Halfway there, livin’ on a prayer

So we’re on the Q2 roundup already… sheeeeeesh ?

The longest day of the year has passed – so the nights will be gradually getting shorter – and we’re officially closer to the coming Christmas than the one that’s just gone ? I know, I know, SHUT UP SARAH ? Usually I dread the summer because its just SO hot (plus there are wasps, which are the devils creatures) but cycling to work seems to flip my point of view – there’s nothing better than being out on your bike with the (hot) wind in your face and the sun on your arms, while everyone else is on a sweaty commuter train. I’m actually – for once – looking forward to the proper summer on my bike because she – Lyra, her name is – has a metallic ombré finish and when the sun catches her she looks ??????

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Despite the summer coming, I’ve still not really made what I call any ‘summer makes’ though – unless you count a couple of Grainline Scout Tees. Which I don’t, really. There’s a couple of sleeveless Kielo dresses in the works too, but these things are all repeats of patterns that I’ve made previously – there’s nothing new. I just haven’t really spotted anything that makes me go YAS. I wouldn’t actually mind some new summer dresses – because nobody wants to sweat out in jeans – but I don’t tend to look at dress patterns ??‍♀️ Which is probably why I haven’t found anything that I want to make… ?

I’d prefer to sew something in rayon – as it’s nice and cool, sort of drapey-ish and comes in some funky prints. I’ll admit that I just broke my fabric-buying-ban AGAIN (let’s just forget the ban now, shall we? ?) to buy some of this rayon from an Etsy seller in India:

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Totes worth it, right? I got the last three yards, which will turn into a summer dress once I find a suitable pattern.

So back to the things that I have actually made (which believe me are considerably less in number than the things I’m thinking about making ?) this second quarter feels a bit… meh. But I think I’ve made some progress and learnings around developing my style a bit more, which will hopefully steer future makes in the right direction.

So without further ado – here’s the recap!

Deer and Doe Agave Skirt

This skirt was sewn for the launch of the pattern. You know how much I love Deer and Doe patterns (having made their Belladonne dress, Datura blouse, Chardon skirt, sleeveless Bruyere shirt, sleeved Bruyere, and their Opium coat ???) but in the end, this skirt wasn’t for me. I have a very rocky relationship with skirts, and this one just didn’t pass the test. The wrap didn’t appeal in the end (I don’t like wrap bodices, either, for the record – I’d never made a wrap skirt though so felt I ought to give it a shot), and the asymmetrical look just felt a bit weird to me – like I wanted to keep pulling up the longer side to make the hem level ?

Deer and Doe Agave Skirt in Alexander Henry Las Elegantes fabric 4029

Paired with those boots though, it was on point! ??

The fabric will be repurposed (it’s Alexander Henry, which obvs it’s a crime to waste) so all is not lost – I’m just not sure what it will become yet.

Kindred Mitts – Carina Spencer

Kindred Mitts 2667

The mittens were a kind of win – they got worn all winter, but sadly the yarn isn’t hard wearing enough to last another season I don’t think. The mitts are properly bobbled and worn now. The pattern was cool, so I’d probably try it again, but in a yarn that’s a bit more hardy.

I’d never knitted gloves before, so I had no idea that pilling like that could be an issue – gonna remember it now though, fo sho (why does learning something the hard way always turn out to be the best way?! ?) There is, of course, that very fine line between hardwearing and downright itchy though, which the husbeast is more sensitive to than me, so we’re gonna need some careful yarn choices.

You can find the mittens blog post here, and if you missed it I also made the matching hats!

Madeline Skirt – Victory Patterns

Black Corduroy Madeleine Skirt 2832


Nope nope nope ?

I gave this skirt a second chance (I made one previously here)… but I just can’t do it. It makes me look like a milkmaid, it’s not flattering on my hips, the (straight) waistband doesn’t sit right on me, and the straps fall down ALL THE TIME.

I just can’t bring myself to wear this in everyday life. It’s too faffy. It breaks my ‘low maintenance’ clothing rule that I recently introduced (because I’m getting old and my tolerance for things is decreasing by the minute ?) and black corduroy is THE WORST at attracting every piece of fluff within a five-mile radius. When you have a white dog, it ain’t good.

