The Purple Ponte Pockets Cardigan

Yesterday I had my final post on the Minerva Crafts Blog go live, and you can find my gorgeous purple Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan full write up over there. And if you recognise this cardigan pattern it’s because I’ve made it before, meaning it’s a true TNT pattern for me now. Yay for TNTs!

Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan in purple ponte

But why is it my “final” post, especially when I’ve been enjoying making my Minerva Crafts projects so much? (see my previous Minerva makes in the gallery below)

Well, that’s because I’ve now got a spot on the Minerva Blogger Network, which means I’ll be making a brand new project for them every month! My first post will go live at the end of December and be warned, for once it’s a knitting one rather than a dressmaking one! But there’s a good reason for that, which I’ll go into in my special announcement post later this week.

Anyway, I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of the Minerva Blogger Network along with all those other talented sewists and crafters, and I look forward to sharing lots of makes with you over there. Mostly dressmaking, but with the occasional other textile craft thrown in for good measure. I’m pretty wide-ranging in my crafting habits, after all!

Now here’s the rest of the cardie deets that I didn’t fit into the main Minerva post, should you be interested in super-nerdy stuff like timings and pricings 🙂

Time taken to sew cardigan: 1 hour 51 minutes — slightly longer than last time, but who’s counting? Oh yeah, it’s me, isn’t it? #facepalm

(time taken is the time to sew, which will include pinning, stitching, pressing, etc, but doesn’t include time spent planning, tracing patterns, cutting out fabric, setting up the sewing machine, puzzling out instructions, trying things on, etc. So in other words, it’s not actually the total time I’ve spent making something, but it’s a rough guide at any rate. Just don’t come complaining if it takes you longer to make something!)

Costing:

Pattern: £5.52/£11.99

Based on me buying it for £11.04 originally, and then using it twice. If I’d paid for the Drop Pocket Cardigan from Minerva, it would have been £11.99

Fabric: £0.00/£29.98

£14.99 per metre. Used just under 2m of this gorgeous, top quality Ponte Roma.

Notions: £0.00

All thread from stash.

Total cost: £5.52 to me

Or £41.97 if you purchased all the supplies from Minerva. I realise that’s not exactly cheap, but the pattern is a good’un with a huge range of sizes so should definitely get used again, and obviously you can pick up 2m of a suitable fabric much cheaper than this. However, I can wholeheartedly recommend the ponte I used as it’s by far and away the best quality ponte I’ve sewn with, and I’ll definitely be using it again in the future!

Would you give the Drop Pocket Cardigan a go? Or do you have a favourite go-to cardie pattern already? Do share!

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 🙂

Alabama Chanin Corset Top

I first found out about Natalie Chanin and her Alabama Chanin clothing line a couple of years ago, and I was instantly intrigued. I’d seen another sewing blogger make one of the corset tops and I loved it. For those unfamiliar with Alabama Chanin garments, they are completely hand stitched out of natural jersey fabrics, and often heavily embellished with beads or their trademark cutaway applique/embroidery. It gives a bit of a bohemian, rustic look, but with more contemporary style lines. And for those who love the look but can’t afford the hefty price tag (embellished dresses retail for almost $6000!), Natalie Chanin has published books of her most popular patterns, along with all the instructions to be successful making them.

Alabama Chanin corset top embroidered

Hand-sewing a jersey garment: the very idea blew my mind. I love sewing knits on my overlocker–so speedy–but I also liked the idea of having a portable project that was garment sewing rather than knitting or crochet. And I’ve always been good at embroidery so I figured I’d probably enjoy sewing a garment together with pretty but functional hand stitches.

I added Natalie Chanin’s Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns to my Amazon wishlist but didn’t think much more about it, and then out of the blue (well, okay, for my birthday) my sister bought it for me. And so I got large format prints done of my favourite patterns, then waited well over a year to actually get started on one. Not sure what took me so long to take the plunge. Maybe it was the idea of all that handsewing! Continue reading “Alabama Chanin Corset Top”

The Autumnal Cleo Dress

It had been a few months since I made my last Cleo dress, and considering how much wear I’ve been getting out of that and my first needlecord version, I figured it was high time I made myself another! Yes, finally I have a TNT pattern for a dress. Yay!

