Favourites – Autumn/Winter 15/16

Back again so soon just to let you know that I have a new video on my YouTube Channel. It’s a favourites video covering the months since my last one way back when. It got a bit long, even with me cutting out my non-sewing ones that I’d tacked on the end. Sorry. If you don’t want to watch it I’ve written a bit about what’s in it underneath.

Pattern

I have a selfish favourite and and unselfish favourite. My favourite selfish pattern over the Autumn and Winter has to be the Dixie DIY Ballet dress. It’s a quick, easy sew that meets my style perfectly. I love it.

My unselfish pattern is one that I’ve only made once but I just really enjoyed the process of sewing it. It’s the Paxson sweater from Colette Seamwork magazine. I like that you can sew it all on the overlocker and I like the finishes of the cuff and hem bands.

Thing I’ve made

Definitely my dinosaur print Ballet dress because, well, dinosaurs. Not a lot else to say. Dinosaurs PJs you can wear to work!

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Tool

The best sewing investment I’ve made for a while is my stitch in the ditch foot. It’s been so great for neat edge stitching and top stitching. Mine looks like this:

janome-stitch-in-the-ditch-quilting-foot-9mm-cat-d-202087003

And you line the black blade up with the edge of the fabric and move the needle position over how ever far you want to stitch and away you go. It’s great for understitching too. Just put the blade in the seam and move the needle position over slightly. I don’t think I’ve actually used mine for stitching in the ditch yet but I’m sure it’s great for that too.

Technique

When I did my Christmas crafting marathon a lot of the patterns I used were PDFs so I had a lot of putting together to do. I’d seen a few people online say that it was so much easier using a glue stick than sellotape so I gave it a go and my god, I’m glad I did. It really is so much easier than using tape, you can wiggle things to reposition them and somehow it feels quicker even though it’s the same process just a different sticking method.

Fabric

Mermaaaaids!

alexander henry sea sirens fabric

I had new fabric to show so I added a fabric category. This is Alexander Henry Fabrics Sea Sirens in blue. I love it! It’s now a skirt that I also love and still need to get some decent photos of so I can blog about it.

Non-sewing

Invisibilia PodcastThese didn’t make it into the video because it was creeping up to being 15 minutes long but when I filmed it I talked about a podcast and an audiobook I liked. The Podcast is Invisibilia, which I found out about from Jo of Stuff Jo has Made. There is only one series so far, but series two is due next month and I’m very excited about it. It is about invisible forces that affect human behaviour. So there are episodes on fear, our thoughts, computers, expectations and more. It’s so good. I listened to a lot of the episodes while I was walking my mum’s dog and a couple of them made me cry and one made me dance in the woods.

Youre Never Weird on the Internet almostThe Audiobook is You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day. I mainly knew Felicia Day from playing Holly in A Town Called Eureka and not her internet stuff but I liked the title and the blurb so I used one of my Audible credits and I am so glad I did. It’s hands down one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to. I’m a big fan of books read by the author (I’ve also enjoyed Mindy Kaling’s books and Modern Love by Aziz Ansari) because I think it just makes them more fun than reading them yourself. Felicia Day sort of acts the book rather than just reading it. If you’re a fan of the internet and nerdy things at all I think you’ll really enjoy her book.

I also waffled on about Parks and Rec but having bombarded you with Parks and Rec gifs the other day I won’t go on about that again. (I totally could though.)

And I think that’s it, minus the waffle and bizarre facial expressions. If you like the waffle and bizarre facial expressions you can subscribe to my channel here.

Sewing Christmas Present Video

I know Christmas feels like aeons ago now but I made a quick video of the sewing related Christmas presents that I was given (and a couple that I bought myself with money I was given for Christmas).

If you don’t want to watch the video, basically it’s 4 bits of fabric, a magnetic pin dish, a polka dot notions set, a hemming guide thing and a mug. But I show you them with much more enthusiasm (and you can see the festive puppies on the spare bed one last time before I have to finally accept Christmas is over and change the bedding).

The blog I mention in the video is The Fabric Alchemist (and her name is Meris, not Nerys, so I was pretty close). The post of hers that I saw the hot hemmer on was this gift guide and a lot of the other things on the list look pretty cool too.

This feels very short but there’s not really much to say and I need to go frantically sew to try to finish the Southport dress I’m making to take on holiday with me on Saturday – squee!

Top 5 of 2015: Goals for 2016 and a look back at 2015’s goals

Top 5 of 2015

2015 Goals

I fancied filming a video look back at how well I did with last year’s goals instead of just writing about it so here it is. You can’t really see it but the bedding on the spare bed is Christmassy puppies because I have a super stylish, grown-up home…

If videos aren’t really your thing and you prefer to read, this is basically what I say in it about last year’s goals.

1. Tackle fitting

Ish. I’ve got slightly better at fitting, I bought Fit for Real People last year and Create the Perfect Fit by Joi Mahon. I think they’ve both been helpful in different ways and I am planning to eventually do a review post/video of Create the Perfect Fit. I think reading sewing blogs as a complete beginner can be a bit overwhelming when we all throw around terms like FBA, swayback adjustment and countless other flat pattern adjustments without really explaining what they are. I’ve become guilty of it myself – I quite like the idea of making a “WTF is…” page with explanations of terms but I’m not very good at explaining things so that rules that out a bit.

