A Bit (Lot) Stuck

So, I’ve managed to sew one garment since I last spoke to you and have taken no photos of it!  I’ve also cut out one pattern and got no further – the fabric is still a big piece of fabric.  So this is going to be a wordy rather than pretty post I’m afraid.

Basically – I feel a bit stuck.  I have all these plans of what I’d like to make (as you know from my last post) but I’m…  I don’t know really…  Confused?  Not sure?  Long story short – I’ve recently been living in my maternity jeans from five years ago and a couple of vest (singlet) tops and a maternity top that’s also five years old.  Don’t get me wrong – they’ve got plenty of life in them and they don’t need replacing at all but…

I like dresses.  I like woven dresses.  I like dresses that make the best of what I have and I’m not sure how to do that at the moment.  Don’t get me wrong – I adore being pregnant (and everything that it brings!) but I’m not sure how to express who I am through my clothes at the moment.  I’m also in that slightly odd transition phase where I don’t fit into my clothes anymore but don’t really look pregnant at the moment (although I’m told I’m starting to ‘pop’).

This leaves me wanting to sew but not having any real clue WHAT to sew!!  I’m in the middle of making a quilt but even that isn’t scratching the itch at the moment.  I want to sew something for ME so that I feel less casual and more put together if that makes any sense at all?

It’s a weird situation and one I wasn’t in when Boy was a bump.  I didn’t sew clothes then and having found out so late, a couple of pairs of jeans and a couple of tops got me through the few months when I did know about it (and went from not looking pregnant to looking very pregnant in a very short space of time) – I didn’t have time to get frustrated about what was on offer on the high street and quite honestly I didn’t project myself through my wardrobe in the same way!  I’m so grateful that I can do that through sewing but it’s a bit of a mind bender at the moment…

Sooo…  I’m getting used to the idea of (nearly) everything in a knit (I’m not a fan of the draped look although I know some people can pull that off brilliantly) as I still like to have some definition where I can.  Sewing knits is not a drama at all on my two machines either.  

So I don’t know what my problem is:
Is it what to sew?
Is it how to project who I am through who I sew?
Is it simply that I need to wrap my head around this transitional period and just sew something!

I think I’ll go with option three…

PS – Boy starts school on Thursday…  How on earth did we get to that stage already?!

Plotting and Planning But Not a Lot of Sewing… Yet…

I’m not even keeping up with my ‘one post a month’ target at the moment am I?!  But hey, tell you something you don’t know – right?  I promise I’ve had my reasons though, the main one being this:

Fidget

Meet Fidget, mostly known as ‘our baby’ if you ask Boy.  It’s earned the moniker as during the dating scan earlier this week they did not want to stay still and have their measurements taken, or give the sonographer an easy first appointment of the day!  Hence the face down, slightly blurry image!  Everything looked good though and the blood tests have come back as all being well.  We’ve also made it out of the first Trimester so are starting to feel a little less worried and able to share the news.  We’re hoping to meet Fidget in mid to late February.

I’ve been too tired to sew and the be quite honest, not even sure WHAT to sew!  Bed time has been 9pm for weeks, which basically means no sewing.  Sleep was the priority!  Instead I’ve been hoping, dreaming and making some vague plans – what to wear being one element.

I’ve had fun sketching in my Fashionary and come up with a few ideas that I hope will work in the coming 6 months or so as well as afterwards, and some may even have a longer ‘shelf life’.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Butterick 5860, which is a wrap dress.  I’ve got some fabric earmarked to make at least two of these as I suspect they’ll become my uniform at work.  I have a colleague who had the most chic and pulled together maternity wardrobe during her recent second pregnancy and is the inspiration for a couple of pieces in my planned wardrobe…

Staple Dress by April Rhodes but with the shirring falling just under the bust and with a bump accommodating adjustment.  This is currently in progress.  I’ve just got to get brave to make the bias binding from a very silky rayon.  I’m gonna have to face that soon as I need it for a wedding in just under two weeks!

Papercut Patterns Circle Top as this will work now and well into the future!  So far I’ve got a navy and a purple version planned.  These will be in solids to give maximum wearing potential and are in two of my basic colours.

Maria Denmark Day to Night tops (why do I always want to type Knight when writing about this top?!).  I’m going to use Zo’s maternity alteration on these as I need some tops to go with the maternity jeans I had when pregnant with Boy.

