Archive | December 2018

End of year round up 2018

So I failed miserably at my aim of blogging everything I’ve made this year. But thats possibly a good thing as the reason for that is I’ve been on some kind of creative roll for the last couple of months and have made loads more good stuff than I have in ages.

I wasn’t very good at blogging in 2017 – got rather distracted by the new and shiny that is Instagram, so I didn’t do an end of year round up, but as far as I can tell I only made 11 items of clothes. It was a difficult year though – we got married which even though we kept it small took up a lot more time and energy than I’d imagined, & the end of the year was plagued with the cold season from hell, and I spent literally 6 months between September 2017 and April this year pretty much constantly ill. – it was even so bad that we did Christmas on Boxing Day as Christmas Day was spent in bed feeling horrible.

So this year was off to a slow start as well as I struggled to have the energy to get anything done. The idea that this year would be a write off was compounded by the fact we tried to move house in June ( although we had a decent offer very quickly, we have been plagued by a buyers solicitor who seems intent on spinning things out for as long as humanly possible. We find out next week if it’s either going to happen in the next month or so or not at all – in which case we’re stuck here till after Brexit! 😢) which meant I had to put my sewing stuff away for two months while we showed people round and then had all the surveyors and the like over.

So I’m actually very proud to report that I made 12 dresses this year, plus one piece of knitwear, two quite substantial alterations, decorated one hat and did one piece of random embroidery.

Which makes 17 in total sewing related projects.

So we have in rough order I made them in…

My Rendbrandt top & My yellow bugs dress – neither of which got properly blogged but are included in the general round up here.

My Floral old masters dress

My grey shrug which I don’t think I got round to blogging.

My Dolce and Gabbana rip off fabric skirt and black bell sleeves sewaholic Renfrew top – both of which got blogged together

My constellation print jersey top

My Fairly boring but totally necessary black ladyskater dress

My eye top that ended up with my mum

My Strawberry thief jersey dress

And then the stuff I haven’t managed to blog yet:

A leopard print dress, a replacement eye top that actually fits me this time, and a floral velvet maxi dress

My two alterations – a Violet Fane skirt and an infanta deer dress which I made bigger to fit me, & neither of which I have decent lolita photos of yet. I do intend to blog them at some point but I want better photos first.

A hat I adapted from a basic Fan plus Friend one and an embroidery I did at a lolita workshop.

So I’m quite proud of that considering how the first two thirds of the year was pretty much a write off and most of this stuff has been made in the last 4-5 months.

I’d love to take part in the Make nine challenge, where you plan out 9 projects you are definitely going to make this year, but as we have no idea if we’re moving or not till the solicitors all get back after new year – I currently feel like Shrodingers Laura – I have no idea what plans I’ll be able to make. If we are moving everything will have to go into store while the house is done up and it may be several months before I have a functional sewing room & I suspect the first few months will be spent sewing curtains. If we are not moving I can relax a bit and get on with some bigger projects.

However whatever happens I need to get better at blogging stuff next year.

The dream bucket list fabric.

So about this time last year I realised I was buying fabric far too fast for our tiny flat and far faster than I could make it into anything useful. I followed all the fabric stores on email and Instagram and I was a regular visitor to the fabric stall on Lewisham market. Things came to a head when Fabric Godmother posted a beautiful digital printed coating on her mailing list with limited quantities (there is more in stock this year) and within an hour I had dropped nearly £100 on 5m of the stuff. I had the vague intention of making a goth/fairy princess cloak with it. But really I was being a complete muppet as I in no way at that point had the skills to sew a coat, it’s something I am hoping to get into next year.

It is very very beautiful and I love to sit and stroke it, but should I have bought it – probably not. But buying it made it clear to me I had a bit of a problem so I needed to do something about it.

So I culled all the fabric stores from my email mailing lists and removed all the ones I was following on Instagram and Facebook. This did actually massively help and for the first part of the year my impulse buying fabric was a minimum.

As the year has progressed my fabric buying crept up again. Partly because I’ve got a bit of a problem – in my defence I have chronic fatigue, I spend large periods of time unable to get on with anything except lying in bed semiconsciously flicking around on my iPhone, if I’m dreaming of sewing but unable to do anything about it it’s the easiest thing in the world to buy things for projects I plan to make when I’m better.

Partly because this year we were supposed to be moving house (fingers crossed and all the prayers it will actually happen in January) and instead of trying new patterns and improving my skills but using £2/£3 market fabrics from my stash to make the first couple of versions, in order not to have projects midway through when we actually come to move I’ve been sticking to repeating the same couple of really simple patterns over and over again, which has meant I’ve had a major tendency to buy more expensive fabrics and fabrics I’m totally in love with to make it a bit more interesting.

& partly because three of my favourite things in the world ever, celestial prints, leopard print and liberty/William Morris fabrics have been completely in fashion this year so there’s been lots and lots of Laura friendly fabrics available whereas in previous years there hasn’t been so much.

Which leads me nicely to Liberty print/William Morris…. so I’ve been completely addicted to stalking The Vampires Wife on social media and totally fell in love with the Liberty print maxi and midi dresses she makes. I also bought as much of the H&M William Morris collection as I could get my hands on, & have bought several lengths of tana lawn in prints I’m particularly attached to to make my own maxi and midi dresses once I’m able to sew complicated stuff again.

