Breaking the Pattern – Saraste shirt

front closeup

I am in love with this shirt. It is by far the prettiest I’ve ever sewn – fit, details, drafting, rave on…


Fabric: Kaufman Kona cotton from JoAnn. Buttons: Akoya shell from Wawak.

Sewing notes:

  • I drafted the size 3, long-sleeve shirt without the shoulder vent,
  • And increased all my seam allowances to 5/8″.
  • Collar: Using the suggestions in the workbook, I decide to draft a long pointed collar. It’s so pretty! I’ve always been uneasy with collars, but this one is something  else. BTW, the collar on Named’s Reeta shirtdress was just awful, kind of ruined the dress for me (post here) but the ladies have really perfected this feature, this collar goes on like a dream.

Pointed collar

A tip: using a template to draw the curve at the collar band really helps.

Collar template

  • Sleeve: The original sleeve was very narrow and short, and kind of grabbed when I lifted my arm. I drafted  and cut out a new one with a few adjustments.
    • Added 1″ to the length.
    • Moved the side seam out 1″ at the hemline and re-drew the side seams and vents, resulting in a more commodious sleeve.
    • Dropped the curve in the hem edge by 1/2″ at the highest point, and re-drew the bottom edge.
    • Gathered the sleeve into the cuff for a nice soft finish.

sleeve bottom

A comparison of my original sleeve, and the new one I drafted:

Sleeve compare

  • The front princess seam…for my smaller girls, I flattened the curve on the side front by a scant 1/4″. This is an easy adjustment that really works.
  • Armscye: It’s very high and shallow.
    • Moved the shoulder out by 3/8″ and deepened the armscye by 3/8″ at the bottom, trued up each side.
  • Blouse:
    • Added 1/4″ to the side seam allowances at the waist marking (the blouse is very nipped at the waist) and trued the change up and down.
    • Did not face the back yoke, keeping it light and airy.


Between the Utu skirt (posted here) and the Saraste shirt, I’ve gotten more pleasure and fun than I ever anticipated!




Rock on! Coco

Breaking the Pattern – Utu Skirt


No, this is not the Utu Skirt from Breaking the Pattern by Named Clothing – it’s my ‘broken’ version 🙂 The pic below is my basic Utu:



The Utu is one of many many patterns and variations in the new book by Laura and Saara Huhta of Named Clothing. Their site includes photos and line art for all the included projects.

book front


  • Nummi bag
  • Sade blouse and tunic
  • Rae pants
  • Utu skirt and pinafore
  • Solina dress, jumpsuit and top
  • Saraste blouse, shirt dress and top
  • Kaste cocktail dress and butterfly sleeve dress
  • Palo jeans
  • Halla coat

It’s a lovely workbook, printed on heavy matte paper and beautifully written and illustrated. And it’s really a sewing 101. I was amazed by the instruction sets, suggestions, and information included in the book.

Sewing the Utu:

book utu

  • I sewed the size 3, and the fit was great.

book size chart

  • It’s described as a midi skirt, but I actually added 3″ to the length. To me, a midi should hover somewhere between the knee and ankle – but not just below the knee. Reference, I’m 5’6.5″.
  • The patterns include 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowances, a scary thought for woven fabric, so I drafted my pattern with a 5/8″ SA.
  • I love the high shaped waist, which is backed by a very deep facing. Nice drafting.
  • And the silhouette, as a pencil skirt, is perfect.
  • Not so nice – the front cross-over, right and left side, is very narrow. When I sat, the skirt split open to my ……
  • And it was just so plain.

So I broke it!

Fabric: Sportswear Stretch Corduroy Fabric -Rust from JoAnn

I removed 2.5″ from the front edges, added a 1″ button band and 4 belt loops, and fashioned a 1.5″ wide belt.

breaking it

Great little skirt!



I like this so much that I’m planning to do another 🙂 And I’m also going to break two more patterns!


Bye for now – Coco

Merchant & Mills Workbook and my Strides muslin


My Workbook arrived! And much sooner than I expected, it only took 8 days. I ordered from The Book Depository (a U.K. company) via Amazon. My cost, including $3.99 shipping, was $28.13.

The Workbook. It is beautifully done. The size alone is startling – it’s A4 size, and it’s over an inch thick. Opened to the inside: on the left is a heavy card folder, in which the folded pattern sheets reside.

While the patterns are multi-sized, they do not overlap one another in the manner of, for instance, BurdaStyle patterns, or The Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori, also in my library.

On the right side is the reading material, bound with stitching. Although I’m old enough to have had many stitched books,  I didn’t expect it from a contemporary publication. What a pleasure.

All the pages are sturdy, heavy-weight paper. And they are liberally filled with drawings and instructions for each pattern.


For each pattern, there are reverse-image line art drawings and tables of measurements, fabric requirements, and so on.

Throughout the book are sepia and gray-scale photos of the garments being styled and worn. Quite nice. The entire book reflects the persona of the Merchant & Mills online site. Somewhat vintage, with an 19th century vibe. The Workbook does not disappoint. It’s lovely. I would be happy just to own this book, and I now I want the Merchant and Mills Sewing Book for my library as well.


So what to do first! The Strides of course, the ones in the last photo. It’s also described as the most demanding of the patterns that make up the collection. Well, OK, I’ll work backwards!

My understanding is that ‘strides’ is a casual reference to trousers and has its roots in Australia. Kind of the same usage as the term ‘britches’ in the South. They are my favorite style of woven pants.

Wednesday morning, I spent about 3 hours developing my first draft of the tissue. I have high hopes for this pattern, so I got out the measuring tape and verified my own measurements (no changes) and did lots of flat-measuring and note-taking on the pattern sheets. At last – my muslin in broadcloth.
This morning was dedicated to sewing, ripping, and fitting the muslin. I only made it as long as the shorts, because I knew the fitting requirements would be well above the knee!

I’m ready to sew for real, using this substantial linen/cotton blend fabric. I plan to make these cropped, not long, because of the ‘shrink and grow’ nature of linen. Too short out of the dryer, too long after one wearing 🙂

And it’s now early Friday evening. I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend –
Bye for now, Coco