As we were preparing for our move to Spain this past summer, I was surprised by the number of athletic pieces I packed. I guess I don’t really think of myself as a wearer of athletic clothing, but exercise does play a big role in my life. I exercise almost every day because it helps me to manage stress and to feel good. (I do a combination of yoga, running, and ballet.) I’m guessing that exercise plays a role in your life too, or that you want it to play a role if it doesn’t already. So when it came time to design another Lisette for Butterick collection, it made perfect sense that the new designs include active wear in that mix. I mean, your wardrobe includes your exercise clothing, right? Even if it’s not part of your wear-to-work wardrobe, many of us rely heavily on active wear in our lives.
Lisette for Butterick B6295 includes four pieces. First there’s the sports bra (View A), which I prefer to call a “yoga top” because it just sounds nicer and because this piece is stylish enough to be worn alone. But it’s also designed to work for many of us as a real sports bra. I wear mine when I run, and it’s very comfortable. The front of the bra is lined and includes a fun little detail that allows you to add removable cups for extra support and shaping. This is my favorite detail on the bra, and I think it makes it a really useful pattern.
That same removable cup detail is included in the tank (View B) with built-in shelf bra. Nice, right? Both pieces (bra and tank) can be sewn with two different strap options for extra versatility and style. I’m particularly enamored of the double strap detail. I’ve been seeing lots of similar styles in my yoga classes, and the straps are a fun little touch that make the tops special. But if you don’t want to fiddle with sewing narrow straps, choose the single side shoulder strap option instead. Either one is cute, stylish and practical, and the elastic inside the straps gives you good support that you can adjust as you’re sewing to get a perfect fit. (How nice is it to be able to try on the top as you’re sewing it and sew the straps the perfect length for your body? You just can’t do that when you buy your active wear in a store!)
But the leggings are my favorite piece in this set. They include a side panel with a little pocket that’s just the right size for your cell phone. Or keys. Or a little money, just in case. (The first time I went running in Madrid, I put cash in one pocket of my leggings just in case I got lost and needed to take the metro or a taxi home. Do you do this too?) I love the ruching detail at the hem of the full-length leggings (View D). It’s a fun little addition to the pattern that makes the leggings special. I also love the yoke seam at the back, which flatters the rear view. The seam is like an optical illusion that gives you a visual lift, if you know what I mean. Sew the leggings full-length or cropped (View C), as you like.
In terms of fabric, you’ll obviously want to look for lycra/spandex fabrics with two-way stretch, meaning that the fabric will stretch in width and in length. So ordinary cotton T-shirt jersey isn’t going to cut it here–you want the power stretch fabrics, which are more similar to swimsuits. Fortunately there are lots of great options for these sorts of fabrics right now. I’ll see if I can assemble some ideas for you, but I think you might also be pleasantly surprised by the options you’ll find in your local fabric store. When you’re shopping, look for fun patterns and colors. I love the space-dyed fabric we used for the pieces on the pattern cover, but look for interesting prints too.
But don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, too! Over the last couple of years there’s been a real trend in the fashion world toward “athleisure,” which is active wear worn as street wear. Some athleisure pieces are quite luxurious, too. While I’m personally not a big fan of wearing workout clothes as street wear (I’m in Fran Lebovitz’s camp on this topic), I do love mixing dressy and casual pieces, so I think it will be fun to play with these patterns to sew them as versatile fashion items that work into my regular wardrobe. I’m especially looking forward to playing with the leggings pattern. The other day I bought a stretchy, lightweight faux leather that I’m going to combine with matte spandex. I’m thinking of it as texture blocking rather than color blocking, since both fabrics are black. I think it will be fun to wear the faux leather leggings with chunky sweaters this winter. And the tank will be a great layering piece as well. I haven’t found any really fun prints for this one yet, but I’m still on the lookout!
Oh, and for the sewing construction we found a fun way to sew the leggings that allows you to get the look of a coverstitch without the need for a coverstitch machine–or even a serger if you don’t have one! Your basic straight stitch and zigzag will do the trick. But of course it’s always nice if you have a serger; it gives such nice results and is so fast.
I hope you’ll have a lot of fun with this pattern. I’ll show you my faux leather legging as soon as I finish them and hope that you’ll post your photos to the Lisette Flickr group. Or tag #sewlisette and #B6295 on Instagram.
