Sewing Chat

A slightly belated 2017 review

I’ve mentioned a few times before that I’m a massive spreadsheet nerd. Well for the past couple of years I’ve maintained a sewing stats spreadsheet where I record my makes and various things about them. Like what sort of fabric I use, whether they’re printed or PDF patterns and I’ve just added a column for whether it’s a new to me pattern or one I’ve made before.

I also have a sheet for my “stash maths” where I record the fabric I buy and the fabric I use each year to see how much I reduce or increase my stash. Spoiler: it’s always increase.

Anyway, I love reading that sort of stuff on other people’s blogs so I thought I would share a nerdy, graph heavy post on last year’s sewing for anyone who is interested – and for myself obviously.

What I made

I made 34 things last year. 33 were sewn and 1 was knitted – though I also part knitted 2 other things that still need finishing. The jumper I did finish knitting could also do with me undoing the sleeve cast off and adding about another 3 inches to each of them but I can’t face it yet.

Now let’s hit the graphs. This first one is to show what garment types I made.

Tops and dresses being the most common is fairly consistent with previous years but the surge in cardigans is all thanks to the Blackwood cardigan pattern. I made 5 different versions making it my most made pattern so far. The love affair is certainly not over yet either.

Knit v Woven

It’s been a fairly even split down the middle this year. Knits were given a boost by my Blackwood cardigan obsession. I might have a little play with my spreadsheet to try to get it to show me the proportion of knit and woven for each garment type.

Printed v PDF

This is definitely the year that I realised I’m very much a PDF girl. I’m such a bodyweight yoyo that I can’t not trace patterns if I ever want to use them again in the future and I HATE tracing. I’d far rather sit on my living room floor in front of the telly or listening to the radio with my paper cutter, a Pritt stick (never generic glue sticks) and a cuppa. I can assemble patterns quite quickly now and I find it sort of soothing. I’d far rather reprint and reassemble than retrace. I’ve even almost bought a couple of patterns I already have printed versions of in PDF format just to avoid tracing them but so far I’ve resisted.

Indie v Big 4

I’ve made hardly any Big 4 patterns this year. Only two and of those two only one was even for me. It wasn’t a deliberate choice as I would like to try a few more Big 4 patterns. I think it’s a combination of exposure to more Indie patterns via Instagram and blogs and preferring PDF patterns. I bought quite a few New Look (6212, 6414 and 6507) and McCall’s (7387, 7534 and 7537) patterns when they were on sale and I hope to use some of them this year. Perhaps I should set myself a week where I trace at least one pattern every day as there’s loads of paper patterns I want to make but keep putting off.

Pattern companies

a graph showing

This one is a bit cramped sorry and some of the company names got chopped. You can clearly see which companies I’m a fan girl of though. For Helen’s Closet it was the five Blackwood cardigans and a Suki Kimono that I made my Nan for Christmas. The Sew Over It patterns were a bit more varied but there were two Penny dresses and two Alex dresses, the other two were a Nancy dress and an Ultimate shift dress.

Fabric choices

It’s no surprise to me that more than half of the things I made contained viscose in the fabric. It’s my favourite fabric to wear. I was surprised that I had used so much polyester but it was things like sweater knit, ponte and crepe so it shouldn’t have been that much of a shock. The wool was yarn not fabric, I still haven’t sewn anything with wool.

Stashbusting

This is only my second year of tracking the stash so I don’t know for certain but I suspect it’s probably my worst so far for overbuying fabric.

I bought 56 pieces of fabric totalling 107.4 metres.

And I used/cut* 48 pieces of fabric totalling 68.95 metres.

*Not all of my cut out garments have been made yet.

So the stash increased by 38.45 metres.

This is something I really want to work on this year. I think I’m going to go for a one in, two out policy. Though I’m already losing on that as I’ve bought two bits of fabric already – some beautiful Cotton + Steel rayon for a Chalk and Notch Fringe top/dress and some flannel for a wearable toile of the Grainline Archer. I remain positive though. I’ll settle for breaking even.

So that was my year in graphs and numbers. It’ll be interesting to start doing this every year and see how things change if at all. I suspect that the main change will be fancier graphs. Does anyone else track their makes or am I just a daft nerd?

