Wardrobe Architect Week 7: Exploring Solids and Prints

Well I’ve got a little behind with my Wardrobe Architect posts! The last one I wrote was almost a month ago – so much for writing a post every 2 weeks! I ran out of time for blogging much the last couple of weeks because I was working on my dress for The Dressmakers Ball (which was amazing! Post to follow soon), which took much, much, much longer than I thought. Also last weekend we had a power cut for half an afternoon and a whole evening and night (the power came back on the early hours of the next morning) so I did lose some time there.

Anyway, to this week’s Wardrobe Architect post. It’s all about exploring solids and prints this week (it’s not just a clever title!). The introduction for this week says:

“What I’ve heard over and over from you guys is that prints are incredibly seductive. Fabric stores are awash in adorable prints that look great on the bolt. But often, we get them home and don’t know what to do with them. Or, we make garments that sit in our closet and never get worn, either because they are too loud, too cute, or they just don’t go with anything.

By thinking ahead about the prints that you are really drawn to, you can narrow your choices and sidestep this feeling of being overwhelmed at the fabric store. If you know what’s really you, you’re less likely to collect things simply because they’re pretty or cute.”

There are also some questions to think about to help you narrow your choices with regard to solids and prints:

Prints vs. solids: What percentage of your wardrobe do you actually want to be comprised of prints? Some people wear prints all the time, for others they’re more of an accent.
I think at the moment prints are probably maybe 30-40% of my tops and dresses, but 0% of my trousers and skirts. I would like to have a couple of pairs of cool patterned slouchy trousers, but that probably is about the balance I like.

Scale: Do you tend to prefer large scale prints, small scale, or a mixture of both?
I think mostly I like smaller scale prints – being quite a small person I’m not sure I’d be able to pull off a giant print. Maybe if it was a simple shape of garment and there was, like, one repeat? Oooh, there’s an idea!

Contrast: Do the prints you like use lots of contrasting, bold colors? Or are they more tonal and subdued?
Definitely more tonal and subdued – I know I’d be a bit scared to wear something in crazy colours!

Naturalism: Do you feel drawn to flowing, organic, or naturalistic prints? Or are strong, abstract, geometric designs your thing? Or are there versions of both that you love?
I’m not really a fan of floral prints, so I would go for abstract and geometric designs definitely.

Mood: There are hundreds of styles of prints. Are there prints you choose that relate to your 5 style words?
Not sure, I’ll have to think more on this one.

I’ve narrowed down the kinds of prints I wear to a few categories.

Spots

#SewDots GBSB Drapey Knit Dress#SewDots Delphine skirtNavy Spotty Rushcutter DressBlue Spotty Archer Button Up
(Clockwise from top left: Drapey Knit dress, Sew Dots Delphine skirt (with a spotty lining), Blue Spotty Archer shirt, Dark Blue Spotty Rushcutter dress)


(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

Stripes

Interestingly all the striped things I’ve made have been basically the same colour!

Breton Striped Plantain Tee
(Clockwise from top left: Colette Laurel, Ugly Dress Refashion, Marianne Dress (not yet blogged), Breton striped Plantain Tee)

(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

Geometric (or not spots or stripes)

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtTilly and the Buttons Coco Dress (Made Up Initiative)Aztec Linden sweatshirt(Clockwise from top left: Melilot Shirt, Coco Dress, Aztec Pattern Linden, Moneta Party Dress)

(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

Florals and Novelty

Weirdly I’ve actually made a few flowery things even though I didn’t think it was my thing! Also there are some cute novelty print fabrics, but I tend to steer clear of them as I’m afraid I’ll feel stupid wearing them!

Yellow and Navy Flowery Deer and Doe Plantain Tee

(Clockwise from top left: Flowery Archer, Flowery Plantain, Vintage Summer Dress, Orla Kiely-esque Colette Laurel)

Interestingly I don’t really wear these items very much, apart from the archer, which I think means I need more archers, and that the prints and fit of the 2 dresses weren’t brilliant!

These are 3 of my favourite novelty prints – I think I could pull off the blue cats one because it’s actually a little more abstract. Or maybe I just need to grow some balls and wear what the hell I like!?

