Here you can catch up with behind the scene insights, quick tips, and out takes. From The Made Up Initiative to failed makes, this is the place for Did You Make That extra details and exclusive material.
Today is International Women’s Day, a great reason to celebrate female solidarity! Here’s a list of inspiration for you, plus thoughts on what you can do to support womankind.
Today is publication day for Tilly and the Button‘s Stretch! – already a bestseller. This new mother and entrepreneur might look as though she has it all, but there’s one key way you can support Tilly – by leaving an Amazon review of the book. Amazon reviews mean a lot to publishers and to Amazon rankings (and therefore to authors!) – which means you can make a real difference to one woman’s success.
Are you aware of Otegha Uwagba who spearheads #womenwho, a community for creative working women? I have her Little Black Book in permanent position beside my desk and recently went to one of her workshops. She’s intelligent, inspiring, optimistic and a brilliant hustler. You can check out her latest inspiring podcast here. If you enjoy it, why don’t you share with a friend?
‘Trust me, the retreat shall change your writing life.’
What does friendship look like to you? For me, it looks like the above – three great friends with whom I organise the Book Bound weekend writers’ retreat in Kent (a few places still available!). We’ve seen some phenomenal success from previous attendees. For this retreat to exist, all it took was four mates who had a shared vision. If we can do this, so can you! What secret plans are you hatching with your friends? Or what plans could you hatch? Be brave – reach out.
15% of adults in the UK have literacy below that of an 11-year-old. My Made Up Initiative allowed a bunch of sewing pals to get together and raise over £3000 for The National Literacy Trust. If you can sew, you can change lives – it really is that simple.
When you choose to pick up a needle, you choose to be powerful. Use that power! I promise you’ll feel good about yourself, you’ll make new and lifelong friends and you’ll have done something to improve the world around you. How awesome is that?
Happy International Women’s Day! How do you plan to celebrate? I’ll be supporting an indie pattern business by sewing another boxy T-shirt!
The Boxy T-shirt from Maker’s Atelier magazine is drafted for stretch fabrics, but could you make it in a woven? With a little bit of tweaking, YES!
The short version of amends:
I went down a size in the body of the T-shirt
But I extended the width of the sleeves (the pattern encourages you to check your bicep measurements if you want to make this in a woven)
I lengthened the body by three inches
I drafted facings for the neckline
So remember. Go down a size on the body and grade up on the sleeves.
Isn’t the Liberty silk beautiful? The print is inspired by parrots at Mount Stewart Castle in Scotland and sadly I can’t find any online links. Shout below if you can find any!
The top is twinned with my The Maker’s Atelier stretch pencil skirt from their book. The skirt is made from a stretch fabric, which is both insane AND awesome – you can see a few more details here. I REALLY recommend this pattern and intend to make more iterations.
Ermagerd. The Beast From The East is giving us a right good kicking. It is glacial out there! Ella still refuses to wear her quilted coat on dog walks, but I have fallen back heavily on my handmades.
The great thing about this blog post is that I’m recommending makes that have seen months or even years of wear – so these handmade items really work when it comes to the cold.
Three years ago I made two pairs of these socks. This winter they have been worn and machine washed on weekly rotation and they’re still going unbelievably strong. No pilling, no worn patches, they just keep warming my feet. This sock wool is off the scale – you can buy it here.
Flannel makes for some of the cosiest bedwear; I even have flannel sheets. These PJs were made two years ago. Flannel does pill with age but they’re still totally warm and snuggly. It’s worth making a full set of pyjamas every now and then, rather than relying on cast off T-shirts to wear in bed. It’s the gift (to yourself) that keeps on giving.
Woollen Culottes & Bomber Jacket
From the moment, I finished sewing these woollen culottes I have pulled them on every time it gets parky. Paired with thick tights, a Uniqlo HeatTech long-sleeved T-shirt and a jumper, I’m wrapped up as warm as a person could hope to be. It’s the quality of the wool that does it.
Yes, the pattern is great for layering but it’s the fabric that really turned my head. I have finally learnt the power of a high quality jersey. I can’t see this specific fabric in stock any more but it was purchased at Guthrie and Ghani and this fleece back jersey looks equally snug.
Okay, I hope you’re all staying warm and safe. Now, if someone can tell me how you go to the bathroom wearing all these layers, I’d be ever so grateful!
Did you know that TMOS has started giving me style advice? When I bought a metre of this odd futuristic jersey, he asked what I planned to make. Honestly, I had no idea. ‘A pencil skirt,’ he suggested – and a plan snapped into focus!
Yes, I had everything I needed. And by the time I went to bed that evening, I had a new skirt.
LOVE this pattern! I’d been a little doubtful about a pencil skirt with an elasticated waist, but it totally works. The gathering at the waist is subtle and the skirt can be as figure-hugging or easy-fitting as suits your personal taste. I’d suggest each make deserves its own basting and trying on, as fit shall surely be dictated by the stretch of different jerseys.
I also really like how the hem grazes the knee – sophisticated.
One adjustment I made was to peg the skirt, tapering in a little towards the hem. Just to prevent things looking too boxy.
The fabric is black, but with a slight copper sheen to it. Don’t you love the split hem detail on the Boxy T-Shirt? I’ve been wearing this top non stop (the Non Stop Top!) in our current Baltic weather.
I shall likely make many more of these skirts and I am currently working on a silk top to pair with this one. More soon!
My entire outfit is handmade – yippee! – other than the trainers. They’re from Air and Grace and they’re worth every penny.