In a Nutshell:

A cute little dress that will be perfect for wearing over tights this autumn and winter. And let’s face it, this is England so I’ll probably be wearing tights well into the spring too! Continue reading “The Autumnal Cleo Dress”

The “Should have left it White” Blouse

So, this is another of my Patterns by Gertie retro inspired makes, and probably the last summer thing you’ll see around here for a while. Ah summer, I miss you! I sewed this blouse up at the end of August/beginning of September, so I haven’t actually been able to wear it other than for the shoot as it’s been a pretty cold autumn so far.

I have to admit, originally I only intended this blouse as a toile, because after looking at online reviews I realised it would probably be too short for my liking. Why not lengthen it, you ask? Well, the pattern pieces have no markings to do this, and they are some of the craziest shaped pattern pieces I’ve seen so I didn’t feel confident making any alterations until I’d had a go at sewing it together.

And then I made it, and it turned out better than I thought, and I should have left it how it was but like an idiot, I thought I could improve things with a purple dye bath…

In a Nutshell:

Could have been a cute, if exceedingly cropped, summer blouse if I hadn’t tried to be all clever. Now it’s just an unloved toile. Sigh. Continue reading “The “Should have left it White” Blouse”

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?

The Nice Dress

Colette Crepe Dress in viscose

It’s been a busy weekend what with the Great British Sewing Bee show up in London, so I’m a little late sharing my most recent make for the Minerva Crafts blog: my version of the Colette Patterns Crepe Dress. Head on over to their blog for a blast of summer, to read all the deets, and to find out what I’d do differently next time. Looking at those photos makes me long to be back in the South of France!

Oh, and by the way, that’s Nice dress as in the city, not nice as in… well, you know. It is nice, but that just seems like damning it with faint praise, and my English teacher told me never to use that adjective if I could possibly help it 😛

Continue reading “The Nice Dress”

The Rockabilly Pirate Top

As promised, here’s the link to my latest make for the Minerva Crafts Blog, which I’m calling my Rockabilly Pirate Top, for obvious reasons! You can find my full write up of Simplicity 8342 here. It’s such a cute jersey top, and perfect for anyone with a little experience with knit fabrics who’s looking for a slightly more challenging make than a simple t-shirt. I’d love it if you could pop on over to the blog and let me know what you think, and whether you’d make one of these yourselves 🙂

Continue reading “The Rockabilly Pirate Top”

The Denim Pedal Pushers

Pedal Pushers - Gertie Sews Vintage Casual 2

This year I was determined to get myself a pair of trousers that fit me properly. Now, I don’t know if my experience of buying trousers is typical, but I’ve never had much luck finding anything that was comfortable, let alone that fit well. It made me decide I was a die-hard skirt wearer, as they were so much more comfortable. Not as great for going on zip wires and climbing trees, admittedly, but hey, I liked skirts and didn’t want to wear that typical mum uniform of jeans and a tee.

But I love zip wires and the lure of making my own jeans began to grow. I was all set to leap in and make a pair of Ginger jeans, and then late last year I managed to find myself a pair of RTW skinny jeans that were reasonably comfortable and a pretty good fit. You’ll find me wearing them in heaps of blog pics here, but most recently the ones for my Baby Leopard Kimono  (they’re the high waisted Red Herring Carly jeans, should you be interested).

So, the idea of making my own jeans took a bit of a back seat after that. Okay, so there were things about the Carly jeans that weren’t ideal (like the quality of the fabric and stitching), but they were still way better than anything I could imagine making myself at the time.

But I still wanted to tackle trouser fitting. I had a go at it years ago when I was a good few dress sizes larger, and I managed to make myself a pair of needlecord trousers that were really comfy, but that I never wore out of the house due to an unfortunate lapse in attention when cutting the corduroy. There’s a reason they tell you to cut it with the nap all in one direction, and this became blindingly apparent when I looked down at my trousers–the front was about five shades lighter than the back! I never did make another pair of trousers with that block.

