January sewing plans

Sunset, leaving London, December 2018

It’s January! In 2019! I’m excited! All the exclamation points!

Anyway, hello! It’s a new year and I really enjoy the feeling of possibility that comes with a new year. I’m not going to launch in to a whole ‘New Year New Me’ speech because I probably will continue to be the same me I was in December, except with fewer mince pies and possibly some better shoes.

This month I want to:

  • Make a pair of FehrTrade PB Jam leggings. I bought the pattern and fabric before Christmas but just never made them. As I said in this post I’ve been hitting the gym a bit and some new gym gear that actually fits would be useful
  • Buy all fabric and haberdashery needed for the red cord jacket in my Make Nine list for this year. I don’t plan to make it yet but I like to be prepared and there are a few January sales so I might be lucky and find a bargain
  • Make some pyjamas using the flamingo cotton from my stash. These will be the first make from my Make Nine list and I’m really excited to use the fabric

December in review

I helped my mum make a sparkly party dress for her work christmas party. It was based on 2 patterns in Gertie’s Ultimate Dress book and I had to relearn how to do a lapped zipper as I’d not done one since 2011. I embroidered a gift for my brother and his partner and I taught myself to knit again and I’m really enjoying having something to do in the dark winter evenings when I’m sat on the sofa. I also made Hayden a new tie which he seems to really like!

Sewing plans for Make Nine 2019

It’s that time of year again! I love this time of year, it always feels like a new beginning (I mean, it literally is) but everyone becomes so motivated and keen to plan for the new year and it’s a bit infectious. There have been a flurry of new sewing challenges in the last few days but the one I’ve started (and never finished) for the last 2 years is Make Nine.

Make Nine is “a gentle, self-guided slow fashion initiative for fabric and yarn lovers”. There are no prizes or deadlines and no compulsory makes. Simple!

Last year I made 3 out of my 9, which is the same as I managed the year before. When I plan my makes for the month I do try to have my Make Nine choices in the back of my mind but life and other shiny new fabrics or patterns tend to get in the way and I get a bit off track. I also think tastes change and my own style has changed a little too so I found it quite hard to stick with my original choices.

This year I decided to pick 9 things I wanted to make instead of 9 specific patterns. I wanted the flexibility to change my mind and for some of my choices I haven’t got any clue about what pattern to use!

Red cord jacket – I love this jacket so much. It’s worn by Lorelai Gilmore in the first few seasons of the Gilmore Girls. There were a few similar styles in shops last year but I want to make my own version. I’m torn between the Audrey pattern from Seamwork or the Hampton Jean Jacket from Alina Design Co.

Bra – this was on my list for last year but I just never got round to it. I don’t have a specific pattern in mind, there are so many options and it’s a bit overwhelming! I’m leaning towards a foam cup bra of some kind as this is my usual preference when shopping so any pattern suggestions gratefully received.

Pyjamas – this is more to do with using a fabric that I’ve been stashing for ages than a specific pattern. I bought this fabulous flamingo cotton after seeing By Hand London use it for a pattern and I’ve had it for years. The print is bold and colourful but just not the sort of style I wear. Pyjamas seems like the best use of this fabric! I have a Kwik Sew pyjama pattern already but might treat myself to the Closet Case Carolyn pattern as I’ve seen so many great versions.

Black jeans – although I’ve made jeans before a black pair would definitely fill a gap in my wardrobe. There are a few issues with fit that I want to work on too but I am tempted to try a new pattern to see if that helps at all. I’ve seen a few good versions of the Ash jeans from Megan Neilsen and the Simplicity Mimi G jeans too so I’ll pick a pattern closer to the time.

Sports bra – I joined the gym back in November and although I don’t need a new sports bra I’d like to have a ho at making one! There are a few Simplicity patterns that might work or I might try to copy one I already own.

Embroidery anglais tee – I found a really sweet red woven tee in a Superdry shop that didn’t fit me at all but it was such a nice shape I hope to replicate it if I can! I think I will need to dye the fabric to match the colour as most embroidery anglais comes in plain white.

Leather handbag – another plan with no specific pattern in mind. I made a bag last year using a Niizo craft kit and enjoyed the process but I would love to have a go at one of their more simple patterns in a soft leather. I haven’t sewn leather for years so it would be nice to have another go!

2 wild cards – I’m still undecided about my last 2 choices so I’m going to wait for inspiration to strike as the year goes on. Ideally I need another good stash sorting session as I have a feeling the fabric I already own may lead my choices for the last 2 makes.

I’d love to hear any pattern recommendations you might have for the choices I’m undecided on! I hope to do a quarterly round up to let you know how I’m doing. That way I can let you know what my 2 wild card choices are too!

