Sewing plans · Wardrobe

Wardrobe planning

I’ve been thinking about my clothes, what I like wearing, and all those typical musings of someone who sews!  I don’t want a capsule wardrobe, or to over analyse my look, as I feel most of the time I’m ok with what I wear, it just needs a bit of evolution and keeping to what suits me best, and not getting diverted into what is the current trend for the sewing community, or the latest  Sewalong.

Kate  has been considering her wardrobe recently, and is looking to pare  it down into a small plain coloured, almost capsule wardrobe. I love a lot of the colourful suits and hand painted fabrics she has made and think it would be a shame if she didn’t wear those again.

But it’s made me think about what I wear and want to wear . I still like my jersey dresses and silver jewellery look. But sometimes it feels not quite right  for my new  office environment which is more casual. I need an update, but need to use my stash first!

My favourite style icon is Claire Underwood from the House of Cards, I like the straight angular  lines of her characters clothes. Personally I want more colour and pattern in my clothes though.

My fabric collection has been gathered over the last four years, so some of it doesn’t fit in with what I like now. For example I’ve bought 3 metre lengths of cotton prints, that I wouldn’t wear if I made them up as dresses, but I could make shirts or tops. So taking into consideration using up my fabric and making things I’ll actually wear (apart from the scuba cocktail dress which I’m not sure will be seen in public!) , these are my plans for the rest of 2017.

Scuba cocktail dress for the #sipandsew Eve appeal

Hydrangea dress for a wedding

2 Aldaia dresses from  aqua and kingfisher ponte which are really similar colours.

2 Named pilvi pattern dresses in  red and navy

Navy and navy chevron  ponte dress

Tulip fabric to make a vest top maybe a Colette Sorbetto

Chrysthamum fabric for this prima pattern with big sleeves

Sequin fabric to make a Grainline scout

Flannel for  pyjamas

These aren’t in order and I’ve  already got ideas for 2018, but let’s see how far I get with this list! No doubt there will be more fabric and patterns purchased this year, maybe next week when I go to Sew UpNorth?  I’ve also got ten vintage patterns I’d love to make one day!

Completed items · Uncategorized

June makes


June has been mostly good, I’ve finished a couple of items that had been hanging about for ages, completed my shirt dress, and blogged about all of them apart from this  knitted Cardigan and a sad wadder!

I’m pleased this  Miette is finished, sewn up and has buttons, as it took nearly a year to finish it off.


It’s so bright it’s not going to go with much, the wool and buttons were really expensive. Never mind, I love the lime cowl I made from this wool, as I’d bought it for a pattern that needed a lot more than the Miette, originally.


I’ve realised that I’m not that into handknitted jumpers and cardigans anymore. I wish I’d kept some of the patterns I knitted up when I was at university though, some really stunning, statement patterns.


Just to have complete documentation, a wadder I’m really disappointed with. This one s Vogue 8997 one of the Eve appeal #sipand sew dresses.  I’ve spent so long on it too. I made two toiles out of lining fabric, to get it to fit. However, when  I sewed up the lined bodice I needed to take in the bottom of the v neck, which I got to work, by putting a small dart effect in. Then I sewed in the sleeves which pulled the neckline out of shape and bagged it  on one side! And I really can’t put it right.   I really loved this fabric and lined it with satin backed crepe, so substantial money definitely down the drain!  But as I was making it,  I felt it was probably a dress I wouldn’t wear that often. I don’t know whether  to bother making one out of the bright  scuba now. I’ll leave it til October maybe, but  I do need something to wear for graduation in a months time.  Is it really worth sewing my own clothes? I’ve counted up, I think I’ve made or started  at least 22 items this year and half of them have been failures.  Sometimes I just don’t know.





Completed items · sewing · Wardrobe

#sewtogetherforsummer shirt dress finished!

My sewing has had a torrid time of it lately, so I’m really really pleased to have finished a dress that I love!


Sarah from @sewsarahsmith, Suzy from @sewing_in_spain and Monika from @rocco.sienna set up a friendly challenge to sew a shirtdress in time for Summer.

It’s such a great idea to set up a challenge that is so versatile, as everyone needs a shirt dress in their wardrobe! Prizes will be awarded at random, rather than being judged on ability or Instagram popularity which is a brilliant way to encourage sewists of all abilities to have a go.

So I finally made   McCalls M6885. I made attempts at two other styles but they just didn’t look right.   Sewmanju has made two versions of this pattern. I have to agree with her that turning out the ties was a real pain, but  worth it. I used this Tutorial   to attach the collar, as I don’t think I’ve sewn a collar with a collar stand since doing O level dress at school.


I had a bit of trouble with the button holes, having to unpick four of them, I think my machine and me had forgotten what to do, I can’t remember the last thing I made with buttons. The buttons were from a charity shop in Lincoln, so a bargain!

Fabric was from the Remnant House, in Harrogate, the pattern is so busy you can’t see any of the details like the pockets and ties in these photos! I made the sleeveless version, which has been lovely and cool today in the sun.


