2017 in review

This year feels like it has been a turning point for me as I finally feel connected to a global community of makers and creative people through Instagram. I started the year with the aim of developing my sewing and photography skills and decided to do a Makelight course. I have posted about the course before, as it really helped me to understand what I needed to do to improve my lighting, composition, and focus on the colours and themes I find inspirational. Despite having lots of ideas I hadn’t been able to put them across in the way I wanted and wasn’t connected with a wider community, which was frustrating as I have been blogging for a long time now.

This is a review of most of the things I have made this year and some thoughts on what I’d like to achieve in the next year.

Sewing for Me

From top left: Jenna Jumpsuit, I am Cassiopee, Aime Comme Magellan, Kyoto Tee, Named Ninni culottes, I Am Cassiopee dress, Sapporo Coat, Named Kielo dress, Named Esme cardigan

From top left: Named Esme cardigan, Sapporo coat in black wool, Named Helmi shirtdress, Seamwork Almada robe, Kyoto Tee sweater in teal wool jersey and Sew Over It Lizzie skirt, Grainline Studio Driftless cardigan and Sew over it Ultimate Shift dress, Named Helmi shirt in mint cotton voile, Sewaholic fraser, Grainline Scout Tee

Grainline Studio Driftless With Hemlock tee, McCalls blouse, Grainline Farrow dress, Sew Over It Molly top, Colette Moneta dress, Named Imari dress, Sew Kate Sew dress, Grainline Studio Scout Tee, Anna Maria Horner painted portrait dress in Liberty print

What I learned: I got much more comfortable with sewing with jersey and heavier knits. I also used some lightweight fabrics like the silk sari I used for the Seamwork Almada, which was challenging to work with. I finally worked out that I need to do a narrow shoulder adjustment on most garments with a set in sleeve, and have had a go at doing them but need to practise more. I made trousers (not shown, the Tilly and the Buttons Marigold trousers and Hudson pants), and a coat (the Sapporo coat by Papercut patterns). Using Netprinter to print A0 patterns has been a gamechanger as I don’t enjoy sticking together PDFs.

Most worn: I wear my Driftless cardigan all the time as its a great layering piece. The fabric is a lightweight jersey which is warm but doesn’t take up much space. I also wear my I Am Cassiopee dresses constantly. Both my Esme cardigans have also been worn a lot this Winter.

Sewing plans for next year: I will be sewing with some favourite prints I have had stashed for a while, as well as trying some more trouser and coat patterns. I have bought the Jeans course from Closet Case Patterns so I need to have a go at those too. I’d like to make some bags and zip purses as well, and be more confident with setting zips and buttonholes. I am happy that I have managed to sew quite a lot of items that I wear regularly and will be making more basic cardigans and tops.

Fabric/pattern stash: I’d really really like to reduce my stash as it is ridiculous at the moment! I can easily make 30-40 items from fabric I love, so it doesn’t make sense to keep buying more at this stage. There are a couple of prints I would like but I am trying to hold out at least until my birthday… I have plenty of patterns too so am hoping not to buy more of those either.

I haven’t made as much for my daughter as I have done in previous years but I did make her some pretty dresses and clothes that have been worn regularly. Now she is at school there aren’t as many occasions to wear nice dresses! I will be making more for her and the other children this year. I’d like to make her a good wool coat for next winter.

A few other makes here, including some knitting and baking, as well as clothes for my boys. I didn’t knit as much as I’d have liked because I got stuck on the Find Your Fade shawl! Next year I’d like to make at least one sweater for me, and more accessories for the children.

I have really enjoyed styling homegrown flowers and telling stories through pictures on Instagram in the past year. I have grown flowers for a few years now but I enjoy planning and taking pictures and have missed not having any in the garden over the winter! This is one area in which I’d like to improve, as I’m not always satisfied with the quality of my pictures yet. I am considering learning Lightroom or some other editing software to help with this, but at the same time I’m aware that I don’t really have lots of time to spend on this at this time.

It’s also important for us as a family to do things together and I want to focus more of my time and energy on getting the basics right, like being organised, healthy and using my time well. I would like to use all the resources I already have rather than spending more time and money acquiring more in the next year, which is why I am intending to have a low spend year. It would be unrealistic for me to say I will spend nothing but I will try my best to consume less and be more mindful with my spending. I hope you all have a wonderful start to the new year!

 

Charlie Hoodie

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I made this hoodie for my little boy a while ago, and it has been very useful in the cold weather we had the last few months.

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The pattern is called the Charlie Hoodie and is by Two Stitches. I bought the pattern and fabric at the Eternal Maker stall at the Knitting and Stitch show last October.

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This sweet wall art (by Dopeism) is not too far from us so we stopped by for the photos.

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The fabric is Kiyohara sweatshirt fleece and is very squishy! It’s held up very well to frequent washing.
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I traced the pieces and it was fairly easy to put together. The pockets in this size haven’t been used really as they are tiny and he doesn’t really understand what they are for yet!

