Craftysticks: the Christmas edition (in January, naturally)

Things might have been quiet on the blog, but that’s more down to having computer issues than me not being crafty! I am currently dictating this post into my phone as the PC is still misbehaving. Thankfully Andy ordered us a new one last night, so hopefully I will be back on the blog more often in future 🙂

Sewing:

img_0147-copyThis year I decided I wanted to make more of my Christmas presents again, and went the sewing rather than my customary knitting and crochet route for a fair few of them. First up is the one I’m most proud of, mainly because I’ve had it in my head to make for my friend for several years now. It’s a cushion featuring her favourite TV detective, Colombo! I used Dylon Image Maker to transfer a black-and-white laserprinted picture of Columbo that I found online. It was simple enough to do, and the only real difficulty is the number of times you have to wet and gently scrape off the paper residue; definitely more than the two times they suggest on the packet. I had originally intended to put the pom-poms as trim around the edge of the cushion and piece the front with a mitred border, as well as inserting a zip closure, but the image making took longer than expected and I had to cut some corners. The cushion is now a simple envelope design, and I used the pom-pom trim to cover the less-than-perfect edges of the Columbo appliqué. My friend was thrilled, and the cushion now resides on her computer chair. Continue reading “Craftysticks: the Christmas edition (in January, naturally)”

Rainy Day Cardie

This is a toile for a pattern I’ve had my eye on for ages. Apologies for the ropey indoor pics. It just wouldn’t stop raining!

ETA: I realised this morning that I made a mistake while sewing this. See sections in bold italics below!

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In a Nutshell:

I’m considering this casual cardie a success for a toile, even if it hasn’t had any wear just yet… It’s also a proper multitasker as it qualifies as my make for the following 2017 pattern challenges:

#wardrobebuilder: January: Jumpers and Sweaters

#dressmakingbloggerchallenge: January, Keep it Cosy

#2017MakeNine: cardie

Pattern:

The Wembley Cardigan by Seamwork. It’s a relaxed fit, cropped cardigan without any fastenings to worry about, so a really quick and simple sew as all Seamwork patterns are intended to be. I cut a straight size small based on my bust measurement, reasoning there was really no need to grade this out to a medium at the hips as it’s such a relaxed style. Continue reading “Rainy Day Cardie”

2017 sewing plans (#2017MakeNine)

 

I’ve been following Rochelle’s blog for ages now, and I really like her approach to creating a wardrobe of handmade items that really fit with her lifestyle. So this year I thought I’d give her #2017MakeNine sewing challenge a go. Nine items shouldn’t be too many to make in one year, and the idea is to keep the list fluid, changing things as and when I see fit. I’ve been thinking hard about capsule wardrobes and the garments I feel a need for when rooting around for something to wear. Rather than picking just nine patterns I’ve instead picked nine types of garment, with several pattern options for most of them. The idea is that I will hopefully find a pattern in each category that I like enough to want to make several versions of it in different fabrics and colours.

Dresses:

Dungaree dress

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There’s only one contender here and that’s the Tilly and Buttons Cleo Dress. I’ve wanted a dungaree dress for ages–I last had one when I was pregnant with Daisy (who’s now 11!) and I wore it to death. I have been seriously inspired by alisesaye‘s gorgeous version pictured, and I have some aubergine needlecord in my stash which would be perfect for this pattern. It that works well then I’ll want to make a denim version too. Continue reading “2017 sewing plans (#2017MakeNine)”

Happy New Year! And a rainbow mini skirt…

Happy New Year everyone! May 2017 be a fabulous year for you 😀

This is the first of my two remaining 2016 makes to blog. Not lagging too badly here as I completed this project back in September. That was just in time to wear to a convention for writers and readers of GLBTQ romance, hence the six colour Pride rainbow.

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Oh look, I polished my boots in your honour!

In a Nutshell:

This is a skirt I’ve been planning to make for years, and while I’m really happy I’ve finally got it done, it’s not exactly how I envisaged. It’s an awful lot shorter, for starters…

Pattern:

Self drafted. Actually, I didn’t even draft a pattern–I just fitted it to me as I went. It’s a straight skirt with two back panels and two front panels (does that make it a four gore skirt?), and an invisible zip in the centre back. There’s no waistband, just a grosgrain ribbon facing. It sits a couple of inches below my natural waist, and I decided not to go for darts for shaping as I didn’t like the idea of them breaking into the next layer down of the rainbow. All shaping is done in the seams.

Fabric:

Scraps of needlecord from my stash, left over from my doll-making days. It’s a really high quality, 100% cotton British-made corduroy from Brisbane Moss (I believe it might have been their 16 wale Chiltern). Unfortunately they only supply to trade, so I’ve no idea where I’ll get my corduroy in the future. Good thing I’ve still got lots left… Continue reading “Happy New Year! And a rainbow mini skirt…”

Totally not boring Grey Surplice Dress

This is the last of my 2016 makes to blog (completed early November), which means I’m not doing too badly this year! Blogging more promptly should definitely be a New Year’s resolution, though…

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In a Nutshell:

A simple, neutral knit dress that’s already become a firm wardrobe favourite!

Pattern:

This is the Surplice Dress from the Craftsy Sewing With Knits class. It’s a simple knit dress with an empire line waist, a wrap bodice and an A-line skirt. The sleeves are meant to be elbow length but ended up being slightly shorter because of an alteration I made (more on that later). Based on my measurements I cut a size M.

Fabric:

Grey ponte from Sewn Bristol (I can’t see it in the online store and I bought it back in the summer so perhaps it’s all gone now). I am seriously amazed by the quality of this fabric. At £5.50 a metre I assumed it might not wear all that well–after all, every single ponte I’ve bought in the past has bobbled after a couple of washes, despite me treating it like royalty with the finest delicates detergents, washing cycles and line drying. Continue reading “Totally not boring Grey Surplice Dress”

It’s a Christmas Gay-pron!

