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:

Clockwise from top left: The Vintage Flowers Blouse, The 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:

L-R: 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

April round-up and May sewing plans

April has been an incredibly productive month for me, sewing-wise, although I must admit the blogging has rather fallen by the wayside. That’s partly because of the way I’ve been working (batch cutting lots of projects, then batch sewing all the grey overlock bits, followed by all the grey sewing machine bits, then the black overlock bits, and so on) which meant that I had lots of projects on the go at once, and most things weren’t completed till nearly the end of the month. It’s also because I wasn’t one hundred percent happy with the finish on two garments, and had to redo them until I was happy. That meant I’ve only just been able to get photos of those two projects, but rest assured, there should be plenty of April’s sewing making it onto the blog in May 🙂

Sewing done in April:

L-R: Jalie’s Drop Pocket Cardigan, Gertie Knit Sweetheart Top, Gertie’s Easy Knit Pencil Skirt

 

Clockwise from left: Daisy’s Striped Skirt, Seamwork Geneva Knickers, Made by Jack’s Mum Speedy Pants Boxers for Gabriel

I also made a black knit school skirt for Daisy, but I don’t have a picture of that one yet so you’ll just have to imagine it. It’s like the striped one above, only, you know, black.

 

There were a few projects I’d hoped to complete in April but didn’t get done: a grey short sleeved tee and some more knickers, along with a school dress for Daisy. But that’s okay, because I made a couple of extra skirts instead 🙂

I had also hoped to get some materials together for a maxi dress (done and ready to cut), as well as a shirt dress and a Moss skirt. Those last two aren’t at all ready, but I’ve been thinking about the shirt dress so that counts for something, right?!

Finding my style… and it’s not what I thought it would be!

I’ve mentioned in the last couple of posts that I’ve started working through the exercises in Anushka Rees’ The Curated Closet as part of an ongoing mission to figure out what my style really is. It’s something that’s become more and more important to me since I started making my own clothing. When putting that kind of time investment (and a financial one too, sometimes) into making something, it’s really disappointing if it doesn’t feel “me” once I’ve finished. My hit rate has been getting better, but I’m still only at about 50% so I have a fair way to go.

When I was younger getting dressed was easy. I chose a subculture and bought the clothes that fit. First I was an indie kid, then a hippie, then a crusty (yeah, not the best look), then I got more into dance culture and dressed accordingly. When I started teaching I bought clothes that typified librarian chic: A-line tweedy skirts with tight but covered-up tops and cardigans.

Then I had a kid and everything changed. My body size changed, and for a few years I dressed mainly in hand-me-downs from my mum and sister who had both lost weight. I wasn’t all that fussed at the time as I had enough on my plate bringing up a kid with Downs, but eventually I started to look around me and wonder why I looked such a dog’s dinner compared to other women. Why were some stylish and others not? Was it simply something they were born with?

So I started thinking more about clothing, and learnt how to make my own. I was initially drawn to retro style party dresses, but of course I couldn’t really work that 50s pin-up vibe into my everyday wardrobe. It was a high maintenance look that was just for occasional dressing up, and I was okay with that. What I needed was a wardrobe suitable for being a mum and working from home. Comfy, practical clothing, but that suited me perfectly. The search was on…

Over the years I’ve tried many ways of figuring out my style. I read numerous books (Trinny and Susanna and Gok Wan were prime offenders) that gave me lists of clothes I had to own, or styles that would suit my body shape (somewhere between hourglass and pear, apparently) I had a Colour Me Beautiful colour consultation, where I found out I suited soft, cool and deep colours, and I even paid for the Dressing Your Truth online consultation where I found out I was a Type 4 (bold).

