My dream cardigan!

Anyone who’s been following my Me Made May posts either here or on Instagram will have seen this cardie plenty of times already, but here’s the full lowdown on what has become probably the most worn item of me-made clothing this month.

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In a Nutshell:

Like the title says, this is my dream cardigan! Do you really need to know any more than that?! Oh, okay. Read on, then, to find out why… Continue reading “My dream cardigan!”

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 ūüėõ

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!”

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”

Craftysticks: monthly it is, then!

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:

Sewing:

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 ūüėõ

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…

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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.

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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?!

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Crochet:

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…

Cooking:

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? ūüôā

Knot Your Average Dress… no, it really isn't!

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Yeah, I’m loving this dress!

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 ūüėČ

The pattern comes with markings for dress length or shirt length, and with long or short sleeves, with additional instructions for making it sleeveless. There are also optional adaptations for nursing and maternity versions. Continue reading “Knot Your Average Dress… no, it really isn't!”

Star criss-crossed love? Nope, more like divorce immanent! Jalie 2787

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The face says it all…

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 ūüôā

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”

Me Made May: thoughts and conclusions

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 ūüôā

Jewellery

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”

Me Made May, days 19-27

And here are the pictures all together:

There are more repeat appearances here, but I’m still managing to unearth¬†some new garments to show off. You can find the previous posts here:¬†Days 1-9,¬†Days 10-18

Here’s the full run down: Continue reading “Me Made May, days 19-27”

Ottobre 6/2011 sleepsuit

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For some reason I adore this picture. What an expression!

I made this back in February, but was inspired to finally get my arse in gear and post about it this week after watching the Great British Sewing Bee contestants grapple with making babygrows.

One of the contestants was asked if she’d ever made babygrows for her kids and her incredulous “no way” (or words to that effect) was pretty much the way I felt about making such a fiddly item of clothing for a rapidly growing baby. But then I had a boy¬†who threw off all his blankets, but who hated being in sleeping bags. He was just starting to stand and cruise¬†so he¬†hated the constriction, I’m guessing. He needed something to keep him warm at night, but with legs built in. I didn’t wanted a footed sleepsuit, though, as at the time with our hard flooring downstairs he would slip around all over the place. It was bare feet or babygrows/socks with those little grippy dots on the bottom at the time.¬†I also wanted¬†it to be made out of a breathable, natural fabric for his comfort.

I looked around the shops but the only thermal¬†sleepsuits I could find all had feet built in (without the grippy dots!), and were quilted with polyester wadding. They seemed pricey too, especially considering they weren’t what I really wanted. Snowsuits generally looked better, but they all had hoods so weren’t suitable for sleeping in–and possibly too warm as well. I didn’t want Gabriel to overheat. So I gradually came around to the idea of making one. How hard can it be, right? Continue reading “Ottobre 6/2011 sleepsuit”

Me Made May, days 10-18

I’m only doing these in groups of nine because I love the look of tiled Instagram pics…

Anyway, here goes for the next lot of details. Some are repeats so I haven’t linked the patterns again. You can find days 1-9 here. Continue reading “Me Made May, days 10-18”

Me Made May 2016 – I'm finally taking part!

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¬†‘I, Anna-Jo, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear¬†at least one handmade garment or accessory¬†each day for the duration of May 2016.¬† I also pledge to take photos of each outfit and post them on my blog as weekly roundups.’

So, after a couple of years of wishing I had enough everyday me-made clothing to take part in Me Made May, I’m finally giving it a go. I’m hoping that wearing something handmade every day will prove an enjoyable challenge, and am anticipating the following results:

  • Getting a¬†better idea of how to creatively style my existing clothes, both handmade and RTW, using accessories and new combinations. And lots of scarves, probably.
  • Getting up to speed with using the DSLR, tripod, and my new garden (moving house on Wednesday–eek!) to take my own outfit pics.
  • Using the photographs to help make¬†some tough decisions about which clothes are unflattering and ready to be donated/refashioned.
  • Coming up¬†with a summer¬†sewing plan to plug any wardrobe gaps I notice during the month. Practical sewing, not party sewing!