Celebrating TnT patterns

This month is very much a month for celebrating our TnT patterns – that’s Tried ‘n’ True, if you’ve never heard it before. It’s the Sewcialist theme this month but the end of the month (25th November – 1st December) is also One Week, One Pattern – or OWOP if you will – hosted by the lovely Sheona from Sewisfaction. And as I don’t have any finished items to share due to lack of oomph to get photos I thought I’d break my blogging silence with a little post about my TnT patterns and plans.

My TnT Patterns

Dixie DIY Ballet dress

This is one of my favourite patterns and I’m a bit surprised that I’ve only made 3 dresses from it. I’ve also hacked a t-shirt from it and used bits of it a few different hacks – with more planned (and talked about later on in this post).

Ballet dress // One with a more flared skirt // One with a gathered skirt

 

Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan


This is my most made pattern and it only came out this year! I’ve made 5 of them – one long, two hip length and two cropped ones. I need to have a bumper photoshoot and actually write a post about them! It’s my ideal cardigan and I want one in every colour.

True Bias Southport dress

Southport // Southport-ish // Another Southport ish

I’ve used the Southport dress loads. I’ve only made the dress as is once, but I’ve also made two simplified versions, a tank top and used the skirt with other tops to make pattern lovechildren.

Southport tank // Newport dress // Simple Sew Lottie/Southport dress lovechild

Grainline Scout tee

Original Scout  // Latest Scout // Middle Scout // Scout hack

I wouldn’t say that I’ve got the fit down on the Scout yet but it’s one of my most made patterns so I thought it deserved a mention. I’ve made three standard versions and two hacked off-the-shoulder versions (only one of which I have a photo of). A Scoutport mashup with the Southport dress is probably on the cards at some point too. If only because I like the name.

New Look 6217


I love my New Look 6217s but I don’t think I’ve got the fit right yet. They’ve all seen better days so it’ll soon be time to revisit the pattern.

 

One Week One Pattern

I actually recently made a video sort of related to TnT patterns. When the Love to Sew podcast ladies asked for questions for their Q&A episode @shar_bozz asked them if they could only make three patterns for a year what would they choose and how would they change them to make them unique, seasonal, etc. I thought it was a really interesting question and I put my thinking cap on to choose three patterns.

So when I saw that OWOP was going to happen again this year I thought that I should probably put my money where my mouth, use one of the patterns I chose and do some of the hacks I talked about in my video. The patterns I chose were:

Dixie DIY Ballet dress

This was the most obvious choice for me. I just really like the way it fits me across the shoulders, which is no mean feat as that’s my tricky spot.

It’s such a simple dress it has the power to look entirely different with just a few tweaks. It’s basically a knit block/sloper. You can change the neckline, add a different skirt and even just changing the fabric will make it look different. A scuba will give you a totally different dress to a drapey viscose jersey.

The t-shirt I’ve made from it is one of the first things I reach for from the clean washing. and I’ve started work on some more garments using it. I’ve cut out a sort of swing dress and I’m hoping to make two of them if possible. I want to make a long sleeved t-shirt and a boat necked dress with a pleated skirt. Overambitious aims as always. I fancy trying to make a cardigan from it at some point too. And it was on my Make Nine plans to make the Seamwork Neenah dress as a top but I’ve been thinking that I might just pinch the collar piece and neckline shape and hack the ballet dress instead as I know I like how it fits.

Sew Over It Ultimate Shift dress

I hadn’t actually made this one when I picked it, I just chose it based on its versatility and hackability. I have made one now – out of flame print quilting cotton. There’s some fitting work to do before it becomes a TnT pattern for me but I’m fairly pleased with it. I had to add a dart from the armhole to the bust after it was sewn up but it’s quite well hidden in the busy print.

Even without any hacking you can make lots of different variations. I made a sleeveless dress but want to make some sleeved tops. I quite like the idea of adding some shirring to the waist of a viscose version too. Lisa Comfort’s pregnancy hack where she added a seam, pleat and tie is lovely too. I’ve thought about giving that a go myself, even though I’m not pregnant. You get the tutorial of how to make it included with the pattern now and I think that you can email them to ask for it if you already have the pattern.

I want to make a slightly more flared version, a bit like the Grainline Farrow dress, and I have thought about copying the pockets from the Farrow dress too. I did think that you could add a seam at the waist for an elastic channel and then slash and spread just the skirt part too. If you’re a flounce fan it’s a great pattern to jazz up with a flounce or a frill.