I definitely have Tasha from By Gum By Golly to thank for inspiring me to get going with my trouser fitting mission. Her Cigarette Pants are things of beauty, perfectly fitted to her body and she has detailed her many pattern adjustments at length in a series of blog posts. I began to see that it wasn’t necessary to get things perfect first time, and that it was possible to make a pattern time and again, gradually refining the fit.

This summer I decided to try again, using the Cigarette Pants pattern from my latest sewing bible: Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. Read on for more of my fitting escapades…

In a Nutshell:

Continue reading “The Denim Pedal Pushers”

August round-up and September’s sewing plans

Summer is over. Boohoo! Okay, so autumn has its good points: pretty colours, misty mornings, golden sunshine, conkers, etc, but I’m really going to miss summer. Summer sewing, in particular. I didn’t get everything made I wanted to this summer (here were my ambitious plans for August), but I suppose in the UK the window for wearing summer clothing isn’t nearly as long as the one for wearing autumn/spring clothing, so I should really be turning my attention to the cooler months now. Sigh.

In other news, I had a lovely family holiday to the South of France this August. Just one week, but sometimes that’s as much as you want with small children in tow! And I’ve moved the website over to a self-hosted account. Come to think of it, it’s a wonder I got anything sewn at all 🙂

Oh, and something else I did that’s vaguely sewing related. I tidied the loft. Okay, so that might not sound sewing related, but I do store my fabric and pattern stash in the loft. It’s pretty easily accessible as it’s right next to the hatch and we have one of those cool ladders that comes down when you open the hatch, so it’s not as inconvenient a storage area as you might think. Anyway, here are the before and after pics of my sewing stash area: Continue reading “August round-up and September’s sewing plans”

New blog address! And what I’ll be doing tomorrow :)

Hi peeps! I’m writing to you all from a brand new blog/website, and I’m really hoping that all you subscribers are still getting notifications, as normal. Please, even if you don’t normally comment, I’d really appreciate a quick comment on this post to let me know you’ve got it okay.

What I’ve done is moved my blog over from a WordPress.com account to a self-hosted one, with the new site address of AnnaJoSews.com (way more catchy than AnnaJoSews.wordpress.com, don’t you reckon?!). All posts have transferred over, although I’m having a few issues with missing images in galleries. Luckily I’d only recently started using the gallery function, so in the next week or so I should have had a chance to go through all the affected posts and update the images. I also know some of the headings in posts look odd, so I’ll do my best to fix those too.

If you do have a moment to look around the new site and let me know what you think I’d really appreciate it. I will eventually have a pretty header which my sister is designing for me as she has mad graphics skillz which are sadly lacking in me. I’d particularly appreciate knowing if there are any problems with navigating the site, or anything that looks plain weird. Don’t be afraid to let me know–if I don’t know about it, I can’t fix it!

Anyway, that’s enough of all that boring techy stuff. Believe me, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in it for days now and I really need a break.

So, I have big plans for tomorrow. Mum has the kids, Andy is back at work (he’s a schoolteacher, poor love!), and I’m going to be indulging in the following:

Yep, that’s every single one of Craftsy’s classes with free access for one day only! I have so many sewing classes on my wishlist, and I’m going to be using this chance to check them all out, and I’ll probably have a peek at a few more while I’m at it. I’m particularly keen to find the best jeans and shirt sewing classes there, as they are two garments I want to tackle before the end of the year.

Anyone else a fan of Craftsy classes? I’ve learnt so much from them over the last few years, particularly when it comes to fitting, couture sewing techniques and sewing with knit fabrics. I can’t wait to continue my online education!

Right, I’ll be back on Tuesday with an update post on August’s sewing. Until then,  happy sewing!

Anna x

PS, that’s an affiliate link in the Craftsy ad above, so if you purchase a class after following the link I will get a small commission, at no extra expense to you. Hope that’s all right–it’s the only way I can fund my sewing habit at the moment!

