Last week I had another make up on the Minerva Blogger Network: this gorgeous polka dot dressing gown from Vogue Patterns (V8888). You can find out more about this make over on their blog–it was a complicated sew in some ways (blame the viscose challis!), but I had a lot of fun paying attention to giving it a fine finish with lots of French seams and couture touches.
I haven’t actually had any opportunity for wearing this just yet as the weather took an unwelcome turn for the cold again, but I’m sure it’s going to come in useful over the summer. Assuming we actually get a summer in England this year…
I’ll be posting again this week, I hope, with my final maternity make I keep promising: an Agnes top in a gorgeous dark floral jersey from Girl Charlee UK. Better get it done quick before I have this baby!
This week I’m finally able to share a make from January with you–the popular Kinder Cardigan–as my post for the new Wendy Ward book (A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics – affiliate link) has gone live over on the Minerva site. Go and check it out if you want to find out more about both the cardie and the book as a whole 🙂
I did try to wear my cardie today but the weather got too hot, too quickly. We seem to have gone straight from winter to summer–just last week everyone was wearing coats and scarves and today it was all shorts and flip flops! I’m sure the cardie will get some wear over the spring and summer, though, even if only in the evenings.
I’ll be blogging another Minerva make next week–a gorgeous summer dressing gown (Vogue V888) in polka dot viscose challis. Just got to finish off making it and work out how to insert inseam pockets in a French seam!
I wasn’t sure if I’d be taking part in Me Made May this year–after all, my due date is May 9th so I’d be spending part of the month heavily pregnant, then giving birth, then dealing with a newborn (plus a three-year-old and a twelve-year-old). Let’s face it, I probably don’t need any more pressure!
But then I remembered how much I’ve enjoyed the challenge the last couple of years, and that it’s a personal pledge with no obligations to up the ante each year. I’m keeping my pledge really simple, and hoping it will encourage me to spend just a little time on myself each day (easy to forget to do with a newborn around) and to help plan my summer sewing.
Here, then, is my pledge:
‘I, Anna of annajosews.com (@anna_jo_sews), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’18. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item (garment or accessory) each day during May 2018. I also want to spend the month assessing which of my clothes will work for life with a newborn, and to plan a breastfeeding-friendly capsule wardrobe to sew for the summer.’
I’ll be going through all my clothes and packing away clothes that I won’t be able to wear for the time being, sorting them into the following five categories:
Maternity clothes that can be altered for future non-maternity use.
Maternity clothes for donating to a charity shop.
Dresses with no nursing access (to be reviewed when no longer breastfeeding)
Out of season clothes (to be reviewed in the autumn)
Clothes that currently don’t fit (to be reviewed when I’m back to my pre-pregnancy size)
In previous years I’ve managed to get a photograph of my outfit each day, but that might not happen this year. However, I’m hoping I can at least get a quick selfie most days, even if it is with a sleeping baby on my lap! I’ll share those on Instagram, and do some kind of round-up post here at the end, although it probably won’t be as comprehensive as my posts in previous years have been (here’s the final posts for 2016 and 2017).
Right, that’s me. Are you taking part in Me Made May this year? If so, what are your goals?
