Do you ever have those sewing projects that you feel like throwing out the window?! Well this was one of those projects.
Have you ever encountered a sewing project that has made you want to toss it out the window? The project should be a simple task, but no matter what you try, you find yourself with the quick unpick in hand.
While at no point was the pattern itself the cause of frustration, The New Craft House - Everyday Waistcoat just happened to be one of those projects. This waistcoat should have been a no brainer, but no matter what I did I just couldn’t win, especially when it came to lining up the checks of the jacquard fabric I was using.
I concluded that October just wasn't my month. Fortunately, after walking away for a few weeks, I returned to it in November and finally completed it.
While I'm not completely satisfied (I'm a true perfectionist), I still believe it is a fantastic addition to my winter wardrobe!
A wrap-up of this review
For the purpose of this post I am simply going to refer to The New Craft House in shorthand as TNCH.
The makers: The New Craft House
I was familiar with The New Craft House during my time in London. Hackney in East London, where their studio is located, is where I spent my initial weeks after relocating from Australia. However, I never managed to visit their store or purchase any of their fabric. It was only after I moved to Munich, and stumbled across their pattern range that I began following them again.
TNCH was set up in 2013 and is run by two friends Hannah and Rosie (you will see their friendly faces if you follow them on Instagram). They offer specialist and beginner sewing workshops in their studio, and sell designer deadstock* fabric and haberdashery in their shop. They also host a podcast ‘The New Craft House Podcast’, where they chat about all things sewing and business.
You can look at their fabric and pattern offering, and their workshop timetable on their website. Also, check them out on social media @newcrafthouse, or by following the hashtag #ncheverydaywaistcoat.
TNCH patterns are available in digital format as PDF files. They can be easily purchased via the pattern page of their website.
Once you have purchased your pattern you will be emailed a link to download the PDF sewing pattern files. This download will provide you with access to:
A4 sewing instructions (16 pages).
A4 print at home patterns.
A0 copy shop patterns.
The digital download will include nested patterns** for all sizes in both the at home and copy shop pattern folders.
I usually opt to have the A0 pattern pages printed at a copy shop. This allows me to receive all available sizes in one print bundle. I can easily fold back (with a bit of clipping on the curves), the sizes I don't currently need. If I decide to make a different size in the future, it's conveniently ready to be unfolded. This, of course, depends on individual preferences.
The Everyday Waistcoat is a simple and unfussy pattern, but a great foundation garment for
adding your own personality to through the choice of fabric. The design simply features:
Bias binding to finish the edges.
Option to add lining.
Finishes below the waist.
The pattern comes with 16 pages of instructions that are just like the pattern; unfussy. They are straightforward and easy to follow, using easy to understand language, and simple but very clear accompanying diagrams. The instructions, organised with user friendly subheadings, are definitely not the most detailed I have come across, but provide enough guidance to easily complete the project.
The Everyday Waistcoat is available in sizes 6-18 or 20-34, and is drafted for for a 5’7” or 170cm tall woman.
Fabric and notions
The Everyday Waistcoat pattern gives you the creative license to work with a variety of fabrics, depending on the overall look you are trying to achieve. While the pattern lends itself to mid-weight fabric with no stretch, with the pattern suggesting relaxed linen, cotton or double gauze, the possibilities really are endless with this type of pattern. You can enhance the design by incorporating a contrasting lining, binding, or quilting thread. Additionally, experimenting with a patchwork variation allows you to craft a unique fabric using scraps from your fabric stash. If you choose a quilted approach, the pattern offers guidance on incorporating a layer of wadding between the outer and inner fabric.
Tip: Consider opting for a cotton or bamboo wadding instead of polyester.
The vest includes a bias bound edge so it would be best to avoid anything too bulky.
The only other supplies you will need include:
Approx. 5 metres of bias binding. You can use pre-made store bought binding here, or create your own. The pattern and booklet includes instructions for making your own.
This layered 100% cotton with jacquard weave has the look and feel of being quilted, featuring a grid-like pattern, with squares of approx. 4cm. This fabric is given its quilted feel and appearance from a series of thick yarns sandwiched between a fine cotton (right side) and a gauzy cotton (wrong side).
