Flannel Kennedy

I bought just one pattern in the Black Friday sales last year: it’s the Style Arc Kennedy, and it made the list after I spotted the flannel one Meg from Cookin’ & Craftin’ gave her sister. I wanted that one, so I made…basically just that one! And honestly, I am feeling it! The coziness is high!

I’ve sewn one Style Arc pattern before – a baseball cap – and was surprised then by the terse instructions. This time, I actually found the brevity refreshing. There’s plenty of notches, a few sentences of description, and a “deep dive” into a step or two, but mostly I felt freed to sew this relatively simple garment in my own way without having to constantly return to a booklet. Style Arc also includes a nice clear line drawing showing where to topstitch (though not when). I didn’t actually notice this line drawing for a long time, so I didn’t get the benefit of its information until I was nearly finished with the hoodie, but I still like it!

It did make clear my real dingleberry moment, though – I sewed the kangaroo pocket flap upside-down. I like the shape as designed better (narrowing towards the bottom), but not enough to unpick two lines of topstitching, a sewn seam, a serged edge, and the flap itself.

I topstitched twice because while the directions said to press the horizontal front seam up and topstitch once, the bulky layers of seam allowances where the plackets overlap said to me in clear English, “Lia, if you try to press us up, WE WILL FIGHT YOU”. So I pressed the seam allowances down instead and topstitched them while avoiding the pocket flap, then pressed the pocket flap down and topstitched that edge too.

My experience with this pattern was almost identical to Meg’s – I too found there was too much ease in the dropped-shoulder sleeve cap, I too sewed the front plackets my own way (like these cuffs, but with only one finished short end), I too omitted the bottom hem hardware (though I put in a smidgeroo of 1″ wide elastic). I also followed Meg’s advice and halved the interfacing at the front plackets and cuffs. And, since she mentioned her concern about the kangaroo pocket openings stretching, I sewed mine as a double-turned hem instead of a single-fold.

My interior seams are serged. Style Arc does instruct you to attach the hood in two passes that result in a clean turned finish at the neck, which is great, because I was gonna do that anyway! I don’t like serging that’s visible on the hanger.

Something went hinky at the cuffs, though! I could have used a little extra info there. For one thing, I couldn’t figure out how to turn the little extensions that are meant to replace a sleeve tower placket and end up with both a clean finish AND an overlap at the wrist. Ultimately I chose clean, which means those edges meet but don’t overlap; I eventually whipstitched them shut so no breezes would find their way into my soft flannel sleeves. Also, my cuffs were shorter than my sleeve openings! I bunged in a pleat per sleeve. I guessed wrong which side of the sleeve to bung it into, but as Lancelot underwhelmingly remarks, tirra lirra.  

I ended up with buttons instead of snaps because I was tired of ordering things, but if the etsy shop where I had purchased my other hardware had also sold snaps, I would have used them as directed. I was happy with their prices and shipping, and grabbed some extra cord ends for future drawstrings, too.

I do love a bit of hardware – it makes clothes look so official! I love it even though I struggled to get the paracord through the squeezy-toggle holes (I tried holding the toggle open with one hand and smushing the cord through with a bamboo skewer in the other, but it was a no-go). Then Professor Boyfriend had a suggestion of, I think, tenure-track brilliance: use Scotch tape to make little plastic aglets for the end of the cord. Trivially easy to thread through the holes with that addition!

A word of caution about the hood: it’s graded. I sewed a size 12, but I can see in my multisize pattern that it keeps…getting…bigger! And that puppy ain’t small to start with!

I thought about lining my hood in (faux) shearling instead of flannel, but this project was already getting spendy, and it would just get fully imbued with shed hair anyway.

Plus this flannel is SO SOFT. It’s Kaufman of course; it’s their Shetland Speckle, and my only possible criticism is that I wish it was much wider. I used 3 yards of the 45” wide fabric for this project, with 7″ full width left over, but I was no respecter of the grain. Unlike the herringbone flannel, there’s no directional pattern preventing the use of the cross-grain. I think 3 yards of either would still be enough for a size 12 though.

This garment might not offer glamour, elegance, and style, but I’ve worn it more days than I haven’t since sewing on the last button! I feel like an enamel camping dish, in the best way. Given that current weather predictions for my area include a low of -7°F (that’s almost -14°C!), I see no reason to take it off anytime soon!

Pattern: Style Arc Kennedy

Pattern cost: $8.95  

Size: 12

Supplies: 3 yards of  Shetland Speckle Flannel in Navy, Hawthorne Supply Co., $39.10; toggles, end caps, paracord; MergePatternsNCrafts (etsy); buttons, Michael’s, $17.05

Total time: 9.75 hours

Total cost: $65.10

Pink Ice Cream

After years of min-maxing my sewing stats, it’s not totally surprising that I like most of the pants I sew, while shirts are hit and miss. This one is a wearable miss. It checks off the essentials; it is a shirt, I think it’s reasonably well-made, I like the fabric, it fits my body. But if my list of its qualities starts with ‘it is a shirt’ you can probably tell it’s not a love match.  

