Sewing slower – Persephone Pants and Fulwood Top

Dear readers,


I am not a particularly meticulous sewist. I do take my time but there is usually a moment when I start rushing. The context is almost always the same: I am in the “sewing zone“, everything is going well and I suddenly decide that I want to wear what I’m working on, THAT night! And instantly,  things start going all wrong… I make mistakes I would normally never make, the machines act out, the little human wakes up, you name it… Of course, I never get to wear the garment that night and my next sewing session will be dedicated to fixing mistakes. Sounds familiar?

I don’t have a cure to offer but at least I’m convinced that it improves over time. I believe that the longer you have been sewing the more you realize that the pleasure is more in the making than the wearing. And you also learn the hard way that that taking your time pays off. Whenever I start a project now, I force myself to slow down, to select the best fabric I can get and apply the nicest finishings and techniques I can. I guess it sounds pretty much like trying to sew well, although in this Instagram-dominated world we would tag it as #slowsewing.

Persephone Pants Fulwood Top Sewing Tidbits-6Persephone Pants Fulwood Top Sewing Tidbits-4While the concept of slow has been trending for some time, starting with food and spilling into other categories, I find it interesting that sewing is almost always associated in the definition of slow fashion. Usually from the perspective of mending and altering, but also sometimes dressmaking (from scratch). It makes sense, the thoughtfulness, effort and time you put into sewing a garment is likely to change forever your relationship with clothes in general. Building a handmade wardrobe will always take more time than a store-bought one. And yet, as many members of the sewing community have started to point out, sewing and sustainability are far from being synonymous. My favorite sustainable sewing voice, Kate of Time to Sew, reminds us that if you are churning out garments at a rapid pace, your fashion is not much slower. It doesn’t impact your wallet, your closet or the environment as quickly as weekly hauls at the mall, but eventually you will end up with too much clothes, and for sure, with too much fabric!

Anyway, those were my thoughts when I decided to sew this outfit. I set out to replicate a pairing of the Sailor Pants by Jesse Kamm with the Georgia tee by Elizabeth Suzann I had seen online. Both garments are relatively pricey and that’s when sewing really comes in handy, as long you involve enough time to match the quality. This time I was successful in not rushing through the steps for either of those garments!

Persephone Pants Fulwood Top by Sewing TidbitsPersephone Pants Fulwood Top Sewing Tidbits-7Persephone Pants Fulwood Top Sewing Tidbits-1Pattern

Pattern – MiY Collection Fulwood Top and the Anna Allen Persephone Pants
Size – Bust 80/84 for the top and 0 for the pants

Sewing this top is very straightforward. I more or less ignored the instructions, sewed the shoulder and side seams with french seams and finished the neckline with bias binding (my favorite method). I widened and deepened the collar to look closer to the inspiration garment, but after wearing it, I think I might have over done it. 

I love that this top is so easy to wear and launder. It’s a good alternative to tee-shirts on the weekend and to dress shirts in the office.Persephone Pants Fulwood Top Sewing Tidbits-5Persephone Pants Fulwood Top Sewing Tidbits-3Making

Fabric Stretch cotton poplin and striped double gauze Mood Fabrics in NYC
Notions Buttons for the pants fly all came from stash.

For the pants, I had to make some alterations. I have a bigger difference between my waist and my hips than the pattern is drafted for. I made the back darts deeper (and longer) and took in the center back seam. I think the pants still came out a little big, partly because I used stretch poplin but also because I think the smallest size is a little too big for me. Since the final pants are extremely comfortable, I will try another version without stretch before making more adjustments.

 I’m not a fan of the button fly showing so I added some stitching to the concealed button fly to keep it flatter and I used a one piece pocket that you can find on the actual Jesse Kamm pants. Overall the pattern and the instructions are great. My only comments are minor: I would have appreciated the option of a layered pdf to print only the size I needed and I think the waistband would look better fully interfaced rather than only on one side.


In case you like this pants pattern and would like to do something a little different with it, I wrote an article for Sew News that was published in the October / November 2018 issue on how to turn it into a paper bag waist. Beth recently pointed out that those pants fit kind of funny on everybody so it leads to some “interesting” poses. It’s true that there are more wrinkles that I would ideally like, but honestly I like the final results so much that I don’t mind. Trust me, I’m the first one surprised to admit this…

Persephone Pants Fulwood Top Sewing Tidbits-8

I love this outfit so much and since I finished it I have been wearing it many many times. I also wear them as separates quite a lot, and I know it’s time to make another pair of Persephone because I’m constantly looking for them, even when they are in the wash. So I would say that taking my time really paid off this time and I hope that it will serve me as a lesson next time I want to rush like a mad seamstress! What about you? Are you immune to the desire of urgently finishing everything or do you manage to keep your pace?

7 thoughts on “Sewing slower – Persephone Pants and Fulwood Top

  1. Beth (SunnyGal Studio)

    oh I know exactly what you mean about wanting to wear something Right Away! also I think some meticulous sewing is a bit overdone, I try to convince people to choose which items to take more time (jackets, coats, shirts, jeans) things that will last a long time. but other things won’t have the longevity and are not always worth the time. That you could be using to sew a different thing 🙂 your separates are very styling although i still don’t understand those pants without the side seam, it just seems to make them tricky to fit. they would be nice as shorts though.

    • Sewing Tidbits

      I agree that there are some “couture” practices I can never get behind (machine stitching all the seam lines on a muslin??).
      The absence of the side seam was so intriguing to me too, it’s why i wanted to try the pattern. I don’t have major fitting issues other than the smaller waist so I hasn’t been much trouble. But I guess you have to adjust your standard in terms on acceptable wrinkles!

  2. MariKa

    slow sewing… strange concept to me, as I am already a very slow sewist (hampered by a tendency to ridiculous perfectionism). I noticed that when I sew out of the season clothes, I don’t fall into the “i need to wear this right now” trap, and manage to pay attention to every step. the down side is that projects stay on hold for months before I finish them (if i ever do)… I still haven’t figured out how to be slow but productive, I guess.

  3. madebyviou

    It’s the same here 😉 I just need to say : “hooray… tomorrow, I will wear this (anything I am sewing ;-))… and it turns horrible! Finally, I try “slow sewing” and It’s better! I enjoy your top and pants and It’s really what I’d like to wear this summer! Thanks and sorry for my langage 😉

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Interesting how a simple thought like “ooh I want to wear it now” can curse the entire sewing process ☺️
      I live in the Caribbean where it’s summer all year long and I can attest that it’s a great warm weather outfit!

  4. Kate

    Ah Delphine, I did not see this post earlier, forgive me. But immensely flattered and proud to be called your favourite voice in sustainable sewing! Funny you speak of the slow sewing phenomenon. I am actually about to submit a magazine article on why sewing your own clothes is not an automatic exemption from fast fashion. And of course, I love your outfits but you don’t need me to tell you I’m a fan of your sartorial choices! X

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s