(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

I’ve found it really interesting to really analyse which prints I like and wear. The main theme, though, seems to be blue! I think I might have subconsciously known which prints I like, but having really thought about it and bringing it into my mind more consciously, hopefully my fabric buying won’t end with me thinking ‘what am I going to make’ and then ‘I’m never going to wear this’.

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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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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Blue Patterned Melilot Blouse

Today I’m posting the last of the things I made in October……in December. I’m a little backed up, what can I say?

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtThis is the Deer and Doe Melilot Shirt made from some mystery slippery fabric I got from Rolls and Rems at Holloway Road. It’s the first Deer and Doe pattern I’ve made and after the brief panic when I thought the instructions only came in French (they don’t, fyi, there is a French booklet and an English one!), the shirt came together pretty well, aside from my terrible fabric choice.

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtThis is some mystery almost-certainly-synthetic slippery horror. It was not easy to cut out accurately and it doesn’t iron at all, it just curls up. I’m frankly amazed the shirt turned out as okay as it did!

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtYou can see above it looks a bit wrinkled, but there’s not much I can do about that given than the iron just makes it worse!

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtYou can’t really see it but there is a pocket! It’s on my left (the right of the photo). I didn’t pattern match it – that would have been impossible! – but the fabric is so busy it disappears in the photos.

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtI made the size 38 and didn’t make any fitting changes – this is why I like making quite loose-fitting things! I actually think the fit across the back is okay (if you ignore the fact that the fabric looks terrible!). I really like how it sits lower at the back than the front, I think it’s a nice design detail that makes the shirt look a bit more interesting.

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtI made view A which has long sleeves, a rounded collar and it’s supposed to have hidden buttons. I say supposed to because I clearly did something wrong in the construction because I ended up with the bit that should have folded back over where the buttons would be next to the other part of the button band, so it looks like I’ve got a double button band. I didn’t realise until I’d sewed the entire things together, though. And weirdly the collar seemed to fit okay considering the body of the shirt was longer than it should have been! I just did the button holes down the middle of the 2 bands and it looks okay – no-one has commented on it anyway! (If they did I would just say it was deliberate ;))

Blue Patterned Melilot Shirt

I think my favourite thing about this pattern is the adorable collar. I just really like the shape of it and I feel like it’s quite flattering on me too, which is a bonus! I think I’ll try the version with the grandad-style collar too (and the short sleeves) to see if it looks as nice.

Blue Patterned Melilot Shirt

I found the instructions pretty clear, though there were a couple of times I found myself googling to see if there was a sewalong (which there isn’t, sob!). I think I mainly psyched myself out about the sleeve plackets because I’d read other blog posts that said the instructions weren’t clear. But actually once I’d worked out which placket went on which sleeve (it wasn’t clear to me which was the back of the sleeve in the diagrams), the instructions were perfectly clear. I think I’ve done this before – notably with the welt pockets on my Freemantle Coat – where I read all the instructions and think ‘what?!’ but then when I actually do the steps, the instructions make sense and it all comes together.

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtI definitely want to make this again but in a more cooperative fabric! I think this is a good work shirt – it looks equally nice tucked into a skirt (in these photos my navy drill Simplicity 2451) as it does over skinny trousers. I also kind of want to copy the cream sleek one in the pattern photos – and do the button band right so the buttons are actually hidden! In other news I have quite a bit more of this fabric. I’m thinking a skirt lining possibly? Any other suggestions for a pain-in-the-arse-but-pretty-fabric?

 

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Blue Spotty Archer Button Up thumbnail Boy's Shirt Refashion Flowery Archer Shirt

October Makes and November Plans

I can’t believe how quickly October has disappeared! Now we’re into November I thought I’d review how I did with my October makes and let you know by plans for the coming month.

I did pretty well with my October makes – I made 3 of the 4 things I planned. I’ll write full posts on each make soonish (hopefully).

My Deer and Doe Melilot shirt is pretty much finished, it just needs buttons and button holes – my machine hates doing button holes so I have to psych myself up for them.

This…….

october-planning-melilot….has become this:

melilot-shirt(it looks a bit wibbley because the fabric just does not iron!)

