I can’t believe I will be taking part in my third Me Made May this year! I have enjoyed taking part the last 2 years and feel like I want to try a new challenge this year. I have a blog posts rounding up my experience in 2020 and 2019.
This year I am going to kick the month off with a 10×10 challenge. If you haven’t heard of this before you take 10 garments, in this case including shoes, and only wear these garments for 10 days. Accessories won’t be included in my challenge but some people like to do this too.
The key to this is choosing 10 items that work in multiple outfits. Recently I have been reaching for a lot of the same garments so I am interested to know if I can complete the challenge.
Of course one of the biggest obstacles will also be the weather. I checked the weather and knew there was a lot of rain forecast over the 10 days so the first garment I picked was my Serra trench. After that I added in my white Veja trainers and built the rest of the wardrobe around that.
The other items I picked are:
Rose Tencel Jersey Tyra Tee
White Linen Viscose Crepe Olya shirt
Grey Jackson Sweater
Black Interstellar Hoodies
Blue Dawn Jeans
Black Luna Joggers
Ditsy Floral Crepe Sedavi Dress
Floral Victoria Dress
I have counted a total of 13 potential outfits from this selection so I hope I won’t run out of options!
I will be back with a round up of my outfits and my thoughts on this challenge.
The concept of a ‘Wardrobe Hero’ or Key Piece in your wardrobe is that it is something that works for you. They are the pieces in your wardrobe that you pull out over and over again. These pieces are different for everyone. I’m going to share mine with you today and maybe you will discover you have your own “Wardrobe Hero’s”.
Classic Cotton T-Shirt
First up is a wardrobe staple for many, a classic cotton t-shirt. My favourite style is oversized and boxy. I love this style tucked into jeans or wore loose over leggings. My go-to pattern at the moment is the Just Patterns Tyra Tee. It has a dropped shoulder and loose boxy fit. It works great in cotton jersey or in a drapey Tencel jersey. I currently have 3 in my wardrobe but am planning a few more, possibly in a light weight french terry that is sitting in my stash and a classic white cotton jersey.
Vintage Style Jeans
I had longed for a classic vintage pair of Levi 501’s for a long time but no matter how many pairs I tried they never fit. Enter the Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans! I have made 2 pairs of these and have a blog post detailing both and a third pair cut and ready to sew. I love this style of jean and have wore these at least 30 times, if not more. They go with nearly everything in my wardrobe.
I originally made them with the concealed button fly but they did not sit right. The buttons pulled and left drag marks (although this never stopped me wearing them). I unpicked them a bit and put a zip in instead and they are sitting so much better now.
I have always shouted about my love for Blazers so it is probably no surprise that they have made an appearance. I have a selection of Ready to Wear and Me Made blazers in my wardrobe and love them all. I am wearing the outfit above as I type this. I love how they pull together an outfit and I feel so confident in them. They are a handy through on in spring/summer and I wear them with jeans and a tee or dresses.
Timeless White Shirt
This is an item I was so happy to finally add to my me-made collection last year. A white shirt is probably something a lot of us have in our wardrobes, although they are maybe kept for the office or interviews! I have a few ready to wear white shirts but they were never ‘just right’. I purchased the Bright White Linen Viscose Crepe from Sister Mintaka with the plans to make the Paper Theory Olya shirt. It was perfect! The right amount of oversized drape and lots of interesting details.
Wear Anywhere Dresses
This one will probably be on everyone’s list. Dresses are a great addition to your wardrobe, they are easy to throw on with minimal effort and can usually work for a number of occasions.
My favourites are usually midi length and in a dark floral print. I have a selection that work casually with trainers or my biker boots or dressed up in heels.
All these dresses get regular wear and are firm favourites and the darker colour palette works for me all year round.
So do you have any wardrobe hero’s? I would love to know! Send me a message on Instagram and let me know!
Issue 14 of Fibre Mood is out today and I was lucky to be part of the Link Party. I got a sneak peak of the new patterns and got to choose one to make.
When I saw the sleeves of the Maya dress I knew this was the one! Big volume and interesting details will always win me over. I loved the shape of the dress too and it was something I have wanted to try for a while.
