2016 versus 2017

So with 8 months since my last blog post I think we can safely say that 2016 was not the year for upping my blogging quota! 2016 was a fairly productive sewing year however. It was the first time that I started to really build some confidence in my sewing. One thing I need to work on is finishing projects; not my forte! Unlike most, I really like assembling PDFs and cutting out patterns, and as soon as a new pattern catches my eye, I have downloaded it and cut it out. Problem is that it then sits there whilst the next pattern comes along and so on. Another issue I faced this year was changing body dimensions. I went on a diet programme this year and lost 3 stone. As most reading this know, making your own clothes is a fairly slow process and I didn’t want to make anything special that I was then not going to be able to fit.

Now that I feel more confident in my sewing, my plan for 2017 is to build on that and develop my skills further and improve the overall quality of the garments that I am making. I also REALLY need to work on fabric choices. Looking over my makes last year – a lot of the fails were down to poor fabric choices, fabric that looked great in my head but not in the pattern that I had chosen.

All of these fails are down to bad fabric choices:

  • Moneta Dress – Colette Patterns in a lovely (but too heavy!) black bamboo jersey.
  • Geometry Top – Katy & Laney in a green crepe backed satin – seams wouldn’t lie flat and I burnt a hole in one panel.
  • New Look 6217 – in a far too lightweight viscose.
  • Inari Tee Dress – Named Patterns in a jacquard that made me look like an extra from Star Trek.

And just a fail was:

  • Southport Dress  – True Bias – not worn because I should have graded down for the bodice. Still hanging onto it but not sure why.
  • Moneta – a second attempt which was better but still unworn – starting to think this pattern just doesn’t suit me no matter how much I want it to.
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Moneta Dress – Colette Patterns

The wins were:

  • Coco – Tilly and the buttons – one for me, one for my mum – LOVE this pattern.
  • Axel Skirt – Megan Neilsen x 2 – made using the aforementioned bamboo so as to not waste it!
  • Hemlock Tee – Grainline Studio x 2
  • Bettine Dress – Tilly and the Buttons – got plenty of wear over summer but sadly too big now.
  • Silk Cami – Sew Over It x 3 – Two made for me, one for my sister -mine are too big but will be making more!
  • Ogden Cami – True Bias – made for my sister and I NEED some for myself.
  • Inari Tee Dress and Tee shirt – I made the inari last year in a grey ponte and it was way too big – I actually ripped it apart and re-made in a smaller size because that is how much I love this pattern/fabric combination! Also made the Tee – now sadly too big but loved it.
  • Ultimate Shift Dress Top – Sew over it – great summer top
  • The Gable Top – Jennifer Lauren
  • Rise & Fall Turtleneck – Named Patterns (one of each) – not a fan of the boxiness of the fall one but love the rise – I see more of these in my future!
  • The Molly Top – Sew Over It
  • Linden sweatshirt x 2 – a staple!
  • Cleo – Tilly and the Buttons in one of the aubergine needlecord kits – I love it but not sure that it really suits me – finding it hard to style but I will persist!
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Cleo Dungaree Dress – Tilly and the Buttons

Not a bad list of makes and I know where I need to improve in 2017! Hope you all had a lovely Christmas/New year break, I spent it in Vigo, Spain, with family, relaxing, pottering around, drinking lots of coffee and too much wine – it’s proving seriously hard to get back to reality!

 

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MMM16 Progress

How’s everyone finding Me Made May? I am pleasantly surprised that I am managing it. I don’t have a lot of me makes as yet; mostly just t-shirts but they are fast becoming my go-to garments.

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MMM16 Emmeline T

So the tops I tend to rotate are my Emmeline t, Renfrew with Cowl Neck, Tilly & the Buttons Coco x2, Dolores Batwing top and a Hemlock tee.

Me Made Makes
Me Made Makes

The hemlock tee and a new coco t-shirt were made this month to give me a few more options. The hemlock tee is my absolute favourite!! I love it! It’s a free pattern from Grainline and it’s a one size fits all. Whilst some might have to grade up, others grade down or wear it loose fitting, on me its just right. It’s like it was designed for me! I can see more of these in my t-shirt drawers future!

