Happy New Year! And a rainbow mini skirt…

Happy New Year everyone! May 2017 be a fabulous year for you ūüėÄ

This is the first of my two remaining 2016 makes to blog. Not lagging too badly here as I completed this project back in September. That was just in time to wear to a convention for writers and readers of GLBTQ romance, hence the six colour Pride rainbow.

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Oh look, I polished my boots in your honour!

In a Nutshell:

This is a skirt I’ve been planning to make for years, and while I’m really happy I’ve finally got it done, it’s not exactly how I envisaged. It’s an awful lot shorter, for starters…

Pattern:

Self drafted. Actually, I didn’t even draft a pattern–I just fitted it to me as I went. It’s a straight skirt with two back panels and two front panels (does that make it a four gore skirt?), and an invisible zip in the centre back. There’s no waistband, just a grosgrain ribbon facing. It sits a couple of inches below my natural waist, and I decided not to go for darts for shaping as I didn’t like the idea of them breaking into the next layer down of the rainbow. All shaping is done in the seams.

Fabric:

Scraps of needlecord from my stash, left over from my doll-making days. It’s a really high quality, 100% cotton British-made corduroy from Brisbane Moss¬†(I believe it might have been their 16 wale Chiltern). Unfortunately they only supply to trade, so I’ve no idea where I’ll get my corduroy in the future. Good thing I’ve still got lots left… Continue reading “Happy New Year! And a rainbow mini skirt…”

Totally not boring Grey Surplice Dress

This is the last of my 2016 makes to blog (completed early November), which means I’m not doing too badly this year! Blogging more promptly should definitely be a New Year’s resolution, though…

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In a Nutshell:

A simple, neutral¬†knit dress that’s already become a firm wardrobe favourite!

Pattern:

This is the Surplice Dress from the Craftsy Sewing With Knits class. It’s a simple knit dress with an empire line waist, a wrap bodice and an A-line skirt. The sleeves are meant to be elbow length but ended up being slightly shorter because of an alteration I made (more on that later). Based on my measurements I cut¬†a size M.

Fabric:

Grey ponte from Sewn Bristol¬†(I can’t see it in the online store and I bought it back in the summer so perhaps it’s all gone now). I am seriously amazed by the quality of this fabric. At ¬£5.50 a metre I assumed it might not wear all that well–after all, every single ponte I’ve bought in the past has bobbled after a couple of washes, despite me treating it like royalty with the finest delicates detergents, washing cycles and line drying. Continue reading “Totally not boring Grey Surplice Dress”

It’s a Christmas Gay-pron!

Prepare yourself for the world’s kitschest Christmas apron, featuring the campest underwear models you’ve ever seen. And I even finished it in time for the big day!

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In a Nutshell:

I’ve had the materials for making this apron for at least four years now–probably more like five. I have no excuses for taking so long to make it up (other than Christmas prep always getting in the way), but this year I got my act together and actually sewed the damn thing. It was my Christmas present to myself, and I made it a priority before working on presents for everyone else. That’s the kind of selfish sewist I am these days ūüėõ

Pattern:

Butterick B5125. This is a gorgeous retro and somewhat glamorous apron, if such a thing can be said to exist. The pattern includes a full and half length version, both with a flounce and with really long and wide waist ties. These are a great feature, as they’re long enough to wrap around and tie in a bow at the front, which is the way I normally wear it (I’ve been wearing one of these aprons for years now). Unfortunately this pattern is now out of print, but it looks like there are still some copies available. Continue reading “It’s a Christmas Gay-pron!”

Top 5 sewing hits and misses of 2016

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So, this is my second (and final) response to¬†the #sewingtop5 prompt over on Crafting a Rainbow¬†Even though I haven’t sewn that many garments¬†in 2016 I decided I wanted to take part in the hits and misses anyway, because it’s a good exercise to reflect on the things I’ve made, particularly what works and what doesn’t. Here then, are my top 5 sewing hits of 2016:

Top 5 Hits:

Ladybird skirt

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I haven’t blogged this one because it seemed to simple to warrant it. It’s just a self drafted maxi skirt in a lovely viscose jersey, with a self-fabric waistband (no elastic). I never wear it out of the house as the fabric has pilled and just doesn’t look right, but it’s so wonderfully comfy I wear it pretty much every day as loungewear. Recently I even upgraded the waistband to one made out of a black lycra as it had much better recovery, and I took a couple of inches off the skirt at the same time to stop it dragging on the ground. It’s now better than ever! Continue reading “Top 5 sewing hits and misses of 2016”

Top 5 of 2016: Reflections, goals and even some non-sewing stuff!

