This weeks post is a little different from the norm.
You might remember me saying a while back that I wanted to break away from the one-project-every week theme to the blog. After all, that’s not really sustainable on lots of levels – not just with the actual sewing time, but also in the ever-growing-wardrobe sense.
I know a lot of bloggers do a ‘monthly roundup’, but I’m gonna break the mould and do a quarterly one 💁🏻♀️ It’ll be a chance to reflect and evaluate the makes from the past three months, talk about anything new that I’ve discovered (pattern companies, tools, fabric shops and the like) and think about plans for the coming season. This will also take the focus off finished makes, and shift a little bit of the spotlight to the wider world of what it means to have sewing as a hobby. Because we all know that the finished garment is just the tip of the iceberg, amirite? (My 4000+ word post the other week about one coat just goes to prove that! 😱) There’s a whole lot of stuff that happens outside of the actual finished garment.
So without further ado, let’s start! 🥁
What hit the blog in the last three months?
NapKitten Bifold Wallet in Tula Punk fabric
This little guy – although pretty to look at – doesn’t really work for me in everyday use (for many reasons that you can check out in the post). I’ve already got a couple of other patterns lined up to try, including the Thread Theory wallet which I might make out of washable paper (thanks SewAndrew for the tip!), so hopefully one of those will work out better for me.
DP Studio Le 809 Coat
I LOVE THIS COAT. *
*(despite the hideous instructions and all the things that went wrong with it 😒)
I’d love to make another for next winter! It’s so snuggly and warm, and a proper statement coat.
And you KNOW I love to make a statement 😬
Read all about it here.
Deer and Doe Agave Skirt
I was asked by Deer and Doe if I wanted to make one of the patterns from their new collection for the launch date – obvs I said yes, and it was on the blog last week in case you missed it!
I made mine in a slightly longer length, because the pattern as written was just a tad short for my liking. I’m getting sensible in my old age, you know 💁🏻♀️🤣
Kwik Sew Apron in Cotton and Steel canvas
This was a Minerva Crafts Blogger Network make, and was born out of necessity because I was fed up of the frying pan spitting fat at me. I mean sure, I may participate in Sweatpants Sunday, but dirty fat-stained sweatpants is a whole other level of skanky. I have some class, y’know 😂
Pleased to report that the apron has indeed taken many bullets of fat-spit from the oven. Let’s give the little guy a medal. Check him out here.
Kindred Hats in Malabrigo yarn
These pretty much got worn all winter, both mine and the husbeasts, even though I wasn’t completely taken with my colour combination. I’ll probably make another one for me in a different colour combo ready for next winter. These ones have got pretty fuzzy with use, so I might try a different yarn for the next ones too 🤔 I do have a sweater shaver, so I can give ’em a good going over with that, but there’s only so times you can do that before they start to go a bit patchy and threadbare 🤷🏻♀️ The gloves (which will be hitting the blog in a couple o’ weeks) are in a worse state 😖
Deets on both the hats can be found here.
Alexander Henry Folkwear Patterns Frontier Shirt
This one was a hit with the husbeast, and pretty much everyone that laid eyes on it. He loves this shirt (obvs, because it’s awesome) but also he’s found he likes the fit much better than the Vogue shirts I’ve been making him to date. So you know what that means – yep, more shirts are in the making. The first one has already been cut – I bought some Versace cotton from Darrell Thomas Textiles in Canada that the husbeast saw on Instagram and liked, and shiny-shiny gold buttons have already been purchased. The fabric is cut out and ready to go, so I’m hoping that I can get that together pretty quickly. If it’s successful, I’ve got some Liberty silk satin to make another shirt for him with, but I was waiting to find the right pattern – the Vogue one is in too many pieces (especially on the back – four pieces just for that! 😨) and I wanted something with as few seams as possible to avoid breaking up the pattern – the Frontier shirt could be THE ONE.
The Handsome Husbeast can be ogled (and so can the shirt) here.
Leopard Print Deer and Doe Opium Coat
This one gets worn A LOT. Love the fabric – despite my reservations about it being brown – and the hot pink lining is just 👌🏻💕 It’s super thick and warm, perfect for those days when it feels like Antarctica outside 😒
If ya missed it, you can check it out here.
