Me Made May – my thoughts on 2018’s challenge

#mmmay18

This was my third year of taking part in Me Made May, and probably the most challenging yet, what with having a baby part way through! Yes, I’ve had to deal with going from a pregnant belly to a post-baby body, and was already struggling with a very limited selection of clothing that fit me, let alone me-made clothing that fit.

This was 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.’ 

In the end I did fulfil the pledge, with the exception of the day I gave birth when I didn’t wear any me-mades at all (but I’d made a baby!). I didn’t get all that many photographs, though, for various reasons I’ll go into. First, though, I’m going to share the ones I did take.

Me Made May Day 1 Erin skirt Meghan Nielsen Patterns

Day 1: the only me-mades here were my striped Erin skirt and a polka dot headband, but I really liked the overall outfit.

Me Made May Day 2 Agnes Neenah dress and Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan

Day 2: really chilly start to the day, so layered up my Agnes/Neenah dress with a Drop Pocket Cardigan. Not a great look, but it kept me warm!

MeMadeMay2018 day 3

Day 3: Much warmer, so I wore my Amber dress.

MeMadeMay2018 day 4

Day 4: My floral Agnes top got its final outing over the bump! This picture was taken about half an hour before we left for hospital, so please excuse the ropiness.

MeMadeMay2018 day 5

Day 5: I got one last pic of the bump in the hospital garden, while being induced. The weather had turned absolutely roasting! Wearing a self-drafted jersey maxi skirt I’ve never blogged, which I normally only wear around the house as it’s gone quite bobbly. Super comfy, though!

MeMadeMay2018 day 6

Day 6 – no me-mades–just little baby Lauren! This was my most popular post of the month over on Instagram 🙂

MeMadeMay2018 day 7

Day 7- back home, and trialling my Colette Wren dress over my deflating tummy. Really comfy and lovely in the heat, but didn’t cover my bust adequately. Would need an FBA to wear this pattern at the moment!

Day 8 = a bit cooler, so I wore that Drop Pocket Cardigan again, with a me-made jersey scarf.

Day 21 – bit of a jump in time here! I’m wearing my Erin skirt again, with a self-drafted hacci kimono. Also wearing Lauren!

Day 22 – An old broomstick crochet cardigan (pre-blog), with a me-made headscarf.

MeMadeMay2018 day 26

Day 26 – Demonstrating how easy it is to feed Lauren while wearing my pink tee from the Craftsy Sewing with Knits class (affiliate link). Also wearing the Erin skirt again.

So, that was the outfits I documented. The other days I wore pretty much the same mix of garments, which was why I didn’t feel particularly inspired to get photos. But there were other reasons the photos didn’t get taken too. I lost my favourite photo locations, because Andy has been digging up the patio to join in the ensuite in our new bedroom (garage conversion) to the existing waste system. There are slabs up everywhere and quite frankly my entire courtyard is a mess and doesn’t make an attractive backdrop. I could have taken indoor pics by the door and window I usually use (see the first four days above!), but that would have meant tidying the floor and vacuuming. I just didn’t feel much like that with a newborn to look after.

But documenting isn’t what Me Made May is really about. It’s about your relationship with your handmade wardrobe, and for me, sorting my clothes and planning my summer sewing was the most important part of the challenge. I did this bit, and have put all this lot into storage:

Admittedly, the box of winter clothes also contains gloves, hats and scarves belonging to the rest of the family, but I was still amazed at how many of my clothes I can’t currently wear (there’s another under-bed box of too-small clothes, but ones I reckon I’ll fit into first as they’re probably a size UK 12/14 rather than the size 10 that went into the loft). I don’t remember it being this bad after having Gabriel, but I suppose it was winter then, some of the clothes I wore then have worn out and are no longer with me, and much of what I’ve sewn since then is small and close fitting.

This is now the current state of my wardrobe:

The clothes on the right are the ones I can fit into. Those to the left are ones I didn’t want to squash into a box, plus a couple of party dresses that should fit now. Oh, and an unfinished coat project I really should work on this autumn…

That’s not all my clothing. I have scarves and bulky cardigans on the top shelf there, and I keep camis, tees and lightweight cardigans in my bedside drawers, along with undies, lounging clothes and workout gear. Still, I think it’s fair to say that my current selection of clothing I can wear is extremely limited and I’m bored to tears with it all. There’s lots of plain black and very little variety in styles. I’m stuck with a small selection of RTW jersey breastfeeding dresses or camis and maternity skirts. Yay.

