Out Of Office

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…

Photoshoots ?

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 ??

Laundry dramas

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:

  1. She’s just lazy. Honestly, this is 100% possible.
  2. 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)
  3. 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!  


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Book Sleeves now available in the Wanderstitch Studio store - keep your books nice and safe in your bag!

Marvel Avengers Book Sleeve
Pokemon Pikachu Book Sleeve
Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Face Book Sleeve
Nightmare Before Christmas Grey Book Sleeve
Nightmare Before Christmas Stained Glass Book Sleeve
Nightmare Before Christmas World Book Sleeve
Wonder Woman Book Sleeve
Dr Who Book Sleeve
Star Wars C3PO Book Sleeve
Marvel Comics Book Sleeve
Lipstick Book Sleeve
Donkey Kong Book Sleeve
Skulls and Roses Book Sleeve
Life’s Little Pleasures Book Sleeve
Rad Skulls Book Sleeve
Legend of Zelda Book Sleece
Beauty and The Beast Book Sleeve


  1. Josephine
    May 27, 2018 / 7:27 am

    Hi, books…. shall log the recommendation for Christodora. Around the time I read A Little Life, I came across Burial Rites by Hannah Kent and Station Eleven by Emily St John Manuel. See what you think.

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 4:09 pm

      Thanks for the recommendations Josephine! I have added them to my Amazon list so that I don’t forget 🙂 (Station Eleven in particular has really good reviews on there!)

  2. Dorothy MacLeod (Dot Gordon)
    May 27, 2018 / 9:00 am

    Always a pleasure to follow your blog. you have such a creative spirit. how you can call that a holiday is beyond me though. keep on with your brilliant creations. love your fabric choices. pure inspiration.x

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 4:12 pm

      Hi Dorothy!
      Really glad you enjoy the blog – it makes me so happy to hear that 🙂
      Haha, yep, that’s what I call a ‘holiday’! I’m off to New York later on in the year, you wait till you hear everything that I cram into those two weeks! I’ll need a holiday to get over the holiday 😉

  3. Astrid
    May 27, 2018 / 9:19 am

    I am in awe of all you got done in a week!! I also really don’t know how you manage a full-time job with an hour commute as well as an Etsy shop full of beautiful things and making all the amazing projects you do… I have an hour and a half commute and I’ve been trying to get an hour an evening to spend on my sewing so I feel like I’m making some progress at least 🙂 Tell me your secrets! 😉

    I’m also very excited to hear you applied for the GBSB – I am seriously keeping my fingers crossed that we will get to see your creations on the TV!!! I am still writing my application and am certainly out of my depth and will not get on, but maybe they will be after a stupidly adventurous beginner who has never finished a dress but has made shirts and jersey jackets, right? 🙂

    Also, if you haven’t already read it, you may like Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 4:23 pm

      Haha, let’s just say I do like to be kept busy!! I’ve learnt to multi-task… like writing blog posts during the commute 😀
      A lot of people think me weird for this, but I don’t watch TV – like, ever. I imagine it’s pretty easy to sit down in front of the TV in the evenings and have an hour (or more) disappear – but I prefer to listen to music instead 🙂 (plus that way I can get some sewing done at the same time!!) Sundays for me are my sewing day – I try not to plan ANYTHING for a Sunday (except a dog walk) so that I can max out the sewing time!

      Yep, the application went in for the GBSB… let’s see! Isn’t the application form LONG! I had to do it in like three stints 😀 The idea is though that they want all different sewing abilities – so don’t write yourself off just yet!

      Ahh yes Shantaram… one of my favourites! I read that around the same time as I first read A Fine Balance, and loved it. I was actually searching for my copy a while back but think I must have passed it on to someone else – perhaps it’s time to treat myself to a new copy as I really did enjoy that. Have you read any of his other books?

  4. May 27, 2018 / 10:05 am

    Fascinating, and so many cruel teasers you devil you! Books: another from Mr King, 11.22.63 is amazing. I have it on audio and have listened to the whole thing half a dozen times, and STILL cry in all the same places. I also adore anything by Joe Abercrombie- dark fantasy with a very modern feel. Go on, you know you will.
    Glad you’re deciding to go with sewing for fun, and not treating it as work- it really must kill all the pleasure!

