Tag Archive | plans

Creating a holiday wardrobe

I’m off to France for 2½ weeks next Thursday – I can’t wait! I’m trying to plan for two things, firstly I want to take a capsule-ish wardrobe, and secondly I want to take some sewing/knitting to be done there.

The holiday wardrobe doesn’t need to cover formal events, it’s going to be seaside and family visits. I’ll have access to a washing machine, so I can happily repeat wears. I’m a shocker for over-packing, so I’m trying to limit myself to 4 skirts, 5 tops and 3 dresses. I’m going for a blue based colour scheme, because this year I seem to be drawn to blues. However, in order to take the garments that I want to take, I do need to get down and make some of them. That’s ok, I’ve got a week, right? And any hand finishing can be a holiday craft project.

What I want to take

Skirts: grey birds, royal blue jersey, paisley leftovers, black denim
Tops: white dot shell top, watercolour floral shell top, mournful leopard, blue-grey t-shirt, black lace top
Dresses: Teal dress, royal blue & mint lace t-shirt dress, denim/lace jersey dress

Making stuff to take

I started last night with a royal blue jersey pull on skirt. I was using the lovely soft viscose jersey I got from FC Fabric Studio back in April.  This is another of my self-drafted numbers, mostly done on the overlocker, nothing special about it. I took trouble to make the elastic waistband nice and I used the mock-bank hem finish with my overlocker. And it’s got a lovely little “Handmade” charm inside the waistband to show me which is front & which is back.

A straightforward tube skirt


I’ll be honest, this project took considerably longer than it needed to, because the overlocker took a bit of umbrage about something, I don’t know what, and decided to break threads for no readily discernible reason. This meant proper re-threading from scratch. Which is fine, I totally know how to do that now, but it was a bit of a faff. And then it decided to break a needle. This was rather more of a learning experience. I had a spare, so no problems there, but this was a new thing to learn how to do, and for a while I got all fingers-and-thumbsy and couldn’t hold the needle *and* tighten the little screw both at the same time. But again it’s all fine, it got done, it was just time consuming. Incidentally, the broken needle pinged off quite a distance! I’m glad I wear glasses – if I didn’t I might be looking to invest in safety goggles!
I’ve got enough of this jersey left over, to make the dress I’ve got on the list.

While I was in the groove, I even got around to sewing a buttonhole and a button on the Grey Birds skirt waistband, last night, to replace the hook & bar that I first put in. This is something I’d been meaning to do for ages. So that’s another easy win. 

This means the skirts are all done! Hooray!

For the tops, I’ve got a lot to do if I’m going to take all the tops I want to take.

The Watercolour Floral top is under way. It’s nearly finished except for the hemming, which I will do by hand as a holiday project.

I’ve got a t-shirt to make, and I’m going to be using the Simple Sew Shannon Collection pattern for that. I’ve also got all the doings for a lace back top. I don’t have a pattern for this, although I think I’m going to use my shell top pattern as a starting point. I can’t use that exact technique, though, because of the lace element. It’s going to require a bit of thought and research. I’m quite excited to see how far I can take it!

And finally, the dresses… I need to make all of them! They will all be partially made, to be finished by hand while I’m away. The teal one is all ready with only sewing bias facings to be done on my hols. The other two will probably end up being self-drafted, on the fly!

I’ve also got to spend a bit of time this weekend on my next Simple Sew Blog Make, because I want it to be done before I go away. But I think I’ve got time for everything I’ve got planned, particularly as I’m leaving all the hand finishing as Holiday Sewing Projects. Which leads me to…

Holiday Sewing Projects

I know I’m lining up a fair bit of hand finishing for myself, but it will get done pretty quickly, I reckon, so I need more projects to work on. I’m going to take some knitting, but I suspect that will be the last thing I pick up, because sewing is much more my default crafting activity! Knitting is too slow.

I will take a couple of my plain t-shirts to embellish, for example there’s one that I started a while ago, that would handily fit well into my holiday capsule wardrobe, so it would make sense to take that one and get it finished.

I’ve also been researching a few haberdasheries, to do a bit of sewing sightseeing, especially for those days that aren’t so hot and sunshiny.

