These truly are strange times. I’m fairly happy being restricted to house rules but I’ve had one or two dodgy days so have enormous sympathy for those who are finding this difficult.
I’m still keeping pretty busy, lots of projects that have been planned for ‘ever’ are rising to the surface – but like many people who can sew I’m making scrubs for the NHS.
I know there have been queries as to why they are so short of scrubs and saw an excellent explanation by a doctor on Facebook today. As she pointed out (and I confess hadn’t occurred to me) anyone in the hospitals who would have previously worn their own clothes is now wearing them as their own clothing is unlikely to cope with the 60degree washes deemed necessary. Makes sense. There was more to it than that but that was the heart.
Anyway, I have been using a zero waste pattern which has been shared by Danielle Elsener of Decode. It might take a little longer to sew than some scrubs but is elegantly fitted into the fabric to create the garments without the tons of scrap you get from some patterns. The pattern is available here. I’m not able to spend all day sewing like I did in my past, nor so I want to, but if I can contribute to help the medics I’m happy to do so.
I’m also started on a new jumper – the second incarnation of the Purl Soho Ribbed Raglan Pullover. The yarn is from a jumper I made way back in 2014 and blogged here. I always loved the design but this yarn knitted up a bit lacking in substance, it always felt a bit feeble. As a result it hasn’t been worn much so I’m unravelling it quietly in my work room out of the way of The Management – he gets unreasonably upset by me pulling out something he knows has taken a fair time to knit. I already know from the little I have got done so far that I’m much happier with the way this is knitting up.
Between sewing, knitting, gardening, and general domestic dark arts my time seems to be very well filled. Add to that yoga and art classes using Zoom and I’m sorted. It will be good to get out and see friends again – I think The Management will be happy for me to have another victim to hug.
The other thing I’ve been doing this week is sharing crosswords long distance with Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. She has been starting them in Sydney and then sending me photos of the grid and clues to see how much I can do. Between us we’ve been doing pretty well, and it has made me feel much less isolated. Who knew that I would gain this from blogging!
In common with everyone else life here has been a bit frustrating of late. I’m finding it very difficult to settle to anything at the moment and as a result there’s really not a lot getting done. It’s taken a while to decide what pattern I’m going to start with – there were just so many patterns to choose from!
The eventual choice was the Style Arc Teddy Designer Pant. I’m very sorry but I’m afraid they really should be ‘pants’ and that will be how I refer to them. I think the first time I saw these made up was in Ann’s blog – The Compulsive Seamstress . This was back in March last year, so this is a fairly recently overlooked pattern by comparison with many I have. Back then I knew that I had some linen that would work beautifully for this pattern but I’ve dredged deeper into stash to find something I’m not feeling too precious about. I love the shape these trousers in principle ….. but I’m not certain how I will feel about wearing them.
The pattern has been traced, and the chosen fabric ironed. The fabric is a polyester lightweight suiting which was sold to me many years ago as Trevira. Judging from the way it has creased in storage it should take the front pleat creases well! I found a suitable zip, which I will shorten to the desired length, in stash and I know I have plenty of light grey thread and the required interfacing so I can crack on when I’m ready.
In addition to planning this (OK, it didn’t take too much planning once I’d chosen the pattern!) I have been learning a new skill. When the wonderful Fadanista came to visit Bewdley she was wearing the Stitch Diva Anais jacket. I had admired this previously from her blog posts so it was wonderful to see the actual garment.
I had no idea how Tunisian crochet was done – but isn’t that what the internet is for? Armed with the pattern and the online instructions I made a start. The yarn is Hayfield chunky with wool (80/20) and was very nice to work with. As I be no idea how well I would get on with this new technique I thought it wise to us a yarn that could take a bit of punishment! As it turned out this wasn’t quite as difficult as I expected and whilst I know that there are one or two imperfections no one is going to see unless I point them out.
This was an absolutely engrossing project – every spare moment I had I was hooking away like a demon! As it was chunky yarn it grew satisfyingly quickly too. I thoroughly enjoyed learning this, and now have a fabulously warm layer to wear when I can shed my winter coat but still need some help. Will I be making another? Erm…
Stay safe, and keep sewing!
In my last post I said I thought that a Style Arc Stacie in my leopard fabric, inspired by the wonderful Tan France, would be a winner. Judge for yourselves….
I was reduced to a Kindle selfie so apologies for the photo quality. I might not look it but I’m outstandingly happy with this version. This is my third Style Arc Stacie – the others are here – so there’s not a great deal to say about the pattern other than it really is an exceptionally good pattern. All the markers line up, the instructions are Style Arc sketchy but easy enough to follow, and the design is classic enough to wear forever. The pockets are mock pockets but I don’t mind that as it prevents me adding any unnecessary bulk over the bust.