Steeplechase leggings from Fehr Trade

I recently started going back to the gym. I haven’t been for years and I’m still not sure I have any idea what I’m doing when I’m there but I figured now was probably the time to share some activewear I made… last year!

I actually made these during the first day of the Fold Line’s Sewing Weekender in 2017.IMG_2013 Having read all the blogs and instagram posts about the very first Weekender in 2016 I knew a lot more chatting than sewing would be happening and that taking something complicated that required a huge amount of concentration probably wasn’t a very good idea! I chose to make another pair of Steeplechase Leggings by Fehr Trade (see my original version here, made as part of the Cali Fabrics blog team). The night before I had prepped all my pieces so that I was ready to sew and I’m glad I did as there wasn’t a lot of cutting space at the event that year.

The Steeplechase pattern is designed to fit in 1 metre of fabric for the main pieces and I used a weird, unknown-fibre-content-but-perfect-for-activewear mystery stretchy synthetic fabric in my stash that I’d picked up in my local market for the bargain price of £1.10 a metre. It’s an unusual grey and pink parasol print and I knew it would work perfectly for more running leggings. I IMG_1990was able to use some leftover black lycra from my stash and made a medium as the large had been slightly too big first time around. Thank goodness for Lycra though because 18 months later I am most definitely not a medium but they still fit!! I made no adjustments to the pattern which is unsual for me. Being quite pear-shaped I normally have to grade between 1 or 2 size but because of the negative ease in this pattern I can get away with sewing a straight size. I would strongly suggest checking the stretch percentage in your fabric before you do this though as you don’t want your leggings to be too tight or to end up too baggy once they’ve stretched a bit. I think I sewed these up in about an hour even with all the chatting and learning how to use a new sewing machine (there were digital machines on loan from Janome for the Weekender and it’s a bit fancier than my Elna!). I love a quick sew. For almost the entire time I was sewing them at the Weekender, Melissa, who designs the Fehr Trade patterns, was stood right behind me. Talk about pressure! I don’t think she noticed though, phew!

I’ve worn these for all sorts of exercise in the year since I made them and they are so comfy to wear – the lack of an inner thigh seam means there is no chaffing or rubbing. The seam runs down the back of the leg so maybe next time I might put in some piping to help highlight the design lines. The pattern pieces do look a little alarming at first glance as they’re an unusual shape but this pattern is a surprisingly speedy sew once you get started so I would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking about sewing their own active-wear!


December sewing plans

Real talk – I haven’t sewn anything since September. SEPTEMBER. This is longest I’ve gone without sewing in several years and I simultaneously feel like I don’t really mind that much and that I’ve lost a limb. It’s weird. November was a bit odd as I had to re-adjust to normal life after 4 fantastic weeks away and it took me a while to get settled back in. That combined with the changing seasons and darker evenings makes it feel like my sewjo is still pottering around New Zealand somewhere. I’m still enjoying looking at other people’s makes here and on Instagram but I just cant seem to make myself sew anything. In November I also re-joined the gym which has altered what time I have in the evenings and that’s taking some time to get used to too. Also my jeans don’t fit because my legs have changed shape, which is both a positive and a negative, I guess.

Today I listened to the planning episode of the Love To Sew podcast and the first tip I want to try is to schedule in dedicated sewing time to see if that helps get me out of this funk I’ve ended up in.

This month in my scheduled sewing time I would like to:

  • make some undies. I have enough jersey scraps to be able to make a few pairs and I really need a few new pairs.
  • make a tie for Hayden. He bought a really lovely cotton from Liberty and I know this will be a nice easy sew.
  • Catch up on some blog posts. I think I make this a goal for every month… at least I’m consistent!

November in review

I fibbed, I did actually sew something. I repaired some pyjamas I ripped whilst I was away (on the first night!). I did also do a little tidying in my sewing space too but I still have a long way to go there. I also finished an embroidery hoop kit from Oh Sew Bootiful and that was a really soothing project. Maybe more embroidery will help me get me groove back? I also designed and made an embroidery hoop for my mum for her birthday and she liked it – success! I didn’t make any running leggings, although I did order some fabric and buy the pattern. Definitely steps in the right direction! There was no wardrobe purge either and that feels very overdue so I’ll try to make that a focus for this weekend. Overall it’s been an odd month. I feel weirdly neutral about it all but I also feel like I might be coming back out on the other side so there’s hope yet!

By Hand London Anna dress


Hayden said I looked quite vintage looking here!

You know when you have an event to go to but procrastinate for so long that you don’t have anything to wear until the last minute? No? Just me then…

Last year my cousin got married, and I needed something nice to wear for the occasion. I really was short on time and didn’t really have time to alter anything too complicated – enter the By Hand London Anna Dress.

