My Week In Sewing: Me Made Wardrobe and Upcoming Sewing Plans

Hello everyone! This week you join me on the sofa cutting out patterns and giving myself a home pedicure with one of the Fast and Furious films in the background. Its been a busy couple of weeks with very little sewing if I’m honest. But then that is the point of these blogs, to be honest about my sewing! 

Part of the reason I’ve done very little sewing is that last weekend I took a trip up to Birmingham to visit my school friends who I’ve not seen in forever. It was lovely to get a weekend away after a busy week and nice to visit a city for the first time! I was very good and didn’t visit any fabric shops instead we just had a wander around and went for dinner and drinks then brunch on the Sunday morning. Although I couldn’t get any sewing done, it was lovely to take a me made wardrobe on tour. Since my me made wardrobe has grown I actively enjoy packing for trips. Trying to find new styles and looks, combining new garments, and really revelling in the joy of making and wearing my own garments. It was a scorching weekend so I pulled out my old favourite, the McCalls #M8090 made in this beautifully pattered viscose paired with my new denim jacket (left) as discussed in my last blog! Then  for brunch it was a little cooler so I brought out my McCalls #M7531 striped jersey dress with the same denim jacket(right). Packing for one night is always challenging and both garments roll up very small so are ideal for the backpack. 

Although covid and lockdown allowed me to advance my sewing endlessly and create lots of beautiful garments, it also robbed me of a chance to actually wear any of them. Now that we have the freedom to socialise and travel I am really enjoying styling my me made wardrobe. I had the wonderful sensation the other day of looking into my wardrobe and seeing that well over half is now me-made. I have also started a new system of organising my wardrobe using colour. Not only is it visually very appealing when I open the door, its also making it much easier for me to find garments. I’ve discovered that when I’m thinking about outfits I tend to choose a colour first and then a style or combination. I think that’s the trick to sorting your wardrobe, its finding a system that works for you and sticking to it. 

The other reason I’ve managed very little sewing is because almost every night this week there has been a points failure at Marylebone so I’ve been late home every night. Even on Thursday night when I was lucky enough to go to the ballet with Adam’s mum and sister (we saw swan lake it was amazing!!) I got to the station for the 11pm train and again we were 40 minutes late leaving meaning I got home past midnight. Taking travel difficulties into account, plus the fact that every spare moment is being spent on my MA dissertation, you can see why not much sewing is happening. I do have lots of sewing I want to do though. The inspiration is definitely there, I’m just time poor at the moment. 

So! Lets talk about what I am sewing and hoping to sew. First up is my next ambassador project for Cashmerette, I can’t talk about the pattern but I am hoping to manage a trip down to town this afternoon to pick up the fabric. It will be a super quick sew, I just don’t have any suitable fabric in my stash. I will reveal that it’s a stretch pattern and I so rarely sew with jersey that I am breaking my fabric ban because I genuinely have nothing appropriate. I also need to buy some thread so I can hem a dress, and I will also need some buttons. The deal is, I write 500 words on my lit review and I get to go into town! 

Next up are two slip dresses. One is my next Friday Pattern company slip dress, I’m making the long version in a size smaller, and the other is the Jessica Slip Dress from Tammy Handmade which I’m going to make in a Black Cupro. I’m planning to do a youtube video about all three slip dress patterns and give feedback on how they all compare and fabric suggestions etc. I’m hoping that will be ready for the Jubilee Weekend so keep an eye out if you subscribe to me on YouTube!

The final active project I’ve got at the moment is my Chalk and Notch Wren which I’m making in this gorgeous red viscose from Stitch & Ink! I’ve cut it out, I just need to get going with it. I think I’m going to have a go tonight so I at least get some sewing time in this weekend. 

As you can see I’ve got lots I want to do, lots I’m excited about sewing. I’m just struggling for time. This morning is the first time this week I truly feel like I’ve had a moment to myself to just relax. Then I’m off to write more of my dissertation and then hopefully (fingers crossed!) a trip to town in the sunshine. The final thing I’ve been working on you will see tonight! My guest blog for Lush Cloth will be going live and I’ll finally be able to tell you all about one of my favourite new makes that has been ruling my work wardrobe. 

It wouldn’t be a My Week In Sewing blog unless I did my pattern and fabric highlight. As always these are in no way sponsored, they are just fabrics and patterns that I’ve seen this week and am secretly coveting!

Pattern: This week’s pattern of the week is the Carolyn Pyjamas from Closet Core. I’ve been thinking about making myself a super light pair of summer pyjamas for a while and I think the Carolyn is the dream pattern! Now I just need to find a suitably light fabric for when its ultra hot.

Fabric: My fabric of the week is not from one shop but all week I’ve been dreaming about White Broderie Anglaise! I’ve never sewn with it but I’ve always loved it. I’m still looking for the perfect one, Sew Sew Sew have this in coral and there is talk it may be coming in white in July! Until then I’ll be swishing around in Broderie Anglaise in my dreams.  

That’s all from me this week, but have a great week everyone and hopefully next week I will have lots of beautiful things to show you!

My Week In Sewing: Slip Dresses & Summer Sewing

Hello everyone, here we are back again! Honestly I missed last week because of a combination of the Bank Holiday making me forget what day was Sunday and my final MA assessment (apart from my dissertation) was due on Tuesday so I was writing all weekend anyway. Thus a Sunday missed but not much sewing week before last so no harm no foul.

This morning I spent a lovely couple of hours sat outside in the sunshine, basking like the salamander that I am, reading, and starting to think about my summer holiday wardrobe. I have not actually been on a hot summer holiday since I started sewing more seriously. So there is a lot to think about. In July I’m going to Menorca for 4 days with one of my best friends in the world, we are going to sunbathe, read, drink by the pool, and thats pretty much it! We both seriously need a break and we have the same heat tolerance so its perfect. Now I have begun the very exciting task of considering my wardrobe. Its not that long a holiday but I want lots of options and ideally I want everything except my existing swimwear to be me-made. This morning I sat out and read in my McCalls #M8090 dress and it has definitely earned the first spot in my suitcase. I made this dress last summer and I loved it from the second I put it on, its light weight, floaty, a nice length and but still covered enough to protect your arms and chest from sunburn which I definitely need. I’ve got some other ideas but nothing concrete as of yet but I am definitely going to film a vlog of the final wardrobe when I’m back from holiday.

I’ve been quite quiet over on instagram and on my youtube community tab recently, not that I can really get to grips with that last one I’ll be honest… My quietness is not due to lethargy but actually because I’ve been doing some secret sewing that I can’t reveal to you just yet. For one garment the pattern has not yet been released, for the other I’ve got a guest blog to write before I can show you the make publicly but, spoiler alert, I love them both. Something I can tell you about however is the Butterick pattern I’ve been chipping away at for the past few weeks (pictured on the left). The skirt finally went on last night (hooray!) but there is still a lot of work to do on this dress. The fabric is so slippery that it is astonishingly irritating to work with and I’m having to baste everything to get the right placement. I’m not kidding, pins just fall out of this fabric! However I do have a time limit so I’ve got to get on with it. In two weeks time I am going to the Royal Opera House to see Swan Lake with Adam’s mum and sister and ideally I would like to wear this dress. However there are other options in my wardrobe if this one tries my patience too much.

Last weekend I was also finally able to reveal both my Sicily Slip Dress(left) and my Saltwater Slip (right). It’s so great to have them both out in the world now and feel free to head over to my youtube to find out how I got on making them both. The Sicily has grown on me massively, particularly since I cut half of it off but the Saltwater? I hate it. Or at least I hate the one that I have made. I’m not going to give up because I really do like the pattern, instead I’m treating my first endeavour as a wearable toile. This time around I will be making the longer version in a size smaller in a different fabric and adding the waist ties. I’m also considering a second Sicily but just as a top this time because I think it would look amazing tucked into jeans.

As you all know, I have a penchant for short dresses both in the summer and the winter. Now that my slip dresses have been revealed, the genre of slip dress fashion is open to me and I’ve been considering how best to style them within my wardrobe. I am trying to buy as little as possible and curate a beautiful me made wardrobe, however when I see a piece that I love and will keep for many years I think its worth buying it. What I am trying to train myself to do is to do less impulse shopping. For example, yesterday when I was in London I tried on the most incredible M&S denim jacket embroidered with daisies. I loved it when I saw it on the mannequin, I tried it on in the changing rooms and realised then that it would look amazing with my Sicily slip dress, my white trainers and a pony tail for a more casual summer look.

However sometimes shopping in London specifically can make me way more impulse prone that I am usually so I resolved to think about it. I left the store and 5 minutes into my bus ride to the station I had managed to think of about 8-10 outfits which I wear in the winter that could easily become summer outfits with the addition of this jacket. By the time I was on the train home I was utterly bereft that I had not bought the jacket. I talked it through with Adam, I looked at my wardrobe, I considered if I might find something else better, I um-ed and ah-ed all morning but finally decided on mature consideration to order it online today.

Although it is spending money which with the cost of living crisis I’m really trying not to do, I feel that a proper denim jacket is a good investment for my wardrobe and something I will have for a very long time. I had one as a teenager for 4/5 years before I grew out of it and i wore it constantly, since then I’ve not had one but I have felt the lack of it in my wardrobe. So I have made an investment in my wardrobe. That was the theme of yesterday because I also decided to go and get a bra fitting for the first time in 4 years and also invested in two new bras that fit me. What with that, the jacket, and a little bit of summer fabric shopping at Stitch and Ink, I’m on a spending money ban until my holiday in July!

However thanks to me small shopping excursion I do now have some exciting fabric plans my long saltwater in a black ditsy floral viscose, a wide check gingham version of my Cashmerette Roseclair Wrap Dress, and a mystery red dress for an engagement party we are going to at the end of July. I should point out that the dress is only a mystery because I can’t think of a pattern just yet rather than it intentionally being a mystery. It will have gathers, It will be floaty but other than that I have no idea. Suggestions are very much welcome in the comments below.

One thing I did want to talk about in this blog is Me Made May. Last year I took part in Me Made May by wearing a me made garment everyday and posting a picture on instagram. I felt that it really helped me to get to know my wardrobe better. This year I’m going a different way. The mending pile in my house has now become a mending bin bag and its got to be dealt with. So this month my focus is going to be on mending and caring for my existing wardrobe. I’m hoping to film a mending vlog when I have time and I’ll do a post at the end of the month to say how I got on but other than that you probably won’t see a huge amount from me about Me Made May. Apart from anything I don’t want to procrastinate from the mending by posting about it! But I am taking part, just in my own way.

This week’s fabric of the week comes is a deadstock viscose from Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn that I am absolutely in love with! I saw this green fabric no fewer than 5 times on different people when I was in Covent Garden yesterday and it looked stunning. I’m not normally one for bright green but this fabric has got me sorely tempted!

This week’s pattern of the week is the aptly named Jessica Slip Dress from Tammy Handmade which is the next slip dress on my horizon. I adore Tammy’s patterns and can’t wait to get stuck into this one. It might even be a candidate for my new red fabric!

Thats all from me this week but can’t wait to catch-up with you next weekend when me and my me made wardrobe will be going on a little road trip up to Birmingham to see an old school friend of mine!

My Week In Sewing: Holidays, Bomber Jackets, and Summer Sewing

Hello everyone and welcome back to the So What If I Sew blog! We are back for another ‘My Week In Sewing’ except technically it is two weeks as last weekend we were away on holiday. It’s been an exceedingly busy two weeks and I have been really looking forward to sitting down on my sofa with a cup of tea and taking a moment to reflect and write this blog. As we were off work from Friday to Thursday and actually away Saturday to Tuesday, the weeks have somewhat blurred into one so I will do my best to separate them and remember the interesting things but honestly its more likely to be a thematic blog this week!

Last week(w/c 11th) I was working on an exhibition opening and I have to say my me-made work wardrobe really came into its own. I wore my second Chalk & Notch Fringe Dress – which to tell the truth isn’t completely finished( I still need to sort the sleeves) but I wore it anyway and no one noticed so I’m counting that as a win. Then for the night of the private view I got my favourite Nina Lee Portobello trousers out – stylish, elegant, and space for two phones and an epi-pen in the pockets and a radio on the waistband! Then on Maundy Thursday the sun shone and I unearthed a make I had completely forgotten about. This McCalls M7531 midi dress(shown on the left) in a super cute pink stripey ribbed jersey from Sew Much Moor. It was funny, I was sat in bed on Wednesday night trying to figure out what to wear, I was going into the office and then having dinner in London in the evening with a friend so needed an outfit to do both. Then as I scrolled through my instagram account my me-made wardobe came galloping to the rescue! This dress was made in October and the fabric is far too thin to wear in the winter so I had just sort of forgotten about it but I love that even though the fabric is lightweight, the length helps to keep you warm and cosy, I love how comfortable it is while still looking smart, and I love the colours. Now that this make has been brought to the front of the wardrobe, I know it will be getting top billing for the rest of the spring/summer.

One of the functions of these blogs is take a moment and think about my week. I know I mentioned I was starting to be a bit better about taking time for myself but this philosophy sort of dissolved in the run up to the holiday as so much had to be done before I left. However on reflection I did manage to take some time for myself before it all kicked off! I started last week with a relaxed Sunday at the hairdressers. My appointments take roughly 6 hours but I really value that time to sit and relax, to read a magazine, to get a bit of local gossip, and generally enjoy time that is truly my own. I had dinner with a friend that I’ve not really seen since January 2020 which was wonderful and on Good Friday Adam and I had a wonderful relaxed afternoon in town together. What originally was a quick admin trip for birthday presents and picking up shoes from Timpsons, devolved into a full day together in town including lunch out and some shopping for me – I managed with great difficult to stay away from the fabric shop but I am on a fabric ban until I have enough space to the fabric I currently own! I also managed to accept that I wasn’t going to be able to finish my purple satin dress in time for our weekend away so instead of stressing and beating myself up I decided to be kind to myself and I ended up buying a RTW jumpsuit(as shown below with the bomber jacket) and a red jersey dress. Both of which I adore and fit me perfectly! Thats the funny thing, when you fully stop shopping for clothes and sew most of your wardrobe, buying something RTW becomes a lovely treat. Something that happens once in a while and that I appreciate far more than I used to. I really enjoyed trying things on, thinking about upcoming makes and silhouettes but not feeling pressure to get anything just engaging with my love of clothes and treating myself after what has been a really intense couple of years.

My main sewing project last week was my first Cashmerette Club pattern, the Kimball Bomber Jacket. I used a ponte di roma jacquard for the main jacket, black ribbing for the cuffs, neckline, and waistband, and a cosy viscose for the sleeve lining. Looking at this garment both in photos and on the sofa next to me right now, I still can’t quite believe I made it. So lets talk construction details: this project involved bias bound seams, zip pockets, jacket zips, and it allowed me a first go at quilting fabric. The sleeves are made of three layers of fabric, an outer jacket layer, an inner lining, and then a layer of batting sandwiched between the two to give the sleeve some body. It also contributes to making the jacket super cosy to wear. I quilted it by eye which was tricky, as neither fabric would take chalk markings, but it worked out fine if a tiny bit messy and then literally yesterday while I was tidying I discovered that I have a quilting foot for my machine. That would definitely have helped!

The pockets were also a real learning curve, for some reason I really struggled to get my head around attaching the pocket bags for the zips, but sure enough doing just one step at a time and not reading ahead(not reading ahead helps me when I a overthinking and I just need to focus on the step at hand), the instructions guided me through and I have two excellent pockets. There are also loads of other techniques in this that were a little new to me such as bias bound seams – which I love! All in all it was a real journey and I’m incredibly proud of it. I mean…please don’t look at the inside or anything and its by no means perfect, but I am extremely happy with the result and I know its going to get alot of use this summer. I was so proud of it that I wore it out in London on the Saturday night and made Adam take photos of me against a cool black wall outside our hotel. I had a bit of a vogue moment and I regret nothing. Side note: do we love my new sunglasses? The result of over an hour trying sunglasses on at TK Maxx but I am very pleased!

The bomber jacket and jumpsuit emsemble was in honour Adam’s mum’s 60th Birthday, we had dinner with most of his extended family and then went to see Cabaret which was an absolutely wonderful production. If you get the chance to visit the Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre I thoroughly recommend it! Then on the Sunday we escaped to the countryside for a few days walking and relaxing at a country house hotel in the North Downs to celebrate our anniversary. On our way back through London on Tuesday we rounded the trip off with nearly two hours, and an ungodly amount of money, spent in the enormous Waterstones in Gower Street. All in all a wonderful weekend and very much needed! Since we got back earlier this week we’ve been trying to sort things out as between work, Adam and I being ill, my MA, and the holiday, we STILL haven’t finished unpacking the house after the move! I know everyone says that unpacking takes time but Adam and I are normally very very speedy unpackers so it is a little stressful that the flat still isn’t completely sorted. We will get there though and there really isn’t that much left to do, it just feels a lot at the moment – we shall prevail!

However I have had time to get some good sewing in this week! After work on Friday I got the overlocker out and finished all the seams on my white Marlo cardigan. Now I just need to decide whether I want to put buttons on it or if I’m happy with it as it is. I have also been beavering away at my Harriet Bra and I am pleased to report that I now have about 75% of an actual bra! The casing is going to be attached next and then elastic to almost every side and then I just need to wait for the rings and sliders to arrive so that I can attach the straps. Idiotically I used my original rings and sliders on my Friday Pattern Company Saltwater Slip Dress which I will be able to tell you all about next weekend. Yesterday evening I also managed a little batch cutting and cut out my next Cashmerette ambassador project – I can’t reveal the pattern just yet – and my Closet Core Pietra trousers which I’m hoping to start this week as well.

I even managed to get a vlog out this weekend! Head over to my youtube channel for updates on my favourite spring makes, my summer plans, and an update on my make nine challenge.

So its been a week (or two!) of bits and pieces. I’m sorry I don’t have anything more meaningful to discuss this week but I really do love these blogs as a way to chat to you all and give you little updates on my sewing. Sadly there will be no sewing for me today as I need to write 3000 words of my dissertation for tomorrow for my tutor to review – wish me luck! Its only my lit review and I have done a massive amount of reading and I’m also fully prepared that what I give her on Monday is very much a first draft and I will most likely edit it a further 6 times before my tutor does her second review. However there is just time to squeeze in this week’s favourite fabric and patterns!

Pattern of the Week: Absolutely loving the Cashmerette Vernon Shirt at the moment! I’m on a Cashmerette kick at the moment and I definitely fancy the idea of making a shirt with no gape and no pulling buttons!

Fabric of the Week: This Ecru Patterned Viscose from Sew Sew Sew has absolutely stolen my heart! I want culottes, I want a dress, I want a skirt, I want absolutely anything and everything in this fabric!

Anyway, I had better get on with my dissertation so thank you all for joining me again this week and I’ll see you next weekend for another My Week In Sewing!

My Week In Sewing: Batch Projects, My New Sewing Space, and The Cashmerette Club

Welcome back to week two of the My Week In Sewing blog feature. I have to say I have been looking forward to sitting down and writing this all week! This past week has been far more sewing focussed, started some new projects, I kept going with some old ones, I tried a new philosphy of sewing and I have an exciting announcement so grab a cup of tea and join me for a round up of my week.

After a week off with illness I returned to work on Monday. My week off definitely helped me slow down and gain perspective and I was determined to try and carry that into the week. Needless to say that didn’t necessarily happen, by Wednesday I found myself all stressed and tense again however I did manage to take 30 minutes to myself everyday which I think is an improvement. Furthermore although I could feel myself returning to old habits I was at least aware of those habits and I do feel like I’ve made positive progress. I guess the key is, as with all long term change, to remeber that nothing is going to happen overnight. I’ve done the hard bit and realised that I have to change my habits but the reality is that I am tackling habits that have been instilled in me since birth so its going to take some hard work to unlearn them. However, it is strange what a period of rest and reflection can do for your motivation. On Monday I started a project that I have literally been putting off for a year. A whole year! I started cutting out my Cloth Habit Harriet Bra. It was one of those moments where you realise that you were actually worrying about nothing. For more news on this make look out for a youtube sew-a-long coming in two weeks time!

This week’s mantra came from a podcast I was listening to which discussed whether something is convenient or whether its positive i.e. when you make a decision are you making that decision because its just easier to do it that way or because it will be actively positive for you. A good example of this for me is going to ballet, I adore going to ballet but often its just easier to work out at home when I get back from work. However if I really think about it, actually going to ballet and socialising with the class would be much more beneficial for me. Sometimes its not possible to go but often all I need to do is remember to put leggings and ballet shoes in my work bag and then I would be able to go. I decided to go to ballet on Thursday and I had a wonderful time so I’ll definitely be going regularly after the easter break – although I should highlight that I can still barely straighten my legs today they are so sore!

This mantra has also made me consider when I have energy and what I should do with those periods. Something I see lots of sewists do, but could never stomach myself, is batch cutting. My style of sewing used to be, one project at a time, long sewing days, cutting and sewing everything pretty much on the same day. The issue with that system is that it means I have nothing to work on in the week without starting a whole new project, something that I rarely have the time or energy to do on Wednesday night for example. Here enters a product that I was shamelessly influenced to buy by Ruan (The Yorkshire Sew Girl) which are these amazing A3 project bags. I bought them off amazon, I got a pack of 5 and I am in love. They allow me to batch cut projects when I have the energy and then during the week when I have a moment to sew I can grab which ever project I want to work on, do five minutes of sewing, and then put the project back in the bag in whatever state it is in! Honestly these bags have revolutionised my sewing. Part of the reason I used to try to get so much done in one session was so that I didn’t have little pieces of fabric or pattern floating around that might get lost. Being able to grab a project and work on it as much or as little as I am able and then safely store it away has really helped me to feel comfortable with any amount of progress and I feel like my sew-jo has flowered again as a result.

Adam finally tested negative for covid so I was able to move back into the bedroom on Thursday. Although it was really rubbish isolating from each other for such a long time, there was one big positive. Having too sleep in the office meant that I had to unpack the room to make space for a bed. The result? The bed is out and now my section of the office / sewing room is full unpacked and beautiful. My sewing machines are out on the side board, my desk it clear, all my sewing supplies are stowed appropriately and the space feels calm and relaxed. I have filmed a tour of my new sewing space which I am really excited to share with you but you will see all next week!

This week I also started quite an ambitious project which is the Cashmerette Kimball Bomber Jacket an exclusive pattern to the Cashmerette Club of which I am now a member! The lovely team at Cashmerette have invited me to be a Cashmerette Club Collaborator so I will be having a go at some of the beautiful patterns and sharing my thoughts with you all. This is immensely exciting to me as I absolultely love Cashmerette patterns. They are primarily a plus size brand however they have expanded into straight size patterns but with proper cup size options – hallelujah! As any of you who have followed me for a while will know, I have a significant bust to waist ratio which can make some patterns completely inaccessible unless im willing to do a multiude of full bust adjustments which (spoiler alert) I can very rarely be bothered to do and often ruin the line of the original pattern because of the amount I have to add. Enter cashmerette patterns where I can make a US size 2 (UK 6) but with a G cup on the bodice! This bomber jacket pattern has been great fun so far, I’m working with a Ponte di Roma Jacquard and a viscose lining from Sew Sew Sew and this week I had my first ever go at quilting to create the sleeves of the jacket! I’m very nervous and I hope the jacket turns out well but I’m hoping to reveal it next week for you all providing I can pluck up the courage to insert the zips.

So its been a busy week! To round it all off I hit 5k followers over on instagram which is very exciting. It’s not exactly the most important thing in the world, but it was nice to take a moment yesterday and appreciate what a wonderful community I am part of and how happy I am to have an international community of sewing friends.

Now I’m off to get my hair done so I can return to a full head of blonde hair in time for our easter weekend away but before I go allow me to highlight my favourite patterns and fabrics I’ve spotted this week!

Pattern pick of the week: The Chalk & Notch Wren Top & Dress gains this week’s spot for pattern of the week! I discovered Chalk & Notch back in January and I have absolutely fallen in love with their patterns. The designs are beautiful and there are two cup sizes available across the whole size range which is fabulous.

Fabric pick of the week: White Broderie Anglaise from Sew Much Moor is my favourite fabric this week. It always makes me think of spring / summer although I’ve never had the confidence to sew with it! I’d like to have a go this year, I’m thinking possibly a fourth Amaya Shirt but let me know in the comments below of any patterns that work well with this fabric.

Thank you all for reading and I hope you enjoyed this week’s installment. I’ll see you next time for another My Week In Sewing!

My Week In Sewing: Sickness, Cosy Cardigans, and my Sicily Slip Dress

Hello everyone, I’ve been saying this a lot recently but welcome back after a brief hiatus. I’m hoping to have to say that less but life is what life is. The challenge from starting a blog in lockdown is that returning to the office, commuting, and generally being out of the house limits the time to blog. Furthermore the stress of returning to a hectic pace of life often means that when I do have time physically, I don’t have space mentally to think about writing. In many ways I felt pressure for this blog to be a practical outlet but now that I have my youtube as a zone for practical sew-a-longs and pattern discussions I wanted to take time to evaulate what this space is for me. The original purpose was always to share my sewing journey, so thats what I’m going to do.

Those of you who follow me on youtube will recognise the name of this series. For a good portion of 2020 and 2021 I would vlog my whole week and share it with you and I loved doing it. It was fun to share what I was up to from home and to share the reality of my sewing journey at that time. However since returning to the office and to commuting, I don’t have the same type of sewing time anymore and it became a real challenge to film anything interesting. So a few weeks ago I had a bright idea! I am bringing the My Week In Sewing segment across to the blog. I’ll still be able to share my week with you plus its a no stress way for me to keep blogging while also taking much needed time to process my week. I hope you enjoy reading this series as much as I am going to enjoy writing it.

My Week In Sewing: 28th March – 3rd April

This week is an interesting one in which to start this series because the majority of my week did not include sewing. In fact I was extremely unwell this week and landed in hospital on Wednesday with a fever, low blood pressure, and a chest infection that was having a good go at becoming pneumonia. However I am definitely on the mend and in many ways the opportunity to stop doing absolutely everything and just rest and focus on my health was a blessing. While I didn’t have much sewing time at the start of the week, I was still thinking about sewing all the time and that is something that can be very hard to capture on a vlog so I’m excited to share those thoughts with you.

Last week was gorgeously hot, as the end of March often is, and I got a chance to debut my Me Made spring and early summer wardrobe. I also started my annual spring body reset where I start moisturising my legs again, sorting out my nails, and putting on face suncream everyday. So even though it turned colder this week and the jumpers went firmly back on, my brain was very much rooted in spring patterns and fabrics. This mood was further bolstered by an exciting package from the Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn sale (shown below) with a beautiful lilac crinkle satin and a rust colour polka dot viscose.

I’ve never really sewn with anything lilac because I used to find with my old hair that it washed me out but my new blonde hair definitely helps to warm up my skin tone so I’m hoping it will look good. I’m just trying to find a pattern for this fabric. I definitely want to make a dress, most likely sleeveless and long but not necssarily flowing, and categorically no buttons. I’m racking my brains for something with the right silhouette so if you have any ideas do let me know in the comments below!

While I was lying in a bed in A&E on Wednesday I looked down at my trousers and noticed that they were starting to go threadbare at the knees and thighs. I’m sorry to say that I have an emergency/inpatient hospital outfit and have done since around 2018. The key to dressing for hospital I always think is convenience and comfort so for years my go to has been a comfy lounge/yoga bra (no metal so you don’t have to take it off for scans), a short sleeved black t-shirt, so they can access your arm for blood tests, cannulars, and blood pressure monitoring, a zippy hoodie or cardigan (something that can go over your shoulders if you aren’t able to put your arms back in sleeves, and my favourite comfy black harem pants which I have had since around 2007. They are super soft, lightweight but warm, easy to take off/put on, and will double as pyjamas if you are admitted. It is these beloved trousers that are finally going the way of all flesh so I put a call out on instagram for pattern suggestions to make another pair and you all asked me to share the recommendations.

Harem Pants Pattern Suggestions:

  • The Tilly and the Buttons Juno PJs and altering the pattern https://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/2020/02/make-it-simple-juno-pyjamas-sewing-pattern.html – this i didn’t go for becuase the vast majority of Tilly’s patterns just don’t fit me in the slightest and I don’t fancy the effort when I know its unlikely to work.
  • The Margot Trousers from Made My Wardrobe https://mademywardrobe.com/shop-products/margot-trousers-printedversion – These were quite a good option but the waist line was wrong for what I wanted. My harem pants have a flat panel from waist to hip, then gathered flowing trousers, and an ankle cuff at the bottom.
  • True Bias Hudson Pants but in a much lighter fabric – I love this pattern but this wasn’t quite right either as the shape doesn’t have the looseness that I want.
  • SEW Magazing Free Harem Pants Pattern https://www.sewmag.co.uk/free-sewing-patterns/sheena-pants – This was the best recommendation by far as it almost exactly matches my current pair. All I will need to do is to lengthen the waist/hip panel a bit and we are sorted! I am going to make these in a super soft bamboo jersey a little later in the year

This weekend I started to feel better so I decided to do some very slow pattern cutting. I managed to cut out two projects I’ve wanted to make for a while. Both of them are repeats of patterns I’ve already made and wear constantly, I am of course talking about the True Bias Marlo Sweater and the Chalk & Notch Fringe Dress. My original versions of which can be seen on the right. The Fringe Dress has been a massive success particularly in the warmer weather. Its comfortable and airy but still modest enough for work and I think the hemline is really fun. And the Marlo Sweater? Honestly I don’t think there has been a day when I’ve not worn it since it came off the machine!

So I will be making a dark version of the fringe dress in a beautiful black viscose with little pebble spots (but this time I’ll include the pockets!) and I will be making a cosy cream version of the Marlo in stretch waffle knit from Higgs & Higgs which will be perfect for colder spring days. I cut both out yesterday and actually managed to make 90% of the Marlo! I’d forgotten what a quick pattern it is to sew. All thats left is to interface the button placket, attach the neck binding and then do buttons and buttonholes.

It took me a lot longer than usual to sew but thats fine. At the moment I’m trying to understand and define what rest means to me rather than what other people say is restful. One huge realisation I’ve had is that for me, someone who constantly has a to do list, I need time where there is no goal. Time to do an activity for the sake of doing it rather than to achieve something. Yesterday I tried to practice that and do you know what? It really helped.

I’ve noticed that in a week of stopping literally everything I do that my mind has become a little clearer as well. So I made a decision about my Sicily Slip Dress. Some of you may remember that I made it back in february and although I’ve not officially revealed it yet as its part of a collaboration i did post it on my story because I couldn’t decide about the length. It was mid-calf and although everyone on instagram said to keep it long, I just couldn’t like it. I hated the way it made me look like a 1920s ghost and I didn’t feel like me in it. But i kept it loong becaues other people liked it and I just couldn’t decide. Now I’ve had space to think and my brain feels quiet I can see that I hate it long and that, although other opinions are useful when trying to make an irreparable decision, at the end of the day I am the one wearing it and I need to like it.

So I took a deep breathe and one inch at a time I shortened it until I began to love it. I took 8 inches off in total so now its mid-thigh and I lengthened the straps so that the neckline was much more flattering. I suddenly feel light. There are lots of a little decisions that can pile up and start to feel like buzzing noise in your head but sometimes it helps to remember that they are individual decisions and each one is entirely achievable if you give yourself time to concentrate on it. I can’t show you the dress just yet as its still technically a secret but I had a really good time slowly altering it to make it fit. It reminded me why I love sewing the way I do, because my clothes are for me and only me.

Today’s other job is to start but not necessarily finish to the make the office/sewing room passable as currently its full of fabric and I can’t get to the desk. Also as Adam is still testing positive for covid, I am sleeping in the office so extra impetus to clear some more space.

I thought I would round off by highlighting a fabric and a pattern that I’ve spotted this week

Favourite Pattern Of The Week: True Bias Zoey Dress & Tank Top

This one would have passed me by but for a fellow instagrammer sharing it on their story! I love everything about this pattern and its swiftly climbed to the top of my wishlist. As someone with a curvier figure I love the chunkier straps and the neckline. I ideally want to try the pattern before Summer so that I can make lots of versions if it works well.

Fabric I’ve Spotted This Week: Hey Sew Sister Peach Waffle Knit

Soemthing I’ve discovered about myself over the last year is that normal jersey and knits are fine but my god do I love a waffle knit. Everything about this fabric just cries out to be made into lightweight jumpers and cardigans, long sleeve tops, and cute lounge shorts, and honestly I can feel my resolve beginning to break! In A/W I was lusting after the Khaki version but now this Peach colour is my favourite!

Thats all from me this week so thank you for joining me. I don’t normally do this style of blog so if you enjoyed it please do give it a like, leave me a comment, and maybe even consider subscribing to hear from me each week.

Until next Sunday, have a wonderful week everyone!

One Year On, How Shopping Has Changed

Today for the first time in over a year I bought clothes. There I said it.

As many of you know what really kickstarted my sewing journey was my pledge to completely give up fast fashion and buy no new clothes for a year.

Now, a year on, I find my mindset towards shopping and clothes is completely different. Before I would shop when I was sad or needed a confidence boost but I would get sad when clothes didn’t fit and I would blame my own body, believe me I have cried silently in many a dressing room. So I would try things on until I found something I loved or something that made me feel better and a few hours later I would come home, arms covered in shopping bags and a big smile on my face. 

However taking a year away from all types of clothes shopping and focussing on my sewing really has changed the way I feel about clothes and my body and that’s what I want to talk to you about today. 

So, what prompted me to shop? Well yesterday I finished my last job and I start my dream job on Monday morning (excited is an understatement) so as a little present to myself I booked in for a manicure and a pedicure which really feels like a luxury when you go at mid-morning on a Wednesday. After my manicure I decided to have a wander through the town centre, I popped in to buy toiletries, I picked up my prescription, I had a mooch in Waterstones and then I walked past GAP. 

Now any of my lovely readers who are not based in the UK may not know but GAP is closing down in the UK forever and although the human rights record of GAPs parent company isn’t great I feel genuinely sad that we are losing this pillar of the high street. GAP is one of the shops I grew up with, its where you would go to get basics or holiday clothes as a child, its where my mum would take me to get proper jeans, its where I bought my favourite jumpers and jeans that actually fit my body. I remember when it was the height of cool to have a jumper with the huge GAP letters across the front, I remember them subsequently going out of fashion and now they are back-in [side note: aren’t trends ridiculous?]. 

Here I am now confident and loving life in the dressing room

Not only was it a big part of my childhood but also GAP had the most consistent sizing, the jeans are done by measurement sizes rather than dress sizes and they have a range of leg lengths. It’s easy to forget the mental impact size consistency or inconsistency can have on you. I have size 10 shorts from River Island bought in 2011 that are still too big for me and now if I tried to buy a size 10 shorts in River Island they wouldn’t even fit on one of my legs. Years ago I would have burst into tears thinking I’d gained weight [another poor side effect of 90s/00s culture] whereas now as an adult I’m outraged that sizing can be so arbitrary. 

So when I walked past the shop today and saw a huge red sign saying the store was closing for good in four days’ time I felt a pang of regret and nostalgia and decided to go in for one last shop. The second I stepped in I noticed a difference in my mindset, I was critical of the clothes not myself, I was aware of what I could make and I didn’t even look at items I know I could sew easily and probably make better versions than what was on offer. 

For me the one thing I’m still not up to yet with my sewing is jeans and one of the reasons I’m sad to see GAP go is that it was the one shop I could always count on to have good quality denim jeans in my leg length and the range of cuts meant I could always find something flattering. So I picked up a few pairs to try on as well as some denim shorts, a super soft black t-shirt and a nostalgic yellow GAP branded jumper and I headed to the changing rooms. 

Again when I tried the clothes on and inevitably some of the jeans didn’t fit I wasn’t sad. I didn’t feel let down by my body because I didn’t fit. Instead I looked at the cut, the fabric and pattern shape and I was critical of the garment. I didn’t want to break my pledge for the sake of it, I thought to myself that if I was going to buy anything I would buy something that fits me well, that makes me feel good and that I like. 

I spent about half an hour in that changing room evaluating each garment, I tried them on separately, I tried different combinations of everything together and in the end I bought a pair of light skinny jeans, a really nice pair of dark denim shorts that are a little longer than normal, the comfy black t-shirt (because I loathe sewing basics) and the bright yellow jumper. The yellow jumper is still making me smile as I sit here writing about it because its just so me. I love the super baggy cut, I love the colour palette and I know I will get a huge amount of use out of it because this gal loves a sweatshirt in all seasons. 

I was worried I would feel bad for breaking my pledge but I don’t. One of the key reasons I chose to give up fast fashion in the first place was to re-evaluate my relationship with clothes, to understand why I shop and not just to buy clothes I’ll never wear to make me feel better. I like making my own clothes but equally I’m not going to pressure myself too much. Buying fabric is expensive so I shouldn’t be buying that just for the sake of it either and there is nothing wrong with buying something every now and then if it’s something completely out of your technical sewing abilities or something you just don’t want to spend your valuable spare time sewing – no one really wants to sew plain t-shirts do they, but we all need them in our wardrobe. 

So will I be going back to shopping now? No, I don’t think so. I love the me-made wardrobe I’m creating, I love the awareness I have of my body and my figure, and I love knowing that my body isn’t the problem, the fashion industry is. 

Furthermore I have increased awareness of the labour of others that goes into my clothes. I see the effort that has gone into them and I recognise the need to pressure the fashion industry to tell us who is making our clothes and to provide those workers with fair working conditions and pay.  

But at the end of the day it is okay to buy things every now and then if you need to or want to as long as you doing it for the right reasons. Pairing Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans made in eco-friendly denim with a RTW jumper doesn’t invalidate the effort put into the me-made garment. In the same way that forgetting your reusable water bottle one time and getting a single plastic one doesn’t devalue the effort you make the rest of the time. We’ve all got to find a way that works for us and it doesn’t have to be all one way or all the other.  I have taken a step back and I see that the way the fashion industry wants me to shop isn’t good for me, it isn’t good for garment workers and it isn’t good for the planet. But if I want to make a considered purchase every now and then and continue to make the rest of my clothes then that’s fine too. 

Clothes should make you feel good and don’t get me wrong my me-made clothes do but so to does my sunny new yellow jumper. 

5 Ways to Get Your Sew-Jo Back

No matter what type of sewist you are, chances you’ve lost your sewing motivation at some stage. So here are my five top tips for reigniting your sewing passion.

Picture the scene, you’re sat in your sewing room or at your sewing table, you’ve finally carved out five minutes in your day to get sewing but all of a sudden you just don’t want to. You’ve been thinking about sewing all day but now you’re there you just haven’t got the energy to turn on your machine or cut out a pattern.

This happened to me this week. I’ve been so tired lately that I just haven’t felt like sewing at all. What’s more I have been thinking a lot about sewing my dads shirt. Its one of the only projects I’ve ever truly messed up. I cut the first version so badly that I literally couldn’t even get to the sewing stage and honestly I felt so upset and ashamed that he couldn’t get his present at the same time as everyone else and that I’d messed it up so badly. So I got him something else for Christmas but people have been pushing me to start making it for his birthday that was in April and the more people pushed and asked the more overwhelmed I felt.

The thing is I’ve made myself shirts, none of the sewing is daunting at all apart from maybe cuff plackets. I was just so scared of cutting it incorrectly that I’ve let the project overshadow me. In April I took the plunge and bought the fabric however even then it sat in the sewing room looking at me. On Saturday I finally felt like it was getting too much so I set myself the target of cutting it out. No time limit, no concerns about sewing or vlogging the process. I got my partner to help me lay the fabric out and pattern match it really carefully and cut it out.

Today I did about half of the sewing, the shirt is together and currently sleeve-less, the collar is together and the buttonholes are marked and I do feel a little bit better but the project is still overshadowing me a bit and sewing it is not relaxing in the slightest because I want it to be perfect for him. I’m feeling better because everything I’ve done is good and I’m really happy with the sewing I’ve done but also I can’t wait for it to be done. Not only to give it to my dad as a very belated present but also to prove to myself I can do it and hopefully restore my sewing confidence and my sew-jo!

That experience got me thinking about my sewing motivation in general. What motivates and demotivates me and what you can do when you’re feeling a little low on sewing enthusiasm.

Why do we lose our sewing motivation?

There are many reasons we lose motivation for a hobby. It can be that you’ve lost impetus to make something new if none of your patterns or fabrics are really grabbing you. Maybe you’ve left a project half done and just can’t face going back to it. Maybe you’ve made mess of the last garment you tried and your sewing confidence is low. A hobby should be a relaxing space and if you’re struggling with a new pattern then suddenly your hobby time can become less relaxing. After a long day at work, you might not want to spend an hour cutting fabric or stitching buttonholes or deciphering complex pattern instructions.

I personally struggle with sewing motivation after a concentrated period of sewing. For example after a month of sewing everyone’s Christmas presents I just didn’t want to touch my sewing machine. This made me realise that I don’t like sewing for others precisely because it detracts from the relaxation of my hobby, there is suddenly a greater amount of pressure to make things ‘perfectly’ and it can leave you not wanting to spend your free time sewing.

However it can also happen when you’re sewing for yourself. Maybe you’re working on a big complex make you’ve wanted to do for ages like a new coat or a pair of jeans. Makes like that require brain power and sometimes after a long day of work or a long week you just don’t want to sew because you don’t want to make a mistake or sit down for a long period of sewing. I found after spending a lot of concentrated time making my Eden Coat that although I was in love with the garment I had made and very proud, it took a lot of brain power and I felt like I couldn’t face sewing for a few days after.

Sometimes we can be enthusiasm personified one day and have zero motivation the next day and thats pretty normal. So what can you do about it? Well my first piece of advice would be to give yourself the space to think about why you aren’t sewing and then try one of my tips below to see if you can coax back some enthusiasm into your sewing.

Top 5 Tips to get back to Sewing

1. Tidy Your Sewing Space

This is a simple way to do something sewing related without the pressure of sewing. You may have lost some of your motivation if your sewing space is messy or if its being used as a dumping ground for other things. Take 10 minutes and straighten everything up. Put something good on the TV or the radio or Netflix and just take your time, whether you’re tidying a sewing room, a sewing table or a tiny sewing nook. You never know you might stumble across patterns you had forgotten you owned or fabric you had a great idea for and then forgot about. Its a great way to spark a little sewing enthusiasm.

2. Pick a palette cleanser project

This is a great way to deal with the post project blues. If you’ve spent a month working on a coat or you’ve been toiling jeans for ages put them to one side, pick a super easy project that you’ve got the pattern and the fabric for and just make it. The golden rules for palette cleanser project are make it quick, make it simple and make it fun. I’m a big fan of whipping up a t-shirt in between projects as I never have enough t-shirts that fit me comfortably and they are so quick to make. Whatever your preferred palette cleanser is, just make sure its something quick to make as you don’t want it adding to a growing pile of UFOs in the corner!

3. Break down your projects into smaller goals

Can’t face starting something new? Then just cut out the fabric today. Nothing else. Have a really big project in the works that promises hours of sewing? As my history teacher used to say, you’ve got to eat your elephant one bite at a time. Break down big projects into small tasks and then reward yourself when you complete them.

4. Set a 5 minute sewing timer

This is a technique I use for everything not just sewing. If you can’t face doing something set a five minute timer and say to yourself ‘I’ll just do 5 mins’ whether that is writing an essay, tidying the kitchen or sewing your next me-made garment. What this does is it takes away the threat of spending hours doing something because you can stop when you’re 5 minute timer is up. More likely than not you won’t stop after 5 minutes because you’ve got into the rhythm of the task but what it does is motivates you to start rather than thinking about starting.

5. Do something else

Sometimes we can be full of enthusiasm one day and suddenly that enthusiasm dwindles all of a sudden. This can happen for rational or irrational reasons. Maybe you’re experiencing one of the situations I described above or maybe you’re hormonal and don’t feel like doing anything at all. You could be exhausted and stressed and tired and all you should actually do is have a bath and go to bed. The most important thing to do is not to beat yourself up about it, it is completely normal to have off days. Literally everybody does. Don’t beat yourself up because you’re not sewing – give yourself the space to go and do something else if you want to. I don’t sew everyday. Sometimes I play the piano or go for a walk with my partner or bake or read or just watch TV with my partner on the sofa. It doesn’t make me a bad sewist, it makes us human.

I hope this tips are helpful to you and let me in the comments if there is anything else I’ve missed. My top piece of advice however no matter what the situation is to actively choose to take some time away from the sewing machine. whether thats 20 minutes to grab a cup of tea, a biscuit and let your brain catch-up with you or a full evening to do something completely different. Just remember that there is nothing wrong with losing motivation, it happens to the best of us and you will get it back I promise.

#SewYellowForEndo Challenge: How to Enter!

Hello wonderful people! Appologies I’ve been a little quiet on here recently but I’ve been working on a very exciting project which I am now able to share – I am of course talking about my Endometriosis Awareness Month activities and in particular the #SewYellowForEndo challenge which will take place on Saturday 20th March.

Endometriosis Awareness Month

Endometriosis is a cruel condition that affects one in ten women and is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK. It causes agonising periods, pain with sex, problems with bowel and bladder function and can contribute to infertility. Despite that diagnosis takes seven years on average and honestly? Thats way too long.

No one knows what causes endometriosis and there is no known cure however the earlier you catch it the more effective treatments can be. The first step to catching it is knowing something is wrong which is why discussing menstrual health is vital. I am an endo-sufferer and although I had a successful surgery back in June 2019, it is still a condition I will have to live with for the rest of my life.

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month and provides a chance for us all to talk openly about Endometriosis and menstrual health, to engage openly and share experiences. I decided to arrange a months worth of activities to raise awareness and champion experiences in the sewing community. The month includes Instagram Lives where I will be talking to a range of guests about their endometriosis experiences, I will sharing resources throughout the month, running mini-quizzes and sewing up plenty of yellow garments! I will also be raising funds for Endometriosis UK.

Endometriosis UK is a fantastic charity who support and advocate for the Endometriosis community encouraging research, running support groups and championing us at the highest level of government and after a very tough year for charities I want to support their vital work! 

So What Is The #SewYellowForEndo challenge?

I am inviting you to learn more about Endometriosis and sew up a yellow or partially yellow garment/outfit – yellow is the awareness colour for Endometriosis. Put your sewing skills to the test and support the Endometriosis community by whipping up a gorgeous yellow garment and show it off on 20th March on Instagram!

How Do I Enter?

Like the sound of the challenge? Well entering is super easy! All you need to do is:

  • Sew a yellow (or partially yellow) garment/outfit and post a picture on instagram with the hashtag #SewYellowForEndo on the weekend of the 20th March. Please tag me @sowhatifisew so I can find your entry.
  • Donate £1 to Endometriosis UK via my Just Giving Page – this challenge is for charity after all!
  • Include a fun fact you’ve learnt about Endometriosis or tell me whats been your favourite part of the Endometriosis Awareness Month in the caption of your post.

Entrants must be over 18 and UK resident to be eligible for prizes. If you’re none UK based and still want to take part I would love to see your yellow outfit!

Prizes!

I am extremely pleased to say that we have some fabulous sponsors on board who are donating prizes to the challenge! We have…. *drum roll please*

  • A stunning fabric bundle from The Rag Shop
  • 2m Metre of gorgeous yellow double gauze and £10 gift card from Hey Sew Sister
  • A £25 gift card from Felicity Fabrics
  • 3x Tilly and the Buttons Patterns + 3 x Yellow Pink Coat Club Pins from Fabric Magpie
  • A £25 gift card from The Sewist Fabric Shop
  • A beautiful fabric and haberdashery bundle from Sewing At Number 51

Winners will be chosen randomly on Monday 22nd March and I will also be aiming to produce a little video/reel of everyone who takes part to share at the end of the month (stay tuned for more on this in March!)

What Else Is Going On?

The other big event I’ve arranged is a series of Instagram Lives to talk about Endometriosis every Wednesday throughout March. Join us every Wednesday on instagram to talk about all things Endo! Lets normalise discussing menstrual health, raise awareness of the condition and the variety of experiences had within the Endometriosis community. We will also have some more scientific content talking about what the condition actually is so anyone who hasn’t heard of it can learn more. I’ve listed the lives below so check it out and come along!

3rd March 6pm – I will be kicking off by sharing my experience and hosting a live Q&A (I’m super nervous)

10th March 6pm – So What If I Sew & Martha Made Things – Endo Experiences

17th March 7pm – So What If I Sew & The Mindful Scientist – What is Endometriosis anyway?

24th March 6pm –  So What If I Sew & Sew Much To Say – Endo Experiences (with some surgery and post diagnosis chat in there as well)

The fact is that many women have to go through an average 7 years of agony to get diagnosed and it’s terrible. How many women will go their whole lives not being believed about their pain, being told its normal or ‘part of being a woman’ to suffer? This year I want to shout about menstrual health and wellbeing and support EndometriosisUK, an amazing charity who support 1 in 10 woman. Let’s end the stigma around menstrual health and getting talking about Endo. 

#FeelingSewMuchBetter Challenge: My Week Of Slow Sewing

I stumbled across the #feelingsewmuchbetter challenge on instagram after a few people I follow posted for the first day. Its run by Sister Mintaka, a fabric shop and haberdashery, and the premise is to pick a project and sew a bit everyday and hopefully finish by the end of the week and a winner is picked randomly each day to receive Sister Mintaka vouchers. I thought I would join in as I often sew for a whole day straight and I very rarely take more than 2/3 days of continuous sewing to finish a project. As a very busy person I decided it would probably do me a lot of good mentally and physically to force myself to just do a little bit each day. Its not about finishing, its about doing every step slowly and consciously and enjoying the process. I thought I would blog about it for this exact reason because its a new experience, something to document, discuss and share. I will do a micro-blog each day and then I’ll review at the end of the week. Without further ado lets get going!

Day 1

After only finding out about the challenge at lunch time, I spent the rest of today thinking about what project, fi any, I would like to attempt to join in. I say ‘if any’ because I didn’t want to just sew for the sake of it if it wasn’t something I had planned on making but I went through my stash extension – which is the part of my stash that has escaped the main box and so needs to be sewed more urgently – and decided that it was finally time to have a go at my Tilly and the Buttons Nora jumper. I’ve been meaning to make one for ages and this pattern does feature on my make nine grid for 2021. For fabric I chose a fun scuba/textured midnight blue jersey remnant which I’ve had in my stash for a while. Looking forward to sewing this project this week!

Day 2

Disaster struck almost immediately tonight as I laid out my pattern pieces on my fabric and immediately found I didn’t have enough fabric. I always forget that Tilly and the Buttons patterns do actually use the amount of fabric they say they will on the pattern envelope! So it was back to the drawing board and I came up with the two fabrics you can see on my instagram story below. I asked you all to help me choose which fabric I should use and it came back as a straight 50/50 which was unhelpful. At that point I mentally decided that I am definitely going to make both of these into a Nora as I think they would both be cute for different reasons but honestly it came down to the fact that I am absolutely freezing so I chose the extremely cosy Salmon/Coral-Coloured Knit from Lamazi Fabrics and I will make the Polka Dot Nora in the summer as the fabric is very light. I then got on to cutting the fabric and stupidly I decided to use my mid-range scissors instead of my super fancy new ones and I wish I hadn’t! This fabric was a pain to cut and foresee some frustrating and slippery sewing so the jumper better be super snuggly. One thing I would mention is that once again the Tilly and the Buttons patterns have got my back up as I think the sizing is way off. I came up as a 12 in the pattern due to my bust which I wouldn’t mind if the waist was right but its not, I wear a 36″ bust but a 26/27″ waist which normally puts me between two sizes which I have to grade. However for Tilly and the Buttons I am two sizes apart and trust me its really hard to grade between an 8 and a 12 especially when we think about shoulders and back pieces. I don’t know what it is about the bodice block because the waist to hip ratio is pretty standard. I come up as an 8/10(by an inch) which is absolutely fine but I wonder if there is a reason the bodice block is so square? In this case I’m making a 12 because its for loungewear so I don’t care about a close fit but its really frustrating!

Day 3

Today I was exhausted but I wanted to do something relating to my project so I decided to do something I almost never do – I actually read the instructions…in detail. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who does this so I might sound a bit weird but I often don’t read instructions, I will give them and the picture a glance for a bout 5 seconds and get one with it. The instructions I read are for techniques I’ve never done before, the first step of a pattern and of course I will depth read if I’m pattern testing for someone else. However on a normal day-to-day sewing basis I normally find that I know how garments are constructed and after about two steps I just get on with it. To me it feels like doing ‘nets’ in maths where you have a flat-lay of an object and you can see how it goes together so the instructions are kind of secondary unless its a complex garment – does that make sense? let me know in the comments below if its just me who’s weird like this. Anyway, I sat and I read as much as possible particularly as I’m determined to really make this jumper step by step. I know some people have chosen really tough projects this week but I have chosen something extremely simple that I would normally do in a couple of hours to make sure I actually take my time and sew slowly and consciously. Now I’m off to bed but I feel better armed to tackle this project step by step!

Day 4

Shoulder Seams Attached

I actually started sewing today and I made myself just do the first two steps. I stabilised the shoulders with some ribbon I had in my stash, it doesn’t match but its on the inside so who cares. Also I almost never use ribbon so I have no idea why I have so much? The pattern instructions suggested using a satin ribbon but I went for a quite stiff textured ribbon as my fabric is so fine and slippery so I thought it would work better, which it has. I then attached the shoulder seams and stopped there. Although I’ve been thinking about this project all week I feel strange stopping after these two steps as I know I could sew more right now but I am making myself stop and do something else. I’m trying to celebrate the steps, the little wins that make up a project. This fabric also has the potential to be immensely frustrating as its so fine that pins just fall out of it soo maybe its better for me mentally to take this make day at a time.

Day 5

Neckband is on

I’m starting to get into this slow sewing malarky! When reviewing my progress tonight and posting to instagram I got some lovely comments praising me for my stripe matching on my neckband which is hilarious because its entirely accidental. I swear whenever I don’t think about it I match patterns really well and whenever I try it doesn’t work. Regardless, the neckband is on and I’m pretty proud of it. Its nice and wide so I’m hoping I will be able to pull it on without having to take my glasses off. The dream.

Day 6

The Sleeves are on!

Today I nearly fell into the trap of keeping going and finishing my jumper today I’ve got the sleeves on which I’m happy with, they are even and neat and I’m so happy that due to the marl of the wool my white zigzag stitching is completely invisible as I had to fix one bit where I had accidentally caught the sleeve. I was just going to move on and do the side seams but I had to stop as I was getting so frustrated by the pins falling out of the fabric. Also I’m feeling really under the weather today (not Covid don’t worry) but I feel hot and cold and I keep shaking so I’m going to give it a rest now and have a very early night.

Day 7

Getting some use out of my fabric clips!

It’s the final day of the challenge and all I have to do is finish up the side seams, hem sleeves and close the stepped edges. I have been sat editing this blog this morning and listening to the Un:Cut Podcast which has been really relaxing and as I was sat thinking I realised the solution to my pin problem – I have fabric clips now! I’m not used to them yet as I only got them over Christmas but they worked like an absolute dream on my Nora. The only issue I had is that the sleeves were SIX INCHES, yes you read that right, six inches too long so I had to chop half the sleeve off to make it fit! Head over to my instagram to see how bad the situation was!

Completed TATB Nora

Here is my finished Nora! I love parts of it. I like the neckline, the fabric is so cosy and soft and I like the stepped hem. On the downside it is like a literal tent on me and honestly I don’t think I could wear it outside the house unless its tucked into something. The sizing is way off and after a rant on instagram this morning and many conversations with you all it seems the consensus is that Tilly and the Buttons sizing is not made for anyone with a significantly larger bust than waist. I chose a size based on my bust measurements but the rest of the garment is so enormous and its not even fitted on the bust so I think next time I will make a size smaller. Also having to cut 6 inches off the sleeve surely shows that something is wrong with this pattern? Although I love Tilly’s patterns I will be approaching them with caution in future and plenty of measuring, toile making and further attention to the finished garment measurements as well as the pattern sizing!

As for the Sister Mintaka #FeelingSewMuchBetter challenge I’ve loved it. I’ve loved giving myself permission to take things slowly, I’ve loved taking time over my makes and its been nice to do 5 minutes everyday. I’ve really enjoyed the consistency! Also its been wonderful to be part of a big community effort and see what everyone else has been making this week. Now I’m off to have a cosy night in my enormous Nora before the work week starts again!

Fabric Friday Reviews: My Sewing Box

Hello Everybody and welcome back to Fabric Friday! This week’s fabric purveyor is My Sewing Box, a wonderful independent fabric shop and haberdashery run by a mother daughter team, Amy & Angela. I particularly enjoy their instagram where they do long stories on the different equipment, fabric and notions they sell and what you should use it for; making My Sewing Box an extremely beginner friendly store.

My Sewing Box

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://www.mysewingbox.co.uk
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/4 metre 

I have followed My Sewing Box for quite some time, as I’ve mentioned I love their instagram account and the way they relate to and understand their customer base. Their website is excellent and although I found the main menu a little overwhelming when I first looked, the main body of the website is simple, user friendly and well designed. Equally the payment process was simple and delivery was affordable and exceptionally quick even during an extremely busy Christmas period. They apologised on their IG for slow delivery but honestly they were quicker than most companies normal delivery! Delivery is free over £45 and standard delivery I paid is £4.50, again a little steeper than other suppliers but very speedy and very reliable so again, good value for money.

One thing that put me off to begin with was that fabric is priced and bought by quarter meter. Something you guys know I find a little frustrating! However the choice of fabrics available does make up for it. They stock a fantastic range of fabrics, haberdashery and notions for all skill levels and projects. I finally took the plunge after seeing their range of Christmas French Terry and I bought two types in their Black Friday sale to make myself a very cosy Christmas Jumper! My Sewing Box is a little pricier than other stores but I would say excellent value for money. I love how they have diversified and stock sewing gifts and books. They also offer a monthly subscription box which I am tempted by, I am actually going to look into whether I can buy one box as a one off to try it out first.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 7/10
  • Cost – 6/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 8/10
  • Ease of Use – 8/10
  • Ease of Payment – 8/10

Overall Score: 7.4/10

Overall My Sewing Box is a wonderful independent fabric shop, ideal for beginners because of their helpfulness and knowledge of their stock. They are a little pricier but I would say fulfil value for money easily and offer a wonderful service – I will definitely be shopping here again!