What to sew – part 1 – the unselfish stuff

Sewing seems like such a distant dream at the moment.  On top of the usual stuff, for the last 4 weeks at least one of us, and most often all of us, have been suffering from some sort of lurgy.

Flu, the proper, debilitating, put you on your back in bed for 3 days, sort.

Gastroenteritis.  I’ll let you work that one out! Eugh!

And, drum roll, chest infections.  That’ll be me.  Of course.  Because its a month with a date in it so therefore I’m due a chest infection.  However we’ve got to what we hope might be the root of the problem, a massive deficiency in Vitamin D*, so I’m hoping as that is improved, my immunity will strengthen right alongside it.

I’ll be honest, I’m not even knitting that much because I’m so tired.  I’ve been knitting the same sleeve on Lemongrass for what feels like forever, but is definitely weeks.

What I am doing is scheming as to what I’m going to sew with my new found guidelines.  And I’m planning to get down with the TNT patterns. I’ve been sewing since Noah built the ark and still don’t have a TNT pattern.

Which is ludicrous.  Because if I’m honest I could get through to Armageddon with probably 6 – 10 patterns and just keep sewing them in different fabrics.

So, I’m going to make a start on that and see where it takes me.  I’m going to chose patterns that will be the bread and butter of my wardrobe.   Which then will leave me time to be creative with the jam.  Or brie.   Or hot crispy bacon.

For the Husband

The Husband loves a good checked shirt.  But even quite pricey ones don’t cut the yoke on the bias and it drives me nuts.  And, because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, it now drives him nuts.

£70 shirt by Barbour

£70 shirt by Barbour

Don’t get me started!

So, seeing as I’ve completely ruined shirt shopping for him, it’s time for me to put on my big girl pants and get him a TNT shirt pattern sorted.

The-rod-for-my-own-back shirt is on it’s very last legs.  To be honest it should have been shot turned into cleaning rags a while ago but he won’t let go until he has a handmade replacement.  And as it’s 2 years since I made that shirt, (hangs head in shame) and I have a great length of fabric in the stash, I’m well overdue on this.

I have two options for this.**  First up is to tweak the pattern I used last time, namely McCalls 6613.


I need to add a bit of length to the body and sleeves, draft a tower placket, and I think the cuffs look a tiny bit narrow, so would revisit them.

But I’m also intrigued to try a Bootstrap pattern and if I go down that route the pattern I’d chose is this Vado Modern Fit Shirt.


We’ll see which way he wants to go.  But, this will be my first sewing project once I’m back on my feet.  It’s his birthday in a month.  A new shirt would be a fine thing, but I’m making no promises (you listening, Mr?!  😉 )

For the kids

I haven’t sewn for the kids in ages.  To cut myself a bit of slack neither of them have complained.  Which is possibly the only thing they’re not complaining about at the moment! That said, Button is keen to learn to sew so we have fabric for a project that we’ll probably work on over the Easter break.  The fabric is awesome.  It’s going to be fun!

I digress.  The big issue I have with both of the munchkins is jeans. They aren’t particularly tall but they are mighty skinny and have both hit that “all legs” stage. It’s a RTW nightmare. Baggy waists end up so gathered to get them to stay up that they look bulky and are uncomfortable. Legs that are only just about long enough and so they grow out of them in no time.

Time for a good jeans pattern.  The Titchy Threads Small Fry Skinny Jeans is the one I’m planning to try.


It looks like a really versatile pattern, with a proper zip rather than just a faux fly, instructions for reversing the fly for girls and a good range of sizes.  It gets good reviews all over the interwebs, and it’s reasonably priced.

What’s not to like?

And the fun thing about making a TNT pattern for kids jeans is that they grow more up than out so for a while the only tweak I’ll need to do once the fit is sorted is to add some length.

Sweet!  Or lazy?  I’ll run with sweet, I think!

And whilst I on a shirt making tip, I’m going to crack the Ethan pattern by Sis Boom from my stash and fit this for my little man.


He has the same issue with shirts as jeans.  Just soooooo skinny.  Bless his heart.  I swear you’d rather feed him for a week than a month, but he just doesn’t. stop. moving!

So it’s a start.  Although with current productivity levels Armageddon or the Zombie Apocalypse will probably arrive before I fire up a sewing machine.

That said….if you have a great man’s shirt pattern or kids jeans pattern you can recommend, I’m all ears!

 *Vitamin D levels in a healthy adult should stand at 80 nmol/litre.  50 is considered deficient.  Mine are 12!  It explains a lot.

**I do actually have more menswear patterns, but they are in storage at the moment.  Under a pile of other stuff.  I’m not even going there until we move house.  

It’s a week in hospital and a plaster cast for sure if I try to liberate them!

6 Responses to What to sew – part 1 – the unselfish stuff

  1. Go easy on yourself – I know you’re itching to be busy but sometimes you just have to listen to your body. Couldn’t get over that Barbour shirt – how dreadful was the pattern matching?!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      I’m trying really hard to relax. Fates are conspiring against me…but I’m now up to a little gentle knitting and am very much enjoying that!

      That Barbour shirt makes me really cross. It’s just not acceptable. And folk who don’t know any better will buy that crap!

  2. I’ve been looking at that Vado shirt too. I would prefer a seperate front band that can be cut on the bias, and the collar looks a bit tiny. The custom fit part is so tempting though! Perhaps tweaking the McCalls pattern is the faster option for you, this shirt has already proven to be such a big hit. Take care of yourself!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      The lack of a separate front band is a common one with men’s shirt patterns. It’s quite frustrating, really! I have to agree that I could probably get the McCalls tweaked in the time it would take to print and stick the PDF for the Vado. Perhaps we have a winner! 😉

  3. Kim Hood says:

    I agree with Tanya – the quality of the Barbour shirt doesn’t seem to match its price. If you would like me to scan and send my ‘go to’ placket pattern let me know.
    I sympathize with all the sickness niggles – you seem to have had way more than here and I know how sorry I am feeling at the moment. I hope the vitamin d diagnosis helps. I have that test booked in another batch from the doctor so I hope you report good things soon.

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling rubbish too. It is miserable.

      I’ve been having blood tests for years to get to the bottom of this and it’s only because we’ve got a locum in at the moment who’s seen a lot of this that Vitamin D test was done.

      I can trace everything I’ve been feeling for the past 4 years to this, so I’m hopeful that I can turn this around now.

      Fingers crossed you get good results.

      And I would love a copy of your placket. That’s so very kind of you to offer. 😀 It’s sealed the deal on the McCalls pattern!

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