Denim is an important fabric in most people’s wardrobes, and this is true for me, too. I don’t wear jeans as much as I used to, but I’ve always loved the rigid, dark indigo denim above all other denims, and a Homer+Howells Lennox boiler suit in this rigid cotton twill fabric seemed a perfect match.
Homer+Howells released the Lennox pattern in December 2020, and it attracted lots of attraction, all well deserved. I first noticed it on the Foldline in the January pattern release summary, then it started popping up in my Instagram feed. The Lennox is a versatile pattern for both wintry and summery makes, depending on your choice of fabric. I think a rigid denim works particularly well for spring and autumn, and for winter, too. Hopefully it’s too warm for summer, but you never know around these parts.
Denim is a classic, sturdy fabric that originated in Nimes, France, hence the name derivated from French serge de Nimes – ‘serge (twill) from Nimes’. It is typically made from cotton in indigo dyed warp threads while the weft threads are left white. Due to the pattern that develops when the weft passes under two or more warp threads, the top is predominantly dark blue while the back is predominantly white. The first clothes in denim were designed and worn as workwear, and could never be worn for “best”, but over the years its status changed. Particularly in the 70’s denim gained status as popular fashion. Denim has been highly popular for many decades now – not bad for a fabric with such humble origin. It comes in a myriad of weights, qualities and washes, with or without stressing, and is made into not only jeans, but jackets, shirts, skirts and whatever possible.
A boilersuit or coverall is a one-piece that covers the entire body, arms and legs, and it is a classic workwear garment. Lennox is clearly inspired by classic boilersuits but without large patch pockets or other features for carrying tools. It has deep slash pockets in the front, no back pockets and a smaller patch pocket on the left side of the chest. The collar has a stand which makes it possible to button it up very close to the neck without discomfort. The sleeves are wide and ends just below the elbow. This balances out the wide trouser legs. It appears minimal and modern with roots in classic tailoring.
The difference between view A and view B is the elastic waistband in the back and the cropped leg length. View C is for a cropped shirt. I choose to sew up view A but added the elasticated waistband from B for more shaping. It is closed partly by a zipper, has a hook and loop-closure at the waist and the top is closed by buttons.
I’m very happy with the sizing in Homer+Howells, and if I didn’t know better, I’d think they’ve made it with me in mind! I rarely fit this well into a size chart, and both the Jenny skirt and Lennox fit me without any adjustments at all. For the Lennox I chose size 12 based on my current measurements: B 92, W 78 and H 102. The finished garment measurement chart is packed with details, so anyone should have ample opportunity to make well informed decisions about sizing and alterations. I wish all pattern designers were as accurate about this.
The actual sewing was pretty much straightforward. The instructions are very thorough, so if you want to be hand-held this is what you get. I particularly like the closing with the combined zipper and buttons because the lower part fits better and there is no gaping.
I think it would look nice with hidden button closure all the way up, and this is an easy fix. A very simple solution would be to use snaps instead of buttons. Another idea I would like to try is to add a couple of darts in the back to reduce bulk. They could match up with the tucks in the bodice, and I think it would look even better. Back pockets would look great, too, and if you make it in linen welt pockets would be perfect. Depending on how much blousing I want if I make another, I could shorten it by 1-2 cm in the upper part, but not more, or it will become harder to get into – and let’s not forget the occasional need to get it off quickly sometimes. The sleeve length is very modern, but it can be difficult to layer over them if the fabric is on the heavier side, like my denim. A solution would be to shorten or lengthen them, an easy fix.
Lennox is a versatile, well drafted boiler suit with a few details that set it apart. I am very happy with the result and will be wearing this a lot until the weather warms up.
Pattern: Lennox boiler suit by Homer+Howells
Size: UK12 (EU40/US8)
Fabric: 2.4 m denim from Rainbow tekstil
Time: 1-2 days