Fabric shopping in Birmingham

Last Saturday I went with some of the ladies I met at Sew Brizzle to go fabric shopping in Birmingham. I was sad to have missed the bigger meet up the previous week but in a way it was nice to go in a small group as it gave me the chance to chat with everyone (which I didn’t manage to do the time I went to a big London meet-up).

Here we are outside Guthrie and Ghani. Thanks to Sarah from Like Sew Amazing for the photo – she remembered to take pictures when I didn’t! A very kind man took this picture for us 🙂

From left to right: Karen, Amy, Me, Sarah, Ruth and Jen.

Our first stop was Fancy Silk Store. I felt a little overwhelmed when we first went in as it’s deceptively big – and has an upstairs – and I couldn’t take everything in! I did spot that they had reasonably priced denim and after we’d been around some other shops, we circled back and I bought some stretch and non-stretch denim for Ginger and Morgan wearable toiles.

This is the stretch one – it has a nice flecked weave and looks a little like linen, but is thicker. It was £6.99 per metre and I got 1.4m.

And this is the non-stretch. I did want something a bit lighter for my Morgans, but this will do for a practice. It is a little lighter than the stretch one. It was £7.99 per metre and I got 1.6m.

After this first shop we headed into the rag market, where there are loads of fabric stalls, inside and out. I had made the mistake of not taking out any cash as I thought if I did I wouldn’t buy anything! But I did have enough to get some black and some white cotton twill (I think it was twill and not drill, anyone know the difference?!).

I’m planning a 60s style colour blocked Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress. I bought 2 metres of the black and one of the white, and it came to £12 in total (so £4 per metre). I bought this fairly early on and for some reason it weighs loads, so I got pretty sick of carrying it around by the end of the day – I was glad I waited until the end to get the denim!

After the rag market, we all got on a bus and went to Moseley to visit Guthrie and Ghani. I was not-so-secretly hoping we would go there, and I’m so glad I was with people who knew how to get there! I just followed 🙂 I could easily have spent a small fortune in Guthrie and Ghani – you can tell everything is really good quality. And the shop is so pretty!

I decided to treat myself to a couple of patterns which I wanted – the Ebony Tee and Dress by Closet Case Patterns and the Guise Pants by Papercut Patterns.

They have a really great selection of remnants and I couldn’t help picking up a couple of them. I just loved the pattern on this Robert Kaufman cotton. It’s navy blue, though it looks kind of black in the photo. It seems to be called Storm Drown, and I can’t find it anywhere online so I guess it’s not available. This bolt end was 275cm x 90cm and was £15.50. I’m hoping there will be enough for a Colette Aster blouse.

I also couldn’t resist this gorgeous mustard loopback jersey. The photo doesn’t do the colour justice, nor how soft it is. It’s honestly one of the softest fabrics I’ve ever touched. It was £6.50 and there’s only 155cm x 40cm so I’m not sure what I’ll be able to make, but I had to have it.

The final thing I bought from Guthrie and Ghani was this coral crepe fabric. It has a lovely drape and a slightly mottled texture and I got 1.7m of it at £10.50 per metre. This is one of the more expensive fabrics I’ve bought, but the Anderson Blouse I’m planning to make will still only cost £17.85 which is pretty good for a blouse made of such nice fabric!

The last fabric shop we went to was Barry’s. I would have no idea how to find it on my own, but it’s definitely a hidden treasure!

This is another shop that is very, very full of fabrics and I think you could easily spend 4 hours in there and still not see everything!

I did manage to find one treasure, thanks to Jen (Gingerella). It’s this nice blueish-greyish cotton and I bought 2 metres – I can’t remember how much I paid, though. I think I’ll make a short-sleeved Melilot Shirt for when the weather finally gets warm!

So there we go, that’s my haul for a day’s shopping. Not too bad I think. Have you been fabric shopping in Birmingham? Did we miss anywhere good?

 

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March Makes and April Plans

March turned out to not be that productive a month for me sewing-wise, but I knew that would probably be the case as I was away 3 out of the last 4 weekends, and I do most of my sewing at the weekend. This also meant I didn’t really have anything finished to blog, hence the little break from blogging.

I did manage to make my toaster sweater, which has already got a lot of wear, so I think there are more of these in my future!

I mostly made the Simplicity 1696 trousers I’ve been planning since October……which is 6 months ago! I’ll hopefully finish them this weekend, then I’ll do a full post about all the fit adjustments I’ve done/will have to do. I’ve got to properly sew the leg seams (they’re just basted), add the waistband lining and hem them. Hopefully!

I also make a present for my niece’s second birthday, but I’ll save that for my full post at some point in the future.

I don’t think that’s too bad considering I was so busy and therefore tired! I’m definitely finding that I am happy to not have evening or weekend plans 95% of the time, and if I have to do stuff more often than that I get knackered!

So now onto my plans for April (which we’re almost a week into!). I’m hopeful of making a few things because I have next week off work and although I will go out and about a bit, I’m hoping to sew at least a bit on most of the days.

The first thing I’m hoping to make is some Carolyn Pyjamas out of this amazing boaty liberty fabric which one of my friends gave me a couple of weeks ago when I was in London. I love it! And the pattern is one of my #2017MakeNine. I’m thinking to add some red piping – although someone on instagram suggested I do white piping, which I think will also look good. Which do you think I should do? There are 3 metres, so I think it will be enough for a pair of pjs, though I may do short sleeves with long trousers if there isn’t enough for long sleeves.

My next must-make is what I hope will be a good Spring garment; a stripey Marianne Dress. This is a pattern I’ve had in my stash for ages, and I don’t know why I’ve not yet gotten around to making it! This is partly why I added it to my #2017MakeNine. I bought this navy scribble striped fabric after seeing it on Rosabella’s youtube channel. I’m sometimes wary of ordering fabric online but because she said it was good quality, I thought it safe to give it a go and it does feel nice. I hope it sews up well! I’m thinking I’ll make the shirt-sleeved version but without the collar and without colour-blocking, though I may change my mind! Any thoughts?

My third hopefully definite make is my denim Moss Skirt. I cut it out a while ago, and having made one already for my sister, I feel sort of confident that I can make it without too many places where I get stuck!

Of course, this is already a pretty ambitious bunch of projects, but I’m hoping to make a start on some jeans finally. Both of Closet Case Patterns’ jeans patterns are also on my #2017MakeNine so I want to tick off one or two this month! I’m going fabric shopping in Birmingham on Saturday this week and one of my main aims is to get some denim for one or both pairs.

If I get time after all of this (which seems really unlikely!) I want to have a go at the Bellatrix Blazer from Papercut Patterns. I bought this last month as I wanted a slightly more fitted jacket pattern than the By Hand London Victoria Blazer which I’ve made 3 times (1,2,3), as I feel more put-together at work in a blazer.

I’m also considering going to the Dressmakers’ Ball, which is on 12th May, so it might be that half of these plans go out of the window in favour of making a gown of some kind! I’m tempted to go just because when do you get the chance to make and wear a gown!? Are you going to the ball? Have you already started your dress?

#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?