The Madrid Dress: Seamwork’s Neenah

I’m currently dealing with a severe lack of sleep and two ill boys to look after (okay, one of them is in his 50s, but still a boy when he’s ill), so what better time than to cheer myself up by blogging my favourite recent make? And while wearing it too! Yep, this passes the secret pyjamas test for sure.

Oh, and why the Madrid dress when I’ve clearly been modelling it in my back garden? Read on to find out!

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In a Nutshell:

A quick and easy make that’s become a firm wardrobe favourite. Style and comfort, what more could you ask for?! Continue reading The Madrid Dress: Seamwork’s Neenah

Seasonally inappropriate sewing: the Aster blouse

I’ve been finding the sewing challenges I’m taking part in so motivating that I’ve done the unheard of: completed a summer blouse in the middle of winter! Okay, it’s early spring really, but if it feels like winter, that’s all that matters. I don’t think you can see the goosebumps on these pictures, but I can assure you they were there. Oh yes, and I must thank my darling 11-year-old daughter Daisy for taking these pics. Didn’t she do a great job?! 🙂

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In a Nutshell:

A pretty summer top, but I think this pattern will need some adjustments for next time. I decided to treat this as a wearable muslin, but I spent my time sewing it carefully to get a good finish as I wanted to practice some shirtmaking skills for future projects.

Pattern:

The Aster blouse, by Colette Patterns. It’s a loose-fitting, V-necked blouse with a yoke, and I sewed View 1 with the short sleeves. My measurements put me between an 8 and 10, but I chose to cut the 8 with no grading as the pattern has lots of ease over the hips, and I know I have narrow shoulders so I figured I’d be better having the smaller size there.

This was one of my #2017MakeNine projects as I wanted to build up to making a proper shirt, and I figured this pattern would give me some practice while leaving out some of the scarier parts (collar and cuffs). The reason I sewed it in February was the #WardrobeBuilder challenge for this month: shirts and blouses. That and I fancied filling a wardrobe gap before the weather heats right up. If it ever does… Continue reading Seasonally inappropriate sewing: the Aster blouse

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

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 😛

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? 🙂

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 😉

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!