MakeNine 2021

Okay, I said I’d be posting a summer make if I didn’t have my Faux fur gilet pics yet (I don’t), but then I remembered that January is an ideal time to think about plans for the year. So let’s have a think about MakeNine 2021!

I’ve been doing MakeNine for a few years now with varying degrees of success (see 2019, 2018, 2017), but even if I don’t make much from the list (life/pandemics happen, after all) it still focuses my mind. Here’s the final grid for 2020’s plans:

I made three out of the nine–the Stella Dress, the Jenny Overalls and the Oslo Cardigan–the last of which I ended up gifting to my sister as it just didn’t suit me.

MakeNine 2021

And here’s the grid for this year:

MakeNine 2021

As you might notice, four of these are repeats from 2020. I still really want to make the Butterick B5526 shirt, the McCalls raincoat (I have the patterns for both in my stash) and an underwired bra (possibly the Cloth Habit Harriet). The Sew Over It Heather Dress is already cut out and ready to sew, so I’m confident that one will be made this year. You can find out more about my plans for each in this post: http://annajosews.com/my-make-nine-plans-2019-results-and-ideas-for-2020/

Continue reading “MakeNine 2021”

The Starry PJs – Frankie tee and Stella Joggers from Tilly’s Stretch book

This is another recent PJ make for one of my kids (they’ve had a set each this winter). This was Daisy’s turn, and as she’s now adult sized she got to choose patterns from Tilly Walnes’ Stretch book: the Frankie tee and Stella joggers. With a few little adaptations they make excellent pyjamas!

Starry Jersey PJs using Frankie Tee and Stella Joggers from Stretch book
Daisy modelling her PJs in her bedroom, complete with Lottie the cat

This was a make using fabric provided by Minerva in return for a 500+ word post on their site with 6+ photos. There was no obligation to post here, but I like keeping my own record of my makes on my site too 🙂 You can find the Minerva post here which gives more sewing details and fabric info: https://www.minerva.com/posts/1060723

While I was initially a bit disappointed to discover Daisy has now grown out of the Ottobre kids size range (they have such cute patterns!) I’ve realised this means I can make her any of my patterns now. And I have lots of patterns! Daisy does need some adjustments making to pretty much all patterns as she has the typical Downs’ Syndrome proportions of wide neck, narrow shoulders, short arms and legs and a tendency to be round in the middle. However, I’m now pretty used to what’s required, just like with the standard adaptations I make for myself, and that makes life easier.

Continue reading “The Starry PJs – Frankie tee and Stella Joggers from Tilly’s Stretch book”

The Playworker Dungarees – Closet Core Jenny Overalls in leaf print canvas

I’m back sharing a very recent make (hooray for catching up a bit!) which I finished at the end of November: my first pair of Closet Core Jenny Overalls. Or dungarees as I prefer to call them. Not sure if there’s a difference, but it sounds less like something you’d don to fix a car. Here’s a pic of me modelling them with wellies on in some local woods:

Closet Core Jenny Overalls as cropped dungarees
Proof these are practical: can be worn for a super muddy winter walk (with wellies)

These were made using a fabulous digitally printed canvas supplied by Minerva in return for a post on their site (500+ words) with 6+ photos. You can find that post here, and it goes into some detail about sewing up this pattern. Minerva only supplied the fabric. All thread, notions and the pattern were purchased by me.

Continue reading “The Playworker Dungarees – Closet Core Jenny Overalls in leaf print canvas”

The Teacher Trousers: make the Jalie Éléonore Pull-On Jeans

Happy New Year! I’ve still got a fair few makes to share from 2020 so I should be posting pretty regularly over the next few months–and hopefully all year if I get into a good habit with it. Here today is a make from August: the Jalie Éléonore Pull-On Jeans in a pretty bold dark floral cotton. Ah, summer!

Jalie Éléonore Pull-On Jeans

Oh yeah, I love these! They were made with a linen look cotton supplied by Minerva in return for a 500+ word blog post with 6+ photos on their site. You can find that post here. There’s no obligation for me to post on this blog but I wanted to anyway. I love having this as a diary of everything I’ve made. I keep a sewing journal too, but it’s great to have this as well.

