May sewing plans

*sigh* April. I didn’t sit and sew a stitch until the month was almost over. This was partially because the first few weekends of the month were very busy but also I found that the longer I left it, the more overwhelmed I felt by starting anything. Do you guys ever feel like that? I have found that when I get like that I just have to force myself to sit and do something but it takes a while to persuade myself!

May is a slightly less busy month plus there are 2 long weekends and a few extra days off work so I feel like I can make a slightly longer list of plans than normal:

  • finish Hayden’s waistcoat. This will only take a few more hours and a buckle to finish it so I’m confident I can get this finished by June!
  • make some Closet Case Sasha trousers. This was part of my plan for April but I just didn’t get round to it. I do want some lighter trousers for work for the (hopefully) warmer months and the cropped length with pockets would be my perfect pair.
  • make a new ironing board cover. The current one is looking tatty and I ironed interfacing into it the other day so could do with a new one. I already have stash fabric in mind. Suggestions for good tutorials would be appreciated!
  • alter a pair of trousers for Hayden. He asked me ages ago and I forgot. They just need the hems letting down as he is quite tall so it should be a quick job.
  • alter a t-shirt for me. I made a Lark tee but I don’t like the length of the sleeves in the print I have used, but I think I would wear it more with a shorter sleeve length.
  • catch up on some blogs. I know I roll this one out most months but I have a backlog of things I really want to share and just need to find a clear enough day to photograph them!

April in review

You can probably tell from the list above that I didn’t get anything done last month. I did fit the waistcoat for Hayden and cut that out so I did make some progress, but everything else was largely untouched. I did however start sorting my stash out and have managed to eliminate an entire box as well as a pile of patterns – I was able to sell a few things and have relegated a bin bag of scraps to recycling. I would like to sell a few more pieces of fabric and patterns by the end of the month. I also didn’t make a chair cushion for the sewing room. It’s not urgent, but it would be nice! I did go to the Tilly and the Buttons pop-up fabric shop with Rudy and Sam though and of course we ended up on Goldhawk Road – I was very good and didn’t buy anything!

Advertisements

Me Made May 2018

‘I, Jenny of @jennystitched and jennystitched.wordpress.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’18. I endeavour to wear a minimum of 1 handmade item per day and to document it daily on instagram so I can see how many of my makes actually get worn!

This is my very first Me Made May although Zoe of So, Zo, what do you know has been running it for several years now. Whilst I don’t think I have enough handmade items to avoid outfit repeats, I want to use this month as a time to review what I’m actually wearing and what I’m ignoring on a day to day basis. I already do wear some my memades pretty regularly but I don’t like taking photos of myself, so for me the daily documentation aspect of the challenge is the part I’m least looking forward to!

I’m finding as I get a little older that I want more and more to have a better defined style. At heart I am very much a jeans and tshirt kinda girl, as I’ve mentioned before, but that can still be stylish – but at the moment I just feel like a big frump. 😦

For my birthday last year my partner bought me The Curated Closet and I’ve barely started it. One of the first exercises is to document with photos your daily outfits and then use these to analyse shapes, colours, styles etc. As part of my pledge is to take daily photos,hopefully I can use these to work on The Curated Closet and find a more clear idea of my own style.

I’m going to do a daily update on instagram via stories and I’ll be doing a weekly round-up on instagram and here too. If anyone has any really good tips for tracking outfits for Me Made May, please let me know – I remember from last year a few people had charts or spreadsheets so any tips will be appreciated!

Monday Mention – The Craftivist Collective

One of my plans for 2018 was to reinstate the Monday Mentions blog series that I began a couple of years ago (okay, one post is not a blog series) – I want to share with you posts about creative people or groups; people you may not have come across before or not know much about.

“The Craftivist Collective is exactly that – a collective, an inclusive group of people committed to using thoughtful, beautiful crafted works to help themselves and encourage others be the positive change they wish to see in the world.”

I stumbled across the Craftivist Collective a few weeks ago when I picked up a badge from the shop at the Millenium Gallery in Sheffield. I hadn’t heard or seen anything about the Collective before then, which surprised me – a lot of the sewing community are all crafty in other ways and on the whole pretty engaged with social causes and activism in one way or another!

