Sewrendipity | Sewing a stylish & sustainable wardrobe
Sewing is my superpower and I'm using it for good! It helps me curb my fashion consumption whilst still having a stylish wardrobe. It enables me to teach others to be creative and sew their own clothes too. It connects me to the most amazing community on the internet: the online sewing community. Join me in 'sewing for good' to cut, stitch, refashion, make, learn, teach, ditch..
There is nothing wrong with my spelling, in case you were wondering, just a bit of French. It's also a little nod to a song that sends me back to my childhood (I'll add the video at the end) and I thought it made for a cute pun - keep on reading to see where I'm coming from.
So why am I turning Francophone on you all of a sudden?
Well, it's because I am taking part in my second ever blog tour (the activewear one a few weeks ago was the first) for a new to me French pattern company, called PM Patterns. I have waxed lyrical about how much I love Indie French patterns and so when I saw the call for the blog tour, I jumped right on it. I was very pleased to be chosen, so here I am sharing my make with you.
So let me tell you more about PM patterns...
Hello from snowy Milan! Here I am living and breathing the ethos of the #FabricShoppingOnTour project. I absolutely loved that all I need to do was to check the Milan entry in the Alphabetical City Index and I had all the information I needed at my fingertips.
If you are wondering what this project is all about, here's a quick summary. Launched in December 2017, I decided to make my small contribution to the sewing community. So I started cataloguing existing fabric shopping guides written by fellow sewists that were already published (no commercial directories allowed, only genuine sewing people), with the link to the original blog and the year it was created. I am also contacting local sewists to ask them to contribute a post on their blog writing about the city they live in.
At the beginning of every month, I publish the latest contributions from the previous month, so we can grow the directory and help travelling sewists to find the best fabric souvenirs while 'on tour'.
So here are the March updates.
Having a plan B is always my way of dealing with difficult situations. What's the worse that can happen and how can I deal with it? Sure helps to take care of anxiety.
And I have to say I was getting a bit anxious about making this pattern already. This is part of a collaboration with Simplicity, who kindly sent me a few patterns to review. No pressure, Alex! When I chose the patterns, I thought I'd be clever and choose a coat, to give me the impetus I needed to stop procrastinating and make a darn coat already. I started early January, with all the goodwill in the world, but I kept running into all kinds of obstacles. I had planned to publish a post at the end of January and here we are, beyond mid-February and still no coat. And I'm afraid that, for various reasons, that one might be a write-off. Funny thing is that I realised just what went wrong only when I made it again.
Anyway, I had to figure out a really quick project with that pattern, with fabric from the stash, preferably, as I'm trying not to buy any more unless I must. I had used a bit of this grey jersey fabric to make a cardigan for my little niece and it's been delivered and loved instantly three years ago. So I had it on my mind and, as it usually does, it clicked and plan B came together. It was a bit of a dash to sew and photograph it at the weekend, - man, I hate winter short days - but thanks to my long-suffering husband, all is well that ends well.
So let me tell you more...
Readers, last week I started running! And I made my own activewear. Now there are two things you would not have caught me dead saying - or attempting, for that matter. In both cases, it was easier than I thought. It was just a question of finding the right person to hold my hand while doing it. And in both cases, I found just that.
For running, it's this lady called Laura (not even sure it's her real name), who is the voice behind NHS's Couch to 5k programme. No idea who she is, but she must be some sort of miracle worker to get me to start running. Readers, I am the opposite of a gym bunny, I used to totally dislike any form of exercise. Now, I'm not saying I am a fitness addict, but I am off the sofa and doing the programme (week one, so far) every other day. I even wake up at stupid o'clock to get it done before I go to work.
Now, I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but 6 am in the UK in February is pretty nippy. So you need something to keep the cold away.
That's where Melissa, from FehrTrade comes in. Melissa has been the activewear queen for a long time now. Well, she kinda needs to, she runs marathons and all that, plus representing the UK at the World Transplant Games, she does need a fair bit of kit. At the end of January, she released her book, Sew Your Own Activewear, where she is sharing all her knowledge with anybody who is looking to do the same - make their own kit that is, not run marathons (though I'm sure she will have a tip or two for that as well).
I have been invited to take part in the blog tour to review the book, for which I also chose to make a project - a winter base layer top - so here goes for both.
I almost called this the killer dress, but I realised I have said this before very recently! What is it with me choosing maddening projects when I really don't have the time to faff around, when I have about one hundred other deadlines and I honestly rather be sewing something else? Because I'm a sewing masochist, that's why!! I have read the reviews on Pattern Review about this one, so I knew people said it was hard. It's Vogue Designer, right, so what else can it be, it comes with the territory, of course it does. But we all get a bit tunnel visioned, don't we? And boy, do I ever (PTSD flashback to the cherry dress from the Sewing Bee *slaps forehead*!).