After a pretty rubbish start to my sewing year, I feel I’ve managed to regain my sew-jo this last month–and just in time for the end of pregnancy when I really don’t want to be sewing myself any more clothes to fit the bump–doh! You can see last month’s plans here, and I didn’t do too badly with them, all things considered. Here’s where my crafting’s been at:
Okay, so the eagle-eyed among you will have spotted that’s a picture of some crochet, not sewing, but hey, you’ve already seen the sewing in the form of that Amber dress. There was also a RTW dress refashion I finished off for Daisy, but I don’t have before and after pics of that one. I have a pile of dresses needing refashioning as my Mum keeps buying them in charity shops, deciding she doesn’t really like them, and passing them on to Daisy. Of course, they’re all much too big around the shoulders, but I guess I can sort them all out. Eventually…
As for the crochet, that was the state of play on my Persian Tiles blanket a week or so ago, and I’ve made more progress since then. I think I’m on track to get all the motifs made by the end of the month, then I can put them together and do the border in May. As well as having a baby. Heh. Totally doable, amiright? #overambitious
Money spent: £0.00
My cheapest month to date, methinks! I’m actually looking forward to treating myself to a pattern and fabric (and possibly haberdashery too) this next month. It’s been a while, and I have birthday and Christmas money saved for that purpose 🙂
April sewing plans:
I’ve already got April off to a good start by repairing three items of clothing yesterday: a button fly on Andy’s jeans that had completely torn apart, topstitching down the zip tape on Daisy’s onesie (it kept getting caught in the zip), and giving Andy’s lounging shorts new elastic as the old had perished. I know repairs don’t make exciting blogging–or even exciting sewing, come to that–but I always feel really satisfied when I’ve managed to fix much-loved items of clothing and given them a new lease of life. Anyone else feel the same? Or would you rather stick needles in your arms than actually repair things?!
In terms of other sewing, I’ll be making two Vogue patterns: a black and white polka dot viscose challis dressing gown for my Minerva make, and I’m really looking forward to getting going on that as I’ve never made one or worked with challis before. I’ll also be having a go at traditional shirt making for the first time, as I’ve finally traced out Andy’s first shirt: Vogue 8759, and I have some old striped cotton shirting in the stash I can use for the trial run. This week I’ll be cutting the fabric for both those projects when the kids are at my mum’s. Cutting out with a good podcast on and no little fingers trying to steal my rotary cutters–bliss!
If I feel like a simpler project between those, I might make up a final Megan Nielsen Amber top, as it would be great for breastfeeding this summer and could also be worn in the last little bit of pregnancy. I have a few knit fabrics in the stash and might make it out of a mauve viscose knit. Alternatively I might make that Railfence Quilt I’ve been planning for Gabriel. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself in this last few weeks of pregnancy, though, as that’s no fun, so I won’t worry if I don’t get around to either of these.
And yes, there’ll be plenty of sofa time crocheting the rest of those Persian Tile motifs. I have another 13 Octagons (3 are half done), 6 squares and 10 triangles to go. Gulp. I can totally do that, and it does give me the excuse to do lots of chilling in front of the telly, which is probably good considering how much effort moving around is taking these days.
What are you planning to make this month? Anyone else thinking summer clothes already?
I made this Megan Nielsen Erin Maternity Skirt back in December, took the pics in January, but am only now blogging it as it’s hardly had any wear so far. That’s by no means a reflection on how much I like the skirt (spoiler: I love it!) but more on our exceptionally cold winter this year, and the weight of the fabric I used.
Megan Nielsen is one of the few pattern designers out there with a range of maternity sewing patterns to choose from, and so far I’ve made this and the Amber Dress, both of which I love. They are all classic, knit garments that make excellent basics, and each have a range of options to give different looks. The Erin skirt has two length options (knee and midi length) plus an optional hem ruffle if you like that kind of thing. Ruffles aren’t my thang, but hey, maybe I’ll change my mind at some point. Probably once they’ve gone out of fashion, knowing me…
While a knit pencil skirt is one of the easiest garments out there to make and I already have a TNT pattern for one which I could have adapted for maternity wear, I chose to buy this anyway as it looked like there was some interesting shaping going on at the top. I’m glad I did as the pattern drafting is really clever, with different shaped back and front pieces so you get plenty of extra fabric going over the bump. There’s also some side ruching with elastic, although unlike other ruched maternity wear where the front panel is the only one gathered, the Erin skirt gathers are made after sewing the side seams, so front and back both get gathered. I can’t say as it seems to make much difference in how the skirt looks, and it’s certainly easy to sew that way.
