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?

Bloglovin claim post!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I have to admit, I’ve been sticking my head in the sand when it comes to Bloglovin, as I went over to Feedly when Google Reader disappeared, and I really didn’t want yet another social media app to steal my time. But while I hesitate to commit myself at such an early stage (having been on Bloglovin for all of ten minutes) I think I might actually prefer it to Feedly. Anyway, I’m hereby claiming my blog–and bonus, it appears a few of you are following me on Bloglovin already. Cheers, me dears!

Normal blogging will be resumed next week, when I’ll be sharing my progress report on my MakeNine challenge–and hopefully a new make too. Just got to put the finishing touches to it with a bit of hand sewing…

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

Craftysticks: breaking promises but finishing garments.

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?!

Sewing:

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…

Crochet:

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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…

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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?

Year round up and foolish, grandiose aims for 2016

It’s the time of year for a round up, because there’s something about the post-Christmas period that makes me determined to do better. Eat less chocolate! Exercise more! Enjoy life to the full! And set myself loads of stupid goals I’ll never manage to keep…

Okay, so I don’t manage to sew or blog as often as I’d like to (and I have several unblogged projects waiting), but it’s hardly surprising with a baby around the place. Add in moving house last year and no longer having a dedicated sewing room (and currently house-hunting to buy somewhere, so probably moving again in a few months) and I’m amazed I’ve managed to get anything done. Go me!

Here are my goals from last year, and how I think I did with them:

  • Make a selection of dresses and tops in knit fabrics, all with concealed nursing access.

IMG_0723 (Copy)Does two tops and a dress count as a selection? I think so! And better yet, I’ve been wearing them regularly. Except one of the tops (unblogged), but more about that another day…

  • Make at least a couple of bras and pairs of knickers to match.

Err, I think I was too ambitious with my first bra project. Learning the technique while trying to deal with all the layers of a nursing bra, while merrily adapting a regular bra pattern? Nope, wasn’t working. I’m saving bra-making for when I’ve stopped nursing, which should be at some point over the next few months.

  • Begin to build a foundation wardrobe of versatile, TNT patterns. I shall be following the Wardrobe Architect 2015 Challenge to give me some motivation. I want this to include patterns for a t-shirt, a dress, a skirt, trousers, a shrug and perhaps a jacket if there’s time.

Continue reading Year round up and foolish, grandiose aims for 2016

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

Can’t blog. Sewing.

I’ve been making sure I spend at least 20 minutes a day sewing–harder than you’d think, as Gabriel is only happy on the sewing room floor for about 10 minutes at a time. I’m starting to think it might be easier when I have to give up that room for him and sew downstairs. At least he likes the living room floor!

Anyway, this is what I have to show for my time:

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It certainly isn’t perfect. I’m not happy with the zig zag on the neckline, the underbust pleats (I think gathers would be more flattering) or the alternative sleeve finish I attempted (a contrast rolled edge finish, which didn’t roll, so I had to turn into a lettuce leaf edge instead). But the fit isn’t too bad and at least I now know the tweaks I’ll need to make before cutting into the polka dot fabric.

To finish this off so it’s at least wearable around the house, I’m going to add a contrast band at the bottom with the same lettuce leaf edge as the sleeves.

So, on with the sewing!

PS – the pattern is the Megan Nielson dress for Simplicity.