At least now though, I know for certain that I should not bother with any skirt that has a straight waistband, or any circle skirts. I recently bought the Salida Skirt from True Bias (it’s yet to be confirmed whether the waistband is curved or straight – it looks straight ?) and I was pretty happy with how the Wonderland Skirt looked on me, but it needs a thicker – and curved – waistband for the next version.

Salida Skirt
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Wonderland Skirt

The Indian wedding outfit

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YAS! Apart from the fact that it was hard to squish myself into the outfit – requiring, in the end, control tights to be purchased** – this outfit was DA BOMB ? It was a huge success at the Indian wedding I wore it to, and the colours make me SO happy. I mean, this outfit isn’t gonna get worn on the regular (because let’s be real, it’s a little too extra to bust out for the office), but it definitely stays in the wardrobe.

The skirt was Simplicity 1099, and the top was Deer and Doe Datura blouse – you can read the (very lengthy) post here.

**Fun Fact – I bought my tights from Primark on Oxford Street, and me and the husbeast queued up at the tills behind this guy ?

Range Backpack – Noodlehead Patterns

My first backpack! ??

Noodlehead Range Backpack 4594

And I really enjoyed making it. I love the gold leather – I feel like it makes the bag look really profesh, and not like it was my first bash at the pattern ?

It gets used, too – it holds quite a lot, but I feel like if you were really gonna carry some gear in it, you’d want padded straps. These ones are just quilting cotton and medium interfacing, and they’d get pretty shoulder-diggy with a bit of weight on them. I really like the Making Backpack by Noodlehead too, and I bought the Raspberry Rucksack from Sarah Kirsten as well – so let’s just say I’m all set for bags for a while ??‍♀️

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Making Backpack
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Raspberry Rucksack

Kielo dress – Named Patterns

You know these are always a success! This one was a pivotal make – I’ve decided that for future ones I ‘d like to take some more fabric out of the back of the dress (it’s a little bit baggy) and I’d also like to change the neckline up on long sleeved versions – I want to graft on the high neck of the Rowan Tee by Megan Nielsen, because yes, I get that cold ?

NYC Central Park Named Patterns Kielo Dress 1338

Charlotte Skirt – Republique Du Chiffon

While this particular iteration of the skirt was a fail (for so many reasons that you can read about in the original post!), I’ll be making another. I like the style of it on me – which is a BIG achievement for a skirt. Usually, skirts make me look about twenty years older and give me humongous child-bearing hips – neither of which is a desirable effect.

Republique Du Chiffon Charlotte Skirt 9138

But this one, I don’t mind so much. Once I rectify the issues with this one (mainly: make it in the correct size ?) I think I’ll make a couple more. Perhaps a corduroy one for the winter ?


Annnnnd there you have it. That’s my last three months of sewing.

The Charlotte Skirt will make it to the next stage, while the Agave and the Madeline have been officially voted off. The Kielo will, of course, continue, and the Kindred Mitts could possibly feature again this winter. The Range backpack has encouraged me to look at the Making Backpack and the Raspberry Rucksack. You win some, you lose some – it’s a fair balance, I guess.

What’s in the works?

I’m also plodding along with knitting the Volt sweater (the front is now done!) and my knitting needle case is alllllmost done too. It’s my first experience of a By Annie pattern (it’s the Case In Point), and while it’s looking sort-of okay, there are a few little niggles with it that just make the whole thing look a bit scrappy. I mean, I know that I’m a bit OCD with neat seam finishes and all that on the clothes I make, but I guess I just thought that the same level of finishing would apply to bags – especially from such a large pattern company as By Annie. One of my upcoming Minerva Crafts Blogger Network makes is the Round Trip Duffle pattern of theirs, and I’m hoping that it turns out looking a little better than the needle case because I want to take it to Paris later on in the year (and also the fabrics I’ve chosen for it are ??)

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round trip duffle front single

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Main fabric for the duffle bag?

I’m trying out the Thread Theory Henley T-shirt for the husbeast, which I made him trace himself and cut out the fabric for ? That’s along with the Patrons Le BG Teddy bomber jacket which I’ve so nearly finished (I think it’s been a success) and the Goldstream Peacoat (also a success, and better than the Vogue pattern I’ve used before) which I’ll finish off at the weekend (when it’s going to be 32C, because obvs the hottest day of the year so far is the day you want to be handing wool coating ???).