I’ve been missing my favourite striped knit pencil skirt, so I went searching for some medium weight striped stretchy jersey and found this navy and beige fabric on Minerva’s site. It was good value, a polyester/viscose/elastane blend, and seemed ideal. However, when it arrived it felt much thinner and more drapey than I was expecting. I don’t think the description is wrong–viscose does weigh more than cotton–but I now know to be more careful when choosing viscose fabrics for bottoms! This is absolutely perfect for a spring/summer skirt with bare legs underneath, but not right for wearing over tights or leggings in winter. The skirt rides up too easily when walking.
I think the fabric would be fabulous for tees and summer dresses, though, as it’s so soft and drapey. Maybe I’ll buy some more for something else, and I should have enough scraps to make a tee for Gabriel.
In terms of making up, this was a really simple sew. I deviated from the instructions only when sewing the elastic waistband, as I much prefer to overlock the elastic to the top edge, fold and stitch than go to all the faff of making waistband casings. I also hate the way waistbands can get twisted inside casings, and there’s no chance of twisting with this method. And check out how high this skirt goes up!
When I’d finished the skirt I tried it on before hemming, and realised it was too long to walk in comfortably. This could partly be down to the cheap elastic I used for ruching the side seams, which stretched out and didn’t fully recover so ended up 4cm longer than it should have been. In the end I lopped 8cm length off the bottom and it’s ended up just above the knee.
I do love my Erin Skirt and I’m looking forward to the weather being warm enough to get lots of wear out of it in my last weeks of pregnancy. However, I reckon it will still be useful over the summer months while I work on getting rid of the baby flab, and it could always be converted to a regular pencil skirt after that, so it should get a fair amount of wear eventually.
I probably should have made another Erin skirt in a thicker fabric for the winter, but I’m not going to bother now as I have so little time left. However, I’ll hold onto the pattern in case any friends fall pregnant and fancy a cute skirt making for them 🙂
These photos are now a couple of months old, but I’m currently having a go at the 10×10 wardrobe challenge over on Instagram, and this skirt is one of my ten picks. I’ll post a round-up and my thoughts on the challenge in a couple of weeks so you’ll be able to see the skirt over my current much larger bump then–or hop on over to Instagram if you can’t wait!
Pattern: The Erin Maternity Skirt from Megan Nielsen Patterns. I made the midi length version (version 2)
Modifications: Reduced the length by about 8cm for ease of walking, so it’s ended up being knee length after all.
Overlocked elastic to top edge, folded and topstitched rather than making a casing.
Time to sew: 1 hour 11 mins (this doesn’t include pattern tracing, cutting out, threading up machine, trying on for fit purposes, and general waffling!)
Pattern: £7.55 (in Black Friday sale)
Pattern printing: £2.70
Fabric: £4.99 for 1m
Notions: £0.00 (elastics from stash)
Other inspirational versions: While plain, I love these classic black and white versions from Poppykettle and The Gingerthread Girl. And you can’t beat this patterned version by Holli, modelled over a 39 week bump no less!
What are your thoughts on striped skirts? Are they a wardrobe staple for you too?
Coming next on the blog: My April sewing plans!
Disclaimer: some of the products linked above use affiliate links, meaning if you follow the link and make a purchase I will receive a small referral fee (at no added cost to you). Any extra income to help fund my sewing habit is greatly appreciated, but rest assured I only recommend products I love and think you might find useful too 🙂
Hey everyone! I’ve got another Minerva make to share today, and it’s another maternity dress. Not the Agnes this time, but the old Simplicity version of the Megan Nielsen Amber Dress. I’ve actually made it twice before (here and here) so this is truly a TNT pattern for me.
I do still have a couple of maternity makes to blog, and I’ve got pics taken so hopefully they’ll go up in the next couple of weeks. After that… I’m going to have to think hard about what will be worth making. Fitting a rapidly changing body is a challenge!
The full write up of making this dress is on the Minerva site, but something I forgot to add to the post was the time taken to sew, which was 2 hours. That’s not bad considering there were 13 pattern pieces to deal with, and the fabric was challenging at times (although seriously gorgeous to wear!)