A number of years ago I decided that it was time to step up my game when it came to sleepwear. No more old mis-matched T-shirts and leggings or shorts. It was time for real pajamas. The kind that you can feel good about wearing when you’re a guest in a hotel or at someone’s house. The kind you aren’t embarrassed to be seen wearing when a neighbor drops by unexpectedly on an early Saturday morning.
In any case, I’m so happy I made the switch. Pajamas can make a difference in how you feel about yourself. When you’re wearing a good pair of pajamas, you feel more pulled together and less disheveled, even when you’ve just rolled out of bed. Or maybe that’s just me.
In any case, you’ve been asking us for a women’s pajama pattern for a really long time, and this year I can finally announce that we have one for you! Say hello to the new Lisette for Butterick B6296 pattern. I’m very excited about these classic PJs, which will keep you outfitted stylishly all year long. The pattern includes four views: two tops and two bottoms with lots of details that you can mix and match to customize a set exactly to your preferences.
For the top, choose from long or short sleeves, both with a collar, cuff detail, and forward shoulder seams. You can also choose from a chest pocket or two hip pockets. And you get to decide whether to include piping. Personally, I love piping because it adds a level of tailored sophistication as well as a pop of contrast color. I mean, who can resist when such a simple detail adds so much elegant style and is so easy to sew?
The PJ bottoms are equally versatile. You might prefer the shorts for warm weather or for sleeping comfort, or maybe you prefer long pants for cooler weather and more coverage. Both styles include convenient front pockets–which is also a nice detail if you prefer to wear your PJ bottoms with a T-shirt–and a flattering back yoke seam. These bottoms are designed with a low rise because there are too many high rise pajama pants in the world, and I thought it was high time for a style that is flattering, cute, and comfortable to wear.
You’ll want to consider your fabric options for this pattern, too. Obviously, for winter—and especially for the upcoming holidays—cotton flannel is a great option and comes in lots of fun colors and patterns. And cotton poplin or even quilting cotton will give you lots of choices for summer-weight pajamas and lots of options when it comes to prints. Cotton lawn, double gauze, and linen would feel especially nice against the skin if you want to give yourself a little luxury. I’m going to start with a really pretty Liberty of London lawn for my PJs, with sunny yellow pining. Or go all the way and sew an ultra-luxurious set in silk or silk satin! And guess what? You can also use stable knits for this pattern, if you’re so inclined. This would make the pajamas every more comfortable to wear while still looking pulled-together and elegant.
Of course, you can wear the pieces as separates, too. Maybe you prefer to wear pajama pants with a cute fitted T-shirt or camisole. But what about wearing the top as clothing? I’m planning to wear my PJ top, with piping, as everyday wear, too.
Have fun with this pattern, and I hope you’ll show us how it turns out in the Lisette Flickr group or on Instagram: hashtag #sewlisette and #B6296 so we can find you!
Let’s talk about Lisette for Butterick B6260, shall we? This pattern includes a blazer and skirt. Both are fully lined and really versatile pieces. The jacket, while it works great with the skirt, would also be really cute with jeans or with trousers. The skirt is a wardrobe basic that will flatter lots of body types. But I’ll talk more about that later.
Here’s the story for you about how this jacket came to be. I was looking through Lucky magazine one day and came across this photo of Taylor Swift wearing a dress.
The dress is a little “out there,” right? Not something you’d probably choose to wear to work. Or most places, for that matter. But take a closer look at the neckline and shoulders.
Cute, right? I mean, the shoulders pads are fierce, but I like the square neckline and the bolero-inspired shaping at the shoulders. It has a few interesting elements that I wanted to work with. So that’s where I started for this style.
When I teach fit classes and when I hear from many of you, you often tell me that you want clothing that flatters your curves. A lot of jackets are too boxy for your taste. This jacket is my answer to that complaint. The princess lines will allow you to easily alter the jacket to fit your own body and fit preferences, and it’s more fitted and more curve-flattering than most jackets. And the details make it really interesting and give you lots of opportunity to play with fabrics and styling.
The jacket looks pretty conservative in the envelope photo, I know. But don’t limit your creativity to what you see there!
It can be worn open, too.
I plan to sew this style with a nubby silk tweed similar to the photo (I’m considering over-dyeing my fabric with indigo if I can find the time!), but I want to include a bit of that fringe idea at the bolero detail like the original Taylor Swift inspiration. (I think Taylor’s dress is Chanel, but I can’t seem to find it in runway photos.) I think this style could also be really cute in chambray, leather, or suede, and maybe even mixing a couple of those elements!
