Silver Toaster Sweater

It seems like whenever a pattern goes a bit viral amongst bloggers and on instagram, I’m at least a month (if not longer) behind! So here is my Toaster Sweater. I’m sure you’ve heard of the pattern, but it’s from SewHouse7 and there are 2 versions of the Toaster Sweater – I made version 2. And I really like it.

It’s maybe a tiny bit short to wear with these jeans, so if I make it again I might lengthen it by an inch or two so the top I’ve got underneath doesn’t show so much when I move around!

I do like the funnel neck detail, though I’m not sure it’s supposed to sit exactly like this, but it doesn’t feel strangle-y so I don’t mind it.

The fabric is a lovely silver ponte roma from my local sewing shop, Sew ‘N’ Sew. It has a slightly ribbed texture, which is really nice. I also really like how the sleeves fit – they’re a bit wrinkled here because I’d been wearing it for a whole day.

I like the swingy shape of the back…..

But it does seem to give me a hunchback! Not sure why. I don’t have great posture, but I do stand up straight in my blog photos.

One of my favourite details of this pattern is the topstitching around the slits on the side seams. And I love how the back is slightly longer than the front.

And the corners of the hem look so lovely on the inside because the instructions tell you how to make them perfectly mitred.

This is also the first main thing I’ve made where I’ve used my overlocker to neaten the edges – I’m not quite at a skill level to feel comfortable sewing the seams on it too, especially with a new pattern. And I did have to unpick a couple of bits, so I’m glad I was unpicking sewing machine stitching and not overlocker stitching!

Am I the last person to make this pattern?

February Makes and March Plans

I literally can’t believe we’re already in March. (I’ve been watching a lot of Parks and Recreation recently, so this sentence is my homage to Chris Traeger!) I was moderately successful in completing my makes for February – I made only one thing I planned, but I made 2 extra things I hadn’t planned. I also had a mammoth cutting out session so I still have a few projects ready to go!

In a rare moment of blogging, I’ve actually blogged everything I made in February already (this may come back a bite me on the arse when I run out of things to blog!). First up I made this Colette Mabel skirt, to match the one I made for my sister for Christmas.

my-grey-quilty-mabel-1I also made what I thought would be my entry into the #MonetaParty, which was in the end my first version of the pattern, from the navy-with-white-flecks jersey:

moneta-party-dress-1Then I made my second, way more successful version of the Moneta, which rescued the pattern in my eyes – I felt it was a bit frumpy and not really my style in my first version. It goes to show the importance of fabric choice!

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-6

So my plans for March are pretty much the things I didn’t get around to making in February……including these effing trousers which have been on my to-make list since I started doing these posts back in October! They are at least cut out! I’m planning to tackle them this weekend.

october-planning-simplicity-trousersI do also want to make my Toaster Sweater, which is also already cut out. I think it will be a good top for the still-quite-cold-weather we’re having in Gloucestershire! And I love the silver jersey I’ve got for it. Now if I could only get my overlocker working……

toaster-sweater-fabric

If I have time – which is unlikely to be honest as I’m away for 2 whole weekends in March – I’ll try to make my denim Moss Skirt, which is basically a copy of the one I made for my sister.

I want to try to get some fabric this month to try to make a start on my #2017MakeNine. The Moneta Dress was one of them, so I’ve at least made one. I also have Christine Haynes’s Marianne Dress on there and I do have fabric for that so hopefully that will be made in April.

I also want to get back into refashioning – I have quite a stash of garments to refashion – as that is one of the things I consider to be under the ‘thrift’ part of my blog name! Though as I’m away for some of March, this might have to wait until April!

What are your sewing plans for March?

Definitely my #MonetaParty Dress

jazzy-moneta-party-dressAfter what turned out to be my wearble muslin of the Colette Moneta, I was persuaded by Sarah from Like Sew Amazing (who has a fab new vlog, the first episode of which is about all 6 of her Monetas and features yours truly!) to make another one when she invited me to her house for a irl Moneta Party. It was really fun to sew with someone else – it’s normally such a solitary pursuit, it was a novelty to do it with company!

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-2I feel the main saving grace of this Moneta compared to the other, is the fabric. Eagle-eyed readers may recognise the fabric as the one I used for my Coco Dress. I used the pattern in a different way, centering the space between the diamonds instead of the diamonds themselves as I did for the Coco. I think it works better this way, which is good because to start with I was going to place the diamonds around the bodice in the same was as the Coco. And the diamonds pretty much line up on the side seams. Yay!