I’ve also found a gorgeous French company called Deuxieme Arrondissement which make some gorgeous maternity patterns.  I’ve bought two:  The Duo 13H and Robe Minuit.  I think the Duo 13H will be perfect for a wedding we’re going to in December.  They’re completely different to any other maternity patterns out there, and whilst they’re entirely in French, I have faith in my language skills…  They’re printed on lovely thick paper and I’m looking forward to using them!

I’ve also hacked Jamie Christina’s Mission Maxi and am wearing a maxi skirt from a slightly failed experiment as I type.  I basically used a double knit and whilst I compensated for the lack of stretch everywhere else, with my changing chest size, it was a tad snug up top!  So I lopped the top portion off to turn it into a skirt.  I will probably revisit though, armed with a more suitable knit and again use Zo’s tutorial.

Finally, I’ve bought Burda 7239 with the express intention of recreating a top I wore when pregnant with Boy.  It was basically a cropped wrap cardigan with a false top underneath it made of a very light weight cotton.  It was fabulous to wear and my only splurge on maternity clothing with Boy.  It came from Mamas and Papas and cost me close to £40.  I wore it to death.

What I also need to do (and this is going to have to be interspersed by other projects) is crack on with my Papercut Patterns Milano Cape.  This was also inspired by my colleague, but it seemed wrong and tempting fate to do too much work on it whilst trying and then in the early stages of pregnancy.  Call me superstitious or plain daft, but after previous experiences I didn’t want to be presumptuous.

As for Fidget – well not a lot planned there at the moment as we’re not going to find out whether they’re a he or a she until they make an entrance into the world.  We’ve also got the vast majority of what we need for the early months from when we had Boy.  He was also an unknown so all our early baby stuff is neutral!  I think I may have a go at adapting Dog Under My Desk’s Day Tripper bag to be a more fun changing bag as the one from the days of Boy is a very man friendly grey!  Oh, and I’d love to make Boy and Fidget matching quilts…

So, some ‘quick’ projects (I hope) and some more involved…  Time will tell if I manage to get even half of them done!

Spring Sewing Swap

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I really have to say a massive thank you to Kerry for organising the Spring Sewing Swap.  Through this bit of selfless shopping and fun I discovered teafortwodiary written by Jen and Elena.  My swap partner was Jen and I had an absolute blast shopping for her!

She also did some truly epic shopping and stash diving for me!  Look at the loveliness that I received!

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There’s 3m of that beautiful poly – from Paris no less, the cutest little buttons, trim from Cloth House a dress which provides an interesting bodice for infinite skirt variations and a lovely card.  I think the fabric is destined to become some sort of maxi – I just need to decide on a pattern!

I have done a little bit of sewing too, in the last month.  I made a shirt for Boy’s best friend’s birthday – covered in dinosaurs but as I was attaching buttons the morning of said birthday I don’t have any pictures (bad blogger!) but he loves it and it got a ton of unsolicited compliments when it was worn to the Dinosaur Park!  His parents seemed to love telling people that it was a one of a kind and their friend made it for him!  I also got the biggest hug – I hope they don’t get ‘too cool’ for unique clothing anytime soon…

I’m also a hem and some binding away from finishing the Staple Dress that I bought as part of the last Pattern Parcel.  Shirring wasn’t too bad but my machine made some really strange noises whilst doing it – I think I may actually have to mess with the bobbin tension settings next time I take any shirring on – screeching squeaking is not good!

Oh and just to give you all a giggle, we took the rabbits in to have preventative fly-strike treatment and saw a rabbit specialist nurse.  Turns out Buzz is a boy and Woody is a girl.  48hrs later, Buzz became an ‘it’.  Hopefully we won’t get anymore surprises with those two!

So, you never know, I may leave it less than a month to make a reappearance here…  See you soon?!

Fabric and Friends

On Saturday, I got on the train just gone 7am and headed to London.  My plan was very simple – visit Walthamstow Market and visit Dibs.  Claire very kindly met me off the train at Liverpool Street and escorted me to Walthamstow and showed me around.  Oh. My.  I loved Goldhawk Road when I went last summer and quite frankly I also love Walthamstow but for different reasons.

22 March 1

In my whistle-stop shopping trip Walthamstow seems to specialise in knits, trims and haberdashery.  I did see a couple of places selling African Wax Print and Sari fabrics too but didn’t go in.  Whilst there were plenty of wovens on offer (particularly at Saeeds and the Man Outside Sainsburys) the strong suit really did seem to be knits.  I have to admit to not being a well versed visitor to either area, this is just my general impression!

