Return of the Sewjo!

There’s nothing like a blogging deadline to motivate a person! After promising to get this sewn up for AGES, I got given a deadline, so I just had to get on with it. And what do you know, after the doldrums of the Winter, I’m feeling all enthused again…

The Simple Sew Blog has been featuring the delights of the Stylish Shell Top, and different bloggers have been showing how versatile it is. This is my contribution.

A Shell Top, with Sleeves!

It’s been great to be sewing again!

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The 100 Day Dress – A Sorry Update

The idea for the 100 Day Dress was that I would hand sew a little bit of embroidery each day, and after 100 days (calculated carefully to fall on 31st December 2017), I would have it finished. Sadly, the annual hibernation of the sewjo hit, towards the end of November, and it became harder for me to sustain that plan. As at right now, it remains an Unfinished Object, that’s been looking very sorry for itself, on the top of the sewing pile.

However, I have decided that I can still make this thing work, as a 100 Day Dress Project. All I needed to do was count the number of days that I *didn’t* work on it in 2017, and that would give me that number of days “in hand”. It would still be a 100 Day Dress, just not consecutive days is all. The sewjo is returning, thanks to my latest Simple Sew Blog make, which I should be able to reveal shortly.

So I’ve gone through my phone pictures, checking dates and times, and it looks like I’ve got 28 days available to finish this project (yes, December was a very poor show).

I have got most of the dress pieces done, there’s maybe a third of the front to complete. I’m pretty sure it’s feasible to get it all finished in the 28 days I’ve got. I’m off to make myself a little tickybox grid in my journal, so that I can count them down as I use them!

Part of the Work In Progress

2017 in Review

It’s that time of year, when we all look back and see how we did.

2017 proved to be my most productive year so far. I made a total of 22 items (6 dresses, 8 tops, 4 skirts, 1 coat, 2 scarves, a nightshirt) plus one refashioned hoodie. However, as usual, I had way more plans/ideas than actual finished projects, and I bought more fabric than I really should have! I got a couple of long-standing WIPs finished, though, so I’m going to count that as swings and roundabouts.

The items I found most wearable were the shell tops, and the summer Shannon Collection dresses, but almost everything has found its way into my normal wearing rotation.

stashwatch2017

I set myself up with a whole load of fabric-related goals at the start of the year, with Stashwatch and #2017UseNine. Looking at my Stashwatch goals, I fear that I’m facing a big fat faily fail with it this year…

  1.  To catalogue my costume fabric stash and transfer suitable fabrics to my real life fabric stash.
    X – Just Nope.
  2.  To use up 12 items from stash revised in the summer, to using up 21 items from stash by the end of this year.
    X – More Nope. I got up to 16 pieces fully used up, with four not quite qualifying (one piece still has 50cm + scraps in the stash, until I can donate/swap it, and three garments are WIPs).
  3. To refashion 6 garments.
    X – Still with the Nope. I did the Banksy Hoody on holiday, and started beading a t-shirt, but I think I’ve made it too hard for myself, and I might be scrapping it. I just haven’t had the inclination to keep going with it – my refashions need to be quick and easy.
  4. To not buy any new fabric until I’ve used up at least 6 stash items updated in the summer, to not buying any new fabric until the end of the year.
    X – Seriously, I don’t know why I even bothered!
  5. To keep WIPs to no more than 3 throughout the year.
    X – Full house! I’ve got three proper works in progress (cut, and ready, or at least ready-ish, to sew), but I’ve also got two sewing fails that I think are capable of being fixed up, so that the fabric eventually gets to see the light of day.

So, what do I learn from this? Well, obviously: I need to set more realistic goals. So for Stashwatch 2018, I’m going to rein my enthusiasm in.

  1. Use 12 items from Stash. I think this is feasible.
  2. Complete the 3 WIPs. Full disclosure in the interests of internet accountability – the maroon poppies dress, the 100 Day Dress and the next Simple Sew project.
  3. Complete 3 Refashions. This is possibly the most ambitious goal, given I only managed one last year.
  4. Swap/donate fabric, to thin the stash. I’m not going to give myself an unmanageable No New Fabric goal, because that’s downright unrealistic. But I’m going to try to be more discerning about any new purchases and I’m going to make sure I offload those fabrics where I’m no longer feeling the love. I work for Surrey Adult Learning, and I’m happy to donate unwanted fabric and scraps for use by our textiles teachers in the Supported Learning programme.

On the #2017UseNine front, I managed to use six out of my nine, which I’m happy with.
use9
I’m not going to create a 2018UseNine, as it would only add add more pressure. I think that when I acquire new fabric through the year, I want to use that, partly to avoid it falling into long-term stash, and partly because it’s the lure of the brand new shiny! However, I still want to use the three remaining pieces, so they are on my horizon for 2018. The massive red floral is earmarked for a dress, the pink & purple scuba is for a skirt and the pale blue floral is for a top.