People, this dress is hard! Or it was for me. I spent waaay too much time on it, some of it my fault, as I made stupid mistakes, but the rest it was this blinkin' pattern! Now don't get me wrong, the design is awesome! But there is something about Vogue Designer that always seems to me like scratching your left ear with your right hand going around your head (it's a Romanian phrase, sure won't make any sense to anyone who is not Romanian, so don't worry too much). I'm sure no one ever actually hand-stitches in factories where the designer clothes are made (haute couture excluded), so why in the name of all that is good about sewing, are they making us do it! I'm sure there are tips and tricks in the industry on how to construct stuff without having to pick up needle and thread. Only hemming gets a free pass, as I never really mastered the blind stitch on the sewing machine.
Ok, rant over.
On to the dress... There are a few exciting things going on here, like the collaboration with MyFabrics.co.uk, which provided this beautiful fabric for me to review.
Hurray, we all survived January! I feel like I should make myself a slogan t-shirt – seeing that I’m taking part in RTW fast, and I can’t buy myself one – that should say just that. Not sure about you, but my January has been absolutely mental. It started in full swing, with a million […]
January is such a navel-gazing month, isn't it? All that goal setting, planning, resolution-ing just makes us analyse our feelings, habits, relationships, you name it. Well, this January, three brave ladies (Athina, Lisa and Hattie) have decided to put their stories out there and challenged the rest of us in the sewing community to do the same. Together they created the #smyly2018 challenge, which stands for Sewing Makes You Love Yourself. I think the clue is in the name, but in a nutshell, they are asking the sewing community to share their sewing stories, especially around how it helped us with issues of body positivity, mental health difficulties and dealing with tough situations with the help of our beloved hobby. The challenge also includes making a project that makes you feel beautiful and happy.
My January sewing queue is just insane, I have a lot of commitments and also a lot of plans that got postponed because of my sewing room revamp in late November and my loooong holiday in December. So there was no way I could take on another project to be able to take part in this challenge the proper way.
However, having read so many touching, sad, intimate, raw and emotional stories since the beginning of the challenge, I really wanted to give a shout out to all the people who already laid it all bare and spread the word on behalf of the organisers, as well as making my own small contribution.
My dad told me that when I was a child, I used to walk up to ladies on the street and pet their fury coats. It was the 80s, so there was a lot of those going on, and I was 5, so it was cute, not creepy, but the point of the story is that pretty much all my life I have been attracted to soft, pettable materials.
And that is still the case, many many years later. I love soft fake fur, fleece, minky, that thing that fluffy dressing gowns are made of, you name it, I want to just lovingly stroke it.
So of course that the last time I visited Abakhan with my friend Simona, who is a lucky devil for living 10 mins walk to the Bolton shop, I just could not stop myself from getting this piece of stripy micro-furry stuff (no idea what it's called), like a faux fur, but with short, soft, lovely hairs. I have no idea if it mimics any real animal, but as soon as I laid my hand on it, I could not care less. It was less than a meter and I had no idea what it could be made into, but I just could not let go of it. So I brought it home with me.
But, what to make it into?
One of my 2017 highlights was launching the #FabricShoppingonTour Project, whose aim is to create a repository of locally-validated fabric shops in as many cities around the world as there are sewists.
How am I going to achieve this goal?
The approach is two-fold. I am cataloguing existing guides written by fellow sewists and already published (no commercial directories allowed, only genuine sewing people), with the link to the original blog and the year it was published. This is a great way to discover new sewing bloggers and maybe meet new sewist in your city and gain an IRL friend in the process.
However, what I am most excited about is creating purpose-made local guides for places where I could not find any blog posts about. Sure, loads of people have written about Paris, London or New York, but how about Oslo, or Split in Croatia, or Buenos Aires? My first ports of call were my friends from around the world across the sewing community, who very kindly obliged with the first few instalments, but I will continue to contact sewists around the world that I know live in exciting places. And of course, I am always accepting volunteers.
So, what's new in the Directory since the beginning of December?
Hello, hello, darlings! Freshly returned from the virtually internet-less Cuba, where I enjoyed the most wonderful 3 weeks of relaxation, you will pardon the delay in presenting you with the customary year review + goals and resolutions New Year post.
In fact, please pardon the lack of customary reviews and goals (though I will put down a few reflections, just for records' sake).
On the plus side, I have just about celebrated my 3 year bloggoversary, on the 31st Dec, but I was too deep in the clutches of jetlag to be coherent enough to write about it. However, as it is customary, I have a little giveaway for you, courtesy of Simplicity patterns.
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