This is a Seamwork Natalie blouse which in retrospect I shouldn’t have sized up. Alternatively, I should have sized up way, way more. This is a 12, one size up from my recommended 10, and instead of feeling breezy and effortless it’s just a bit big. Camp collars, y’all. I was aiming for safari style; I landed in the service sector. I’m basically dressed as the top 50% of the waitress in this Bleachers video (the irony being that I’d rather dress like Jack Antonoff and I have nobody to blame but myself!!).    

I only made tiny changes to the pattern, by adding a pocket and straightening the sleeve hems. I also used cream quilting cotton instead of interfacing. I’m not convinced I’ve been attaching interfacing well enough, as I’ve had some bubbling in the wash lately, and since most of the facing is freely moving within the shirt, I didn’t want to risk it. It made the facing a bit thick and independent-minded – hopefully it’ll get washed and worn into submission. I invisibly tacked down each side underneath the centermost corner of the pockets, but they still have occasional fits of exuberance and try to roll free. No. Stop it. Conform.

 I almost ditched the chest pockets halfway through. They kept squashing out of shape regardless of staystitching, pressing, etc., so the only iron-on interfacing is on the back of the pockets, with the seam allowances removed, to keep them on the rectangular-and-symmetrical path. It was that or throw them in the scrap box. Even though I’m not convinced they add much, I grudgingly allow that they are not too bulky, despite the double-folded box pleat at the top hem. Originally I planned to place the pleat intake on the inside but I was worried that any deep breaths would make it look like my boobs were talking and/or blinking. Nightmare averted?

I borrowed the pocket placement from my Sewaholic Granville pattern. I was surprised to see it didn’t cover the Natalie dart end – the Granville dart extends further – but for once my bust darts seem to be pointing in the right direction, and I wasn’t going to rock the boat.

I edgestitched the facings but found my stitching line upsettingly wobbly (this fabric was happy to meet an iron and it eased nicely, but it was squishier than most cotton/linens, not to mention it frayed like a sonofagun – actually, it was kind of a hot jerk) so I unpicked that sewing and replaced it with short horizontal lines.

In a partially-successful attempt to keep the facing at the back neck in place, I added a little stitched box where the collar would hide it.

You can see the fabric pretty well there; it’s a new-to-me version of Kaufman’s cotton/linen, Essex Speckled Yarn Dyed. It’s a pretty icy pink and I love speckles, but I mostly bought it because I pointed it out to Professor Boyfriend at the store and said “Look! Pink ice cream!” before realizing the actual name was “Gelato”. It was destiny. “Pink ice cream” is a reference to a monumental temper tantrum I had at age three. I screamed for ice cream for hours, one for each year of my life (I got it, too – I tell my students this story with the moral “if you scream long enough…”). As near as I can guess pink ice cream was strawberry, which continues to be one of my favorite-ever flavors, so there yah go.

I had a heck of a time choosing buttons for it; dark buttons looked objectively nice but the high contrast kind of summoned a Pink Lady energy, mother-of-pearl was too feminine for me, the wood option was too big, etc.. I bought these buttons, unsure if I would use them but convinced I just needed to get something, to add a little chocolate and vanilla to the strawberry ice cream – Neapolitan buttons.

This is a reasonably breezy blend but eh. I did not achieve the summer safari sensation I wanted. I’ve mostly been wearing this blouse open over a tank for sun protection, but I’m just unenthusiastic! I know some people lose interest in dressing for fun in winter, but that’s me in summer. I don’t have a ‘character’ for summer, just a repeatedly thwarted urge to pass myself off as an extra in The Mummy. If you’ve got a go-to pattern for breezy summer button-ups, I’d love to see it.

Stay hydrated, Northern Hemisphere! Southern Hemisphere – you have my envy.

Pattern: Seamwork Natalie

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 12

Supplies: 2 yards of Essex Speckled Yarn Dyed Gelato cotton/linen, $26.96, Gather Here; buttons, Gather Here, $4.20; thread, Michael’s, $2.39

Total time: 7.5 hours

Total cost: $32.55

Business Forest

For a week+ in January, I had something flu-ish. I wasn’t stoic. Exhibit A: I am still complaining about it. (I’m so lucky that I could take sick time and that thanks to Professor Boyfriend, I had literally no responsibilities beyond choosing my next mug of tea. One lucky couch potato.) Anyway, I couldn’t focus on books and I got sick of TV, and eventually, despite feeling lousy, I turned to the sewing machine for a change. These are my flu pants.