Knitcrate subscription box
Nope, still not started on the socks 🙈😂🤦🏻♀️
Let’s move on from that 😂
Burda Fur Bomber Jacket
This one still needs the lining attached to the sleeve cuff – yep, we took the photos before I’d actually finished doing that, and it’s been draped over the dress form ever since 😂 Not sure how often this one is gonna get worn, because it’s a tad impractical – if it’s cold enough for a fur coat, it’s cold enough for a full length one, amirite? But still, it was fun to make, and it looks pretty damn cool on the husbeast.
Take yourself back to the 70’s glam days here.
By Hand London Victoria Blazer
This one was a total shambles. The lining didn’t fit the shell properly, and pulled the back up all weird. I should have remembered my mantra of DO NOT WEAR ANYTHING WITH THREE QUARTER SLEEVES (because, annoying) as well. Love the fabric, love the idea of the matchy-matchy suit, don’t love the finished make. It was donated to begin a new life somewhere else. I still have the skirt though and once I shift a few pounds and can get my waist back in it I’ll wear it again ❤️
At least I managed to get some pictures of it in a pretty cool NYC location🗽Full post here!
Noodlehead Makers Tote
YES. Big fat yes. I really enjoyed making this, and the finished item is in constant use (currently holding knitting stuff). All the juicy details can be found here.
I’m already on to making another one with some Tula Pink fabric, and there’s also one in the works for the husbeast to store some of his crafty bits in. His will be made from Alexander Henry Heart of Darkness fabric – the same fabric that this dress is made from:
It’s gonna look tres cool.
Lily Sage & Co Wonderland skirt
This was a test-the-waters make, which turned out well (read here). I will definitely make another one, but not in a wool suiting – it just felt a little bit corporate for me. I’m thinking corduory will be a good choice, and I probably won’t bother lining it like I did for this one. This skirt was donated to a new home, because although the style was good, the fabric/colour didn’t quite light my fire. Note to self – stay away from wool suiting.
What do I currently have in the works?
By Annie Case In Point knitting needle case
I have just recently discovered By Annie patterns, and this has been my downfall. Along with the Case In Point pattern, I also bought the Take A Stand Tote pattern, to try it out as an alternative to the Makers Tote you saw above. These totes are totes useful, guys. I made my first one as a Minerva Blogger Network project, just to get the hang of things (because I’d never made anything like that before), and now I think I might be hooked 😳
A couple more pairs of Comox Trunks
I’m also making the husbeast a couple more pairs of the Comox Trunks – he wanted some fit adjustments to the last pair I made, so these are the trial run. I’m slowly learning how to use the coverstitch machine I bought last year (I will do a post about the new machine I promise – because I bought a new overlocker as well and want to tell you about that too!) and it definitely makes a difference to the finish, but my word it’s a learning curve 😂
Republique Du Chiffon Hedwige shirt
This pattern is one of my 2019 Make Nine, in The Quest For The Perfect Shirt. Spoiler – I’m still questing.
This shirt is 90% done, but I’ve already tried it on and I know it’s not great. It’s that old chestnut of the armholes being about twice the size they need to be so it goes all weird when I lift my arms. I just need to muster up the will to spend time adding on the buttons so that I can photograph it and moan about it.
Vintage Kwik Sew Fur coat
After the roaring success that was the Husbeast’s Pimp Coat, I wanted one of my own. The fur shell is pretty much assembled apart from the sleeves, as is the lining. I’m not sure whether it’s too warm now to wear it (although it’s pretty nippy out there today), but I’ll finish it off so that when the winter does roll around again, I’ma👏🏻Be👏🏻Ready👏🏻For👏🏻It👏🏻
The only downside to this coat is that it makes my living room floor look like this:
Plans for Summer Makes?
Kielo dresses (OBVS)
I *NEED* to make more Kielo dresses.I can’t get enough of ’em. I’ll be making one from some pineapple print fabric I got last year, plus another using the pink leopard print fabric I picked up from Mood in NYC last October. Oh and there’s also that other fabric I bought with a Kielo in mind, and some heavier knit fabric that I might make a long sleeved one from too… 🤔🤷🏻♀️🤣
Seamwork Catarina Dress
My Catarina dress that I made last year as a ‘test run’ from an £8 viscose remnant turned out to be my favourite one of them all – the later ones that I made from different fabrics (and in some case, much more expensive fabrics) don’t get worn because they just don’t sit right on my hips. They’re not drapey enough for me to carry them off. I’m thinking that I might seek out some more viscose and make a couple more dresses because they are so easy to throw on when it’s super hot and I really can’t be arsed to get dressed, but have to.
