This project came about in a slightly different method to normal – I usually see a pattern I’m desperate to try and then find a suitable fabric to use however, on this occasion I found this absolutely stunning printed cotton lawn and I knew I had to have it in my wardrobe! The fabric is by Lady McElroy and is called Marabou Mosaic. It’s really slinky, soft and has a lovely drape to it. It comes in 4 colourways and has been getting a lot of attention online, especially in the blue versions however I love the ‘Pastel’ version I chose which is sandy, pinky and orangey tones.

So my challenge was to find a pattern that did the fabric justice and showed off the mosaic bird as fully as possible (I wanted to avoid anything too fussy which would involve cutting the fabric down and loosing the full print). The size of the pattern on this fabric is huge so I was conscious I needed to get the garment choice right otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to see the birds after being chopped up. I chose Vogue 9320 (part of their ‘very easy’ range – nothing better than an easy sew to get your sewjo going!). This pattern is for super wide leg, super high waisted palazzo pants and a co-ordinating crop top with optional frill. I thought the trousers would be perfect with their width, length, and apart from two pleats at the waist, very simple. I was hoping to be able to make the matching top too but I knew I would need to do jiggery pokery to make sure the pattern was used to it’s full potential on the trousers first.

With lots of tetras style pattern piece placement I cut my trousers out making sure the birds were in the best place to be seen and appreciated, and amazingly had enough fabric left to cut the crop top too! The top is lined and I used a plain cream cotton for this rather than my ‘proper’ fabric.

The trousers were a dream to sew and came together so quickly. I did need to take slightly longer than normal pinning and sewing the seams just because where there was so much fabric for each leg it made it quite heavy and taking into account the lightness of the fabric I wanted to avoid any potential puckers or stretches in the edges. I ummed and ahhed about how long to leave the trousers as there’s the age old decisions as to whether to hem them for flat shoes or heels! I opted for flat-shoe-length in the end as I would probably wear them more often, plus better to go shorter than longer as there is no way that I want the bottom of the hem touching the floor or pavement as the fabric would wear so quickly. I particularly liked the extra wide belt loops and the suggestion on the envelope illustration to use a scarf as a belt – one which I borrowed when styling my photos for this review!

The crop top was another lovely quick sew although I did make a couple of small changes which I’ve detailed below. The interfacing was to be ironed directly onto the back of your ‘proper’ fabric but as the top is lined I think it would be better to attach to the lining. I think for this particular lawn fabric it doesn’t seem quite right to see it looking so rigid – this also wasn’t helped by the fact that the interfacing I used was a medium weight whereas lightweight would have been much more appropriate. The frill around the top required a lot of clipping to make it reach around the length of the top and even then it didn’t reach where the instructions indicated it should. However, this worked out quite well in the end as I actually overlapped the back meeting edges more than intended in the pattern so I moved the straps outwards to accommodate this, and the frill finished just next to the straps.

Another modification I made to the top was to add tie straps rather than a set size. This was just my preference as there is nothing worse than straps that fall down over your shoulders, so I wanted to be able to adjust them when it was on. This was simple to do – I made 4 straps instead of 2, checking they were long enough to tie into a bow, attached the back straps where the instructions directed and then attached the front straps on top of the frill but before you attach the lining. Then when you sew the lining and turn the top right side out, the front straps will be free to pull over your shoulders.

The last alteration I made which I think improved the top (because I love buttons and the more I can add the better!) was to sew 4, instead of 2 buttons for the back fastening. Also, because I had overlapped the back quite far, 2 buttons looked out of proportion.

So there you have my review – the fabric was a dream to use and really embodied the Riviera holiday vibe I was hoping for and the matching 2-piece Vogue outfit compliments it beautifully. I know for a fact I’ll be (happily) using this pattern again as my friend has fallen in love with the trousers and has demanded her own pair!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Rebecca

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