One of my friends has a really nice collarless coat that I think would be totally copiable using the shift dress as a base. It would just need to be sized up, seam allowance (the inspiration coat has an exposed zip) or overlap (for buttons) added to the centre front. The back also has a pleat that’s sewn down for a few inches so I’d cut it on the fold with a couple of inches added to the centre back. You could also use it to make a 60s style coat if you did buttons, added a peter pan collar and made it a bit more swingy – by rotating the dart out maybe.

Jeans

I don’t actually have a jeans TnT pattern yet so I cheated with this one and didn’t specify what pattern. I really want to work on finding a TnT jeans pattern though. If I didn’t have lots of other things to get done this month I should work my way through the six jeans patterns I now own. I have:

The Simplicity ones are probably the most promising because they have different pieces for different body types but I keep putting off tracing the pattern as I hate doing it so much. I would far rather tape a PDF sewing pattern together so I might go for one of the other patterns first.

There’s not much pattern hackery that I could think of for skinny jeans but jeans are something I’d struggle to live without. And they can look completely different in different fabrics. I did think that you could alter the pockets and give them more of a chino styling in a stretch twill. Once you’ve got the fit right in the hip/bum area I’m sure you could fiddle with the leg shape too for different looks. Turning them into flares by slashing and spreading the pattern at the knee is a nice easy one.

So there you have it. Those are my TnT patterns and patterns that I’d like to become TnT patterns. I’ll be back later on in the month to show you my Blackwood cardi collection after I’ve taken photos and I’ll report back on how OWOP goes. You can follow along on Instagram too.

Are you planning to join in with #sewcialiststnt or #OWOP? Are you a TnT pattern kinda person or more of a pattern butterfly?

5 Sewcialists Who Inspire Me

Have you guys seen that the Sewcialists blog is back up and running? The aim of the Sewcialists (sewing + social media = sewcialist) is to create a community where everyone feels included. Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow and the creator of the Sewcialists wrote a lovely post on her blog about the aim of the Sewcialists blog. I think it’s a fab idea and I’m really excited to see it take off again, find lots of new sewcialists to follow and to take part in the theme months. I’m hoping they do Scraptember again because I could really use some inspiration for what to do with my scraps!

But I’m getting ahead of myself, this month is Tribute August, where the challenge is to make something inspired by another sewer you admire. To quote the blog:

“The “rules” are wide open, so interpret the challenge in your own way. You could:

  • Copy a project exactly
  • Try a pattern or technique someone else used
  • Imagine what your favourite Sewcialist would do with a piece of fabric
  • Push yourself out of your style comfort zone or make some awesome basics to fill in wardrobe gaps”

Throughout July people have been sharing who inspires them on the Sewcialists blog so I wanted to join in. I could easily have listed 20 people so it was really hard to narrow it down to just 5 (and I might sneak a tiny list of some more at the bottom of this post). Okay, lets go.

Gillian – Crafting a Rainbow@gilliancrafts

It may seem a little like I’m sucking up and gushing but Gillian is hands down one of my favourite sewing bloggers. If I see a post of hers in my Feedly I always read it first. Her blog is so helpful and inspiring, she has a great mix of finished make posts, tutorials and helpful series’ like the Better Pictures Project. I love her bright, colourful style. She sews almost exclusively with knits and always looks gorgeous, proving that comfy can be chic.

I’m always really inspired seeing how she hacks her TnT patterns and I’m trying to do that more these days. A couple of recent hacks I’ve made but not blogged yet are a cropped Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan and a Dixie DIY Ballet dress swing tee. You can see them both in my most recent YouTube video.

Rachel – @shesewsvintagestyle

I’ve only followed Rachel on Instagram since this year’s Me Made May – always a great time for finding new sewing peeps to follow. But I immediately fell in love with her style, which is vintage without being costume-y. I particularly love this gorgeous outfit:

She’s wearing Nina Lee Portabello trousers and a Sew Over It Silk Cami. As soon as I saw this outfit I started planning my own pink tank top – I planned to use my Southport dress hack – and wide legged navy trousers. I was originally planning Winslow culottes but I’ve wanted a pair of empire waist wide legged trousers since an episode of Agent Carter where Peggy wears a pair with a red blouse and her and Jarvis climb through a vent into a morgue.

The internet is stubbornly refusing to show me the trousers.