Despite my other half telling me it looks likes wee willie winkies nightshirt, l like the high low hem.  I’d love to make some more shirt dresses  using this pattern or perhaps  vogue pattern V8829, which is a shirt dress with no gathers anywhere, my preferred option.


But I need to get on with a couple of dresses for events in July and September, it will probably be next year now before I’ve got time to tackle another shirtdress, which is a bit of a shame.

Completed items · Wardrobe

Cocobella and coatigan

A couple of successes, the top was finished in April and I finally hemmed my coatigan this weekend.

First  a Tilly and the buttons Coco with sleeves from the Simple Sew Bella dress pattern.  I could have just cut down the Bella dress pattern, but I know the Coco pattern fits. I was going to make a dress with this ponte, but think it will get more wear as a top.



Then another cardigan/coatigan from the pattern I used for my navy and white coat.

This fabric was originally intended to be a dress too, but it’s wool ponte and quite heavy, I think it would be too warm.  The colour is superb, and I think it will be great for the cooler summer evenings, but it’s been so cold I’ve worn it all day, today.  It goes really well with my coral grainline scout top.


These two are both great basics that will work well with lots of other items in my wardrobe.

Purchases · Sewing plans

May purchases and summer sewing plans

So not buying anything isn’t going too well…….

In May there was no successful sewing. There was however some buying, four patterns and five and a half metres of fabric.

So firstly a  pyjama pattern. I’ve got  a selection of fabrics already that I could use, in my fabric collection, once I’ve made the ten dresses on my ‘next to sew’ list!


The prima pattern was the cost of a phone call, but I love the basic shape of this and the sleeve options.


This Butterick dress pattern purchase was due to seeing Handmade Jane’s recommendations for woven shirt dresses on her current blog post, I like  the waterfall effect on the skirt.  I’ve got a wedding in September, and think this pattern would look good in the fabric I bought from Guthrie and Ghani.  I hope I don’t look too washed out, I usually don’t wear black, but just loved the hydrangeas and the pale aqua leaves.

The fourth pattern was because I liked it, and I was paying for postage anyway……I’ve bought the sewoverit Heather  dress pattern, but looking at people’s completed versions, I don’t really like the princess seams on it. I much prefer the straight ones on this.


So yes, I’ve definitely suffered from FOMO!

So my plan for June is to hem my orange coatigan, sew buttons on my Miette  Cardigan (only two more to go!)  and finish my  blue and cream shirt dress before the 21st of June, for the sew along.

I would also like to make a start on this dress, to wear to son number two’s graduation, in July. I’m thinking of short sleeves and the  straight skirt.


Hopefully all these plans will work, my sewing has been so rubbish lately, I’m probably too impatient but  I’m not someone who will make seven versions of a toile  to get it right, I tend to give up as I want quick results!

Oh yes the other fabric is a ridiculous purchase really. I bought more of the art gallery fabric that my favourite dress is made from! Well dragonfly fabrics had a 10% discount!  So when this dress wears out I can make another one…….



#Memademay 2017 round up

The statistics are as follows – which may be converted to pie or bar charts at some point!

Tilly and the buttons Coco 5 variations worn  7 times

Grainline scout tee variations worn 4 times

Sosew easy wrap dress variations worn 3 times

New look 6808 variations worn 3 times

prima pattern jacket variations worn three times

Lottie blouse variation worn twice


single items worn twice include Cynthia Rowley Delaunay top and my vogue dress

Other patterns  worn once include a sewoverit  cowl necked top, itch to stitch Davina and Kathryn dresses, my teal ponte dress, navy Santa Monica tee shirt, ponte trousers, Cynthia Rowley jacket, tweed coat, new look wrap dress, Ponte trousers, bronte afternoon top and my Van Gogh maxi.

What do I think?

– No more cocos! Find another pattern, maybe the sewhouse seven toaster pattern.

-If  the weather had been better I’d have worn more dresses.  I wore dresses on only ten days.

-I’ve been wearing jeans and trousers more, but feel no inclination to make them!

-I really like the prima jacket pattern I’ve made in ponte three times, smart enough to wear to work, but comfortable enough to wear with jeans at home.

-I need to cull my wardrobe more often, and make sure I wear flattering items, rather than hanging onto things because I’ve made them.  I like  plain or geometric fabrics and plain necklines, but it would be good to see something more adventurous.

May was unproductive for sewing, I made some fails, and toiles that didn’t work out, but that’s the way it happens sometimes.

I definitely want to do Me made May 2018, so I can see what’s changed, since this year, and whether I’m still wearing makes from 2014!



#MemadeMay week 4

So, the last week barring a few days. Its getting boring, but will be really interesting to look back on, and I would like to do it next year as well, to see what the changes are.   Without further ado, as a lot of sewing bloggers seem to say, this is what I wore this week! And some silly versions of photos that didn’t make it to Instagram!


my selfies of the Delaunay blouse are a lot more flattering than the photo I put on Instagram

And a grainline scout double

And my coco top on Sunday as I spent most of it cycling!