I really love reading these kinds of round up posts, but when I first saw the #sewingtop5 prompt over on Crafting a Rainbow I thought I had no business taking part as I’ve only sewn about a dozen things in 2016. Okay, I’ve sewn more than that, but only about that many garments for myself, so a list of my top 5 hits and top 5 misses would cover just about everything I’ve made.

But then I thought how much I love year-end navel gazing, so I’m doing some of the challenge anyway ūüėõ

Actually, this is replacing my rather long winded yearly round up posts, so it’s got to be a good thing all round. Less waffle.

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Top 5 Reflections Continue reading “Top 5 of 2016: Reflections, goals and even some non-sewing stuff!”

Red Mini skirt

I made this skirt back in August out of a very small piece of fabric from my stash, hence the length! It was only ever intended as a (hopefully) wearable toile to test out a skirt pattern’s fit and learn some new techniques. It’s been a mixed success…

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This is my best “I’m not sure about this skirt” face

Pattern:

On Safari Skirt by So Sew Easy. I bought this pattern a while back after¬†searching for a pattern with the features of my favourite ready-to-wear denim skirt. I thought this would not only give me a great skirt I’d love to wear, but would also allow me to practice some of the techniques needed for making jeans as I intend to make a pair at some point in the next year or so. Continue reading “Red Mini skirt”

Plantain tee

Apologies in advance for the quality of these pictures. I think Andy had his camera on the wrong setting or it was the pallid winter light to blame. Roll on spring. We’re ready for you!

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In a Nutshell:

A great basic summery tee with an unexpected “embellishment”, although I’m not sold on the colour… Continue reading “Plantain tee”

Craftysticks November update

November is nearly over, so it must be time for an update!

Sewing:

This has been a month of quite dull but very useful sewing. I had a sudden paranoid thought that if a winter vomiting bug hit I wouldn’t have enough spare bedding for Daisy’s bed. She used to be in a double bed (long story) but is now in a single, and I only had one set of bedding for it. I’ve been saying for ages that I’d cut down her old favourite duvet cover to make a single, and this month I finally did it. I also made a fitted¬†sheet out of another old duvet cover that had a few random stains from fabric paint (absolutely impossible to remove, but I managed to avoid them by careful cutting) and I cut down her mattress protector too. I’m particularly proud of the way I utilised the print on the duvet cover to do this on the side of her mattress:

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And as if all that wasn’t enough, I bought Gabriel his first proper duvet. It was a cotbed size with a dinky little pillow to match, and rather than buy readymade covers I decided to economise and again cut down an old duvet cover, carefully avoiding some random tears and bleach stains. He now has the cutest little bedding set! Continue reading “Craftysticks November update”

Stripy Kimono

I’ve been putting my week of looking after ill people to good use by catching up on my backlog of unblogged garments. Here’s one I finished back in May (had to have something new to wear for Me Made May!) and it’s definitely more of a summer make. Ah well, the weather is so cold and miserable I need something summery to cheer me up. Maybe a cocktail would work…

This is one of those garments I never would have considered making a couple of years ago. Kimono style sleeves? So not me. Or so I thought. But I had all this hacci knit fabric I’d bought for another project (can’t actually remember what) which turned out to be way more lightweight than I’d anticipated and so unsuitable for said project (dress, jumper?). After googling to find out what others had made with it I found Portia’s make, and since she included a tutorial and it looked super simple, I thought why the hell not? I didn’t have anything like this in my wardrobe, but sometimes I surprise myself by trying things out and realising they do suit me after all. Or that they make me look ridiculous. Happily this was one of the former occasions ūüôā

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In a Nutshell:

A cute and surprisingly versatile summer layering piece, which was an absolute doddle to make. Continue reading “Stripy Kimono”

My Capsule Wardrobe: first attempt

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I’ve now got all the rest of my family sick with a tummy bug. Well, that’s not strictly true as Gabriel is pretty much better now, but he still needs to stay indoors and away from other children for another 24 hours.

Anyway, I’ve had a fair bit of thinking time over the last few days and one of the things I’ve been thinking about is clothes. Specifically, what I need to stay cosy and reasonably stylish for the winter, as after clearing out the stuff that’s now too big for me my wardrobe is sorely lacking in appropriate clothing. Back in 2015 I spent some time trying to wrap my head around what a capsule wardrobe would mean for me–I devoured the Colette Wardrobe Architect posts and was a regular visitor to the blog Into Mind–but for some reason I never quite figured out how to whittle my clothing into any kind of coherent capsule. I’ve never been a particularly minimalist person, and while I’m increasingly drawn to the idea it’s tough to figure out how to downsize my possessions. I also have a fair few items of clothing that I’m attached to, but that only go with one or two other things. I KonMaried my wardrobe a couple of years ago, but it was in need of another overhaul.