Also, my coming-down-with-something shirt! I’ll zip through the shirt – it’s a Sew House Seven Tabor V-neck in cotton knit, and it’s definitely snugger and stiffer (oo-er miss) than my original poly sweater version, but I could use a hot steamy iron (oo-er again?) so I was happy. I bought the fabric at Gather Here so I was able to get the exact yardage – 1 3/8ths yards – and I was impressed, it was spot on. I sewed it pre-Nyquil, and have nothing further to report. Except that you can’t see in the long shots, but in the details, it’s neon Funfetti! Yay!

Okay, flu pants: the pattern is Simplicity 8842 and it’s an Amazing Fit pattern. I wouldn’t ordinarily go for pants that sit at my lower-natural-waist, so I was trepidatious, but in the end I found the fit Good Enough. I have sewn so few Simplicity patterns, none actually spring to mind, but I decided to sew size 16 (lowest size in the bigger envelope). My measurements put me in size 18 but I didn’t notice until I was almost done tracing; that’s the kind of precision and quality control you can expect from the rest of this project! But the outseams and the back seam at the waist were all 1” wide, so I bargained on using that wiggle room.

So why S8842 in the first place? I wanted pleats!


Prior to sewing these I thought pleats on pants were some kind of arcane rite performed upon the most deserving of legs. These taught me that it’s just a bit of fabric you fold over. I guess I could just pop them onto any trouser pattern. Huh.

See above – my biggest mistake! The fly is weird! It’s so much weirder on the inside, but I am inside so I cannot show you. Can you see the vertical line of stitching just to the left of the fly overlap? That’s holding a hodge-podge of seams sort-of in place because I either skipped steps or added new ones and either way it got strange. Also, it’s teal because I ran out of green thread and felt too crummy to go to the thread store. Exhibit B, same as A: STILL COMPLAINING.

By the way, I used the ‘curvy’ fit pattern piece for the back – it’s got extra side-to-side room for the tush and a second dart per leg.


I don’t think this pattern makes the most of my rear view but I’m ideally situated not to see it anyway!


Because this is an Amazing Fit pattern, you add the waistband before baste fitting, and adjust everything simultaneously. I removed a ¼” wedge from the center back but didn’t need to change the side seams. I trimmed the 1-inch seams to be ½-inch before permanently constructing them, but I suspect my trimming was less than perfect; I probably cut off more like 5/8ths in some places. I was worried that I had overfit these. Luckily the corduroy relaxes with wear so it’s alright!

My only “design” change was making the curved pocket openings into straight pocket openings. I used a scrap of gingham from one of Professor Boyfriend’s shirts for the pocket bags, which makes sorting the laundry pleasantly confusing. I was new to some of Simplicity’s terminology; what I would call a “pocket facing” they called a “yoke”, and so on, but the directions were clear and the pockets are nice and roomy.


The back ‘pocket’ is just a flap! I constructed mine differently than the pattern instructs. You’re asked to interface the flap, fold it right sides together, stitch, turn, sew it with the raw edge up towards the waist, then fold it up and topstitch in place. All those interfaced layers folded over each other felt way too hard and structural. I just cut a rectangle, turned the short edges to the wrong side, and folded it in thirds the long way. The top edge is the folded edge, and the raw edge at the bottom is caught in the topstitching. Lemon squeezy.

This pattern gives you a lot of flexibility width-wise, but not a ton length-wise. I wouldn’t have minded a little more height in the back rise, or an extra inch in leg length.


I just want to cuff without fear of ankle breezes.

I’m happy-ish with the finished pants – kind of a mori boy meets businesswoman feel – but I don’t think I constructed them well. Also, the first time I wore them the back seam split open, which feels like a personal criticism. I’m used to sewing with love and attention to detail, and I sewed these because of boredom and coughing, with a headache and several bottles of seltzer. My attitude when sewing has a bigger effect on my feelings about the finished garment than I realized! That said, I’m glad I have something to show for my downtime besides catching up on Spidermans.

Maybe it’s the first pancake phenom! 2/3rds of my January 2019 sews were giveaways, and at least I’m keeping these.


I hope you’re all beating your colds out there! And if you’re in the middle of one, I hope you can enjoy some couch time!

Pattern: Sew House Seven Tabor V-neck

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 10

Supplies: 1 3/8 yards of Speckle cotton jersey in Natural, Gather Here, $20.63; thread from stash

Total time: 2 hours

Total cost: $20.63

Pattern: Simplicity 8842

Pattern cost: $9.42

Size: 16

Supplies: 2 yards of Kaufman 21 wale corduroy in Forest, fabric.com, $18.62; thread, zipper, rivet from stash

Total time: 8 hours

Total cost: $28.04