The holy grail for me has always been Liberty jersey. I love Tana Lawn and sewing pretty sun dresses, but jersey is my thing and I was super sad a couple of years ago when Liberty discontinued their jersey. However when I complained I was assured they were relaunching it in August, so I waited and went into the store the first week it was back to check the selection out as they usually have more/different stuff available in store than online.

& it was dire 😢 I wasn’t particularly keen on the print collection this year anyway but there were no classic prints available at all it was all the stuff that was seasonal this year, so I didn’t buy any and went away and sobbed and decided my dream of beautiful handmade Liberty jersey dresses was still completely out of reach.

However unbeknownst to me, as I’d stopped following all the fabric stores, although the Liberty print jersey Liberty themselves were selling was a bit of a shit selection, on other websites some absolute classic prints were getting an airing.

& then one day a couple of months ago I was reading Lauren Guthrie’s blog and idly flicked onto her fabric shop (Guthrie & Ghani ) website in order to have a closer look at the materials she was using to make a coat -as I’m intending to try it myself when we move. & there was my holy grail of fabric. Liberty Strawberry Thief print jersey. My favourite print of all the Liberty and the William Morris ones, in my favourite fabric. & there was only 2.5m left!

So I had it. At £24 a meter it was out of what I would normally consider my pricerange but within 10 minutes I’d dropped 65 quid including shipping on it.

(In my justification- not that I really have one, I’d just picked up two Seasalt jersey dresses for £10 each in a charity shop that turned out to have cost £65 each new – so the way I’m looking at it is it’s only the same cost as buying one new Seasalt dress – that’s what Im telling myself anyway. 😂🤦🏼‍♀️)

So I made it up into a dress pretty much immediately.

It’s another basic Kitschy-coo patterns lady skater dress, of which I’ve made many before, but with a longer skirt than I’ve made previously and added bell sleeves. I thought that made it a bit more up to date and stuff like Vampires Wife inspired than if I’d left it plain, & as it was such expensive fabric I wanted the dress to look as expensive as possible.

To aid in which I trimmed the sleeves, the neck and the hem with a navy blue cotton crochet lace I found from a French store on Etsy.

And I think it looks amazing on….

& by sheer good fortune it looks amazing with my rainbow knitted shrug I made way back 4 years ago and was the first thing I knit.

I totally love this dress. I love it now it’s new and shiny and looks fashionable, but I think it’s one of those pieces that is really going to work well in 5 years time when it’s completely got that old favourite lived in feeling. & it’s such lovely quality fabric and hopefully well sewn enough that it will last that long.

So anyway on discovering that Lauren posted the fabric on the Guthrie and Ghani Instagram several weeks before I found it, I have reinstated my subscriptions to all the fabric shop news feeds. So I’m going to have to find another way of restraining my buying habits.

I’ve also discovered that there are several sites selling Liberty jersey, and a couple a lot cheaper than Guthrie and Ghani – though I haven’t seen Strawberry Thief anywhere else. So there’s going to be a lot more Liberty jersey coming up in my collection in the future.

But if you could have asked me when I first started sewing what my dream makes would be, a Strawberry Thief jersey dress would have been right up there. & being able to do things like this is why I’m so glad sewing is a skill I’ve persevered with!

It looks better on me!

I freely admit I’m totally awful at blogging regularly, but it’s coming up to the end of the year and I’d quite like to have blogged everything I’ve made by then – I’m only a couple behind! I’m also hoping if I blog this it’ll get me excited enough about it again to make a replacement.

You see this particular make was almost a complete cock-up.

So pattern Sewaholic Renfrew top made by me on at least 10 previous occasions and something I could possibly make in my sleep. So you’d think I wouldn’t have any issues with it.

Jersey from Stoff & Stil which I’ve never shopped from before, & the jersey came and washed up ok and I didn’t notice any problems.

Except it has absolutely zero stretch. & I totally failed to notice before I made the top.

So here it is on the hanger, looking lovely just off the machine….

And here it is on me two days later….

As you can see it’s a bit on the small side – not unwearably so, but it was not the comfiest thing to get into.

So I asked what to do on Instagram, all the seams were overlocked so there was no way of letting it out. & it was suggested that if the fabric was still available to just buy some more and make another one.

So I bought some more fabric and was procrastinating when my mother came round to visit. She admired the fabric so I showed her the offending top and was bemoaning what had happened when next thing I know it’s going home with her!

And yes I have to admit it looks better on her. Mum is about 2 dress sizes smaller than me & about 3 inches shorter.

I didn’t think it was her style but she’s worn it pretty much constantly since.

So now I have to make another one. I’m hoping that writing this post now and looking at pictures of how awesome the idea was will inspire me to make another (slightly larger) version.

I’m the top size of the pattern so I’m a little nervous about cocking it up, as I’m going to be winging it a bit with how much extra I add. So I’ve been putting it off partly through nerves and partly because I don’t want to make the same thing twice.

But it has to be done, & it’s a lovely sunny day to do some cutting out.