So that’s my plans for the next few weeks. Happy holidays! 

Blogiversary thoughts

Sunday was the four year anniversary of this blog starting. I was just looking back on my first post and I realised that I’ve done quite well in learning the things I thought back then that I would need to learn:

“Things that I will have to learn for this adventure to start being successful:

  • zips
  • buttonholes
  • proper fitting
  • finishing
  • neatness
  • patience”

Zips – check! I can do a centred zip (was my default from my teenage sewing days), a lapped zip (with or without protective placket, machined or hand picked) and concealed zips (thanks to the wonderful concealed zip foot). I don’t know if there are other kinds of zips to try, but if there are, I will not fear them!

Buttonholes – check! Although I haven’t really used buttonholes in series (for example, down a shirt front), I know how to use my machine’s buttonhole foot, and I’m no longer scared of them!

Proper fitting – I’ve learned that this is going to be a life-long learning process! But I do not fear the FBA, nor the swayback adjustment, and I can grade a pattern (though I may grumble about doing so!). So I think that’s another check.

Finishing – check! I’m happy with the finishing of my me-mades. Sometimes, the finishing has been more functional than pretty, but none of them have frayed. And with my lovely new overlocker, it is only going to get better.

Neatness – check! Well more or less – again, sometimes my neatness is more a matter of functionality. But I do a lovely invisible hem, I reckon.

Patience – Ah well, that’s another life-long learning process… But I’ve definitely come to understand and accept that the pattern adjusting and the cutting and the marking, while not technically “sewing” are key to the process of “making”. And I’ve learned to be a bit more Zen about that.

So overall, that’s pretty good going.

That led to me wondering where I go from here, in terms of my sewing ambitions and goals. I’m not at all competitive about this, and I’m happy just to be making nice clothes that fit me and suit my style. But I’d like to think my future sewing would involve making more complex garments than I’ve tackled to date, and improving my fitting skills. So I’m hoping that in the next two or three years, I would have made:

  • some button up garments such as shirts and blouses
  • some lined garments, including skirts and dresses
  • some more complex garments, such as jackets and coats. Especially if they are lined!

As well as getting better at the fitting and the patience.

I’ve got plans brewing for learning more about shirts. I’ve booked myself onto another Sew Over It course, but that won’t be for a while yet, so I’m not getting over-excited right now. I found the Zoe dress course to be a really positive learning experience, so I have high hopes that I will learn a whole lot more again.

Joining the Moneta party!

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

img_20170113_095208_774.jpg

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. 

Four things for the Summer

I have four things I want to get done in the next month. I’m off on my hols on 18th July, and I want to have these items done before then. Not necessarily for my holiday packing, but because I want them done! In order…

First of all, I *have* to do the Frozen cloak for littlest niece and it *needs* to be squee-worthy. I’ve got pale blue mesh and matching sequins, I’ve got rhinestones, I’ve  got detailed measurements, I’ve got a load of Disney Princess inspiration…

Els-piration

Els-piration

So that’s good to go.

Secondly, I received the beautiful chambray from K of Sew Much 2 Learn and I don’t want it languishing, unused and forlorn, in my stash. So I am going to make a Belcarra blouse with it. This will be a bit of an experiment for me, because it’s potentially a shapeless mass of fabric, and I do need my clothing to have *some* structure to be in any way flattering for me- I can’t do sacks! But I saw Ruth’s and it seems to fit nicely on her, so I’m going to give it a whirl. I will need to do a bit of pattern futzing, including an FBA, plus I may find I need to add some darting or other shaping, for it not to look too much like I just cut some squares & sewed them together.  There will be a trial run (aka a wearable toile), using the floral print cotton I got at Goldhawk Road.Then, assuming I can make it nicely enough that I want more of the same, I will have a go with that delicate cloudy blue/grey cotton. This will definitely help with my existing wardrobe.

Thirdly, having signed up for the Summer Sundress Sewalong, I’m going to treat this as the impetus to finish the teal dress from last autumn. I’ve got everything I need for it, it’s cut out and partially sewn, I know what changes I need to make to it, and I know what finishing touches I want for it (and have all the necessary gubbins), I just need to blooming-well do it. If I can get it done, then I might think of some other summer sundress project, but I’m Keepin’ It Real for now.