Yesterday I reread this post on Un-Fancy and suddenly something clicked. Continue reading “My Capsule Wardrobe: first attempt”

And now for something completely impractical…

Today’s post comes to you from Gabriel’s sick bed. Well, okay, the chair next to the “sick sofa” where he’s crashed out in front of CBeebies. It’s been an exhausting day what with him vomiting copiously¬†last night (and today) ¬†in what is probably a reaction to the antibiotics he’s just been put on because his hernia surgery incision became infected. Ugh. Have had a fun day speaking to doctors, driving to the out of hours NHS clinic in Shepton Mallet, and doing heaps of laundry. Seriously, the washing machine and tumble drier have been going ALL DAY LONG. This is why I like making easy to wash and care for clothes these days.

So here’s a totally impractical make to remind me of the carefree days that will hopefully come again once the kids are grown up…

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Yeah, you’d better take this top seriously, inexplicably grainy photos or not!

In a Nutshell:

A beautiful, romantic vest top by my favourite crochet designer that fits like a dream. Shame I don’t have much occasion to wear it…

You can see my Ravelry entry for this project here:¬†http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Anna-Jo/crochet-vest—cecilia-chemise

Pattern:

Continue reading “And now for something completely impractical…”

The Seamstress Tag

This #TheSeamstressTag thing has been doing the sewing blog and vlog rounds lately, so I thought I should probably join in. This is me, then ūüôā

Who are you?

My name’s Anna, although some know me as Jo as I write gay romance under the name Josephine Myles. I live in the vibrant town of Frome in beautiful Somerset, in a fab 1960s bungalow with my partner Andy, my daughter Daisy (aged 11), our son Gabriel (22 months), and the two cats, Lottie and Dottie.

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Gabriel and Daisy
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Me and Andy. I’m wearing one of my dresses here, but you can’t see much of it so you’ll just have to take my word that it’s gorgeous!

When & why did you start sewing?

I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember, although my childhood makes were confined to embroidery and soft toys. I made a few garments for school in my teens, but a nasty incident sewing through my finger put me off sewing machines for a long while. I didn’t take up garment sewing again until my daughter was a couple of years old, so I reckon that must be nine years ago now. I was motivated originally by wanting to make vintage style clothing that fit me properly and I sewed a lot of evening dresses, but now I’m more into making everyday sort of clothes. I tend to be really specific about what I’m looking for when clothes shopping so it can be tough to find anything that fits the bill. Sewing allows me to make exactly what I want, out of the fabrics I love. Continue reading “The Seamstress Tag”

Osaka skirt

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In a nutshell:

A terrific little corduroy wrap skirt that very nearly went horribly wrong… And there’s nothing Halloweeny about this post, unless you count the autumnal colours I used.

Pattern:

The¬†Osaka Skirt from Seamwork Patterns. This is a reversible wrap skirt with a cute asymmetric hem at the front. There are three panels (back, left front, right front) and each panel is broken into an upper and lower section. Here’s the line art: Continue reading “Osaka skirt”

Autumn/Winter sewing plans

A while back I posted an insanely optimistic post for nine summer garments i was planning to sew or crochet. I’ve managed just one of them, although I am over¬†halfway through another (the crochet cardie). There was never enough time, plus I got distracted by making corduroy skirts. Not so summer appropriate, but handy now for the changing weather.

So I’ve learnt my lesson and this time I’m going for four¬†garment ideas, all of which are simple makes. Six garments if you count the socks and undies!¬†These are all things I feel a real need for in my wardrobe at the moment, and since I can’t afford to buy new at the moment¬†my challenge is to¬†make them all¬†by shopping the stash, both of patterns and fabrics. Good thing I like a challenge!

Top(s)

I’m feeling a strange yearning for looser long and short sleeved tees. I’ve never really been one for the boxy fit, but having some of these in very drapey knits and a variety of lengths would make for some great layering opportunities. I have all manner of plain grey, black and brown knit fabric to use up, as well as some lavender, mauve, purple and bottle green interlock. I’ve already tried out both the Plantain tee¬†and the Craftsy Sewing with Knits tee to great success. I might give the Grainline Hemlock a try too, and I like the look of the Seamwork¬†Mesa (technically a dress, but easy to lop off to a shirt by the looks) and the Seamwork Aberdeen. As these will all be very quick and easy projects, I’m hoping to get a few tees made. Continue reading “Autumn/Winter sewing plans”

Craftysticks: October update

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Daisy having fun with my MiL’s vintage Singer. I’ve borrowed it for a project that needed lots of topstitching. Maybe I should put Daisy to work in my own mini-sweatshop?!

