The Alphabet Collection consists of four patterns: Recess Raglan Tee, BBC Vest, Study Hall Jacket, and W Pants. I sewed up all four patterns for my super cool, incredibly picky seven year old son, Seth. But the whole collection is completely unisex, with each pattern including details and ideas for everything from ruffles and peplums to hoods and welt pockets.
I am lucky enough to know each of the designers with Pattern Anthology, and somehow played that friendship into getting on their blog tour for the line. Not only did I get sneak peeks of each pattern, and get to sew them up, I was able to shop from sponsored shops and companies: Coats and Clark, Girl Charlee, Michael Levine’s LowPriceFabric.com, and Oragnic Cotton Plus. I am so incredibly honored and excited to get to share with you The Alphabet Collection, but also tell you about the fabric and notions I used from those awesome companies.
Let’s start with the Recess Raglan by See Kate Sew. Simple, straightforward design with a slim modern fit, I kept completely to pattern on this one. I sewed Seth the long sleeve, with button tabs for rolling, and I can’t get over what a cool look it is.
The tee’s knits are all from Girl Charlee. I’ve been buying from Girl Charlee since 2007, when I first started sewing my own diapers. I love this store! There are always new prints and designs, in addition to some super cool proprietary patterns you can only find there. For the shirt’s body, I chose an oatmealy-grey, with textural stripes. You can’t really see the stripes in the pictures, since they’re just in the weave of the fabric, but in real life it adds a really awesome texture to the top, especially contrasted with the solid charcoal of the sleeves and neckline.
Seth picked out a rhinoceros picture from HERE to add to his Recess Raglan. I have been in love with all the incredible clothing Sophie at Cirque Du Bebe is always making, using Transfer Artist Paper to add images. I was shocked at how detailed the graphic turned out on the Girl Charlee knit, and Seth was giddy. Seriously, he couldn’t stop giggling and touching it when I first showed him. It is seriously cool.
I will make my sleeves just a bit longer on the next Recess Raglan I make. Seth has long arms and, unrolled, the cuffs hit him right at the wrist. I’d prefer at least another inch of growing and reaching room. But the length isn’t bad at all, and since he prefers the rolled up look anyway, it really isn’t a problem so much.
Layered over the Recess Raglan is Shwin Design’s BBC vest. How hipster is this look?!
I really wanted to play around with different fabrics for this collection. It took me days to pick out my fabrics. I was looking for something else when I came across this insanely awesome sherpa/faux suede at Michael Levine’s online store, LowPriceFabric.com. Thick sherpa on one side, soft faux suede on the other. I had to have it, even if it meant changing the BBC Vest pattern up a bit to make it work. In the end, it ended up making things even easier for me. The BBC Vest is a super easy sew, but since I was using one fabric as the lining and outer at the same time, it went even quicker for me. The thick plush of the sherpa hides stitch lines like a boss, so I just stitched the inside seam allowances to the side, and turned the sherpa to the outside at the arms, neck, and front, and sewed it down as a binding. The buttons are also from Michael Levine, and are crazy-awesome leather. I sewed them on with some leather lacing I had laying around, and I love how it all came together.
The design of the vest, like the Recess Raglan, is slim-fitting, which gives it a nice tailored look. There are options for pockets, racer back, peplum, and back tabs to fit things even more. I just went simple and straight forward, since I wanted Seth’s BBC Vest to look more rugged.
I can’t wait for this fall, for him to use it in the cooler weather as a jacket alternative. He told me, as he hugged it to his chest at one point, “It’s like a really soft, cool-looking blanket I get to wear!”
And speaking of really cool-looking things he gets to wear…
I’m still reeling over how insanely awesome Andrea at GoTo Patterns is for designing, drafting and drawing up the pattern for The Study Hall Jacket!
I mean, really! Raglan sleeves, fully lined, optional hood, ruffled or straight collars, welt pockets, waistband and cuff options.
If the devil is in the details, this is one hell of a jacket.
