Hackney Palm House

There I was sat at my desk, Ella happily destroying the new office rug, when I said out loud, ‘I fancy writing a blog post!’

And here I am!

This is my summer lockdown outfit. Shall we pause to consider that I’m also wearing a) jewellery, b) a watch and c) lipstick. It felt SO strange to pick out jewellery. Remember when that was a thing?

The trousers are Simplicity 8389 version D, made in a black silk with a beautiful drape and heft. They feel absolutely gorgeous to wear. I sized down one size from the pattern guidelines – I think I could even go down another size. I took an inch off the leg length.

There’s lots to like about this pattern:

  • It’s easy to sew
  • There are no closures (zips or button holes)
  • The front waist panel lies flat to the stomach
  • Super stylish pleats at the front waist
  • A tapered leg
  • Pockets!

Would I sew this pattern again? Maybe. Sewmanju has made a lovely linen version that I may well copy! She is my sewing muse, after all!

The trousers are teamed with an Ogden cami in a silk/cotton mix from House of Hackney. The print is inspired by palm houses that were based in East London during the Georgian period. Fascinating!

So, how do we all feel?

I’ve been pretty withdrawn, as you may have noticed, as life shrunk to a two-mile radius of my house. But today, I saw TMOS for the first time since before lockdown. He seemed immensely cheerful and hailed me enthusiastically, which was really nice. I’ve avoided the market until today, but I get the feeling it’s been going on quite merrily without me.

I miss my friends terribly, but am beyond grateful for my lovely boyfriend.

The family is closer than it has been for years – we check in with each other on a weekly basis.

My newly sedentary lifestyle has impacted on my fitness – I need to start Couch to 5k AGAIN.

I also need to sew some face masks – the disposable ones give me the heebie-jeebies. I think I’ve seen too many grubby ones discarded in the street. I’ll try Tilly’s mask tutorial. Any other patterns you recommend?

I’ve actually had some pretty sizeable life changes during lockdown, but we can chat about that another day. I feel … full of introspection, aware that the world has shifted fundamentally for all of us. I think it’s made me feel a bit odd about sewing. I don’t know where it sits in my life any more. Let’s face it, I don’t know where anything sits in my life any more!

How about you?

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26 Responses to Hackney Palm House

  1. Ginny says:

    I really like this face mask pattern. Quick to sew, fits well, multiple sizes. https://dhuratadavies.com/blogs/things-i-make-and-do/free-face-mask-pattern-and-tutorial

    • Jo Batey says:

      I second this one. I have made quite a few for my family.

    • station114 says:

      I agree with Ginny dhuratadavies has a good mask pattern, fits well, multiple sizes and does not have a centre seam, comprehensive tutorial on her website. Check out Peter Lappin of malepatternboldness.blogspot.com . He has made multiple colourful versions of this pattern to match his shirts.

    • Cherry says:

      I third this one and have also made a few in different sizes for family and friends with nose wire (essential for glasses wearers). Using Liberty lawn to cheer myself up!

    • didyoumakethat says:

      Thank you all for sharing this pattern!

    • Alison says:

      Yes this is definitely the best that I have seen, fits very well but also good because of the different sizes.

      • LinB says:

        Yep. That one, the one by Dhurata Davies — and the Fu Fighters free mask and video tutorial — https://freesewing.org/blog/facemask-frenzy — are the best for fit and finish that I have found. I modified my FF masks to use the DD method of casing and stringing. SO much easier than stitching ties into four corners of a mask!

        Both of these patterns hang on at the nose and chin. Both tie around neck and at crown of head. The DD mask offers more scope for decoration, or for featuring a printed fabric, because it has darts instead of a center seam. The FF mask is faster to sew, because it has one seam instead of three darts.

        Be sure to get the correct size for yourself — I thought I was a medium, but the snug fit of the small is a far better fit!