The Baby Leopard Kimono

This is one of those rare occasions when I seem to have jumped on a trend bandwagon (last seen with the Cleo dress). Kimonos are everywhere this summer, and I’ve been growing increasingly annoyed with my selection of summer cardies. In the past I’ve always gone for bolero styles, often with a tie front, but they don’t necessarily look right with the clothes I’ve been wearing this year. Or maybe I was just bored with them. Anyway, I’ve been hankering over something loose and flowing to go over my close-fitting clothing. Hence the kimono. And you know what, I reckon it’s exactly what I was after! Read on for more…

In a Nutshell:

A versatile summer layering cardie, which can also be used as a beach cover-up. That was the idea, at any rate. And it’s kind-of animal print. Abstract animal print, at any rate. I’m calling it that, anyway. It’s my kimono so I can name it whatever I like 😛

Pattern:

This is a self-drafted kimono, following the instructions in Portia’s excellent tutorial. Those who’ve followed this blog for a while might remember I made one of these last year, using a striped hacci knit. I do still wear that one but I’m always wishing for a bit more width at the front to wrap it around me, so for my second version I widened the body piece by 2″ at the back and 1″ on each front piece. This extra 4″ in width allows me to wrap the kimono fully at the waist, which in my mind is a must for a beach cover-up! Continue reading “The Baby Leopard Kimono”

The Little Jenny Wren dress

My wardrobe was in serious need of a really lightweight sleeveless knit dress for the summer (and autumn/spring when teamed up with cardie and leggings), so this project jumped all queues and demanded in no uncertain terms that I MAKE IT NOW!!! And you know what? I wish I’d made it earlier in the year to get even more use out of it. What a perfect dress!

 

NB: the title comes from the extra verse to Sing a Song of Sixpence which I found in a nursery rhyme book for my daughter, which goes like this:

She made such a commotion that Little Jenny Wren

Flew down into the garden and put it back again.

I’m not sure if this is a modern addition because someone feared small children would be traumatised by the idea of the maid having no nose (I never was!), but I thought of it while making this dress as I was effectively giving myself back a favourite dress that’s now too big. So yeah, Little Jenny Wren put it back for me. Although it’s not a nose. It’s a dress. Because having a nose in my wardrobe would just be weird 😛

In a Nutshell:

A retro-looking, super comfy and practical summer dress with pockets. What more could a girl ask for?! Continue reading “The Little Jenny Wren dress”

The Flintstones Bikini

So it’s come to this. Me, sharing pictures of myself in a bikini online. A leopard print one at that! But you know what? I’m more proud of this make than any other so far, despite it still needing a few tweaks. Read on for more about my first (but definitely not my last) plunge into swimwear sewing…

In a Nutshell:

A retro-style, halter neck, high waisted bikini. In leopard print pulled from the stash. What’s not to like?! I should just stick a bone through my hair and go full on cavewoman glam 😛

No, honestly, I did save a chicken bone for precisely that purpose, then forgot to use it in the photoshoot! Continue reading “The Flintstones Bikini”

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!)?

I’m a Sewcialist!

Check out my first post on the Sewcialists blog, where I was forced to narrow down my sewing heroes to just five inspirational women:

https://sewcialists.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/sew-inspirational/

Sorry to all those I left out! There have been lots of great posts over there this month and I’ve picked up lots of new blogs to follow 🙂

Who are your sewing blog heroes? And what do they inspire you to make?

The Barcode Skirt

This is one of those projects that was so simple to sew it hardly seems to warrant a blog post of its own, but hey, it’s my blog and if I want to blog the super-easy makes as well as the complicated ones, I absolutely can. And I seriously love this skirt, so there’s that 😛

Also, I’ve been meaning to blog every week and clearly that didn’t happen last week. I’m not going to apologise because I don’t believe in feeling guilt for no good reason, but I felt like I owe an explanation. Life has been busy and time got away from me, plus I’ve been sewing rather than writing about it–oh, the pressure of an impending holiday deadline! You’ll get two blog posts from me this week, though, as I’ve got one scheduled to go live on the Sewcialists blog tomorrow. I’ll post a link here when it does 🙂

Anyway, on with the sewing stuff…

Striped Gertie Skirtie 4

 

In a Nutshell:

A knit pencil skirt that fills a gap in my wardrobe I didn’t even realise was there! Continue reading “The Barcode Skirt”