Hi, I’m Ella (@sewistandthecity on insta) and I’m excited to share my Terracotta Washed Linen Pipit Loungewear set!
When Han said I could write a blog post for her shop, I was excited to try something a little outside of my comfort zone! Having never* sewn with linen before, I wanted to give it a go, and have had my eyes on the Common Stitch Pipit loungewear set for some time!
*Okay, so my first solo project was actually a very fitted linen skirt, but unfortunately this was clearly not suited to linen and caused the linen to pull apart at the seams. Therefore it hasn’t exactly instilled me with linen sewing confidence...
All of this left me a bit nervous to tackle another linen garment, so I did a lot of research and second guessing during the project. If you make it to the end I’ll share some linen tips I picked up along the way.
I love the colour of this fabric, and am so happy I went with the bolder choice of terracotta over the safer (for me) option of blue! The fabric sewed up really well, it was super stable and easy to handle. It has the right amount of stiffness to give a good structure to the sleeves of the top. I’m particularly proud of the patch pocket.
Pattern adjustments - Top
My approx. measurements are: Bust 89.5cm, Waist 74cm & Hips 95cm. This put me at just bigger than a size 10 according to the pattern, but given the large amount of ease in the finished garment measurements, and after reading a couple of other blog posts recommending to size down, I cut the top in a straight size 8. The top is still very roomy (despite me overlapping by more than the recommended amount at the centre front due to my oversized buttons) so maybe I could have gone even smaller.
Pattern adjustments - Bottoms
My hip measurement was just under a size 10, but I stuck with the 10 as I prefer a baggier fit on the bottom and I checked that the size 8 waist without elastic finished garment measurement wouldn’t have fitted over my hips. It’s fairly roomy but I guess that’s right for lounging!
My main adjustment was to the construction of the sleeve cuff. Instead of sewing the cuff to the sleeve in a straight line and then sewing up the side seam and sleeve, I sewed together the short ends of the cuff first to make a tube, and then sewed up the side seam and sleeve before adding the cuff on the round. A much neater finish!
I did french seams for most of the seams, but I did overlock the outside edge of the facing, as well as the hem before turning it in once as turning the hem in twice would have been too bulky. I was nervous about the seam attaching the facing to the bodice fraying, so I used fray check to keep it all from unravelling (hopefully).
I also only added 4 buttons rather than 5 as mine were twice the size of the recommended buttons. Overall I would say the instructions are quite sparse, so I would recommend having a few sewing projects under your belt before you tackle Pipit. That said, I was surprised how quickly the loungewear set came together!
As well as being my first major foray into sewing with linen, this project has also helped me to conquer my fear of buttonholes. I was recently incredibly lucky to win a new Pfaff sewing machine from the New Craft House’s “sew yourself sustainable” challenge, and it sewed the buttonholes up like a dream. There was still a little bit of “user error” in terms of not knowing where to place them, but I think that I got away with it.
Fear not if you still fear the buttonhole, the Pipit loungewear top can easily fit over your head so you could fake it by sewing the centre fronts together and sewing on buttons.
I was excited to sew with linen as it is seen as a environmentally friendly fabric. Linen is a natural fibre made from the flax plant. It requires minimal pesticides and water to grow (especially when compared to cotton) and can grow in low quality soil. However I have read recently that if it is treated (i.e. dyed) it is not fully biodegradable.
I didn’t want to waste any of the fabric, so sewed napkins and reusable “cotton” pads for Christmas presents.
Tips for pre-washing linen
Since linen has a tendency to fray, I overlocked the raw edges before pre-washing the fabric. This is not something I usually bother with for other fabrics, but perhaps I should!
To avoid the linen ending up too wrinkled, I followed advice to soak the fabric in lukewarm water before pre-washing it, and ironed it whilst it was still slightly damp - which worked a treat!
I never tumble dry any of my clothes, but a word of warning to those that do - it can leave permanent creasing in the linen.
I’ve come away from this project with a new love of linen. Here are some other garments I think would like great in this fabric:
Paper Theory Zadie Jumpsuit
Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes
Peppermint Magazine Ruffle Sleeve Top
Check out the other colours The Sewist has in stock to get inspired!
You can find Ella on Instagram @sewistandthecity.