The Joys of Everyday Clothes

Making clothes for a special occasion is fun, yes?  But there’s something different and equally amazing about making the clothes we wear day in and day out.  For me that’s usually a button-down shirt, khakis and a sweater.

After making a much needed Winter coat, I turned my attention to making some basic winter appropriate clothes.  All the fabrics were in my stash, some of them since last Summer, so there was an added element of “stash busting” with these three projects.  And that’s always a good thing!

First up was a Finlayson Sweater from Thread Theory.


Most of you probably know that I’m not a big knit sewist.  It’s highly unlikely that I will ever make a t-shirt or my own underwear, even though people tell me that “me made” undies are the best.  In spite of my “knit phobia” I’ve made this sweater three times, and I’m here to tell you that this pattern is a total winner.


I like to add a toggle closure to my Finlayson sweaters.  Other than that, this is the basic pattern.  It can also be made with a hood and a kangaroo pocket, but that’s way outside my comfort zone.  This sweater goes together easily, and it’s one of the rare times I use my serger.  I’m sure a zig-zag stitch would accomplish the same thing.  The semi-circular back neck facing is a lovely touch, and it’s a good way to use up some of the scraps that I save obsessively.  This little Liberty-esque floral print puts a smile on my face every time I pull this sweater over my head.  Truly a joy of everyday clothes if ever there was one.

I finish off the neck seam with a bit of rayon seam binding, but a twill tape or bias binding would also do the job.  Also, a tip for other Finlayson makers… it’s very easy to understitch the collar to prevent it from rolling out.  The directions call for topstitching, but I think this is a more attractive way to accomplish the same thing.



Ribbed sweater knit in “Honey” from Oak Fabrics.  (I think I got the last of it).  Still available in Rosemary, Licorice and Cinnamon.  Super soft and lightweight.  Horn toggle from Pacific Trimming in NYC.


It doesn’t get more “everyday” than a pair of khakis.  Here are some details of my most recent pair of “Jeds”, the Jedediah Pants from Thread Theory.  I know I’ve said it before, but I love this pattern.  It’s supremely “hackable”.  I usually replace the yoke and rear patch pockets with welt pockets.  There’s a tutorial on the Thread Theory website that will walk you through it.  I use the directions from my Roberto Cabrera tailoring book because he has a way of reducing what appears to be very complex, into simple rectangles sewn together step by step.  (You can tell I’ve never worn these because you can still see the chalk mark for the buttonhole marking!).

The fly on this pair is per the instructions.  I just follow along because zippers baffle me completely.  I do like to dress up the insides of my Jed’s with a contrasting fabric.  We’re talking Joy factor here.  This fabric from JoAnn’s was in the deep discount pile, 70% off.  It’s amazing what you can do with $2.99 of quilting cotton and a Clover bias maker gizmo.


All the pockets are French seamed, and the back seam is finished with a bias binding.


I had a little bit of the contrast fabric left over, so I fashioned a bias “curtain” for the waistband.  This is totally doable by anyone, and can really add to the “party on the inside” vibe of a pair of Jeds.

Ideally, I would have used a bias strip 4.25″ wide.  But I didn’t have enough fabric, so I went with 3.5″.  The strip is folded in half lengthwise and sewn to the bottom edge of the waistband.  1″ pleats are formed at the side seam and the back, which allows the curtain to stretch with movement. It’s really just a matter of measuring.  So easy! To dress it up even more I added a gray bias “piping”, and I love how it looks.  Everything is held in place by stitching in the ditch along the waistband from the outside.

Note to self:  next time stitch in the ditch before bending the belt loops up and stitching them in place.  I had to interrupt the stitching at each belt loop.  It doesn’t really effect anything, it was just a PITA.


The side seams are finished off with Snug Hug rayon seam binding.  They could be serged (blech!), or bias binding could be used (much better!).  I prefer the rayon binding because it adds so little bulk.  Hong Kong finishing is another good option, and less bulky than a full bias binding.  Bottom line……whatever adds to your “joy factor”!


Fabric for these Jeds was picked up at Metro Textiles at last Summer’s MPB Day.  It may not be exciting, but good bottom weight fabrics without stretch are hard to find these days, so I snapped it up.  I’m sure it was dirt cheap, probably $8 / Yd.  So these pants may have cost me around $25.

