Update

Hello, everyone!  It’s been a long while, hasn’t it?  I haven’t blogged since March.  How rude of me – please accept my sincerest apologies.

I’m afraid it’s been a classic case of real life taking over.  For the past 18 months I have been working two jobs across two different cities, working a very strange shift pattern, and for the most part, relying on public transport.  An awful lot of my free time was taken away – I would often leave the house at 7:30 am and not return until around 10 pm.  And when I wasn’t at work, I was catching up with family and friends, running errands, that sort of thing.  I also had all sorts of other stuff going on that had to take the front seat – kind of an everything all at once situation.  I could barely find time to sew, let alone blog about it, and the last few moths have been a bit too stressful.

However, I’m pleased to say that I started a new job at the beginning of July!  I’m working much more sensible hours and I’m back in one building at all times – what a luxury.  Most importantly, I’ve managed to snatch back quite a bit of free time, so I’m hoping to give my shamefully abandoned blog some attention and reconnect with all you sewing lovelies.  Yay 😀

What have I been up to while I’ve been gone, then?  Well, I have managed some sewing.  Nowhere near as much as I would have liked, but I’ll include some sneaky peaks of what’s to come. My love-hate relationship with jersey continues.  My fabric stash is more out of control than ever because I’ve been so time poor and just can’t get through it quickly enough – nothing to do with me buying too much fabric, of course 😉  Do you remember my sewing resolutions?  Well, I’ve made quite literally no progress with my Make Nine – only two of the makes complete.  Am I allowed to switch out a pattern or two?  I have managed to keep up with Sew My Style (sort of – one of them was a month late!) and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the patterns.  I also took part in the Sew Together for Summer challenge.  I’ve discovered a couple of new sewing gadgets – where have they been all my life?

Mostly, I’ve been dreaming about having more time to sew and getting back to blogging!  I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things.  Thank you for sticking around during my hiatus – you’re the best ❤

Happy sewing and ta-ta for now!

xx

Sew My Style – March

Let’s talk about leggings.  I must confess, I’m not a leggings wearer.  Not because I don’t like them, but because I rather feel my thighs aren’t quite slim enough.  If I wear leggings I wear them under dresses in place of tights.  Or because I’m  doing exercise.  I wouldn’t wear leggings as trousers.  I hate the idea of making something I wouldn’t wear – that seems very wasteful to me.  I was so convinced February’s pattern pick wouldn’t suit me that I made it for mt friend Rachel.  So when I saw this pattern for #SewMyStyle, I said to my sister that I’d either have to make boring black leggings or completely whacky dog-walking leggings, otherwise I just wouldn’t wear them.  And who wants to make boring black leggings?  Not me!  Not us!  We made matching marble leggings 😀

The pattern
Megan Nielsen’s Virginia leggings.  I was really surprised at how easy these were to make!  I don’t know why, but I had always assumed the would be tricky to sew.  But there are only two pattern pieces for these Virginia leggings – the leg (of which you cut two) and the waistband.  The instructions are really easy to follow, and the construction couldn’t be easier.  I traced off my pattern, cut my fabric and sewed these in less than three hours!  Perfect for my hectic lifestyle – I don’t get much free time to sew these days, so quick projects are all the more satisfying.

The fabric
An amazing marble print scuba from Fabric Styles.  It was really easy to work with, and I will most definitely be using scuba again.  I actually bought more of this fabric – I think a Tilly and the Buttons Zadie dress in this fabric, and black side panels would be perfect!  My sister’s fabric is also still available.

The cost
The fabric was £4.50 per metre, and I used just over a metre, so let’s say around £6.  The PDF pattern was £8 once coverted from Australian dollars, including the Sew My Style discount.  That’s £14 for my uber-cool marble leggings 😀

#MonetaParty Dress

Have you ever ended up with a fabric and had no idea what you’re going to make out of it?  I’m sure you understand.  This was one of those fabrics for me.  I was completely dazzled b the sparkles.  Like a niffler!  I wanted the sparkles, but I had no clue what to do with them.  Then came the #MonetaParty on Instagram, organised by the Triple Stitchers (sewpositivity, sewabigail and rach_wain) and Colette Patterns.  I wasn’t initially sure I’d have time to take part, but then I saw Abi’s sparkly Moneta and knew I had to make my own!