I will need to kickstart the sewjo soon. I’m going on holiday to Cairo in February, and I want to have a strongly me-made holiday wardrobe for that.

One Week, One Pattern 2017

I’ve always loved OWOP, and it seemed to be a two-yearly kind of thing, but this year, the very lovely Sheona of Sewisfaction kindly hosted it, running from 25th November to 1st December and it was an amazing week of seeing lots of brilliant makes and hacks on Instagram.

Of course I wanted to join in, but what pattern to choose? I’ve used the Belcarra collection and the McCalls straight skirt before, so that was out. I could have gone for my self-drafted straight skirt, but I’ve only got three of them. I also thought about my Shannon collection, but I’d only got four of them. So it had to be the Thrifty Stitcher’s Shell Top – with a massive five of the same! They were a bit summery for November/December, but they are very layerable with cardigans. So that was that decision made.

Here’s the photo collage of all seven days. Inevitably there were a couple of repetitons, but I tried to change the styling.

OWOP17 Collage

In other news, the sewjo is in hibernation, but I’m trying to keep making, with the 100 Day Dress100 Day Dress, with knitting and crochet, and I’ve also been working on a Simple Sew make, but getting through the pattern-futzing stage has been hard going! I think I’m ready to  sew my toile. Hopefully it will be about right and not need too much tweaking, and that will give me encouragement to get on with the “real” one.

 

A misty autumnal shell top

I went to the Great British Sewing Bee Live event on Saturday,  and of course I felt the need to wear something that I had made. Something new. That thought didn’t hit me until Thursday, so I reached for one of the Works In Progress, to save myself some time. I’d already cut out a Shell top from the rather pretty cotton I’d bought in France, a month or more back, and now was the perfect time to get down to sewing it.

The colours are perfect for autumn

I was using my trusty Shell Top pattern from Claire-Louise Hardie (the Thrifty Stitcher). I’ve used it before, and I’m always going to love it. I cut the neckline about 5cm lower than usual, to see how it looks, and I’m happy with it.

Unfortunately I am the world’s most rubbish blogger, and I largely failed to take any photos at GBSB Live. It was a brilliant exhibition, and I bumped into loads of lovely people and made some new sewing friends, but I had no pictures that show the new top in action.

So when the Gentleman Friend suggested a walk at Wisley Gardens, I shamelessly pulled the top back on, and asked him to photograph me!

There was a sculpture exhibition on

 

But it was the light in the glasshouse that inspired him the most.

 

The dappled sunlight is quite flattering

And a full length view, with hibiscus, suits my love of a massive floral!

It was the ideal top for the weekend, which was gorgeously sunny and warm, but today everything’s feeling very autumnal, and I suspect that was its last wear of the year. It’ll be time for tights and jumpers now.

A 100 Day Dress

I decided a while ago that I wanted to start a long term project, something that I could do a little at a time, each day. I’ve seen people’s 100 day projects on Instagram, and I liked that as a structure for my project. My first thought, inspired strongly by Tiny*Stitches*Miri, was embroidery on a garment. I thought about upcycling/refashioning, but in the end I settled on an Alabama Chanin inspired new make, though I’m not going to claim it’s proper AC style. I want it to have some embroidery, some appliqué, some reverse appliqué, some beading/sequinning. I don’t imagine for one moment that it will be elegantly stylish, because it’s going to have so many bits of everything, and it will all be a bit random. But hopefully the colour scheme will pull everything together, and it will be interesting to look at.

I’ll be using the pale blue jersey from FC Fabric Studio which I bought in the Spring, and the Shannon dress pattern, as I didn’t want to have to mess about with a new pattern. I’ve bought a number of embroidery silks for this project, but everything else will be from stash (there are a LOT of blue beads in the massive bead/sequin stash).

wp-image-174810145

Blues

This all starts at the weekend, on Saturday. If I’ve done my maths right, the 100 days will be up on 31st December.

I’ve set up a dedicated instagram account for this make, with the idea being to record every day’s progress.

An Accolade!

I just received the news that this blog is one of the Top 40 Plus Size Sewing Blogs on the web! I’m amazed!

Top 40 Plus Size Sewing blogs

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t really thought of this as a Plus Size Sewing Blog, but seeing as I’m doing the sewing for myself, and one of my aims is to make things that look nice on my body, which is plus-size, I guess that’s what it is.

Anyway… Hooray!

This entry was posted on 14 September, 2017. 4 Comments