Readers, the sewjo is back! With a vengeance, I might add… It’s been a shameful weekend of binging, both sewing and…wait for it, Killing Eve. My husband was away for the weekend, so I took the opportunity to sew, guilt-free, to my heart’s content. And I also switched my laptop on and dived deep into Villanelle’s awesome pink wardrobe.
These two binges are weirdly connected, as you might realise in a second. Yes, blush pink/beige is officially the new neutral in my wardrobe. And I am putting this forward towards the minimalist scandi look I’m going for lately… and of course, pink is Villanelle’s (the main character in Killing Eve) signature colour. No sure how Nanna would feel about this…
Ermm, who is Nanna, I hear you ask. She is a lovely Danish designer who is the creative power behind How to Do Fashion sewing pattern brand. (If you need a refresher, check out my interview with her in the latest instalment of the Designer Stories Series). The same Nanna that offered me two of her patterns to try out and review for your viewing pleasure.
As you might have guessed from my interview and also from checking out her website, How To Do Fashion has a very strong vintage aesthetic. So I was a bit surprised that they were looking for a collaboration with a modern minimalist like me. But here’s the catch: it was because I have such a modern vibe in what I sew that Nanna wanted me to try her patterns. She was really excited about how I would put my spin on it in accordance to my own style.
DISCLAIMER: This is an advertorial feature. I received the paper version of the sewing pattern for free from the designer, in exchange for a review on my blog and social channels. The designer did not review or amend the final post and there were no clauses in our agreement that would prevent me from offering an honest opinion. Please read my Readers Disclosure Policy for more details. You can also check my post onAdvertising Regulations and what influencers are required to disclose.
So, I decided to go for it and see if I can sew and style vintage for the modern minimalist. And here are my makes, plus a set of reviews as a resource for everybody that would also like to give these patterns a go.
I went for two separates, the Vanlose top and the Madrid trousers. I am definitely much more in a separates kind of mood lately, as I am looking for versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched with the rest of my wardrobe.
I was hesitating between two shorter reviews in a single post or two lengthier one in two separate posts, so I hope you don’t mind reading about these patterns over two instalments.
For now, let me introduce the Vanlose top. The Madrid trousers are coming up next week.
How to Do Fashion Nr. 7 Vanlose top – The pattern
Valose is actually top and trouser set, that can be worn together or separately. I chose to only sew the top, because I loved the shape of the Madrid trousers and I wanted to challenge myself with a more complex construction. The Vanlose trousers are really cute too, but I’m a glutton for punishment and just had to sew welt pockets, a fly front and waistband with carriers (more on that next week).
However, the idea of a matching set really stuck with me and I decided to sew both the trousers and the top in the same fabric. Unfortunately, it did turn into an epic fail, but more on that in a second.
So, about the pattern itself.
This is the official description on the pattern: This trouser suit pattern is a set composed of a soft feminine blouse and a pair of elegant trousers. The top can be worn with the trousers as a suit, or separately. The shape of the high waist trousers is easy to sew and fits in the most flattering way.
What I liked about the pattern is its overall simplicity – I’m not a minimalist for nothing – but also its elegance. I have plenty of boxy tops in my wardrobe and I love them, but sometimes you need something a bit more elegant. The bust darts were swapped with two pleats in the shoulder which give a softer look and I liked the way the waist is emphasised by the reversed V high waist.
The pattern comes in sizes 34-48. I cut a size 38, which fitted me perfectly without any size alterations.
For the record, my measurements are:
- Hips: 98 cm (38.5in)
- Waist: 72 cm (28,5in)
- Bust 88cm (34.5in)
- Cup B/C
- Height: 1.72m/5.6in
I used a paper version of the pattern, which is printed on some lovely tissue paper. However, I still decided to trace it out to preserve it. (I still can’t believe I joined team trace, must be all those Burdas that got me addicted).
To note that the paper pattern does not come with printed instructions. All instructions, with diagrams, as well as tutorials and helpful videos, can be found on the How to Do Fashion website.
What I liked about the pattern
I really liked the paper it was printed on. The instructions are brief, but clear, and it’s a simple pattern, so there is no need for a lot of hand holding. I also like that the instructions are not printed and are available on the website even before buying the pattern. The videos are also handy if you get stuck.
What could be better
I wish there was a list of the pattern pieces in the instructions like they have in the Big 4 patterns and Burda. Something like A = front top, B=back bottom, etc. It helps to make sure you have copied out all the pattern pieces.