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-4The fabric looks even more trippy and like a magic eye picture from the back!

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-7The black fabric is some ponte I bought from my local sewing shop. I had thought they didn’t have that much of a range of dressmaking fabrics, but actually it’s pretty good when I looked closely and ignored the boxes of fat quarters! They have needlecord, lots of patterned cottons and a pretty good range of jerseys for a shop of that size. They also have everything you could possibly want in their massive range of haberdashery items.

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-5I really like the ponte as it has a nice structure to it, making it a lot easier to sew with than the thin fabric from my last version! The jazzy fabric is quite thin, but not too difficult to manhandle for just a couple of seams! The only problem with this combination of fabrics is the skirt pulls down the bodice slightly because the jazzy fabric is much more stretchy.

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-6I again cut out the straight size xs and this time didn’t need to make any fitting changes under the arms – I guess different jerseys behave in different ways. I also cut out the short sleeves instead of the longer ones because I didn’t think the 3/4 length sleeves would work in the black fabric. I did cut out the sleeves in both fabrics and asked Sarah’s opinion and she thought the black would look better – and she was totally right!

The main change I made, which I hadn’t initially planned, was to add a neckband.

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-3I measured the neckline of the bodice – the front neck was 34.5cm and the back neck 31cm. Added together this comes to 65.5cm. I decided to take 4cm off this length, guessing that this would be enough smaller to sit flat but not so much smaller it puckered the neckline. I’m sure there is a science to this, but my guess was okay. I then added 2cm back on for the seam allowance to be able to sew the 2 ends together into a loop. I cut the band to be 5cm wide. After sewing the 2 ends together, I folded the band in half lengthways, wrong sides together and tacked it all the way around. I then lined up the 2 edges of the band with the neckline of the bodice, stretching it slightly to make it fit. I then stitched it with a 1cm seam allowance, flipped it to the inside and topstitched it with my twin needle.

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-8If you follow me on instagram you’ll have seen that while at Sarah’s house I played with an overlocker for the first time. She had it all set up ready and it wasn’t as scary to use as I thought it would be – I feared the fabric would run away and cut itself in half before I knew what was happening! But it’s pretty much like a normal sewing machine, of course! Some of the insides (which I had time to do at Sarah’s) look lovely so I’m definitely a convert to overlockers, and I even got mine out the box for the first time, having bought it a couple of months ago! I managed to thread it but the stitches were all loopy and no matter how much I changed the tension, it didn’t fix it. Any ideas? Is it possible I did actually thread it wrong and it kind of works but not properly?

I’ll leave you with this outtake from my photos – this was me testing the camera set up, feeling really cold and wearing my glasses (which I took off for the photos!)

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-9
 

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Possibly my #MonetaParty Dress

This was going to definitely be my #monetaparty dress but I’m currently half way through another one which I like more, so that one may end up being my official entry for the competition/party. This one was probably more of a wearable toile!

But it does have pockets! This is my face when I have a dress with pockets!

moneta-party-dress-1

After asking on instagram, the consensus was to use this fabric which is navy with white flecks, instead of some teal stuff I also had in my stash – which I’m glad about now, because I think that will make a better Christine Haynes Marianne dress.

moneta-party-dress-2

I made the size xs and did have to take it in a little under the arms. I think because it’s quite a thin, drapey knit, it looked a bit saggy!

moneta-party-dress-3

I also sewed the waist seam with a 2cm seam allowance and not the 3/8″ that pattern says, because I felt it just sat slightly too low to be flattering. I have an H&M rtw dress that is a similar style to the Moneta, but without pockets and with a v-neck, and the waist seam is really quite high, so I was aiming for that, though it still isn’t quite the same.

moneta-party-dress-4

I do like the fabric, but when it’s stretched it goes white, the colour it is in the wrong side. The bodice therefore looks like it’s stretched too much, because the tiniest bit of stretch makes it look too stretched, because of the white showing through. I am wearing it with a navy vest underneath, which you can’t see, because it’s not really see-through, it just looks like it is, if that makes sense?

moneta-party-dress-5

Luckily without changing anything except the underarm seam, the xs size fits me snuggly across the back, which is the place I usually have issues with fit.