I toyed with the Decades of Style 1940s empire waist trousers, which would obviously be the most suitable choice but I’m contrary so in the end I bought the Deer and Doe Chataigne shorts because I like the pockets and the yoke and I’m going to lengthen them into trousers. I think I’ve bought completely unsuitable fabric but I’m doing to try it anyway. It’s probably a bit too drapey so I’m going to interface the yoke and the yoke lining and hope for the best. For the pink tank top I’m still going to use my Southport tank hack but after seeing Helen’s knit Southport dress I’m planning to make it in some fuchsia jersey I’ve got.T

Anya – Anna Zoe@anna.zoe.sewing

I think I’ve saved more of Anya’s Instagram posts to remember the pattern than any other sewcialist. She always looks absolutely stunning in whatever she wears. Her Me Made May posts were brilliant and I really enjoyed reading her little stories each day as well as seeing what she was wearing. Her blog and Instagram are really helpful and she’s done some great tutorials – a mini bra sewing tutorial on Instagram made me buy a bra sewing pattern! Granted I’ve not even printed it let alone started sourcing materials but the thought is there.

I also bought the Kommatia patterns skinny jeans pattern after seeing her fab version (below) and I’m hoping to make them at some point soon. I’ve built up quite a stack of jeans patterns and I still haven’t finished my Ginger jeans. I don’t think they’re going to fit very well but I’m determined to make myself finish them, I can’t abandon yet another pair of trousers at the fitting stage. I also love the shirt she’s wearing in this photo with the Kommatia jeans.

Hila – Saturday Night Stitch@saturdaynightstitch

I love Hila’s style. I love the colours she uses and the silhouettes she chooses. I particularly like her Sewaholic Hollyburn skirts and Granville shirts – I bought the Granville shirt pattern because of seeing hers and I should really buy the Hollyburn pattern too. Another thing that massively inspires me about Hila is her shoes – check out those silver brogues! She wrote about shoe choice in her post about her thoughts on last year’s Me Made May and I keep meaning to expand my shoe collection but I still live in the same tan pumps during the summer and tatty ankle boots in the winter. Which is definitely something I want to work on.

I just love everything Hila wears, her style is so varied but it all works together and everything looks great on her. The Anna dress above is amazing! For my make inspired by Hila I’m going to get brave and cast on an the Andi Satterlund Chuck sweater I’ve had the yarn for for over a year. Not sewing I know but it’ll mean when I finally finish it and sew myself a Hollyburn and Granville combo I can copy this gorgeous outfit:

Hattie – @hattie_van_der_krohn

The beautiful Hattie always looks so gorgeous and well put together. She looked more glamorous at 9 months pregnant than I will ever look. She’s made so many beautiful dresses that I would outright copy. A royal blue SOI Alex shirt dress might have to happen and I definitely fancy a funnel necked Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress now, preferably in houndstooth.

I was super inspired by her collection of Sew Over It Eve dresses and bought the pattern even though I’ve always been afraid of wrap dresses. I’ve bought some beautiful navy and pink floral viscose and I plan to make it this month.

Sneaky honourable mentions

Some of the other sewers I find inspiring:

I could go on and on but I’ll stop now.


Are you planning a make for Tribute Month? If you do take part remember to tag it #tributemonthsewing on Instagram to be included in a roundup post on the sewcialist blog. I’m hoping to get the Eve dress, Chataigne trousers and Southport tank top made but haven’t actually started any of them yet… Eeek!

Favourites – Autumn/Winter 15/16

Back again so soon just to let you know that I have a new video on my YouTube Channel. It’s a favourites video covering the months since my last one way back when. It got a bit long, even with me cutting out my non-sewing ones that I’d tacked on the end. Sorry. If you don’t want to watch it I’ve written a bit about what’s in it underneath.

Pattern

I have a selfish favourite and and unselfish favourite. My favourite selfish pattern over the Autumn and Winter has to be the Dixie DIY Ballet dress. It’s a quick, easy sew that meets my style perfectly. I love it.

My unselfish pattern is one that I’ve only made once but I just really enjoyed the process of sewing it. It’s the Paxson sweater from Colette Seamwork magazine. I like that you can sew it all on the overlocker and I like the finishes of the cuff and hem bands.