SAVE THIS FOR LATER ON PINTEREST
How to do Fashion Nr. 7 Vanlose top – My fabric choice
I was really inspired by the way the pattern was style on the company’s website, so I also wanted to go for the matching top and bottom look. For the top, I did not have a specific colour in mind, but I really really wanted a pair of pale pink/beige trousers in my life. And I already had the perfect fabric in my stash, a thick heavyweight crepe that I got ages ago from Abakhan in Boston for another project that did not happen in the end.
And it would have all worked out wonderfully, but for my own stupidity. As I got it in a kilo sale, I did not actually check how much fabric I actually had. It just looked like a lot of it, so I merrily cut the pieces for the top without actually checking if the leftover would be enough for the trousers as well. If I had cut the trousers first, I could have easily squeezed the top out of the remainder. But no cigar!! So annoyingly, I ended up with a 1.5m piece that was not enough for the trousers no matter how I tried to pattern puzzle it. Grrr, so frustrating that my matchy-matchy set was now doomed.
So off I go to Goldhawk road, thinking that there is no way I would not be able to find a similar fabric. I also ordered some samples from online fabric shops to be on the safe side. And guess what? NOTHING actually matched!!
But obviously I got completely tunnel visioned about these pink trousers, so I just could not let go of the idea. I ended up getting the closest fabric I could find in colour and thickness, but it was a crepe with quite a lot of stretch (and more grief ensued, of course).
Anyways, the top was made from the original fabric, which was a dream to sew with. It’s thick, stable, and has enough drape, though it’s a bit of a pain to press. Luckily, nothing the the clapper could not tame. It also withstands crinkles fairly well, which is always a plus in my books.
How to do Fashion Nr. 7 Vanlose top – Alterations and construction
This was quite a fun pattern to sew, especially after a long sewing hiatus. It’s the first garment I sewed in more than two months, so it was a nice project to ease back into the swing of things. It came together really easily, and overall it should not be a challenging sew. Just makes sure (if you copy out the pattern, you do so correctly. I had somehow missed tracing the facing of the front top piece (that forms the cowl) and I was scratching my head for ages trying to understand what that extra piece was on the diagrams. I managed to sew it on with a 1/8” SA and you can barely notice, but that was a close call.
The top fitted me perfectly from the pack in the size 38. I have a narrow back and wide hips with quite a small waist, and I guess this style works very well for my shape. The only alteration I made was to remove 1” from the hem, as it felt a bit too long for me. Also, the instructions call for a wider hem, but I really struggled to fold over in a curve, so just made it a bit shorter and just overlocked and turned over in a narrow hem.
All edges and hems were overlocked and turned into a narrow hem.
My top tips for sewing this pattern:
- make sure to copy the pleat markings using thread or even better, carbon paper and a blunt tracing wheel. Here is a video on how to do that.
- Learn to do hand sewn loops – tutorial from How to Do Fashion
How to do Fashion Nr. 7 Vanlose top – Verdict
I think the top came out really nicely. It was the perfect project for me to ease back into my sewing mojo and I am glad I had the added incentive to get me going again. Probably if it had not been for this collaboration to get me back into the sewing room, I might still be spending more time in the kitchen than in front of the sewing machine.
I am really pleased that I took my time (minus the silly mistake with the facing) and slowed slowly and carefully. It took three times longer that it should have, most likely, but sometimes it’s really nice to slow down and enjoy the process. However, I think I might go back and fix the back loop, as I noticed it sits a bit wonky in these pics.
I have already worn this top the week after I finished it and it was very comfortable and nice to wear. The outfit and maybe more styling ideas will be featured in the June Wardrobe Count Post in early July. In these pictures I styled it with shorts and heels, going for a whimsical and fun look for a summer casual outing. Of course, you can see the combo with the trousers above as well. I left it untucked as I wanted the top to be more visible, but probably it’s not the best way to showcase the trousers. But more on them next week.
How to do Fashion Nr. 7 Vanlose top – Review Recap
Pattern: How to Do Fashion No. 7 Vanløse, size 38, paper pattern version
Fabric: heavy weight polyester crepe, from the stash; I used 1.2m
Alterations: Removed 2” from the hem
Notions: 1 small clear button from the stash
Next time: more of the same
DO YOU THINK VINTAGE PATTERNS HAVE A PLACE IN A MODERN WARDROBE? WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU IN COMMENTS.
ENJOYED THIS POST?