Sew Over It Alex shirt and Seamwork Astoria...again! Tried and True....

Tried and true patterns

November's #sewcialists theme is all about Tried and True (TNT) patterns. I don't make second versions of a lot of my makes, partly because I'm trying to keep up with the #wardrobebuilder project, and partly because I have too many ideas in my make list! That said, I have found that there are a few patterns that have made themselves into the repeat list - two of which are brand new makes today. Often I alter the pattern a little from the previous make to suit a new purpose, or from lessons learned after wearing. Here are my top TNTs...

*Each one of these TNTs is linked to the other times that I've made the pattern, where you can find a lot more detail about them!

Sew Over It Alex shirt

1. Sew Over It Alex shirt and shirt dress from the My Capsule Wardrobe; City Break eBook

This was one of the patterns that sold this book to me. I loved the versions that Lisa had included and knew it would work for me.

My first version was the shirt (above), followed shortly by a shirt dress which is perfect for summer holidays!

Sew Over It Alex shirt dress

What I love about this pattern:
  • It's simple in its construction
  • The relaxed fit - few alterations needed
  • The fact it's a shirt and a dress!
  • How easy it is to wear
  • How many different fabrics you can use for it - my chiffon dress is one of my treasured makes because it was such a good way to use that fabric
  • Buttons! weirdly, I really enjoy finding the perfect buttons for each shirt

Sew Over It Alex shirt

Introducing my third Alex shirt...the work shirt.

Now that I have used sheer fabrics with this pattern, I knew it would be perfect for work (I prefer these fabrics because they don't crease). I paired it with another Sew Over It fabric that I got hold of in the sale for £6 per metre. I love feminine pop of colour that the roses bring, whilst the stripes look quite smart still. I used the size 8 that had worked well for my dress, shortened the sleeves in the same way and french seamed again.

Sew Over It Alex shirt

Oddly though I had a problem that didn't occur with the dress - I couldn't get the buttonholes in! My machine has started to misbehave when it comes to buttonholes, and although I was using the same wash away stabiliser as my dress, they were either not triggering the third bar, or were getting eaten up on the final bar. I worked around it by using only two of the four steps and switching around, and when it came to the sleeve tabs decided to give up altogether. I ended up sewing the buttons directly through; it does mean that the sleeves will never come down, but I can live with that.

Sew Over It Alex shirt

I am especially proud of my stripe matching and placement throughout though!!!!

2. Seamwork Astoria 

My first version was my first #wardrobebuilder make!

Seamwork Astoria

What I love about this pattern:
  • You can make it from 1m of fabric
  • You can make it in 3 hours
  • The preppy look
  • It's not too clingy and a little more forgiving than some jersey tops
  • The wide bottom waistband

Introducing my second Astoria - the double duty sweater

Seamwork Astoria

I bought 1m of this rose printed jersey at the Great British Sewing Bee Live from Stitch Fabrics , with this pattern in mind. I wasn't sure if it would be for work or casual wear, but as it happens manages to do well for both! This time however I lengthened the bodice by 5 inches because although I loved how my first one looked, I don't wear it very often because it sits too high. I reprinted the pattern and used the size I wish I'd used last time, which turned out to be perfect. It's already seeing a lot of wear now the weather has turned colder here, and I love the striking design of the fabric.

Seamwork Astoria

So, these are my top 2 TNT patterns right now; I think that there are a couple more that might make it on to this list eventually - I just need to get around to making more of them!

What are your top Tried and True patterns?


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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