Prepare yourself for the world’s kitschest Christmas apron, featuring the campest underwear models you’ve ever seen. And I even finished it in time for the big day!

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In a Nutshell:

I’ve had the materials for making this apron for at least four years now–probably more like five. I have no excuses for taking so long to make it up (other than Christmas prep always getting in the way), but this year I got my act together and actually sewed the damn thing. It was my Christmas present to myself, and I made it a priority before working on presents for everyone else. That’s the kind of selfish sewist I am these days 😛

Pattern:

Butterick B5125. This is a gorgeous retro and somewhat glamorous apron, if such a thing can be said to exist. The pattern includes a full and half length version, both with a flounce and with really long and wide waist ties. These are a great feature, as they’re long enough to wrap around and tie in a bow at the front, which is the way I normally wear it (I’ve been wearing one of these aprons for years now). Unfortunately this pattern is now out of print, but it looks like there are still some copies available. Continue reading “It’s a Christmas Gay-pron!”

Top 5 sewing hits and misses of 2016

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So, this is my second (and final) response to the #sewingtop5 prompt over on Crafting a Rainbow Even though I haven’t sewn that many garments in 2016 I decided I wanted to take part in the hits and misses anyway, because it’s a good exercise to reflect on the things I’ve made, particularly what works and what doesn’t. Here then, are my top 5 sewing hits of 2016:

Top 5 Hits:

Ladybird skirt

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I haven’t blogged this one because it seemed to simple to warrant it. It’s just a self drafted maxi skirt in a lovely viscose jersey, with a self-fabric waistband (no elastic). I never wear it out of the house as the fabric has pilled and just doesn’t look right, but it’s so wonderfully comfy I wear it pretty much every day as loungewear. Recently I even upgraded the waistband to one made out of a black lycra as it had much better recovery, and I took a couple of inches off the skirt at the same time to stop it dragging on the ground. It’s now better than ever! Continue reading “Top 5 sewing hits and misses of 2016”

Top 5 of 2016: Reflections, goals and even some non-sewing stuff!

I really love reading these kinds of round up posts, but when I first saw the #sewingtop5 prompt over on Crafting a Rainbow I thought I had no business taking part as I’ve only sewn about a dozen things in 2016. Okay, I’ve sewn more than that, but only about that many garments for myself, so a list of my top 5 hits and top 5 misses would cover just about everything I’ve made.

But then I thought how much I love year-end navel gazing, so I’m doing some of the challenge anyway 😛

Actually, this is replacing my rather long winded yearly round up posts, so it’s got to be a good thing all round. Less waffle.

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Top 5 Reflections Continue reading “Top 5 of 2016: Reflections, goals and even some non-sewing stuff!”

Red Mini skirt

I made this skirt back in August out of a very small piece of fabric from my stash, hence the length! It was only ever intended as a (hopefully) wearable toile to test out a skirt pattern’s fit and learn some new techniques. It’s been a mixed success…

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This is my best “I’m not sure about this skirt” face

Pattern:

On Safari Skirt by So Sew Easy. I bought this pattern a while back after searching for a pattern with the features of my favourite ready-to-wear denim skirt. I thought this would not only give me a great skirt I’d love to wear, but would also allow me to practice some of the techniques needed for making jeans as I intend to make a pair at some point in the next year or so. Continue reading “Red Mini skirt”

Plantain tee

Apologies in advance for the quality of these pictures. I think Andy had his camera on the wrong setting or it was the pallid winter light to blame. Roll on spring. We’re ready for you!

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In a Nutshell:

A great basic summery tee with an unexpected “embellishment”, although I’m not sold on the colour… Continue reading “Plantain tee”

Craftysticks November update

November is nearly over, so it must be time for an update!

Sewing:

This has been a month of quite dull but very useful sewing. I had a sudden paranoid thought that if a winter vomiting bug hit I wouldn’t have enough spare bedding for Daisy’s bed. She used to be in a double bed (long story) but is now in a single, and I only had one set of bedding for it. I’ve been saying for ages that I’d cut down her old favourite duvet cover to make a single, and this month I finally did it. I also made a fitted sheet out of another old duvet cover that had a few random stains from fabric paint (absolutely impossible to remove, but I managed to avoid them by careful cutting) and I cut down her mattress protector too. I’m particularly proud of the way I utilised the print on the duvet cover to do this on the side of her mattress:

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And as if all that wasn’t enough, I bought Gabriel his first proper duvet. It was a cotbed size with a dinky little pillow to match, and rather than buy readymade covers I decided to economise and again cut down an old duvet cover, carefully avoiding some random tears and bleach stains. He now has the cutest little bedding set! Continue reading “Craftysticks November update”

Stripy Kimono

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 🙂

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In a Nutshell:

A cute and surprisingly versatile summer layering piece, which was an absolute doddle to make. Continue reading “Stripy Kimono”

My Capsule Wardrobe: first attempt

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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.

Yesterday I reread this post on Un-Fancy and suddenly something clicked. Continue reading “My Capsule Wardrobe: first attempt”

And now for something completely impractical…

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…

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Yeah, you’d better take this top seriously, inexplicably grainy photos or not!

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…

You can see my Ravelry entry for this project here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Anna-Jo/crochet-vest—cecilia-chemise

Pattern:

Continue reading “And now for something completely impractical…”

The Seamstress Tag

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.

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Gabriel and Daisy
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Me and Andy. I’m wearing one of my dresses here, but you can’t see much of it so you’ll just have to take my word that it’s gorgeous!

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”

Osaka skirt

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In a nutshell:

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.

Pattern:

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”