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?

Selfless Sewing: Denim Moss Skirt for my Sister

I finally made the final skirt my sister asked for for Christmas a couple of weeks ago, yay! (Though I’ve got another one yet to blog) I decided to model it myself for some photos before sending it in the post. It is, of course, the Grainline Studio Moss Skirt.

denim-moss-skirt-1I have to say, I’m really quite pleased with this make. I like a simple skirt that has a front, a back and a waistband, but it was nice to make something a bit more complicated. And it has pockets!

denim-moss-skirt-2

This was my first time sewing a fly, and I have to say it wasn’t as scary or as difficult as I thought it would be! The instructions for this pattern were really clear and easy to follow for the fly front. The only thing I found, though, was that the fly shield on the inside (which covers the zip on the inside) seems to be on backwards as the zig-zagged/ overlocked edge is the edge that shows then the zip is undone and the folded side is hidden, but I feel like it should be the flipped over. I know Jen from Gingerella also found this problem – which made me more convinced it wasn’t my mistake! She talks about it in this video, in case you don’t understand what I’m talking about!

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One of the things I really like about this pattern is the yoke on the back. I decided to use jeans-type top-stitching to make the skirt look like a proper denim skirt, and to show up the design lines that wouldn’t otherwise be obvious, like the yoke.

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I made the skirt in a size 6, and as eagle-eyed readers may spot, it’s a long version but without the band that is on the pattern for the long version. Phoebe didn’t really like the way that looked, so I extended the length of the mini skirt version instead, but 6.25 inches, to make it hit just below the knee.

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I was actually quite sad to have to give this skirt away to be honest, but luckily there was enough left of the denim for me to cut out a version for myself! You can tell I like it, by how many photos I’ve taken! I particularly like it with this striped top which my old boss gave to me! You can’t beat breton-style tops and denim!

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For the topstitching I used gutterman topstitching thread, in that goldy colour which I associate with jeans. I lengthened the stitch length to 4 (instead of my standard 2.5) and used blue thread in the bobbin, as there isn’t much topstitching thread on each roll because it’s so thick. I did have to play around with the tension a bit, because of having 2 different thicknesses of thread.
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If you follow me on instagram, you’ll already have seen that I used a jeans button for the first time on this skirt – sorry for the blurry photo, though! I was a bit scared to put the button on, because you can’t really move them once they’re on! I made the button-hole first and then made sure it all sat flat and straight and then marked where the button should go. And it all worked out okay!

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Here are some closer shots showing the topstitching. There is supposed to be a bar tack at the bottom of the fly shape, which sort of worked, but not really. If anyone has any tips of how to do that, I’m all ears!

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I did double rows of stitching on the centre seams and on the yoke, because it seemed right. Because the waistband is quite narrow, though, I thought one row of stitching would look best. I ummed and ahhed about the hem, and whether to sew it in matching or topstitching thread, and I’m glad I went for topstitching thread as it looks right.

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I used some thinner fabric for the waistband facing and the pocket linings. I think this might be the first time I’ve used contrasting fabric in this way, and I love it! This fabric is actually from a dress which my friend gave me in a big pile of things before I left London. The little dark flowers might look black from afar, but they are actually navy blue, which nicely matches the shade of blue of the denim.

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The pattern is really well drafted, so there’s absolutely no way the pocket linings will poke out to the right side, but it’s nice to get a flash of the lining when you look inside the pockets!

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My sister very obligingly took a photo of herself wearing the skirt – unfortunately it’s kind of teeny! The skirt looks a little big on me, because it’s a size bigger than I will make for myself, but it looks pretty perfect on her! Phew!

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Once I make my own denim version of this, it might become my favourite skirt pattern! Made in a smarter fabric, without the topstitching, and with a normal button, I think it will look smart enough for work.

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Aztec Mabel skirt thumbnail phoebes-delphines-thumb-2 Mustard Corduroy Shorts into Skirt

January Makes and February Plans

I can’t believe January has disappeared already – it seems 2017 is going to zip past as quickly as 2016 seemed to! And although I had modest plans for what to make in January, I only managed one of the 2/3 things I planned (I say 2/3 because the third thing was the trousers I was going to cut out, but not sew together).

The one things I did managed to make was the Denim Moss skirt for my sister. This was the 4th one I was supposed to make for Christmas, and I don’t think I did too badly getting it to her by the end of the month. I once made socks for 3 of my make friends and they were a whole year late by the time I finished them!

denim-moss-skirtThe Moss took a bit longer to make than I thought it would, but I really enjoyed making it. Having made pretty simple skirts the last few times I’ve made skirts, it was nice to make one with a bit more to it. And there should be enough of the denim left for me to make a matching one!