        Instead of futzing about sewing mask strings, am using up a mystery bag of extra-long shoestrings gifted to me by a neighbor some years ago. They were brand-new, but discarded by a factory at which he worked as night guard. He brought me gobs of leftover weird sewing notions until he retired.

  2. Susan Bowdler says:

    It feels as though the entire world has shifted off its axis. Much needed introspection but it remains to be seen whether it changes society generally or not, there are many who have simply ignored that shift. We can only hope that some good comes from it. Sewing, embroidery have become almost contemplative during this time for me and a haven from all the uncertainty and dis-ease. Please don’t give up on the sewing, maybe just shift to another form of it. Sewing is good for the soul!

  3. Heidi says:

    I first saw the top of your photo and thought, “Ooooo, a pretty quilt!” likely because I haven’t been sewing much clothing lately. However, nice, loose pants sound really good right now. I’ve been doing a lot of hand sewing of appliques and English paper piecing hexagons–it’s that coccoon feeling also provided by knitting. Things are weird, for sure.

  4. Hello there. I have been self isolating for 14 weeks and have just started to go out. As you say your world has shrunk – mine to – every day is the same but I am making more clothes and quilts and knitting and crochet,, I have to keep going as I can’t believe my life will just stay like this forever…xxx

  5. Anne says:

    I have been doing a lot of dressmaking during lockdown but haven’t worn most of the garments yet. With no haircut since February my hair is now long enough for a scrunchie and matching scrunchies are being made from remnants for all recent projects. Masks have been made for me, DH and various friends (Trend patterns pattern, as recommended by Bess at Stone Fabrics – see catwalk section of her website) and worn whenever I go further than the garden. Mail order fabrics and haberdashery have helped, plus my enormous stash, so I have managed to use up some very historic stash as well as enjoy buying more fabrics to get a more coordinated wardrobe.

    I am so missing seeing family and friends (sister and mother live a long journey away and are shielding) and, whilst Zoom is better than nothing, it is not the same as real human contact. When life is a bit more “normal” I shall appreciate some things all the more. I just hope that my favourite fabric and haberdashery shops survive.

    We dressmakers are lucky to have an engrossing creative hobby that we can do on our own at home, but I am starting to feel that I have had an overdose!

    It is lovely to hear from you and to know you are well.

  6. run-sew-read says:

    I love your outfit, which looks both lovely and comfortable. And (((hugs))), I feel what you are saying, about lockdown lifestyle, and pondering when (if) we go back to even a little bit of the old normal. I’ve worn jewelry for a Zoom gathering, just to feel festive. I look at a closet full of office attire, and wonder if I’ll be wearing it all again, or if I should pare it down. Lots of questions with zero answers. Mask making has given me a surprising amount of comfort. I hope you find it uplifting, too.

  7. Jenny says:

    Good to hear that TMOS has survived thus pandemic – please tell him that his Cheshire ladies will be down to see him as soon as we can – and maybe bump into you again. I think we are all having strange feelings from time to time – why bother making such lovely things to wear with nowhere to go and show off! However I continue to trawl my stash of fabric and patterns and then immerse myself in an attempt at normality! So glad you are safe and well

  8. Colleen says:

    Good to see you back and well. I’ve been wondering about TMOS, and pleased that he is cheerful!

    My lockdown sewing has been focused on finishing projects. It’s a slow process. It has been hard to concentrate on anything at all, so for me bite size chunks has been the way to go. Finishing nine buttonholes on SOI’s Emmeline skirt felt like a MAJOR accomplishment and so worth doing. I’d counsel trying a few different styles of mask until you find one you like. I used Tilly’s – great tutorial, but the fabric ties are a faff to use and I can’t get it to fit right. I’d recommend using thin elastic if you can, or even stretchy jersey.

    Life is not going to be the same for a good while, is it? I used the tube for the first time last week. Quite a milestone. Walking part way home from Marylebone to Chancery Lane made me a little sad – so empty. But it was good to be out. And my bike has been another lifeline. It’s all a matter of baby steps.

