First Day of the New Job Outfit: Sick Day Edition

To say that the second half of my period of unemployment did not go as planned would be an understatement. Rather than a bit of a break wherein I tried to catch up on things and also had some extra fun and sewing time, I ended up spending a hefty chunk of time in the hospital with my father before and after he had emergency brain surgery to remove a tumour. Yes, you read that right. Not all eventualities can be prepared for and brain tumours, as it turns out, are one of those unplannable things.

He is recovering at home very well now. The pathology results have come back and I’m not sure if or when I’ll be talking about them here.

Sewing and making things is how I manage stress, so what will probably happen, in blog terms, is more sewing and less sleeping.  My plan is to keep this a cancer-free space, for my sanity if nothing else. Please don’t think me heartless. It’s just that most of you I don’t know all that well.

So I still did a good bit of sewing, mostly in the middle of the night when I should have been sleeping. I managed not to sew through any body parts (thank goodness), but I did make a series of embarrassing mistakes, like sewing the wrong part of the crotch curve together when making up the pants. I thought briefly about making the rear fly pant closure the latest internet sensation, and then shook my head and tore out the offending stitches.

I managed to get the First Day of the New Job outfit all sewn up and ready before the first day of the new job, and I pressed it and had it all ready to go, and then Frances got sick the night before I was to start. So I spent that day emptying and cleaning out puke buckets (oh the fun things you get to read here!) instead of becoming orientated. I thought briefly of putting the new duds on anyway and taking some photos of myself, sleep deprived, at home, doing Mom On Sick Duty things, but fortunately for you I was just too tired and decided to pass.

Anyway. After much ado, here is the outfit:


The top is Vogue 8689, and the pants are the StyleArc Katherine pants. The Vogue shirt I’ve made before, so I’ll skip most of the verbiage:

1. Blue rayon challis. Very soft and drapey and wonderful to wear as a shirt.
2. 1/2″ self-cover buttons. I couldn’t find any pre-made that matched.
3. Faux-french seams. Serged the seams then top-stitched them down w/ a 1/4″ foot.

4. Shortened the sleeves about 1 1/2 “, and cinched in the cuffs by about 3/4”.
5. Made a total mess of the back of the collar. Good thing no one can see it.

6. Basted the middle of the button plackets to keep all the layers in place while putting in buttonholes and sewing on buttons. But they still seemed to get all out of place when washing.
7. Oh, and I very quickly added a 1 1/2″ ease pleat to the centre back, just under the yoke. I wanted a shirt that was very drapey and loose and would give me lots of movement when driving to and from work, so I just moved the back pattern piece about 3/4″ off the fold line and notched the top seam line where the original fold was so I’d know where to put the pleat. Then I trimmed the shirt down a bit more in the waist so it wouldn’t be too baggy all the way down–just a bit extra across the upper back.


Also, in proof that stylistic inspiration can be found anywhere, this was a shirt conceived after watching Deep Impact on Netflix. That girl journalist had a very nice drapey blue work shirt with a very nice ease pleat in the back.

This one, I think, but no ease pleat view. And the internet has informed me that her name was Jenny Lerner

So that’s the shirt.

The StyleArc Katherine pants were new for me. I thought about doing up a muslin … and then impatience overtook me and I just added some of my standard pant alterations:

1. 1 1/2″ extra on the crotch curve
2. 1 1/2″ extra between the hips and waist, front and back. Lengthened the underflap and overflap pieces for the fly to match.
3. Slimmed the waist down a bit

I used the wool I bought at King Textiles last year in Toronto, a lovely dark gold with a faint plaid to the weave. To combat itchiness, I lined the pants to the knee with bemberg, but imperfectly because I had no idea what I was doing around the fly.


I mean, it works, and no one is looking at my pants on the inside except me, so whatever. But it’s not elegant. And I discovered while wearing them that they really need bartacks on the pockets, otherwise they bag open, even with interfacing to reinforce the opening.


They fit nicely. They’re a smidge on the loose side, which is by no means a negative when you’re going to spend most of your time in them sitting down. My doctor switched out one of my medications recently and I think it’s made me lose a few pounds; I’m never sure whether a medication-induced weight change will be permanent or not, so I left the pants a bit big. I didn’t want to make them small enough to be snug now, only to gain five pounds next month and then I can’t wear them anymore. So.

Also, I sewed in a buttonhole and then decided I didn’t want to interrupt the waistband with a button, so I didn’t slash it open and sewed hook-and-eye closures in instead.

The pattern overall was simple to sew together, and the pockets and the front seam detail add a nice touch. Pieces match up and sew well, with the exception of the smaller pocket bag piece. It didn’t match the side seam of the pants at all. I cut out four of the larger pocket bag piece and trimmed two of them down to fit instead.

And now if I can finish the blazer I have on the go from the same fabric … I’ll finally have that suit!

That’s the quick-and-dirty version. I’ll share some more details when I write up the pair I made from the alpaca flannel I’ve had in my stash for years.

19 thoughts on “First Day of the New Job Outfit: Sick Day Edition

  1. Oh man… I hope things calm down a bit and your family recovers well. We had something of a family emergency recently and I had quite a bit of waiting time on my hands and too much adrenaline to rest. Retreating to sewing was such a relief. Nice job working the challis into a blouse – I find that stuff pretty challenging to work with.

    1. It’s very stretchy, I find. Even staystitching the neckline didn’t stop it from stretching out completely (and I didn’t staystitch the collar, which is why I had so many troubles with it). But it is so soft and comfortable that it was worth the trouble.

      I hope you and your family are ok, hon. I was pretty happy to see finished sewing projects popping up on your blog again, but I’m sad to hear that an emergency may have had a part in that. 😦

      1. Thanks, Andrea. We’re ok – we had to say goodbye to our cat rather suddenly. He was almost 17 but super smart and companionable, so we miss him quite a bit. While I was monitoring his condition (but trying not to hover), I really cranked away at my husband’s jacket. It all happened quickly, so the jacket’s been the extent of my comfort sewing. I do still have some more summer sewing to share – mostly just been busy from traveling and lazy about taking pics.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about your father. I hope you are okay. Many hugs!

    The outfit is fantastic! I love the wool and the shirt is such a nice match for it. I can’t wait to see the blazer. 🙂

  3. I’m sorry to hear about your father. I’m glad he’s home and recovering. I think I would do the same – health stuff is private and also it’s just nice to have a space that goes on as it was, without the big things that might be happening in the background. There’s always ripple effects (late night sewing, for instance) but it’s good to have a space that’s just itself. For me anyway.

    I love that outfit. I am always so inspired by your shirts. Must sew more shirts! How are you finding the blazer? I really really want to sew a proper blazer next year and I have this pattern so I’m thinking of trying it. I’m intimidated though.

    1. Well thank you on the shirts compliment. 🙂

      I am finding the blazer very challenging, but it’s not the pattern’s fault. The pattern is lovely and everything goes together very well, and the muslin was a complete success. But the wool is soft and likes to stretch out, so I’m trying to figure out how to address this. Maybe a good steaming session to shrink it all back a little bit, and then some additional staystitching before I try putting it back together again. We’ll see.

  4. I seem to have fallen behind on everything. I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. Glad you are settling in to the job. Lovely clothes.

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