A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

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I managed to think about my knitting plans for 2018 already and my sewing needs a similar level of thought. I’m going to take part in the Make Nine challenge again this year. I think nine garments is a manageable number, both in terms of time taken to make items and ensuring that I sew responsibly.

Project ideas

  • Cloud Lark
  • Stripy Lark
  • Ultimate shirt in Liberty fabric
  • Third day dress in viscose
  • Wearable toile- copy of the perfect pencil skirt I have
  • Threadcount 1617- I think I will start out with a toile using a viscose remnant I have.
  • I also have my eye on some beautiful viscose with a monstera (my favourite leaf) print for a second version. I won a £20 voucher from Sew Over It’s #SOIshowoff competition, which would buy 1.5m

Specific things I’d like to do

I’m very excited about these projects, especially the ideas I’ve carried over from last year. I still have a lot on my plate, so I find it difficult to find a lot of sewing time. This just motivates me to make the most of the time I do have and create useful and long-lasting garments. I’m looking forward to Me Made May already and one or two more items would be very handy.

I’m also going to start being totally transparent about the costs for each of my projects. While I’m happy to spend money on my passions (why else do I work hard?) I have got into a bad habit of spending thoughtlessly. I know that I spent well over £600 on craft stuff last year. That’s a lot. While I don’t make things with the explicit intention of saving money, it would be good to track how much I do spend.

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I just about managed to complete my challenge to sew nine garments in 2017. I’ve been updating my original post, but I wanted to reflect a little bit more on the clothes I’ve made this year.

The nine garments I’ve made are very different from the nine I had in mind a few months ago when I decided to take part. This fact underlines to me that I am a very flighty maker- I should avoid stashing fabric and cutting out patterns unless I plan to start straight away.

I’m sad that the Liberty print shirt I’m planning isn’t included here, but I’m going to try not to let that stop me from making it. On the flip side, I’m proud of finally finishing my Macaron, which is made of fabric I bought when I was travelling in Indonesia. I cut out before I had a sewing machine and I’m glad that I finally sat down and sewed them up. It’s quite demoralising to have loads of half-finished stuff lying around.

Mushroom print Cleo

Raindrop print Bettine

Turquoise striped Bettine

Pink Macaron

Pineapple tulip skirt

Hidden panda Lark t-shirt

Liberty print Southport

Rocket print Southport

1960s coat

It’s so funny how craft life goes at times. I was really close to finishing the challenge in August, when I got some good momentum on my second Day Dress. After that point, life threw a lot at me that ate up all of my spare time. Just after booking onto the classes to make the 1960s coat, I was asked to appear on Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas. The coat class then became all-consuming, but I was unable to finish it due to my thumb injury. It started to feel like I had so many projects on the go, but very little to show for my efforts.

Not long ago, I spotted that Julia from the class at Sew Over It had posted a picture of her finished coat on Instagram. I was instantly inspired. Maybe if she could finish her coat, I could. One day when I was too full of a cold to do anything else, I sat down to the enormous amount of hand-sewing required to finish the coat. And, in less than a week, it was done!

I really think I’ve grown as a sewist this year. I’ve gone from only ever working with woven material to makes using some tricky fabrics like jersey, wool and viscose.

I was going to make a separate post about my knitting in 2017 until I realised that I have only finished four things! (That I can talk about).

A real positive is that making my jumper for Kirstie weirdly seems to have reawakened my love of knitting. When I was furiously knitting away on Silver Island, I felt that it was going to have the opposite effect. Thinking about it, I feel like the coat class gave me a bit of sewing burnout whereas the sweater made me remember what I enjoy about knitting.

Now to decide what I want to make in 2018!


Me Made May this year coincided with a long weekend away in Hamburg. It was nice to be challenged to wear some of my handmade items on holiday. I tend to be a bit more careful with my handmades than my RTW clothing, so it was nice to give some of them a fun outing.

I travelled in my jersey Bettine dress. My flight was after a busy day in one of my secondary schools, and the stripey dress felt smart enough for work, but was also very comfortable for travel.


On Friday, I was keen to wear my pineapple skirt. My main post contains some more pictures,  but here she is being worn while I posed with my friend Becci on a climbing frame. We were both too scared to climb any higher!

On the second day, my raindrop Bettine matched the weather better than I would have hoped! In this picture you can see the Hold Tight clutch I knitted a couple of years ago, which was quite handy for my essentials. I am just not a clutch bag person, so I have a leather strap attached to it.

Sunday was the nicest weather of the weekend. I almost wished that I had taken one of my pairs of shorts with me. In the end, I made do with my Cleo dress, which was also well-suited to travelling home. I do think I will lengthen the hem on this dress by an inch or two when I get a chance. Although it looks fine in front of the mirror, the corduroy has a tendency to creep up.

I think that incorporating my handmade wardrobe made an already-fantastic weekend even more fun. I can be very lazy about clothing and accessories, and knowing that I would be taking pictures inspired me to think more carefully about my wardrobe.