The pattern
Moneta by Colette Patterns, of course.  It was third time lucky for me and Colette Patterns, having tried and failed to make a pair of Juniper trousers and a Macaron dress and having rather a a traumatic time of it for both projects.  Moneta, on the other hand, was super easy and I love it!  The instructions were easy to follow and the construction is really simple.  I think I probably sewed it in about three hours.

Modifications
I swapped out the gathers for pleats, because I thought it would give the dress a smarter look.  I put inverted box pleats where the notches on the front and back skirt are.  I’m surprised at how well they’ve worked on such slinky fabric.  I also omitted the pockets, again because I didn’t think they were suited to the style of dress.  The most exciting thing though (after having a spangly dress to flounce around in, of course) is that I learned to use a twin needle!  I’m a little too excited about this, and now that I’ve cracked it I’ll be a twin needle fiend.  Sadly, because I used matching thread (silly me!), nobody can admire my handiwork on this dress, but just wait until I have the chance for contrasting topstitching!

The fabric
A very slink, very sparkly lurex jersey from the Textile Centre.  I was worried my machine would try to eat this fabric, but it actually handled it just fine – nice surprise 🙂

The cost
The fabric was an absolute bargain – a grand total of £4.48 for two metres in the Textile Centre January sale.  The pattern was about £10, and I already had everything else I needed.  Less than £15 for a party dress – win!  😀

Sew My Style – February

I have to be completely honest and confess that I was never a huge fan of February’s Sew My Style pattern – not because I didn’t like it, but because I knew it just wouldn’t suit me.  The shape isn’t right for my body.  Luckily, I knew just the girl to make it for – my sewing buddy, Rachel 🙂  As it happens, she had already made herself a Saunio cardigan, so I knew it would suit her and that she’d like it.  A plan was hatched – Rachel would buy some fabric and I would sew it up for her, so as to keep my involvement with Sew My Style going.  A few weeks later, this had happened!


Hello, Rachel!  Looking rather marvellous in her new jacket, isn’t she?  Don’t you agree it looks much more like a jacket than a cardi in this fabric?  It goes to show how versatile patterns can be.  You can see some photos of Rachel’s other Saunio here and here on her Instagram – you’d never know they were made using the same pattern.

Rachel says…
I recently made myself a Saunio out of some slightly mad Missoni wool – it’s one of my #2017makenine projects.  So when Vicki offered to make me a second Saunio for February’s #sewmystyle, I obviously said yes!

I decided I wanted this second Saunio to be a smart one I could wear to work, so I bought some navy Italian boiled wool from Fabric Godmother and gave it to Vicki, along with my traced pattern pieces and my Saunio toile.

And I absolutely love the Saunio Vicki’s made for me!  The boiled wool makes it more structured than my Missoni Saunio and makes a real feature of the back.  Also, the wool’s texture means that I can wear the cardigan closed without needing a fastening.  And my favourite thing about it is that Vicki (knowing my love of hand-finished garments) blind-stitched all around the hems and the facing so it looks really perfect from the outside.

Thanks, Vicki!  And you know, if there are any other #sewmystyle makes that aren’t your thing, I’m open to suggestions…

I guess you could say Rachel’s pleased with her cardi then!  I’m so pleased you like it, Rachel 🙂

The pattern
The Saunio Cardigan by Named Clothing.  My goodness do I wish this pattern suited me!  I could do with some new cardies and it was sooooo fast to make!  I think the cutting and sewing (well, most of the sewing – more on that in a minute) took about two hours.  Magic!  The instructions are a breeze to follow and the construction is possibly the easiest I’ve ever come across.  Bravo, Named Clothing!  Thumbs up from me.