I started off with some deep brown cotton twill from Organic Cotton Plus. I liked the brown, but I couldn’t get the thought of a red Study Hall Jacket out of my head. So I started messing around with bleach and red dye, and the end result was this funky molted, worn amazingness. I love it. Like, a lot. It helps that the fabric itself is indescribably soft and supple. It has a nice, heavy outerwear drape, but the texture itself is soft and supple. Then the lining is also from Organic Cotton Plus, a super thick, butter soft knit interlock. The waistbands and cuffs are a matching rib knit. I bought both in natural, and dyed them grey. I’ve done a lot of dyeing in my day. This knit from Organic Cotton Plus soaked it up so evenly and perfectly, even I have a hard time believing I didn’t buy it this color! Seriously high-quality fabric.
The jacket is a bit more of an intermediate sew than the tee or the vest. Especially at the waistband, things got a bit fiddly for a bit. But the instructions are clear, and once you get through attaching the lining to the waistband, you get a super sweet jacket, so it’s worth it. My pockets ended up a bit high on mine. I placed them wrong, the pattern is right. My son doesn’t mind, and I still think it looks cool, so I’m not going to worry about it. Plus, I kinda rocked the welts and top stitching, so I’m just going to pretend like I wanted them more centered to show them off! In addition to the topstitching at the pockets, I added a bit more detail to the jacket with some extra topstitching along the waistband and at the zipper. I love the masculine, blue-collar look the treated twill and knit give the jacket. The zippers and thread are from Coats and Clark. I own a whole rainbow of Coats and Clark’s thread, and finding the perfect grey to work with the jacket was easy. The zippers are all metal and feed smoothly through the pull. And really, they look awesome!
The Study Hall Pattern calls for elastic at the hood, to help with the fit. But Seth didn’t like the way the gathered elastic looked. The kid is ridiculously picky. So his hood is elastic-free, and he likes it that way. Other than that, I pretty much stuck to pattern on the Study Hall Jacket, and love love LOVE the results.
Where I ended up making the most changes to the Alphabet Collection was in Blank Slate Pattern’s W Pants. Melissa of Blank Slate knows how to draft, and she knows how to explain how to sew up what she’s drafted so you can make cool things. Her patterns are clearly written, easy to understand, and expertly designed. And she doesn’t skimp on details. I love that her designs always include fun elements that you just don’t find anywhere else. On the W Pants, it’s that back yoke.
It’s hard to tell on my version, because I ended up covering a good portion of the yoke in my self-drafted patch pockets. But it’s an exaggerated yoke, that extends further down the, uh, cheeks than most pants, making a W on the back of the pants. It allows for some seriously awesome fabric play, like in Shauna’s, of Shwin & Shwin, version HERE. And the original pattern includes instructions for a welt or zippered pocket on the yoke. Neither of which I used. I wanted a bit more of a skater look, and slapped a couple of Coats and Clark zipper patch pockets on Seth’s bum.
I also messed around a little with the knees. I’d seen some funky gathered knees on some pants somewhere sometime (like how specific I get?!) and decided to try it with these W Pants. I just extended the front pattern pieces at the knee a few inches, then pleated them as I sewed. I’m hoping they’ll help with wear, and they do look cool.
The rest of the W Pant’s details are all on pattern, other than a few rivets I threw in to the mix.
I used a denim from Michael Levine. It had a dark wash to it, which I love. But once I got it home and in my hands with the other fabrics, I decided I needed something lighter. I had great results with bleach on the swatch I tested things with. But when I tried to do two yards all at once, I had a harder time controlling the bleach and things got splotchy. I was disappointed. Seth was thrilled. Like, so excited he literally jumped up and down. So I went with it and really let loose with the bleach. Seth entitled our denim-bleach creation “Night Sky”.
And that Night Sky bleached-out, acid-washed Michael Levine denim makes some pretty wicked awesome W Pants!
Recess Raglan, BBC Vest, Study Hall Jacket, W Pants; four ridiculously cool patterns.
The Alphabet Collection will be on tour for the next couple of weeks. This line is so versatile and unique, I can’t wait to see what all these other amazing bloggers created from the same four patterns.
girl. Inspired., Shwin & Shwin, Sew a Straight Line, elsie marley, Melly Sews, Happy Together, see kate sew, Elegance & Elephants, I Still Love You, kojo designs, Petit a Petit and Family, The Train to Crazy, Delia Creates and Craftiness is Not Optional The fabric, notions and patterns for this post were all provided to me. Also, if you click through to Pattern Anthology and purchase the Alphabet Collection through my links, I get a percentage of the sale, which is seriously kind of cool. I’m also a Blank Slate affiliate. So buy the line and get sewing some cool clothes.