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 4:26 pm

      Haha, all will be revealed over the next few weeks don’t worry!
      Ahh yes, 11.22.63. The husband has read it, and I started to watch the TV series that I did but really just thought it was absolutely awful. I think I only made it about 3 episodes in. Ok Joe Abercrombie has been added to the Amazon list – The Blade Itself to be more precise. Love that on the front cover it says that The Guardian described it as ‘Delightfully twisted and evil’ and in the short synopsis I read I think they used the word torture about four times!

  5. May 27, 2018 / 11:54 am

    I join in recommending A Little Life, with the caveat that you need to be feeling strong. (For some it could be terribly triggering). I fly through Brick Lane frequently when in the U.K., dashing between a couple of relatives. Did you go into the extremely narrow fabric shop with rolls stacked up to what looks like the first floor ceiling, and standing room for one person only? I recommend this for the experience, it’s not for browsing, but if you know what you’re looking for the owner will astonish you by homing in on it right away and pulling it out from some crammed position way above your head height. Prices reasonable.

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 4:31 pm

      I’m really excited to finish A Little Life, but I’m still only really at the start and I’ve literally no idea where it’s going to go. I feel like I want to kind of ‘prepare myself’ for it, but as I have no idea what sort of thing is going to happen or how bad it’s gonna get, I don’t know how I should be preparing myself – make sense?! Like I don’t know what level of trauma I need to be anticipating here. Anyway – I’ll come back to you when I’ve finished it 😀
      Hmm I don’t think I saw the shop you mention, the one I went in was VERY narrow in walking space – like, you wouldn’t be able to pass another person very easily at all… since I didn’t know what I was looking for, I kind of left pretty quickly as I felt like I was in the way!!

  6. May 27, 2018 / 1:25 pm

    I totally echo your sentiments on comfort, especially working in London. I long ago decided that if there was the faintest rub, squeeze, chafe on either shoe or clothing then they would have to go. I am a slave to the underwire (36H) but have now narrowed it down to 2 types of bra that fit comfortably and I buy them in black and white. Making my own clothes has been a revelation on the comfort front, as has deciding to retire early and move permanently down to Devon. My Kielo is the Fen dress from Fancy Tiger Crafts, such an accurate pattern and so easy to make. I must have 6 of them now. I’m also in love with Indian Cotton and have recently imported some stuff from a company called ITokri. They are fab, such quick delivery. You do have to remember that there will be an import bill to pay – think my £40 bundle of fabric was a further £12.50, but for that I got 10 metres of really good quality cotton fabric in fab colours and patterns. About £5 a metre? Similar stuff at the Cloth Shop in London is £8-12 per metre. Glad you applied to the Sewing Bee – I wimped out. And I STILL have some Holland and Sherry fabric that I haven’t plucked up the courage to use!such a coward!

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 4:43 pm

      I’m so glad it’s not just me on the clothing/shoe comfort thing! I used to wear actual proper shoes to work before I worked in London, now I’ll admit that I live in trainers and sneakers 😀 I don’t think I could go back to wearing actual shoes again!
      I’m not familiar with the Fen dress but checked it out – it does look very comfy and easy to wear! Reminds me a bit of the Metamorphic Dress by Sew Liberated.
      Ohhhh what have you done?! I just looked on Itokri… 😀 of course I’ve found like five designs I want to buy! They’re coming out at like £3 per metre… is that right?! :O I only made it to page 10 out of 43 for the fabric as well – I’m not sure I should allow myself to keep going!! Eeesh the Cloth Shop is *really* expensive, isn’t it? I’m lucky enough to work close by to their warehouse shop so I head on over there sometimes when it’s been a stressful morning at work lol.
      Be brave – cut into the Holland and Sherry stuff! I’ve used most of mine, and I actually just yesterday cut into the piece of super-strokable velvet that I bought from them – I actually bought it to make a jacket for the husband but I ‘borrowed’ a bit to cut the facings of a jacket for me lol! Hopefully there will still be enough left for whatever he wants me to make for him… 😀

  7. May 27, 2018 / 4:33 pm

    That Scout tee of yours is pretty amazing – I have such a love/hate relationship with this pattern (as I do with most Grainline patterns). I love the way their simplicity BUT it never turns out right on my body. I just can’t do simple so I end up using them like a block and by the time I’m finished with the fba, fsa, back fish-eyed darts, bottom facing – I think, “Why do I bother?!” Then I put it on and it looks fabulous 🙂 Love/hate.

