I've always been attracted to the linen separates in neutral shades that Eileen Fisher sells. They seem timeless, elegant, but with an edge. They are also beyond my budget at well over $100 a piece. So, when Fabric Mart came out with their new line of designer quality linen I knew exactly what I wanted to make- neutral separates that I could mix and match with my current wardrobe.
I'm really more of a print person- it's rare that I choose a solid color fabric because there are just so many beautiful prints to choose from! But, I've realized for a while that I need some more solids, especially neutral solids in my wardrobe. For these pieces, I chose the brown-olive shade for the pants, natural for the top, and black for the jacket- all from the Designer Linen line.
The brown-olive is really a fantastic color- just perfectly in between brown and olive, so it will go with just about everything. The natural is what I would describe as cool toned- which is good for me, as I was a little worried it might lean towards the yellow.
I did wash and dry all of my fabrics, expecting them to shrink quite a bit. To my surprise, they barely shrunk at all! After pressing them, they only shrank about one inch per yard. I even washed them three times! These linens are a pretty versatile weight- the natural seemed to be a little heavier than the others- and you can see little flecks in it, so I'm thinking it might have not gone through as much processing as the other colors.
For the pattern, I chose a new Khaliah Ali design with four pieces. McCalls 7368.
I eliminated the facings and narrow hemmed the entire outer edge. I used twill tape for the ties, instead of a self fabric. So with those changes, this went together really quickly.
To make sure that the back neckline didn't stretch out, I ironed a strip of interfacing just inside the fold. The narrow hem covers it up, and it really keeps the back neckline stable. It's almost more of a cardigan this way, and I think I prefer wearing it open.
I also made a change to the top design- adding a side slit on each side so that it would be easier to put my hands into the pockets in the pants. The neck and armhole edges are finished with single fold bias tape- shown here.
Most linen pants that you see in ready to wear are pretty loose fitting, unless they are lined. I think this is because linen will bag out as you sit, so if you wanted to keep it tight fitting, you would need to rely on a lining to do so. If you don't want a lining, then it's probably better to choose a loose-fitting style. I found many interesting pant styles in linen on these websites: Oska and Vivid Linen.
I had made a muslin for the jacket from another Fabric Mart fabric that you might recognize from last year! I got it in a mystery bundle and really didn't have a clue what to make with it until now. It is a linen cotton blend with a rosy patchwork print. I wore this outfit today and had someone tell me that I should start my own clothing line- always a nice compliment!
These pants are made in a white linen that I had made years ago, and I think I like the wide leg style in linen better than the straight leg that I made in the brown-olive shade. The straight legs of the brown olive are probably a little more practical though, so each has its own pros and cons. As you can see, the linen will wrinkle, so you have to be able to live with that. I find that the comfort of linen far outweighs any issues that I have with wrinkling.
I like how the natural colored top works as a backdrop for just about any necklace or scarf I would want to wear. I am looking forward to wearing these all summer and into fall. Do you like to wear neutral shades? Or are you more of a print person?