MMM16 also inspired me to finish off a few jobs. My Dolores batwing top was one of the first tops I ever made and it needed the hem re-doing and the neckline top stitching. After avoiding it for ages I finally got it done and it was very satisfying!

Dolores Batwing Top
Dolores Batwing Top

I also rescued an Emmeline t that I had started but the fabric was too drapery and just didn’t work when you got to the sleeves. I managed to eek a Renfrew out of it; not my finest work but it will get wear.

Rescued renfrews
Rescued renfrews

So the first few weeks have been mostly tops and jeans! Clearly plenty of holes in my wardrobe to fill!!

Are you participating? How is it going so far?

Prepping for Me Made May

From my last post we know I have patterns and fabric galore, now I need to make some clothes using those patterns and fabric! If I dive straight into the stash, I’m not going to prioritise or be at all rational, it will just be the prettiest fabric and whichever pattern comes to hand first! Also Me Made May is just around the corner. I planned to join in last year but didn’t manage it as I just didn’t have enough hand made items and no time to make any. I can’t say I am in a better situation this year so hopefully with a bit of planning and sewing, I will get to be able to at least make a reasonable pledge and stick to it! I am aware that its not really what Me Made May is about, but I don’t have a load of me made clothes lying around that I am not wearing!

sewing (2 of 2)

With this in mind I have looked around the closet and had a think about what clothes I need and here they are:

Work Clothes

Definitely the biggest problem area; sadly, like most people, I work more days in a week than I get to stay at home!

  1. I wear lots of stretchy (jersey) skirts, normally in black to keep them smarter, but I seriously need to replace what I have. Tempting to walk into H&M and buy some more for £3 each but trying to stick to my principles here! I have loads of jersey fabric and some elastic in the stash so want to make at least two of these. I have been drafting my own – to some success, but in order to have something for MMM I am going to try the Manhattan Skirt by Anna Ka Couture.
  2. A smart top or two wouldn’t go amiss either I have the Sarah Shirt by By Hand London and the Susie Blouse by Sew Over it. I’m not guaranteeing two shirts though as that might be pushing my luck.
  3. I also have an Inari T Dress in Jersey that with black tights would be pretty smart – bonus is that its partly made – just needs facings, hemming and sleeves.
Weekend/Slightly smarter than average clothes
  1. I had this dress from Zara years ago, black jersey dress, elasticated waist, low v.neck and gathered at the shoulders, it fell apart eventually and I miss it so much! It was casual but could look smarter with the right shoes and cardigan . I have some fabulous bamboo jersey from Ray Stitch and I’m going to finally make a Moneta Dress from Colette  – I’m sure I’m the last person to make this dress! I LOVE this moneta from Cookin’ and Craftin’ – simple in the solid black but looks so chic!
  2. I need to replace my original Tilly and the Buttons Coco, as my old one is worn out and tired looking. I love this top (I usually make the tunic top), its smart but comfy – sooo handy!
Casual Clothes

Last but not least I want to make another Linden sweatshirt with a cowl neck like this one from baste & gather. A simple adjustment but I think it will improve the pattern for me, I always find that the neck on the Linden is too wide for me – I need to learn what adjustment to make to fix this – any help would be welcome!

So that’s the plan – lets see if I can stick to it! How about you – any Me Made May last minute(ish) sewing?

Battling the Stash

I’m back! I think I just have to accept that my blogging is going to be sporadic and patchy at best! Things just pile up and writing a blog falls to the bottom of the list. Not that I don’t enjoy it, when I start writing one its really enjoyable!

Anyway, its a quiet Sunday at home and Pretty Little Liars is on in the background (my new obsession, its awful but addictive; please don’t judge me), which is a perfect time for me to write an update post.

At the start of 2016 (how are we nearly at Easter already?!), I read a couple of blogs about organising (and getting control) of your stash; namely these from Paprika Patterns: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. These cried out to the anally retentive/OCD side of my personality and I never know what fabric I have so I decided to use some of the principles that Lisa describes.

Fabric Swatches

So I downloaded the handy template from Sarai’s blog post here and got to work. So far I have pulled apart my fabric stash and measured the fabric, cut a sample to attach to a tag and wrote the details on a tag and also into a spreadsheet. So far I have 88 bits of fabric, and in writing this I have reminded myself that I have another box of fabric hidden away upstairs.