Thanks to Isie and Becci for being wonderful photographers, as well as awesome companions.


I have had a crazy few weeks with very little time for craft. As things have calmed down, I have found myself being drawn to creative tasks again, which is a sign that I’m feeling better. Mostly I’ve been planning exciting projects for the summer and beyond, but I’ve also been doing a few rows of my League sweater here and there, and somehow I have nearly finished the boring knitting on the front, ready to start some intarsia.

I got quite a bit of work done on this while watching Serena winning her historic 22nd major title in tennis, which was so inspirational. Watching her eponymous documentary courtesy of the BBC was very emotional and it’s nice to know that those memories will be associated with this sweater.

I fancied doing another sewing workshop and these Carrie trousers caught my eye.


They look like they will be very useful for smart casual summer wear and travelling. I got time to go shopping on the Goldhawk Road to get some fabric. I love imagining the joyful projects made from fabrics like these.


I had my heart set on viscose but then this Liberty print cotton lawn caught my eye.


And soon it was nestled safely in my backpack.


I also got these mini skeins in the post that I ordered a while ago from the Lemonade Shop.


I want to make a Breton sweater a little like this one.

Copyright notsocrafty on Ravelry

I decided I needed to see in person how the minis looked next to different colours and textures of yarn so I made a pilgrimage to Knit With Attitude in Stoke Newington. It was strange to be back in Stokey, where I lived for three years in my early twenties. The staff in KWA were great but unfortunately nothing in their stock was quite right due to my pickiness. It was a very helpful trio though. I had envisioned using grey as my background colour but no greys really made the minis pop. This slightly muted blue was the best option.
I later popped into a second LYS, with which I have a chequered past, and found this stunning aubergine yarn.

I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can swatch.

It’s nice to have projects to look forward to.


Thanks to my day off, this skirt ended up being a pretty quick make.  It also represents a first (thanks to Craft Blog Club on Twitter for the prompt). This is the first sewn garment I have ever made totally independently and I must say that I am absolutely thrilled with the way that it turned out. What I like best is the shape from the side.


I’m not ashamed to say that inserting the zip was one of the  greatest feelings of pride I’ve had all year. I had hoped to do an exposed zip with metal teeth, but Sew Over It didn’t have any, so instead I went for this golden yellow standard zip. I think it looks pretty cute.

  

Getting it neatly exposed involved some finagling. Luckily I had read a tutorial on inserting an exposed zip, so I was able to follow those instructions on the left hand side of the zip opening. It’s not perfect, but I’m still very happy. Here’s how it looks on the inside.


The asymmetry is where I stay-stitched and clipped the right hand side to enable the fabric to lie flat. Just realised that you can also see the interfacing I used. Oops.

Something I need to remember next time is to save some extra fabric for pocket facings, as in seam pockets have a tendency to gape open. I salvaged some awesome fabric from the scraps bin at SOI for my pockets.

…which does have an unfortunate tendency to peek out. I can definitely live with this flaw, but I will try to avoid it in future.

I haven’t yet managed to get any great pictures of the skirt when I’ve worn it, but I did fulfil one of my more minor ambitions in it.


I have to say that I’m absolutely thrilled with how this dress turned out, considering that my sewing skills are still in their infancy. I wore my dress to work on a beautiful winter day with the aim of getting some nice pictures, but I didn’t get a chance to take any in the end, so here is a slightly dodgy photo.

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At the end of the last post, I had sewn up my bodice and finished the skirt pieces. The next step was to carefully stitch the front seam, ensuring the pattern matching was as neat as possible, stitch the side seams, and then attach the circle skirt to the bodice.
One of my mods was to add pockets to the side seams of this dress. Mum and I had a debate at this stage over whether to anchor the pockets to the waist seam, or have them loose and so do them at the end. We decided that we didn’t want additional bulk in the waist, so elected to do the pockets as an afterthought.
I tried the dress on again at this stage and had my mum pin it closed. We discovered that the back had some additional bulk, which we were able to take out by making the shoulder straps shorter.
The next step was the zip. Mum didn’t have an invisible zip long enough so we used a normal dress zip. Never forget the importance of pinning and basting your zip before machine stitching.
Next came the facings, which I had cut in three pieces (front, left back and right back). After stitching the side seams, I pinned and basted the facings to the bodice. This was particularly important as we had changed the shape of the shoulders, so it took a bit of easing to make sure all of the notches matched. Mum commented that she almost never uses facings, preferring bias binding as it is much less fiddly.

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Stitch the facings and bodice, right sides facing, around neckline and underarms.
Mum gave me a super duper secret dressmaker tip. Rather than top-stitching the underarms and neckline to join the facings and bodice, as indicated in the pattern, stitch as closely as possible to the seam on the facing only for a more professional finish.
The next step was joining the shoulders, which was super fiddly. Finally we added the pockets in pretty much the same way as I did to my skirt in this post.
After a bit of finishing I was done! I’m really pleased with how this dress turned out, though it’s a little bit formal for work. Here is what the back looks like.

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