A couple of weeks back, me and the husbeast had a very welcome week off work together. We didn’t go away – it was just a week to sleep, relax and recharge our souls. Like you’d expect, a good amount of this time was spent on sewing-related things – blog shoots, actual sewing, helping the husband to sew some things, visiting a couple of fabric stores, and making orders for the shop.
Rather than have everything get kind of lost and forgotten about, I thought I’d share everything we got up to – partly to reassure myself that even though it felt like we didn’t achieve much, we actually did…
We had a couple of mornings in the city, so naturally that meant I had to haul my most recent handmades (and the co-ordinating shoes and accessories, in a massive holdall, lolz) and rope the husband into being photographer for the day. He loves it really 😎
République Du Chiffon Jolaine Shirt
The first one that was up was my Jolaine shirt from Republique Du Chiffon – I finished this a while back, but I’d been struggling with where to photograph it. It didn’t suit my normal loud graffiti walls that I favour. I could picture in my head a sandy, weathered, old style town – but of course there aint none of those in London. Then I saw a photo of a house on Instagram that was apparently somewhere in the Shoreditch area – the poster couldn’t remember *exactly* where it was, though. Then a couple of weeks later I saw the same house AGAIN – this time tagged with Number 4 Princelet Street. YAS! SUCCESS! Google Maps revealed that it was extremely close to my usual photoshoot haunt, so we headed there first. it’s regularly used for photo shoots and films, apparently.
When we arrived, there was a tour group standing outside (these are pretty common in the Brick Lane area, especially street art tours) so I had to kind of loiter around on the street for them to disappear before we claimed the site as our own to start taking the pictures. Thankfully, no other tour groups came on by (plus, the husbeast has got pretty good at speed-snapping now) and I’m *SO* in love with the final pictures. The atmosphere and texture of the building is PERFECT!
Teaser pic below… wait till you see the front! It’s up on the blog in a couple of weeks and I’m *so* excited for this one! This is also one of my #2018MakeNine so that’s a big fat TICK off the list 🙌🏻
Burda High-Waisted Trousers
We then took my first pair of trousers which I’ve made for the Minerva Crafts blog and shot those, although they are my first pair and FAR from perfect, I really love the style! Especially paired with my cool Zara T-Shirt that I picked up when I was in Japan, and my sparkly rainbow braces. These are up on the blog next week so not long to wait!
Kielo Wrap Dress by Named Patterns
Yep, another Kielo! They are SO easy to wear in the summer! And the whole thing is even sweeter when you make it from a £9 fabric remnant that you scored off eBay. YAS.
Satin Catarina Dress by Seamwork
I actually cut this dress out last year, but then Summer vanished and I never got around to making it. I’ve decided that I’m going to stop making these now – I like the *idea* of them (as in easy to throw on dress) but to be honest, those gathers around the waist just make me look frumpy. Especially in this fabric. New rule = no clothes with gathers. Gathers are bad.
Plus, the waist is too low (the belt is where my true waist is at) so I either need to shorten those shoulder straps or raise the waistline – I could possibly be bothered to do this is if I REALLY loved the dress but to be honest, if I’m in the market for an easy-to-wear summer dress it’s going to be the Kielo. No question.
Scout Tee by Grainline Studio
My first ever Scout Tee! Well pleased with this, it was meant to be a test run before cutting in to some more expensive fabric but it’s actually earned itself a place in the wardrobe! I picked up this fabric in the Cloth House warehouse sale for £2 a metre… BARGAIN 🤑
Once we’d finished our long morning of photography, we wandered back onto Brick Lane for one of their famous curries. If you’ve never been to Brick Lane, it’s literally a whole street of curry shops. Indian is my favourite cuisine, despite not eating my first curry until I was at least 25. (I know, WHAT?!). I dare you to walk down this street and not want to eat everything you smell.
After the meal we strolled down the rest of the street towards the station, and I went into a couple of fabric shops that were dotted along the way. They were quite chaotic, and I have absolutely NO idea how you’re meant to see what’s at the top of this lot… check out the person (hidden away in the bottom corner) for scale!
Patterns Bought 🛍️
Kalle Shirt – Closet Case Patterns
Now I know I’m WAY behind the curve here with this one, but I keep seeing really cool versions of the Kalle Shirt on the ‘gram and thought I’d give it a go myself… you know I love a good shirt. Plus, I’ve recently just discovered the wonder that is Mom Jeans and the cropped version would look totally cool with these. I’ve got leftovers of the zebra print I used for the Scout Tee so I think that might be used for a trial.
Cartesian Crop by Sophie Hines
I’ve not worn my Watsons much since the start of the year. To cut a VERY long story short I found the power-meshed bands restrictive (partly due to the fact I’d put on a bit of weight) and so wanted something a little more softer – Jack Wills stepped in to the rescue and I basically lived in these for a few months:
Sure, they aren’t your typical ‘bra’, but holy mackerel are these comfy. I ditched underwires sometime last year when I started making bras, because they are the devil. Soft bras are the way forward for me now. Do they give me mono-boob? Not really, but do even I care? Nope. Ok, so they’re not winning any points for sexiness, but if the husbeast has a problem I’ll take away all his boxer shorts and make him wear some sort of ‘sexy’ uncomfortable lace male thong for a week and see how long he survives it before asking for his comfy pants back.