I also put all my PDF patterns in my spreadsheet (I have yet to do the paper patterns but I don’t have many – I tend to prefer PDFs) and created a list of projects which include the fabric and pattern that I will be using and I can also include how much of that fabric I have used per project. This means that I can track how much I have used in a month vs how much I have bought. I am also tracking the costs and trying to scare myself into not buying more fabric…but I think that Lisa’s method of unsubscribing from all fabric shop mailing lists and blog posts would be much more effective!

SewingCorner

I am feeling a little bit more in control of the stash now – time will tell if it slows now my fabric buying! I will report back!

I have been doing some sewing as well! I am most of the way through an Anna dress, just waiting for a zip to turn up in the post. That will be my next blog post – hopefully soon!

Right, I am lost now, need to catch up on who might be A this time.

Until next time!

Catch up!

Well, it’s been a while! Since my last post in August, I have pretty much been prepping for Christmas! Seriously, starting in August sounds a bit crazy but my mum has moved to Spain and I needed presents etc. to go with her when she took her car over in November, as I would be flying over for Christmas and therefore not able to carry much. That brought everything forward by quite a lot!!

Also, between Christmas prep, we put an offer on a house (didn’t get it :(), decorated our hall, got some new windows fitted, got a new gas fire fitted, got new garden fence panels in and painted, helped with packing up my parents place, both got a promotion, spent a lot of time visiting Darren’s brother in hospital (he’s better now!), and spent Christmas and new year in Spain! I think this explains the lack of blogging!!

So I will not bore you by trying to give details of everything I made over this time, we will just have a quick photo overview! Sorry in advance – these are all camera phone photos.

face (2 of 1)  Advent calendar for my mum using the Purl Soho Pattern/Kit. This was a LOT of hand sewing but I started it early enough that I got to really enjoy it rather than doing my usual panicked/rushed sewing!

My sister and I made hampers as Christmas gifts this year! It was a LOT of work! Each hamper had a selection of Jams, Chutneys, Alcohols, a mini Christmas cake and a mini Christmas pudding, as well as a few sweet things!

Darren and I made a cute coat/jewellery hanger for my sister’s birthday!

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I made my first quilt! It was a Christmas present for my great Aunt – only unfinished photos as the moment – sorry! Another Purl Soho make – I love all their projects!

There was making the Christmas Crackers..

then Christmas cakes and puddings.

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We finished decorating the second guest bedroom – and made these cool bedside lamps and tables! The tutorial for these can be found here.

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The GORGEOUS house that we didn’t get…<sob>.

We changed and re-painted our fence panels!

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Christmas decorating!

and some last minute Christmas presents for my cousins!

I spent Christmas with my family in Spain – even then there was no rest as there was still unpacking to be done and some DIY:

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We did an Ikea hack to make my mum a badly needed kitchen island!

So a very busy second half of 2015!! It ended on a high though…

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ENGAGED!!

Roll on 2016 – I think I’m ready for you!

Holiday blues…

So the weekend of the sewing extravaganza never happened! I nearly finished a Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top but it was looking very clingy and unflattering so I stopped. Then I started a briar t-shirt and stopped because the neckline was all wrong. Then I started another Emmeline tee and just plain ran out of time with that one.
On the plus side I had a lovely holiday! It was only a week and it flew by!! Coming home is always bad, but the first day back at work is done and it wasn’t so bad. Hopefully the rest of the week will fly by!

Not much chance of getting much sewing done this week and I am away in London this weekend, so in the meantime here are some holiday snaps of Porto.
imageThe town hall at Aliados

imageSanto Ildefonso church

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Sé Cathedral

imageEscadas de Codeçal from Sé Cathedral down to the bottom walkway of the Don Luís Bridge.

imageEscadas de Codeçal, looking upwards.

imageView of the Don Luís bridge from the steps.

imageThe Ribeira.

imagePort wine tasting at Graham’s…before…

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and after….

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Fabulous food at my favourite Porto restaurant; Museu d’Avo.

The rest of the time we were on the beach!

Any summer holidays planned? Does anyone else set unachievable sewing for holiday targets?

Sewing weekend extravaganza!!

