This month marks my first attempt at carrying out major alterations to a pattern, to create my own design for a special garment. Bring on the leather piping!

We’ve all seen the classic Mondrian inspired YSL dresses from the 60s… a speed-sewn version was even featured on last year’s Sewing Bee. I wondered if I might be able to one day create a menswear counterpart, introducing the iconic colours and block style to something for my own wardrobe. I got myself a selection of different coloured Jersey Fabrics, metres (and metres!) of black Leather Piping and took my lead from this McCall’s Sewing Pattern.

Mondrian Menswear

First, I did a few colour sketches to work out the arrangement of the panels and once that was decided I got started creating the pattern pieces. 

The original single pieced front was going to become three pieces of varying sizes. This posed a challenge because the new front design was not symmetrical. After some careful note-taking and double checking of the maths, I used some pattern paper to make up my new pieces. I even added my own notches to help line everything up after cutting!

The idea was to use leather piping on every seam to replicate the black lines from the Mondrian dresses. This was a two part process - first stitching each piping piece to a single layer of jersey, then overlocking the layers together to sandwich the piping within each seam. It wasn’t as time-consuming as I had expected - I had a sort of production line going from sewing machine to overlocker.

You may notice on the sketches that this was initially going to be a hoodie and feature a patch pocket but I decided against the pocket quite early on. It broke up the effect of the strong vertical lines down the front and introduced too much yellow!

The hood made it a little too sporty for my liking and almost a bit junior. So in the end I opted for a simpler shape to keep the focus on the seamlines.

With the complicated bits done, I pinned the side seams together for a fitting. It was a little tight, so I added a small panel of black jersey up both sides to add a little more room.

The hint of yellow on the cuff nicely finishes off the Mondrian colour scheme. Overall, I think this is a really versatile top… quite sporty and casual if paired with jeans and converse but totally dinner appropriate when dressed up!

I normally do my photos somewhere private but I was feeling brave this month so we ventured out onto the plaza at Canada Water which is always filled with skate boarders and shoppers. I love all the grey stone and thought it would be a great contrast to the bold colours and strong lines of the garment. Add in the hustle and bustle of the plaza and we got some cool photos!

This was my first time doing any real kind of pattern drafting, and the side panels were free cut. It’s not that scary after all! I hope this inspires more sewists to get creative and break away from the rules of the pattern.

Next month I’m turning my attention to the bottom half… for a change!

Until then, happy sewing!