moneta-party-dress-6

The main issue with this dress, and what makes it a wearable toile, is that I messed up the neckline. I sewed it with a twin needle, but it didn’t quite catch the whole hem so I thought I could sew it again, overlapping one row of stitching so I ended up with 3, but that didn’t quite work. So I unpicked all the rows, and sewed it again. But by then the neck was stretched out and doesn’t look great. I wonder if I could rescue it a little with a neckband, but I’m not sure I like the dress enough to go to the extra effort.

moneta-party-dress-7

I decided to try full outfits that I’ll wear when wearing this dress, and I think it looks good with mustard yellow, with a cardigan done up (to hide the terrible neckline!).

moneta-party-dress-8

Even with the cardigan undone, it distracts from how wide the neck sits on my shoulders. And I’m sure people wouldn’t notice the neckline too badly if I don’t point it out!

moneta-party-dress-9

I also really like it with my Colette Astoria – it sits just at the right place to hit the waist seam. It looks like it could be a top and skirt. This is how I wore it to hang out with Sarah from Like Sew Amazing today to have a irl #monetaparty, where I sewed most of my second Moneta, which is looking more promising, as long as I don’t mess up the neckline again!

moneta-party-dress-10

I couldn’t resist showing you this outtake from my photoshoot, where The Boyfriend came out of the room which is behind the doors I use as my backdrop! You can’t see him, but I like the photo my camera, which was on a timer, took of me!

moneta-party-dress-12

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Twin Mabels for Twin Sisters

You know how I was making those skirts for my sister for Christmas? Well one of the 3 I made in time for Christmas was a Mabel made out of this cool quilted jersey from Fabricland (though we got it in grey and it seems to be only available in khaki now).

This is mine:

my-grey-quilty-mabel-1And this is my sister’s:

phoebes-grey-quilty-mabelLike us the skirts are more fraternal (non-identical) twins than identical twins. They are both a size small – I traced off a size bigger in this pattern after the too-tight original Mabel I made a couple of years ago. Phoebe’s is 3 inches longer than mine, which was the length she requested. I made mine in the standard length for the pattern, which hits me just on the knee.

I’m pretty pleased with my pattern matching skillz on both, if I do say so myself! This is Phoebe’s:

phoebes-grey-quilty-mabel-3And this is mine:

my-grey-quilty-mabel-6

Mine isn’t quite as good as the  pattern isn’t uninterrupted – I’ve got two poofy bits and 2 flats bits (technical terms, obviously!) next to each other, when they should alternate. But at least the lines match up.

I managed to mostly match them on the waistband too, at least in terms of the vertical lines, if not the horizontal zigzags perfectly.

phoebes-grey-quilty-mabel-4Mine was a bit better matched across the back – sorry Phoebe! One of the back panels of hers ended up slightly on the wonk – I guess the fabric wasn’t perfectly folded in half. I haven’t done a huge amount of pattern matching, so I’m pretty pleased with how these turned out 🙂

my-grey-quilty-mabel-7I love the little kick pleat at the back!

my-grey-quilty-mabel-3These are definitely really quick skirts to sew up. At least they are when you don’t sew the waistband on upside down, without realising until you’ve finished the skirt and topstitched the top edge to stop it rolling. Though I’m just guessing that this would be really annoying and time-consuming to fix……… I actually didn’t topstitch the top edge of mine because I was feeling lazy!

my-grey-quilty-mabel-5I used a twin needle (heh!) for the hem and stitching in the ditch of the bottom of the waistband, and topstitching the top edge of Phoebe’s skirt, but for mine I just used a normal zigzag for the hem and stitching in the ditch. You actually really can’t see the stitching on this fabric, so it didn’t matter to me too much on my own whether it looked all professional like a twin needle makes it look.

my-grey-quilty-mabel-8I modelled the skirt with a tight rtw top tucked in, so you could see it, but I’ll really wear it with this black jumper in the Winter, and maybe my Astoria when the weather gets a bit warmer. I actually wore it exactly as in the above photo to work on Monday and I got quite a few compliments. And I love saying ‘thank you, I made it’ when I get complimented on something I’ve made. #sorrynotsorry.

Who would you like to wear matching clothes with?