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cou irresistible web

Other things-in-progress include the Evie La Luve Effie Crop top (made the size as per measurement chart, should have sized up), the Maxine Pants to match it (should have sized down, and also gone for something not quite so high waisted because mate are these bloomers and holy hell fold over elastic is not good in the crease of your leg), and also the Megan Nielsen Rowan Tee (fit and sizing issues – deets to follow). I’m also midway through the Avery Leggings which seem to come up alarmingly small (legit feel like these will only fit a child) and I’m not 100% confident in the strength of overlocked seams to hold my ass in securely enough through some squats ?

Especially as people that I work with also attend these classes. My co-workers defo don’t need to be seeing that right before their lunch.

giphy 211

So, I’m feeling a bit underwhelmed with the last few months. It’s all just a bit meh. I feel like I’ve tried a lot of things and not had a brilliant win rate. But I’ll take it all on the chin and look at it as a learning curve, a process which will hopefully boost successes of future makes. S’alright. I kind of get caught up in the I-want-to-sew-new-patterns vs I-know-this-pattern-fits-now battle… It’s always disappointing when something turns out a bit iffy in the fit department, which is generally only fixed by making some adjustments and trying again (the tried-and-true pattern), but that’s at odds with variety – the spice of life, don’tcha know ??‍♀️

Saying that, I have just finished the (new to me!) Gemma Tank which I think seems to be okay – yay! – but I have nothing to wear it with other than jeans. I’m considering making a black version of the Wonderland Skirt I made last year, because that would go perfectly with it ? I made the mistake of using wool suiting for that first version, and it made me feel all ick because it reminded me of corporate wear (?) so I think a lightweight denim would be a good option for this one – but a proper black one, none of this ‘washed black’ business ?

I know that I said at the start of the year that I was on a fabric buying ban, but I’ve sort of broken that (sort of? I don’t think there’s any ‘sort of’ about it) with some rainbow leopard fabric that you saw a couple of posts back, and the tie-dye rayon at the top of this post AND NOW ALSO some Dogwood Denim from Spoonflower ? BUT – the aim of not buying fabric was to use up my stash, and there is no denim in my stash. Or rayon. So, it’s okay, yah? ?? The denim – you will not be surprised to hear – is hot pink leopard print, and it’s gonna be a pair of Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans. I recently made my first pair (they’re hitting the blog in a couple of weeks!) and I’m *pretty* happy with them – I think I need more room in the leg, and more in the bum somehow – so will try and adjust for those fit-dramas on this next pair.

Speaking of fabric purchases… there will be considerably more bought next year – because we are going back to New York City ??

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Yep. Yuh-huh. You read that right. Just for a few days, not until next year, and not such a long trip as it was last time – we’re feeling super grown up about the whole thing because YOU GUYS WE’VE USED OUR AIR MILES FOR OUR TICKETS. I’ve always thought that air-miles flights were reserved for dull businessmen in grey suits that travelled all the time with an equally boring job (and briefcase) to get away from their wives that they disliked – but no! It’s for normal people like us too!

So yeah, super excited for that, and we’re heading to Paris a bit later in the year for a weekend so obvs am gonna be hitting up the fabric and yarn shops there as well. Oh – and the beading shops too, because the husbeast has taken up beadwork! So far he’s made a bracelet (for me ??) and is now working on another one which he’s only a few rows into but it’s already looking AMAZING (and yes, it’s hot pink?). He will be doing a blog post on them at some point, don’t worry! (and I’m also nagging him to finish the blog post for the t-shirts he made himself, but now he’s distracted with the beading so who knows when he’s gonna finish it ?)

I’ll keep nagging ?

Are you guys in full summer-sewing mode now? Share your plans with me, I need some inspo! ?


Next week on the blog is my trial run of the Deer and Doe short sleeved Melilot shirt – subscribe below to have it drop straight into your inbox!??


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  1. Fiona in Aberdeen
    June 30, 2019 / 8:08 am

    Fab roundup. You have inspired me so much I have finally broken out the sewing machine but owing to a measuring failure I have blown/wasted/ruined my first beautiful fabric (striped silk from the stash), but now repurposing something (much less interesting) to wear to a graduation next week.
    I thought you might be interested in https://www.lazygirldesigns.com/ this bag designs site. I used to follow her ages ago but bag making was never really my thing.
    Enjoy cycling to work in this glorious weather!