Out of interest, I decided to check my current measurements against my pre-pregnancy size, and here they are:

Pre-pregnancy: Full bust 36″, High bust 34″, Waist 29″, Hips 40″, Bra size 34 B/C

Current measurements: Full bust 40″ (+4″), High bust 37″ (+3″), Waist 33″ (+4″), Hips 43″ (+3″), Bra size 36 DD

It’s no wonder not much fits, especially as I tend to favour close-fitting clothing 🙂

I know that this state of affairs won’t last forever. I will get back to my old size (I’ve managed it twice before!) but it’s going to take time and exercise, along with sticking to healthy food and not overdoing the carbs. I’ve just started week one of the Couch to 5k to get me back into running gently, so I reckon I’ll be in the size 12/14 clothes in a month or so, and hopefully back to my old size by the end of the year. Any clothes I make now will need to work for a variety of sizes, or be easily adjusted when I lose weight.

FWIW, I feel I should point out here that there’s nothing wrong with having a “mum tum”, and I know many women never get back to the size they were before having a baby (took me 7 years after Daisy!). However, I would prefer to get back to the size I feel happiest and healthiest at, and I know it’s achievable as I’ve done it before.

Now for the planning part. I’ll admit, I haven’t found time to design the perfect capsule wardrobe for summer, but I have identified a few key items I’ve found myself wishing for when getting dressed:

  • Maxi skirt – I definitely want one in black, in a lightweight swishy woven viscose. I’m thinking a simple elasticated waist would be best. You can get waistband elastic that’s designed to be exposed, and I might go for that. Should be a super fast sew that way! If that goes well, more maxi skirts in patterned fabrics would be great.
  • Dungaree dress – Something lightweight again. Possibly in dark chambray or a deep plum colour. I  like the look of the new pattern from Helen’s Closet, but might draft something myself as money is tight and I hate assembling pdfs.
  • Looser fitting tees – until I lose the baby tum these are what I want to wear! Perhaps just a couple: one plain (plum?) and one striped or polka dotted. I could use the Deer and Doe Plantain tee as that’s close fitted at the top, but looser over the waist and hips.
  • Tropical print kimono – Something lightweight with a colourful but dark background print. For a bit of fun, and an easy way to add some colour to my current all-black outfits. I could draft this myself.
  • Another Amber dress or two – prints, this time! Polka dots, tropical florals, bright colours. Something to cheer me up.

Not sure I’ll get around to sewing all these as time and money are in short supply, but we’ll see. It’s a good exercise in planning, at any rate 🙂

So, that was my Me Made May, and it was fairly challenging! Did you take part? If so, what did you learn about your handmade wardrobe?

 

 

 

 

 

May round-up and June’s sewing plans

May was pretty much dominated by the arrival of the little lovely pictured above! (the baby, not the blanket, although I did finish that too)

If you didn’t catch the news yet, Lauren was born on the 6th, making her just over a month old now. She’s a really sweet baby and most nights she lets me get a reasonable amount of sleep, so I have actually managed to start a bit of sewing again. Woohoo!

I did manage to wear me-mades pretty much every day of Me Made May too, although my photo documenting fell by the wayside after Lauren arrived. I’ll be doing a round-up post soon, though, as I still learnt a fair bit from taking part.

Blogged in May:

Anges maternity top, Eastern Jewels persian tiles crochet blanket

L-R: my final Maternity make, the Dark Floral Agnes Top, and my Eastern Jewels crochet blanket for Lauren.

Sewing done in May:

Vogue V8759 and Eastern Jewels blanket

I knew it was unlikely I’d get much done in May, but I made some progress with Andy’s  Vogue V8759 shirt (the yoke, collar and one sleeve partially finished) so that’s something. And I know it’s not sewing, but I also finished that gorgeous crochet blanket I might have mentioned once or twice already 😛

Money spent: £0.00

Cheapest month yet!