Right, that’s it for now. I’ve been dealing with an ill toddler the last couple of days (conjunctivitis) so I’m tired and haven’t got much done. At least I’m making some headway on the crochet blanket, though 🙂
Back soon with another Megan Nielsen pattern: the Erin skirt! Sneak peek:
“Bumper” might be a bit of a misnomer, I admit. The fact is, for quite a few weeks I was feeling really low in energy. At the time I put it down to the pregnancy, having a bit of a cold and general exhaustion after the trip Andy and I took to Berlin in the half term, but it turns out it was anaemia all along. You’d think I’d recognise it by now as I’ve had it several times in the past (including at this stage of pregnancy with Gabriel and Daisy), but it always catches me unawares.
Anyway, for a few weeks I didn’t have the physical or mental energy to do any sewing or blogging. I’m not apologising for that, btw! I did what I needed to do to conserve the little energy I had.
I’m pleased to say that the high-strength iron I’ve been prescribed is now starting to do its work and I’ve had a decent surge of energy this past week. And I’ve got back into sewing and blogging again. Yay!
At the moment we’re on our second “snow day” in a row, and I’m really feeling the lack of options for warm weather clothing in my current wardrobe. However, I think spring is just around the corner so there’s little point in sewing any more cold weather maternity gear. I’ll just have to put up with rotating the same few outfits (and one coat!) until the weather warms up. I have to admit, I did cave and buy a couple of cheap RTW long-sleeved maternity dresses and a pair of leggings from Lidl. They’re made of organic cotton jersey which feels incredibly soft, so although they won’t get worn for long I don’t consider it a waste of money as I’m planning to use the fabric to sew some tees and shorts for Gabriel and maybe some stuff for the baby. We’ll see 🙂
Blogged in January and February:
L-R: The Cowl Necked Maternity Dress, The Baggy Bump Maternity Trousers
I also did a lot of blogging in the new year–the #SewingTop5 round ups and my #2018MakeNine posts. I love writing those kind of posts!
Sewing done in January and February:
L-R: The Kinder Cardigan (I haven’t actually photographed my version yet) and a dark floral Agnes/Gertie Sweetheart top (finished today, but most of the sewing was done in February). Also the Baggy Bump Trousers and Cowl Necked Dress, pictured in the blogged section.
I might not have sewn everything I planned to, but considering the anaemia I’ve been dealing with, I’m impressed I got that much done. Yay me!
I did get a bit of crocheting done too. I’m making the Persian Tiles blanket in the Eastern Jewels colourway as one of my future Minerva Makes. I have to finish it by mid-May, so lots of crochet hours in my future!
A thrifty couple of months, make no mistake! I’ve had to be thrifty in pretty much everything after Christmas and the kids’ birthdays. Even that £4.50 I spent (on elastic) used a gift card so wasn’t real money 🙂
I have been given some money for Christmas and my birthday, though, so I have something to spend over the next few months, should I wish. I’m going to sew from stash as much as humanly possible, though.
March sewing plans:
I have a dress cut and ready to sew for my Minerva make this month–it’s the Megan Nielsen Amber maternity dress, although I’m using the OOP Simplicity version of the pattern. I think I might make a summery top version of this pattern too as I know it’s great for breastfeeding, and for covering that flabby post-baby belly I’ll be sporting for at least a couple of months after the birth.
Other than that I’m hoping to finish a few alterations (those velvet maternity leggings I’ve mentioned before), a dress for Daisy, and a pair of skinny jeans I’m hacking into a maternity/post-baby version.
I can’t see the point in starting any more maternity makes at this stage, so any remaining sewing time this month will be spent prepping a shirt for Andy, a summer dressing gown for me, and a quilt for Gabriel.
