Hello 2018!

Hi guys, just checking in to say a very Happy New Year to you all!

I’ve been a bit absent over here on my blog and my personal vlog over in YouTube of late because I’ve been working on the very exciting “My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns” project.We successfully ran our Kickstarter Campaign and reached our target in time for the deadline at the beginning of December.

Since then we’ve been beavering away completing pattern testing, sampling, photographing, formatting the pattern instructions, arranging printing and sending out the kickstarter rewards. We’re now in the final push towards the launch and we will be celebrating with a lovely launch party on the 20th January at the Crafty Sew&So shop!

Take a look at the My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns blog to find out more and see all the designs!

So a new year always brings new creative plans! My plans for this year include:

– Making my wedding dress! Plus bridesmaids dresses, waistcoats for the boys, miles of bunting and a few other little secret plans!

– Replacing my much loved handmade items which are looking a little tired (handmade every day= actually wearing-out my handmade clothes 😩)

– Making lots and lots more versions of our MHW patterns!

I’m still toying whether to do a make nine – I know will make a lot more than nine garments so not sure if it will be that useful to me but some kind of plan will be needed!

I’m taking part in the 2018 secret valentines challenge #2018sve which I’m really looking forward to.Matt and I don’t tend to celebrate mainly because it’s massively commercial but also because it’s very close to our meeting anniversary on the 6th! We tend to go out for a celebratory burrito (not sure why but it’s a tradition now!) the weekend after.

I love the idea that we are encouraged to use only materials that we currently own. I’m really looking forward to seeing who I get and riffling through my stash to find the perfect fabric!

If you want to get involved in the SVE check it out at http://sanaeishida.com/

o that’s most of the first half of the year planned out! I think things will probably be a little bit quieter and more work-focused in the second half as we hopefully prepare to launch a second range of patterns and plan for another Dressmakers Ball in 2019! So there are lots of exciting plans on the horizon!

Here’s to a happy, healthy and creative 2018!

Happy Sewing! Sarah x

My 2017 Colour Review

I always thought I was a “Pink” person but looking at my wardrobe I have made very few pink items lately. 

I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at what I have made so far this year to see if there was a theme in terms of colours I consistently choose.

I’ll never be decisive enough to have a ‘capsule’wardrobe but I do think to hone in on a few new colours for each season helps keep everything concise and helps with outfit building a lot. 

And my colours for this year so far it seems have been red, ochre and navy, not exclusively, but in the most part!

I made:

Red trousers

Navy bikes print Bettine

And shorts..

A simple tee in red and white stripes

Navy based birds print sun dress

A Denim Bettine

A Yellow, black and white bikes print gathered skirt 

My red satin Dressmakers Ball skirt 

A Denim Cleo Pinny- worn with my favourite Ochre cardi 

A red wool coat

A self- drafted pinny dress in navy and white check with a pop of red and bright blue. 

A navy polkadot Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress with a contrast tomato red pocket- I have worn this to death already!

Navy and white Roxanne blouse worn here with my Ochre Morris Blazer and coordinating man-friend! 

I’ve got my eye on these lovely fabrics from the Crafty Sew&So shop for my next lots of “on-palette” makes:

Mustard ponti Roma 

Navy with tan spots bonded jersey

Red with white blossoms crinkle georgette

But what to make next… 

A mustard Morris blazer

In case you hadn’t noticed I have a bit of a thing about Ochre/mustard/yellow in general at the moment!

Not only am I a big fan of richer shades of yellow in my clothing choices at the mo, Matt and I have decided to go for sunshine yellow shades with deep red, orange and navy for our wedding colour palette too!

I’ll never be decisive enough to have a ‘capsule’wardrobe but I do think to hone in on a few new colours for each season helps keep everything concise and helps with outfit building a lot. And my colours for this year so far have been red, ochre and navy.

So when this beautifully soft mustard loop back terry came into the Crafty Sew&So shop I decided to make the Morris blazer by Grainline studios from it.

img_2695

It is perfect for an un-lined jacket as it’s super soft on the inside and outside. The pattern isn’t specifically for stretch fabric but it is quite a snug fit in the arms so suits a stable heavier weight knit well. I’d recommend measuring the sleeve pattern and your bicep to compare before cutting this out.

The pattern isn’t specifically for stretch fabric but it is quite a snug fit in the arms so suits a stable heavier weight knit well. I’d recommend measuring the sleeve pattern and your bicep to compare before cutting this out.