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Electric Blue Jersey Dress

electric-blue-jersey-dress-1I made this dress back in December and, as I mentioned in my post about my December makes, I wore this to the Sew Brizzle Christmas meet-up, having  made it the day before. This has to be one of the quickest things I’ve ever sewn up. It really only took a few hours to make.

electric-blue-jersey-dress-3The fabric is the same enormous remnant I used for one of my Coco tops and I still have more of it left! There must have been over 3 metres of it! It’s ribbed on one side, which was the side I used as the right side for my Coco, but for this dress I used the smooth side for the outside, except on the hem band and neck band, where I used the ribbed side on the outside.

electric-blue-jersey-dress-4The pattern is the free Jersey Dress designed by Emily from In The Folds for Peppermint Magazine. You should check out their range of free patterns if you haven’t already, there are some great ones! And it has pockets! As you know if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ll know how much I love pockets in dresses. These ones are cut on the sides of the dress front and back so it’s even quicker to put together (and cut out) than if the pockets were cut separately.

electric-blue-jersey-dress-5I actually really like the over-sized, cocoon-y nature of the shape of this dress. I made the size 10, which was the closest to my measurements, but I woulc recommend sizing down a size if you want a slightly less over-sized fit. The only change I made was to omit the cuffs as my jersey just wouldn’t stretch enough for the cuff pieces to fit on the ends of the sleeves. It is stretchy enough to go over my head, though, which is good! It turned out leaving off the cuffs was a good move as the sleeves would have been too long if I’d added them. Plus I don’t like not being able to roll up my sleeves and I feel even if I could have got them to fit, the cuffs would have been reeeeaaaaally tight.

electric-blue-jersey-dress-2I do really like this dress, it’s like wearing a secret blanket because the fabric is quite thick. Also I’ve been wearing it with a top underneath (instead of a cardigan on the top) to give me an extra layer of warmth. I even wore it on Christmas Day, though I got too warm because it was a really mild day and my sister’s house is really warm! I feel like it’s also just about smart enough for work, and I got loads of compliments on the colour the first time I wore it.

electric-blue-jersey-dress-6I think if I made this again, I would leave off the hem band as then I think it would be a slightly better length on me. This does feel quite long and although that isn’t necessarily a problem, I think it would be a more flattering length on me if it was a little shorter. I’m 5’3″ for reference, in case you’re going to make this and want to know how long it is on a short person!

Do you think you’ll make any of the Peppermint patterns? Do you have any recommendations of other patterns that are like secret blankets?

 

 

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#2017MakeNine and other plans for the year

After my review of 2016, I thought it would be nice to plan for my year of sewing yet to come. I’m sure you’ve seen Rochelle from Lucky Lucille‘s #MakeNine thing which has been all over blogs and instagram for the last week or so. I think it’s a really good idea to focus your year of sewing, so here are my #2017MakeNine in no particular order (and they’re all patterns I already have in my stash):

1. Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns

ginger-jeans-1I’ve ended up with almost no wearable jeans – I have one pair which are worn on my thigh between my legs which are just about passable but my others either don’t fit any more or have a broken zip. I’ve had this pattern for quite a while and 2017 is definitely going to be the year when I finally make them!

2. Roberts Collection by Marilla Walker.

roberts-collection-2This is another pattern I’ve had for a little while and after we moved, before I set up my sewing space, I spent some time printing and assembling PDF patterns I’d bought and this was one of them. So it is now all ready to go. I think I’m going to make the dungarees and the dungaree dress (so this is a twofer!) so I have some casual weekend clothes that aren’t just jeans (though I do love jeans).

3. Moneta Dress by Colette

moneta-dressI bought this pattern, along with the Mabel skirt, not long after they were released. I have a similar style RTW dress from H & M which I bought ages ago which I really like when I wear it, so I’m hoping to recreate it/ create more versions of it to have comfortable but hopefully smart-looking dresses for work.

4. Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Patterns

morgan-jeansI like a classic skinny jean, but more and more I feel I’m being drawn to boyfriend jeans too. I might start with this pattern as I assume there will be less careful fitting needed, and then move onto the Gingers.

5. Cooper Bag by Colette

cooper-bagI’ve had this pattern for years and I bought all the hardware I need to make it, I just haven’t yet actually made the bag. I currently use a crappy sporty rucksack and I’ve wanted a nice bag for aaages. Part of my problem is I can’t decide on what colours and fabrics to use so if anyone has any suggestions, I’m open!

