Aims for 2018 and a blogging break

No resolutions, but I’m going to focus on the number 18 this year for obvious reasons. Over the last couple of years I have bought lots of fabric, clothes, shoes and bags.  This year I want to enjoy and use what I have. So my goal is to sew at least 18 items of clothing from my existing fabric collection.  I can’t achieve buying nothing so   I want to buy 18 or less items of clothing, shoes, bags or fabric.  I’ll exclude spending with birthday and Christmas money, and buying lingerie, socks and pyjamas.

My cuurent fabric collection according to Cora is 90 metres.

I could do with buying no patterns, but maybe I should say no more than 18 patterns, sewing magazines or books.

Ive enjoyed #memademay, #bpsewvember, the #sewing togetherforsummer shirt dress  challenges.  Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time and energy for #thelittlereddress this year.  The #sipandsewwas a worthy cause but stressful  as it took me three attempts. This year I’d like to do the shirt dress and red dress challenge, I’ve already got ideas and fabric!

I want to make the  two Named Pilvi dresses that I never got round to making last year. Other ideas for using my fabric collection include  grainline archers with these fabrics  . So I’ll be a perfect shirt maker after that!

An oraguse Amsterdam blazer in navy and black taffeta


The Helsinki oraguse top in this coral white and grey stretch fabric.


The papercut  coppelia wrap top in liberty black and floral jersey.


That will do to start with!  I’m sure I’ll change my mind along the way.

I’m  giving up blogging for a while, and will document my makes using a notebook or Instagram. Bye for now!


October and November makes

By the end of October the only thing I’d finished was this pink bag from some leftover fabric,  although lovely not worthy of its own blog post.


I succumbed to the Ogden cami pattern and used it to make a pyjama top and one to match my sip and sew kimono.



I also made the grey velvet skirt and a matching scarf, from a metre of ready pleated velvet from fabric godmother.


A navy sequin Poppy  top, the top half of the Sew Over It poppy playsuit.

2 Santa Monica tees

So I’ve used 10 metres. But I bought  20 metres! Mostly cause I was a bit fed up and had had a glass or two of wine, ordered five fabrics, then to the knitting and stitching show….. and bought four fabrics, a pattern and some vintage Scandinavian buttons.








#Sipandsew Kimono

The  #sipandsew Eve appeal where you sew  something using  one of a selection of McCalls patterns is such a good cause, I definitely wanted to join in.  But it took me three attempts with different patterns before I was happy.

A lot of people have used this V8997 pattern, I spent a lot of time making a muslin and altering seams on the bodice. When I added sleeeves, it just pulled and didn’t fit properly.


The second one using the Tom and Linda Platt pattern was shapeless, but I did use a scuba fabric and didn’t cut it on the bias which didn’t help. Also my taste in fabric has toned down recently, and this was just too bold for me.


So third time lucky!

I have started going for cocktails every so often. It’s usually really informal, I walk to the cocktail bar , often  a precursor to cinema, comedy club or meal. So I made something that can be dressed up or down. A kimono  from the  Zandra Rhodes pattern  V1505. I used view A  here with a bit of a high low hem, but not majorly so. I used a soft viscose Liberty jersey I bought from Guthrie and Ghani at least 18 months ago.  Using jersey meant you have to take account of the stretchiness, so  I used a soft stretchy interfacing for the cuffs and neck band, and let it hang overnight before hemming it.  I know there are loads of kimono patterns out there, but the dramatic hemline on both options makes this stand out. I’d like to make this in a soft floaty georgette next time.



It’s great with an RTW jumpsuit or jeans and an  Ogden cami made from scraps.



A fake cocktail, tap water and frozen raspberries for the photos, but I’ll definitely be drinking the real thing soon!

So I’m happy with this make,  I’ll wear this more than a dress.  I really need to make sure I think about wearability when I’m assessing what patterns to make? Looking  forward to the afternoon tea party at  the Northern Knitting and Stitching Show at the end of November, where hopefully I’ll get to see lots of other cocktail creations!



#Sewupnorth and June purchases

I had an absolutely fabulous day at #sewupnorth! When you live in a house full of males, there is something really lovely about shopping for fabric and chilling with other dressmakers.  The day was wonderfully organised by  Rebecca   and  Sally  who worked incredibly hard to give us all a day to enjoy and raised over £700 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance !

Just to reflect on the whole day, it was just such an uplifting experience. Just seeing women of all shapes, sizes and heights, all looking unique and individual in our handmade clothing, was so brilliant!  I wore one of my favourite dresses.



We started in Costa, in our own private area,  and received a goody bag each containing discount vouchers, badges, sweets and a pattern. We had about an hour to meet new sewing friends, and reconnect with old ones. Sally and Becca explained what was planned.


Then off we went round Leeds  Kirkgate market and local shops in smallish groups , before hitting the newish John Lewis. I was reasonably restrained ! Lovely white embroidered cotton from John Lewis, navy and white ponte and grey, pink and white jersey from B and M fabrics, and raspberry red ponte from Jaks fabrics.  I went round with Eleanor  and Liz  who were great shopping guides to the fabric delights of Leeds.  They have both made the sew house seven toaster tops, so I decided I needed to buy the pattern before the winter. Hopefully I’ll make the navy and red into toasty toaster tops!



Liz and Eleanor bought some African wax fabric from this lovely  stall. The fabric is sold in 6 yard lengths.



We reconvened in The Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen which had a bar and cheap tasty pizza. We took over the top floor,  as there was loads of room for a swap table, raffle prizes and seating. Here I am having a good nosey at the patterns and fabric. I took five patterns and two lots of fabric to swap.  I know that  Eleanor  took a pattern and Ali    took my fabric so I look forward to seeing what they make.


Everybody had a good rummage!


My final haul included four patterns from the swap, and some grey and red satin I’m hoping to use for lining.  I also bought a packet of needles in the market, probably the only thing I really ‘needed’


Liz had also made a bag and jacket from the Makers Atelier book I’ve got, so when I got home, I went onto the Fabric Godmother site to buy the toaster pattern, some faux leather ideal for bag making  fell into my basket, and yes I’ve decided to make a loud jumpsuit to wear to graduation seeing as my dress failed!   I intend to use the poppy playsuit pattern by Sewoverit, I’ve not had a lot of success with their patterns,  so am hoping this works.


Managed to sneak in a visit to the Shuttle in Shipley on the way back from a meeting. I was very restrained though! I bought 12 metres of fabric for toiles or lining, two metres of fleece backed sweating shirting to try a warm version of the toaster sweater, and a one metre piece  for a teeshirt.

I’ve used 56 metres of fabric so far in 2017, but bought 45 metres! Which doesn’t include the three metres for bags above. I’ve had a lot of failures in the first six months so here’s to successful sewing and no fabric purchases for the rest of the year! Well, except for Black Friday!


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 · Uncategorized

January update

I’m pleased with my sewing achievements in January. I’ve made a dress, two tee-shirts, cut out another one,  sewn  two toiles for a jacket and completed half a jacket.  I’ve also  made a disappointing wadder!  so I’ve used about 12 metres of fabric (but bought 5). Let’s have a look then!


I was pleased with this, a dress that had to be black, purple, silver or white to fit in with a theme for a 50th party. This was  some purple velour fabric from fabric godmother. I found I did have to keep fiddling with the neckline to stop it moving about, so if I ever wear it again, I would sew it in place.

Two teeshirts  – both from the Santa Monica tee pattern from Textile studios. This is designed to go under suit jackets. I love this pattern, its definitely a TNT ! This fabric cost me £2  from a charity shop. I wasn’t sure of the fabric pattern it feels a bit 1980s with the strange shapes and mixture of colours but the jersey is lovely quality. Once I was wearing it, I really liked it though!  I’ve cut out a short sleeved teeshirt too, from more left over fabric!



This is one I made a couple of weeks ago out of some more left over ponte roma.



The toiles I made were for the Cynthia Rowley jacket to the right of this photo, Simplicity 1688. img_2634This is the second toile,  which I used to make the final pattern for my jacket. I needed to lengthen the body and increase the bicep width using  these guidelines   making your sleeves fit   I also deepened the armscythe


I’m using some cotton Italian tweed from the fabric godmother for the jacket (and hopefully I can squeeze a straight skirt out of the 2m too!), the navy dogtooth lining came from St Gemma’s vintage fair a couple of years ago, and cost me 50p! I’ve sewn the basic body and lining, not added all the bottom panels yet.