Claire took me to the far end of the market and we worked our way back towards Walthamstow Central.  I loved our first stop where we bought fabric at £1 or £2 a metre.  I came away with a print test run on what is (we think) Rayon that cost £2/m and as there was only 2m I bought it all!  I also bought a gorgeous brushed navy twill, a very stable striped knit and a solid navy.  10m of fabric for £18.  I’d be lucky to get 2m of knit for that price locally.

22 March 2

Over the road was another fabric shop with similar prices where I bought a pink leopard print knit.  I think this will probably become a Tiramisu and a pair of cropped leggings.  We’ll see how it goes particularly as I’ve now noticed it’s got lots of little runs in it.  It only cost something ridiculous like £1.50/m so whilst it’s annoying it’s not the end of the world.  I know I got change out of a £5 note for it!

We then went into a haberdashery and trim shop where I spent £14 on thread.  12 cones of overlocker thread which are identical to the ones I use at home and paid £4 each for – these were £1 each!  The Coat’s Moon thread was 50p a spool – vast improvement on the £2 I usually pay.  Whilst I only bought black , white and navy and some moon thread to match the pink leopard knit this shop had every single colour under the sun.  Salmon pink, neon orange, sage green, dusky blue – you name it, they had it.

22 March 7

Next stop was Saeed’s.  This was a complete contrast to the other shops in the area in terms of space, general presentation and how the fabric was displayed.  I bought 3m of a digital print linen to make Sewaholic’s Gabriola and spent the most per metre I had all day; £6.  £6!!  I am sure that locally this fabric would be at least £12/m if not more.  The staff were so friendly and helpful too – I can’t recommend them enough!

As we went down the market we popped into another haberdashery where there was a wall just full of beads and sequins.  I only bought 2 bags of trouser hooks – each bag was £1.  I was starting to become completely overwhelmed by it all.  The number of trims was insane.  Pompom, braid, bias tapes, ribbons, diamante, beaded collars…

We then found the legend that is the Man Outside Sainsburys.  I bought a dress length of cotton lawn and also of an alleged silk blend.  I’m inclined to believe him as it has the most beautiful drape.  Being such a dork I didn’t even ask the price when I saw the silk – I just wanted it!  I was gobsmaked when he only charged me £5.50/m for it and £2/m for the lawn.  He also had a lovely drapey fabric with an enormous digital print of magnolia in black and white on it.  Quite frankly, a trip to Walthamstow is worth it for him, Saeed’s and the insanely cheap first shop and my favourite of the day The Textile Centre (the one with the green writing outside at the end of the market nearest the tube, hiding behind a stall selling saucepans of catering proportions).

22 March 8

It was mental how many people were in there.  It was still a pleasant experience though as the staff were doing all they could and apologising for the delay.  I came away with 3m each of an Ikat style knit in blue and purple and 4m of the same hummingbird border print knit that Karen used for her Coco.  These were all about £2/m!  They also had a sequin fabric at £5.50/m which I loved but had no idea what I’d do with.  I’ve seen a gown online though with a similar silhouette to BHL’s Anna that was a full on sequinned number so that is now haunting me.  Not that I’d have anywhere to make such a gown!  Whilst we were there we were told about their other store on Watney Market (Called Paul’s Fabrics) which is apparently twice the size…

Whilst we were there Dibs caught up with us and did some quick shopping herself before we all headed off to her home to make macaroons!  Which I’ll save for another post as this one is ridiculous already!!

Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Bat Shirt!

Seriously, it took me so long to work out how many Nah Nah’s there were in this title and I’m still not sure it’s right!  Anyway, behold the Bat Shirt!

Bat Shirt

Boy has got a serious Super Hero thing going on and this has lasted nearly a year!  His favourite hero is Batman, which I think is kinda cool as he told me it’s because he hasn’t got any super powers but is just really really clever and strong.  He has a point, although I’m sure the fact that Bruce Wayne is a billionaire or something probably helps!

This shirt was made back in January, but photographing a marauding four year old is hard!  I have no idea what he’s holding in that first photo – I think it might be an apple.  Or it could be a toy car – anyway he’s definitely not standing still!

The pattern is The Thomas Shirt pattern by Felicity Patterns.  It’s a PDF that cost less than £5 and I am so pleased with the result!  She states in the description that it’s a generous fit and she’s not wrong.  In the end I used the age 4 length and one of the skinniest cuts as Boy is not bulky – he’s like Husband and very lean.  Even so the shirt is a little big on him, but I hope that means we’ll get a year or so of wear out of it.