The volume in the sleeve is created by gathers and not the typical gathers. It’s a really nice detail, and there are different options for creating more or less volume. Believe it or not, I went of a mixture of more/less volume.
The top middle pleat is inverted and the bottom middle pleat is a box pleat, resulting in a very interesting sleeve.
The rest of the dress has more simple design details. There are 4 ‘fish-eye’ darts on the front and back for shaping and the skirt has a lot of fullness at the front.
The fabric is a Linen Look Cotton from The Rag Shop and comes in 3 colours. This is the second dress I have made in this fabric and it has been a dream to work with. It hols the sleeve volume well but is still quite lightweight and has some drape for the skirt.
There are some beautiful patterns in this issue of Fibre Mood. If you want to check it out you can use this link. It is an affiliate link so if you do make a purchase I will receive a small commission from Fibre Mood.
Last year when the pandemic first hit, i went through my stash and made plans for my Spring Summer sewing that was going to help me make a dent in it. I loved this method of planning and have kept it up since.
This year my plans are going to look a little different. Last year I fully embraced colour and added a lot of bright summery pieces to my wardrobe. Part of me thinks it was a way to bring some joy to an uncertain time, and I really did enjoy experimenting with all the colour.
This season I will be toning down the colour a lot! I have always had a love for neutral tones and one of the most common colours in my wardrobe is black. Not very exciting I know! But I feel more “me” in these colours. I love all the bright colours I experimented with last year, and I know I will love pulling them out again this summer.
My key colour palette this season will constitute of black, beige, white, sage green and khaki. These are the colours that show up in my wardrobe time and time again. A lot of the fabrics I am focusing on are plains, but I am throwing in some delicate florals and checks too. And off course there will be denim.
I have a lot of these fabrics in my stash already so I have a great starting point. Some of them are already cut and made into garments, like my Tamarack jacket, Flannel Arden Pants and Ditsy Bakerloo dress.
I have pulled out 2 secondary colour palettes too, focusing on the colours I was sewing with last spring summer. The most important part of this planning process for me is to have a clear idea of what fabrics I want to buy and to ensure my future plans will work with my existing wardrobe.
I am still drawn to dusky rose tones and these will sit will with the core colour palette I am leaning towards. I will maybe add in some coral tones and deeper rusty oranges too.
Last year one of my colour palettes was navy and lilac. I made a few lilac garments but wasn’t keen on the fabric or shade of lilac, so I am still on the hunt for the perfect shade. I have already purchased a lilac floral viscose which will become a dress, and I have a lilac knit in my stash too. I am also on the hunt for a lilac linen to make a summer suit. I love my pink suit from last year and would like a trouser version for this season. I will need to find the ‘right’ lilac and wont be rushing into it.
I was drawn to a lot of orange fabrics last year but as it wasn’t part of my colour palette I avoided buying any. I think this year I will try to incorporate it into my wardrobe, as it is a colour I have always liked. If I can get my hands on some of the Mind the Maker Urban Leo in the photo I will be very happy!
What will I be making?…
As I mentioned in my sewing plans for 2021, I will be focusing a lot of my time on making trousers. I want to find a handful of patterns that work for my shape and are comfortable. I love my Helens Closet Arden pants I recently made in a Robert Kaufman flannel. They have been massive success. I am planning to try the By Hand London Jackie trousers, Untitled Thoughts Chandler and Just Pattens Tatjana trousers next. I also have another pair of Named Clothing Tynni trousers planned.
This will be my main focus in terms of sewing plans. I will be sewing more ditsy dresses and tops, and hopefully squeeze in a suit or 2!
And that’s it! I think I have really simplified my plans for this season as I have already built a fairly extensive me-made wardrobe. This year is more about focusing in on what really works for me and my style.
I would love to hear more about your spring summer plans. Let me know over on Instagram or leave me a comment on my latest YouTube video.
An item that I have wanted to make since I started sewing my own wardrobe was a classic trench coat. And not just any classic trench coat, I knew I would need to recreate the ultimate classic Burberry trench.
Shortly after finishing my first coat in 2019 the Pauline Alice Serra Trench was released and I bought it straight away. This pattern is great value for money, with 3 different views included and it is unisex. I made view C with the detachable hood, and view B will probably be next on my list. I have a Donegal Tweed in my stash that would make a very cute bomber jacket.