I could literally live in these all summer. They fit me really well, they take less than a metre of 60inch wide fabric, and they are quick to make. What more could I want?!
I’ve got one cut from the leftovers of that wonderful mushroom fabric you might have seen on my Instagram feed, and also one cut out of jersey to see how that works out. The pattern isn’t written for knit fabrics, but I’ve seen online that some people have successfully made it work, so I’m giving it a go with some leftovers from another project. If it turns out alright, I might look to buy some jersey and get some made because T-shirt’s are the one RTW thing I continue to buy.
What else has been happening?
We left the city for some fresh air
We spent a week in Surrey in March, with the dogs, in a nice little lodge. Since moving to London, I haven’t really spent any time in the countryside, and it was really nice to escape the city. Sure, we went on holiday last year, but that was to New York – which basically meant we left one city and travelled to another (which was possibly more busy than the one we left). We haven’t really had any down time for a long while. The Christmas break was busy with Etsy orders, and then I got sick with a cold, so didn’t really feel like I’d had a ‘break’. This week in Surrey was a true break – long dog walks and then lots of relaxing in sweatpants watching Jeremy Kyle while eating Haribo. Unfortunalty the amount of dog walking wasn’t enough to counteract the calories consumed, and weight gain happened. Sad face.
Knitting and Stitching Show
I went to the Spring Knitting and Stitching show for the first time in a couple of years – read all about my trip here!
In a nutshell – it was okay, and I came away with a small number of purchases, so it wasn’t a totally wasted day.
Despite having been a knitter for a number of years, I’ve never actually blocked anything. Yah, I know – shock horror. The one thing I did block was a baby blanket I made for a friend, but I blocked the individual squares before sewing them together by pinning them out on the ironing board to the correct size 😂 I’ve recently finished knitting a scarf for the husbeast, which fo sho needs blocking because it looks a bit crap straight off the needles (😳) and it clearly can’t be blocked on the ironing board because it’s way too big. So, I put my big girl pants on and bought some blocking pin things off Amazon, and some child’s foam play board squares to push the pins into.
I laid it out in the back garden on a really sunny day (hello washing line shadow), and even then it still wasn’t dry by the end of the day. Probably thinking that I should have got more water out of it before pinning it onto the boards – oh well, I’ll know for next time I guess!
Is Patternsy no more?
Those of you that get your pdf patterns printed out on larger paper (rather than suffering the hell that is cutting and sticking A4 pages) might be familiar with the company Patternsy. I’ve used them for all my printing, and have been extremely happy with their prices and service – I used them just a couple of weeks ago to get the Deer and Doe Agave skirt printed. Shortly after that, I received an email that they’d sent out to all their customers, explaining that they’d had a considerable influx of orders due to a high-profile mention on instagram:
It’s always great to see a little independent business do well – even if it’s a little *too* well – so I hoped they could find their way again.
Then, last week as I was putting the finishing touches to my Agave skirt post, I began to explain that I got my pattern printed through Patternsy, and headed to their website to grab the link to share with all you lovely people.
I was greeted with this announcement on their homepage:
Hmm. Turns out that the surge in orders perhaps wasn’t such a good thing after all, because they’ve had to stop taking orders from new customers. I really hope they can find a way to ride with the growth that has come their way, because they were such a fabulous company that I’ve used many times. I’m sending productive thoughts their way 😎
The world is a’ changin
Since discovering that Vogue Knitting magazine actually IS sold in the UK (but under a different name – Designer Knitting – and with a different cover to the publication in the USA 🤷🏻♀️) I’ve indulged in buying a copy each time one’s released. Actually that’s misleading, I myself don’t actually buy it, the Handsome Husbeast gets sent to the WHSmith in St Pancras station around the publication date to see if they have it yet. The release dates in the UK appear to be a bit vague and changeable, so he’s often backwards and forwards to that shop for a couple of weeks before managing to snaffle a copy, but he always manages to get it for me 😘
On reading the latest copy, there was an interesting note around the price of the magazine:
Working in finance, and also in advertising, this was very thought-provoking for me. Traditional advertising methods have changed significantly since the rise of technology – TV adverts are pretty much out the window since people watch catch-up TV and Netflix, leaflets through the mail get chucked in the bin. Radio ads are just as redundant, because most people listen to Spotify or Apple Music. Everything is on demand nowadays – people no longer have the time or inclination to listen to/watch/read something that wasn’t what they originally wanted. It’s tough times for advertising these days.