Yeah, until I ever get more hours in the day this looks like being a monthly rather than a weekly thing. I’ve been managing to get some crafting done along with the writing, though, by starting writing as soon as Gabriel goes down for his nap, then once I’ve written 1250 words I can spend the rest of the time (generally about half an hour, give or take) sewing. Woohoo! I need that reward to power on through with the writing some days.

Sewing:

I finished the last of Daisy’s school dresses and she’s still wearing them even though the weather has cooled right down, so that’s good. Turns out a summer dress is perfect for autumn when you have a long sleeved top and leggings underneath ūüôā

I’ve also sewn myself another mini skirt. Yeah, I know, my last two projects were mini skirts too. Not sure what’s going on there, but I think it will be the last one I sew for some time. There are only so many winter minis a girl needs…

Continue reading “Craftysticks: October update”

Craftysticks: monthly it is, then!

It would appear I can’t manage a blog post more often than monthly, although to be fair, it was the summer holidays and I did have a book deadline. Maybe things will be different in future… Yeah, I doubt it!

Anyway, I’ve done a wee bit of sewing over the summer. Having a deadline of wanting to get skirts ready for the UK Meet (GLBTQ+ writing convention) helped. Here’s what I got up to:

Sewing:

I actually finished two corduroy mini-skirts. Woohoo! One is a Seamwork Osaka wrap skirt which I started at the Sewn Bristol Sewcial. It’s in brown needlecord with a red polka dot lining. I know the Osaka is meant to be colour blocked and reversible, but I’m just a born rebel ūüėõ

I also appear to be a rebel when following the instructions as I made a major mistake which meant I never did manage to finish it at the Sewcial. Ah well, I learnt an important lesson about reading things properly before cutting out, and the finished skirt still looks great. I expect there’ll be pics and a blog post at some point. Oh, okay, here’s a really rubbish selfie I took in the (dirty, smeared) mirror while deciding what I needed to pack for the convention. Yes, I am now that person who takes photos of her outfits to decide what goes with what, and so she can remember it when she gets there…

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The second mini skirt is a fab self-drafted rainbow corduroy number which I’ve been planning to make for years, but never got round to until now. Admittedly it’s a bit shorter than anticipated (the perils of winging it and not accounting for seam allowances!) but it will be great in the winter with tights or leggings. Or in the summer with bare legs if I’m feeling really brave and especially tanned. Here’s a sneak pic, and a full blog post will follow at some point. Possibly. I wouldn’t hold your breath, though.

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I’ve also finished another self-drafted school dress for Daisy. One left to go, but only the collar and hems to finish off. I’m really pleased with these and she seems to find them really comfortable. Here’s a pic of her in the first dress–full post to follow with the standard disclaimer. Hey, I’m busy, all right?!

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Crochet:

I’m still slowly working on the Rebel Lace Cardie. I’ve now completed the lower bodice rows as specified in the pattern, but I think I’m going to need to work a few more as it’s coming in above the waist, whereas it needs to sit directly on the natural waist. It might be ready for next summer…

Cooking:

I set myself the task of having a go at perfecting some really simple dishes over the summer holidays: mayonnaise, steak and scrambled eggs. Admittedly I only had a go at mayo and steak the once, but it was the best steak I’ve ever tasted (disclaimer: I’d only had steak four times in my life up to that point!). The mayo was less successful as I used olive oil. Although it was the light olive oil it still tasted way too olivey for my liking. Still, at least I got it to the right consistency, even if I did have to add a second egg yolk to stop it curdling. I think in future I’ll have to try a different oil. The idea was to get away from PUFAs and go for the healthier MUFAs, so perhaps I’ll try avocado oil next time. If I can afford it… (contemplates taking out second mortgage or selling a kidney)

I’ve been doing really well with the scrambled eggs, though. I always thought I didn’t like them but it turns out that what I didn’t like were my mum’s overcooked scrambled eggs. Done perfectly with cream, chives and Parmesan, the humble scrambled egg is a thing of beauty. Particularly when served with smoked salmon. Yum!

Anyway, that’s it for now. Better make use of this time and get on with some real sewing. As of Monday¬†I’m going to devote Gabriel’s naptimes to writing, and will only be able to sew once I’ve written 1000 words. I’m hoping that might spur me on to be more productive with the writing. Here’s hoping!

What have you all been up to? Anyone else making stuff? ūüôā