Continue reading “The Teacher Trousers: make the Jalie Éléonore Pull-On Jeans”

My SewingTop5 of 2020 (aka good riddance, foul year)

Nobody needs me to tell them that 2020 didn’t turn out the way I imagined it would this time last year. I’m guessing we’re all in the same boat in that respect. Like many sewists, I found it tough to get motivated to sew for a while and I’ve been really missing the chance to get an occasional break from the kids to get stuck into a project without interruptions. My parents have been unable to do any childcare for us as Mum has a serious lung condition and none of us want to risk it. Sewing in my house with everyone home can be challenging as my sewing space is in the main living area.

I don’t want to dwell on the bad stuff, though. There have been some unexpected pleasures to be found in 2020, and I’ve mostly been pretty happy with life (having a wonderful family really helps–even if I can’t get away from them!). Anyway, to “celebrate” the year here’s my take on the SewingTop5 meme that’s doing the rounds. (I haven’t managed to blog it every year but I’ve certainly made lists and managed to post some years)

And some quick stats: I finished 19 garments in 2020. 9 were for me (1 dress, 1 apron, 3 tops, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of dungarees and 2 pairs of trousers) and 10 were for others (1 for Mum, 1 for my sister, Bek, 2 for Daisy, 2 for Lauren and 4 for Gabriel). These were mostly cardigans and PJs.

I’ve also, like many, made a fair few face masks for the family and some scrubs for our local NHS trust. Here I am modelling some scrubs that are clearly too small for me!

Continue reading “My SewingTop5 of 2020 (aka good riddance, foul year)”

The Tartan PJ Bottoms – a free pdf pj pattern make

Hey, I’m back sharing a make from this autumn, this time for Gabriel (who’s now 6–doesn’t time fly?!). I used a free pdf pj pattern by new to me pattern company Life Sew Savory. Umm, what’s with that awful name? Makes me think of gravy, not sewing. Anyway, the PJ bottoms are cute:

I ended up making these twice, both times using free fabric from Minerva which was supplied in return for a 500+ word post with 6+ photos over on their site. You can find the navy and red post here, and the yellow and black pair posted here. I’ve written all the details of sewing them up in those posts, but honestly, it was pretty straightforward! I’ve also gushed a bit about the fabric and I wouldn’t blame anyone for being suspicious as I was provided it in return for a review. However, Minerva don’t give any requirements for reviews to be positive, and this is absolutely beautiful quality fabric! I will definitely spend money on it again in the future when I have a suitable project in mind.

I’m less sure about promoting the free pdf pj pattern. There are obviously some great points: it’s free, there are customisation options, and it’s sized for the whole family. But I’m not convinced the drafting is the best as my inseams didn’t match in length. That could be user error, however! I’d recommend them to anyone wanting really baggy basic PJ bottoms who doesn’t want to spend anything and doesn’t mind having to true that inseam.

On the sewing table

I’m currently wrestling with some seriously hairy faux fur fabric which I received from Minerva for review some time ago. An embarrassingly long time ago, in fact. I did start making a gilet using a self drafted pattern back at the beginning of 2020, but it just looked wrong and I didn’t know how to sort it out. I’ve now come back to it with a can-do attitude (I’m trying to develop more of this as I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to getting things done) and have trimmed it down to give a narrower silhouette. With any luck I might get it finished by the end of the year as it’s actually a super simple make.

I’ll be back in a couple of days with a Top Five review of the year post. 2020 has been a year like no other, but I’m sure I can find some positive non-sewing stuff if I really wrack my brains! I’ll be sharing another make for me (some more Jalie Eleanores) on Friday too, hopefully. I have a feeling I won’t be particularly hungover this New Year’s Day!

Hope you’ve all had a lovely (if small) Christmas,

Anna x

The Sloppy Overalls (Ottobre Summer 2018) in double gauze

I’ve been meaning to share these cute little Sloppy Overalls I made for Lauren for a couple of weeks now. Finally here they are, and still seasonal if you’re lucky enough to live in the southern hemisphere 🙂 They’re from Ottobre Summer 2018 edition if you’re interested in making some yourself.