June sewing plans:

Cloth nappies, Satturland Rivers top, maxi skirt, Bucket hat Oliver & S

I want to do some really practical sewing this month, and make myself some washable breast pads (breastfeeding essential) as well as some trial cloth nappies. I made some cloth nappies when Daisy was a baby, but my sewing skills were nowhere near what they are now and I’m sure I could do a much better job this time around. It helps that there are so many more excellent free patterns and tutorials available now, and I still have some supplies to make them (elastic, PUL fabric, fleece fabric). I’m currently using prefold cloth nappies with Lauren, but I much prefer the fitted styles and all-in-one pocket nappies for ease of use and their poo-containing abilities! Making these might sound somewhat dull, but I’m looking forward to it as I love making things that I know will get loads of use and make my life easier 🙂

I’m also going to finish Andy’s shirt (getting there!) and I’m seriously contemplating taking part in this year’s Outfit Along (#OAL2018). I reckon I could find a place in my wardrobe for the knitting pattern, and I would swap the Landers for a self-drafted black maxi skirt, something like the RTW one pictured above but with a better waistband. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to make the Landers, but I’m not going to until I’ve lost the extra inches off my waist, hips and thighs as I know if I make something fitted there now, it will be falling off me by the autumn.

And if for any reason I find myself with more spare time for sewing (ha! I doubt it), I’m going to make Lauren a sun hat using the free pattern I made for Gabriel last year, and some leggings for her too if I can find a suitable pattern (or draft one myself). And I might get going on that Jalie 3131 nursing bra if there’s still more time. It’s all stuff that’s needed, so I’ll see if I can make time somehow. If you know how, do let me in on the secret!

What are you planning to make this month?

Nappy photo credit: MissMessie A Few More via photopin (license)

April round up and May’s sewing plans

Spring cherry blossom

Ah April, you’ve been a funny month. We had a surprise scorching hot weekend, but then it went straight back to cold, windy and rainy. Very disappointing spring this year, it must be said. On the plus side, since I can’t really sunbathe at the moment anyway (can’t lie on my front or my back!) or do much gardening (bending over hurts!) I suppose I haven’t missed much. At least I’ve had plenty of time inside to get on with sewing and crocheting.

I also took part in the #spring10x10 wardrobe challenge over on Instagram, which I’ll be posting about here later this week, I hope. It was an interesting experience and definitely got me thinking about wardrobe gaps.

Blogged in April:

Kinder cardigan and V8888 dressing gown robe

L-R: The Disco Kinder Cardigan and the Lesser-Spotted Dressing Gown

I also blogged my Me Made May pledge here.

Sewing done in April:

Vogue men's shirt and Eastern Jewels Persian Tiles motifs

L-R: A Vogue Patterns V8759 shirt for Andy, and my crochet Persian Tiles Blanket

You’ve already seen the dressing gown, which took longer than I anticipated to make. Before that I spent a week or so working on cutting out and fitting Andy’s new shirt. It’s not finished by any stretch of the imagination (just the torso tacked together at the moment), but it hopefully will be very soon.

I’ve also spent plenty of time with my feet up, crocheting away at the Eastern Jewels colourway (affiliate link) of Janie Crowfoot’s Persian Tiles Blanket. It’s been such a fun project!

Money spent: £40.03

Patterns: £0 , Haberdashery: £40.03 , Fabric: £0

Haberdashery splurge inc Simflex gauge and buttonhole chisel

 

Yep, after a few months of spending next to nothing I decided to use some of my birthday/Christmas money to treat myself to a few bits and pieces to make my sewing life easier–especially for the projects I have coming up (shirtmaking!). From Jaycotts I bought:

  • One of those Simflex gauges for spacing buttonholes I’ve been coveting for ages.
  • A handy little hem gauge (I love this so much already! Do they make them in metric, I wonder?).
  • Another water erasable marking pen in white (my blue one doesn’t work on dark fabrics).
  • Some beeswax in a holder for treating thread for handsewing.
  • And some more Fray Check liquid because my last lot went cloudy and gloopy after many years of good service.

I also ordered a couple of things from eBay sellers: a loop turner (where have you been all my sewing life?!) and a small buttonhole chisel.

I’m really pleased with these purchases as they’re things I’ve wanted for a while, and I know they’ll all get used plenty over the next few months. Assuming I find any time to sew, that is!