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I definitely plan to make another of these soon, maybe with a plain front. I just need to find some more cute sweatshirt fabric!

Sunday Thoughts

I’ve been doing some thinking about the blog and have made a few changes, including the theme which some may have noticed. I’ve also decided to add some more lifestyle and personal posts which I hope you will all like.

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One thing I’d like to do is to have a regular post to add some thoughts about how the week has gone, and interesting things that have caught my attention, such as great blog posts, progress in the garden, places I’ve been to or would like to visit or recipes I’ve tried. It will also help me to be able to look back on them all.

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We made two batches of scones this weekend, which the two younger children enjoyed helping with. I used the BBC Good Food recipe, which is reliable and straightforward.

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More crumbs ended up on the floor than in the bowl with this little one’s help, so he was dispatched to his dad after a little while!

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All three children love helping with baking, and it’s something we don’t do enough. Pancakes are made most weekends here but not quite as much cake as we’d all like!

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A bit wobbly round the edges, but delicious all the same.

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Good things this week:

Me Made May 2017 is underway, and I’ve managed to wear Me Made clothes most of the week! I realised I need more skirts and trousers to have a proper handmade wardrobe, as I haven’t made any of those so far.

My sister stayed with me for a few days as she’s come from abroad for a month or so. I got to babysit my adorable nephew while she went out to the theatre, he was a bit sad without his mum but at least let me give him some cuddles. We also went fabric shopping in Lewisham.

I had an article published on Amaliah.com on Fashion Revolution and making my own clothes. Please have a read and a look at the rest of the site which is full of great articles and fashion inspiration.

We did a bit more work on painting our fitted shelves and wardrobes, we might even finish one set by next week!

 

 

 

Waterfall Raglan Dress and Top

I managed to send off both my giveaway packages this week, thanks to everyone who took part on Instagram. I made this patchwork pouch out of a stack of my favourite Anna Maria Horner prints using the In Color Order Lined Drawstring Bag tutorial . It took a bit of time as I haven’t done any patchwork in a long time but I really enjoyed the process and love the result.

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I used a pink and red striped Tula Pink print for the top of the bag which I think complements the colours nicely. I hope its new owner enjoys using it, and I’m thinking of making another one for myself.

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I’ve been meaning to share this top for a little while, its the Waterfall Raglan by Chalk and Notch patterns. I made both the top and dress versions for my daughter.

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I used a beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics knit for this. The fabric is from the Fleet and Flourish collection  by Maureen Cracknell and is called Swifting Flora Fond.

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I cut a size 5 for my daughter and it fits her well with some room to grow (she is just over 4 but quite tall).

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The loose style of the top looks great over trousers. She doesn’t have many tops at the moment so I am planning to make a few more using this pattern.

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I made the dress using a jersey which is overlaid with a cream corded lace which I bought from Simply Fabrics in Brixton.

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At first I thought the fabric would be fine to use as it has a jersey base but when I did the stretch test I found that it only had about 20% stretch due to the lace which is bonded on to the jersey. When I initially sewed the sleeves they were a bit tight so I unpicked and sewed them again using a 1/4 inch seam instead, which gave a bit of extra room.

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I also  used a thinner fabric to make the facing for the neckline and turned that inwards which made the neckhole a bit bigger. waterfall3

It’s a great dress for twirling in and the fabric makes it special. I also bought some velvet as I have seen some beautiful velvet versions online too.

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Fleur and Dot Dress

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A quick post about my daughter’s birthday dress! I’ve been making quicker than I can blog recently so I’m going to post a few projects with less waffle. This is made using the Fleur and Dot Peter Pan Collar dress pattern (it’s not quite finished in the above photo!).

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I bought this gorgeous fabric as soon as it came out last year. It’s from the Lavish fabric range by Katarina Roccella. It also comes in a beautiful white and pink colourway. I made a small change to the finishing of the cuffs as I wasn’t happy with having the overlocked edge showing, so I turned the edges over twice for a neater edge instead.

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I cut a size 5 and my daughter just turned 4. She is tall for her age so although it’s a little bit big now I’m happy she’ll get some decent wear out of it. The pattern was straightforward with only a few pieces to cut (bodice, collar, sleeves). The measurements were provided for the skirt. I was a bit unhappy about the very small age ranges provided for a not inexpensive pattern. This was a preschool pattern which came with sizes 4,5 and 6. Infant size and Youth are available separately. I don’t plan to repurchase the Youth size but will probably look for a similar pattern with a wider age range.

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I finally bought a tool for adding the popper fasteners which is a huge improvement to hammering them in with the little plastic tool that’s provided. I did put the buttons in the wrong way round at first though! Luckily my husband was on hand to get them out but I don’t recommend doing this!

Altogether it was a fairly quick sew. I learned a few new skills and am less intimidated by press studs!