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 4:47 pm

      Aha! See, when you put it on and see how amazing it looks – *that’s* when you figure out why you bother! 🙂 It’s nice though to use it as a basis to make something that fits your individual shape, and makes you happy to wear it.
      I didn’t really like their Archer shirt pattern, but thought I’d give them another shot with the Scout.I wouldn’t normally make something so boxy, but I actually think this is going to be the new office staple for me! Plus is it actually a really quick make so it’s good if you need a quick win for any reason!

  8. May 27, 2018 / 5:35 pm

    Gathers are fashion kryptonite for us curvy chicks. I realized that in my early 20s, when I was all about sewing cutesy dresses that made me look like a dumpy 5 year old. And don’t even talk to me about pleated pants…

    As far as feeling bad about “wasting materials” in sewing for enjoyment, I think it’s important to remember that people’s livelihoods rely on our consumption of the goods they produce. So yes, I might have just thrown out 3 yards of horrible polyester corduroy that I used for a terrible self-drafted pair of pants, but somewhere in the world is a factory that produced that fabric and employs workers that need the fabric to sell so that they can keep earning a living. The circle of [economic] life and all that. =)

    I swear, I never would have looked twice at the Kielo, but every time you post a new one I find myself thinking I should give it a go. Do you wear them to the office? I’m a college English professor, so I can get away with wearing things that are bit more artsy than standard business dress, but I try to keep it relatively professional. Get too weird and everyone assumes you’re an art teacher. 😉

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 4:56 pm

      I’m glad it’s not just me with the gathers!! And it’s funny you should mention pleated pants too… I keep looking at the Esther’s by Victory Patterns and I’m so undecided as to whether they would look HORRIFIC on me or whether my hips or a higher waist would make them look good… I *just* can’t make my mind up lol. I really want to make the Landers, too. Maybe I’ll make those first!
      You’re so totally right about the economics going here. I’ve made the decision to go on making purely just for the sake of making and enjoying the creative process, because that’s what makes me happy 🙂
      Ahhhh the Kielo! My FAVE lol. I’ve just photographed two (yes, TWO) for the blog – sleeveless versions for the warmer weather. Honestly, there’s nothing as comfy as one of these! And I absolutely do wear them to the office! Both the long sleeves and the sleeveless versions ! I think they can look totally business-smart in solid fabrics, or totally wacky in crazy patterns. Somewhere halfway should save you from the Art Teacher assumptions 😉

  9. Fiona in Aberdeen
    May 27, 2018 / 7:23 pm

    Thanks for continuing the blog. I have followed a few that have tailed off over the years, which is always very sad. I would have been disappointed – having recently discovered yours / not to have been able to continue reading.
    So excited to hear that you applied for GBSB! Good luck!

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 5:04 pm

      Ahh, thank you Fiona! I’m really glad that you enjoy the blog! The weekly posts are definitely going to continue, as I really enjoy creating them. So I hope you will continue to enjoy them 🙂
      Haha we’ll see on the GBSB, I don’t even know what their filming schedule is like yet or whether I’d be able to somehow fit it in around my actual real life job :/ They might have already rejected my application anyway 😀

  10. May 28, 2018 / 2:45 am

    Can’t wait to see your Jolaine! That back yoke shot is such a tease Lol. Also, underwires = ?

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 5:08 pm

      Ahaaaaa it’s meant to be a tease lol 😀 The Jolaine was such a fun make. I really enjoyed it but not sure how practical a western shirt is in my wardrobe!
      Agh don’t even get me started on underwires. I mean, who invented them anyway? Who decided that our boobs need a little metal ‘shelf’ and that they can’t just be free?! 🙂

  11. Anne Stubbings
    May 28, 2018 / 7:25 am

    Great to hear that you’ll be continuing with your blog. Pace yourself though – we can’t have you burning out.
    As the Queen of Top Stitching, can I ask you a question? I’m making a winter coat for my husband (I’m not planning ahead, we live in New Zealand!) and wondered if you’d had good top stitching results with regular thread or whether you opt for something weightier when working on coating.

