What’s on my sewing table?

Although I’ve been quiet on the blog this month, there’s plenty of sewing going on. Some successful, some less so. Here’s what I’m up to this week:

Bridesmaid Betty


I’ve just, just finished handstitching the enormous hem on this, and it’s all ready to photograph. I just have to decide whether to take my own pictures for the blog, or see if I might be allowed to use the professional ones from the wedding.

A short-sleeved Fairfield shirt


This was originally intended as secret squirrel surprise sewing for Mr Wardrobe’s birthday last week. It’s almost finished: there’s just a bit of finishing on the collar to do, plus the hem, buttons and buttonholes. But there’s one small problem. When he tried it on, we both remembered why he doesn’t own any short-sleeved shirts – they actually don’t suit him. His arms look weirdly stick-like and this shirt really brings out the geek in him. So now I need to either abandon it, or find another Mr-Wardrobe-shaped owner for it. I might see if my Dad would like to try it on…

Returning to the scene of a previous blunder


Now that 1990s patterns are pretty much vintage in the sewisphere, I dragged out the first pattern I ever attempted (with disastrous consequences, all the way back in 1992) and it’s starting to look quite appealing again now. Since I currently own exactly zero pairs of shorts, I thought this might be fun to try again. Only this time I’ll be making view C in a lightweight tawny linen, rather than View B in a rose-print rayon challis type. (SO not a good fabric choice for a first project – if only my teenage self had listenened to her Mum.)

Stepping up my skirt game


Having worn out my favourite RTW denim skirt this year, my wardrobe definitely needs skirts. So I’m planning a few as we move into autumn. First up, this gorgeous red heavy wool crepe is going to become view D from New Look 6346 – a straightforward flared skirt pattern with a contoured waistband and invisible zip. I was eyeing the Sewaholic Hollyburn pattern orignally, but I already had this one, plus it’s more economical on fabric so that swung it for me.

Knitting plans


It’s time for a new knitting project, so I’ve spent some time on Ravelry this week, trying to work out how best to use some yarn oddments I have stashed away. I have four different balls of double knit (one cotton, one alpaca, two merino/cashmere blend) lurking in my stash and absolutely no idea what to do with any of them.

So that’s the next few weeks taken care of, then. Do you keep several projects on the go at once, or do you limit yourself to just one UFO at a time?





Unpromising beginnings

Photo of two pattern envelopes, McCalls 6007 and Vogue 9188.

I have something to confess: my first three makes were disasters. Here are the sorry details – and what I learnt from each one.

Disaster 1: I was too ambitious.

I started sewing when I was 14 – I was overweight, and I couldn’t find any shorts in Topshop that looked good. So my ever-helpful Mum suggested I try making my own. She was a keen sewer in her teenage years, and offered to help. But with a teenager’s attention span, I got distracted and gave up half-way through. Sadly I binned the remnants shortly before bold florals made a fashion comeback.

Photo of two pattern envelopes, McCalls 6007 and Vogue 9188.
The patterns for my first two disasters: McCalls 6007 and Vogue 9188

Disaster 2: I ignored the fabric suggestions for the pattern.

Disaster number two was supposed to be my prom dress. I’d just seen Before Sunrise, and fallen in love with Julie Delpy’s slip-dress-over-T-shirt look. So for our prom (read: school disco), I wanted to wear a slip dress – but in burgundy velvet. No, I’m not sure why either… Ever tried making a spaghetti strap from velvet? Not a smart idea. Again, my poor Mum helped me get started. And again, I consigned the half-finished garment to a drawer. Years later, I cut it up to make a cushion. But I still have the pattern, and I occasionally wonder about using it to make nightwear.

Disaster 3: I cut straight into my fabric without making a toile first

The third one was  a bootcut trouser pattern c.2001. I had a suitable fabric, but I didn’t know how to shape the pattern to fit me other than lengthening the legs. So I ended up with excess fabric at the front, and not enough room at the waist, giving me that second-trimester-but-trying-not-to-let-on look. Oh dear.

It was after that that I started reading up on fitting, and things have improved in leaps and bounds from there. But occasionally I do still have a disaster, and when that happens I’ll try to share it here for you to laugh at and learn from.