And last but by no means least, I received the Style Arc Belinda pattern from the lovely Fiona at Seams Straightforward, and again, it seems rude not to take advantage of it sooner rather than later. Plus this is a driver for creating some more useful wardrobe basics. This top looks flattering and well within my personal styling preferences. I’ve got some plain black jersey and plain white jersey to try it with. She also sent me another Style Arc pattern, the Amy top, which I also want to use, but being realistic it’s going to have to wait a little while- I’m not that prolific in my sewing!

That’s the plan for now. It’s possibly a bit ambitious, because I may be taking on some extra work (in addition to my day job, my volunteer job and my dance teaching job) and I may be more tired of an evening. But let’s see just how far I can get with this.

Planz- I haz dem

I’ve written out a list of the things I want to make this year. It’s an ambitious list. Actually, no, that’s being far too kind. It’s a completely unrealistic list! I can’t possibly get all those things done. Well I might if I didn’t have a social life and if I didn’t mess about online. Or work. Or possibly waste time with shopping and eating.

The list isn’t really a list of specific goals. It’s just a reminder of all the things I *want* to make. It’s my usual attempt to get the ideas out of my head, where they were buzzing around bothering me, and onto a page, where they can be recorded and controlled. I’ve written down all the things, and I’ve organised them. Just that fact alone puts me in control of those vague buzzy bothering thoughts. Now I can refer to my list and decide “Ah yes, I see it’s January, that means fixing the waistband on that pesky circle skirt, making something with that tomato coloured jersey I nabbed out of Dad’s ancient stash, and making at least two contributions to Jungle January”. Or I can refer to my list and decide “Stuff the circle skirt waistband, I’ll leave that till February”. The whole point of a list is that it’s malleable, manipulable (is that a word? It must be a word, it felt like a word.), adaptable. It is a Starting Point. That’s all it needs to be.

Once I’d worked out all the things I wanted to make, I allocated each of them to either January, February, March, Spring or Later (that’s all sounding a bit “this year, next year, sometime, never”!). I can review it later in the year. The things I don’t get round to doing in their designated time can be redesignated. Or ignored. Easy come, easy go.

So, in the interest of internet accountability, and having a record somewhere other than my laptop, here is the List of Unrealistic Plans:

2014plans

January – Jungle January will mean a grey leopard print top (using one of the Plus Sized Pattern Pyramid patterns) and an animal print skirt (it depends on what fabric I can get). In addition, as I mentioned above, I’ve got some red jersey off my Dad to make into a skirt, and I need to fix the waistband on Squares & Triangles Circle Skirt. Are you seeing now how wildly overambitious I’m being?

February – I want to get that Tweal dress done. I have designated this Skirt Month, because I want to make at least three more skirts- a scalloped hem one, a border hem one, and a circle skirt, preferably one with the right sized waistband- I’m going to have to brush up my maths to get the Pi calculations right for this.

March – This month has been set aside for trying out Renfrews and using some of the jerseys in my stash. I can see this being a very useful pattern, and if I can crack this one it could sort out a lot of my top half wardrobe. If not already done, fix the front seam of the Jif Lemon Dress.

Spring – I want to make Cambie dresses, I love how they look, and I’ve got at least three pieces of stash fabric that would work with this pattern. I want to make a blouse, a proper one with buttons and buttonholes, this is my personal challenge. I’m planning on using a New Look pattern I’ve already got, but haven’t got any fabric in mind yet.

Later – In a further personal challenge, I want to make a jacket or coat. I’m thinking of the New Look 6162 coat that I got from the Plus Sized Pattern Pyramid, since I absolutely fell in love with it, but I’ve also got a yearning for Pauline Alice’s Ninot Jacket, because I do love a swing coat, and my pattern buying moratorium will be over by then. I’m also thinking I’d like to try making knickers out of all the scraps of jersey and lycra I’ve kept. I’m not knocking M&S, but it would be really cool to have my very own personal pants!

So there you have it- my ludicrously naive and impracticable plans for 2014. God bless them and all who sail in them…