I’ll also be working on my crochet Eastern Jewels Persian Tiles blanket, which may or may not end up as a baby blanket. We’ll see…
I’ve got to say a big thank you to my daughter, Daisy, for taking the pictures! Finding the opportunity to get enough light to photograph a project properly at this time of year is tricky, to say the least, and these might not be up to my usual picture standard, but hey, at least they got taken 🙂
I have a few projects nearly finished and another couple of project posts that just need writing, so I hope to be back to a regular weekly post in March. I’m not going to do any more maternity sewing after the next couple of weeks, though, as unless it’s something that would work for breastfeeding and that awkward period before my midsection gets back to its pre-pregnancy state (it will happen–I’ve managed it twice before!), it really won’t be worth the effort for just two month’s of wear.
Anyway, these trousers are so useful right now with this freezing cold weather. My legs are actually warm enough today, wearing these with boots and leggings underneath! The fabric is perfect for bottomweight sewing, and would also be great for a jacket. It’s a clearance one, though, so you if want some for yourself don’t wait!
You can find out more over on Minerva’s site, but I’ll give you a spoiler: I love it! Just what my wardrobe needed right now, as I didn’t have much in the way of winter-appropriate maternity gear. What with Gabriel being born in December, winter hadn’t had much of a chance to get going then and as I don’t generally go for oversized things, I’m rapidly running out of wearable clothing. I’ll be making a few more maternity items over the next month or so, keeping in mind to make things that will hopefully either be able to be worn while I’m losing the baby weight, or that can be remade to suit my body once it’s got back to its normal size and shape.
Right, here’s the materials used, should you be interested in nabbing some of this for yourself. The fabric is a real winner for winter wear, with excellent stretch, drape, warmth and recovery. Just check the blog post for how I dealt with sewing it as it didn’t behave exactly how I expected:
I meant to post this earlier in the month, but hey, there were all those year end round-ups and 2018 plans to share. Anyway, here’s the lowdown on what ended up being a pretty productive sewing month, all things considered. I think my Christmas decoration crafting and mince pie making suffered as a result, though!
Today I’m diving in to the fun of my top five hits, and I’ll be following it up with some wardrobe stats and musings on what makes a hit. So, without further ado, my top makes of 2017 /drum roll/ are….
This Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan is hands-down my my most worn me-made of 2017, clocking in an impressive 61 wears out and about according to my Stylebook app. And I know it really got worn way more than that as it’s been one of the lounging garments I throw on in the evening and first thing in the morning. It’s warm, breathable, goes with most things, super comfy, and best yet, has massive pockets. Yay! So good I made a second cardie in purple, which has also been worn lots since I made it.
This is definitely my favourite dress of the year (Seamwork’s Neenah). Partly because of the gorgeous ribbed knit fabric I bought in Madrid, but also for that cowl neckline, which I find really flattering. This was in third equal place for most worn me-mades (28 wears), and I’ve found it’s stretchy enough to still fit over my 22 week pregnant belly, so it’s still getting regular wear 🙂 BTW, I know there’s something seriously wrong with the sleeves at the upper arm, but I don’t care enough to unpick and redo!
I absolutely adore this blouse (Butterick B6217). Not the sort of fabric I usually go for, but I love the way it looks on and the soft cotton voile was a dream to sew with, and a dream to wear on hot, sticky days. A really flattering pattern I’ll be making again this summer.
So why is such a humble garment one of my top fives? Well, this was my second most worn me-made of the year, clocking in 35 wears, and it’s so wonderfully versatile. I thought at first it was too high under the arm but now I’m used to it I reckon it’s just about perfect. It’s plain, but the cute neckline makes it feel sassy and very “me”. It was also my first make from the Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book, which has become a bit of a style bible for me this year 🙂
Oh yeah, I made swimwear! This is the Reno/Dakota Seamwork bikini, and I absolutely loved making it, as well as wearing it. Not sure why, but sewing swimwear really makes me feel like a boss. And who’d have thought I’d ever have the courage to post a pic this undressed on my blog?!