I made a size 10 (Us size) and lengthened the sleeves to full length. Other than that I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern

I used a lightweight fusible interfacing on the facing panel and stay tape in the shoulder seam.

I love that this jacket feels as comfy as a cardi but smart and business-like. The colour is fun and goes with so many things in my wardrobe.

I wouldn’t change anything about this make! I want to make myself another one in navy next for winter.

I’ve enjoyed wearing it on many occasions already including my friend’s Birthday BBQ party. I wore it with my lovely Roxanne top which I made in gauzy navy and whit warrior cotton. I must make another one of these too, it’s so cool! 

Bicycle Bettine

I decided I wanted a nice casual spring to summer dress that would go with a lot of the colours they currently have in my wardrobe. I’m really taken by navy and yellow for this spring with the usual sprinkling of red and pink. I chose a Dashwood studios cotton quilting fabric with super cute bikes print on. It’s the second bike printed fabric I’ve picked up this year – a bit mad as I don’t even own a bike and haven’t ridden one in several years but I like the vintage nostalgia of these cute prints!


I previously made the Tilly and the Buttons betting dress in a fluid viscose which draped well and I wanted to try making this pattern in a slightly stiffer cotton fabric for a more casual trans-seasonal look.

I am very happy with the scooped neckline and the overall fit.

I feel if I had used slightly narrower elastic at the waist it might be a bit more comfortable.


I think it goes really well with my Ochre Morris Blazer!

Pretty birds travel maxi dress

I picked up a fab bird print fabric from the fancy silk store in Birmingham a few months back and I’d been looking for the perfect style to use it for ever since. It’s a really unusual lightweight non-crease fabric which needs more exploring…

It looks a bit like a crepe de chine  but on further inspection it turns out to be a very lightweight polyester and elastane mix fabric which has the look of a microfibre with the feel of an activewear or swimsuit fabric – very odd but absolutely perfect for travel dress as it’s super cool, scrunches up to nothing and needs absolutely no ironing! I made it just in time for our recent trip to Dinard in France along with my Pantalon Rouge! When traveling with hand luggage only it’s all about the non-crease, stretch fabrics!

Following in the footsteps of my sewing friend Jess, I decided to (kind of) jump on the bandwagon of the pillowcase dress after seeing her lovely version.

Who doesn’t love a 1 hour dress!

But of course I’m never one for keeping things simple, so rather than creating a channel to thread a draw string through to create the straps as shown in this fab Melly Sews tutorial, I decided to make life more complicated and rouche the front and back with gathering stitches then finished this off with self binding and little ties at the shoulder. It took a bit longer than the tutorial version but I really like the finished effect. 

It’s nice and cool worn loose but I loved it with a sparkly belt for a bit of holiday glamour! 

It was a bit chilly at night in Dinard so I’m glad I had this lime green cropped cardi already which goes really well.


Happy sewing!

Sarah x

Les pantalon rouge

I’m just back from a few days of French Adventures with Matt. We went for a lovely little break to Dinard (don’t worry, nobody else has heard of it either) in Brittany, North France. We bagged a bargain flight for £35 and an air BnB set us back the princely sum of £150 between us for 3 nights leaving a few euros for lots of delicious food and vin rouge! 


Even though it was a short trip I jumped on the excuse to make a few new items of clothing to wear on my hols. 

I picked up a fab bird print fabric in Birmingham a few months back and I’d been looking for a reason to use it ever since. I’ll write a bit more about this in a future post as it’s a really unusual lightweight non-crease fabric which needs more exploring… 

This trip was also a fantastic excuse to finally crack my nemesis- Trousers! 

And what better than a pair of jolly nautical red pantalons for my Vacances sur la mer! 


I have used the Sew Over It ultimate trousers pattern several times now and even after making several fit amendments post cutting out I’ve never been 100% happy with the final fit.

This might also have something to do with the fabrics I choose for my first 2 pairs- the first being a navy star printed stretch cotton which faded terribly and shrunk with each wash- after 3 washes they were grey, bobbly and ankle length – and pair 2 which I made from pink cotton sateen which started the day with some stretch but this disappeared throughout the day meaning by lunch I ended up with slouchy mum-pants and by the evening they looked like jogging bottoms (so I was informed by my wonderfully honest friend Emma!) 
So this time I decided to do this the right way. I used high quality cotton twill with elastane from out shop. It has brilliant stretch return and was a dream to work with. I made up the pattern in a size 14 as before but when I got to the side seams I basted these and tried on the trousers for fit. I then pinched, tucked marked, unpicked, re-pinned and sewed nearly every seam and dart to achieve the perfect fit. 