I also made my Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt:

october-planning-delphine-skirtI really like this and definitely think I’ll make more! It sits in a nice place on my waist. Also the fabric is slightly sparkley, which is always a good thing!

delphine-skirtI mentioned in my October post that I was planning to join in with the #SewDots challenge set by Rosie Martin using one of 2 fabrics in my stash:

october-planning-sew-dotsI actually used both of them! The pink one became a secret dotty lining in my Delphine skirt:

delphine-skirt-lining(I should really have ironed the skirt before I took this photo!)

I also made a dress from my grey spotty fabric – I did choose the Drapey Knit Dress from the 3rd Great British Sewing Bee book. I’ve worn it all day today and it’s really comfy – shame the pleats were sitting funny in this picture!

sewdots-dressSo these were my successful makes – you may have noticed there was one I didn’t get around to. The trousers. These will become one of my plans for November instead.

october-planning-simplicity-trousersMy next make will be the free Jersey Dress pattern from Peppermint magazine, designed by In The Folds. The fabric is the rest of a large length of jersey which I used some of for one of my Coco tops. It looks like it will be a secret blanket for the cold weather 🙂

peppermint-jersey-dressMy big make for the month – aside from my first pair of trousers – will be a By Hand London Alix Dress. There’s something about this pattern which I unexpectedly love! I’m going to a birthday party on the 19th November and I can wear it to my work Christmas party.

alix-dress-patternI don’t have any fabric for this yet. They recommend cotton lawn, voile, chambray, annel, double gauze, cotton silk, sandwashed silk, silk noil, wool crêpe, viscose crêpe, rayon and cupro. I’m thinking a lovely jewel-tone pink. If anyone knows where I can buy such a fabric, please let me know.

If I have time at the end of all this, I want to start making toiles for jeans. I haven’t decided which to do first – the Gingers or Morgans.

october-planning-jeansI have a couple of house-y projects to make too, so I doubt I’ll complete all of this including the jeans! I’m going to try to make some curtains for our bedroom – if I can figure out how!

 

 

 

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Aztec Mabel skirt thumbnail Book - GBSB Fashion With Fabric Gold and Blue Skirt to Tee

My sewing plans for October

I’m going to try to get back to blogging regularly – and sewing again after everything that has happened in my family in the last month/ 6 weeks. I actually got my sewing machine out for the first time in 2 months last weekend! If you follow me on Instagram then you may have seen this photo:

sewing-machineI didn’t actually do any sewing that day but it was nice to set up my new little space. I’ll do a full tour of my sewing space – I have dedicated storage for the first time ever, which is pretty exciting if I’m honest! Our flat is definitely coming together and we’re on the final push to get things sorted so I might share a full tour if anyone would find that interesting? I have a couple of home-related sewing projects planned, so they will no doubt make it to the blog at some point 🙂

Since I’ve moved house twice in the last 6 months I have become aware of just how many clothes I have. I had clear outs on 2 separate occasions before we left London – I sometimes need some time to come to terms with getting rid of things. Anyone else? Just me? Anyway, the crux of the matter is I have a crazy amount of clothes, but probably like most women, I wear a fairly small proportion of them  – though this percentage has undoubtedly gone up. With this in mind I thought it would be a good idea to be more mindful about what I make and the fabric I buy. I made quite a few things during the couple of months before I found a full time job so I have used quite a bit of my stash, which is good, and I want to try to buy as good quality fabric as I can afford and for specific projects if possible from now on.

I pretty much think I’m all set for patterns at the moment too – which is hard because new, great patterns are released all the time by all the amazing indie designers out there at the moment – and I want to support them by buying their stuff. But until I’ve worked through some of my plans for both work-wear and casual-wear, I’m going to try to use patterns I already have. I’m sure I’m not alone in having quite a few I’ve not made yet. Please say I’m not alone! I think in the past I tended to buy patterns when I didn’t have time to sew, so my collection is definitely quite big.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I want to try to be more careful in planning what I’m making to add to my wardrobe. I’m going to do a monthly post about my plans – and reviewing the success (or not) of that planning for the previous month – to try to keep myself accountable to……myself.

So onto my October plans…….