As I get older (looool) I’m realising that my shoes and clothes HAVE to be comfortable – ain’t nobody got time for tight waistbands or stupid heels that you can’t run for the train in. Living in London and having to negotiate a commute that consists of walking (sometimes running, if you hear that notorious ‘door-closing’ beep as you approach the platform) and numerous stairs and escalators means that shoes that fall off my feet or give me blisters can go right back to the hellhole that spawned them. And if your commute is over an hour, you do NOT want a tight waistband digging in to your bladder when you’re desperate for a wee and you’ve still got five stops to go. So yeah, comfort is fast becoming a priority for me.
The Watson definitely has some points over the store-bought pain-contraptions that pass for bras nowadays, but I’m finding that the ‘V’ in the middle is just a smidge too low and plunge-y for me, and sometimes (sorry to the guys that are reading) everything kind of spills out of the middle.
So after wearing the Jack wills offerings for a couple of months, that had the higher rise at the front, I realised that I wasn’t falling out of them. No amount of leaning forward could instigate a boob-tastrophe. So when Sophie released the Cartesian Crop pattern, I snapped it right up. I’ve got some seriously cool leopard prints and black mesh from Funki Fabrics, I just need to get some fold over elastic and then I’m good to go.
Books I Read 📚
You might not think I have a lot of time for reading books (and you’d be right), but sometimes I just fancy reading a book and then I snatch every minute that I can to finish it. I love to read things that are set overseas – usually, New York or an Asian setting is enough to win me over. You will never, EVER, see me reading chick-lit or romance or some equally mushy drivel about long-lost love or babies. I like depressing, emosh hardcore shiz. Earlier on in the year I read the Dark Tower series by Stephen King (my second read-through, and still the best thing I’ve ever read – please don’t watch the film it’s SO crap) but over the past month or so I’ve worked my way through:
Tim Murphy – Christodora
Set in New York (see, I told ya) across the decades against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic.
The Christodora is home to Milly and Jared, a privileged young couple with artistic ambitions. Their neighbour, Hector, a Puerto Rican gay man who was once a celebrated AIDS activist but is now a lonely addict, becomes connected to Milly’s and Jared’s lives in ways none of them can anticipate. Meanwhile, the couple’s adopted son, Mateo, grows to appreciate the opportunities for both self-realization and oblivion that New York offers. Christodora recounts the heartbreak wrought by AIDS, illustrates the allure and destructive power of hard drugs, and brings to life the ever-changing city itself.
Rohinton Mistry – A Fine Balance
This book was given to me as a gift when I left a job several years ago, and although I read it at the time, it had a really profound effect on me and I wanted to read it again. It’s a bleak, depressing, harrowing tale set in mid-1970s India with four unlikely characters who come together in circumstances no one could have foreseen soon after the government declares a ‘State of Internal Emergency. I recommended it to so many people – it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for bloody good reason. I finished it at the start of our week off and went straight in to…
Hanya Yanagihara – A Little Life
This was recommended by a girl who works on the same floor as me – she saw me holding A Fine Balance while waiting for the elevator, and told me to read this when I’d finished it. I’m only a little way in, but it’s all good so far. I’ll let you know my thoughts once I get to the end. (If you’ve read it, give me your mark out of 10!)
The million copy bestseller is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance.
When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome – but that will define his life forever.
See, I told you I liked the uplifting stuff. Honestly, don’t ever ask me to recommend you a book or film unless you’re looking to experience total misery.
Sewing I got done ✂️
Grainline Scout Tee
As I mentioned a couple of weeks back, the husband had a little spending spree on Etsy as he wanted to start making again. He bought me some lipstick print Prada silk, and wanted a beginners pattern that he could make (that only used 1 yard of fabric…) I chose the Scout tee, which seemed pretty similar to the leopard print silk tee I wore with my Prada satin skirt. I sewed up a trial run in a Cloth House warehouse sale fabric which I scored for £2 a metre, before cutting in to the good stuff. Full deets on the blog soon!
Deer and Doe Bruyere Shirt
Ever since I made my long sleeve version at the start of the year, I knew I’d want to make some sleeveless ones for the summer. But you know me, I couldn’t make a TOTALLY plain one so I went with the ever-popular Bye Bye Birdie fabric from Atelier Brunette. I’d previously made the husband a shirt with this fabric, so when mine’s done I’m totally gonna get a matchy-matchy outfit post of us both wearing them. I’m making this one for the Minerva Crafts blog, so keep your eyes peeled! In the meantime, take a look at some seam porn – the french seams inside the Bruyere are totally on point thanks to my fork pins (thanks to the lovely Sew Sarah Smith for the tip 😘)
Gucci Silk Scout Tee
After the success of the zebra scout tee trial run, I’d been thinking a lot about what I wanted to make with an awesome piece of Gucci silk that I scored off ebay. Then I realised that the Scout tee would be PERFECT! No seam lines to break up this amazeballs print.