The reason I didn’t get my Toaster Sweater made or my trousers cut out was that I was away the first weekend in January, then The Boyfriend was away the weekend after that and I didn’t feel in the mood to sew, so I only really had 2 weekends where I sewed. And I had a couple of other things to make, one of which is my Secret Valentines Exchange present (which I’ve got a little bit left to do on). The other things was to make a santa’s sack – but not red or Christmas-themed – for work to celebrate the CEO working at the company for 20 years! We had a party last night which was good fun, and each department bought him a silly gift and I made a sack to put them all in.

sack-for-workThere is writing and stuff on the other side, so I’ll share more photos in a full post soon.

Hopefully February will be a bit more productive than January was!

The main thing on my list for this month – which has to be finished by the weekend of the 24th – is my Moneta for the #MonetaParty. This is also one of my #2017MakeNine so it’s even better! I have 2 option for fabric – if anyone has a strong opinion one way or the other, please let me know as I’m struggling to decide! I could make 2 but I doubt I’d get them both done in time.

teal-moneta

navy-monetaThe top one is teal and the bottom one is navy blue with white smudges – for some reason I couldn’t take good photos of either of them! They’re both quite thin and drapey so hopefully whichever I choose will look good. I think I’m leaning towards the navy one, but I do feel teal is a good colour on me……argh, decisions!

My other project for this month is to make my Toaster Sweater, which I shamefully haven’t even printed out yet! I have found some fabric, though, so I’m halfway there! I bought this nice, quite thick, silver ponte from my local sewing shop. It has a small amount of dressmaking fabric (and a lot of quilting fabric!) and I thought I should support them and buy dressmaking fabric so they hopefully keep stocking it. They have some nice needlecord at the moment too.

toaster-sweater-fabricI feel like I’m pushing it at this point, but here is my navy blue trousers…….yet again………seriously. I don’t know if I’m ever actually going to get around to making these!

october-planning-simplicity-trousers

I think I need to not have to have a job to be able to make all the things I want to make! If anyone knows the secret to this, please let me know!

December makes and January Plans

I know I already wrote a post about my plans for the year, but I thought it would have ended up even longer if I included my regular recap of what I made last month and plan of what to make this month, so here is another planning post in the same week!

My main aim for December was to make 4 skirts for my sister for Christmas, but I did manage to squeeze in a sneaky dress for myself!

electric-blue-jersey-dressThis is the Jersey Dress by In The Folds with Peppermint Magazine. It’s free to download and has in seam pockets! I’ve worn it quite a few times so far, including to the Christmas Sew Brizzle meet up and on Christmas Day! It’s quite long on me but it’s like a secret blanket!

I managed to finish 3 of the 4 skirts for my sister – I stupidly thought they would be really quick, which was true to a certain extent, except I made stupid mistakes with the Mabel skirt which put my timings back a bit. I finished a red corduroy Delphine, a navy blue drill Delphine and a grey quilted fabric Mabel. I’ll post in more detail about them later this month hopefully.

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I’m pretty pleased with the pattern matching of the quilted lines on the Mabel, if I do say so myself! And Phoebe liked the skirts and they fitted pretty well and were the right length, which is cool. She’s not sure about the colour of the navy drill one as she ordered the fabric online and it is quite a pale shade of navy, but hopefully when the weather gets warmer she’ll have other things to wear it with so it will grow on her. And if not, it’s not the end of the world 🙂

So my first make for January has to be the skirt I didn’t make in time for Christmas – a denim Moss Skirt. I’ve got the pattern assembled, traced and altered – she wants the long length but without the hem band, so I’ve lengthened the mini version pattern pieces. I have a zip and thread too, so I’m all ready to go!

denim-moss-skirtThere was quite a bit of fabric left from each of the skirts I made, so I also might see if I can make a Moss Skirt out of what I’ve got left from the red corduroy. Selfishly I might use the rest of the grey quilted fabric (probably for a matching Mabel!) and the navy drill, but I don’t wear red so I figure if I can make something else for Phoebe, then it doesn’t go to waste.

red-corduroy-moss-skirtAs I mentioned in my 2017 planning post, I’ve signed up for #ProjectSewMyStyle and I’m going to try to make the pattern for January which is the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater 2. This might get bumped to February as I don’t have any fabric I’d like to use for it currently in my stash. And there was talk of a Sew Brizzle trip to Birmingham to go fabric shopping at the end of the month, so I’ll look for something then hopefully. I’m also in Aberdeen for a second Christmas with my uni friends so I might see if we can take a detour to a sewing shop at some point, then this might get made this month. I could do with some warmer clothes to be honest, as our flat is rather cold!

PrintI don’t know how many more times I can add this make to my plans……

october-planning-simplicity-trousersIt’s getting embarrassing now! I now pledge to have the pattern and fabric cut out by the end of the month, then hopefully I can make them in February. I’m hoping once I’ve popped by trouser cherry, then my jean-making plans for the year won’t feel quite so scary!

Given that I’m away this weekend I doubt I’ll get all of this done this month, but I’ll do my best!