The first thing I want to finish is a Deer and Doe Melilot Shirt I cut out and started before we moved out of The Boyfriend’s parents’ house. The fabric is something really slippery and probably really synthetic, but I think it will look nice as a Melilot.

october-planning-melilotHere’s a close-up of the fabric (in an obviously carefully arrange pile!):

october-planning-melilot-fabricThe Melilot is (kinda obviously) a work garment, and I could also do with some more smart trousers – I haven’t worked anywhere where I couldn’t wear jeans and trainers for ages so my office-wear wardrobe is a little lacking. So I want to have a got at my very first pair of trousers! Exciting and scary in equal measure! I bought this Simplicity pattern (1696) with a voucher I had, after doing some searching for cigarette-type trousers. The fabric is some navy blue suiting I got at the fabric swap at the Sew Brizzle meet-up I went to a couple of months ago. I’m going to try not to over-fit them as I don’t want them to end up looking like skinny jeans. Watch this space!

october-planning-simplicity-trousersAnother part of my new planning mindset is to manage my expectations of how quickly I can sew and finish things. So my 3rd and (probably) last make for October will be a Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt (from her book, Love At First Stitch). The fabric is another one I picked up as Sew Brizzle – you can’t really tell in the photo but the lighter flecks are silver so it looks really nice in real life. I think this could be a good skirt for Winter as the fabric is relatively thick and could be good with thick tights and boots!

october-planning-delphine-skirt

My optional 4th project for October is to join in with Rosie Martin‘s #SewDots initiative. If you haven’t come across this yet, it’s a month where you sew something with dotty fabric to raise money for the RNIB because of how important Braille is to the blind and visually impaired community. I have 2 lengths of spotty fabric already but they’re both quite thin so I’m not sure how suitable they are for Autumn/ Winter sewing!

october-planning-sew-dotsThe pink on the left is woven and the grey on the left is jersey. They’re both quite drapey. I was thinking of a Colette Aster for the pink or a GBSB drapey knit dress or slouchy cardigan/ kimono for the grey. To be perfectly honest I’m not sure I’ll get time to make something for #SewDots, but I’ll still donate to the fundraising page Rosie has set up.

Do you plan your sewing or do you make what you fancy when you have time?

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A Hemlock and a Life Update

Well that was a bit of a break from blogging! Oops! My last post was over a month ago – and there have been some changes (mostly positive ones!) in my life since then. But I do also have a make to share with you – a mostly successful Grainline Hemlock Tee. I find myself wanting to apologise for the quality of my photos…..again! These were soooo bright. I’ve darkened them as much as I could on Photoshop but they’ve ended up looking a bit weird!

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So the major life news is I now have a permanent job, after moving from London to Cirencester 5 months ago, hurrah! I was temping for a couple of months before that, which was handy as I was quickly getting through the money I managed to save before we moved. I started yesterday and so far it’s going well – I’m just doing admin and looking after the post for a small local company, but so far everyone seems nice and the job seems doable. This is the first job where I have to dress smartly – though thankfully not quite as smart as I feared, women don’t have to wear suits.

I really like the Hemlock and feel like it could become a good smart wardrobe staple, paired with smart trousers or a pencil skirt. The neckband definitely needs work, though, for that! As I’m sure you can see, there is a fair amount of puckering around the neckline – I think this is mostly because of the incompetent way I sewed it in! Also for some reason I ended up with a super wide band, so I folded it in half on the inside and top-stitched it again. There isn’t a pattern piece for the neckband, and I think because this jersey is quite slippery and drapey and moved around A LOT when I was cutting it out, I suspect my measuring wasn’t super accurate! Though I think IRL it almost looks deliberate and it’s not going to stop me wearing it!