May sewing plans:

May sewing and crochet plans

I’m keeping my plans for May pretty minimal, as I know I’ll be having a baby at some point in the next eight days. If I can finish Andy’s shirt and the crochet blanket I’ll be a happy bunny. I think I might also cut another short-sleeved nursing top using the Megan Nielsen Amber pattern, as I have plenty of stashed jersey I could use. Whether I’d then get it sewn up is anyone’s guess…

What are you planning to make this month?

March round-up and April’s sewing plans

Dandelions in a glass

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:

Blogged in March:

Blogged March 2018

L-R: Megan Nielsen Amber Maternity Dress, Megan Nielsen Erin Maternity Skirt.

Sewing done in March:

Persian Tiles Eastern Jewels crochet motifs

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:

April 2018 Vogue 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?

Bumper January and February round-up, plus March’s sewing plans

snowflake cookies

“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:

Jan-Feb round up and March plans 2018 4

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:

Jan-Feb round up and March plans 2018 4

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!

Persian Tiles crochet

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!

Money spent: £4.50

Patterns: £0.00 , Haberdashery: £4.50 , Fabric: £0.00

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:

Amber nursing dress - Megan Nielsen patterns

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…

What are you planning to make this month?

December round-up and January’s sewing plans

Christmas tree

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!

Blogged in December:

Dec 17 sewing

L-R: Winter cords for Gabriel, The Party Animal Dress, The Cosy Cabled Cowl.

Those were the project posts, but I also blogged my SewingTop5 reflections and highlights, and my #2017MakeNine results. Phew, that’s a lot of blogging for me! Continue reading “December round-up and January’s sewing plans”

My #SewingTop5 goals for 2018

Phew, it’s time for my final #SewingTop5 post, and I’ve been looking forward to sharing this one: my sewing goals for 2018. In case you missed them, you can find the other posts here:

Now, on with those goals. I’m not doing SMART goals or anything like that as I prefer the more open kind I can reinterpret as I want (less likely to feel like I’ve failed that way!)

These are more… sewing themes for the coming year. Continue reading “My #SewingTop5 goals for 2018”

November round-up and December’s sewing plans

November trees

This has been a weird old month. Not only is there the whole pregnancy thing throwing a spanner in my sewing plans, but Gabriel decided to give up his afternoon nap. That means he’s gone from napping 2-2.5 hours every day, to nothing, just like that! Oh yes, and not only have I lost my sanity time to get things done (including sewing), but he’s been throwing wobblers about random things as he’s tired and grumpy. Is it any surprise I haven’t been blogging?! Continue reading “November round-up and December’s sewing plans”

October round-up and November’s sewing plans

Right, well my sewing in October was a bit erratic, and I explained why in my big announcement post! Fortunately I’m no longer feeling sick and have lots of energy, plus a rapidly expanding midsection that needs new clothes to cover it. Here’s hoping November is productive!

Blogged in October:

Sewing done in October:

Gabriel's cordsThe Cleo dress pictured in the “Blogged in October” was actually finished off in the first part of the month, and I sewed the Purple Ponte Cardie in October soon. So the only thing I have left unblogged from October is a really cute pair of Ottobre corduroy trousers I made for Gabriel. I’d better get sewing or I’ll have nothing else to blog this month!

Money spent: £14.30

Patterns: £0 , Haberdashery: £12.30 , Fabric: £2.00

Pretty thrifty month, which was what it needed to be! The habby spend was mostly thread (Lidl had their overlocker cones in again!) and the fabric was a fat quarter to use in Gabriel’s quilt.

November sewing plans:

I have lots planned for November, but since three of the projects involve tracing out and fitting patterns, I’m not sure I’ll manage to get them all done. I’d love to make a couple of maternity Cleo tops in the two patterned jerseys I picked up at the Sewing Bee Live, and I’m also keen to sew up a shirt for Andy (particularly as another of his has just been consigned to the scraps bin) and a quilt for Gabriel. But first I’m doing my first bit of pattern testing ever: a maternity swimming costume pattern from Seamstress Erin. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to share that one with you, but I’m hoping it will be a quick and fun make. And I definitely need a new maternity swimsuit as my old one is just wrong. Ruffles and beads: what was I thinking?!!!