Protest and activism tends to have a negative, angry image – shouting and rioting, people being arrested, taking over buildings etc, but just because you aren’t waving a banner or yelling at those who have opposing views to you doesn’t make you less engaged, or willing to engage. Craftivism is about being active, but in a smaller, more personal way:

The concept is simple – use crafts to engage with the world around you, protest, fight injustice and stand up for what you believe in. The website has a list of project suggestions but in no way is this exhaustive. There is also guidance on how you can set up your own craftivism session or group.

You can purchase a starter kit or smaller projects too – all proceeds are fed back into growing the Collective and funding bigger craftivism projects. Your own project can be big or small – a group stitch-in to promote fair wages like this group, or you could pledge to crochet your own dish cloths to reduce waste and protect the environment. My own first personal bit of craftivism is to make some re-useable shopping bags for loose fruit and veg. What will be yours?

April sewing plans

As always, this post is a few days late. However in my defense, until today I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make! I already have a busy month ahead so there won’t be a huge amount of time to sit and sew but it would be nice to tick a few projects off my list!

  • make a waistcoat for Hayden. He is in a function band and we found a beautiful turquoise herringbone poly-wool in the local market that we both liked (and it was a bargain) and I have a pattern in the stash especially for this.
  • Make a cushion for my sewing chair. I picked up some great flamingo upholstery fabric in Utrecht a few years ago that is waiting to be used.
  • Make a pair of Sasha trousers from Closet Case. These were part of my March plans but I ran out of time to make them!

March in review

March was very productive! I made a workout top and leggings using the My Handmade Wardrobe Action Pack, an Itch to Stitch Lago vest for me, a Grainline Lark tee for me and a Burda Pete t-shirt for Hayden. Most of the fabric came from my stash but there is still a long way to go in reducing it down! I also made my Craftsmanship bag kit from Niizo Craft which will be on the blog soon (I love it FYI). I didn’t finish my embroidery project though – I need to try to make this a bit of an evening habit as I have some new projects I am really keen to start on but I’m on a self-imposed ban until my little raccoon is finished.

My Handmade Wardrobe Action Pack and a giveaway!

When I was contacted by the team at Crafty Sew and So to see I was interesting in being

IMG_1645

part of the blog team for their new pattern launch, I jumped at the chance to support some of my fellow sewists as they launched their latest venture.

My Handmade Wardrobe is a range of 4 patterns intended to be true wardrobe staples. There is a skirt pattern with 4 variations, a jersey dress and tunic pattern, a shift dress and top pattern and a workout set. I was asked to review the workout set, called the Action Pack.

The Action Pack is a set of leggings and a tunic length sleeveless top with a crossover back detail. The leggings are a classic high-waisted legging with only 1 leg seam for a seamless look and the top is a loose fitting shape that would flatter most figures.

The instructions have been written with a beginner dressmaker in mind so at the start of the booklet is lots of useful information to guide you through the make, with the important details like seam allowances clearly labelled so you know what you need to know before you stitch a thing!

I made the top out of some teal jersey from my local market. The top is a good length but I was still able to squeeze it out of about a metre as the fabric was quite wide. I found the trickiest part of the top was the elastic – all of the edges around the neck and arms are finished with one long piece of elastic and the section around the centre back is quite a tight curve. I would recommend using some quite soft elastic if you can – what I used was a bit too stiff for this purpose. I can imagine this would work well with fold-over elastic to bind the edges instead. I cut a single size instead of grading between them as I would normally need to as the fit is floaty and roomier around the hips – definitely a good pattern for those who are pear-shaped like me! This could be a great lounge wear piece for those days when you just want to sit on the sofa and eat your own body weight in cheese (the gym is good too though…), or you could lengthen the pattern pieces to make a good beach cover-up for the summer.

I made the leggings from some fun flock spotted lycra I ordered from Funki Fabrics. I also made these in a straight size and only took off an inch or so from the leg length as I’m not very tall, although I think I might crop this further as my normal preference for running leggings is mid-calf. The only step I omitted for the leggings was sewing the elastic in place to the facing – my machine just didn’t want to do it nicely but the pattern will still work if you skip this step. Keep in mind though that the elastic may twist round in the waistband section! I was able to squeeze these out of just over a metre as the fabric is quite wide. These leggings are great for all forms of exercise but would also work well in a classic jersey for wearing under dresses etc instead of using a sportswear fabric.