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Now having a job means that we also now have a flat lined up to hopefully move into this weekend – assuming all the references and checks and things happen on time (and we don’t get rejected!). Since we’re staying with The Boyfriend’s parents, though, it means we can be flexible with moving dates. I can’t help myself from planning what furniture is going to go where – and we need to buy it all new (or second hand) so I’m planning rooms of my dreams, though I’ll have to be patient as it won’t all look perfect immediately, especially if we’re going to buy some furniture by auction/ second hand. Also we have a little back garden (which is part of a larger shared courtyard) so hopefully I can take some outside photos and it won’t be so difficult to get good lighting. Maybe I’ll get over my fear of looking stupid and find some lovely parts of Cirencester to take pictures in front of – it really is a pretty place, you should google it if you’ve never heard of it! For now, though, you’ve still got indoor pictures……

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We had had another house lined up, which we were going to move into with The Boyfriend’s brother, but 2 weeks before we were supposed to move in, the landlady decided to sell it instead so we lost it. This was a fairly big house, with 3 bedrooms and an aga in the kitchen. But I was going to get my own sewing room – the 3rd bedroom was too small for a bedroom really but perfect for a little sewing space of one’s own (to paraphrase Virginia Woolf!). I’m a little sad that the flat we’ve got now doesn’t have enough space for a dedicated room, but there is a bedroom, living room and large dining room space which all the other rooms lead off, so I’m commandeering a corner of that room, and I’ll have some proper storage for my stash of fabric and patterns, so that’s at least something. It is a shame that I’ll be working on the dining table, so I’ll have to pack away every day, but I’m coming up with plans of how to make this as painless as possible. And I think it will mean I have to keep my stash under control, which can’t be a bad thing. I’m starting to think about consuming fabric more mindfully and not buying long remnants just because they’re cheap, but buying fabric of a better quality and for specific projects. I also think I’m okay for patterns for a while – I’m sure this will be famous last words, but I have skirts, dresses, trousers, jeans, tops and pajamas and I can’t think of anything that I’m missing.

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This Hemlock, however, was not born of this new mindset, this black drapey jersey was from Rolls and Rems – seriously, it’s been 5 months since I left London and I’m still sewing up fabric I bought there! I don’t know it’s composition, but I like the way it hangs. And I like the way the Hemlock fits on me – definitely an improvement on my less-than-perfect Coco in my search for the perfect t shirt. I think so far it’s a tie between the Hemlock and the Plantain. I think the length is more flattering on me – the Coco is a bit long (which obviously is easily remedied by taking it up a bit!), and I like the more boxy fit. I do want to make another one up with a better neckband – I’ve heard good things about a tutorial from Megan Nielsen on how to sew in a neckband, have you used it? Or do you have any tips on sewing the band on the Hemlock specifically? What’s going on in your life? Do you find when you’re in a time of flux that blogging or sewing or both take a back seat?

I’ll leave you with this unedited photo from my Hemlock photoshoot – I look like a ghost!

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Another Coco top, but this time I’m not in love

This is my fourth coco (I think, at last count! 1, 2 & 3 here) and I have to be honest, I don’t love it 😦 After my last post where I wondered if it was bad that I liked most of what I make, now I get to something I’m not so pleased with. Sod’s law!

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I love this fabric – it’s one of my remnants left over from Rolls and Rems. There was just enough fabric to make this top, which was great obviously. The flowers have light blue, a limey green and a corally pink, plus the black blobs, so there is plenty that I can wear with it, including a skirt my friend gave me in her big wardrobe clear out.

I think the fabric is too drapey for this pattern unfortunately. I think it works better with more stable knits – I feel the same really about the dress version I made, I don’t like how it hangs on me.

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Definitely some pooling at the back. I think it’s because of the shape of the top as well as the fabric – the non-boxy, slightly shaped in at the waist and out again at the hips is oddly not my favourite. I find I’m more drawn to boxy tops. Especially because this is loose on my waist and then kind of tight on my hips.

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The neckline is a particular issue for me – it seems a bit too wide. And it doesn’t sit quite right. I used my twin needle for all the hems. I think this might have been better with some kind of neckband, which of course isn’t part of this pattern – but it is a part of many other tee shirt patterns, so I might steel one of those if I make a coco top again.

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This top is part of my exploration of the perfect t-shirt. I’ve already made the Plantain twice (1 & 2) and I’ve made a Hemlock, which I’ll blog soon hopefully. I also have the Maya top and the top which is part of the Roberts Collection. I also have my trusty Scout Tee pattern still. Hopefully I’ll realise which of these are good on me and which aren’t – and hopefully I’ll end up with a go-to tee pattern for woven and jersey fabric. Do you have a favourite basic top pattern? It feels like there are so many it’s sometimes overwhelming!

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