I’ll also be knitting, and am most of the way through a gorgeous cabled wool cowl (My Minerva Blogger Network post for December) and am hoping to finally finish off a pair of socks and a cardigan that have been on the go for longer than I really want to admit. Time to cosy up on the sofa with the last couple of series of Poldark and get knitting, methinks! Or will the eyecandy be too distracting?! Uh, I mean spotting the scenes shot in my little town, of course. Nothing to do with Ross Poldark. No. Absolutely not.

What are you planning to make this month? Does your Sewjo increase in the winter, or do you just want to retire to the sofa with some knitting?

Big (or soon-to-be-big!) Announcement

Hi everyone,

I’ve been dying to share this information for the last couple of months, and now I’ve officially gone public, I can: I’m pregnant again! This is the little bean:

The last couple of months have been kind of hellish with the exhaustion and nausea, both of which seem worse with this pregnancy but maybe I’m just forgetting what it was like with Daisy and Gabriel. I was also worried having had both a ten-week miscarriage in the past, and of course having had a child with Down’s Syndrome and all its attendant health issues (open heart surgery at 4 months old in Daisy’s case). However, now I’m into week thirteen and have had the first scan and screening (low risk–yay!) I’m feeling much more confident and happy. Plus the nausea and exhaustion seem to have gone away, which is a huge help. Ugh, it was so hard to cook food and even eat sometimes. We lived off fish and chips for a couple of the worst weeks. I know, I’m not proud of it, but you do what you need to to get by sometimes.

So, I’m due on 9th May 2018, which will probably mean I don’t do much posting this next Me Made May, but who knows? Maybe I’ll relish the extra challenge!

Now, onto what this means for my sewing, which is, of course, the most important thing 😛

Agnes maternity sewing patternI was into dressmaking by the time I had Gabriel, but hadn’t yet worked much with knits so didn’t feel confident making maternity clothes. As a consequence, I have an almost entirely RTW maternity capsule wardrobe ready and waiting. The clothes might not all be 100% my current style, but they’re all pretty neutral basics and I don’t dislike any of them. So do I actually need to make anything, especially bearing in mind it will only get worn for a few months? Well, I’ve had a good look through all the clothes and can see a few gaps, mostly in the form of interestingly patterned tops and dresses, so I’ll definitely be making myself a few pieces. I expect they’ll all be hacks of the Tilly and the Buttons Mama-to-be Agnes top and dress, as it’s pretty much my ideal maternity pattern! Seriously, why are there so few options for maternity sewing patterns? And most of the ones out there are so frumpy? I’m looking at you, Big Four! I want bodycon patterns, not to look like I’m wearing a sack!

But other than a handful of Agnes tops and dresses, and perhaps a couple of self-drafted skirts, I’m going to want to concentrate my sewing on things that will be useful beyond my pregnancy. I suppose I could work on more nursing-friendly tops as I get nearer the birth (I have a couple of TNT patterns I can use for that already, as I was still breastfeeding when I started this blog). But I’m mostly thinking longer term clothing, along with other sorts of sewing projects. So here’s a few thoughts on things I could be sewing over the next six months:

  • Kimonos and cardigans–these should fit now and forever more if I pick my patterns and fabrics wisely!
  • Shirts for me. I know I wouldn’t be able to fit them properly, but I’m thinking I could make an oversized shirt I could then wear as a “shacket” while pregnant. Possibly in a black and red plaid flannel.
  • Unselfish sewing for the rest of the family. They all need clothes, let’s face it. Andy wants a shirt, Gabriel needs EVERYTHING because he keeps growing (curse him!), and Daisy could do with a winter dress or two for school.
  • Gift sewing for birthdays/Christmas. Not sure what, exactly, but I’m sure I can come up with some ideas. Would be nice to have a stash of handmade gifts I could choose from when Christmas comes around. Maybe tree ornaments?
  • Finishing off the two UFO quilts I started years ago.
  • Finishing off the coat I started years ago, then got scared to finish as I found out more about tailoring.
  • Things that will be useful around the home, like aprons, bunting, cushion covers, more quilts, etc.
  • Things to furnish my sewing room, when it’s eventually done its duty as a nursery, like sewing machine/overlocker dust covers, pincushion, knitting needle holders, overlocker thread catcher, more bunting, etc.
  • Things for the baby. Clothes, sling, bedding, soft toys, etc. In gender-neutral colours as I don’t get on with that whole blue/pink thing.
  • Hats. Pregnancy doesn’t affect your head size, after all! And I really want to make a newsboy cap for Gabriel too.
  • Bags. I’ve been interested in having a go at bagmaking for years now, so maybe this will finally be the right time to get started. I want a new shoulder bag (in leather!) and could do with an overnight duffel bag, and I reckon Daisy could too.