My sister got the main fabric for me for Christmas 2019, a water resistant cotton twill from Fabric Godmother. The lining is from eBay, and I think is available from a lot of fabric stores (affiliate link to Minerva). The buttons are Merchant and Mills made from recycled resin and bought from Good Fabric Store.
I had so much fun making this trench coat. The fabric is perfect for a Spring trench, and the best part is it will hopefully be waterproof! I used waterproof tape on most of the seams (anything that would be facing up really) so as soon as it rains I will be out to test it out. I got the seam tape from Amazon. As the fabric is water resistant you will want to take care with how you pin your pattern pieces. Either pin within the seam allowance or use wonder clips to avoid any extra holes.
When attaching the tape the inside of the tape (as it would be on the roll) needs to be facing down, I used a medium heat setting on my iron and some grease proof paper on top. The grease proof paper was the key factor here, I tried press clothes first and they didn’t work (the tape stuck to the cloth!).
The only thing I would change is the position of the belt loops. They are a bit too low compared to my natural waist. I am not too worried, I can still tie the belt if I want and can button it up.
There are so many lovely details in this pattern. I love the button tabs on the cuff and the welt pocket detail with a faux button so you dont need to unbutton it to use the pockets.
I love the lining detail on the gun flap (on the front) and the storm shield (on the back). When I first looked at the pattern instructions I was a little concerned by the amount of patterns pieces. There are 44 in total, but this covers all 3 views. 29 of these are for view C, and it was definitely worth the effort of cutting it out and interfacing everything.
This is a classic piece that I will wear forever, and exactly the type of project I want to focus on this year. Hopefully some day Emily will get to wear it too, it is something that will not go out of style.
At the moment I am enjoying layering it over one of my other favourite pieces- my Tamarack Jacket. These 2 pieces make the perfect spring jackets and are easily layered, but very cosy.
This challenge has been on my mind for so long now and I am so excited to finally be sharing all the details with you. I knew once I hit my next big milestone on Instagram I wanted to run this challenge instead of a giveaway as it is a fun way to engage with all my followers while sharing my love of a good sleeve with you all!
The first thing I want to stress is you do not need to make anything new for this challenge, although it can be a fun time to engage with the community while sewing something new.
All you need to do to enter is post a picture on your instagram of a Finished garment using the hashtag #joyfulsleeveschallenge and tagging me @sosewdressmaking in the photo. And that’s it!
So what is a #joyfulsleeve?
To be honest, it can be any type of sleeve. Personally, I think you all know by now that I love a big sleeve. The bigger the better! I will be sharing some of my favourite patterns with big sleeves during the month and also a few tutorials of my favourite hacks.
But I know big sleeves are not everyone’s taste. A #joyfulsleeve can also be a normal sleeve, with no extra volume but in a fabric that brings you joy. Your favourite colour or a fabric with special memories will also count. Or it could be a sleeve that you set in perfectly on the first go and made you do a fist pump in the air! I want as many people as possible to join in.
Each week during February I will be posting a sew-along for 4 of my favourite patterns and hacks.
First up will be the Bella Loves Patterns Flor/Vita hack that I have previously done. This time I will be showing you how to add a little (or a lot of) extra volume to the sleeve and will be making a wrap top without the ruffles.
The next sew-along will be for the Atelier 8 Avril Victoria dress which I recently made. This pattern is only in French and I have had requests to make a sew along for this. I will be using a beautiful viscose crepe I received from Sister Mintaka recently to make this and might add a little length to the skirt to make full use of the fabric. This pattern has a more subtle volume to at the sleeve head which is a nice way to dip your toe into the big sleeve trend.
I know a lot of people have been living in comfortable clothing recently so I am including the Digital Pattern Library Belted Sweater. This sweater has amazing sleeves, along with some other really nice details.
The final sew along will be a pattern from the book “Pattern Magic” by Tomoko Nakamichi. The “Crater Sleeve” caught my eye straight away and has been on my ‘to-sew’ list ever since. I will be taking you through the pattern drafting process and how to sew the sleeve.