My fit amends included taking in 2cm at the top of the inside leg seam making the crotch scoop less dramatic and the rise shorter, taking in 5mm at each side seam above the hip to the waist, taking in the waist  darts, shifting the seam below the knee to pull it toward the back of my leg, and adding a waistband. I then did what I hadn’t done before and traced off the pattern and applied the changes to paper. 

I also added extra length but I’m still not sure I added enough. They are just a smudge short still. 

I finished the hems and waistband with hand stitching on the plane of the way over. It kept me out of mischief! I closed the waistband with a trouser hook and bar. 

One thing I didn’t do with this pair was trim anything so the larger previous seam allowances are still all inside making the seam quite bulky so I’ll trim these away and refinish the seams before I wear these again. 

Overall I’m pretty happy with these now. 

I just want to add some more length.  And maybe some pockets. Roll on pair number 4! 

Happy sewing! 

Sarah x

Two new Vlogs up on YouTube

Hi guys! I’ve just popped 2 new Vlogs up on my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOhQ5DS8VtSZiSa0-1ooSDw

The first is a little insight into why I’ve decided to start Vlogging…


… And the second is a roundup of my makes this year so far and my making plans from March onwards including some of my #Make9 plans

I’ve got some pretty hefty projects on the go including a Kellie coat by Closet Case patterns, a pretty Indian style quilt and a few stash busters too!

Hope you enjoy!

Sarah x

My Make 9 for 2017- sewing plans (in motion!) 

So I’m pretty late to the party but here’s my #makenine for 2017 and I’ve kinda cheated as I’m half way through a few of them but never the less here’s my plans for the next month or so!

1. Jelly roll strip blanket – with kantha hand embroidery (this one might take all year!)

I got this gorgeous Craft Cotton Co. textured plains jellyroll as a Christmas pressie and then found the Indian garden jellyroll which includes some of the colours and tones in beautifully, also by The Craft Cotton Co.


I really enjoyed the Bollywood theme last years Barefoot festival I’d love to bring a bit of the vibrancy into our home and garden

2. A comfy Rosie bralet to go with my Evie La Luve Bella panties (New favourite obsession!) Check out her gorgeous patterns and kits on Etsy


3. My third Sewaholic Granville shirt – nailed the cuff plaque it this time! I’m hoping to make a fourth this year as a shirt dress pattern hack

4. I will finally use the gorgeous printed liberty silk I bought four years ago in simple and classic style  (Yes the one I mentioned in my stash using up blog post a year ago!)

5. Swiped the last 2.5 m of our red based printed floral cotton for a Summery Sewaholic Nicola dress

6. The images online for the cloth kits vintage tea dress do you not do it justice at all. I’m making it out of a super drapey double crêpe in teal

One of my customers made it in this fab polkadot and cherry print at the weekend


6. After making a Tilly and the Buttons Cleo for me (more on that in my next blog post), I’m totally ripping off lovely Rosie from The New Craft House and making one in bright pink cord for my friend Emily

8. This one is going to be a bit of a labour of love! I’m making a Kelly cagoule with all the trimmings including a removable faux shearling lining – wish me luck!

9. I will FINALLY Make up my second pair of Closet Case patterns Ginger jeans which I have had cut out since February 2015!!!

Better get sewing hey!

Sarah x

A Coco with a pop of tomato and an Ochre cardi

I’m feeling very inspired by classic colour combinations with pops of surprising colour! 

I’ve not stopped wearing my ochre cardigan since Christmas, I love how it adds a bright splash of colour to my winter wardrobe

Looks like the high street is being inspired by a love of the mustard too! 


I’m loving this Fat Face window pairing ochre with the mid washed denim 😍

One of my first makes of 2017 is a Tilly and buttons Coco in spot printed ponti roma. I love the weight of this, it’s medium weight and hangs beautifully. The base colour is navy and it’s a dark shade with clean white spots. I’m very glad it didn’t run in the wash as I thought it might!


I added a little tomato red coloured pocket which I just love! 


I think food colours are very much inspiring my colour palette at the moment! 

This delicious soup was made by my sewing buddy Morven for one of our “table Tuesdays”. We try to meet up every fortnight and sew together- sometimes we might have other things which need to be done like admin etc, but it’s a really nice way to round off my weird weekend (Mondays and Tuesdays!) and nice to have company sewing or admining! She she made the most fantastic lentil and vegetable broth last time which I have begged the recipe for – Yuuuum! 

