Hello (sheepish whisper). It’s been quite a while. i honestly didn’t know if I’d come back to writing this blog. Which is a shame. It was an absolute lifeline when I was at home in London with two very small children. Being in touch with the sewing community kept me on the right side of sane. Just. A year into life in Malaysia and with a full-time job, I have a lot less desire to spend my evenings in front of a computer screen, but I am still sewing and I do stay in touch with my favourite bloggers even if it tends to be on Instagram!
I answered the call to Me Made May with a pledge to wear something handmade every day, which I more or less do most of the time these days. I got to the end of the month with no repeat outfits and learned a couple of things to boot.
Although I wear my handmade clothes almost every day, I really missed my favourite Muji linen dresses. They are so comfy and loose-fitting but after this week’s new Inari Tee Dress even they may become obsolete. FYI: I think this just may be the most versatile and flattering dress ever!
Over the course of this year I have been consciously making clothes in solid dark colours and in jersey to redress the balance of my wardrobe and to reflect my fashion preferences. MMM was reminder that my early handmade clothes were often inspired by my love of colour and print. As I reached for my favourite black Moneta, I realised I wanted to look more sleek and elegant than ‘colourful art teacher’ chic. We all had one, didn’t we?! There’s still a fair bit of colour in these photos, but some solids too.
The month also revealed my pattern company loyalties. When I like something, I want it in every colour and texture. Chances are I will buy all of your patterns. Witness my numerous Colette Patterns outfits (Wren, Moneta, Laurel), and multiple Tilly and the Buttons numbers (Mathilde, Agnes, Bettine), not to mention ALL the Grainline Studio patterns! There was a profusion of indie patterns, and according to these photos, only a couple of big pattern companies (the floral scuba McCalls M6886, Simplicity 2444, and the Big Purple One – Simplicity 2406).
Being ‘coerced’ into wearing all the handmade clothes I could lay my hands on meant that I rediscovered a few gems that have been languishing at the back of the wardrobe. I kicked off Day 1 with my first ever Tilly Mathilde (not pictured here). It was like a reunion with a dear friend. Why was I not wearing this every week like I used to? Is there such a thing as too many handmade clothes??
The daily selfie-taking did me in eventually. The light in the tropics is unforgiving and harsh. If I didn’t get my photo taken pre-school run it wasn’t possible. Lord knows there’s enough pressure in my life getting myself and two small people out of the house by 7.45am without a blog-worthy photo shoot thrown into the mix. My five year old did me proud and snapped a few of these – clever girl. The downside is that her school photo came this week. There she is with hand on hip and giving good ‘right leg’ while the other kids stand up straight. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…!
I’ll sign off (for another 3 months!) with one of my two new garments from May – a black Colette Wren (the other was the Grainline Alder at the top of this post). It’s a winner and ticks all the boxes for dark, solid colours in a flattering, work-friendly jersey dress. It’s been lovely to catch up. Take care all. x
I’m sorry, where? Doesn’t my life sound exciting? Viscose, eh? The truth is, it is quite exciting at the moment. I’m getting around the region and exploring, but I’m not finding a great deal of time to sew.
I’m also finding it nigh-on impossible to get half-decent blog photos. Either the light’s too strong or low, or I’m trying to prevent small people falling in swimming pools, or I am relying on the same small people to take said photos (see Instagram for a particularly ropey selection). I’m falling a little behind with blogging new outfits as a result.
I’ve also been thinking about what I sew and why. With so little free time I have to really be committed to my choices. I have reverted to sewing simple patterns that place the fabric centre-stage and don’t take up too much brain power. Most importantly they have to fill a gap in my wardrobe. I’m wary of falling into the trap of making more and more without taking time to appreciate and wear the clothes I’ve already made.
In an earlier post I wrote about how much I loved my first Bettine by Tilly and the Buttons. I was very taken with the viscose I had bought in Hong Kong. The drape was great and it was so cool to wear in the heat. I went on a mission to find more and bought two tropical fabrics from Spotlight – a huge Australian craft superstore. My second Bettine was born!
I lengthened the skirt by an inch or so in order not to offend the conservative locals. I was still almost refused access to a public building for gratuitous knee-baring, but managed to talk them around! I thought I had done with Bettine, but already I’m thinking about a cotton chambray number….
Can you believe it’s been a whole year since I decided to join the online sewing community and start a little blog of my own? I can’t tell you how much pleasure, friendship and general sewing knowledge and experience I’ve gained along the way. But then if you’re a blog reader or writer, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about!
I was on holiday in Hong Kong when the pattern was released, so I swung into action with a special trip to Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong’s fabric and garment district on the look out for viscose/rayon. Here’s what I found! I didn’t want to wish away the rest of the holiday, but by the end I was losing sleep thinking about getting stuck in! I studied the pattern sizing and went for a size 5 on the top and graded down to a 4 at the hips, hoping that I hadn’t needed to do a FBA. I also added 2cm to the skirt length, noting other bloggers were finding it a tad short. I was a little nervous as to whether the elastic waistline and blousy fit would be flattering or whether I would prefer a more tailored look. I was really pleased with how it turned out – there’s not too much ease on the hip and the viscose drapes beautifully. It’s the perfect hot weather work dress and was a lovely simple garment to ease me back into making my own wardrobe. In this climate I’m wearing dresses most of the time and I need more! I love my Bettine and I’m looking forward to see all of yours next weekend on Instagram #sewingbettine!