Thing I’ve made

Definitely my dinosaur print Ballet dress because, well, dinosaurs. Not a lot else to say. Dinosaurs PJs you can wear to work!

IMG_7859

Tool

The best sewing investment I’ve made for a while is my stitch in the ditch foot. It’s been so great for neat edge stitching and top stitching. Mine looks like this:

janome-stitch-in-the-ditch-quilting-foot-9mm-cat-d-202087003

And you line the black blade up with the edge of the fabric and move the needle position over how ever far you want to stitch and away you go. It’s great for understitching too. Just put the blade in the seam and move the needle position over slightly. I don’t think I’ve actually used mine for stitching in the ditch yet but I’m sure it’s great for that too.

Technique

When I did my Christmas crafting marathon a lot of the patterns I used were PDFs so I had a lot of putting together to do. I’d seen a few people online say that it was so much easier using a glue stick than sellotape so I gave it a go and my god, I’m glad I did. It really is so much easier than using tape, you can wiggle things to reposition them and somehow it feels quicker even though it’s the same process just a different sticking method.

Fabric

Mermaaaaids!

alexander henry sea sirens fabric

I had new fabric to show so I added a fabric category. This is Alexander Henry Fabrics Sea Sirens in blue. I love it! It’s now a skirt that I also love and still need to get some decent photos of so I can blog about it.

Non-sewing

Invisibilia PodcastThese didn’t make it into the video because it was creeping up to being 15 minutes long but when I filmed it I talked about a podcast and an audiobook I liked. The Podcast is Invisibilia, which I found out about from Jo of Stuff Jo has Made. There is only one series so far, but series two is due next month and I’m very excited about it. It is about invisible forces that affect human behaviour. So there are episodes on fear, our thoughts, computers, expectations and more. It’s so good. I listened to a lot of the episodes while I was walking my mum’s dog and a couple of them made me cry and one made me dance in the woods.

Youre Never Weird on the Internet almostThe Audiobook is You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day. I mainly knew Felicia Day from playing Holly in A Town Called Eureka and not her internet stuff but I liked the title and the blurb so I used one of my Audible credits and I am so glad I did. It’s hands down one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to. I’m a big fan of books read by the author (I’ve also enjoyed Mindy Kaling’s books and Modern Love by Aziz Ansari) because I think it just makes them more fun than reading them yourself. Felicia Day sort of acts the book rather than just reading it. If you’re a fan of the internet and nerdy things at all I think you’ll really enjoy her book.

I also waffled on about Parks and Rec but having bombarded you with Parks and Rec gifs the other day I won’t go on about that again. (I totally could though.)

And I think that’s it, minus the waffle and bizarre facial expressions. If you like the waffle and bizarre facial expressions you can subscribe to my channel here.

September Sewing Favourites

I’d been hoping to have a September Sewing Favourites video for you last week. I filmed it, edited it and uploaded it to YouTube on Thursday evening. Then got an email to tell me it had been removed for breaching The YouTube Community Guidelines and I have a strike against me, which was upsetting to say the least.

I have no idea what I did wrong. It’s just me, sat in my spare bedroom talking about my favourite sewing pattern of September and tools and techniques I’ve enjoyed using and a bonus non-sewing favourite at the end. They didn’t give me any information about what I’ve specifically done wrong – just called it inappropriate – or I’d change it.

I have appealed the decision and hopefully they’ll at least let me know what I’ve done wrong because at the moment I’m too nervous to make any more videos.

But as I can’t show you the video I thought I’d write a post about my favourite sewing things of September instead.

EDIT: They reinstated my video, hurray!

Pattern

My favourite pattern was New Look 6217. I loved how easily it went together and the simple, wearable style of it. I’ve already worn my first version lots and have a bunch more versions planned.

nl6217-close-up

Dixie DIY’s Ballet Dress deserves an honourable mention but it probably should have been my August favourite.

Tools

As I’ve started sewing with knits I’ve actually started using the walking foot I bought yonks ago and it is fab. I tried to alter an H&M vest before I had the walking foot and it went terribly so I really appreciate how smoothly it goes with one. Mine is just a non brand, compatible version I got on Amazon for next to nothing but it seems to work absolutely fine.