It’s my turn to host tonight and I’ll be doing smoked mackerel and butternut squash risotto – again with the yellow food! I’ll be working on my Evie la Luve Bella panties and Morven is making a kindle case. 

Happy sewing! 

Sarah x

2016 in review! 

So, blogging hasn’t exactly been top of my priorities in the last half of 2016 it would seem! This isn’t a bad thing as it’s just because I’ve been really busy with lots of other things! In my defence (if I need one- haha!) I have posted a few blog posts on our Crafty Sew&So blog

So I guess it’s time for a quick catch up! 2016- it’s been a rollercoaster of year hasn’t it?! I’m not feeling quite as down about all the political goings-on now. Although it has affected our business to some extent it’s also encouraged us to really think about our strategy and find positive outcomes, adjusting our range to include more UK produced products and UK-based suppliers. We also found that as a result of the dreaded “Brexit” that the suppliers we do work with in Europe and other countries for the most part I have been very open and honest with us about changes and price rises and also implemented a few strategies themselves which have actually made it easier to work with them. So although I’m not overly happy about the reasons behind the shakeups, the outcomes could actually work out for us in the long run, I hope! 

So anyway, that’s quite enough of that, and to the interesting bit, what did I make in the last half of 2016? 

I’ve been working on developing our own blocks so that we can start to make our own patterns from them to use them in workshops and eventually bring out our own range of Crafty Sew&So patterns. The dress above combines the basic bodice block and the basic A-line skirt block. 

I added tabs at the top to give it a pinafore dress styling and made up the facings in a Scottie dog print polycotton. I wouldn’t usually use a polycotton especially seen as this one was very light weight and a bit on the crispy side! But the print was so cute I couldn’t resist! 

 

This dress was also developed from our own blocks. This time incorporating a sleeve and a box pleated skirt. 

This isn’t quite so “me” but looked good in our Autumn shop window and I have worn it once, layered up with a cosy cardi. 

 

In September Freya and I flew out to Monaco for the Brother sewing machines launch. There was a fantastic gala dinner with a Bond theme as part of the trip and I made this gorgeous deep purple crêpe full-length dress with a gold satin waistband which I embroidered using our brother sewing machine – Of course! 

This dress which I made in May was fantastic for travelling as the elastane content in the woven jacquard fabric meant that it hardly creased. The bright print was just perfect for the gorgeous sunny weather in Monico too! 

In the summer I enjoyed hosting the arts tent at Barefoot festival for the third year running. We had a Bollywood themed Sunday and enjoy body art with henna and glitter, a holi powder party and Indian themed crafts including embroidery and jewellery making. 

 

I got crafty in the garden with some wooden pallets which I picked up from a garden centre for a pound! So I wasn’t afraid to have a play and I’m really happy with the results especially the bench which used one and a half pallets. This summer I plan to paint it with lots of bright colours. I’m looking forward to doing lots of work to our garden in 2017. 


Tilly and the buttons patterns played a big part in my wardrobe in 2016. I made 4 cocos, and Arielle skirt, 3 Agnes tees (and I have 2 cut out and ready to sew!) I love the easy to wear everyday styles. 

In 2017 I plan to make a Bettine-for me this time instead of my mum, and the Cleo pinafore dress having seen some fantastic versions of it made up. 

 

After my initial apprehension, I really enjoyed doing me made May in 2016. May is going to be a massive month this year! We are hosting the dressmakers ball and my business partner Freya will be having a baby – but I’m still hoping I can get involved with me made May again in 2017!

I also enjoyed using Clothkits patterns- including the kimono jacket and the tea dress. 

I found a bit of time in the last week before Christmas to make a fun pompom embellished T-shirt 

My final big make of 2016 my Christmas dress also made using the blocks – you can read more about this on the Crafty Sew&So blog.

 

I did make a few garments from the big five patterns but as I often find, I was disappointed with the fit. I made this shift dress pattern in the geo viscose above and it looks fine belted but the neckline is very wide and I had to take in about 8 cm on the sleeves as they were very baggy. 

The neckline pulls down at the back so is a little uncomfortable around the neck at the front! 

Love how “flat cat” our pre-Ollie substitute cat is peeking in here- unimpressed as always! 

Enjoyed a bit of patching up on my old jeans, but I have to be honest with myself they are not going to last much longer! I really need to make myself a new pair of jeans in 2017!

 Ollie has continued to be a fantastic model showing off my home makes in action! Lots more from him to come in 2017!