I followed the instructions that came with the pattern and didn’t make any changes – the yoke is a double one so the inside is all neatly finished in the same way Grainline’s Archer is.  There aren’t any flat felled seams but for a casual shirt like this I don’t have a problem with that.  The hem is just overlocked, turned up and stitched.  Not the neatest looking finish when you can see the guts but it’s plenty robust enough.  This shirt is in heavy rotation and is standing up to the consequential numerous trips in the washing machine just fine.

The fabric came from Plush Addict (who don’t seem to stock it any more) and this shirt came out of 1m.  The buttons came from eBay although I did make a bit of a mistake in that the shirt buttons up ‘girl’ style as the buttons are on his left hand side rather than the apparently correct for boys right hand side.  I wasn’t aware of this until Husband pointed it out.  Boy doesn’t care though – I’ll just try and get things the right way round when I make the next version with another Batman print!

Gratitude

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It’s ‘Sew Grateful‘ week again. A now annual event organised by Debbie over at My Happy Sewing Place. You’ve probably seen posts popping up in your reader all week with giveaways, tutorials and people using patterns they were gifted.

I’m not going to offer you a giveaway (having just held one) and I don’t have a tutorial to offer (I don’t feel qualified!). I haven’t got a pattern that someone gifted me sewn up and ready to share. What I do have is gratitude.

You know me, I’m honest to the point of TMI on this blog sometimes. You all know about the things that have gone right and wrong and some that have floored me and taken a while to pick myself up and dust myself down from. I’ve suffered from depression and the destruction, saddness, alienation and everything that goes with it. To quote the Blogess: “Depression Lies”. Remembering that is hard.

Thankfully I have things mostly on an even keel and have done for a little while now, but every so often I wobble. I’m human. To help combat the wobbles I’ve been keeping a record of things that I’m grateful for.
Now before you get completely weirded out by me (and I accept and love the fact that I’m a little bit weird!) can I ask that you keep reading for a little bit?

This week has been insane and intense for a number of reasons. Work, home, Husband’s business, slamming my hand in the door of the truck (who knew I could swear in multiple languages?!), thinking I was going to have to have my wedding ring cut off as a result of the swelling caused by that damn door… You get the picture. The thing that stopped me starting on a very slippery spiral was just reading back through those gratitudes I’d made a note of.

There were common themes to them which I hadn’t really picked up until I read them back. Family, Boy, Husband were all in there. The fact that I have a nice home and a reasonable income. The one that made me sit and think though was the kindness of people I have never met in real life.

Take Lizzy. I was in a funk on Monday morning but we had a chat on Twitter and she reassured me and virtually held my hand.

Then there’s Maddie. I got completely stuck with a pattern alteration regarding collar roll and reached out to her. In a short amount of time she gave me some starting points on Twitter and is going to provide me with further guidance and advice over the weekend.

Emmie came to my rescue when I was trying to source tailoring supplies and sent some of her own horse hair canvas for me to use. She wanted nothing in return.

Sonja made me laugh about slamming my hand in the truck door.

Some of these people are less than a hundred miles away, others are across the Atlantic or in the other hemisphere. I’ve only met one of them for a brief time in reality. But I’m proud to ‘know’ each and every one of them. I’m proud to ‘know’ each and every person I interact with through Twitter, Instagram and this blog (my social media outlets of choice).

Through sewing, a wonderful range of people and perspectives have entered my life and informed, educated, supported and shared with me not just sewing but their day to day lives. Sweary, I know you’re not into blogs, but you have opened my eyes to so many different things through Twitter.

I can’t think of any other more graphically diverse community that would hold a sewing competition in honour of the marriage of a member of that community. Sew Dolly Clackett is going to be immense? Unreal? I can’t find the right word. And the motivation is not blog views, sponsorship or any form of self gain or promotion. It’s purely because Sarah is across the Atlantic and wanted to do something for Roisin and Nic. Pure and simple.

The blogging, tweeting and instagraming that goes on in our community is so much more than ‘look what I made’. It’s a welcoming group of people with whom you can share life, love, laughter and tears with. That’s pretty damn special.

My gratitude to you guys is immense. I love helping you out when I can, lending an ear, pattern, opinion, support. Just being part of this community has enriched my life immeasurably. Thank you x