I also think it could be really fun to play with multiple fabrics for this pattern. Select a really playful, vibrant fabric and a more serious fabric and put them together for an interesting effect. Or you might choose an all-over pattern.
Does that give you a sense for this jacket? I hope you’ll enjoy the pattern. I think you’ll find that it’s easy to fit and to sew! Have fun with it and with your fabric selections.
Now, on to the skirt!
I’ve talked about the difference between a flounce and ruffle before. Both options give movement to a skirt, but a flounce gives you movement and a smooth silhouette, without the bulk added by a ruffle. And we’re all a fan of less bulk, especially near our hips, yes?
A skirt like this can be especially flattering. Like a classic A-line skirt, this style draws attention to your waist instead of your hips or thighs. If you don’t have much of a waist, this style can give you the illusion of a waist. If you need to balance a full bust, it will do that while emphasizing the waist. If you’re pear-shaped, it will draw attention away from your lower half. A-line skirts are sort of magical that way.
This skirt style is pretty straightforward, I think. It works really well in gabardine, sateen, linen, tweed, and wool suiting. You know that faux leather I mentioned yesterday? Perfect for this. I might try wool crepe, just because I’m a fan. I’ve been hunting for just the right shade of pale aqua for weeks now and haven’t found it, but as soon as I do you know I’ll get busy.
There you have it! As always, post your photos of your sewing to our SewLisette Flickr group or tag them #sewlisette and #B6260 on Instagram so we can find them. I can’t wait to see what you make!
I’m here to introduce the first of our two new patterns for fall 2015. Today I’ll focus on Lisette B6244 for Butterick, which includes two pieces: a classic dress with a little twist, and an elegant drapey coat. Don’t miss the video of the coat near the end of this post!
I love a classic silhouette with a little twist that makes it special. In the case of the dress, the silhouette is a feminine, fitted bodice with an A-line skirt: the dress that flatters pretty much every body shape. The added special detail is what I call the multimedia effect. It’s a bit difficult to see in these photos, but the side panels and shoulder yokes can be made with a contrasting or complimenting fabric. In the case of the dress on the pattern cover and in these photos, we chose a classic tartan and used a faux leather for the contrast panels.
I’m a little obsessed with the faux leather right now; it’s inexpensive, easy to work with, comfortable to wear, you name it. But you could also use lace, a solid color, or a contrasting print as your second fabric.
I’m excited to sew and wear this style as soon as I find time and fabric. (I loved the tartan so much I may need to make myself the same dress!) I hope you’ll like this style as well. I think it’s the sort of dress that’s perfect for work, but you can also dress it down with boots and a denim jacket. Layer it for cooler weather (thus the coat, which I’ll talk about next), and the short sleeves will let you wear it all fall and next spring as well.
Next, the coat: I can tell you that this pattern is a really quick and easy make. It has only three pattern pieces: front, back, and sleeves. No lining or facings, no separate collar, just three straightforward pattern pieces. It’s a very clean and straightforward design.
It’s sort of a cross between a winter coat and a comfortable cardigan; I’ll wear it on cold but not completely freezing days, and I think it will be really cozy. For me, it’s the coat I never have in my closet: the one that splits the difference between a heavy winter coat and a spring jacket. If you sew it from double-faced wool or wool/cashmere (which is what I really wanted to do until I fell in love with the burgundy wool you’ll see me wearing below) it may even be warm enough for the really, really cold days of winter.
What I love about this coat: its utter simplicity. I love architectural influences in fashion, and for me this is that sort of coat. The draped front occurs naturally when the front panel hangs from the shoulders, and the collar is formed with a simple dart and a neck seam. I think we’ll do a sew-along for this one, just to show you how incredibly easy it is to sew. You probably won’t need it, however. Each seam is finished with a flat felled seam so the inside of the coat is just as clean and finished as the outside. But I’ve already said enough. How about a video so you can see how the coat moves?
And here are more photos.
As you can see, the coat works just as well with casual clothes as it does with dressy. I wear jeans a lot during the fall and winter, and I’m pretty excited by how the coat looks with them.
So that’s B6244, and I hope you’ll love it! I think both patterns work really well as core pieces in a wardrobe. I didn’t pack many clothes for our time abroad, but I know I’ll be wearing the coat a lot this fall and winter. And the dress is on my To Make list as soon as I have time to sew it.
I hope you’ll show us how you sew these pieces for your own wardrobe! Post your photos to our SewLisette Flickr group or tag them #sewlisette and #B6244 on Instagram so we can find them, OK?