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 🙂
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.
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…
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…
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 🙂
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.
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”
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.
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”
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!
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”
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.
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 🙂
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…
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:
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 😛
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…
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.
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?!
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…
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? 🙂
I said in my first (and so far, only) Craftysticks post that it would be a weekly update post. Uh, try monthly, as that was back at the beginning of July! Ah well, it’s been a busy few weeks, what with me having to finish a novella and get it off to my editor–a novella called Custom Fit, featuring a fashion student, a man in a homemade dress and some major clothing kinks, so it’s okay to mention it here, right?!
Anyway, I started well on the sewing, almost polishing off one of Daisy’s school dresses. Unfortunately I didn’t quite get it finished before school ended for the summer, and since then I’ve been somewhat discouraged. I do need to finish it (just the hemming) and get the other one done too (which is at pre zip insertion stage) before the weekend, though, as I’m going to the SEWN Sewcial in Bristol, and I’ll need my sewing machine for another, more exciting project. Not sure what, exactly, but I’ve promised myself I’m not going to rethread either of my machines until I’ve finished the damn dresses. Anyone else get tough with themselves like that? Sometimes it’s the only way to finish things! Or not finish them, in this case…
I finished sewing the buttons on the Cecilia Chemise! It looks gorgeous, and fits so well! Still haven’t worn it anywhere, though. I keep telling myself I’m saving it for the UK Meet in September, but I should probably where it somewhere first in case I discover any issues when wearing it. You don’t want that to happen when you’re at a convention with your author hat on, trying to be all charismatic and so on. Trust me. Been there, done that…
The other Stitchdiva pattern I’m working on, the Rebel Lace Cardie, is progressing slowly but surely. I need some better light so I can work on it in the evenings, though. Navy yarn is not my friend in anything other than the brightest light! I’ve now reached the second armhole split, which means the upper bodice is nearly finished. I have a feeling it might take me till next summer to finish this thing, but hey, I don’t mind. It’s soothing, in a strange way, considering how tricky it is.
In the works:
I now just have to work out which of my various planned projects I’m going to get cut and ready to stitch on Sunday at the Sewcial @SEWN . Ooh, do I go tricky with chiffon, make a rainbow Pride corduroy skirt, or take several t-shirt projects to whizz through on my overlocker? The overlocker is much lighter than the sewing machine, and I’ve no idea how far I’ll have to carry it. Hmm, decisions, decisions…
Right, off to finish those gingham school dresses before Daisy grows out of them.
Anyone else reading this going to be in Bristol for the Sewcial on Sunday?
So why Craftysticks? Well, that’s a nickname a friend gave me a good few years back, when I was teaching her and another friend how to make dolls, sew and crochet.
And the weekly update part? I tend to work on a few projects at once, so sometimes it might be weeks before I finish anything at all. In the interests of more regular posting I thought I’d start making sure I blog something every week, even if it’s just general musings on textile crafts and making stuff. Any stuff. I’m not too fussy, I just like my hands to be busy!
Life has been a bit derailed this week as Gabriel has cut four new teeth and had a 72hr tummy bug, but I’m getting back on track now. And I’ve managed to get in a bit of crafting to keep myself sane. It’s my me-time, and I need it!
I made this plain grey knit dress to fill a wardrobe gap. It’s the Knot Your Average Shirt & Dress pattern from 5 out of 4 Patterns, originally chosen because it’s one of the very few knit dresses out there with (optional) concealed nursing access – in fact, the company offer a range of patterns suitable for nursing, so are well worth taking a look at if you’re expecting. Admittedly, that’s not really an issue for me any more, but the dress is still perfectly wearable even when not needing quick boob access 😉
So, at the moment I’m a bit strapped for cash, what with all the recent expense of moving house and the fact it’s been a while since I’ve had a new book out. However, at the same time I’m facing a need for new summer clothing, including things I can’t make myself like sandals. I’ve given it some thought and have decided the best way to proceed is to curb my impulses to buy ALL the fabric and ALL the patterns, and shop my stash instead, thus saving my small amount of cash for some splendid footwear. Or not-so-splendid footwear, as the case may be. We’ll just have to see what I can find in my budget…
Anyway, here’s my plans for nine summery things I can make from my stash:
I’m finally blogging a top I made last year, thus proving once and for all that punctuality is not my strong suit. Neither is sewing wearable clothing, judging purely by this effort. Ah well. I think it’s good to share the duds along with the successes, as we’ve all had them. I wish I’d kept photos of more of mine, but maybe it’s best they’re confined to the fabric recycling bin of my mind 🙂
So, this is Jalie’s Criss-Cross Top (2787), which I chose more for the fact it can be made in a breastfeeding-friendly version than because I knew this style would be good on me. The top comes with sleeveless, flutter and long sleeve options and is constructed using mirror image left and right bodice pieces that cross over each other, joining at the side seam of the opposite side. The lower bodice has a bit of extra volume to account for the maternity option, but is kept snug under the bust using elastic along the top edge. For the breastfeeding version the upper bodice piece that sits behind the other is tacked at the centre to the lower bodice (the regular version is held with a longer line of stitches), anchoring it in place but allowing you to hoik the upper bodice up to nurse. I’d never tried on a top that crossed over in this manner and thought it might suit, and I really liked the way it fit the model on the pattern cover, but she is pretty skinny and flat-chested. That probably should have given me a clue… Continue reading “Star criss-crossed love? Nope, more like divorce immanent! Jalie 2787”
I thought I’d reflect on last month’s challenge using lots of pictures. Hey, why not? So here is a visual run down of various aspects of my MMMay experience:
Knit and crochet
So, it wasn’t all about the sewing for me. I’ve always been a keen crocheter, and I knit, although not to such a high standard. However, I tend to be drawn to really complex, lacy crochet in bright colours which doesn’t always seem practical for everyday. It was good to finally get a few of my pretty shrugs and cardies out and find ways to style them for the school run. And I’ve been wearing them since the challenge ended, so I’m feeling more confident about picking future crochet projects I’ll actually wear. I’ve started on a really fancy one, but as it’s in navy I reckon I’ll find lots of ways to wear the finished cardie 🙂
The jewellery bug never really infected me. I mean, I went under for a while, seduced by all the unusual, original pieces I could make. But to be honest? I don’t wear jewellery much, and anyway, I quite enjoy shopping for earrings and necklaces. I mean, a girl’s allowed some retail therapy, right?! Continue reading “Me Made May: thoughts and conclusions”