Ottobre Summer 2018 Sloppy Overalls in cotton double gauze

This is yet another of the Minerva makes I’m catching up on blogging here–I’ll be carrying on with these into the new year, that’s for sure! I received the fabric for the make in return for a 500+ word post on their site with 6+ photographs. You can find the Minerva post with lots of nerdy sewing deets here: https://www.minerva.com/posts/1055850 Continue reading “The Sloppy Overalls (Ottobre Summer 2018) in double gauze”

The Not-for-me Boucle Cardigan – sewing the Seamwork Oslo

This Seamwork Oslo cardigan is modelled by me, but the instant I finished it and tried it on I knew I wasn’t going to keep it. It’s just too… big!

Seamwork Oslo Cardigan

It’s one of my Minerva Makes using fabric gifted in return for a review with photos. You can find a full detailed write-up over with more pictures on their site here: https://www.minerva.com/posts/1056029 Continue reading “The Not-for-me Boucle Cardigan – sewing the Seamwork Oslo”

The Is-it-a-Dress Apron – making the Tessuti Cross Back Apron

Hi everyone, just popping by to share an apron I made back in the summer (hence the sunny pictures!). It’s the Tessuti cross-back Apron Pattern and it’s completely free, as well as being pretty stylish in a minimalist kinda way.

Tessuti cross back apron in Whats Cookin' retro quilting cotton

This is one of the Minerva Makes I’ve been busy uploading on their new site, meaning I was given the fabric in return for a 500+ word post with 6+ pictures on their site. You can find the full write up over there: https://www.minerva.com/posts/1053214

Continue reading “The Is-it-a-Dress Apron – making the Tessuti Cross Back Apron”

The Unicorn Cold-Shoulder Top – an Ottobre 1/2019 make

I made this fabulous digital unicorn print jersey cold-shoulder top from Ottobre 1/2019 for Daisy. Check it out!

Cold Shoulder Top in Digital Print Unicorn Jersey Ottobre 1/2019

Okay, so I meant to post this yesterday but real life intervened (ill toddler meaning hardly any sleep for me). I’m not sure anyone will notice anyway, although they might now I’ve mentioned it…

It was a Minerva make (they provided fabric in return for a 500+ word post with pics on their site) and you can find the full deets of sewing it up over on my profile there: https://www.minerva.com/posts/1049199 Continue reading “The Unicorn Cold-Shoulder Top – an Ottobre 1/2019 make”

The Lounge Lizard Joggers – sewing the Monsal Lounge Pants

As promised, here I am back with another make from earlier this year. Yep, 2020 has definitely been the year of loungewear, and fittingly I’ve made the Monsal Lounge Pants from Wendy Ward’s Sewing with Knitted Fabrics book.

Monsal Lounge Pants in purple French terry

You can find out more about the process of sewing the Monsal Lounge Pants up on my Minerva post here. Interestingly, it’s been a while since I wrote that blog post and when I read it through I discovered that I was absolutely in love with these joggers back when I wrote it. So what changed? Continue reading “The Lounge Lizard Joggers – sewing the Monsal Lounge Pants”

The Lovely Llama Print Toddler Dress and Trousers

Hey everyone! I’m back to blogging regularly by the looks of it. Here’s to keeping up with good habits once the lockdown ends and Christmas preparation goes mental…

Today I’m sharing something I made for Lauren almost a year ago, but which is now up on Minerva’s brand new site here. It’s a super cute dress and trousers made from some awesome llama panel print jersey. They definitely shouldn’t be worn at the same time, though!

Llama panel jersey toddler dress and joggers

The patterns are both from Ottobre magazine: the dress is the Sunray Jersey Dress from 3/2018 and the trousers are the First Steps Pants from 6/2019, both in a size 80 although I lengthened the dress to a 98.

Amazingly enough Lauren does still wear both of these, although the dress is getting too tight for easy dressing and the trousers are starting to look a bit short. I’m seriously considering getting the most out of my makes by finding some co-ordinating stretchy jersey (pretty sure I have some nice grey stuff somewhere) and recutting and binding the neck and armholes to get a few more months use out of the dress. Continue reading “The Lovely Llama Print Toddler Dress and Trousers”

The Stella Hoodie Dress from Tilly Walnes’ Stretch book for Minerva Makers

Phew, that title was a bit of a mouthful! Yes, I’m back and sharing another project made with free fabric from Minerva (in return for a blog post with pics on their site–no obligation to post here). This is one from early in the year–February to be exact–which is now coming back into regular wardrobe rotation. I present to you, the Stella Hoodie dress:

