Oh hai there, lovely people! Another Sunday has rolled on round again, I see.
Another week of lockdown, another week of working from home. Another week of sweatpants 😂 (although, it’s getting kinda warm for them now, so I’m gonna need to find a suitably comfy alternative pretty quickly). Another week of not really much sewing happening, though I’m this close to finishing off the dress I’m making with my tie-dye fabric you might have seen on the ‘gram, and I’m now onto the sleeves of my Sorrel sweater which it’s way too hot to wear now of course 🙄 I’m not sure what I’ll move on to next. I had in my mind that I might knit some sort of cotton boho-hippy-type top for the summer (because everything I knit is for winter, and I’d like to knit something summery for a change), but a scour of Ravelry didn’t really bring back any patterns that took my fancy. There are *loads* of crochet patterns, but I can’t crochet 🤦🏻♀️ So that went out the window. I have the knitting pattern for Amy Appel’s Jailbird Blouse, and I also really like her Rizzo Blouse but I haven’t yet figured out how I work them into a summer wardrobe – if it’s hot enough for what’s essentially a t-shirt, surely you don’t want to wear one made with wool with a high neck? Perhaps knitting it in a cotton/wool blend would be better? I don’t know 🤦🏻♀️ I really like the designs, though. If anyone has anything like this in their wardrobe, pleeeeeease tell me how you wear it?! Thanks 😘
Moving back on to sewing… I got a bit of a mashup for you in this weeks post. A bit of a finished thing, a bit of Me Made May, a bit of season transition analysis (ramblings, really 🤷🏻♀️😂)
When I first started sewing clothing, it took me a long time to find my way. I made lots of dresses with Alexander Henry fabrics, which I loved the look of, but dresses weren’t really my thing and so they didn’t get worn. This bad boy came to life in 2017 – three years ago:
(woah there my fringe is short! 😱)
I don’t think I ever wore this dress other than for the photoshoot. It still sits in my wardrobe. I like the idea of it, but it just doesn’t get worn – I haven’t had an occasion to wear it. A bit later (several more unworn dresses later, in fact) it dawned on me that the things I made never really got included in my day-to-day wardrobe because the clothing I was creating wasn’t reflective of the stuff I was wearing. In a stab-in-the-dark attempt to rectify this, I tried to find a simple everyday top pattern that I could wear for work.
I landed on the Grainline Scout tee.
My very first Scout was made from a £2-per-metre cotton material I scored from the Cloth House warehouse, and it still gets worn even today! In fact, every single Scout I’ve ever made (or had made for me, because the husbeast actually made me one as well!) still gets worn – although some of the more delicate silk ones are showing a little bit of strain on the seam on the back of the arms – I think I may have a broad back. I should probably adjust for that…
The Scout has been a good pattern for me, because I can go crazy with the prints – there are no seams to break any pattern up, you’ve got that whole front and back piece to play with. Although it’s a simple make, I can express my style through the fabrics used. I later discovered that the Scout pattern also works with knit fabrics!
So yeah, this one simple, unassuming pattern has actually made quite an impact on my wardrobe. And when you find a pattern like this, what do you do? You make more, of course 🤪
I picked up one metre of this cool Liberty print in their sale last year (at least I think it was last year… it might even have been the year before – time is blending into one atm), and managed to get the Scout cut from it with no issues. The yardage stated on the pattern seems a lot at first glance – almost two yards – but that’s because they include fabric for making your own matching bias tape for the neckline, so bear that in mind if it’s your first rodeo. I tend to use pre-made bias tape, or make my own from other fabrics because sometimes it’s fun to throw in a little clashy-clashy on the inside 😬
How cool is the print on this fabric? I mean, I have heart eyes for all the colours, but also I love the little camels, the sand dunes and the mountains. It reminds me of travel to faraway places 🏝
The Scout is a quick and easy sew, and perfect for a beginner sewist. You can French seam the inside for a fancy finish as well, which gets bonus points from me because I LOVE a good enclosed seam. I would recommend that you ignore any instructions that tell you to sew the sleeve seam before attaching the sleeve to the body – it’s always much easier to sew the sleeve in flat and then sew up that side seam and sleeve seam all in one go. The trickiest part of the garment is getting the bias tape at the neckline to lie flat – if you don’t stretch the tape enough, it comes out all sticky-uppy.
