The Best Laid Plans

I started this year with the best of intentions, I was going to  watch less tv and instead I was going to blog more, make more and be generally more productive.  Clearly I haven’t been doing as well as I would have liked to!

I decided to put my clothes sewing on hold for a couple of months because I was feeling fat and uncomfortable in the clothes I had so reckoned a couple of months were needed to see if I could get myself a bit fitter and less bloated before I started. After a hellish few weeks cutting out sugar (my biggest vice!) I am feeling a lot less bloated so it’s time to get back on track!

I’m going to try to tackle the Archer Shirt by Grainline Studio.  I have had the pattern since the start of the year and I’ve read through the sewalong about a hundred times now so I feel as happy as I’m ever going to be about starting into it.  When I printed the pattern out I think I got a bit overwhelmed by the number of pattern pieces and got worried about how many opportunities there are to make mistakes but I find the best way to learn is to do so here I go!

I’m using a black slub linen look cotton that has been in my stash forever.  I had originally planned to make a skirt with it but I realised that I really don’t wear skirts that often and I loved the material too much to make something that I wasn’t going to wear all the time.  Time to get cutting I suppose!

Black slub cotton

Black slub cotton for my Archer – hopefully it will work out ok!

Have you got any projects that you just haven’t been able to get round to?  Let me know if you have any motivational tips to get you back into the swing of sewing!

 

Sewing Goals

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Ever since I started to learn to sew I’ve wanted to sew my own clothes. I’ve managed to successfully make a couple of things but I’m not confident in my clothes sewing skills despite being reasonably confident on my sewing machine.

This year I am determined to expand my me made wardrobe and to expand my dressmaking skills so here are my sewing goals for 2016.

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Archer Shirt by Grainline Studio
I love shirts but they gape. They all bloody gape at the front! The thought that I might be able to sew my own, non-gapey shirt to wear is too exciting. So far I’ve been put off by all the construction… Eek! So much sewing goes into a good shirt. Plus buttonholes – I’ve never really conquered my fear of sewing actual buttonholes so I’m just going to go for it and hope for the best! It really helps that Jen from Grainline Studio has got a brilliant sew along for the Archer Shirt on her blog. I’ve already read through it all and I’m going to try to follow it step by step instead of trying to muddle through the pattern alone.

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Lilou Dress from Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes
I had planned to make this dress last year for my brother-in-law’s wedding but I got scared by all the altering it would have needed to fit me well. I’m very short waisted, big busted and have a large tummy in front compared to the rest of me (thanks kids – you totally ruined my stomach muscles!). This year I have a couple more weddings t attend and I am determined that my Marvel print fabric will be made into a dress for me to wear to them!

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Jenna Cardi by Muse Patterns
Of course if I’m making a dress I’ll need a cardi or two to go with it and this is my perfect pattern. I’m not much copy at knitting or I’d be doing that so sewing lovely cardi with a knit fabric is a good comprise. I’ve yet to find my perfect fabric for this but I’ll get there!

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Hudson Pants by True Bias Patterns
I mostly live in cosy, easy to wear clothes so these have been on my mind for a while. They look like the perfect bottoms for mooching about in or for running about after the kiddos.

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Jasper Sweater by Paprika Patterns
This is another one that has been on my mind for a while. I have plans to make this with a cosy fleece to cuddle up in come next autumn/winter. I really would love one now, but I think I have to be realistic about when I’m actually going to make all of these clothes!

2016 is going to be my year of sewing.  I have such a ridiculous stash of fabric that is languishing waiting for the right project. Well, this year I’m just going to sew. My evenings are now all about less TV and more creativity!

Have you any sewing resolutions for the year ahead? Are you going to make any of my “must sew”  patterns in 2016?  I’d love to hear from you!

(None of those photos are mine btw, all photo credits to the creators of the patterns!)

DIY Dress Form

After my marvellous success with the beautifully fitting Jade Skirt I decided that maybe it was time to make a foray into dressmaking.

One of the things that has put me off in the past is that I’m a totally bizarre size. I’m not much taller than 5ft but I have long legs for my short stature. Because of that I’m incredibly short waisted and I’m also blessed (?!) with a larger than average bust. Throw into the mix that I’m a bit overweight and that I have no stomach muscles (one invasive abdominal operation and three pregnancies will do that to a person!). You get the picture! Off the peg clothes just don’t fit me.

This really put me off trying to make my own clothes. I was too worried about wasting money on fabric that would never make it into something wearable. I didn’t think I had the skills to adjust patterns and I really couldn’t afford a dress form, no matter how much I wanted one! When I came across a tutorial on how to make my own specific dress form using duct tape I got very excited. Cue a trip to the shop for lots of duct tape, a tight top that I didn’t mind losing to the cause and one willing helper in my mum to tape me up!

After a lot of faffing about we seemed to get into the swing of things. One of the most awkward things I found was trying to cut the flippin tape. Our scissors got gummed up after a few cuts and it was really hard to keep cutting without cleaning the scissors off. Especially annoying when we discovered that working in short strips was the way to go. Lots more cutting so lots more frustration. It didn’t help that I am rather squishy and a bit lumpy bumpy in places. The whole thing would definitely have been a bit easier (and we’d have used a lot less tape!) if I was a bit skinnier!

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All that tape felt a bit Fifty Shades!

If I had half a brain I would have rechecked the tutorials before embarking on my mission to become gaffer tape’s new pin up. Tips on covering my neck would have been helpful. As it was we used spare scraps of material that were a bit unweildy. Cling film might have done a better job!

Anyway some time later we emerged mostly successful. We managed to cut the duct tape form off with only a slight injury to my trousers and I could see it was definitely holding shape, even if it did look a bit deflated. I spent the evening trying to tape it back together which was harder than I thought it would be. Definitely keep a helper handy for this if you can!

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Like me, but not!

Then I stuffed it. And I stuffed it and stuffed it and I stuffed it! Three old pillows later and a couple of copies of the Sunday Times and I had a reasonably solid form. Again a helper would be, well, helpful! I had put a clothes hanger inside my form before stuffing so I could hang it up when it was finished. Unfortunately I was a bit heavy handed when stuffing and I managed to break the top of my hanger when I was half finished. There was no way I was taking all my filling out to start again so I found an old brush shaft (thankfully my husband is as bad at throwing potentially useful rubbish out as I am!) and shoved it into my form and stuffed around it. A couple of red bricks with handy holes in the middle have been used to hold it up since I have no actual stand.

I found newspaper great for filling out the form but polyfill (raided from some old pillows) really helped smooth out all the lumps and bumps and gave a nicer shape. I cannot stress enough how much stuffing this thing took. I kept going until I literally couldn’t jam anything more in there!

I was a bit too lazy to try to make a cardboard bottom so I carefully taped it up and filled up with more polyfill. Eventually I was left with a pretty successful version of myself. The measurements all seem to be right and I found an old plant stand to put her on so she’s a bit more movable but now she’s at the same height add me which is marvellous! The whole way through my form was definitely an “it” until I finished. She’s now firmly lodged in my brain as a “her”; with those curves she couldn’t be anything else! She’s not the prettiest but she’ll do to help me get into this whole dressmaking lark. Now to figure out what to make first!

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Miss Polly was a dolly....