Stella Hoodie Dress from Stretch by Tilly Walnes in grey sweatshirting

You can find the full post with details of the fabric and sewing process over on Minerva here. I’m not 100% sure that sweatshirting with so little stretch was ideal for this project–it’s fine for the oversized look where stretch isn’t necessary, but I prefer something more fitted which means this isn’t as easy as I’d like to take on and off. Still, it’s really comfortable and practical, and makes a lovely snuggly winter dress. Continue reading “The Stella Hoodie Dress from Tilly Walnes’ Stretch book for Minerva Makers”

The Cheeky Chimp tee and shorts set – an Ottobre boys set for Minerva Makers

And there’s a cheeky chimp wearing it too! Here’s Gabriel modelling his new Ottobre raglan tee and shorts. Back when they were new…

Chimp panel print tee using Ottobre boys pattern

Wow, Gabriel looks so young here! These pics were actually taken last summer, but the post has only recently made its way onto Minerva (I was gifted the fabric in return for a blog post with pictures there-no obligation to post here). You can find all the sewing details on the post here.

This make really marked a turning point for me, as it showed me I could make absolutely awesome kids clothes that they’ll love. The fabric was a huge help as it gave me interesting different parts of the print to play with (panel prints FTW!). Continue reading “The Cheeky Chimp tee and shorts set – an Ottobre boys set for Minerva Makers”

Hello, blog! I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go…

Sequin Cocktail DressHi everyone, I’m still here, and I’m still sewing!

Yes, 2020 has been quite a year and I don’t think anyone’s going to judge me too harshly for neglecting this little blog. Basically, I have no childcare now (my mum has a serious respitory condition and can’t risk having the kids) and instead am now doing lots of childminding for other people. It’s really nice to not be broke any more (why hello, all you beautiful fabrics I can now afford to buy!) but the flip side is I have hardly any spare time for blogging.

Anyway, I’ve made lots of things and have a backlog to share here. I’m getting them up on the shiny new Minerva site–seriously, it’s awesome!–as there are lots made with fabric I was either gifted by or bought from there. I’ll be blogging all the ins and outs of making them there, but also be doing link posts here where I might say a bit more about how the items are fitting into my wardrobe. I’m still really interested in refining my style and think it’s one of the best ways of creating a sustainable wardrobe. Continue reading “Hello, blog! I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go…”

Me Made May 2020: dressing during lockdown

Hey all, long time no blog post. Yes, we are indeed living through “interesting times”. I’m mostly enjoying life in lockdown, although there are a lot of things I’m missing, including hugging my parents, coffee with friends and days out with the family. My mum has a serious respiratory condition and is currently in hospital having IV antibiotics for an infection, which is worrying but they’re keeping her safe there. Apart from that the rest of my tribe is safe and well, and I hope everyone you care about is safe too.

Anyway, I’ve done a bit of sewing this last month, including making a set of scrubs for the RUH in Bath. It’s quite hard to find time and motivation to sew much at the moment, and the sewing machine is having to compete with the garden for attention too, not to mention the three kids all at a loose end at home! However, I’m making slow progress on a couple of projects which I’ll hopefully be able to share here soon, and I’ve decided I want to take part in Me Made May again, as I always really enjoy it. Here, then, is my pledge:

Me Made May 2020

I, Anna of Anna-Jo Sews, pledge to wear at least two me-made garments in a unique combination every day throughout May 2020. I’m planning to keep things casual, comfy and in my style, and will hopefully be uploading an outfit pic to Instagram every day (@anna_jo_sews) as well as doing at least one round up post here on the blog. Ideally I’d like to do them every Friday, but we’ll see about that.

I’m hoping I’ll discover a few new ideas for outfit combinations using my existing clothes, as well as coming up with a few ideas for items to sew that will go with lots of my existing garments to make new outfits.

Watermelon fabric

Righto, it’s back to sewing up this yellow watermelon fabric into a fabulous Hawaiian shirt for Gabriel. We might not get a beach trip this summer, but at least we can have some beachy vibes in our own back garden!

Are you doing Me Made May? How are you coping with the lockdown/social distancing where you live?

Big hugs, Anna xxx