Some of those items are more interesting than others, but even the stuff I’m less enthusiastic about (finishing the coat and quilts, for instance), I’m keen to get done as I won’t then feel guilty about UFOs hanging about, and I know the finished items will get plenty of use.

So yeah, I reckon that’s more than enough to keep me insanely busy for the next six months. I’ll probably go for a bit of embroidery, knitting and crochet too as I feel the need to put my feet up more, but for now, I’m enjoying the sudden surge of energy and catching up on all my neglected cleaning/gardening like a mad thing.

Anyone else out there been faced with a pregnancy sewing dilemma? How did you get around it? And does anyone have any suggestions for things I could be sewing over the next six months? Or links to any cute maternity patterns?

Cheers me dears!

Anna x

September round-up and October’s sewing plans

Oh September, I think we need to have words…

Not only has the weather in England been shite (none of that Indian Summer everyone’s been going on about all August) but I caught a cold that left me with zero energy. As a consequence, I got hardly any sewing done. Bah! On the plus side I did lounge around watching the latest series of Orange is the New Black and read a few great books (Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty was fabulous!) and it was pleasant to indulge myself in a bit of telly and reading, as I so rarely make time for them these days.

Blogged in September:

Sewing done in September:

Honestly, I have nothing to share here. The Ditsy Flower Corduroy Cleo dress is nearly done, but that’s because I worked on it for an hour yesterday afternoon, so that’s October sewing mostly. While I was sofa lounging and feeling sorry for myself I finished off the last bit of my Alabama Chanin Corset Top, so I’ll be sharing that soon, and also worked a little on the alterations pile. Amazingly enough, I also sewed up the seams on a cardie I knitted years ago and have been putting off finishing ever since. It’s not finished yet as I still have to crochet a border all round and add buttons and so on, but the scariest bit is done. Perhaps I’ll actually manage to finish it off this autumn. Who knows?

Money spent: £45.05

Patterns: £0 , Haberdashery: £9.05 , Fabric: £36.00

I did say I wouldn’t be able to buy anything at the Great British Sewing Bee, but Andy kindly slipped me a bit of spending money and I was able to pick up a few fabrics that will be perfect for long sleeved tops and a jumper this winter. Check them out:

Sewing Bee fabric haul

The top one is a lovely soft jersey from Girl Charlee, and the middle is a John Kaldor jersey. Both have excellent 4 way stretch. The bottom one is my wild card. It was called Cookie Monster and is probably largely acrylic, but I loved the look of it and I want something to make a really snuggly winter jumper. Hopefully this will have enough stretch, but although it’s a knit it’s not very stretchy. If it won’t work for a jumper I’ll probably treat it like a woven and make some kind of fake fur gilet, as I’ve been coveting one of those for a few years now 🙂

October sewing plans:

Rather than move all my unsewn September sewing projects over to this month I’ve been thinking about what’s really needed in this house at the moment, and I reckon I’m going to work on the following projects: for me, either a Seamwork Astoria Sweater or a similar pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, using that crazy fluffy knit fabric I bought at the Sewing Bee. Also for me, the Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan in purple ponte (a Minerva sponsored project).

I’m also thinking about the others in the house, and have promised Andy I will finally get around to making him that shirt I’ve been promising for ages, as he definitely needs more work shirts. The first will be in a very boring pinstripe fabric, but if it goes well I’ll make more interesting ones in the future. Daisy needs a school pinny or two, and I will modify the Cleo dress to fit her. Just need to find some suitable black fabric.

And Gabriel is in desperate need of some corduroy trousers, so I’ll be making up an Ottobre pattern I’ve been planning to make him for years now. Luckily he still fits the top size in that one! I doubt there will be time to do anything else, but if there is I’ll start work on piecing a quilt for him too (probably a traditional railfence one as I have a weakness for old-timey quilts), as he’ll need an extra warmth layer for when the nights start turning cold.

What are you planning to make this month? Are you thinking ahead to winter like I am?

