Sewing with a (very loose) plan

DIY Clothes

Oh hello! I’ve been wondering what to do about this blog for a while now. 2016 has not been the best for me (and I think a lot of people seem to feel that way), and it’s led to a lot of soul-searching about almost every area of my life. In the end, the decision about the blog was this: I miss it, and I miss forcing Ben to take 12,000,000,000 photos of me for each post. So it stays, and I am going to take advantage of Ben’s kind nature, and work through my backlog of unblogged pieces.

Overall, while it hasn’t exactly been my favourite year, I can take a lot of positives away from it. One of which is that I’ve been offered a new job, which, crucially, doesn’t start till 2017. While I’m not completely sure what the office dress code is, I’m fairly sure it will be slightly smarter than my previous company’s ‘wear what you like’ code, and certainly smarter than my working from home uniform of jeans and a hoodie.

After looking through my wardrobe, I’ve come up with a list of 12 items that I think I’d like to make this year, and which are currently in both my fabric and pattern stash. I’m not going to force myself to stick to this list, but I wanted to put something together to spur me on next time I’m feeling overwhelmed with choice. These are all fairly simple pieces that I think will fit nicely into my wardrobe and lifestyle – both for the office and at home.


Striped Skirt Refashion: Refashion may be a slightly grand term for this. I bought a size 22 skirt in a charity shop and I would like to reduce it to my size (about a UK 10/12). It should be fairly straightforward, but I’m dithering.

Colette SeleneI’m going to make this from a brown poly-wool blend which I unearthed during another charity shop rummage. Not super exciting, but perfect for looking smart in the office. I think the pocket options add a bit of interest.

Colette BeignetI made one of these in stretch denim this summer and I love it, so I will be hoping to squeeze another out of the brown poly-wool. Again, not very inspiring fabric, but I think it will work nicely with the pattern.

New Look 6346I found a pattern similar to this while exploring my auntie’s sewing room recently, but as I’d already helped her unintentionally downsize her book collection, I didn’t think I could ask to take the pattern off her hands, too. Luckily I found this in the New Look Black Friday sale. I’d like to make view A in some grey linen which I have leftover from my Miette skirt if I have enough.


Grainline ArcherThis pattern (without ruffle) is exactly my style, so I’m really keen to get stuck in with this polyester I found during the closing down sale at my local fabric shop *sniffle*. I reckon this could turn out to be work-appropriate, too.

Seamwork AddisonI may change my mind about this pattern, as it looks quite boxy, but this fabric (which I won from Dragonfly Fabrics a few years ago) is so drapey, it could work.  Worst case, it’ll look nice tucked into my new skirts.


New Look 6428: I’ve got a breton striped rtw dress in this style which I love, so when I found this purple ponte in a local charity shop I snapped it up, wanting to make a copy. I’m not especially confident about copying though, so I’m going to use this pattern as a base to work from.

Tilly and the Buttons Bettine: This is a stalled work in progress. I’ve put on a bit of weight, and it’s not going to fit as things stand. Luckily my new years resolutions involve exercise and healthy eating. I hope to finish this once I’m back to my old size.

New Look 6567I think view H of this pattern in this tulip print is as close as I’m willing to go to the 90s trend currently terrorising the high street.


Simplicity 2317 x2: This is no longer available on the Simplicity UK website, but I bought it because it had so many great options for cosy nightwear. First on my to sew list is a set of sushi-making cat pyjamas. I might actually use my go-to pyjama bottom pattern (T&TB Margot), and then take the view D shirt from this pattern. I’m also thinking that I could customise this to make a nice short sleeved shirt and shorts pattern for some summer jammies, using this fox/wolf print I bought it Tokyo.

Niizo Simple Day Casual Backpack: Lauren recently posted a review of another of the Niizo bag kits, and after checking out all of their kits, I decided to treat myself to this one as a present to celebrate my new job. I’ve gone for black canvas, and I cannot wait for it to arrive!

Do you sew your wardrobe with a plan, or just make what you feel like, when you feel like it?

Season Sew Wardrobe: Plans

DIY Clothes
Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 12.08.48

Crystal is running a Seasonal Sew Wardrobe over in the Sew-A-Longs and Sewing Contests Facebook group, and as we all know, I love a good bandwagon to jump on and then fall off.

The premise is fairly straightforward – we have from February to May to sew a minimum of eight pieces which fit within a theme of your choosing. My theme is ‘things I can make in time to wear for my holiday, and things that I can make after my holiday to go with the holiday things so I can wear them when it’s cold’. Catchy, innit?

There’s some debate in this house as to whether I can maintain the sewing level required to produce one item every two weeks, but I’m going to give it a try. I’m bored of all my clothes, so this will give me a chance to branch out into some interesting new ones. I’ve finished the first three pieces, and I should be able to crack on with the others once I’m back from India, although choosing a jacket and a pair of trousers may have been foolish. Fingers crossed the abandoned trousers toile works out (reason for abandonment: I didn’t want to sew a side seam).

I created the look above on Polyvore- I just picked similar looking pieces from their library, so you’re just going to have to trust me that the colours I use will go together! The good news on that front is that I’ve made Ben check the ones I already own and he is content that they go well enough.