    • Sarah
      July 6, 2019 / 6:19 pm

      Thanks Fiona! ? Yaaaaay I’m glad you’re inspired! ?? Don’t worry too much about wrecking the fabric – it happens, it’s only fabric, and there will always be more fabric.
      Repurposing eh… not really my thing, I’d have to be PROPER inspired to do that ? How did it turn out?!
      Ooh I’ve not heard of that website – thanks for the tip! Now off to check it out, and probably spend some money lol ???

  2. Angela Dent
    June 30, 2019 / 9:21 am

    You have sewn so much! In response to your fitting issues have you considered a Bluprint class. I have seen them all but the ones that really stuck with me are those by Kathleen Cheetham and those by Joi Mahone (who also has a book). Both alter the paper pattern before you sew anything which saves an awful lot of heartache. Just a thought. Happy sewing and love your blog.

    • Sarah
      July 6, 2019 / 6:23 pm

      Thanks Angela – so happy to hear that you love the blog! ?
      A lot of people comment on the Bluprint classes… I feel like I don’t use these as much as I should (which, if I’m honest, is never ?). It does make total sense to alter the paper, rather than swearing over the fact that you’ve already cut your fabric (and probably sewn most of your garment) by the time that you realise there’s an issue. Thanks for your recommendations – I’ll check those out! ?

  3. June 30, 2019 / 10:21 am

    This post is great inspo (as usual), it looks like this was a very productive quarter! I am now considering buying the Kielo dress pattern, though I am unsure what it would look like on me ?
    I made the Lander pants by True bias and the waistband was straight ?, I ended up using the waistband piece from the Ginger jeans and the fit is much better now.
    Ooh and funnily enough my husband is currently assembling the pdf for the Strathcona henley. Looking forward to see your version ?

    • Sarah
      July 6, 2019 / 6:26 pm

      Ahh thanks Lise! I’m glad you enjoyed the post ? Honestly, I LOVE the kielo (but you know that already ?) It’s SO comfortable, and easy to make (and wear). I do feel like I maybe need to make something else though, just for a change!
      Ooh, I have been eyeballing the Landers for a while, that’s annoying that the waistband is straight ? Who has a straight waist?! Pretty much no-one, I bet.
      Ahahaaaa I’m so happy to hear that I’m not the only one that makes the husband do the legwork on the patterns they want sewn for themselves ?????

  4. Barbarags
    June 30, 2019 / 10:34 am

    Please say that the Minerva Crafts post on the duffle bag is coming soon bcause it looks as though it could be a replacement for the shop bought one, now much the worse for wear after 10 years, that I will have to replace soon. Your reviews are always so good so I will know if it is a pattern worth getting.
    As for summer sewing I am writing this on a high induced by two successful summer sews in a row! (and roughly a pint of coffee because that is my mid-morning ritual). Now I want to sew loads of things for summer but I am British and a realist so by the time I have finished typing this summer is likely to have passed. I whipped up (anything that takes less than a week to complete is “whipped up”) a pair of shorts for a short bicycling break in France. These were comfortable to wear, didn’t show the dirt, could be rolled up in a pannier without much creasing and even looked smart enough to wear to restaurants in the evening. The second success I have just finished, a self-drafted side buttoning skirt in fabric purchased in Uganda, and i can’t stop gazing at it in the mirror. The dilemma is – Do I now sew for winter or do I pull more summer fabrics out of my stash and hope to sew a third item that I love before the temperatures drop?

    • Sarah
      July 6, 2019 / 6:38 pm

      Ooh I hate to disappoint – but I’m only now starting to make the duffle ? Have gathered all my supplies (Minerva didn’t have everything, so I had to source some bits from elsewhere) and started cutting a few bits out – but I’ve got to quilt a piece that’s the size of the USA before I can cut anything else ?
      Ooh check you out with your summer makes – that’s amazing! It feels so good to make something that’s a keeper doesn’t it! I say try and get in (at least) one more summer make before you start thinking about winter ??