I originally had a go at this pattern a few year ago, before I really started sewing again after university, but I had made it in a cotton print that was a bit too stiff and I loathed it so the pattern had been tucked away in a box, cut but unloved, for several years. Being short on time I knew I would need to use something from my stash and I had a beautiful floral viscose-ish print that I had picked up from the Sewing Bee Live last year that I wanted to use, so after rummaging through my pattern stash I dug out the Anna. Thankfully (sort of?) I was still the same size as I was when I had cut the pattern, so I was able to cut and sew this really quickly!

The Anna is a great beginner dress as you can get away with very basic adjustments – I img_1813.jpgusually have to do a FBA but for this dress I was able to get away with drafting between sizes to get the fit I wanted. That being said, the back neck gapes a bit so I might need to do a narrow back adjustment? If I make it again I might also add a more full skirt to up the swooshiness. I also might fully line the bodice as I find the facing flaps about and doesn’t seem to sit nicely. I think binding the neck might also work – I’m not a fan of a facing. I did rush the construction of this and I’m not sure the hem is entirely even either but because the fabric is quite flowy and drapey I think I can get away without hemming it again!

Now I totally get why everyone loves this pattern. It’s simple, flattering and above all pretty comfortable. I’m still not a dress girl so this doesn’t get worn but I don’t want to consign it to the refashioning pile just yet! If anyone knows where I could find more of this fabric please let me know – I can’t remember which stall at Sewing Bee Live I bought it from but if I spot more I will snap it up!

November sewing plans

Late again! No excuses really, other than I’ve been getting back in to the swing of real life after an extraordinary October. I was away from home (and my sewing machine) for 4 weeks so no sewing was completed in October at all but now I’m home I feel quite motivated to sew!

This month I want to:

  • Make some new workout leggings. I’ve gained more weight than I had anticipated whilst away (a lot of wine is to blame) so lately I’ve felt awkward and uncomfortable in all my clothes. I joined the gym again and now I want new gym clothes! I’m thinking of making one of the legging patterns I haven’t used from FehrTrade (probably the PB Jam pattern) and hopefully I’ll find some great sports fabric.
  • Finish an embroidery project. I’ve got a hoop kit from Oh Sew Bootiful that is nearly finished that will look so cute when it’s done.
  • Purge my wardrobe. I have more than enough clothes but there are plenty I don’t wear because I don’t like them anymore, my style has changed or I’m just plain too chunky for right now. Ideally a total wardrobe overhaul would be great but I think I need to take it slowly and really focus on what I want to add or take away from my current wardrobe. This also means I could refocus on my making plans to fill the gaps.
  • Catch up on some posts. I had a couple scheduled for while I was away but none of them posted!

September and October in review

In September I did finish my Ginger jeans and these are wearing in nicely. I will get round to posting about my jeans making experience… at some point… I also finished a New Look 6483 but the 4 blog posts never got scheduled or even finished for that matter. Whoops!

In October I visited San Francisco, New Zealand and Tokyo and or course I went fabric shopping in each place. I don’t plan on doing a haul post but there will be a post in the near future!


Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco


Mission Bay, North Island, New Zealand


Yurakucho, Tokyo

September sewing plans

My poor neglected blog… I’m still here I promise! I’ve had a post for September half drafted for ages but I just haven’t had the time to properly finish it. August ran away with me too – I was away for a week so that did cut down sewing time, but if I’m being totally honest… I also haven’t wanted to sew much or blog much over the last few months. I’ve been forcing some of the sewing and so the blogging has certainly fallen by the wayside and a big reason for that is that I don’t feel particularly cute in what I make so I don’t want to share it. I mean, I like what I make but I feel quite negative about my body lately, despite this seeming to be the age of body positivity, and publishing posts where I have to show what I look like in my makes has been hard.

I’ve also felt quite pressured as I am going away for 4 weeks and have been trying to sew a lot of things to take away with me. Some of those plans have long been abandoned though, I work full time and I just haven’t had the time to make everything for the trip and all of the pressure is self-inflicted so I’m the only one to blame here!

So at this point in the month it seems a bit silly to share my monthly goals but I still have some time before I go and I am sure I can finish a few more things!

  • Make some Ginger jeans. My first pair have worn thin and are approaching the completely unwearable stage and I need some other trousers to take on the trip.
  • Finish and schedule 4 blog posts. Not including this one! I think I have enough photos to be able to finally share some posts.
  • Finish my latest New Look 6483 top. This only needs hemming and one armhole binding so I’m optimistic I can get this done!

August in review

I did finish my Ginger jeans and have worn them much more than I had anticipated. I also made my Kelly anorak and I love it! I already want another one. I still didn’t make that Datura blouse. I will do eventually, but I just don’t have enough time this month! I also visited the Rag Market with some friends and went to Stoff and Stil in Berlin so it ended up being a good month and I’m so happy with my 2 completed makes!