Some combination of the weak pound, the not-yet-Christmas season, and international family with spare bedrooms made a makeup holiday to repeat but improve our rona’d summer plans financially feasible this December. One of the things I was sorriest to miss during our plague trip was a celebratory tea at the Winter Garden restaurant – so we booked another! Only this time, with a reasonable expectation of getting to enjoy it!
Obviously a festive tea calls for a festive outfit. I considered really swinging for the fences (sour gold full-length velvet evening gown, anyone?) but unfortunately my unyielding practicality intervened, so I decided on separates that could also be worn with lots of other tops and bottoms. I also only bring a carry-on whenever possible, so everything in there has to be a team player. The desired vibe: comfy-cozy. The budget: haha. The patterns: repeats, of course!
The top is a yet another Marlo sweater. This pattern is a winner. I struggled to find fabric for it, though; I adore the weight and drape of the sweater knit in the view A sample, but despite my fairly broad remit (mediumish weight! Soft! Brightish white!) I just couldn’t find what I was looking for. Even when I pretended money was no object, I ended up with a bunch of theoretical carts of not-quite-right fabric. One problem was the prevalence of “natural” white: I adore creamy/ivory/shortbread whites, but we do each other no favors.
Ultimately I bought 1.5 yards of winter white ponte de roma at Sewfiscated. This particular blend was 60% rayon, 35% polyester, and 5% spandex. Some post hoc Googling implied that this is considered “nice” ponte, and it served its purpose, but it’s still not my favorite.
I probably should have cut somewhere between the low-stretch and high-stretch neckband + waistband lengths, but I opted for high-stretch – technically correct, but there’s puckering.
The buttons are also from Sewfisticated, by the way, and they’re solid dupes for the fancy beautiful version sold by True Bias directly!
Anyway, I tried to steam out the puckers, which is a cool way to discover I should really use distilled water in my iron. The steam function spat out a constellation of rust water. This isn’t even the first time! Combined with the peanut butter I got on the wrong side (point: don’t eat a peanut butter sandwich while cutting white fabric. Counterpoint: I love peanut butter sandwiches), I gave this the washing of a lifetime and it survived without pilling. Which is, indeed, nice.
One benefit of the high-stretch neckband; this is the closest I’ve come to a result that actually hugs my neck. Also nice.
The bottom piece is my second M8248 skirt.
The Robert Kaufman Shetland flannel in Basil I used is probably heavier than the pattern wants, but I wear my existing winter wool version for stylish warmth and I knew I’d grab for this over rayon or something similar. I ordered it from a new-to-me fabric store, Snuggly Monkey – OUTSTANDING price (several dollars cheaper per yard than what I saw elsewhere!) and super-speedy shipping. They’re definitely one of my routine online stops now when I can’t find something locally.
Unlike my first M8248, I actually cut out all the pieces this time. AND I didn’t get peanut butter all over the fabric. So beat that with a stick!
Otherwise I sewed this the same way, but with greater accuracy since I thread-tacked all the pleat markings ’cause rules are cool. I also gave myself the screaming jeebies by pulling out a bunch of those tacks under the impression that they were stray threads and then realizing instantly that I was a dope, so that was fun! But the finished skirt is comfortable and warm, and I like this subtle grey-green.
I applied the same modified button closure (it’s just the pattern waistband, extended) so the invisible zipper wouldn’t have to cross the waist seam. The single button is left over, tum te tum, from another Marlo.
I serged the vertical seams to finish and hand-sewed the hem.
That hem is the single longest part of this project. It’s barely curved so I could have topstitched it no problem, but I’ve got the vague notion that hand-sewn hems are more fluid and flexible than machine-sewn ones, and with all this pleated fabric I didn’t want to lose any movement.
Whyyy can you see my hand stitches like a burning ring of fire, though? Girl, you tell me.
So, I’m content with this outfit, but I’m not thrilled. There’s elements of compromise. An evening gown would have been a lot more fun, but I didn’t want to overdress, and I didn’t want to end up with a one-trick pony in my closet and clogging up my carry on (ain’t no popcorn popper in my kitchen!!). That said, if I feel the same way this time next year: EVENING GOWN. You’ve heard it here first.
By the time this posts I will be very happily outside some scones, mousse, and champagne, to name a few, and on my way home from a 🤞 vigorously 🤞 healthy 🤞 trip. Stay well! Drink tea!
Pattern: True Bias Marlo sweater
Pattern cost: NA
Size: 10, view A
Supplies: 1.5 yards of ponte de roma (60% rayon, 35% polyester, 5% spandex), Sewfisticated, $7.49; buttons, Sewfisticated, $3.60
Total time: 3 hours
Total cost: $11.09
Pattern: M8248 skirt
Pattern cost: NA
Size: 16, view C; lengthened waistband to overlap 1″
Supplies: 3 yards of Robert Kaufman Shetland flannel in Basil, Snuggly Monkey, $33.25; thread, Sewfisticated + 10″ zipper in Slate, Gather Here, $3.99
Total time: 6 hours
Total cost: $37.24