Modifications
As Rachel has already explained, I chose to hand-finish the hems and facings.  The nature of the fabric makes this necessary.  Machine stitching would leave an unsightly ridge all the way around the garment, so I lovingly hand-finished with a blind hem stitch because I knew that was what Rachel would have done.  This took longer than all the other sewing and cutting combined, but the finished look is well worth the effort.  I didn’t use any interfacing, as the fabric is thick and stable enough to hold its own.  I also used a straight stitch, rather than zigzagging or overlocking as the pattern suggests.  The fabric has very little stretch and the pattern is loose-fitting, so I’m hoping it’s be okay.

The fabric
A lovely boiled wool from Fabric Godmother.  I was a bit worried when I first got the fabric because it seemed so thick and I was worried about how my machine would cope.  However, it actually turned out to be lovely to work with – it is a very thick fabric, but its actually very soft and the machine had no trouble with it at all.

The cost
For me?  Not a penny 🙂  But it set Rachel back about £22.

P.S.  I was so right to make this for someone else.  I tried this on and looked like a right wally!

Coco Dress

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  Today, I’m declaring m love for Coco.  Ah, Coco.  Je t’aime ❤

Meet the new Coco — the same as the old Coco.  Almost.  But I love my first Coco so much and wear it so often that it’s now a bit bobbly and looking sorry for itself.  Why wouldn’t I make another one that is almost identical?  With one difference — those heart shaped pockets ❤

The pattern
Tilly and the Buttons’ Coco 🙂  In case you hadn’t alredy guessed.

Modifications
Why, yes — those heart shaped pockets, of course!  I used the pocket tutorial on Crafty Pinup’s blog.  Thanks for the excellent hack, Abi!  Abi has also done an amazing Cleo hack that I’m desperate to try.

The fabric
A black and white striped ponte di roma from Girl Charlee UK.  I think they’re sold out at the moment, unfortunately.  This fabric is far more suitable for Coco that the interlock I used for my first one, in my opinion.  I would recommend going for ponte if you’re on the fence.  Also, it’s easier to work with, both when cutting and sewing, and it holds its shape much better so it really shows off the exaggerated a-line skirt.  The red pocket fabric is a ponte I had left from the first time around.

The cost
The fabric cost £19.90, but I had quite a lot left.  I gave the remnants to my sister and she squeezed a short sleeved Agnes top out of it.  So we got two garments at a tenner each!  Huge thumbs up!

Cosy Stripe Blanket

I think this blanket has made a couple of cameo appearances on my blog now.  Then again, I have been working on it for years.  Literally.  Years.  I think (it was so long ago that I can’t even remember!) I bought the blanket kit in 2014 sometime, so it’s been at least two years.

It’s been a bit of a love-hate relationship.  Well, mostly hate.  I like crocheting, but not as much as I like knitting.  Mind you, I bet if I’d knitted a blanket this big I’d have been ripping my hair out just as much with that.  Let’s take a look at some photos before I tell you the whole sorry tale.

I got off to a rocky start with this one.  I crocheted about a foot before deciding my tension was off, so that got unraveled, I sorted out my tension and started again.  Then, I had a bit of an episode at the start of summer (2015, I’m guessing) when I got far too hot while I was working on it and thought I was actually going to faint (dramatic!), so it got pushed to one side until winter had come back around.  Then, after I’d picked it back up again, I did about another foot before realising that I was doing it wrong and my blanket was starting to lean to one side.  This is what happens when you put something down for too long – you forget what you’re meant to be doing.  Anyway, I figured out what I was doing wrong and decided I’d have to cope with having a slightly wonky blanket (a design feature!) rather than unravel a load of it again.  And then it sat in a corner waiting for its border for months.  Phew – it’s been quite the journey for us!  Anyway, fiiiniiished!  I finished it just in time to take it glamping 🙂  My friend and I (hi, Becky!) went to a wigwam to celebrate my 30th (yep, I’m old now) and I had to take this with me, right?  Worth all the effort, don’t you think?