The final hack…..a little coin pocket up front. Just more JOY!


And finally the shirt.

I have been lusting after all the textured woven shirtings that have popped up over the past year or so. So when this one showed up at Stylemaker Fabrics I had to jump.  It’s been sitting in my stash for ages.  Sadly my camera doesn’t do the color justice.  It’s a dark teal and it’s currently on pre-order at Stylemaker Fabrics.

Winter shirts.  I’m pretty sure that Carolyn over at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic did a post on the need for them (but of course I can’t find it!).  Carolyn makes LOTS of shirts, and she’s the border print queen.  Like me, she wants / needs winter shirts.  It can be tough, since most shirting is lightweight cotton.  Yes, there’s always flannel, but sometimes you just want something else. Enter this textured woven.


I had some left over quilting cotton from a previous project that turned out to be perfect for contrasting inner cuffs, yoke and collar stand.


I scavenged the buttons from a Goodwill shirt that I picked up on “senior day” for $2 .  I always feel guilty doing that.  I’m just not a refashioner.  Please don’t send the sustainability police.





Homer looks less than thrilled, but it doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for these clothes.  Hopefully you too find joy in making the ordinary, the basic, the unsung heroes of our wardrobes.

Everyday clothes rule!











26 thoughts on “The Joys of Everyday Clothes

  1. Ohhh it was worth the wait! I checked your site recently to see if I’d missed anything.
    Three productions more than make up for the anticipation. Fabulous workmanship, use of fabrics/colors, and just good reading. Extra cuddle for Homer from me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you have a trick for getting your Hug Snug to lay so nicely on the edges of your seams? I am having trouble with it slipping around too much. I sure do love your workmanship!
    Thank you for sharing!


    1. Go back to my old post. “Red pants for Fall — Yes Please!” There’s a little tutorial on how I use it. Once you figure out the “settings” on your pressure foot and bed, it’s just a matter of practice and slowing down. You can do it!


      1. Thank you! I have that foot on my new Janome (what’s old is new again) and I use it a lot. I still have at least 90 feet left on my grey Snug Hug roll and I think what I really need now is red. Yes, red will make it a lot more fun. Thanks again.


  3. Rather than ‘everyday’ I would argue that these are three Exceptional Garments! 🤩 Beautiful sewing, as always, really elevated by the personal touches 👏. Great to see you & Homer looking so well 👍🙏😃

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All three pieces are wonderful! I have sewn the Finlayson a few times now for both my husband and my dad. You have reminded me that it’s time I sewed another! And the fabric in that shirt is superb. Such a great outfit.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes to more JOY!
    A tony haberdasher couldn’t compete with you. Each piece stands on its own, but when you put them together they make a striking quartet with that woven belt.
    The MPB Day connection must add to your joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just perfect details on all your work, the shirt i think is my favorite, well homer too, i already gave you my comments on your instagram, but Duane, your clothing looks better then you buy instores unless your paying for expensive designer clothing. I wish you would give me some pointers on doing the shirt and how to get it so perfect. I am going to make my first shirt in over 25 yrs and could use your tips and pointers .. please please share .. thank-you in advance – Corey

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the “secret” is to just slow way down and focus on being as accurate as you can. Take it bit by bit. Don’t think about the time. It all gets done eventually and you’ll have a shirt you love.


  7. What a great “custom” everyday group you have made! I love making everyday garments too, with those colorful interior touches. I’m just a slower sewer than you! I am enjoying your posts, discovered after your callout on Closet Case Patterns. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. These pieces are excellent individually, and even better together. I love seeing the insides of your makes – so beautiful, and I feel humbled at your skill and care. Also, I’ve been meaning to make the Finlayson for my fellow (who is currently also wearing Jeds!), and I wish that ‘Honey’ color wasn’t sold out because it’s practically edible!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I used to be afraid of sewing knits too. 😳 Turns out, the right tools and stitch make all the difference!

    At the level of sewing you’re at, knits should be easy. Probably the most important thing you need would be a ball point needle or a stretch needle, and ball point pins. A twin ball point needle for hems. A walking foot.

    Here is a good tutorial. Go for it!


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