At the moment I’m using the prospect of MMMay to spur me on to finish my long-hibernating brown knitted cardigan, and to get going on a few simple makes I know I could do with. First up are a grey Plantain tee and a brown corduroy Osaka skirt. All fabrics from my stash. Now if only I could spend the next hour sewing, but I suppose I’d better get packing for the move… *Sigh*

*Stares longingly at sewing machine*

*Glares at stack of flatpacked cardboard boxes*

Anyone else out there ready to take up the #MMMay16 challenge?

A quilt for Daisy

Aug 15 078 (Copy)This quilt was about eighteen¬†years in the making, I kid you not. Now it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to figure out it was started way before Daisy was even a twinkle in her daddy’s eye. Originally it was intended to be a sofa throw for my parents, and it was my sister who started it. I think it’s fair to say she knew bugger all about quilting, and back then in the days of 56k dial up modems the internet was not as comprehensive a source of crafting knowledge as it is now.

So there were some odd choices made. A peculiar mix of quilting cottons and dressmaking fabrics, chosen purely for the colour and pattern. And Bek cut them out using pinking shears with a 1.5 cm seam allowances as that was all she’d ever sewn with. She ended up piecing about five rows, pressing seam allowances open and painstakingly making sure every square lined up perfectly. She’s that kind of person. A perfectionist through and through.

It’s fair to say it took her forever to get that far, and then Mum redecorated her living room in vibrant peach (why, Mum? Why?!) and the colours didn’t go any longer. She got me to batik her a few blue and peach sofa throws instead. Continue reading “A quilt for Daisy”

Nursing dress – Simplicity 1469

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I’ve made a fair few dresses in my time, but this particular dress marks a turning point. This is the first dress I’ve ever made that I’ve worn regularly. And when I say regularly, I mean I grab it every time it’s out of the laundry! So what makes this dress so special? I believe it’s largely down to the knit fabric, which is beautifully soft and drapey. It’s the same viscose are used to sew the top version of this pattern (Simplicity 1469), And it presented the same challenges to work with. However, I learnt a lot making the top so it was much easier this time around.

For the top I used clear elastic to stabilise the neckline but I was never happy with the result. I didn’t like the zig-zag topstitching or the way the neckline of the inner bodice kept wanting to pull outwards:

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This time I buckled down, faced my fears, and made a proper knit binding for the neckline and armholes. Why was I so worried? It was the easiest thing in the world, and the results look brilliant. I didn’t even need to topstitch down the seam allowance as I used my over locker to attach the binding. In fact I did try topstitching and it looks rubbish, so that saved me some work. I even remembered to trim a little off the edges before binding them, so as not to add any width to the edges. Continue reading “Nursing dress – Simplicity 1469”

Simplicity 1469 – Nursing top by Megan Nielsen

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I made this top a couple of months ago but it’s taken me a while to make the time to blog about it. Summer holidays are impossible for finding any computer time! This is designed as a maternity/nursing top or dress, and you can find it here with the original artwork:¬†http://www.simplicitynewlook.com/1469/¬†It’s a simple empire line knit top with an outer bodice you can stretch down, with an inner bodice that has cut outs for nursing access. It would be pretty easy to make it without that access, though, if you had no need for it.

I cut a size S, although my measurements put me more towards the M sizing, as I’ve learnt that Big 4 pattern sizing is always too generous for my liking. As I was seaming with my overlocker I did, however, taper out to the edge of the seam allowance over the hips, adding in just a touch more ease for my pear shape figure.

I used a lightweight maroon viscose jersey originally purchased from Ditto Fabrics last summer, along with the same fabric in a black and white polka dot print for the contrast pieces. It doesn’t look like they still have my colours¬†in stock, but I think this one might be from the same original selection:¬†https://www.dittofabrics.co.uk/plain-and-printed-jersey-fabric/plain-jersey-fabric. It’s an incredibly slinky fabric which drapes beautifully, but is a complete bugger to sew. I made a t-shirt from it last year and nearly tore my hair out trying to deal with its shifty shenanigans, but it is wonderful to wear so I persevered. I wish I’d chosen something easier for my first two knit patterns, but at least everything I encounter in future should seem easy in comparison ūüôā Continue reading “Simplicity 1469 – Nursing top by Megan Nielsen”