#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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November Make(s) and December Plans

Since I’ve been doing these planning posts, the months seem to be disappearing very quickly! I think this means I have to be more modest in my plans…….as demonstrated by the fact that I made only one thing in the whole of November. Oh. Dear.

It was a pretty good thing though – I made my By Hand London Alix Dress for a party I went to 2 weekends ago for my sister. It’s made from some viscose from Abakhan – the photo below doesn’t do the colour justice.

By Hand London Alix Dress

I will take some proper photos of me wearing and do a full blog post on it – I really loved making it and wearing it. I don’t think there’ll be too many occasions in my life where I can wear a maxi dress but I really like the top version of the pattern, so I think I’ll be using this pattern again.

So now after one dress……onto my December plans!

I will try to make the free Jersey Dress pattern from Peppermint magazine, designed by In The Folds. After I finished my dress, I was away for the weekend and then last weekend The Boyfriend’s brother and sister-in-law came to visit so I didn’t end up with much sewing time for the rest of the months – that’s my excuse anyway 😉

peppermint-jersey-dress

I still haven’t even finished assembling the pattern for this, let alone cut it out. I think it will be quite quick to come together once it’s all prepared – I find jersey is quite quick to sew because you don’t have to neaten the seams 😀

Realistically there are only about 3 weekends left until Christmas (eek! How did that happen!?) the main things I want to get done this month are 4 skirts for my sister. She has now got her prosthetic leg and is learning to walk with it, though it is hard work. They say it takes something like 80% more energy to walk with a prosthetic leg than if you have 2 legs! She has asked me to make her some skirts to wear as most of her clothes were skinny trousers and her thigh is still quite swollen and it will take a long time for it to completely settle down into its permanent shape.

She has asked for 2 Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirts (hopefully they will be better fitting than mine!), one in navy blue drill……

navy-drill-delphine…and one in red corduroy

red-corduroy-delphineShe bought some really lovely grey quilty jersey fabric to become a Colette Mabel – I may have to get some for myself and make a matching skirt. Or maybe a Talvikki Sweater like Heather Lou’s?

grey-quilty-mabelThe 4th skirt will be a Grainline Moss, which I bought the PDF of during their Thanksgiving sale – I’m going to try to print it off and assemble it this weekend. Then I can make myself some versions too!

denim-moss-skirtThe denim has a little stretch in it but it also a bit thick-feeling so I may have to line this one so it’s comfortable to wear.
 

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Pink Pencil skirt thumbnail 2 sewdots-delphine-skirt Mustard Corduroy Skirt Refashion Thumb 2

#SewDots Delphine Skirt

We’re nearly at the end of November and I’ve still not posted all of my October makes! This is my second entry for Rosie Martin‘s #sewdots initiative – it has a surprise spotty lining!

sew-dots-delphine-skirt-4The pattern is the Delphine Skirt from Tilly and the Buttons’s book Love At First Stitch. I’ve made one other pattern from the book – the Mimi Blouse – but it’s a little small now, especially as it shrunk in the wash. I made the size 2 of the blouse but it was always a little snug, especially around my arms, so I looked again at the measurements of skirt and I came out as a size 3, with a little ease around the waist, which I wanted as I always make the mistake of fitting things standing up, then I sit down and it cuts me in half!

sew-dots-delphine-skirt-3As you can probably see in the above photo, though, there ended up being a little too much ease. But actually I think the fix would be to angle the waistband in a little instead of taking length off it. Marie from Sewn Bristol talked about doing this in one of her youtube videos, so when I make this again I’ll definitely use her tutorial. She is talking about the Grainline Moss Skirt, but the theory should be the same. You can see how it sits away from my waist in the below picture even more – sad face for dramatic effect!

sew-dots-delphine-skirt-6Having said all of that, I’m pretty pleased with this skirt – I don’t plan to wear it like this so it will be less obvious the fit is a little off! Though I might take it up just a little. I expected it to come out quite short as most of Tilly’s patterns seems to, but on me this is knee length. I maybe should leave it as it is, though, so it’s more demure for work!

sew-dots-delphine-skirt-5

It actually looks a bit better from the back weirdly. Though it seems to have a couple of drag lines in the photo – I don’t think they’re there in real life. I always seem to get this step thing with zips in skirts, though, and I don’t know how to stop it – any tips? I put a pin into the zip on the second side to mark the waistband seam so they would line up – and the waistband seam seems to. Maybe I just sewed the top seam inaccurately?

sew-dots-delphine-skirt-7I do love this fabric. And I love the shape of the skirt, it’s very cute! I used Tilly’s tutorial for adding a lining to a skirt and I can definitely recommend it, it was very simple and didn’t involve any hand sewing!

delphine-skirt-lining

I’ve started wearing skirt and dresses more this Winter – I was cycling last Winter so it was a lot easier to wear trousers all the time – so I think I will make this again. Not sure what fabric to make it in though…..any suggestions? I think it would have to be something with body so it holds its shape.
 

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