These are the ones that nearly made the list, and it if was a top ten they definitely would have:
All my Cleo Dresses
I’ve worn my Tilly and the Buttons Cleo dresses loads, and I can’t possibly choose a favourite! #sorrynotsorry I’m really looking forward to getting them out again once I can fit back into them. Here’s links to the original posts: aubergine corduroy, denim stars, ditsy floral corduroy.
This is such a comfy, versatile skirt. I had no idea how well such a bold striped garment would go with the rest of my wardrobe, but figuring out my style has encouraged me to go for bold, monochromatic prints I would have previously avoided. This was my fifth most worn me-made of 2017, and is another pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.
Another striped garment, and the return of a pattern that appeared in the top 5! I’ve loved styling this in different ways. The epitome of casual rockabilly, and you can find the pattern in Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.
And for more bold B&W print goodness, here’s my version of the Colette Wren dress in a lightweight viscose knit. I’ve loved wearing this dress, despite some neckline issues! And it appears the rest of you loved it too, as it appeared three times in my Instagram #2017BestNine!
They might not fit absolutely perfectly (I wanted a higher waist), but I’m so proud of all the work I put into fitting these. They’re definitely the most comfortable pair of trousers I’ve ever worn! And yes, another pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual–probably my best sewing pattern spend ever 😀
General stats Total garments made: 44
Unselfish makes: 6 (3 for Daisy, 3 for Gabriel)
Non-skirt bottoms: 2
Total left unblogged: 11
Two of those will be blogged this next month, and the rest were small and/or simple projects that didn’t seem to warrant a whole blog post, such as a couple of knit skirts for Daisy, a pair of underpants for Gabriel, some headbands and a couple of pairs of knickers for me.
Amount spent on sewing: £338.83
I don’t have details for January and February as I only started recording this data in March, but in the ten months since I’ve spent a grand total of £338.83 on fabric, patterns and haberdashery. That’s £34 a month, or £7.82 per week. Who says this has to be an expensive hobby?!
It helps that I’ve been sponsored by Minerva and have been using up my stash, and of the 44 garments I made, exactly half were stashbusting or scrap-busting projects. Woohoo!
After looking at my Stylebook app stats, in particular my list of number of times I’ve worn each garment and the cost per wear, I can see that my most worn makes tend to be cardigans, dresses and tops. I don’t have so many me-made bottoms this year which might be why they didn’t get worn so much. For the future I definitely need to concentrate on adding to my rather small cardigan and knit top selection, and to my everyday skirts and trousers when my figure has returned to normal again.
I can also see that for items that will get worn lots (versatile separates like tees and cardies in solids or simple patterns) it’s worth spending out a bit more on fabric, as the total cost per wear will still end up far less than a party dress or more specialised seasonal item like swimwear.
So, that was my top five sewing hits of 2017… okay, my top twelve, really! And I’ll be back tomorrow with my Top Five Misses, and what I’ve learnt from making them. See you then!
If you have a year-end round up post, please link it in the comments as I’d love to give it a read! And what did you learn about your style and wardrobe needs from your favourite me-mades this last year?
Happy New Year, everyone! And as it’s a new year, it must be time for my #2018MakeNine challenge post. Last year I went for categories of capsule wardrobe building patterns as I wanted a range of TNT patterns for staple garments. This year I’m taking a slightly different approach. Continue reading “My #2018MakeNine”
So, it’s New Year’s Eve and a traditional time to take stock of what’s gone on in the past year. Okay, here in the UK it’s also a traditional time to get drunk and stay up till the small hours, partying, but there’s not going to be any of that for me this year, that’s for sure! I expect to be in bed by 11 🙂
I posted my initial #2017MakeNine challenge back in January, choosing categories of garment rather than specific patterns as I wanted to find as many TNT patterns as I could to flesh out my me-made wardrobe and liked the flexibility of setting it up that way. Here’s all my finished makes for the different categories (click on the pics to be taken to the original posts): Continue reading “My #2017MakeNine challenge: the results”