You can see that it’s premade bias tape for the win in this version 👀
Liberty is a bit of a love/hate relationship with me… I love to look at some of their prints, but find that on me, they look muddy and meh and like I’ve just aged twenty years. The husbeast doesn’t seem to have this problem with any of the Liberty shirts I’ve made for him, so either I’m better at choosing fabrics for him than I am me, or I’m just cursed 😂
But I’m feeling chuffed that I like this one so much, because their Tana lawn is just sooo nice and smooth 🤤
Granted, $14 for the pdf of a simple tee does seem rather a lot – but I’ve sewn up a fair few Scouts (it’s even earned the status of Wardrobe Staple for me 🏆) so when you think about cost per make it’s actually just a few dollars. For me, anyway, because I’ve made so many 😂 However, it’s another $10 if you want the sleeve add-on pack. To me though, most of those shorter sleeves kind of look the same, and I’ve got plenty of other long sleeve tops for knit fabric that I could swipe a long sleeve from, so it’s one purchase that I won’t be making.
So, this make is a win for me, and I’m happy to bring another Scout into the fold of the summer wardrobe. I realise that it’s not such an exciting make as some of the cool dresses that never get worn… but, this is something I get to wear for work on a regular basis and it makes me happy 🥰 Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to sew the frosting sometimes, but you do also need a hefty dose of the good ol’ trusty cake to support that frosting 🧁
The month of May means Me Made May, if you follow sewing related social media – a challenge for people to develop a better relationship with their handmade wardrobe. A lot of people use it as a prompt to try and wear handmade every day, but I feel this unnecessarily shuns those pieces of ready-to-wear that I have and love – so last year I used it as an exercise to see what clothes I was reaching for every day in order to guide my future plans for making.
My RTW Mom jeans got worn on more days than anything else, followed by my Kielo dresses and then Scout Tees. Sweatpants came next. The biggest gaps in my handmade wardrobe were the jeans and the sweats. The jeans… I might not fix. The Dawns I’ve made so far are nice, but not quite up to the level of my store-bought faves – yet. And they might not be for some time, because while we were in NYC in March I discovered that my go-to jeans brand – American Eagle – were now selling curvy Mom jeans. Mom jeans are my preferred style (I can’t even get my shape into regular jeans, and don’t even get me started on skinny jeans 😒), but even with their looser cut I still need a *smidge* more room in the thigh, or a little less room in the waist. These curvy Mom jeans answered ALL MY PRAYERS. They fit pretty much everywhere, and they are a little stretchy. So good. I bought two pairs, both in plain black, and now I’m pretty much set for jeans. They’re stretchy, and comfy, and better than anything I’ve made myself as yet. Plus, I find the offerings of denim fabric that ISN’T BLUE to be pitiful, which is also stalling my handmade jeans journey.
I’m looking to branch out into other t-shirt patterns, maybe a more casual fit one. The Scout has quite short sleeves and isn’t that long in the body – although I’m always wearing high waisted jeans so that’s not really a problem for me – sometimes I’d just prefer a longer one with a looser fit though. For when I’m really in slob mode, y’know 😂
This year, I’m not even bothering with Me Made May because I’ve not worn anything other than sweatpants, t-shirts and hoodies for about seven weeks now. It would be pointless. I hit a new low last week by wearing my dressing gown in a video call (in my defence, it was an urgent sitch that I discovered as soon as I turned my laptop on in the morning, before I got dressed). There’s no point documenting that I’ll be wearing loungewear for thirty-one days of May (with smatterings of cycle clothing in between), because that’s going to tell me nothing about the current state of my wardrobe. And there’s also no point in getting properly dressed in real clothes just to sit at home when I’d be comfier in sweats (although, these photos remind me how much I like those jeans – hopefully, I can still fit into them…) So, while I admire the people that are making the effort to take part, it’s just not something I want to commit to right now. And, to be honest, I’d actually really love to do the exercise in a different season as well – maybe October, so that I can review my shirts and sweaters and not just my summer clothes, because doing it for the same month every year means I only get to think about a small cross-section of my wardrobe.
Now that it’s getting warmer I’m taking the opportunity to clear out things from the wardrobe that weren’t worn last winter, and also the things that I put away at the end of last summer that I know won’t be worn again this year. I have to say, not much made the cut from the summer stuff I hauled out of the bottom of the wardrobe – the Scouts, the Kielos (obvs) and that was almost about it. Several dresses are either going to be salvaged for fabric or given to charity (when that’s a thing again). But what is heartening, is that probably 80% of the summer clothing that does remain is handmade, and loved. Whoop! Progress 💪🏻
The month of May doesn’t just mean Me Made May… it also means that the British Sewing Awards 2020 has opened for nominations. Go and show some love by voting for your fave brands, retailers, and events here.
Next week on the blog – finally ticking off another one of 2019’s Make Nine with a seasonally-inappropriate knitted sweater 🙌🏻 😆 Subscribe below to have the post drop straight into your inbox 🙌🏻