I made the jacket up straight from the pattern – no adjustments needed. The fabric was from stash – booty from a Birmingham shopping trip that has waited patiently for the opportunity to shine. This time I decided to finish all the seams nicely as they are in show in this unlined jacket. I covered the yokes in the same lining fabric and used the burrito method to ensure everything looked tidy inside. I’m really glad I took the time on these finishes as it’s turned a good jacket into something a bit special.
The buttons were the standard hammer on jeans buttons which are barely visible on this fabric but I love them.
Check out Bessie wearing it.
I wore this out to lunch with friends today and was very, very happy with it. I think we do indeed have a winner 🏆
Last weekend I had a lovely visit from my sister and a couple of her friends who wanted to visit Hay on Wye – a book town. We all love books and reading so it was the obvious place for them to visit but they hadn’t been before. It was many years since I was last there so was overdue a visit.
We had a fabulous day, and I wasn’t too nutty and only bought five books. The trousers I’m wearing in the photo are from my ‘missing time’. They are a rough approximation of a Uniqlo pair I bought and loved. They’re made in an ancient viscose from very, very deep stash and have been worn lots this summer as they are cool and very comfortable (secret pyjamas).
Anyway, conversations recently with my fabulous little sister have turned to exercise. She’s back at the gym, and is also running, so I thought I would get her to try on the bits I had made in the fabric I showed in my last post with the intention of making some for her …. sometime. Well she looked so good I sent her home with them all. Don’t you agree? Please take note that she has my 12kg kettlebell rather than the 8kg. She wanted that to be known 😂.
The leggings are my self drafted pattern. Thank goodness we aren’t too far apart in size and that the stretch can accommodate her extra height.
The shorts are the Greenstyle Moxi again. I put the pocket into the back this time – I needed to make it a bit wider to take a longer zipper and enable my phone to fit. I have an iPhone 5 so if you want to use this pattern pocket for similar phones check the fit before you seal it up.
The top is Melissa Fehrs VNA top. I made it before (ages ago) and thought it worth repeating as I often wear it for yoga and thought another would be useful. Guess I’m making another nother.
I’ve had another day out this week – Birmingham again with the lovely Demented Fairy and Glenda. We were all astoundingly well behaved, well Glenda and I were, and only bought what was on our lists. HONEST!
I had checked in advance what I wanted for upcoming projects and stuck faithfully to what I needed. (In all honesty had there been anything I really loved I may not have been so good). One item was a Dylon Rosewood dye to transform some dismally boring beige cotton twill to use as a wearable muslin for a project I really want to start.
The fabric is now dyed and cut out. I’m going to save more information for next time. It’s from the long list of things I wanted to make, made from stash fabric too. Sorry for teasing! (Not sorry 😂)
… or rather Style Arcs to Australia.
Over some time I have been becoming aware of just how many Style Arc patterns I have admired through other sewists – in person or via blogs – and just how many I had bought. And left waiting for action.
Well, I did have a bit of a sewing flurry before I went to Australia and most were Style Arcs.
One of the most frustrating things before I went was deciding to shop for that most basic of garments – a simple white t-shirt. I must have wasted hours looking at and rejecting, even getting as far as trying on before I rejected. Why so difficult? I don’t like a very close round/jewel neckline but nor do I want to have a neckline so low I have to be aware of how I am standing/sitting. I wanted room for ‘the girls’ without flapping fabric over my hips. I wanted sleeves but not anything unusual – and no decoration. I eventually gave up and ordered some fabric from Tia Knight that was sufficient to cut three t-shirts from for a massive £15. The pattern was my basic t cut from my Kristina Shin book. It took significantly less time than I had spent shopping and I had a result I was happy with. So much so that I have decided that I need to make more in black and probably in both black and white with long sleeves for whilst it’s still cold. The photograph was from our time in Melbourne where we were able to have lunch on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. Great fun. If you get the opportunity have a meal on this – great food and you get to travel the city whilst you eat.
Our first stop after that was in Adelaide where I wore the Stacie jacket when we visited the Oval. This was made some time ago and is one of my favourite jackets. I see there is now also a ‘Stevie’ jacket which is described as oversized. Although it has more detail I think I prefer Stacie. Details from when I made this are here . I have this in orange too and though I considered taking that instead of the black I think I made the right choice, and as it was still Aussie spring it was cool enough often enough to make me glad I took this.
The first garment I made specifically with my trip in mind was Style Arc’s Blaire Shirt dress. I had the linen/cotton mix stripe in stash (there’s a surprise) and I knew it would be perfect. I chose the lilac for no other reason than I liked it. The pattern is perhaps a bit more ‘square’ in shape than I realised but I found it perfect for this occasion. It was probably in need of a cardi’ for the early breakfast in the outback (we were on the Ghan train and were woken early to watch the sun rise) but it was fine most other times – and it was worn lots. It survived getting soaked while I paddled at Bondi beach and still looked fairly respectable to the end of the holiday (unwashed I have to confess). Apart from maybe being able to cut a size smaller next time I don’t have any complaints about this pattern. Oh, apart from needing very long arms to get to the bottom of the pockets! I do intend to sew a seam across the pocket to stop everything going to the very bottom which should help in future.
I also made this up as the shirt, this time in a beige stripe. I wore this the day I went to meet Lesley (from SewNipTuck) and her husband Fergus in Manly who were both lovely, and it was great to be given a walking tour of Manly even though I had a sore foot/ankle which restricted it somewhat. The original pattern would have had this double layered beneath the seam midway down the body. I though this might be a bit much in this fabric so adapted the pattern so it’s just a single layer.I like it like that but would be prepared to try the original design in a finer fabric.
It was a funny moment when we realised we were both wearing Style Arc Barb trousers! I made mine in a brown linen stretch that had been in the stash for longer than was reasonable so I was very pleased that they were so well worn. Lesley had narrowed the legs on her pair, and turned up a cuff, which looked really good. I may steal that idea for another pair.
There’s another bloggers tale that goes with the Barb pattern. I got the pattern as a freebie (hurrah!) when I signed up for a newsletter from Style Arc. It languished in the computer until I decided I really needed to make some trousers – NOW!!!! Inevitably that is the moment you have problems. My file wouldn’t print properly so I sent an appeal to a couple of other people I thought had the pattern. Rhonda came through – but with a size 10. I was pretty confident I would need the 14 but she thought not. I cut a trial pair in some cheap stuff from the Rag Market with HUGE seam allowances so I could adjust. And adjust. They were massive. I made the linen up exactly as the pattern stated and they were great. If you haven’t tried Barb yet I strongly recommend you do!
I did meet Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial (who was just gorgeous) and will detail more on another post because I have much to say about a book she recommended when we were together. There is even a photograph but I need to check that Celia is happy for me to post it before I do.
You might be forgiven for thinking that I haven’t done much since I got back – even taking Christmas into account – and you’d be right. I have been taking life very eaaasy. It’s lovely. There is stuff happening but at a much more relaxed pace than previously – and I am slowly starting to try to sort out my messy life and head. It’s going to take a while.
However, I have made a shirt. Another Style Arc – Juliet this time. I had admired this shirt when I saw the Demented Fairy’s version when we met to shop. I had exactly that fabric and it looked fabulous – but I wouldn’t be so mean as to do a direct copy. That’s just not nice. Anyway, Style Arc had another sale, I couldn’t resist buying more patterns (this has got to stop!) and this one was bought and printed. The fabric had been in the stash for so long it smelled a bit funny so I had to wash it before I was willing to work with it. Oh, the shame! It actually looks better on me than on Bessie at present – she is a little heavier than me at the moment (adjusting her dimensions is another of those jobs to be done) – but there has been no opportunity to take a picture of me wearing it so Bessie you get. I’m very happy with this (in a size 12 – what?how?why?) and I know it will be worn frequently despite needing to be ironed which isn’t my favourite pastime.
That’s more than enough for now, but I do have more posts in preparation so I might not be too long in coming back.
Keep warm out there!
Yes, it’s official – I’m retired so don’t ask me to do a darned thing!
Actually not quite true yet as I still have a very small amount of client work outstanding – but it’s all work that has no deadline so I can actually do it when I feel like that sort of work rather than feeling obligated. How happy am I! I promise this is the last time I gloat ‘coz I’m retired . Honest.
Anyway, my last post was a frantic dash to get the Jungle January garments posted before Ann slammed the gate closed so I didn’t tell what else I had been doing so I will start here..
In with my lovely knitting ‘Stitching Santa’ parcel from Jo was a skein of sock yarn in lovely greens. Clearly since it was my gift I had to knit this for myself. Since I had no other knitting on the needles I decided to start January with this. The yarn was a lovely Superwash wool/nylon sock yarn by Knitglobal which knitted up beautifully into very comfy socks. Thankfully they are also very warm because it has been positively bleak here in the UK. Grey and wet. Yuck! There are another couple of balls of Drops sock yarn so I can start another pair whenever I want. Bliss!
I started sewing with the Butterick 6388 pattern and a cheerful red polka dot jersey because …well, it’s miserable in January! Red always cheers me up. However, I really have to say I prefer this as a top (as it was for JJ in the last post). It’s a great pattern – and I certainly see more of these in the (possibly near) future – but I like the top better. The pockets in the diagonal seams are great but inclined to open up a bit when you are wearing the dress. I may go back and sew these closed. The fabric is far from high quality – probably plain polyester jersey from the Rag Market but I have no recollection as it had been in stash for ages. It does have as much stretch as the pattern claims to need but I would much prefer it to be stretchier as it clings a bit. It may behave better once it has been washed but at the moment it is giving electric shocks as there is so much static!
My next choice was another Rag Market fabric – this was an astonishingly good buy at a mere 50p per yard (or whatever length they were selling in that day) and is a very heavy jersey. I should probably have thought more carefully about that weight when I decided to repeat the wonderful Savage Coco Presto top in it. The front (and as it’s cold I did the back too) is doubled so there is a lot of cloth here. I really should have put a petticoat under that dress before taking photographs – I don’t usually have a sway back problem so I assume the cloth is just stuck to my tights. I really loved this made up as a top and have worn the ones I made
last year Yikes!!! it was 2015 a massive amount. They have every right to be looking a bit shabby now. I’m not sure if I will keep this as a dress or shorten it to a t-shirt length. I’m really not good at wearing dresses but I’m trying so hard. Perhaps you could tell me what you think?
In addition to sewing these for me I have been destroying a whole load of good cotton. I really can’t believe how long it is taking to cut the pieces for The Managements quilt! Sheesh! All that time and I’m going to be spending even more sewing it all back together. Remind me whats great about quilting can you?! I can assure you that progress on this project is going to be outstandingly slow. No, even slower than that.
Having finished the socks I was knitting I have broken out of my sock addiction to start knitting a pattern by Purl Soho I saw a while back and just loved. At the time there didn’t seem to be many made up (and when I worked out the cost of the yarn recommended I could see why!). The Botanical Yoke pullover is shown made up in Cashmere/Merino which would quite clearly be heavenly to wear. As I hadn’t used a Purl Soho pattern (and as I said there was no information on Ravelry about the pattern at the time) I decided to make it up in a more summer appropriate, and purse friendly, Drops Cotton Light. Again I chose a bright red (what can I say, red just feels good in January) and have been enjoying knitting this whilst watching the telly box. I have the body knitted up to the armholes, and one sleeve started, so it shouldn’t be too long before I hit the exciting part. By knitting in this yarn first it will give me the opportunity to test the pattern, check the size (my guage is pretty much perfect), and decide if I love it enough to invest in the cashmere/merino to make a sweater to treasure. So far it’s looking good.
Already we are almost half way through February so there won’t be massive amounts sewn for me now (although there are patterns lined up ready to use). I do have a shirt cut out for The Management, and I really do want to start my coat before summer so I really should crack on. But, and it’s a big but, I am only sewing when I feel like it at the moment – and that feels really good. I have been reading, cooking, exercising, and clearing some of those jobs you always intend to go but tend to get left.
I’m enjoying life. Hope you are too.
Oh dear, again I am really late posting what I have made for Jungle January hosted by the lovely Anne at Pretty Grievances again.
I did join in a couple of years ago when I made a pair of zebra print leggings. I knew I had a bit of this fabric left and had been hoping to get it made into something, ANYTHING! I bought a pattern from Melissa at Fehr Trade which I loved but had totally forgotten buying (I’m sure there will be many more of these occasions as I trawl through the detritus in my stash – both fabric and patterns) and knew this was it.The VNA top was beautifully designed, the PDF pattern fitted together with no hitches when I traced it so I was ready to go. Until I was diverted by something else and lost my tracing. Anyone else as disorganised as me?
I searched high and low, gave up and traced again – measuring myself again and discovering I needed the size smaller than I had traced anyway. Probably just as well it got lost. Anyhoo, this exercise vest was made entirely from ‘scrap’ fabric as the zebras were leggings leftovers, and the contrast black section was from a client project that left lots of chunks of black lycra. The sewing instructions were very clear, and the point at centre back is a particular delight. It probably took less time to cut out and sew than I spent searching for the original tracing.I have worn this a couple of times out running and to my yoga class and it performs beautifully – but as Melissa is an experienced runner herself I wouldn’t have expected any less. I love this and will certainly be making more as I prefer vests to t-shirts when exercising but I will reduce the hip circumference a little (I basically have no hips).
Feeling flushed with success I cut out a top from Butterick 6388 which I bought a while back when it was on sale. I loved the neckline and thought it would be absolutely perfect for the bleak grey weather we are having. Again the fabric is leftover from another project – Fadanistas Sneaky Shrug. The fabric was dirt cheap from Birmingham Market so I have absolutley no idea exactly what it is – but I have washed it and it survived, it has a bit of silver twinkle in it, and it has a leopard print. What more can you ask? I have worn this combination of leopard top and warm leggings (not blogged yet) pretty much since they were finished. I love them both – expect to see more. Sorry it’s such a lousy mirror selfie but I took it very quickly to be able to get it posted.
I have done more in January but the whole idea of retirement has gone to my head and I haven’t been taking photographs or blogging (although I have been trying – and largely failing – to keep up with reading blogs). I promise to update the January makes very soon. Honestly promise.