The pattern
The pattern came in a series of blog posts over on Attic 24.  You can find all the posts here – scroll towards the bottom of the post for them.  You could, of course use your own colours, or use as many or as few colours as you want.  If you’re new to crochet though, I would maybe start with a cushion – this might put you off for life.

The yarn
I got all the yarn I needed in a kit from Woolaballoo.  If you live in the North East I would strongly recommend a visit – so many beautiful yarns.  They’ve since stopped doing these kits and focus solely on British yarns made from natural fibres, but you’ll find the Stylecraft Special DK almost anywhere.  And you could, of course, use a different yarn, but bear in mind you may need more or less of it (probably more).

The cost
I can’t even remember now.  I think it was about £25 for the kit.  £25 and a lot of time!

P.S.  Glamping is my new favourite thing!  It has all the best bits of camping – cooking over fire, being out in the wilderness etc. – with the added comforts that proper camping just can’t guarantee you, such as warmth and a comfortable bed.  We went to a lovely place in North Yorkshire called Humble Bee Farm.  It’s not far from Scarborough and Filey, and there were some nice walks around the camp site.  They have some animals on site as well, which is nice.  We had a great time!  Turns out we’re not too bad at the cooking over fire thing – we kept ourselves well fed for the weekend anyway.  And once the fire was going it was warm enough to sit outside, even in January.  I dare say I could quite happily live in a wigwam 🙂

Sew My Style – January

Remember me mentioning Sew My Style in my resolutions blog post?  Today I’m sharing my first make with you 🙂  And I love it!  I must confess, I wasn’t initially sure about this pattern, but I really wanted to take part in this initiative so I thought I would just give it a go and I’m so glad I did.  I love this sweater ❤

The pattern
First up for Sew My Style was the Toaster Sweater (version 2) from Sew House 7.  It’s sooooo easy!  I think it probably took me just over two hours to make, including cutting the fabric, which is incredible.  That even included time spent getting my head around new techniques.  It was my first try at mitered corners – an absolute revelation!  I would definitely use that technique on other patterns.

Modifications
I made no modifications to the pattern, but I did manage to fathom from reading the sizing guide that the sizes seemed to run a little large.  So, in a fit of spontaneity (I say that, but I actually agonised over it for a good couple of days) I decided to risk tracing off the pattern based purely on the finished garment measurements, even though it meant I fell into the extra small category which has literally never happened before.  I knew the jersey would have a lot of give anyway and luckily it paid off.  My sister also made a smaller size than she ordinarily would have and hers looks fine.  Anyway, I think this pattern sizing is on the large size, but as long as you take heed of the measurements you should be alright. The only other modification I might make next time would be to lengthen it a little.

The fabric
An absolutely stunning ponte di roma from the Textile Centre.  I’m devastated because I loved this fabric so much that I wanted to buy more and make something else, but it now seems to be sold out 😦  I will be keeping a close eye out over the next few weeks in case it come back into stock.

The cost
I bought two metres of fabric for £6.74 in the sale – what a bargain!  I think the pattern was about £9 (with the Sew My Style discount) once it was converted from dollars to pounds.  I already had everything else I needed, which means that it was about £16 including the pattern, which is pretty darn good 🙂

So that’s the first Sew My Style project complete and my first resolution ticked off!  Next up for Sew My Style is the Saunio Cardigan from Named Clothing, which I’m actually making for my friend, Rachel (hello, Rachel!), because I’m so certain it won’t be a pattern that will suit me.  Rachel has picked the fabric and made a couple of Saunios herself already, so I can use those as a good indication as to whether I have the sizing right, and I can also use the pattern pieces she has already prepared, which cuts out a load of the boring parts of sewing – score!  This will be about the third time I’ve sewn anything for someone else – don’t you think there’s quite a lot of pressure involved in making things for other people?!  Wish me luck…