These sew alongs will all be available through my Ko-Fi page for my supporters. You can either buy me a coffee or set up a monthly donation. This money supports the content that I am able to create and will also go towards the prize fund. So the more ‘coffees’ I get the bigger the prizes will be.
These are still being confirmed so keep an eye out on my Instagram page for more details. It will be a range of patterns, vouchers and fabric. I also hope to organise a social Zoom call for my supports to have a chat about what you are all up to.
If you have any questions feel free to drop me a message on Instagram. I would love it if you could help spread the word and share my posts. I am so looking forward to connecting with you all next month and seeing your joyful creations.
I am back with the second instalment of my bra making journey. Since my last blog post I have made 2 Black Beauty bras by Emerald Erin in one of the kits I purchased from Fit 2 Sew.
The first I made was View A and was a good fit around the band as I had added 1/4 inch on each back piece. However there was a bit of a bump in the cup and it didn’t sit flat. Before I made any adjustments to the pattern I decided to make another to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake with my seam allowances or cutting. The fit of the cups the second time was perfect although the band is a little tight as I had forgot to add a little each to the back piece.
My stitching wasn’t just as neat the second time and I have a few skipped stitches. I need to take extra care with my seam allowances too as I am realising this makes all the difference as they are so small.
After making these first 2 bras there were a few more bits I needed to order, most importantly bra tulle or cup lining for some of my fabrics. I purchased this from The Bra Shop (affiliate link). They have a selection of basic colours of bra tulle and some lovely kits as well. I also purchased some band elastic as I am planning to make the Jordy Bralette by Emerald Erin (affiliate link).
I spotted this beautiful embroidered lace and had to get some, I think it will make a beautiful set.
I am now starting to think about sewing matching sets and have been looking at the Adeline Panties by Evie La Luve (affiliate link).
I have a lot of bamboo and tencel jersey in my stash that will be perfect for making these however I am struggling to find matching elastics. A friend introduced me to Costura Secret Shop which is an Etsy store based in Spain (affiliate link).
They have a great selection of fold over elastics in lovely colours, although I am a little hesitant to order with postal delays and brexit! They have some stunning velvet kits that will probably win me over though.
I am looking forward to making some more bras now that I am all stocked up.
Thank you for reading and I hope you find this helpful. You can check out my latest YouTube video if you would like to see some of these fabrics in action.
I will be honest with you all, I have been struggling to look back over this year and ‘review’ it. At the end of 2019 I left my secure job in retail to focus on my kids and build my sewing lessons business. I know everyone is in the same boat and this year hasn’t produced the results many of us were hoping for. But the more I have thought about it the more I am feeling okay about it.
I have grew so much this year in terms of my sewing and blogging, and spending so much time at home is the reason for that.
One of my biggest achievements this year is my YouTube channel. I have enjoyed branching into this area of blogging and reaching a new audience. I still have a lot of plans for this space and hope to add more exciting content in 2021.
I can now say after this year I have a ‘complete’ me made wardrobe. I will never be a minimalist in terms of my wardrobe, fashion has been a big passion of mine since an early age so its no surprise I have a love for clothes.
For a long time there were garments I felt that were missing, but I can now look in my wardrobe and choose the exact garment I feel like wearing that day. I still need to focus on trousers, but I think this will be a never ending quest for me and I will have more time for it now.
I tackled some pretty big projects this year, including a coat for Darren (my husband), swimwear, a bra and a proper bag (more on the last 2 coming next week).
This is a also going to free me up to focus on some of those big makes, more coats and blazers, and more couture techniques.
Blogging and Collaborations
I have had the opportunity to blog for some amazing companies this year, including Lamazi Fabrics, Good Fabric Store, The Rag Shop and Minerva. Not only have I had the chance to work with some amazing fabrics, I have built relationships with all the shop owners and I love them all! Thank you for trusting me to turn your beautiful fabrics into a garment.
This has also been a year full of pattern testing for some amazing brands, including Homer and Howell’s, Helens Closet, Bella Loves Patterns and Friday Pattern Company. Again, this has given me the opportunity to work with some amazingly talented designers. The support I have received from all of them has been incredible.