Are you looking for the perfect vintage item to wear to that next wedding, graduation or birthday party? Then you have another good reason to visit Walthamstow: my old cobblers has become a curated collection of vintage clothes aka Gigi’s Dressing Room.
I first blogged about Gigi many years ago. It’s been fascinating to watch this local business grow from a rack of dresses to the shop it is today. All down to Gigi’s extremely hard work and charm, I am quite certain. But more than that – down to her immaculate taste.
Don’t take my word for it. Just look at the photos.
You can hire the more glamorous evening dresses, as well as buy quality day wear – such a great concept. I wish I knew where Gigi sources her finds!
I think my sewing map of Walthamstow needs to be updated. If you visit Gigi’s, it’s worth knowing that there’s a pub very close by, where they do awesome burgers and rosemary fries – perfect for a lunchtime weekend visit. And you’re only ten minutes away from God’s Own Junkyard, one of my own favourite places in Walthamstow.
This is the perfect place to visit for vintage inspiration. And it’s only two minutes away from my house. This could prove to be a Very Bad Thing.
One of the people in this photo has a birthday today…
It’s my birthday! It’s also Valentine’s Day. I’ve always had an ambivalent relationship with this calendar day. On one level, the world is in a good mood on the day I was born. Good times! On another level, I’m like, Yeah, but when you’ve finished with that over-priced meal … my birthday? Bad times.
Fortunately, in 2018 we all have a bit more ownership over the shape of our lives. Enter, Galentine’s Day! Inspired by a scene in Sisters, the premise is that we can subvert this day of cod romance to celebrate the most meaningful relationships in our lives – our female friends.
In honour of this, Annie of The Village Haberdashery has kindly supplied a Galentine Giveaway to help us all have fun with our friends.
As Annie said: ‘Sundress goals!’ (God, aren’t we all over winter?)
But there’s A TWIST to this giveaway.
You need to nominate a friend to win.
That’s right. Nominating someone else to score fabric and pattern? Only a Sewist could be that kind. Just leave a comment below telling me which friend you would like to win. When I pull a name out of the hat, I’ll drop you an email and you can supply your friend’s postal address.
So, knock yourself out. Throw a friend’s hat in the ring. Then tell her you love her. It’ll be the best thing you do all day.
This giveaway closes at midnight GMT on Saturday 17 February. It is open worldwide.
And if that’s all just too much largesse for one day, allow me to recommend new Sewing Social weekly get-together at The Village Haberdashery. With sewing machines supplied in their gorgeous workshop, all you have to do is turn up and sew with friends. Such a great concept! I’m definitely going – shall you?
Brrrrrr! Jeepers, creepers. Coldest week this winter? The meteorologists ain’t kidding.
My sewing timing could not be more perfect. I’ve finished sewing this boxy T-shirt from The Maker’s Atelier magazine, just in time for our cold snap. The jersey – quilted, bouncy and structural – was bought at Guthrie & Ghani.
The top is paired with my B6178 wool culottes, which have become my emergency warm clothes for extreme temperatures. Paired with a pair of wool tights, they keep me super-cozy. The fit of these culottes is brilliant. Don’t forget – this pattern came FREE with a copy of Love Sewing magazine. Dig out your May 2017 copy.
In harder weather conditions, I often wear the culottes with my V9275 bomber jacket. I’ve worn this coat – ooh – pretty much every day since I finished sewing it! A coat of uber magnificence. And so easy to sew! You really need to make one.
Not convinced? Look how much fun you can have whilst wearing it…
But back to the boxy T-shirt. It’s a quick and easy, but satisfying sew that you can squeeze out of a metre of fabric. A note around fit – I lengthened mine by three whole inches. Otherwise, I cut to my measurements. I particularly love the split hem.
I’ve made two of these in jersey. Not the easiest item to photograph for a blog post BUT an item’s success or failure should not be judged by blogging demands alone. I love my structural top; it feels very Cos and cosy.
Now, I really want to make another boxy T-shirt in a drapey woven. It could look utterly different again. I have an entire outfit quite strongly in mind. Do you ever have that thunderbolt vision of an outfit that you’d like to sew and know in your bones could work? I’d say it only happens two or three times a year for me, but when it does happen … gotta scratch that itch!
We’ve all been there. Exceedingly proud of our careful, painstaking pattern matching. And well done, us! It’s a great skill to have. The day you have the foresight to think about your fabric print before cutting out is a great day indeed. I’ve not always had that skill. Did you ever read about my kamikaze butterflies, early in my blogging career? YUP.
What is wrong with this photo? I’m not talking about the gorilla.
But sometimes we can over think things. Sometimes it’s fine not to scratch our heads over pattern matching. So when are the occasions you can throw caution to the wind?
When your print is crazy. This geometric print was so entirely beyond logic that I didn’t really bother trying to apply any.
When your make is so OTT that no one shall notice. This kaftan took five metres of silk. Was anyone going to peer at my seams – assuming they could find them? I think not.
When the make is too gorgeous to care. Right down the front of my skirt is a seam line. Breaking up a giant daisy. Could I care less? Not really. The dress is too incredibly awesome! (God, I love this dress.)
When you use a non directional print. See how these lemons face every which way? The print is so random, travelling up down and side the body that pattern matching becomes a moot point. This is when I could kiss a clever fabric designer.
If it’s a layering item and no one shall ever see. There’s something to be said for pragmatism. Is your top going beneath a dress or blouse? Then arguably, you can give zero hoots about pattern matching.
So there we have it. Five reasons not to care about print matching. Because sometimes life is too short.