Another thing I lumped under the tools category is my, big arse roll of tracing paper as I called it in the video – and the mild swear made me wonder if that’s what earned me to strike but people swear far more than that. But anyway, my big arse roll of tracing paper is fab. I used to use baking/grease proof paper, which worked well but when you make alterations to the pattern the sellotape (cellotape?) doesn’t really want to stick. That’s not a problem with tracing paper. I do cut out using a rotary cutter and pattern weights and I don’t think I’d like using tracing paper with pins but I really like the extra thickness with weights, it gives a nicer edge to align the cutter against. This is the roll I bought, from Amazon as always.

Technique

I have been all about the bias binding this month. On my New Look 6217 as well as binding the neckline I bound the sleeve hems and the actual hem. It was sort of as a way to preserve length and sort of because I just really like the finish it gives. In the video I made a joke in this bit about how if you came too close I’d probably try to bias bind you, which is the only other thing I can think of that got me my strike.

Non-sewing

I am completely addicted to The Spicery and have ordered from them 3 times in September and signed up for a monthly subscription. They sell kits of premeasured freshly ground or whole spices, a shopping list for your fresh ingredients and the method to make fancy dishes and whole meals.

Selection of spice kits from the spicery
One of my many orders, look how nice the branding is

So far the manfriend and I have tried the Vietnamese beef stew, Indonesian Nasi goreng and had a date night in Thailand, which comprised of a coconutty brothy chicken soup to start, king prawn pad Thai for main and sticky mango rice for dessert and it has all been gorgeous. It’s the date night subscription box I’ve signed us up for and we’ve got date night in Bali next but I’ve amassed a bit of a stash with my many orders so there’s also a date night in Trinidad, rogan josh, jerk chicken and many more to come.

Vietnamese beef stew
Vietnamese beef stew

I would highly recommend it to anyone but I think it’d be especially great if you’re dating and want to pass yourself off as a great chef!

So that’s my September favourites, sorry it’s not a video complete with my daft faces, inability to speak correctly and a brief moment where I got distracted by my washing on the line. If YouTube respond to my appeal and they reinstate the video *fingers crossed* or let me know what to take out I’ll update this post with the video and let you know on Twitter.

How about you? Any favourite patterns, tools or techniques this month? I’d love to hear about them or watch a video of them. Though that may lead to me spending even more money than beauty favourites videos do!

Adventures in Pattern Cutting

Or maybe that should be misadventures in pattern cutting…

I went to my first pattern cutting class last Thursday but when I checked in at reception I found out that there was a chance the course wouldn’t go ahead if there weren’t enough of us. They needed 12-14 and only 7 of us turned up so the course has been cancelled.

They put the first session on as we were all there and there was still a chance the course could go ahead if they managed to get some students from some of the daytime art and design courses to come. I really didn’t enjoy the first class anyway and ended up sloping off early so I’m actually relieved that it’s been cancelled, as now I’ll get a refund.

I realised after about 10 minutes that the course just wasn’t going to suit me and the way I learn. There were several “characters” in the class and I could see myself getting frustrated. I also didn’t learn anything. We were shown tools and some standard size 12 bodice blocks(/slopers), then we had a break and when we came back the lecturer was going to get us to trace around them. Then if we got time she was going to talk about pockets.
The whole point of me going on the course was because I want to make my own block because I struggle to alter patterns to fit me. Tracing a pattern isn’t going to help me with that. And surely even if we weren’t going to make the blocks from scratch she should be talking about the basics like dart manipulation before going on to pockets. Maybe she just didn’t see the point of actually starting anything meaty if the course wasn’t going to run but I also didn’t see the point of staying if I wasn’t going to learn anything so I left during the break.

When I got home I bought Patternmaking basics: The Skirt Sloper and Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper from Craftsy instead. If you’ve never heard of Craftsy they are a company who offer online video courses. I have almost finished the skirt sloper course, I got manfriend to take my measurements on Saturday, drafting the sloper took next to no time and my toile fitted without any adjustments needed. The rest of the course is then talking about how to adapt your basic block into other types of skirts and other design ideas like raising or lowering the waist – There is very definitely an empire pencil skirt in my future.

The bodice course is a lot more involved, with most of the course taking you through making the sloper (there are a lot more steps) and then there are other course you can buy that deal more with the design elements. Craftsy were having a sale so I decided to splurge and buy a few of the other courses I know I’d probably end up wanting later on. I bought Creative Necklines and Creative Sleeves. I probably should have bought Creative Darts and Seam Lines but I couldn’t afford all three and sleeves won out, though when I just looked to get the links they’ve all gone down to £19 each now so if it they’re still that price on payday I might invest.