Once again I disappeared from the face of the planet! But I am back and planning to have a sewing-fest of a weekend!

I have only a couple of weeks before I go on holiday (YIPPEE!!) so I have lots of holiday sewing to do and I also promised my aunty that I would make her a couple of skirts and dresses for summer – have I even started them?? No! Of course not! We will be seeing her when we are on holidays so really should have it all done in two weeks…hmmm…feasible!

I am at my Mum’s this weekend and when I packed up the fabric I would need I may have gone overboard!

Sewing Extravaganza

Yes I’m sure I can use all that up this weekend! The pile is made up of (starting from the bottom) Jersey, Stretch cottons x3, neon cotton, chiffon, cotton lawn, jersey, jaquard,  crepe, cotton, chambray, stretch jersey x3.

I have made a pinterest board with some of the things I plan (read ‘hope’) to make for the summer!!

I haven’t been totally lazy on the sewing front since my last post, I’ve been trying a few t-shirts patterns in an effort to find the best pattern for me. Here are the efforts so far:

T-shirts

From top left clockwise; Grainline Scout T, Emmeline T, Dolores Batwing Top, Renfrew.

I will do a separate post on these tops soon!

What about you? Any summer sewing plans? On tight deadlines?

Sewing Strategies Part 2

Ok I’m back with the remainder of my fabric stash! There isn’t much left I promise….

Let’s get straight back to it!

Sewing Strategies Part II-5ANOTHER Tilly & the Buttons Mathilde top with some sort of very synthetic drapey fabric.

Sewing Strategies Part II-7Wikstein tank in a mustard cotton lawn.

Sewing Strategies Part II-4Polly top by By Hand London in unknown fabric (probably some sort of viscose) with a panther panel!

Sewing Strategies Part II-8Tilly & the Buttons Margot Pyjamas in cotton lawn.

Sewing Strategies Part II-2Another Charlotte Skirt – By Hand London in a black polyester crepe.

Sewing Strategies Part IIThe Jade Skirt by Paprika Patterns in a ponte Roma Jersey.

Then I have a few fabrics that I just have no idea what to use for:Sewing Strategies Part II-2 Another border panel fabric.Sewing Strategies Part II-6 A selection of African wax-esque fabric – a Christmas present from my Aunt in Mozambique.Sewing Strategies Part II-9Fairly stiff cotton covered in cute painted birds.

Any help is welcome. I particularly love the painted birds, so want to make sure I use that on something that will get plenty of wear!

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Me Made May 2015

I have always observed Zoe’s Me Made May challenge with interest. As an outside observer who would love to have enough me made clothes to take part, it served as a massive source of inspiration. All those amazing clothes hand made by real people!

So this year I am diving in in order to give myself some incentive to get sewing on some of my projects. I have made the following pledge:

I, Amy of www.betwixttheknits.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear two me-made items per week for the duration of May 2015.

So that’s only eight items; I already have two wearable tops and one wearable dress. Hopefully I will have made some more items by the time May rolls around.

To learn more about Zoe’s ‘Me Made May’ challenge pop over to her brilliant blog; http://sozowhatdoyouknow.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/me-made-may15-sign-up-here.html.

Wish  me luck!

B&W Coco

Hurray….one project off my list completed!

I had a lovely Easter break at home with my family; very chilled, too much food and even an Easter egg hunt! I also managed to squeeze in a bit of sewing.

Last week when I posted my ‘sewing to do list’, several of the items on the list were already cut out and ready to go. One of these was destined to be a Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top for my sister.

CocoTopNo3-4

The fabric is a ponte jersey from Fabric Godmother. The fabric is perfect for the Tilly and the Buttons Coco, I have made myself one in the same fabric, but sadly its very subject to piling.

This will be my third Coco, so it came together pretty fast, and is definitely the best of the three. I used my twin needle for the cuffs and hem and around the neck and I think I finally have the got it cracked…usually it gives me a lot of grief.

Nothing else really worth mentioning so here it is…modelled by my beautiful sister.

CocoTopNo3

and another just for kicks (because who doesn’t get their pogo stick out at Easter?).

CocoTopNo3-3

Now on with the rest of my list!

 

 

 

Knitting & everything in between…