  5. Cindy
    June 30, 2019 / 1:09 pm

    Hi my loves, xx
    What a hot week, I’m in southern france with my daughter , on the patio it peaked at 51 degrees….. far far too hot to do anything bar drink long cool Gins Fizz….
    I did make the Sunny Knit Top from Style Ark patterns , and also another one too. I love them, real comfy and cool to wear.The second one in a beautiful Turquoise color, fabric from 1st For Fabrics, so pretty and light too.

    I’ve made a duffel bag, a trial one from fabric I was given, a whole 50 meters of it….ugly u fear, but strong canvas cotton, good for bag trials

    Take care keep cool, and drink lots.

    • Sarah
      July 6, 2019 / 6:40 pm

      Woah, 51 degrees?! I hope you kept well hydrated and sun-safe. That’s SO hot, I can’t even begin to imagine how hot that felt!!
      Good to hear that you’re making lots of cool and comfy summer makes – just what you need in weather like that!
      Which duffle bag pattern did you use? That’s awesome that you were gifted so much fabric – sure it might not be pretty, but it sounds very useful! ??

  6. Melody Srygley
    June 30, 2019 / 3:31 pm

    May we please have two or three blog posts next week? Please? (Some more of the goodness you teased us with in this post. Your fault.)
    Fabric. So pretty. So difficult to resist. Harmless except for the real estate it occupies! (and $ ?). You seem to use up those ‘irresistible’ pieces – or maybe I’ve got no idea how big the stash is. ???. My sewing plans? I’m dreaming of the perfect sleeveless maxi dress that I’d better start yesterday… Thanks for your inspo!

    • Sarah
      July 6, 2019 / 6:45 pm

      Ahaaaa I wish I could give you more than one post a week – it’d be my dream to sew all day every day and not have to go to work!! The stash isn’t actually THAT big. I wouldn’t say. I keep a lot of offcuts and scraps which makes the pile look bigger than it really is – pieces for actual garments are not too out of control. Although, I am making a conscious effort to use up the stash, rather than buying lots more, and I’ve (mostly) got over The Fear of using up the ‘precious’ pieces ? I would rather wear it than see it sit on a shelf!
      I’m looking at maxi dresses too, but I just HATE it when the pieces are sooooo big – tracing and cutting becomes an absolute nightmare!!! ???

  7. PoundCake
    July 10, 2019 / 1:09 am

    Yeah I’m not a summer person, I feel similarly blah about sewing stuff – first actual cold weekend and you’ll be back into it, I bet. Indies, where I often find inspiration, have not been impressing me lately (so many patterns, so many variations on a rectangle) BUT I just talked my man into a pink shirt with tropical flowers and I’m pretty excited to start sewing that!! Of course, you already have fun fabric. So hmm…for inspiration…the latest season of Stranger Things has some pretty terrific outfits!

    • Sarah
      July 16, 2019 / 7:46 pm

      Haha the cold weekends haven’t even arrived and I’m already planning my winter coat sewing ???
      I’ve been lacking in inspiration lately, there seems to be a lot of oversized stuff about (huge ruffles, baggy tops etc) but nothing that’s really made me go WOW. I’ll just wait for the winter patterns I guess ?
      Omygaaaaad that’s so awesome that you get to make a funky men’s shirt! This will just be the first step, he will love it so much that he’ll ask for another… guarantee it ????

  8. PoundCake
    July 23, 2019 / 7:15 pm

    Yesss that is my DREAM! He used to dress like a (self-described) swamp but soon he will dress like a beautiful oasis. Am I being ungenerous when I say it’s a heck of a lot easier to design clothes that don’t actually have to fit?? (I love big shirts and I still feel skeptical of all the ‘boxy tops’ patterns that sell for $15).
    I look forward to your winter coat AND winter coat weather! Good luck! xox

    • Sarah
      August 2, 2019 / 4:29 pm

      I’m so excited to see all your makes for your man! I can totally get the transformation too, as that’s EXACTLY how the husbeast used to be! Just slip in a tiny bit more colour and pattern with each make and soon he’ll be a technicolour feast for the eyes ?
      Haha, it does seem like there’s a heck of a lot of loose clothing going around. I mean, I see the appeal for the both the designers AND the sewists – slightly easier on the designers, and fits more body types, and the sewists will more than likely get something that fits. Sounds like a win-win, right… but meh. Boxy stuff ??‍♀️

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