I will do a round up and statistical analysis (joking!) of what I wore, during May. All I will say now is there is a distinct lack of collars!


#Memademay 2017 week three

Another  normal busy week but a quieter weekend. I’ve been thinking about sewing again. I did a toile for the Edith dress, but it didn’t look right, kimono sleeves are definitely a no no for me!  I haven’t got time to make a shirt dress by June despite putting it out there on instagram, I need to make a dress to wear to boy number two’s graduation.  I will focus on a dress pattern that is flattering on me, and that I can make at least two versions of, so the fitting process is worthwhile.

Anyway,  I have done loads of exercise this week, two cycles, a boxercise class and Pilates. I went out with the other half and shared a bottle of wine and a pizza. I also went to book group – a man called Ove.  So not too bad for a working week!

Monday, Tuesday Wednesday in the office.  I am still being quite smart, but generally people wear more relaxed casual clothes.

Thursday working from home, so Jenifer Lauren’s afternoon blouse which I haven’t worn for ages, it feels a bit boxy but I really like the Liberty flowered fabric.  Friday dress down Friday, so this double gauze grainline top with rtw jeans and cardigan.  Saturday my sewover it cowl necked top.


And today, a relaxed dress for Sunday, I’m baking, making a Sunday roast for seven, and hopefully doing some sewing!


#MMMay 17 week two


A really busy week, a funeral in Devon and a two day trip to London, plus friends to stay! So no sewing but this is what I wore.


My observations on what I’ve worn so far?  Simple tops, especially the coco, and jersey dresses!  FYI I hate those new look ponte trousers so much they went in the bin after wearing them on tuesday.

Life has been so busy that I’ve done no sewing during the first half of May,  and I have needed a break from it, to refocus.


Making rhubarb and raspberry gin

I’ve enjoyed a gin and tonic with ice and a slice  since I was about 19. A couple of years ago I worked with someone who liked different gins, and even brought gin and tonic cake into the office!   So on a family trip to Edinburgh,  number two son and I went for a tasting and tour to  Edinburgh gin  which was brilliant. The distillery was in the cellar of a small bar in the centre of town. We got a lesson about the history of gin, and an introduction to botanicals used to provide flavour including being able to smell them! We also saw the two  stills, Flora and Caledonia hard at work.  Then we got on with tasting,  I remember we got a generous gin and tonic made with their standard gin, I think the garnish was dried orange peel.  We also tasted their seaside and cannonball gin. My favourite one was their standard gin, elegant and smooth.  They also have a range of gorgeous gin liqueurs including  rhubarb and ginger, raspberry and elderflower.  Although the tasting tour cost £25, it was well worth it, you also got a 20cl bottle of gin or liqueur and 10% discount in the shop.


Since Edinburgh I’ve been to three Gin festivals which are a great way to find out about the world of gin and talk to the makers.

I might do a blog post on my favourites  sometime, but today I want to talk about my recent attempts to make flavoured gin.  A work colleague lives next to commercial rhubarb grower, and she brought me some beautiful pale pink rhubarb. I followed this recipe   I left it for two weeks, then made ice cubes with the left over gin soaked rhubarb, to use as a garnish in future G and Ts.

The raspberry gin was made in a similar way, I modified a recipe I stole from a magazine at my dentist!  A bottle of gin, 300g frozen raspberries,125g caster sugar in a sterilised jar.  Shake the jar everyday for a week, then once a week for the next three weeks. Strain and decant into sterilised bottles.

I used Aldi gin  and bought these Kilner jars  to contain the fruit and gin, and recycled gin bottles to bottle the products.

So what did I think of the results?  The rhubarb gin is a pretty pale pink, but the rhubarb flavour doesn’t come through enough for me.  I’m not complaining, it makes a lovely gin and tonic, and it won’t go to waste! Maybe I should have used an older rhubarb rather than the young stalks. I could have left it for longer, maybe a month like the raspberry. Also it’s very sweet, I think I’d use less sugar if I made it again.  My colleague is also making rhubarb gin, and her recipe only uses 50g of sugar for the same amount of gin. I’ll have to get her to bring it into work for a taste test!

The raspberry gin  smells lovely, and  is a beautiful  deep red colour. I’d drink it on its own, but tried it with prosecco last night which was fabulous.  I’ll definitely make this again, especially when you think that a 750ml bottle of raspberry liqueur will cost  about £13, £10 for the gin and the rest for the sugar and frozen raspberries.  Edinburgh Gin’s raspberry liqueur is £18 for 50ml, I’m not saying mine is as good, but it’s good enough for me.  I also got left with gin soaked raspberries, some I froze in ice cubes to use as a garnish, and the rest I served with homemade chocolate brownies.

I’ve got a cardamom gin recipe to try next!