July round-up and August sewing plans

So, I set myself a pretty ambitious sewing list for July, but I did well with it and have enjoyed trying some new-to-me patterns, and getting some more summery clothes in my wardrobe. I’m scheduling this to go live while we’re chilling in the south of France, hopefully wearing some of my new makes! Anyway, here’s what’s been going on with me lately, sewing-wise:

Blogged in July:

The Vintage Flowers BlouseThe Barcode Skirt, and the “Who Likes Short Shorts?” Shorts.

The blouse blog was my first guest post for Minerva Crafts, and I also wrote a guest post for the Sewcialists blog, and gave a six month update on my Make 9 plans.

Sewing done in July:

Leopard print bikini (Seamwork Reno and Dakota), Colette Crepe Dress, Animal print Hacci Knit Kimono, Colette Wren dress.

I did pretty well with my planned makes for my holiday, although I have had to bump a couple of patterns to this month instead (Simplicity 8342 top and the Pedal Pushers). Not all the holiday makes are completely finished, but I reckon I can get the thread ends dealt with on the plane over to France. #lastminutesewing

Money spent: £10.86

Patterns: £0 , Haberdashery: £5.87 , Fabric: £4.99

I needed this to be a thrifty sewing month, and it was. All those spends were for my bikini, which was much cheaper than buying a RTW bikini. August will need to be a budget month too, although I might let myself buy a little bit of fabric while on holiday as a souvenir 🙂

August sewing plans:

I know I should probably be thinking ahead to the cooler months of autumn, but for August I’m still all about the summer makes. But hopefully summer makes that can transition into autumn, with the addition of a cardie and shoes rather than sandals 🙂

So, this month I’m definitely going to get the Pedal Pushers from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual made up, along with the Simplicity 8342 Rockabilly top (I have a great navy anchor print jersey for that one–thanks again, Minerva!). I’m also thinking about making a cropped blouse, and have the now out of print Butterick 5895 in mind. It’s another Pattern by Gertie, so it should be a good’un. I’d also like some woven exercise shorts and am wondering about the Seamwork Nantucket pattern as a possibility. Finally, I’d like to make that shirtdress I’ve been threatening all summer. Maybe it will happen this month. If not, I suspect it will have to wait till next summer!

What are you planning to make this month? Are you getting into autumnal sewing yet (or spring if you’re south of the equator!)?

June round up and July’s sewing plans

I’m really getting into the swing of blogging regularly now, and am getting things up pretty promptly. Yay, me! Here’s last month’s round up if you’re interested in seeing how I did compared to my overambitious (as always) plans.

Blogged in June:

L-R: The Bucket and Spade Hat, The Starry Starry Dress, The Some Like it Hot Dress, The Striped Sweetheart Tee.

Phew, lots of makes blogged last month! I also wrote a post all about my current sewing set-up at the end of our main living space (living room/dining room) in the hopes of inspiring anyone else struggling to sew in a limited space.

Sewing done in June:

I didn’t get many projects completed in June. Just two. But hey, they involved making toiles and more complicated, time-consuming sewing than a simple t-shirt. Continue reading “June round up and July’s sewing plans”

#2017MakeNine challenge: six month update

Time for an update on how my #2017MakeNine challenge is going. Here’s the current state of play, with original images replaced with my makes:

 

However, although I’ve tried out some of the patterns I originally planned to make, my actual goal was to find a TNT pattern in each category so I could keep making the same pattern in different fabrics and colours. So this is more like the actual situation right now: Continue reading “#2017MakeNine challenge: six month update”

May round-up and June sewing plans

Okay, I’m really getting into the swing of thinking of my sewing in monthly chunks. Not sure why this is so helpful to me, but it is what it is. May’s plans are here, should you be interested. But now on to what ACTUALLY happened in May…

Blogged in May:

The month was rather dominated by my Me Made May roundups (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4 and Week 5) but I did blog my main sewing projects completed in April: The Gertie Skirtie, The Knit Sweetheart Top (black tank version) and the Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan. I may not bother blogging my simpler April makes (knickers and Daisy’s skirts), or I might lump them together in a future post if I make more knickers. Who knows…

Sewing done in May:

L-R: Denim stars Cleo dress, Striped Knit Sweetheart Top AND Rockabilly headtie, Spotty maxi dress (based on Knit Sweetheart Top) Continue reading “May round-up and June sewing plans”