However, none of this really helped. Sure, there were some good bits of advice in amongst all of it, but I still wasn’t one hundred percent convinced I was dressing my best. Perhaps that’s because the one place I hadn’t really looked was my own preferences…

More recently I’ve been drawn to the idea of capsule wardrobes and have been trying to let go of any clothes that don’t bring me joy (yep, thanks, KonMari!), but although my pared down wardrobe made me feel much happier, I still struggled to put good outfits together with what I had. I needed to build my wardrobe up again, but where to start?

Finally, I took the plunge and bought a copy of The Curated Closet. Weird it took me so long as I’ve been reading Anushka’s blog, Into Mind, for years and always had the idea I would buy a copy someday. Well, that day came. I read it through, felt excited, then started to do the exercises. Documenting my outfits for two weeks revealed I was in a bit of a rut and wearing the same few items in pretty constant rotation.

Then came the exercise I was most looking forward to: gathering inspirational images. Rees encourages you to devote a solid few hours to this, allowing yourself to go down rabbit holes to find things that really speak to you. I was expecting to come up with some variation on current trends with lots of neutral and muted colours along with flowing silhouettes. And there’s a bit of that, but what I kept coming back to were two of my old faves: librarian chic and rockabilly/pin-up. Two looks I’d thought were too tricky to pull off as a busy mum. But then I realised there were more accessible ways of making it work, and blending the two styles (three if you count the whole maxi skirt thing I have going on) could create something new. Something I’ve decided to call… wait for it:

Off-Duty Rockabilly Librarian

Yep, that about sums it up. It’s a low maintenance version of 50s glam mixed with more contemporary geek chic, and it’s geared towards everyday outfits I’ll find easy to wear. The colours are strong, with plenty of black, navy, cherry red and purple. And the patterns are bold stripes, polka dots, plaid and leopard print. Silhouettes are fitted, waistlines are high, skirts are long, trousers are cropped. Here’s the mood board:

Mood board

I’m so pleased I’ve taken the time to really think about what I genuinely like and feel good in. It’s already helping me with planning sewing projects. I realised I have a whole book full of suitable patterns: Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, and I’ve now made two of them. I’ve also realised that I have a fair few items already that will work with this style. And I’m now working through the exercises to help plan what I need to fill in the gaps.

This is even going to help me clear out some of the clutter in my loft. I can see now why certain items of clothing and stash fabrics just aren’t inspiring me, and it’s time to let them find new owners.

Yep, I can see the way forward. I’m already putting together outfits that feel more “me” and people are noticing. I feel confident and a bit sassy, channelling my inner Rizzo (been watching a lot of Grease lately as I’m going to see a local production next month).

Now, excuse me. I’m off to watch Grease again while tracking down some leopard print jersey and sewing myself a red, polka dot headscarf!

 

March round up and April’s sewing plans

You know what, I honestly think I might finally have cracked sewing productivity, and over the past couple of months have managed to make one easy (knit) garment a week. It comes down to planning, folks. Simple as that. Last month I took the time to plan out some things I wanted to make in the month ahead, and I achieved most of them! Here’s last month’s post, in case you’re wondering.

I’ve also done a bit of housekeeping on the blog and have finally added a few static pages. You can see them in the blog sidebar. There’s a contact page, a few pages with each year’s blogged makes linked with handy pictures, and another ego-trip page all about me. That last one features a pic of a teenage me modelling the first item of clothing I ever made, back in the 90s. Oh dear. Fashion disaster!

March makes:

I’ve already blogged a couple of my March makes, although most of my March blogging was playing catch up on the first couple of months of the year.

L-R: Craftsy tee, Daisy’s dress

And the next two projects are completed but not yet blogged:

L-R: Seamwork Aurora top, Sew Over It Heather dress

I did also work on the velvet top refashion, but it didn’t work out well. There might be a post in that at some point, if I can finish it off so Daisy can wear it.

Money spent: £15.56

£10.78 for some ponte for making a Heather Dress

$6.00 Seamwork subscription (approx £4.78)

Pretty thrifty month. Yay for using up stash fabrics!

April sewing plans: