Joining the Moneta party!

There’s a party planned for February and I’m determined to be there…

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Party Time! Excellent!

One of the things I learned from Me Made May last year was that the Moneta pattern was calling out to me. So I got it, but haven’t got around to doing anything with it so far. So when the Triple Stitchers (Abigail of Sew Abigail, Elle of Sew Positivity and Rachel of Rach Against the Sewing Machine) announced their Moneta Party, I jumped right on that bandwagon. It was meant to be.

I’ve been through the Stash, and there’s only one piece that I can do it with if it’s going to have sleeves (and thereby be suitable for the cold weather) – the massive red floral ponte. It was already on my #2017UseNine list so it’s an all round winner. I’ve got all the other notions I need for it already, so I’m good to go…

Anyone else out there going to be partying with us at the end of February?

#2017usenine

The insta-sphere is great for getting a load of New Year ideas and challenges. I’ve been seeing a lot of #2017makenine posts, inspired by Rochelle of Lucky Lucille with fantastic ideas of patterns and garments that people are planning on making in the year ahead. But the gorgeous and creative Rhiannon of More Blue Fabric has taken it a step further. As soon as I read these words, I knew this was the right approach for me:

“One of the things I am acutely aware of at the moment is that my stash is getting bigger and bigger, and that I keep buying new things with plans to use them, but then a new favourite comes along and pushes it to the side.” 

She’s created the #2017usenine hashtag, and I’m jumping right on board with that. It totally tallies with my Stashwatch plans, and my aims to use my stash before adding any more to it. So here is my collection of nine fabrics I want to get sewn up this year.

#2017usenine

#2017usenine – four plains, five patterned

Let’s start with all those plains. I decided in May last year that I need more plain tops that I can wear with patterned skirts. So I bought a whole load of plain fabric last year, and this year I need to make it up. The white Swiss dot cotton (top left) is already cut out, although I’ve still got to piece a front facing for it to work, and I just need to sew the beggar up. The black peachskin (bottom left) is also going to be a top, but I haven’t decided what kind – possibly a variation on the batwing dresses, but it’s not a knit so I’d have to be more thoughtful about how I make it up. It’s lovely and slinky, but could be a bit of a nightmare to wrangle. The navy (top middle) is also quite slinky and was bought with the notion of making into a shell top, but I might turn it into a Juliette blouse.

But I can’t work purely in plains, I need me some floral print! The red ponte (top right) was supposed to be a Christmas dress, but that didn’t happen. But it will! There are two other floral jerseys there – the pale blue with a pretty meadowflower print, bottom right, and the olive-y pink next to it, which seems much more exotic. They will both be tops. I may need to run up a couple of plain black skirts to wear with them through Me Made May, though!

This black & white & pink sateen has been begging to be made into a skirt since I got it 2½ years ago. It’s cut out, and I’m planning on making it properly lined by way of a little challenge to myself. The bonkers pink and purple scuba (middle row left) will be a simple dress, because there’s no point in trying to use a fancy pattern to try and shout that print down.

And finally the plain white jersey in the middle row right, is going to be at least one scarf, possibly more. I’ve got ideas for at least eight. One of the things I do need more of are interesting accessories, and my selfless sewing of scarves for others has triggered a desire to make some for myself. I probably won’t use it all up, and I doubt I’d use up all my ideas, but I’m going to see how far I can take it.

So, those are my current ideas. I think I’m going to go for the red dress first, because who wouldn’t want a massive floral red dress?!

Stashwatch 2016 – How did I do?

To recap, my goals for 2016 were:
– to catalogue the stash. ✔️
– to use 10 pieces of stash fabric, of which 5 would be used *up*. ✔️
– to fix/mend/refashion 10 items. ✖️ Only 4.
– to not buy any new fabric until I’d used at least 5 stash items. ✔️

So I would say overall I did pretty well. I’m calling 2016 a Stashwin.

Moving forward into 2017, I need to consider new goals.

1. The cataloguing was really beneficial in making me more conscious – about what I buy and what I use. I’m confident that I will keep this up. However, if I’m being brutally honest, I cheated – mea maxima culpa. I only applied this to one of my stashes. Truth is, I’ve got an additional Costume Fabric stash, which contains fabrics for making dance costumes. Plus at least 2 costumes in progress. I ought to investigate whether any of the fabrics in that bag could usefully be transferred to the Real Life Fabric stash. Most of it wouldn’t work, but there’s probably a couple of fabrics that I might be able to get away with for everyday wear. I don’t know when, but I’ll say:
* To catalogue my costume fabric stash and transfer suitable fabrics to my real life fabric stash.

2. The using stash goal is a good one to reprise for next year. I’m happy to work with 1 item per month for now, but with a mid-year review, in case I’ve made it too easy, or in case I’ve built up a bigger stash than I’m feeling comfortable with. This will also tie in with my intended #2017usenine aim. So let’s say:
* To use up 12 items from stash and to review this aim in the summer.

3. I’m thinking more about the refashions and fixes aim. I’m going to separate these two areas, because I do view fixing/mending differently than I view refashions. The fix-ups are chores that aren’t creative or fun. At the moment I’ve only got 3 in the pile, and it’s not worth making this an aim by itself. I’ll get round to them eventually. My refashions are usually quick and easy and they tick all my boxes on making my clothing more personal and unique, so I don’t know why I don’t work on those more. I’ve still got a few plans and ideas for refashions so I do want a goal for these. I want to keep these aims achievable, but also challenging. Based on my refashioning output this year, I’m going to say:
* To refashion 6 garments. 

4. Despite having called Stashwatch 2016 a win at the start of this post, I can’t avoid the fact that I have ended the year with a bigger stash than I started with, which feels like a massive fail, but really isn’t. I’ve used up a lot of long-standing stash items – only 10 items now date back to earlier than the start of 2016, the majority are this year’s acquisitions. I’ve fabric-swapped those items I wasn’t ever realistically going to use. And I’ve attended two fabric swaps and had three fabric splurges, so I reckon my stash ending only 3 items up is pretty good going. It now feels like my stash is more “curated”, it’s fabrics that I love and know will fit in with my wardrobe.
Having morally absolved myself, though, I’m still left with the practical issue that one of my main drivers for starting the Stashwatch in the first place was my lack of storage, and that problem has not gone away. So I’m renewing the no-buying commitment:
* To not buy any new fabric until I’ve used up at least 6 stash items.

5. For a new heading, I want to address the issue of Works In Progress.
My catalogued stash includes a few works in progress which need finishing. I’ll sometimes start a project by cutting the fabric, then fail to do the sewing part. Which is bonkers, because the sewing is the fun part! On the positive side, the WIPs I had at the start of the year did get finished in 2016, and the WIPs I now have are new ones, so that’s quite heartening. But in general, knowing I’ve got WIPs waiting on the shelf, makes me feel stressy and guilt-ridden, so in the interests of my personal wellbeing, I need to get a handle on them:
* To keep WIPs to no more than 3 throughout the year. If I feel like starting a fourth, I need to consider whether I should finish of any of the other three first, or let one of them go. 

I think those are all manageable, and will keep things under control. I’ll update the Stashwatch page shortly. It’s handy to have that Internet accountability! 

I’ll also be posting more about the #2017usenine, when I’ve had a bit of a rummage around the stash and made some decisions about what I’d like to sew. 

Some Selfless Sewing

You all know how rare it is for me to sew anything for anyone else. Tonight this was forced upon me by my lack of planning or organisation. Tomorrow morning at work it’s the last Curriculum Team Meeting of the year, and by tradition there’s a lucky dip Secret Santa. The budget limit is £2, so as to include even the grinches. I’ve done NO shopping for Christmas yet, and I was wondering how I was going to sort this one out, given that I’ve got to put it in the box tomorrow morning at 9.30am.

Inspiration came as a result of remembering a) a conversation I had a couple of weeks back with Claire of Sew, Incidentally about how practical infinity scarves are, and b) one of Claire-Louise Hardy’s Thrifty Stitcher emails linking to an infinity scarf tutorial video.

So this year I’ve gone down the handmade route. The fabric came from a fabric swap, so that’s free, right? All I’ve had to pay for is the pompom trim, which came to about £1.50, so I’m well within the designated budget.

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Things I feel I should point out, for the benefit of future generations:

  1. Pompoms get everywhere – they’re on little threads so that they dangle, which is delightful, but it does mean they need some serious wrangling!
  2. Don’t forget to turn the scarf half right side out in order to sew the short edges. I started off by failing to do this, and ended up with a rather weird object that bore no resemblance to a scarf. Fortunately, this is such a quick sew that even unpicking and re-doing that bit didn’t take long and I soon had it back under control.

I sneakily tried it on, because I had to check it would work.

Yes, it does indeed work, hooray!

Yes, it does indeed work, hooray!

But it’s now all wrapped up, ready for tomorrow morning. I’m banking on the cutesey heart wrapping paper putting off either of the two men on the team from picking it.

I’ve got enough fabric and pompoms left to make another one. In fact I’ve already attached the pompoms in readiness for the sewing. I don’t know yet whether I’ll have to give it away (I’m seriously not organised for Christmas this year). I’m hoping not, because I quite fancy keeping it. Although I wouldn’t be able to wear it at work, on account of outing myself as the Secret Santa!

Another black t-shirt gets Béa-ed

One of my aims for this year was to get on with my many and various ideas for tarting up my boring plain t-shirts. Here’s the next one…

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This is not an innovative project. It’s basically the same technique that I used on my Two Becomes One top. I wanted to use some of the smaller scraps of black jersey left over from the first SewDots Batwing Dress. I cut out some random floral shapes, some a little bigger, some a little smaller. To apply the shapes to the t-shirt, I sewed black seed beads on randomly, maybe 5-7mm apart, to mimic the stamens on a flower. I wanted there to be a some texture and for the petals to flare a bit, so when I sewed, I shifted the fabric a little, to give the centres a tiny bit of pouf between beads. Hopefully you can see it in the pictures:

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The only advice I would give is to do the very visible section of the appliqué first (i.e. the front), and make that nice and neat. If you get to the back and the gap between the flowers is bigger than one flower, you can use a couple of small flower shapes, and squish them together, in the hope that it won’t be too noticeable. Which is totally what I had to do!

The Batwing dress #2

I went on a bit of a fabric buying spree last week.

My pretties!

My pretties!

Since I’m trying to keep my stash under control, I wanted to use at least part of my loot sooner rather than later. And I figured I still had a few days left of October in which to sew another #sewdots dress. So although the three other fabrics – blue floral jersey, pink/purple scuba, olive green and pink jersey (are we seeing a theme developing here?) now officially join the Stash, the navy polka dot jersey has been used.

I bought this knit fabric at a little shop in Shere, called Mad Jaks. Half the shop stocks fashion garments, the other half fabric and haberdashery goods. It’s a small selection of fabrics but some of them are gorgeous. This double knit Jersey drew my eye because it has an interesting texture, a little bit like ice cream, which I haven’t been able to photograph properly. It’s a synthetic fibre but I don’t know what it is exactly. It’s going to be toasty warm for the winter. However, I can’t help thinking of it as crimplene, which doesn’t make it sound very modern or stylish!

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That texture is *really* hard to capture!

This is the second version I’ve made of the Simple Sew Batwing dress. Having had the experience of sewing it once already this month, and having already tweaked the pattern, I was quite confident this would be a quick sew. And so it proved.

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Ahh, the glamour of office life!

I wanted to change it up a bit so I decided to do a slash neck instead of the roll neck. This involved changing the dress pattern from a one-piece to separate front and back pieces. I left out the head hole and kept the top line straight, at least until I had the chance to try the dress on. As it turned out I decided to create a slight dip for the neckline, slightly deeper at the front than the back. As it’s difficult to tell which is the back and which is the front I have added a small ribon inside at the back so that I know.

I also changed the way the cuff was attached because I prefer to keep the edges enclosed. As the cuffs were quite tight on my first version, I widened them by an extra half centimetre, and now I think they’re just right.

I think my spot matching worked better this time round. I did try to take care with this. The pattern is well centred and the lines match at the side.

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This view really reminds me of my French grandmother, who had the same sort of build as me, or rather I have the same sort of build as her.

So a final #sewdots challenge garment makes it just in time for the end of the month.

Finally I should mention that the poppy brooch on my work lanyard was made by one of the members of our supported learning classes, to raise money for the Poppy Appeal. It’s lovely!

Isn't that delightful?!

Isn’t that delightful?!

I’d like to get another of these fabric purchases used up in the near future.  The scuba fabric is going to be a first for me, and it’s calling to me. I’m trying to do a bit of Internet research, before I do anything rash and ruin it, but I suspect there may be a third Batwing dress in the offing.

Autumn Stashwatch Update

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It’s been a while since my last update. I’m feeling pretty good about most of my Stashwatch aims.

To recap, the aims for the year were:

  • to catalogue the stash.
    This is done, and it’s all here.
  • to use 10 pieces of stash fabric, of which 5 would be used *up*.
    Again, done – and I’m ahead of the game now!
  • to fix/mend/refashion 10 items.
    Sadly, these have been few – only four so far, with one of those still to be blogged.
  • to not buy any new fabric until I’d used at least 5 stash items.
    This was done a while ago, and I’m still working on not acquiring much more new fabric. I’ve been getting some free fabric for my Simple Sew Bloggers makes, but I’ve tried to use stash fabric for toiling and extra versions. But even so, it’s nice to allow myself a few guilt-free acquisitions.

I’m thinking more, now, about the refashions and fixes aim. I don’t know why I don’t work on those more. My refashions are usually quick and easy and they tick all my boxes on making my clothing more personal and unique. So I’m trying to get more of those done. The fix-ups are the ones that aren’t so creative or fun, and they might take me longer to get done. But I think I can get a couple of them done as quickies, in the next couple of months.

My catalogued stash includes a few works in progress which need finishing, but some of them are more summery, so I don’t have so much incentive to finish those right now. I’ll be trying to get the less summery ones finished by the end of the year.