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 5:15 pm

      Hi Anne! So glad that you enjoy the blog 🙂 Don’t worry I won’t burn out… I’ve got enough ideas floating around in my head to last me about three lifetimes, and if I don’t have the time to make them all, when I’m retired or too blind to sew anymore I’ll just talk about them to you guys and draw little pictures of what they would have looked like 😀
      Ahh, you’ve just reminded me that it’s Topstitching Tuesday tomorrow on my instagram account – thanks!! For topstitching, I always use the same regular thread that I’m sewing with, *unless* a heavier line is what you’re after as a design feature (like on a denim jacket) or you’re looking to really reinforce the seam (like on a bag or holdall). For coats made from wool type fabric, where the topstitching is just decorative, I find the normal thread to be just fine. If it’s quite thick or several layers thick, I’ll loosen up the tension a little bit and increase the stitch length, but other than that it’s all just the same 🙂
      I *LOVE* making coats for the husband – what pattern are you using? I’m hoping that it’s some gem of a design that I haven’t come across yet…

  12. May 28, 2018 / 7:47 am

    I love the sound of your week ‘off’!! – my cousins have a bungalow on the Isle of Wight and I’d love to disappear down there for a week with my machines and a sack of fabric!
    Poor Leela, I hope she rallies soon. In the meantime the stroller looks like the perfect answer! … maybe she just doesn’t like hills? … personally, I can never understand why people jog on the path next to the grass, and not on the grass… maybe she’s getting picky about her surfaces?! (I have a friend who’s mothers dog won’t cross a threshold- like from the kitchen to the hall, or the pavement to the road… she literally has to be carried over every threshold!!)
    That shirt looks awesome, the yoke, and piping ? – looking forward to seeing more of your other makes too (… and the Husbeasts! – I hope he gets to keep his comfy pants! ??)
    Good luck with the bee! Your Christmas orders must have prepared you for the speed-sewing required! ???? you’d be great on it!
    Oh, books… have you read any Paul Auster? He’s wonderfully depressing! ‘The 13th Tale’ was spooky and fun. Donna Tartt’s ‘The Goldfinch’ . JD Salinger’s ‘Franny & Zooey’ is possibly my favourite book (along with Jeanette Wintersons ‘Oranges are not the only fruit’!) – always leaves me with that wonderfully depressing hollowness after reading!! ?? And maybe it’ll appeal, maybe not, but it would be remiss of me to not mention my cousins book ‘mother of all pigs’ by Malu Halasa – I loved it, but I’m biased!
    I’d better sign off before my comment is as long as your post! Keep it up! ????

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 5:35 pm

      OMG you should just do it – think of the peace and quiet you’d get down there in that little bungalow! You could sew, eat, sleep and repeat. It’d be amazing 😀
      Haha.. that stroller… what have I become when I’m genuinely looking at dog trolleys lol . Oh! And I actually know the answer as to why people don’t jog on the grass:

      1. There might be dog poo on the grass, and no one wants THAT on their running shoes
      2. (And this is the *actual* reason) The grass is much more unstable than the path and it is just a twisted-ankle-death-trap.

      I speak from experience 😉

      The western shirt was SUCH a blast to make – not sure I really have the use for a cowboy shirt in my daily wardrobe, but hey it looks pretty at least 🙂
      Haha let’s see about the sewing bee, I’m not sure how ‘real-job-friendly’ their filming schedule is, so lets see 🙂 They might have already ripped up my application! 😀

      Ooh, I haven’t even heard of Paul Auster – I’ve added The Brooklyn Follies and 4 3 2 1 to my Amazon basket. Franny & Zooey is a nice short one (160 pages!) – didn’t realise it was The Catcher in the Rye bloke. Will check out the Oranges one and the Mother of all Pigs as well! I’m really bad at finding books for myself so I’m happy if someone else will give me a list to work from 🙂

  13. Sam
    May 28, 2018 / 7:49 am

    Wow, epic post and a busy week off with some lovely makes & shots. As soon as I saw that you were reading Christodora, I thought I wonder if you had read a Little Life & there it was as I scrolled down! It’s heartbreaking & it stays with you. I was on holiday when I read it and sat on the sunbed & proper wept – my husband thought I’d finally cracked I could cry now thinking about it, you’ve been warned! Poor Leela – I hope you can resolve her issues I had to laugh when you said your baby has more fur & legs! It’s a bugger about that denim, you could go back to Fabric Godmother & see what they recommend, they may even refund you. My first thought would be to over dye it but I think it would probably make it worse – otherwise make it a design feature – like 80’s stone washed denim!