Although I was only able to teach for a few months of the year, the time away from teaching just reinforced how much I love it. I missed it so much, I love witnessing that look of pure joy when one of my students completes a project. I cannot wait to get back to it, whenever that will be in the new year. My focus is 100% on this now and how I can continue to grow the lessons that I offer.
So leaving this year I am feeling positive. I have grew and developed my skills and this will only help as I more forward and focus on teaching. The time spent with my kids since leaving retail has been priceless and following this path will allow me to watch them grow.
I hope you can all find some positives from this year. However small they are this is all you need to focus on.
Happy New Year everyone, and here’s to an amazing 2021!
With Christmas fast approaching and the likely hood that most of our shopping will be done online, I have put together a gift guide on Etsy of some of my favourite products.
*I want to disclose now that all links are Affiliate links, so I will receive a small commission if you purchase anything through one of these links.
ABR- Adornments By Rosheen
Rosheen makes the most amazing hair bands, I have 2 and absolutely love them! I also have a few little slides from her store and have been eyeing up her headscarves for so long!
Rosheen has now started adding more items to her collection, including amazing prints and embroidered T-shirt and sweaters! They are incredible and I can wait to add some of her prints to my collection, I have left a space on my gallery wall for one. Check her out on Instagram too @adornmentsbyrosheen
Pulp Paper Heaven
I have this thing for notebooks, and when I discovered Suzanne’s instagram account I knew I had to have one. She takes on books that are destined for the landfill and transforms them to have a new lease of life. I wanted a sewing themed one, and it had to be spiral bound (awkward lefty here!). I messaged her and she could not have been more helpful when creating my dream notebook. It truely is a work of art!
If you are stuck for gift ideas you definitely need to check her store out and perfect stocking fillers, and great gift ideas for teachers.
Evie La Luve
When I decided I was going to have a go at making underwear I knew exactly where to go. Hannah creates patterns and sells kits containing everything you need to make a beautiful lingerie set. I knew I wanted to purchase a kit for the first go to take all the stress out of finding the right notions. Hannah also has a YouTube channel with tutorials and sew alongs for most of her patterns which was a massive help for my first time sewing a bra.
She has some beautiful patterns and kits, but if making your own isn’t your cup of tea she also makes them to sell as finished pieces. I think this would make a beautiful gift for someone who is interested in starting to make lingerie (or maybe a little gift to yourself!).
Carefully curated vintage pieces for adults, kids and your home. I worked with Katty in H&M and I can testify that this girl has got serious style! She finds the most amazing vintage pieces and specialises in ladies wear that is size 14 and up, and the kids pieces are just adorable! I don’t know how she does it but she has an amazing eye for vintage!
Another favourite for lingerie patterns, Erin has some serious talent when it comes to designing lingerie. I love the Black Beauty bra and she always has the cutest kits.
Pigeon Wishes Shop
Can you think of a more perfect stocking filler than some beautiful buttons? The range from Pigeon Wishes are just beautiful.
The colours are stunning and there are some lovely neutral tones which would make a perfect gift.
That’s Pretty Major
The second I saw Dominique’s beautiful prints I knew I would have to add one to my gallery wall. These would make a perfect gift and bonus, they would be super easy to post!
Beautiful handmade gifts, perfect for anyone. Janet makes everything available and has a great eye for detail. These would make perfect stocking fillers or even a gift for teachers.
I hope I have given you some inspiration for your Christmas shopping. If you are looking for some more ideas you should check out one of Etsy’s gift guides, there are so many beautiful gifts.
Personally, I am getting really excited for Christmas. It will certainly be a little different this year, but I am making it my aim to support as many small businesses as possible.
There has been a lot of talk in the last few days about using the term “gifted” when a sewist receives “free” fabric to write a blog post. This is something I have been thinking about a lot recently (months really) and why some people may see this as a negative thing.
Firstly, there are a lot of regulations and standards that you need to follow when using your social media platforms for advertising purposes. If you want more information on this you should check out the ASA website. I also follow @vixmeldrew on Instagram, she explains everything very clearly and has various highlights going into detail about all of this. She is also a total boss babe!