My wadder disappointingly was the Sew over it  Suzie blouse. I couldn’t get the neck to lie properly, I didn’t like the thickness of the facing,  I had to move the bust dart, the sleeves were a bit tight, and to cap it all, I did something I have never ever done before – I sewed one of the sleeves in upside down!  at that point, I decided it was time to give up. I think the pattern is my style, but the thing I’ve learnt this January is that I need to make a toile for anything new. I might return to the Suzie blouse, but not for a long time! so I need to think of something else for my Swap2017 tops.

I’ve sorted 27 patterns for the charity shop – definitely just keeping what I love and will use this year, as per the Kondo way.

But – I have bought fabric and a pattern – blame Camilla and her blog!  I really liked this jacket pattern


that she used, and it doesn’t look too difficult.  I would like to make up my vintage tweed, into the jacket the model on the pattern is wearing


rather than another Cynthia Rowley 1688  which was my original intention.

But feel I need to practice on something else first, so have bought 5 metres of  navy pinstripe stretch suiting cotton from the fabric godmother, to make view D. I’ ve got enough to make a skirt and dress too!  I had to get the pattern from ebay as its discontinued.

I’m hoping to finish the Cynthia  Rowley jacket in February and maybe make a skirt too, anything else would be a bonus!


Using up scraps

One of the things about sewing is the amount of scraps you end up with! As I  want to have a small stash I keep my scraps limited to a smallish bag. I’ve donated scraps, thrown some away, but did manage a couple of items in 2014.


These were both inspired by  handmade jane’s website   I felt like a production line as I made 40 lavender bags  which were great christmas presents, and two bags (presents to myself). Oh yes the lavender was from http://www.lavenderworld.co.uk/dried-lavender.  I bought a kilogram which nicely filled the 40 bags.

The bag was lined with scraps leftover from a summer dress, the  outer fabric was some sample canvas fabric that a friend printed on her degree design course.
I have built up a few more scraps since 2014, so I could always get ready for Christmas 2017, and start another lavender bag production line!
Knitting · Uncategorized

Apple green malabrigo

Ive just read Hila’s  experience of finishing knits this year – and I am in awe of her output!  My conclusion is that even though I’ve done quite complex knitting in the past, I’m aiming for the simple, so its mostly scarves/shawls and hats!  I  did start a cardigan in some apple green malabrigo this time last year. Decided I didn’t like  it and started a miette Cardigan.  My ravelry projects are here http://www.ravelry.com/projects/aquascrap

I’d almost finished it 6 months ago, but have never got round to knitting the button band so it still looks like this!

But I did knit a cowl to my own design
Apple seed cowl 

My own design, cast on 50 sts 
Using 5.5mm needles 
First row knit 2 stitches then knit one purl one till last two stitches, k2
Second row purl 2 sts, k1 p1 repeat to form moss or seed st. Until last 2 stitches then purl 2.
Repeat these two rows until desired length, or you have used all your wool. Sew ends together.
Despite not really being interested in hand knitted jumpers now I am tempted by the lorelle jumper  which Kate wrote about so eloquently.  But I don’t understand how you knit with 4 ply on such large needles? so could I use double knit?  Ill have to do some investigations!


As part of #swap2017 I wanted to make dresses, as that’s what I wearing mainly for work now. The rules state you can make two rogues that don’t have to go with bottom halves, but still have to go with uppers. So I have a pre made (before 5th November) dress made from a new look pattern 6013 here. 

I made this one  from teal ponte, with no zip so it was really quick and easy. I love wearing it, and am wearing a boden grey or pale pink cardigan with it, now the weather is colder. But I ‘ve got enough fabric for a jacket……
You are allowed to sew two items before the official start date of the 26th December 2016. So, last  Sunday I cut out another dress, and extended the sleeves using a pattern I’d got free with a magazine simplicity 8055, which also has two piece sleeves. The fabric is navy and white ponte from Minerva crafts. 

So two down, nine to go!  But going on last years experience, if I can make four items, that’s fine! 


Making a lovely planner with Kate Crane

I haven’t been to Art from the Heart much this year. But I definitely didn’t want to miss making a planner, as it combines two of my interests, mixed media art and planning! I knew roughly what to expect as Kate has been on craft channel Hochanda, demonstrating with a planner. After gesso ing all the boards, we chose three colours and applied them in patches as an initial base. I was surprisingly subtle with my choices.

Lots of stencilling, stamping and layers later….. I had the basis for a planner. I am hoping to use it to document updating my home, hobbies, friends and family I want to organise meeting up with, and keeping fit. I’ve got five dividers so should manage that. I managed to start the dividers during the class, but need to do quite a lot more to finish.