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 · 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.


#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.


#MMMay17 Week one

I wasn’t going to sign up for this. My sewing has been dismal lately. But I do still wear a lot of me made clothes, so if I document a months worth, it might show me what I need to make or buy, and revitalise my mojo. If not I’ll just have to take a break.

I’m also using the opportunity to tidy up my sewing space, throw out some UFOs and re evaluate my sewing.  I think I know that I should focus on less, but spend time fitting. Also just make dresses, if that’s what brings me pleasure. So on the first of May I hoovered under my sewing table, and threw out a bag of ufos. I also sorted some sewing books for charity that I won’t use again.

So the first week of me made May looked like this.

Plus I wore my coral grainline scout top, the fabric only cost 50p from a vintage fair but it’s probably my favourite scout.



2016 It’s a wrap!

I’m sure that lots will be written about 2016, so I’m not going to make any pronouncements about the state of the world, or how many celebrities have died.
For me and creativity, its mainly been about sewing.  At the last count 11 failures and  27 successful items.  Of the 27, I think 14 were dresses! The failures have been down to using the wrong fabric, not  making a toile, and just being impatient. 


I’ve also made a lot of repeats, four  fake wrap dresses using this free pattern
I’ve made three itch to stitch Kathryn dresses including this pink and navy colour blocked one.
img_0092I’ve made two of the straight dresses from New Look 6013, and two fake wrap dresses from New Look 6301. This red one was my #thelittlereddressproject, that I wore to a wedding, on Christmas Day and to work for our Christmas do.
These dresses have helped me to define my current style which I am very happy with. So my ‘uniform’ for work  is basically a dress usually in a shade of blue, with silver jewellery, a pair of black court shoes and a jacket or cardigan.  I am sure that I will refine my look over the next year, but am pleased with my look so far.
I started the year joining SWAP2016, which I didn’t finish but got me thinking a lot more about what I was sewing and wearing, and am ending the year having joined SWAP2017, which gives me a focus on separates for a few months, as it’s been all about dresses recently.
I joined the Yorkshire Spoolettes on a shopping trip in Dewsbury in February, it was great to find out about some local sewists, hopefully I will attend something next year too.
So although my sewing hasn’t been of great quality, been too rushed and felt a bit chaotic at times I am really pleased with the overall outcome, and how it has linked to me being able to express what I want to convey through clothes.

Wardrobe planning

Some days I’d like Claire Underwood’s wardrobe    But I like a lot more colour, than her character wears.
I’ve found these booklets helpful – ‘  A five step formula for a fabulous wardrobe on a budget ‘ from Imogen and ‘personal wardrobe planning’ from sewing
One idea  from the five step formula was to think about the words you would like to describe yourself. My words include

Elegant  professional
Approachable calm
Trustworthy creative
feminine and self assured.
 I think that the jersey dresses I have been making, worn with heels and statement jewellery do help me convey some of these words. I’ve been watching some TED talks on the importance of clothes, and how costume designers work on drawing out a character through the clothes they wear.  I realise that I consciously “uppped my game” at work this year, since a promotion, the clothes I wear make me stand out, hopefully in a good way.
Dressing up when you were a child was often referred to in the TED talks. Interestingly, we didn’t have a dressing box, when I was growing up in a hot country, though it’s something my own children enjoyed.  Maybe that’s why I like fancy dress and planning what I’m going to wear so much now!
Another approach for wardrobe planning is to think about the roles you have in your life and the activities that involves, and plan for clothes needed for those roles. So :
1. Project and programme manager – meetings, one to one and groups, presenting, desk bound work both writing and computer, creating solutions and plans.
2. Homemaker – cook, clean, organise, shop, create
3. Wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend – listen, care, entertain, socialise
4. Me time – exercise, socialise, create, read.
So I need to have work outfits for 50 hours a week, and the rest of my time I mainly need comfortable, casual clothes, with only an occasional need for smart party outfits.
So what does this mean for my sewing? That I should focus more on making work clothes, which I have been doing. I am not aiming for a 100% handmade wardrobe, so  am happy to buy clothes when there is something I don’t want to make, or I don’t have time.  Currently I make dresses and tops and buy jeans and trousers, and only have a couple of skirts.
This is a recent non jersey dress make using Vogue pattern 8886, without the collar, as I didn’t have enough fabric.  The necklace is from Bijouled   my favourite shop.  I have matching earrings as well. The fabric is a silk and linen, from Fabworks. It does crease, and isn’t as comfortable as jersey So jersey dresses are still best in my book, I’ve got at least 4 more recent makes to share!

This next dress is based on an itch to stitch Davina dress. I had intended it to be for work, but the pattern is a bit bright and busy for that. It’s a great weekend dress though.

Im spending time desperately making something to wear for my friends wedding in two weeks time,  not sure I’m going to be 100% happy with what I make, but I’ll write my next blog post about it then I can get back to planning SWAP2017!