Tip: Having worked with this fabric a few times, I strongly recommend overlocking the raw edges before commencing your project as this fabric frays a lot!
Because of the gauzy cotton underside, this fabric requires a lining. It is also quite bulky. Therefore, I opted to line the vest in a lightweight 100% cotton voile. This also served as my binding fabric.
Layout and cutting
As always, I would recommend pre-washing your fabric as per the care instructions prior to starting any cutting or sewing. For more on pre-washing your fabric, check out my article 'How to: Pre-wash your fabric'.
The pattern consists of only 6 pattern pieces:
Back (self + lining + wadding)
Front (self + lining + wadding)
While I didn't have to quilt the fabric myself, the challenge with this fabric comes from the grid-like pattern of the jacquard, and having to match the squares. In some instances, it made cutting out easier as I was able to simply follow the lines of the grid. However, to make the rest of the cutting a little easier for myself, I chose to work with a single layer of the fabric at a time, tracing the pattern pieces onto the right side of the fabric using pins. This might not seem all that accurate but with a simple shaped pattern such as this, it worked quite well. In doing so I was able to see pretty easily if the pattern was going to line up.
Once your fabric is cut out and ready to go, there is only a little prep work that I would recommend prior to commencing sewing of this tunic that may just make the sewing process that little bit easier:
Ensure you have transferred all pattern markings and notches onto your fabric. In particular, ensure you have marked the positioning of the centre front and back on both the garment and bind, hems, and patch pocket to ensure correct alignment.
Prepare bindings and front ties: I much prefer to have my bindings, and in this case ties, pressed and ready to go so I always make these up ahead of time. The instructions and measurements for these are of course included with the sewing pattern.
This pattern is described as beginner friendly, being suitable for all sewing levels, and (under normal circumstances) I would have to agree. The pattern will have you practicing some really common and useful sewing techniques, including:
Constructing and attaching patch pockets.
Constructing and attaching ties.
Constructing and sewing (a lot) of bias binding.
I chose not to incorporate the front patch pockets. Although I initially created them, when I placed them on the completed vest, I felt that it was a bit too busy for my liking when coupled with the jacquard pattern of the fabric, and the contrast binding. Of course, this decision is based on personal preference.
I am usually a size 6 or XS depending on the garment. Therefore, I made the size XS. All I can really say is that it is perfectly roomy for layering. I like to mix my black version with different coloured fitted long sleeve tees underneath.
I am also on the shorter side, coming in at approximately 155cm, and the vest finishes at around my hips.
What I loved: The straightforwardness of the pattern design and the opportunity to experiment with fabrics (despite the challenges I faced with this one, I'm already planning another). A brief Instagram search will confirm this. It serves as an excellent foundational layering piece for your wardrobe and has the ability to elevate even the simplest of outfits!
What I didn't love: The process - what I didn’t enjoy didn’t actually have anything to do with the pattern. I struggled with the most basic elements, and every now and then, you encounter those projects that seem doomed from the start. This happened to be one of them. The only solution is to set it aside and return to it later. Furthermore, as a perfectionist, when working with patterns and ensuring alignment (like the check of the jacquard), close enough simply won't suffice.
What I would do different next time: I've never attempted quilting before. I love the quilted look for this vest, and doing it myself would grant me the freedom to choose any fabric and truly personalise it.
Deadstock*: Refers to excess or leftover textiles that were not utilised or sold by a manufacturer or retailer. Serving as a byproduct of the design and production stages, deadstock fabric stands out as a sustainable and eco-friendly choice, as it provides a renewed purpose for materials that might otherwise be discarded as waste.
Nested patterns**: Refers to patterns that feature multiple sizes layered (or nested) within each other. You may see the different sizes colour coded, or more commonly indicated with different patterned lines (e.g. dashed). These differentiated lines make it easy to identify, and therefore cut or trace the desired size. When working with a PDF pattern, there will often be an option to select the size you would like printed, turning off (or making invisible) any unnecessary layers.
Please get in touch or leave me a comment. I would love to know if you found this pattern review helpful, or if there is something you would like me to include in these reviews in the future. Hopefully, I have inspired you to check out the Everyday Waistcoat pattern from The New Craft House.
Thanks for reading.
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