A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

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Since we’re over halfway though the year, I thought I would review where I am with my sewing for the year. I have completed five items so far.

It’s interesting for me to note that, just like last year, my plans have changed hugely in the six short months since I made them. Here’s what I thought I might make:

  • 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
  • Teal anorak
  • Dotty Linden

Now I’m thinking that I’m more likely to end up with this:

I’ve written a little about this before, but I would still like to get better at making pre-planned projects. Lots of the items on the first list are things that I would like to make and would be useful but somehow they don’t grab me. The shirt in particular has been on there for 18 months and remains no closer to being cut out. In contrast, my wink blouse went from twinkle in the eye to wearable item in five days. At the same time as wanting to plan, I don’t want to (and perhaps can’t) put reins on my creativity. I’m realising that sudden inspiration and feverish spurts of making are part of my process.

I’ve been thinking in therapy about how I find it difficult to know what I want in life. Often I see myself as a plastic bag blowing around in the breeze, Making is one of the few spaces I have where I know precisely what I want and then make time to work tirelessly until I have it.

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Me-made May has come to an end. I managed to wear something hand sewn every day with no cheating (of which I may or may not have been guilty last year).

I found taking the pictures more of a challenge this year. I’ve been trying to make my Instagram posts more colourful since seeing this infographic of the most used colours in my grid. In non-May months, I don’t take a picture every time I wear something I’ve made myself. This month, feeling under pressure to find different colourful backgrounds suitable for a photo was really difficult.

I was surprised by how overwhelmingly neutral my grid was

Another thing I noticed was that my posts got a lot less engagement than they did last year. I try not to worry too much about things like that, especially because I’m not a business, but I think it’s noteworthy. I wonder if it’s due to the changes in the Instagram algorithm since there has been little change to my content.

Some takeaways from the month:

  • Neither of my Bettine dresses (raindrop, striped) featured. Even though this was one of the patterns than inspired me to start sewing, elasticated waists are just not for me.
  • I would like to focus a little bit more on wardrobe planning rather than only making items spontaneously. However, this is a real challenge for me. What I enjoy is being inspired and then feeling highly motivated by a project. I find it harder to make the time for more planned out projects.
  • I still don’t make enough plain things or dresses

I’m glad that I looked back on my last me-made May roundup (linked above). I felt like I hadn’t learnt much last May, but actually I’ve acted on many of the outcomes. I’ve started making my second pair of Cigarette Pants, I’ve started repurposing unloved sweaters from early in my knitting career and I’m going to donate some old makes as part of my house move.

I tried to be strict with the clothes I decide to take with me. I donated several makes where I am not totally in love with them, such as my autumn leaves skirt and unicorn top.

I’ve never read anything by Marie Kondo (though perhaps I should, given how much stuff I have!) but I did listen to a podcast that talked about her philosophy that you should only keep items that bring you joy. I tried to take this approach when assessing whether to keep or donate my handmades.

My Elfe and Rolling Rock sweaters finally bit the dust.

I considered repurposing the raw materials from these items, but in the end I know I would rather spend my limited making time creating something new. Where garments are in good nick, I hope that they will bring happiness to new owners.


I managed to finish my second Linden sweater using the beautiful Atelier Brunette fabric I bought at the Knitting and Stitching show. Overall I’m pretty happy with my first attempt at sewing with sweatshirting. I was able to finish this project in time to take it on a mini break to Barcelona.

I was so glad to have an extra layer since it was a surprisingly chilly weekend in Spain. It would not have been my first choice of item to wear at the quidditch tournament I was playing at, but it was a welcome addition.

I think Linden brought us some luck because we won! I got a gold medal to match the golden flecks on the fabric.

I had hoped to get to a sewing cafe to use an overlocker for this project, but I didn’t have time in the end. I think an overlocker would have produced a better result. However, I did make a mistake with the neckband (put the seam at the centre front), which would have been harder to rectify if I had used an overlocker. I didn’t have the time to fix the neckband at the time, but I will replace it in future if it bothers me.

I don’t think it was a good idea to cut the sleeves on the cross-grain so I wouldn’t do that again. I don’t think the sleeves being on the cross is causing any huge issues, but still. On the plus side, I now have enough fabric left to make a colour-blocked version.

Details and costs

Fabric: 1.7m Atelier Brunette terry- £38.25

Pattern: Linden by the Grainline Studio- £14.90 (second use)


It feels a bit wrong to be sewing a sweater after ten years of knitting nearly all of mine. This project jumped to the top of my queue because I’ve got a weekend away in Barcelona coming up and I think this will work better as a layering option than a knit sweater.