6. Inari Tee Dress by Named

inari-tee-dressI meant to make one or two of these last Summer as I’ve seen so many great versions online but I didn’t get around to it – always the way, huh?! So this year is the year….

7. Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes

marianne-dressI think this could be another option for smart but comfortable work dresses – and they could also work for weekends depending on the fabric choice. I don’t know why I haven’t got around to making this yet, I’ve had the pattern for quite a while.

8. Carolyn Pyjamas by Closet Case Patterns

carolyn-pajamasHaving made Summer pyjamas in the form of the Grainline Lakeside Pyjamas, I am now in need of nice Winter and Spring/ Autumn Pyjamas so the Carolyns are on my to make list this year. All my current bought pyjamas are a bit past their best so I really need to get onto making some nice new ones. I’ve also never sewn with piping so that will be a fun skill to learn hopefully.

9. Albion Coat by Colette

albion-coatAlthough this pattern is sort of a men’s pattern, it is technically unisex. I bought it before Grainline brought out their Cascade Duffel Coat as it was the only one on the market. This is yet another pattern I’ve had – and been meaning to make – for years. I want to make basically a copy of the lovely bright coats they sell in Sea Salt. I’ll be on the hunt probably for yellow waterproof fabric and a navy and white striped lining.

As I’m sure you’ve picked up on, I’ve had most of these patterns for quite a while! I want to try as much as possible to sew from patterns I already have in my stash as I’ve only sewn about half the patterns I have – and that doesn’t include patterns from books! There are, I’m sure, one or two I will buy but I feel like I pretty much have every kind of pattern I could possibly need. I’m also going to try to be mindful about my fabric buying, so I buy with specific projects in mind.

This year I have also signed up for #ProjectSewMyStyle. Run by Bluebird Fabrics, the idea is to make 12 garments in 12 months and end up with a brilliant capsule wardrobe. Having looked at the schedule of the patterns, there are some months when I’m not going to join in as the patterns are not really my style – and it seems against the ethos of the project being about slow fashion to sew things for the sake of joining in with a project. I am going to try to make the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater 2 in January, though.

PrintThey’re a new-to-me pattern company, and I like the simple lines of this pattern, but it looks like a flattering shape too.

The only other pattern I think I’ll definitely try to make is the Named Yona Wrap Coat which is scheduled for September. There are some Megan Nielsen patterns throughout the year, too, so I might have a go at them, though I don’t want to buy tooooo many new patterns.

yona-wrap-coatMy other main project for the first half of this year is going to be to do Colette’s Wardrobe Architect series to try even more to focus my sewing, so this whole post may be thrown completely out of the window! I’m hoping it will help me be focused in my fabric shopping and how I pick fabrics for specific patterns so I don’t end up with things that don’t fit with other things I’ve made. I want to try to create more of a capsule wardrobe and try to be less of an unfocused magpie!

wardrobe-architectI think I’ll manage to post about this every 2 weeks, so it will take me a few months instead of the 14 (I think) weeks planned. I’m also going to carry on planning my sewing month by month as I’ve found this really helpful since I’ve been doing it the last few months – it means when I do have time to sew, I know what I’m sewing. And I have been sometimes cutting out things during evenings after work so I’m ready to sew when I have a chunk of time at the weekend, instead of spending one weekend day cutting out.

This seems like quite a lot to fit into one year, but I also want to try to make a quilt for the first time this year. I want to do some work on our bedroom, so maybe a quilt for the bed? I need to decide on a colour scheme for the room first though…. The other option is to make a throw for our sofa which currently has one of my pieces of fabric on it because it’s uglier than it looked online when we ordered it! I also want to have a go at weaving a wall-hanging to go above our bed as the walls in our bedroom are quite empty. I’ve also got a chair I want to recover. And I started making a tank top for The Boyfriend over a year ago so I really should finish that!

Phew! I’m glad I’ve got a whole year to do all of this! What are your plans for 2017?