I let the husband place the templates on the fabric because he is properly obsessed about getting things in line and level and I knew he’d do an OCD-compliant job. The tee has since been finished (and worn to work and admired by all that got to see its beauty) so it’s now on the photography schedule to be hitting the blog soon 🙌🏻
I pre-washed several metres of black denim that I got from Fabric Godmother, only to find that after it dried, it had loads of white lines on it. Hmph. Not really cool with that… I did some googling and discovered that this does happen (for unknown reasons) and there’s not a great deal you can do about it. Some sites suggest washing garments inside out (not really helpful with a couple of metres of fabric), others suggest it’s to do with the spin and/or how much other stuff there is in the machine. I’m a bit miffed, but I’ve cut the fabric anyway – it’ll be a Pulmu skirt, a Ready To Sew Jim skirt (SO excited about the braces!) and perhaps another Madeline skirt if I can squeeze it on. If anyone has any tips for the white-line-situation, lemme know.
Tails of Leela 🐶
So not having to dash out the door in the morning to catch the train ultimately meant more time for longer dog walks. The circuit we do is about 3 miles, but we do live in a hilly area (yep, there are hills even in South-East London) so it’s a *proper* walk. Just lately poor Leela is struggling to get up the hill just before we reach home, though. She’s 8, but so is her brother-from-another-mother Fry, although he’s a shepherd-type-doggo and she’s a wiry-terrier-thing which might make a difference. Rather than walking at a speed she wasn’t comfortable with, I let her dictate the speed as we went up the hill – but that resulted in her slowing down until she was just standing still on the spot. So I carried her, but only for about 20 steps before I had to put her heavy ass back on the floor. The next time, we tried cheering her on, like you would do for a flagging runner at the 25th mile of a marathon. GO LEELA, GO! YAS! WORK THOSE LEGS! That worked, she got into a little trot for a while, but then the batteries ran out. And plus it’s proper weird to cheer your dog on in the street.
There’s a few scenarios that could be happening:
- She’s just lazy. Honestly, this is 100% possible.
- She has the onset of arthritis (although she can run around the park with no apparant trouble, especially if there’s something she’s *really* interested in)
- She’s just hot and tired of walking and would like sleeps now please and thank you.
As a solution, other than shorter walks (which is not really the best idea, as Fry still wants to walk forever and ever and ever), we can come up with just one option. Let me introduce you to the Dog Stroller. Complete with fake, dressed-as-human dog. I kid you not. This is actually a thing.
Not only is this an actual thing, it’s also an expensive thing at nearly 150 squids. But we’re currently genuinely considering it as the solution so that Leela can still enjoy the outdoors with Fry, but take the strain off her legs. Yes, I’m fully prepared for the weird looks from other people, but to be honest they can jog on. It’s no different to them putting their child in a pushchair. My child is just furrier and has a couple of extra legs.
For now, we take a rest break halfway round 🙂
The Wanderstitch Studio store
So my little Etsy store is doing quite well – yay! The book sleeves we started selling a couple of months ago have been a real success, and the Beauty and the Beast one below is by far our best seller – I make SO many of these! But the fabric is so pretty, I don’t mind 😍
Other than December, which I exclude because it was just Christmas Madness, this month has been the highest number of sales in a month since we opened the shop a year ago. I’m building up supplies ready for this Christmas (yes yes yes I realise it’s only May but you know it’s gonna sneak up real fast and I was totally unprepared for last Christmas) and buying new fabrics – we spent an evening choosing new designs and now there’s an ENORMOUS package of mad prints and colours currently on it’s way to me! These will be hitting the shop as soon as I’ve sewn up and photographed all the samples, I’m really excited 🤩
The Future of Wanderstitch
Thank you so much to everyone that took the time to read and respond to my ‘Sewing Sustainability’ post from a couple weeks back – I read through all the comments (I’m slowly getting round to responding to you all – promise!) and I think I’ve now got it clear in my head that it is, in fact, ok to sew purely just for the enjoyment of the creative process. After all, an artist would paint just for the love of painting, right? I mean yeah, I know that my hobby consumes a lot of materials, but I think that’s something I just have to accecpt as part of the package. Rather than curtail my love of creating and making, I need to look at ways to use/minimise the wastage.
You’ll be pleased to hear that the weekly posts will indeed continue, but they won’t all be finished makes. There will be behind-the-scenes posts, techniques posts, inspiration posts, and things-in-progress posts. And possibly even posts from the husband about what he’s sewing too (as a side note, it’s our wedding anniversary tomoz and we’ve been married for a grand ol’ total of 13 years!)
Oh! And to all of you that hassled me to do so, YES I APPLIED FOR THE NEW SEASON OF THE GREAT BRITISH SEWING BEE 🐝
You made it to the end! Well done you. Go have a nap, you deserve it. I find it funny that this was my first ‘behind the scenes’ post and it was WAY longer than any of my other posts to date. In the time it took me to say everything I wanted to say in this more-than-three-thousand word post, I probably could have traced, cut, sewn and photographed an actual finished make.
Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… MY FIRST PAIR OF TROUSERS 👖 ERMAHGERD I MADE TROUSERS YOU GUYS. Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!