Inside clothes who?

A couple of months ago I was browsing my IG feed and came across the latest collection of Ready to Sew patterns. Ready to Sew is a French pattern company with many quirky and stylish designs. After days (weeks? months?) of working from home, I was pretty convinced I needed some nice room wear to add to my arsenal. This may be some idiosyncrasy of my family, but I always change when I come home, moving from “outside clothes” to “inside clothes”, a distinct category from loungewear (which is what I wear to work out…don’t ask me, I’m strange). A property of “inside clothes” is that they shall also be wearable outside and make me feel put together too….shrug emoji?

Moments before I was run over by a cyclist.

So, coming back to the collection, two patterns caught my eye, the Papao wrap pants and the Pekka Jacket. I liked the style immediately, and the fact that the names are invented, the patter description clearly states where the inspiration comes from: Thai fishermen pants and Japanese Haori. Given the controversies that have swallowed other pattern companies, I was even more intrigued by these patterns and the patter maker’s choice to give tribute without appropriating. Raphäelle, the designer behind Ready to Sew, was very generous to contact me and offer the patterns in exchange for a review. What can I say, I was obviously immediately on board!

The Fabrics

For both patterns I used a lovely cotton silk blend, with a nubby texture similar to silk noil, but on the thicker side. After just a couple of wears the fabric has softened significantly and it’s now what dreams are made of. At least what I hope my dreams are. I was able to get both patterns out of 4.5 meters of 110 cm wide fabric, having cut a size 34.

Isn’t she gorgeous? Fabric purchased from Yamatomi.

For the lining of the jacket, pants pocket, and all the bias binding, I used a wax print I got years ago at the African market here in Tokyo. I had such a lovely day that time, chatting with members of the vibrant local African community. There is actually also a brand created by the Cameroonian-born designer Serge Mouangue, called Wafrica, which between kimono, exhibitions, and various events forged a strong bond between Japan and the African communities in Japan.

The Patterns

Full disclosure: I’m a sucker for all things wrap. I was very intrigued by the lack of closure in this pattern too, so I made the pants first. Because I was lazy and did not want to thread my serger, I bound all the edges (I know, I work in strange ways). I honestly like how they turned out inside and out. As I’m a lover of “house flooding” pants length, I wear them cuffed most of the time, and the little peak of bias binding is lovely.

Honestly, how cool is this wax print? I love the color yellow (you would have never said, right?) and I love geometric patterns. I think this get up is all “business on the outside, party in the inside”. I’m also happy every time I look at my pants cuffs I’m reminded of a nice day in the past, and how often do cuffs instill such feelings?

This t-shirt I bought in Okayama, home of Japanese denim, contains “the Spirit of Okayama”. At least, that’s what the person who sold it told me!

The pants have many moving parts, but came up pretty easily. The fit is very forgiving, and the darts give just enough shape. I often struggle with waistband – is it tight? is it loose? will my pants drop? should I make it curved? – but the Papao have no waistband and only an internal slightly curved facing. They are supposed to sit on the natural waist, which is also totally my jam.

Obviously, the back of the loops is lined with the same wax print.

The pattern comes with a pocketless versions, and one with front pocket pocket, which is what I went for. I modified the pattern only slightly, taking in the back darts a smidge more, and did an X instead of the wide back belt loop recommended.

Give me ALL the pockets.

The Pekka jacket came together in just a few hours, and it’s, as you may expect, very comfortable. I chose view 2, with a large collar which I wear folded like in the Haori. The pockets are huge, which is essential in my opinion. In hindsight, I should have made the sleeves slightly longer, so to be able to cuff them to show off the lining while also having them reach my wrist bone.

Special thanks to the architect who designed this apartment complex for their superb taste when it comes to fire escapes.

In both cases, the pattern come with thorough instructions, and with links to YouTube tutorials for the trickier parts.

The Verdict

Overall, I’m very happy I sewed these patters. Not only they are comfortable and easy to sew, but they made me want to take my “inside wear” to the outside. My fabric choice is very casual, but in a nice linen or in a chino these two patterns can take you from day to night. I have to admit that it was also refreshing to sew a pattern which natively came in metric instead of having to convert all the measurements from inches into cm. I recommend both patterns for all, from the adventurous beginner to the expert looking for an uncomplicated but satisfying make.



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