So now for my own thoughts. The use of the term “gifted” was first brought to my attention by the lovely Vix and it really got me thinking. Am I obliged to share my birthday present from my family on social media and write a blog post on it and take high quality photographs? No. A gift is something that is given to you with no obligation to share or reciprocate or promote.
Fabric or patterns provided by a company is a different story. It is not just as simple as receiving a product and doing (or not doing) what you want with it. It is a form of advertising and for many small businesses starting out it is the best way to build a following and grow their business. I think it is a lovely way to build a relationship with a brand a support them. Likewise they are supporting you, sharing your makes on their platform and providing you with products. We all can understand that small, often single person businesses do not have a big marketing budget (or any marketing budget) to begin with so this is the best way to get your name out there. This applies to both small indie pattern companies and fabric stores.
When it comes to bigger, more established companies I think there should be more given in return. There has been a shift recently with some stores offering a form of payment for blog posts and pattern companies offering payment for pattern testing. As someone who does this as a job this is great to see.
I want to break down what is involved in writing a blog post for another company:
Choosing fabric and pattern- this can take different lengths of time depending on what the company is offering or their range of stock
Confirming the project- I usually have a few different projects in mind in case my first choice isn’t suitable.
Making the garment- this included per washing the fabric, cutting the pattern, and sewing. I personally feel more pressure during this stage as I want to do a good job with what I have been given.
Photographing the garment- again, this isn’t as simple as taking a few photos. You may need to set up a space to take the photo, travel to a location and do all this at a time when you have the best lighting.
Writing the blog
When it is broken down into all these stages it adds up to hours and hours of time and becomes work, a job. It becomes less like receiving “free fabric” (or patterns) as a “gift”. And there are some larger companies who expect a lot and offer very little in return.
This is my job. I don’t work full time or even part time any more and don’t have the disposable income I used to have for buying fabric. And as much as we don’t like to admit it, it is nearly impossible to grow a following on social media, to in turn help grow a business, if you don’t post new makes consistently. Most of you follow me on Instagram I’m sure, and you will know I regularly post the same garment and love styling things in different ways. But there always needs to be something new.
Recent events (ahem… Covid) have really got me thinking about who I collaborate with and what I receive in return. I have to think carefully about where I spend my time and effort as I am thinking about new ways to earn a living and ensure that if something like this happens again I will be okay. In person sewing lessons was my main form of income and when that stopped it was a wake up call. I will accept fabric in exchange for a blog as it is the only way I can continue to produce new content, which in turn helps to grow my business, but I am becoming more aware of the companies I want to work with and those I don’t.
I have been working with companies who have started paying their content creators (Helen’s Closet was one of the first) and it feels amazing to be paid for the time and effort I put into a garment. I hope this is a trend that will continue and a lot of companies have pledged to start moving towards a form of collaborating that benefits both parties.
I have also heard comments about the negative perceptions associated with receiving “free” fabric. Some may feel that it isn’t fair that some sewists are “gifted” fabric when they aren’t, and I think this is a valid point when you are thinking of it as a gift. Personally I would be pretty annoyed if everyone in my family got a gift from someone at Christmas and I didn’t. I feel that there needs to be a shift from the idea that this is a free gift, it should be a collaboration where time and products are exchanged.
So all this is to say, I will not be using the term “Gifted” (and haven’t for a while) when describing something for a blog post. I think a simple “Ad/Blog” at the start of a post and in stories is enough to identify that the fabric was given in exchange for a blog as most of us know that this will have been the case. When a pattern has been exchanged with no expection of a blog post I will use “Ad/Collaboration” or if I have been paid to write/make something I will use “Ad/Paid Partnership”. If something has been given to me as a thank you or with no genuine expectation to be shared I will say it was gifted. I am in no way saying that this is the right way to do it, I think you need to think about the terms that feel suitable and sit comfortably for you.
I also want to add that my blogs post will always be honest. The majority of the fabric I use I have picked myself and fabric and sewing brings me so much joy. So I love a lot of it! If I ever have a negative experience I will always say, but in a nice way.
As a sewing community we are very supportive of each other and want to see people succeed. I have seen a shift in attitudes to accepting free fabric/patterns and sewists are starting to ask for what they deserve in return.
I am happy to discuss this further with anyone, but please remember these are my just my own thoughts and ramblings.