A Review of 2016

As it’s New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d have a look back at the sewing I’ve managed to complete this year. Some of it hasn’t made it to the blog yet, but this year I have made:

(non-clothes)
2 Quiet Books
1 Appliqued Cushion
1 Internet Meme Cushion (which was my favourite non-garment I’ve made this year)

Internet Meme cushion

(clothes)
3 Shirts (2 Archers [1,2] and a Melilot)
6 Tops (3 Cocos [1,2,3], a Plantain, an Astoria and a Hemlock)
2 Jackets (both made with dresses, for a Christening and a Wedding)
1 Skirt
2 Pairs of Pyjamas
6 Dresses (1 from a Vintage Pattern, a Rushcutter, a Drapey Knit Dress, a Lace Emery/Elisalex mash-up, an Alix Dress and a not-yet-blogged Jersey Dress)
I’ve also made 3 skirts for my sister and am making a 4th and possibly 5th in the next week or so, so I make that 23 garments in total! That’s definitely the most things I’ve made in any year since I started sewing clothes in 2013! To compare I made 14 things in 2013, 13 in 2014 and 11 in 2015. It definitely helped to take a couple of months off work this year!

I’m going to round-up my favourite and most-worn makes of the year in a bit more detail.

My Rushcutter by In The Folds was one of my most worn garments this year – and definitely my most-worn dress. I love the loose fit, but it feels flattering at the same time. And I’ve discovered it’s perfect for layering with a long-sleeved top underneath when it’s cold. I think I need to make this pattern again in the new year!

Navy Spotty Rushcutter DressMy other most-worn dress was my #SewDots Drapey Knit Dress (from the 3rd GBSB book). This could have beaten out my Rushcutter if I’d made it earlier in the year! Again, I think I need one or two more of these in my wardrobe – but probably made from a more stretchy jersey as the sleeves on this one are a bit snug. It’s another good one for layering, too.

#SewDots GBSB Drapey Knit DressMy 2 Cocos (1,2) with funnel necks were pretty successful makes from this year, though I haven’t worn them since the weather has really got cold. They are probably the things I get the most compliments on too, which is nice!

Turquoise Coco Top with Funnel neckI’ve definitely got quite a lot of wear out of the 3 shirts I’ve made this year. For some reason I feel like my blue spotty Archer isn’t smart enough for work, so I tend to wear that more at weekends, but the other Archer and my Melilot are perfect for work, so I think it would be good to make some more shirts in 2017.

Blue Spotty Archer Button UpMy 2 probably favourite makes are the 2 party dresses I made, though of course, I haven’t worn them very much – but we all need a couple of occasion dresses, don’t we? The lace frankenpattern dress I made for a wedding in May was my most liked make on Instagram and I do love it so! I need more parties to go to so I can wear this again……

Wedding-Outfit-11And my most recently blogged make, my By Hand London Alix Dress, is my other favourite. It’s a bit of a different style for me – more 70s than 60s as I’m normally drawn to – but I do love it! Again, it’s not really the kind of thing I can wear down to Tescos…….

Bright Pink Viscose Alix Maxi Dress - By Hand LondonAnd now onto my couple of unsuccessful makes…..(quite proud there are only a couple!)

By the time I’d finished my 2 sets of Lakeside pyjamas, and we’d moved into a very cold flat, the weather was definitely NOT warm enough to wear these. Boo! Hopefully we’ll have a warm Summer in 2017 so I can break these babies out!

Teal Lakeside PajamasMustard Lakeside Pajamas

The other thing(s) I made which have only got one wear is my Vintage Pledge outfit I made for a Christening in April. I didn’t really feel comfortable in it on the day beacuse the fit of the dress is pretty off. I made it with no fitting changes, knowing the pattern was probably a size too big for me. Also I made it in a probably too stiff fabric, so it looks even worse fitting – if it had been a more drapey fabric, perhaps it would have been more forgiving?

Vintage Pledge Christening Outfit - 1960s Vintage Dress and Coat

I thought I might have got some wear out of the coat in the spring, but it didn’t happen. Maybe Spring 2017? Now I work in a fairly smart office, maybe I wouldn’t look so overdressed in a long jacket?

Vintage Pledge Christening Outfit - 1960s Vintage Dress and CoatOn a side-note, I failed in my Vintage Pledge to make 3 garments/outfits from my vintage patterns. I made these 2 and then I think I lost heart because they didn’t fit well. Next year I will have another go, but I’ll treat them like any other pattern, I’ll trace it and make a toile and make sure I end up with something wearable.

On a personal note 2016 has been ………interesting.

