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
There’s no time like the end of the year for some peaceful reflection/anxious soul-searching, so I was keen to participate in Crafting a Rainbow’s Top 5 of 2014. This year’s been a cracker on the sewing front. After a year of making clothes, I took the plunge in July and decided to stop boring my nearest & dearest with the offspring of my Janome and instead let them run free and wild on the internet. Since then, I’ve grown my little backyard plot of cyberspace into a happy place with some lovely new internet chums.
So without further ado, here goes… The Hits:
Clockwise from top left, this Tilly & The Buttons Mathilde in chambray was an early make and has been well-loved. It must have been beginners’ luck as my pattern moderations resulted in a slimmer fit and short sleeves with no tears shed. Oh, and did I mention that it appeared on Tilly’s blog?!
I’ve made four Colette Moneta dresses, including the polka dot and black ones shown here (the polka dot snap also proves that I do occasionally step away from the fireplace!). There’s something about this pattern which results in a perfect fit and finish every time. It also represents my early foray into sewing with knits. I have worn all four versions as many times as it’s polite to, without people wondering if you ever wash your clothes!
That just leaves my Emery in crazy loud £3 fabric, and the Sureau in Liberty Tana Lawn. I spent considerable time getting the fit right on both of these, and it paid off. I have to remind myself of this when I’m in the grip of a sewing frenzy and am desperate to get to the finish line.
My love affair with Mathilde has been well documented, so needless to say I was beyond thrilled when Tilly of Tilly & The Buttons fame featured my two Mathildes on a blog post last month. I never thought that my makes would ever have their moment of fame, but, as sewing accolades go I was chuffed to bits! So, having waxed lyrical about my earlier Mathildes here and here, today’s post is a little shorter as there’s not much more I can add short of penning a love sonnet.
After my fabric-purchasing debacle, when I foolishly bought an insufficient amount of this Liberty Tana Lawn and had to source more, I ended up with enough left over to make another Mathilde. Result! British autumnal weather calls for exactly a blouse like this: it looks fab over a pair of skinny jeans. For this version, I went back to the original design after pattern-hacking my Mathilde in Chambray. I lowered the front neckline by an inch as I found the original a little high. The pleats seem to get slightly lost in the busy print, but nevertheless they are my favourite feature of this blouse. I’m a sucker for the buttons down the back too.
No photos of me today, peeps. I’m sure you’ll survive! I had a scroll down my ‘In The Wardrobe’ page and had to chuckle at all of my ‘hands on hip’ or ‘just dropped a quid on the floor’ poses. Seriously, how do those supermodels do it?! I just couldn’t compose myself enough to do this blouse justice today!
I can’t claim this make as a recent one – but I really wanted to share it with you. The London summer seems to be drawing to a premature end, so I wore my first-born Mathilde last week and remembered how much I love it. You know when you have an outfit that really represents the essence of your personal style – for me: strong colours, skinny jeans, a mum-tum concealing top…
As I wrote here about my second Mathilde, I was drawn to this pattern by the lovely pleats and button-back. It was the first detailed pattern I attempted, after re-cutting my teeth on the Colette Sorbetto. The sewing world had moved one somewhat from my first experience of dressmaking, some 20 years ago: the instant gratification of downloadable PDF patterns; super cute independent pattern companies; masses of inspirational blogs; fabulous fabric shops. So a big thanks to Tilly and the Buttons for reigniting the passion for the simple art of stitching!
The fabric’s another super-duper find from Simply Fabrics. The light was failing when I took these snaps, but nonetheless I wanted to capture an outfit that makes me ridiculously happy!
Don’t you find that your most recent make is always your favourite?
Mathilde complete with creases!
I love this top! It’s my second go at a Mathilde from the amazing Tilly and the Buttons. I was equally pleased with my first attempt last year. In fact, it was one of the first garments I made when I dusted off my sewing machine. I was very taken with the pleats on the front of the bodice, and the buttons down the back are a lovely style detail. I didn’t alter the pattern for my first attempt. It was a big enough feat to download and assemble a PDF pattern.
A year on and I felt ready to make the pattern my own. Whilst I loved the original, I didn’t think I suited the full sleeves and the straight bodice looked rather boxy. So I took the plunge and drafted cap sleeves using the original arm scythe as a guide. I also took out the fullness in the bodice and reshaped it at the waist based upon my measurements. Finally, I lowered the front neckline. I am so happy with the fit. Perhaps this will give me the courage to attempt more complicated alterations…
Mathilde button back detail
The instructions were so easy to follow. Tilly’s clear and concise writing style made this pattern accessible to sewists with basic skills. The sense of satisfaction I had after making version one was off the scale.
I had been on the lookout for some cotton chambray, so when I found this at Simply Fabrics in Brixton I snapped up 3 metres. You will be seeing it again! The guy in the shop told me that it was Paul Smith shirting. Not bad for £3 per metre! The fabric was beautiful to work with. It pressed well and really holds the pleats. I think the colour makes it look classic.
Now, what should I do with the rest of that chambray? Any thoughts?