I’m planning to make the version without the band at the hem. I find that sweaters that pull in at the hip emphasise parts of my body that I don’t like. I have a sweatshirt from Uniqlo that has precisely this problem. I’m hoping that having more of a straight line will be more skimming and give me the silhouette I prefer- it certainly works in the wearable toile I made. It was useful to measure the Uniqlo sweater (the only raglan sweatshirt in my wardrobe) to give me a sense of the dimensions I’m aiming for.

Uniqlo sweatshirt dimensions

Sleeve length (good) 27″

Bust (a bit roomy) 21″ measured flat

Front length without band (decent length) 17.5″

The pattern says to use ribbing, but a lot of the versions of Linden on Instagram use self-fabric and it looks good.

I managed to get all of the pattern pieces out of 1m of fabric, but that did mean having the sleeve cut perpendicular to the other pieces. I think 1.7m (as stated in the pattern) would be needed for a directional fabric, though that would mean quite a lot of waste.

Costs

Fabric: 1.7m Atelier Brunette terry £38.25

Pattern: £14.90 (second use)


Typically, I left it to the 11th hour to sign up for Me Made May 2018, though of course I knew I would be doing it after enjoying participating so much last year.

I’ve added quite a few garments to my handmade wardrobe since last May, though I’ve also got rid of a couple of items that I never wore. This is my pledge this year:

I, Monique of www.craftycrusader.wordpress.com @craftycrusader on social media, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’18. I endeavour to wear at least one item of handmade clothing for every day of May 2018. I will post daily pictures on my Instagram. One of my aims is to streamline my wardrobe before I move house in June, particularly to cull the RTW clothing I seldom wear. I would also like to identify gaps in my me-made wardrobe.

Something I continue to be terrible at is wardrobe planning. As a maker, I am very much inspired in the moment. I get an idea for something I want to make and it’s not long before I’m delving into research for that item. I was going to say that planning is the converse before realising that I actually love to plan for individual projects. It’s having an overview or overarching plan that is my downfall. To be honest, that is very much a reflection of my personality. I tend to get caught up in the nitty-gritty of things without really having much awareness of what it is all leading to.

In fact, this has been the main dilemma of my thirties so far- feeling rudderless.

Before I get too deep into self-analysis, I will simply say that I am looking forward to taking part in #mmm18 and I hope it will help me to think a little more strategically about my makes. I have two mini-breaks coming up in May, which makes it even more exciting!


I managed to finish sewing my wearable toile of the Grainline Studio Linden sweatshirt and I’m absolutely thrilled with the result.

Let’s pretend I’m trying to look edgy here, rather than having remote issues

As I mentioned in my last post, I was a bit worried about how the jersey and scuba would play together. There was some puckering around the neckline due to the very different weight and stretch of the two fabrics, but fortunately this isn’t too noticeable when wearing. You can see it in the pic below.

I love the look of View B of the sweatshirt with no binding at the bottom- I really don’t like that shape for my body. It’s worth noting that the length is pretty short- when I raise my arms, my midriff does get exposed and I have a short body. It’s hard to judge whether the 6 is the correct size because of the amount of positive ease. I think I will wear a little more before deciding on the size for my next Linden.

I think I will have a go at making the next one using an overlocker. The domestic machine actually handled this pattern fine, but I think I would like a more professional finish when I’m using the expensive Atelier Brunette fabric.


At the Knitting and Stitching Show, I bought some beautiful sweatshirting to make my first Linden. However, having fabric issues with my third Lark made me realise that it probably wouldn’t be wise to use such beautiful (and expensive) fabric without a bit more testing.

I bought this printed jersey from Sew Over It around a year ago. I fell in love when I saw it in their newsletter. even though I wasn’t so sure when I saw it in person, I bought 1.5m since I had schlepped all the way there. My initial plan was to make a long-sleeved Lark but I realised very quickly that it would be too much of the print. I’ve kept a small sample of the fabric with me ever since, hoping to find a matching plain navy jersey but no luck.

When I was looking through my remnants for something to take to the boxy bag workshop, I rediscovered the textured dark navy jersey remnant. This piece was purchased from SOI as well and had been a real bargain (£5).

I’ve decided to put the two together to make a wearable Linden toile. I plan to use the nautical stripe for the front and back, broken up by the dark navy sleeves and collar. The fabrics are quite different weights. I’m just going to hope that doesn’t cause any problems.

I’m quite happy with my plan. I will get to try out the Linden to see how I like the neckline (necklines are my current big thing). I can also see how I like sewing it on my domestic machine. My Lark woes have me thinking it might be worth using an overlocker at a sewing cafe for constructing basics from stretch fabrics.

I decided to cut the size 6. Now that I have cut it, I’m pretty sure that the dark navy fabric is scuba. I understand that Linden is pretty straightforward to put together so I’m hoping to finish this soon.

Costs: Around £30

Textured navy fabric: £5 for 1.1m

Boat print fabric: Around £20 for 1.5m

I used around half a metre of each fabric

Pattern: £14.90