  9. Mrs Anne Daniel says:

    The unwanted effects of a more sedentary life will put you off dressmaking temporarily. I have been practicing making baby clothes. Homemade gifts mean more don’t they?

  10. Jenny Larking says:

    I haven’t had much interest in sewing clothes for myself, same reason as everybody else. Nowhere to wear them. I have made sun hats for the family from lovely Liberty pieces, a pouffe free pattern from Closet Case patterns from scrap pieces and doll clothes for grandaughters so I have been able to keep sewing, whilst using up stash. I have resisted making masks until the time was right, which is now of course. I made myself and my husband 2 each. That is enough to keep us going as I won’t be shopping any time soon. I used a pattern from Youtuber Mia DIY for a breathable mask. Very quick to make and again I used up some pretty Liberty remnants.

  11. Catherine Burbank says:

    Love your Ogden cami, I recognized it right away. I’ve made a few, and some for friends, but I think for me it needs some sort of bust darts…well I’ll have to hack that. The double V neckline and the straps that you can make skinny or wider, is great. I love talking about what we do with our stylin’ here in the quarantine. I’m working from home, but I find I don’t feel awake or myself until I’ve put on makeup and earrings (I’m working phone only, so who cares? Yah, apparently me.) You’re in Britain, right? I’m in Massachusetts USA, so our lockdowns and fear may differ. I’ve gotten back to some quilting and art
    projects, hoping to finish. Stay safe, and keep sewing, or arting, or SOMETHING to stay in touch with the muse.

  12. Taja says:

    Check out the North Yorkshire Craft Guru blog post for Wednesday, 15 July 2020. Title is ” Face Mask Link Update with Photo.” It links to three YouTube videos. I have not used any of these, but they provide options. 🙂

    I mass produced 200+ masks using a variation of the tutorials on fashion-incubator.com. I already had developed a design and modified Kathleen’s template ideas to streamline the construction process. I currently am constucting 30 masks for my hairdresser, incorporating fabric earloops and with a separate elasticated band to fit around the back of his head to minimize the discomfort around his ears. He selected and purchased the fabric–a lot of motorcycles are involved. LoL He was a tad over-enthusiastic about the fabric quantity purchased. Not sure what he plans to do with the remaining three yards–there may be more masks may be in my future!

    Sending you good thoughts and pixie dust to boost your your thought process on changes in your life and the world around us. My personal life underwent massive changes four years ago, so most of our recent adjustments have been minor inconveniences. It will be interesting to see how/if communities and the world at large manage to work reasonably well together to find answers or …

    I don’t think I even want to contemplate the alternatives!


    Sorry! Do not know how to attach links from my phone!

  13. I made masks with this tutorial. Similar to Tilly’s without the filter pocket. Pattern linked in the video description.

  14. Patricia says:

    You look great in your new outfit. I’m going to try the new size of the Ogden Cami with the wider straps and D-cup sizing too; I always like to see it on another sewist before I try it out. Linen will be my choice. I’ve been looking for a new pants pattern lately and your silk ones look lovely with the flat front waistband. I’ll take a look at that pattern.

    I’ve tried so many mask patterns and the one I’m currently mad about is from my local sewing shop, Esther’s. It’s very comfortable.

    Virtual (((hugs))). Take care.

  15. Gill says:

    Love the new Ogden and the silk trousers! I’ve been doing lots of dressmaking, plus knitting crochet and embroidery. Really got into audiobooks too so I can listen and stitch at the same time. Not all sedentary though – I’ve walked 5 or 6 miles every single morning since lockdown started, rain or shine, so I haven’t put on an ounce! I’m delighted and hoping that this is now MY new normal. I’ve made lots of masks using various patterns, but the shaped one from Mimi G os definitely my favourite ……https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hpzLQTy-SA

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