Anyway, this is all just waffle really. Basically, I love craftsy and am going to binge learn pattern cutting. I also picked up Pattern Cutting Made Easy by Gillian Holman, which is nice to have along side the Craftsy courses but I couldn’t have learnt from it on its own. It’s more useful for ideas of things to try. There’s a nice little pleat insert thing it shows you how to make that I’m planning to put on the back of my empire line pencil skirt. If only I had any money left to buy fabric!

Tribute August: Who inspires me

I recently discovered the Sewcialists, an online community of  people who like sewing and social media. It seems like a great way to discover other sewing blogs – both on the blog aggregate and the flickr group – and connect with like-minded people. Each month there is a themed sewalong, with past themes featuring colours and most recently Oonapalooza – sewing something inspired by Oonaballoona. This month’s theme is (was?) to sew something by a blogger, who inspires you.

I was mentally running through my feedreader when it suddenly occurred to me that it was Sarah from A Million Dresses who actually inspired me to finally bite the bullet and buy my sewing machine. And it was through her that I then discovered Dolly Clacket’s blog and then through her the whole online sewing community. So really I should make a Christine Haynes Emery dress in some sort of fabulous print.

Image taken from A Million Dresses

But then I wandered through town on my lunchbreak and saw a dress in a shop window that instantly made me think of Katie, from What Katie Sews. I really admire that she’s so aware of her own style and seems to only sew things that fit it and that she’ll wear. I have tried really hard to only sew things that I know I’ll wear and I have worn most of my handmade makes – my red Anna was only worn once but that’s down to fit and has now been dismantled awaiting a new bodice. And when I think about what RTW (ready to wear – it took me ages to figure that out, I kept thinking the R was retail) get the most wear it’s just not fit and flare dresses these days. I do wear them and I’ve got lots of wear out of my Simplicity 2444 but really knit things get the fastest rotation. I have a knit duck print dress that I wear a lot (I wore it on my first date with my manfriend so it will always have a special place in my heart) and a striped straight dress (shift? Sheath? I have no idea what dresses are what) that also gets worn a lot. So I’m going to have a go at sewing knits and I’m going to count it as being inspired by Katie.

I’ve ordered myself a walking foot and the Coco pattern, I’ll order some ponte di roma tonight and get cracking. If sewing knits isn’t horrific I can see Coco dresses with tights or leggings and boots becoming my autumn uniform.

Another blogger who I find really inspiring is Fiona of Diary of a Chain Stitcher. I really like how she challenges herself to try new fabrics and new techniques. Her technique checklist is a great idea that I’m possibly going to steal. Otherwise I’ll put off lapped zips and slippery fabrics forever.

I’ve also been feeling very inspired by Inge and again Katie with their recent pattern drafting. I have actually registered for a pattern cutting course at a local college – nothing like running before you can walk. It’s a whole year course, broken into three 10 week blocks and I’ve only registered for the first one so far, in case I hate it and don’t want to do any more. I’m really excited though. We start with shirts and blouses so I should probably have a go at sewing one before the course starts on the 18th – eeeek!

Pretty much every pattern I’ve bought has been inspired by seeing another blogger’s version but a couple that spring to mind are New Look 6069, which I bought after seeing this version of Lynne’s from Ozzy Blackbeard. Isn’t it lovely? I haven’t made it yet as I can’t decide on the fabric and I was scared of sleeves so wanted to make Megan before trying anything else sleeved.

Image pinched from Ozzy Blackbeard

And the Deer and Doe Anemone skirt after seeing Paunnet’s versions.

Image from Paunnet.com

I also LOVE this cocktail print FrankenAnna from Tabatha Tweedle of Thread Carefully

The Cocktail Anna Dress - side view
Image taken from Thread Carefully

And this Annalotte with added peplum from Jenny at Sewing Pies.

Tangerine Roses
Image taken from Sewing Pies

I’m sure there are dozens more that I’ll kick myself for forgetting as soon as I press publish on this post but that’s a few of the brilliant bloggers who have inspired me. So I’ve sort of joined in my first sewcialists theme, except not really as I haven’t actually made anything, ooh unless I can count my colour blocked Megan as being inspired by Tilly’s colour blocked version in the book.