Reading the note in the magazine about the indie dyers and smaller businesses got me thinking – and it’s totally true. There are more and more small businesses popping up nowadays, who don’t have a massive budget to spend on advertising. You can promote yourself out there on social media for (mostly) free, so what’s the point in paying to advertise in a magazine with limited reach?
Then it got me pondering the future of print magazines – will they survive? People live on their devices nowadays – why would they waste paper buying a print copy of a magazine, which they’ve got to carry around with them if they want to read it (and then store it/throw it away), when they could have a digital copy available 24/7 on their phone/laptop/iPad that they can access at any time and don’t have to find space in their house to store?
Should I get a digital copy of the magazine instead? I can see that it has a lot of benefit (including the husband not wasting time going backwards and forwards to the shop to see if it’s in stock yet 🤣). If I want to knit a pattern I can just print out the page(s) that I need. All my past issues are stored in the same place if I need them, without taking up any physical space. No trees were harmed in the production of this digital magazine.
In a world that is going increasingly digital, perhaps this is the next logical step – but books (and magazines, maybe) is one thing I can’t let go of. I have no CD’s or DVD’s anymore, but books on a screen just don’t float my boat. I like an old-skool, printed paper book. And in the same way that people love smelling babies (which I totes don’t understand), I love smelling old books. Maybe if I switch and buy the digital magazines, I can keep buying the traditional books – that’s a fair trade, right?
Me Made May
So next month – unsurprisingly, being May – is Me Made May. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it was a challenge started by Zoe from ‘So Zo, What Do You Know?, in order to culture a better relationship with your handmade clothes. A challenge with whatever specifics you like, that can be tailored to your individual situation – to wear 100% me-made things every day, to wear one handmade thing a day, or maybe one completely handmade outfit per week. Whatever you like.
This will be the first year that I’ll participate in the challenge. The first May that rolled around after I started sewing clothes, I hadn’t heard of Me Made May so was completely oblivious to its existence. The second May that came around, I’d not made many garments at all – maybe fifteen at a push – and definitely nothing that could be considered ‘daily wear’. (Mostly Alexander Henry dresses, which I’m SO looking forward to making again this summer!) So again, I didn’t take part, but this time I watched on Instagram from the sidelines to see what it was all about.
This year, I think I’ve got a good few handmade garments that actually get worn on a regular basis so I could make a stab at participating. I’m not going to set any challenges, as such – but in true nerdy finance fashion I’m going to do a little analysis of how many handmade things get worn vs how many store-bought things. No pressure, I just wanna see which garments I’m reaching for most often. It will help me identify where the gaps are and where I should maybe concentrate my making efforts over the coming year. I already know in my head where there’s a few gaps, but it’s fragmented information which – to be honest – I often forget. To have it written down, and laid out, will probably help steer me onto the right path.
I’m gonna include the husbeast in this too, but his wears will be almost 100% shirts and there’s not that many of them. (Excited to see him bust out this dino-shirt again this year! 🥰🦕)
There’s a glaring gap in the form of loungewear in my handmade wardrobe – I’m gonna be honest here and say that at the weekend, Sweatpants Sunday happens in my house. Sweatpants Saturday, too, if we’re not going out anywhere. Since I have no handmade sweatpants, T-shirt’s or hoodies, there will be no me-mades worn at the weekend (unless the husbeast wears his Thread Theory Comox Trunks). So I’m only going to be documenting Monday-Friday for this.
I’ll report back in June with my findings 🤓
What’s going on in your little corner of the sewing world? Let me know! 👇🏻
I hope you enjoyed this little change in the norm – enjoy what’s left of your weekend! 🙌🏻
Next week on the blog is my first pair of hand-knitted gloves – the matching ‘Kindreds Mitts’ to our Kindred Hats that hit the blog last month!
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