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 5:40 pm

      Haha that was quite a long post in the end wasn’t it! Once I get going there’s no stopping me 😀
      Have you read Christodora? I really enjoyed it, I only discovered it by chance when I wandered into Waterstones one lunch break. I feel like I’m really unprepared for A Little Life, because I don’t know what’s to come – like, I don’t know how low I’m gonna sink with this one. I thought Christodora was sad but I have a feeling that A Little Life is going to be worse! I’ll let you know when I come out on the other side 😀
      When people ask us if we have (actual, human) children, (which we don’t), I’m always SO tempted to say ‘yes, two, a boy and a girl’ and then proceed to show them a photo of us and the doggos just to see the reaction on their face 😀 😀 😀
      I think I’m just gonna roll with the denim, I’m sort of hoping that when I wash it for a second time it might improve the situation.. I’m not actually basing this on any domestic knowledge though, just pure hope!

  14. May 28, 2018 / 10:32 am

    Absolutely loved reading this post. I’m crap at keeping up with blogs these days. This slice of life stuff is my kryptonite though. Totally with you with the comfort shoes and clothes. The older I get, the less I can put up with being uncomfortable. As for the books, can’t believe you got through a little life. I know a lot about it but haven’t read it and I just don’t think I can put myself through it. I do read everything and my stomach can generally take it. But this one I’m scared of… Can’t wait to see you on the telly!!! ??

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 5:44 pm

      Hey Patricia!
      I’m really glad you enjoyed the blog! (And I’m also glad you’re with me on the comfort-factor 🙂 )
      Ah see now you’ve got me worried – I’m only a little way into it, so now I’m properly concerned how the storyline is going to turn. I’d literally never heard of it, and know nothing about it – I’m going in to this one totally blind (and now concerned, lol). I’ll let you know my thoughts when I come out on the other side!!

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 5:44 pm

      It’s now in my Amazon basket, for once I’ve finished A Little Life lol 😀

  15. May 28, 2018 / 12:32 pm

    Ah, the dye lines on dark natural fibre fabrics. When I’m prewashing day denim, linen etc, I always soak the fabric for a good 20 mins in the kitchen sink in a solution of cold salt water. Well, dissolve lots of salt in warm water, top up with lots of cold water. After this, they get thrown in the washing machine. When the washing machine has finished its cycle, remove the fabric immediately and then immediately iron the fabric on the worn side with a hot iron. Then hang up to dry.

    I think this helps fix the dye, but it’s always going to run a bit so removing from the washing machine and ironing helps get rid of pesky creases the dye runs from. That’s my 2p-worth! Love reading your blog by the way!

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 5:49 pm

      Hi Joyce!
      So glad you enjoy reading the blog, it makes me really happy to know that! 🙂
      Hmm, I see several mistakes that I made when reading through your process! Thanks for sharing your wisdom – at least I will know for next time! 🙂

  16. May 28, 2018 / 5:40 pm

    Excellent post, and good luck with your entry to GBSB!!!

    • Sarah
      May 28, 2018 / 5:50 pm

      Thanks Heather! Glad you enjoyed reading it 🙂
      And thank you for the good luck vibes!

  17. May 28, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    Ah the problem of wandering dye and natural fibres. Ok, this is what I do to prewash dark denim, linen etc. I dissolve a fair amount, probably a tablespoon or so, of ordinary table salt in some warm water in the kitchen sink, then when fully dissolved, fill the sink with cold water. Soak the fabric in the salted water for about 20 minutes then throw it in the washing machine. When the wash has finished, immediately remove fabric from washing machine and immediately iron it on the wrong side. Don’t let it sit crumpled in the washing machine. After it’s ironed, dry as normal.

    I have to say it doesn’t get rid of every single line, but it has stopped the lines I see in your photo above. I think the salt water fixes the dye a bit more but I think I’ll always get some dye loss every time I wash a dark natural fibre fabric. Love reading your blog, by the way, and your love of bold, bright colour!