Both of these makes are surprisingly quick – both patterns could be made up in a couple of hours each! I did the majority of the assembly on my overlocker which always speeds up the process, but the instructions cover how to make these on a normal machine too. The leggings took less time as the construction is more simple, but making both would give a beginner a good opportunity to try some new techniques too!

In some exciting news, I’m doing my first giveaway! Along with 3 metres of the awesome flock spotty lycra, the team at My Handmade Wardrobe have kindly provided me with a copy of this pattern to give away to one lucky winner! I will be running the giveaway both here and on instagram so there are 2 ways to enter:

  1. On instagram: follow @craftysewandso and my instagram (@jennystitched) and repost the giveaway using the hashtag #MHWactiongiveaway.
  2. On the blog: follow my blog and leave a comment below letting me know which garment you would make first from the Action Pack and why!

All valid entries both on here and on instagram will be collated and chosen using a random number generator to ensure fairness. The competition will close at 8pm GMT on 21st March 2018 and the prize can be shipped internationally. The winner will be contacted privately to arrange postage. Good luck!

** GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**

NOTE: I was provided with a copy of the pattern for the purposes of the giveaway but the fabric and any other prizes which may be included were purchased or obtained by myself independently and therefore are in no way endorsements of those products or companies.

March sewing plans

As usual my monthly planning post is late. Would you expect anything else? February was another busy month but I was able to tick some things off some lists and start formulating some plans for the coming months.

I actually have quite a few plans for March. There are lots of other exciting things going on this month so whether I am able to plough through it all is another matter, but I am sure you all know by now that I do like to set potentially unmanageable goals each month! As we are already days in I have made a start on some things, but I had writen my plans in February so it still counts! So far I plan to:

  • Work on my make for the My Handmade Wardrobe blog tour. Fingers crossed this is a quick make!
  • Make my bag from Niizo Craft. This was my Christmas present from my mum and I am really looking forward to sewing some things this year that aren’t garments.
  • Make another t-shirt for Hayden. I’ll probably use the same pattern as I have for the previous tees I have made him so this should be quick too.
  • Sew up a few stretch tops for me. I recently got some gorgeous jersey from Abakhan (don’t worry, it was an exception to my self-imposed stash diet rules!) that I want to make up asap. I also have some jersey I picked up in Germany that is crying out to be used!
  • Start fitting a trouser project. I need more trousers!
  • Finish an embroidery kit I started last year. I have a fair way to go with this but I think a little bit each evening will help, as well as help my stress levels!

February in review

I made jeans! Wearable jeans! There are still some issues with fit that need ironing out so I will try to pick up more denim soon to have another go. I recently asked on instagram and twitter if buying fabric to have another go at jeans was allowed under the stash diet, as it would be part of the same project and there was an overwhelming agreement that it was fine to buy more denim… You enablers, you 😉

It was surprisingly nice to just have one project to focus on for 4 weeks, plus I was able to tick off a make from my 2018 Make Nine. I know I have a lot of things to squeeze in this month and I want to see how I feel at the end of the month – does a smaller to-do list work better for me or does having to work under pressure make me a better maker?

Another Burda Pete t-shirt

After the success of the first version of the Pete tee that I made for Hayden, I decided to make another version for his birthday back in August. (I am very behind on blogging…)

IMG_1233

Hayden can sometimes be quite particular with his clothes so I wanted to make him something that would work with other things that he wears and that suit his style, as well as something that would be a quick make while he was out one evening! I ordered a really nice quality cotton jersey from Minerva Crafts which unfortunately now is out of stock, although there is something similar currently on the site. I managed to

IMG_1237

squeeze this out of less than a metre as I made a size small and had enough left over for a make for me another time. I made this up exactly as before, except I overlocked the sleeve hems and the bottom hems before turning them up so the insides were a bit neater than in the first version, which you can just about see in the second photo.

I did mention in my previous post that I had some problems with the download of this pattern – the pattern is available to purchase at the same price but I checked recently and still can’t download the pdf file from my Burda account – if anyone does want to buy this pattern, you may need to contact customer services to obtain it but it is a great staple when you do!

IMG_1228

Blog outtakes – Hayden was cold while I was faffing with the camera so busted out some push-ups in the cold streets of Cambridge (I caught this as he was getting up again, he isn’t rubbish at push-ups!)