It was definitely a year of change:

  • The Boyfriend and I quit our jobs in London in January and packed up our flat to move across the country to Cirencester to live with his parents – thank god they let us stay with them! I have no idea how people move to different areas of the country if they don’t have someone they can stay with.
  • I spent a couple of months (from March to June) not working, which was nice in one way – I got lots of sewing done – but the stress of not being able to find work slightly ruined this period. Also I pretty much spent all the money I’d saved to move with.
  • I got a permanent job and started on August 1st – I’d forgotten what it’s like to be the new person at work and it took a couple of months to settle in. It’s also weird when you don’t have other friends as work friends seem more important and then when you don’t know them yet it feels a bit crap!
  • The Boyfriend and I got our own little flat (though it’s bigger than our one in London was!) and we moved in a week after I started my job! It’s definitely feeling like home, though I have a couple of things I’d like to sort out. I might post some photos on here one day, once I like everything……so probably never!

This year is the first year I’ve made some IRL sewing friends! Yay! I went to the #SewBrizzle meet up back in the Summer and there were a couple of us from more my neck of the woods, so we have met up for dinner twice so far. It’s sooooo nice to talk to people about sewing who know what you’re talking about! It’s lovely to get compliments on things I’ve made from non-sewers, but there aren’t many people with whom I can have an in-depth conversation, or even say the name of the pattern and have them know what I’m talking about!

I feel like the elephant in the room of my run-down of my 2016 is what has happened to my sister. For those of you that didn’t read my post about it, in August my sister got a DVT in her leg, which was very very swolen and purple. She went to the local hospital, who sent her away with blood thinners. 3 days later when she went back for her check up, they rushed her by ambulance to Addenbrookes hospital because it was clear the circulation had been cut off in her leg. The doctors spent 2 days trying to get the circulation going again – it turns out they were really trying to save her knee as when circulation has been cut off for more than about 4 hours, they’re fighting a losing battle. So on 25th August she had her left leg amputated above her knee. They spent the next couple of weeks while she was in hospital trying to work out why she had all these clots and it turned out it was lung cancer, which is the most common kind of cancer. It had spread to 3 of her lymph nodes which means it can’t be removed surgically, but she is having chemotherapy – via tablets! Who knew what was a thing!? She had a scan check-up thingy in November and the tumour had shrunk, which is brilliant news obviously.

She now has a prosthetic leg, which is the swishiest one you get if you’re not a paralympian (that’s the only kind better than the one she has) and she’s already (after only just over a month) walking with only one crutch. And she was practicing walking with no crutches over Christmas so she should be able to walk and get about so no-one can tell that she has only one leg. This is her the day she got it:

phoebes-leg
And this is her favourite Christmas jumper:

phoebes-jumper

A morbid sense of humour is definitely a must when faced with this kind of crap!

And to add crapness to crapness, my sister is not the only member of my family currently with lung cancer 😦 A couple of years ago my Dad had one of his kidneys removed (4 days before Christmas!) because he had a tumour in it. For 2 years he went for his scans and got the all clear. But he had another scan – and got his results on the same day as my sister got her good news – and it turns out the cancer he had in his kidney has reappeared, but this time in his lung. He has been living with a rare degenerative brain disease called Corticobasal Degeneration (or CBD) for a number of years (I’ve lost track of exactly when he was diagnosed as he had clearly been suffering with it for a long time before they worked out what it was) and is now in a home as my mum is no longer able to look after him at home as his mobility is so reduced now. (If you want to read about CBD and the related condition Progressive Supranuclear Palsy or PSP, you can visit the PSP Association.) It might sound harsh, but I think it’s almost kinder that he might die quicker of cancer instead of the slow death from his brain disease, which will cause him to eventually be unable to swallow or communicate. He probably only had 2-5 years left anyway, so the cancer diagnosis may not make too much of a difference. He’s not strong enough for agressive treatment, so it remains to be seen what treatment he does have.

So, yeah, that’s my 2016. The first half of the year was okay, then everything seemed to go a little wrong, starting with Brexit. I won’t go into politics on here, but it feels like the world is shifting and we need to pay attention to the people who feel left behind or forgotten or ignored. My answer is to do what I enjoy doing and be nice to people. I think that’s all we can do in our little lives, really. Try to spread love and joy and happiness and hope that if enough of us do this, 2017 will be a better year.

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog and comments on it, I hope you get a bit of joy from my makes and posts. I hope to get more into a regular schedule of posting next year as I really like connecting with like-minded people online, and IRL.

 

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