Cleo Dress

Like the rest of the sewing universe, I’m sooooo in love with this pattern!  To tell you the truth, I’ve never been entirely sold on dungaree dresses – I’m quite curvy and always thought they would just make me look a bit round.  Enter Cleo, who started popping up on everyone’s Instagram feeds and seemed to be universally flattering 🙂

So, my friend Rachel and I decided we’d ‘host’ a #SewingCleo Insta-party, along with many fellow sewists.  Off we went to the Centre Front Studio to get up to mischief.

img_3252
Alex, Isabel, Charlotte, Rachel and me at the end of our #SewingCleo party

Now, it was an interesting day, our Cleo party – kind of a plague on all our houses.  Rachel’s machine broke a couple of hours in (luckily, the studio had spares she could use, but that was still very disorienting for her).  A couple of days later, my sister and I were trying to finish our Cleos and both our machines started doing very strange things, before mine finally gave up the ghost entirely.  Rachel and Charlotte have since managed to fix their machines with a bit of TLC, but I had to succumb to buying a new one (yay!).  Anyway, it wasn’t until a few weeks after the party, when we’d all dealt with our respective machine dramas that we’d all eventually finished our Cleos, and boy are we glad we did.

The pattern
In case you hadn’t already gathered, it’s Tilly and the Buttons’ Cleo.  I’m wearing it here with my refashioned Agnes top.

Modifications
None, in the end, but I did spend a lot of time debating whether I should do proper flat-felled seams.  Maybe next time.  Also, next time I will staystitch all the curves.  I didn’t this time because the pattern doesn’t advise it (at least, I don’t think it does), but when I came to attach my facings the shell had stretched out of shape, particularly at the back, which made it so difficult to sew.  I’ll staystitch next time to try to avoid similar difficulties.

The fabric
A fairly stable classic indigo denim from John Lewis.

The cost
This is truly shocking, but I genuinely can’t remember.  About £15 for 1.2 metres, I think.  The dungaree clips were £2.50 from a local department store (Fenwick’s, if you’re a northerner) and the topstitching thread was around £2.  Let’s call it £20 then (although that doesn’t include the cost of the pattern).

I absolutely love m first Cleo!  I’m even very impressed with my topstitching, which is the part I was dreading the most – if you’re going to topstitch with violently yellow thread, you’ve got to get it right!  I’ve already bought myself a Cleo kit for Cleo number 2.  I went for aubergine needlecord, because, purple ❤  I can’t wait to sew it up, but goodness knows when I’ll fit it in with such a busy sewing year ahead!

Molly Top

Who doesn’t love a staple Breton striped top?  You can’t have too many of them, I feel – they’re perfect for casual jeans days and layering.

The pattern: the Molly top from Lisa Comfort’s My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break e-book.  This is only my second make from this book so far (following on from my Alex shirt), but I assure you I’ll be making it all at some point!  All the patterns are so beautiful, and they really do make a capsule wardrobe 🙂   This pattern couldn’t be an easier sew!  What makes it so easy is the sleeves.  They’re grown on at the cap and the length comes from adding the bottom half of the sleeve later on.  It’s added in the flat and the seam line is virtually straight – much easier than set in sleeves.  I think I sewed this top in a couple of hours – super speedy!  I also tried a new stitch on my sewing machine for the top stitching and I love it.  The only thing I will change next time is the size.  I think I could go down a sizer at least, especially if I want to try the dress version – I don’t want the dress to be too relaxed in fit.  Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I bet this would be very easy to take in.  Hmmmmm…

The fabric: a lovely purple and cream stripe from Girl Charlee UK.  This fabric is super soft and comfortable.  I have a little left which will most definitely be used for something – I’m thinking the cropped Megan Nielson Briar tee for Sew My Style because it’s drapes nicely.

The cost: I got the fabric while Girl Charlee were having a sale, so it only cost £10.90 for two metres.  I already had everything else I needed 🙂  And as I say, I think I have enough left to squeeze another top out of it, so that’ll make it even more of a bargain.