Back to Basics: Linden and Mabel

Hello friends, just a quick hello. 

I have two basic projects to share with you today. I have worn them so much since they came out of the sewing machine. Having a few good basics to build upon is always a great investment. And they don’t take much time to make!

The patterns:


The Linden sweater from Grainline. A relaxed fit, raglan sleeves, and scooped neckline modern sweater. Size and modifications: Neck/shoulders size 6, bust size 8, waist size 2 and hips size 6. Lengthen the pattern by 7cm.   Used ready made knit band-black.

Worm with my denim shorts. Pattern Runaway -Scallop shorts . Original post.

The mabel skirt version 3 from Colette.  Version 2 was made size M, but is very loose fitting after a few times wearing it.

Size and modifications: I sewn size S. I love this skirt so much but I’m not happy where the front seams are. I think they need to be more central to the body so I will reduce the pattern front piece and re-distribute the extra width on the side panels on the next version.  Fit is great.

The waistband height was reduced by half.

Between the front seams faux leather piping were applied. Left over from my ensis tee.

Fabric: The 2m jersey fabric is a beautiful ‘dark mood’ flowers I bought at Goldhawk rd, around £4.50/metre. I have seen similar prints in a few designers and RTW. I’m thinking to go back for more.

A while ago I was reading an interview with Michael Kors and he said that most women face the “I have nothing to wear” dilemma because their wardrobes don’t have enough “meat and potatoes”. In his mind, that should be 70 percent of the clothes we own. “30 percent should be icing and fluff — that’s colour, pattern, shine, accessories. Too many women get the proportions the other way round, then can’t figure out why they can’t get dressed.” — Michael Kors, Times Online

We (sewing community) have been using terms like cake and frosting after great analogy by Tasia.
I been trying to manage to keep my makes in-between. Fashionable and comfortable. Like cake with jam. Meat and potatoes with fancy gravy! How about you?

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  • They look great! Thanks for sharing about the meat and potatoes. I definitely have way too much icing and fluff in my wardrobe and unfortunately it’s what I love to sew. In-between sounds like a good idea, with a generous helping of gravy 🙂

    • Thanks Kate. icing and fluff is always exciting to make so picking basic patterns and using fancy fabrics can be a great in between.

  • I absolutely love that fabric Rachel, can see why you are temptec to get more. I can imagine so may styles in this, especially thinking wrap dress.

  • Thanks so much this post. Learned a lot and want these a lot!

  • Meat and potatoes! That’s so good! Interesting to hear the percentages he gave as well.

  • SO pretty Rachel.. Enjoyed the post.

  • I love both the sweater and the skirt. I understand why you would go back for more of that fabric.
    I have the same opinion about the front panels on Mabel. I moved then approx 3 cm towards center.

  • Really great projects and a super point about everyday clothes, I never seem to sew any and it’s on my 2015 ‘to do list’ so these pattern choices are really useful. Totally want those shorts but not sure I can wear them.

  • I so agree either you about the seams in the mabel, they are far too near the sides. Look your linden particularly.

    • Thanks Mags, looks like many people find the same issue with this version of the mabel. At least i know for next time.

  • Love your post, interesting facts need to get my own “meat and potatoes going” going. The Linden sweater is my favorite pattern for the winter can team it up with anything!

  • Wow I love all of these looks!!

  • Love these,especially worn together, which is not normally a look that I like! I make mostly ‘meat and potatoes’, it’s the ‘fancy gravy’ I’m not so good at – not much need for it really!

    • Thanks Tamsin, I also like them both together. I made the linden longer for jeans but i do like it with the skirt too.

  • these are great! i love them worn together too for a cool coordinated look, but it’s fun to see how versatile they are in your wardrobe as well! i might be the odd sewist here, but i love sewing ‘meat and potatoes’! i find it so satisfying to make things that i know will get tons of wear.

  • Oh, how fun! I love that these work as a “dress” or as separates! Fantastic!

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