  18. Anne Stubbings
    May 29, 2018 / 10:36 pm

    Thanks for the advice. I’m also going to steal your idea of piping between the facing and lining – it looks super smart!
    I’m making the Thread Theory Peacoat. The toile has come together nicely and the fit is good. I can’t tell if that’s because it’s a fabulous pattern or I have a conveniently stock-size husband!
    I’m just off to check out your Top Stitching Tuesday on Instagram.

    • Sarah
      June 5, 2018 / 7:12 am

      Ooh I’ve seen a lot of nice versions of that Peacoat – I’ve only sewn one Thread Theory pattern (their boxer shorts!) but I’d like to try more of theirs. The Fairfield shirt seems a good pattern, and I love sewing shirts!! Definitely put the piping in, it’s soooo easy but makes the whole thing look super-professional!!

  19. astridbreel
    June 22, 2018 / 11:06 am

    Nice! If only my commute wasn’t on the bus (where anything other than staring out of the window will make me feel sick ☹️). I’m actually considering getting a car so I can cut the commute down to 45-60 mins! That’s an extra half an hour of sewing a day ? I like the idea of a sewing day!!

    And I know what you mean – I don’t watch much TV either (Star Trek Next Generation during dinner is essential though). I do also like to have BBC4 documentaries on whilst I sew but then I am quite nerdy ?
    And that was a ridiculously long form (and I wrote a 90.000 word thesis not that long ago…!). I’m currently very sad as I couldn’t make the audition date I was offered ?. I really hope there will be more series and also that you have had more luck!!

    It’s always a good sign when books disappear as you’ve lent them to others ? and no I haven’t read any of his others – any you’d recommend?

    Btw – I mentioned to my partner who is also from Ipswich about you and your husband’s joint outing when he went to see Ipswich Town and you went fabric shopping and he’s on board with the idea! Thank you for the excellent inspiration! ? I am very excited about more fabric shopping trips (Bristol isn’t great for fabric shops) – now if only Ipswich could get back to being interesting to watch so he’s happy to sit on a train to go see them play… ?

    • Sarah
      June 25, 2018 / 7:54 am

      Ooh yes if I look at screens/books on buses or in cars it makes me feel sick – never figured that out ? definitely get the car, I support any decision that creates more sewing time ??
      Ahh well done on getting through to the audition stage – I got offered a time/date too but couldn’t make it. Maybe next year…
      Yes I think you definitely need to work this away game/sewing trip thing a bit more… you’re missing out on some serious opportunities here!! Maybe just suggest a trip for the first game of the season or something… ???

  20. astridbreel
    June 22, 2018 / 11:08 am

    I don’t know why this has shown up at the bottom – it was meant to be a response to your reply above! ?

  21. astridbreel
    July 2, 2018 / 4:20 pm

    I know – I’ve never worked out why I can do it on a train but not on a bus… I may try knitting on the bus when it cools down a bit, but as I have to look at my knitting to do it I’m not sure it’ll be any better ? The only downside of a car would be less disposible fabric money… ? but then more sewing time would mean actually sewing the lovely fabrics, so I think probably the best choice!
    Awww, that’s such a shame!! I was really hoping to see your creations on the TV 🙂 I am keeping everything crossed that there will be a series next year! Partly for the really nerdy reason that I did my PhD on participatory performance and so I really want to experience this type of participation… ?
    I’m thinking I may be strategic and scope out which games have the best fabric shops nearby and suggest that he plans ahead and buys tickets for those games early, so that if they go boring or disappointing by that point in the season he’ll already have the ticket and so we’ll still go…. ?
    Although I have just had some rather lovely additions to the collection from our recent holiday in Italy, which included a trip to fabric heaven… Google Giesse Scampoli in Verona and look at the images on google maps if you have a minute to spare… It’s an enormous shop full of amazing things – they had beautiful 100% italian silk for 15E p/m… ? My partner sat and amused himself in the corner clearly set up for patient partners (with a coffee machine and chocolate vending machine ?) for an hour and a half – none of this fake Romeo and Juliet balcony in Verona nonsense, THIS is what I call romance ???

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