewing bossed everything else (apart from work & the odd run).   I have some makes still to blog about but couldn’t get the time in before now, so will have a couple to show you after Christmas.  I should either have started earlier, or considered taking some time off before hand.  But, without giving anything away, the final two gifts were completed today …& now the house is all prepared for hosting & an evening of cooking/baking awaits me.  I have some Christmas Crooners to keep me company.  Marvellous!

In terms of sewing, I am mega excited to be sewing for me again.  Want to see what I’m going to be concentrating on this holiday?

image 1

This is my December and January project for the Minerva Blogging Network.   I am making a *big project*.  Yes, at last I am making a jacket.  The fabric I chose is this blankety grey flannel, it’s quite thick & felty, a true charcoal grey, with a faint mottled tweedy appearance.   This jacket is going to be an everyday jacket, one for going to work, or wearing with jeans at the weekend or on an evening.   But because I want there to be some secret fun & jollity to something otherwise sensible on the outside, I’ve chosen a polka dot lining, a satin. This is rather a statement – these polka dots are a couple of inches in diameter!

Also in my bundle of materials is calico for the underlining, some interfacing and also shoulder pads.

image 2

Looking for buttons I thought these would look good with the grey- my chosen jacket is double breasted & so the buttons are definitely a feature. Have you worked out what I am making yet? I have plumped for the Anise Jacket by Colette Patterns.

image 3

I have had this for a year or so now & it’s about time it got made! I shall be making the full length sleeved version, and am looking forward to rocking the welt pockets and I feel I should really make bound button holes as well. I feel as if I have a mountain ahead of me.  It’ll be worth it though, and do you know, I am really looking forward to it.   It fits with my sewing ethos for 2015….but you’ll have to wait to hear about that another time.

Have a most wonderful Christmas everyone, thanks for all of your support this year, it’s been a blast!