Top row, from left:

Bottom row, from left:

To be honest, I’ve changed my mind about five times so far, so this is probably not going to be the wardrobe I end up with, but it’s nice to have a plan set down.

What do you think of my wardrobe plans? Ever participate in sewing challenges? Got any tips for actually finishing the damn list?

January Stash-Stats

DIY Clothes, Uncategorized

4314475543_38eeaf4f36_oI love me some statistics, especially when they involve sewing. I thought it would be fun to try and keep tabs on what I’ve sewn each month, and how the stash is looking. I’ve even done a little table!

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 16.59.09

Make (and finish) something every month
I made three things this month! I think that is a record!
Try and have my fabric stash down to 50 metres by the end of the year
Alas, my stash is now up by four metres. I’m going to India next month, so I doubt that will help with the stashbusting.
Make a quilt
I’ve put all of the fabrics I intend to use into a little bag. That counts for something, right?
Keep the WIP/Refashion shelf-of-shame under control
Yes! I took a look through my pile of UFOs and chucked one which was making me particularly sad. I then completed one of my WIPs, as well as a (very simple) refashion, so this area is looking pretty good right now.

What did I Make?
A bed for Alfie (-1m stash fabric)
Deer and Doe Belladone (-1 WIP, -1m stash fabric)
Trousers to Shorts refashion for Ben (-1 Refashion)

What did I Add?
I fell off the wagon in the last weekend of January and bought:
2 vintage sewing patterns from a local charity shop (£1 total)
3m purple ponte from a local charity shop (£5)
3m tulip print cotton from Fabric Land (£12)
TOTAL: £18 – I can live with that

What are the Plans for February?
Some last minute holiday clothes!
Several items of my Seasonal Sew Wardrobe (see the Facebook Sewalongs group for details – I’ll do a proper post about my plans soon).

Photo credit: Deb Stgo


Wax On, Wax Off. Or, Just Wax On.

DIY Clothes

_DSF8518I bought this wax print in Goldhawk Road last year, and I struggled to know what to do with it for a while. Ben deciding that the print looked a bit phallic didn’t help (I like to think of them as anchors or some other nautical thing). I have a habit of buying lovely fabric and then worrying about what to do with it until I get fed up of looking at it and buy something new. At the end of the day, there was six yards of this, so an exploratory skirt wasn’t going to hurt if I hated it.

simplicity-sewing-pattern-1365-1970s-vintage-halter-neck-tops-p6787-14682_zoomOnce I decided on the skirt, I also considered making a halter neck top to go with it (or apart from it). This dream has yet to be realised, but I still like the idea. I just need to make a muslin of Simplicity 1365 and see if there is any way that is going to work for me without a bra. Anyway, I couldn’t wait to show you the skirt, so you will just need to contain your excitement for a while longer (estimate: a year at current sewing speed).

Anyway, that’s enough about me and my ability to procrastinate. I’ve borrowed some questions from Pattern Review to tell you all about it.

_DSF8513Pattern Description: 
Dirndl skirt from Love at First Stitch

Pattern Sizing:
Self drafted (ish)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?

_DSF8519What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The instructions were clear, and drafting a skirt based on my own waist measurement was a revelation – it fits!

Fabric Used:
Wax print cotton // £18 for six yards // Somewhere on Goldhawk Road (A-Z Fabrics?)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
– Normal zip instead of the invisible one recommended. This was purely based on what I had in the stash.
– Belt loops added because my waist measurement fluctuates wildly on a day to day basis, so I can wear it on both fat and skinny days (these photos were taken on a skinny day and I think it still looks fine when cinched in by the belt).

_DSF8521Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes. I would probably make the waist band slightly narrower if I made it again, and I might try moving the zip to the side so I could cut the back piece on the fold. I might also experiment with a maxi length one.

Very happy with this. It’s always nice to have a cheerful summer skirt in the wardrobe. I’m also quite pleased with my pattern matching on the side and back seams.

Gold Lady Skater

DIY Clothes

IMG_3145Blog photo opportunities are hard to come by these days – I made this Lady Skater in March to fit in with the Stashbusting Sewalong theme of sewing with patterns we already have. I mean, I bought the fabric especially, because I only have one piece of jersey in my stash and it wasn’t big enough. Also, it was very hard to leave gold jersey in the shop. Stashbusting be damned!

I didn’t have anything to make a toile from (I could have toiled the bodice, but I am quite attached to that other bit of jersey and want to make a t-shirt from it), so I went for it and hoped for the best. The only modification I made was to lengthen the bodice by about 1-2″ – I just did this by continuing the size four side lines down to the end of the largest size. As I have a super long body, I thought this would be a prudent measure, but looking at the photos of the back in particular, I think I’ve gone overboard. I don’t think the back looks this bad in real life, because I normally slouch, and having seen this picture, I still love this dress.

IMG_3162Aside from that, I think the fit has turned out well. I have wrinkles above my boobs from the armpits, which I should probably investigate a bit more, but I’m sure I have them on all t-shirts, so I’m not that worried.

This is the comfiest thing I have ever worn, and I am really pleased that I got around to making this pattern up. I’ve found this is the perfect dress for most occasions – I can wear it at work, as a day dress or out in the evening. I don’t think this will be the last time I make it. It goes really well with my new rtw blazer, too.