But anyway, I’m veering off track a tad. Fit for Real People was great for finding out what all those terms mean without having to do a trillion google searches. I’ve learnt about my proportions and the adjustments I should make but of course my new found love of knits has made fitting a lot easier.

2. Draft my bodice sloper

Nope. (In the video I make a fail sound and pull an extremely attractive face here). I haven’t made the time for this and I’ve been a bit reluctant because my measurements aren’t stable at the moment. I’ve been getting bigger throughout most of 2015 but I lost a bit of weight towards the end and I’m still trying to shrink a bit more (once I’m back at work and the cheese is all done anyway) so it feels a bit silly to make a block that I’ll just have to redo in a few weeks.

3. Learn to sew with knits

Boom times! Totally did this one. 8 out of the 14 things that I’ve sewn this year have been made with knit fabrics and I can see that continuing into next year.

4. Make a coat

Another fail. I have the pattern (Deer and Doe Pavot), fabric (royal blue gabardine) and calico for a toile but this hasn’t happened. Hopefully I will get it done before spring. I’d like to add some welt pockets to it as I’ve seen a few other people do but I don’t have any patterns with welt pockets I can use the pattern pieces from so I’d have to try to draft them, gulp!

5. Sew things I wear

Thanks to starting to sew with knits I have definitely managed this one and I wear the things I’ve made this year far more than I did the things I made last year (though my two maxi dresses still get a lot of wear in the warmer months). So I just need to carry this on into 2016, with many more knit dresses and floaty tops.

Sneaky additional goal – knit a miette cardigan

I managed this one, and I also knitted a vianne cardigan and I’m as far as the sleeves on a second miette, which has been on hold since around April. Ooops.

2016 goals

Right, onto my goals for next year.

1. Make trousers

I have a few pairs of of black twill skinny trouser things that I wear to work a lot and I’d like to have a go at making something similar. They’re basically non-denim jeans without the topstitching so I’m going to use the Ginger jeans pattern that I bought last year.

2. Make time for sewing

This is kind of a big one I think. In my life I seem to struggle to maintain different hobbies at once, I’m quite all or nothing and something always gets pushed aside. If I’m sewing, I’m not exercising. If I’m reading, I’m not sewing. I’m not sure what happened last year because almost everything I enjoy has gotten a bit neglected. So in 2016 I’m going to schedule myself time for all of my hobbies.

3. Stop buying fabric

My stash is getting bigger than I have room for so I’m going on a fabric diet this year. I am allowed to buy fabric for special occasion makes but no more than 10 metres over the year. I just plucked that number out of the air as I’m writing this but it seems fair.

4. Hackity hack

I really admire people who hack patterns and end up with something completely different and fabulous to what they started with. I’ve got a few ideas of hacks I want to try and I want to work on my hacking skills this year.

5. Join in more

One of the main reasons I started my blog was because I wanted to join in with the sewing community and I’m still quite wimpy about that. So this year I’m going to comment on blogs more and maybe join in with more challenges, though I don’t tend to do that well with challenges. I hope to do Me Made May this year though.

I’d also like to improve my photography but I think my goals are probably enough to be getting on with for now.

Happy New Year everyone and good luck with all your 2016 sewing goals.

September Sewing Favourites

I’d been hoping to have a September Sewing Favourites video for you last week. I filmed it, edited it and uploaded it to YouTube on Thursday evening. Then got an email to tell me it had been removed for breaching The YouTube Community Guidelines and I have a strike against me, which was upsetting to say the least.

I have no idea what I did wrong. It’s just me, sat in my spare bedroom talking about my favourite sewing pattern of September and tools and techniques I’ve enjoyed using and a bonus non-sewing favourite at the end. They didn’t give me any information about what I’ve specifically done wrong – just called it inappropriate – or I’d change it.

I have appealed the decision and hopefully they’ll at least let me know what I’ve done wrong because at the moment I’m too nervous to make any more videos.

But as I can’t show you the video I thought I’d write a post about my favourite sewing things of September instead.

EDIT: They reinstated my video, hurray!

Pattern

My favourite pattern was New Look 6217. I loved how easily it went together and the simple, wearable style of it. I’ve already worn my first version lots and have a bunch more versions planned.

nl6217-close-up

Dixie DIY’s Ballet Dress deserves an honourable mention but it probably should have been my August favourite.

Tools

As I’ve started sewing with knits I’ve actually started using the walking foot I bought yonks ago and it is fab. I tried to alter an H&M vest before I had the walking foot and it went terribly so I really appreciate how smoothly it goes with one. Mine is just a non brand, compatible version I got on Amazon for next to nothing but it seems to work absolutely fine.

Another thing I lumped under the tools category is my, big arse roll of tracing paper as I called it in the video – and the mild swear made me wonder if that’s what earned me to strike but people swear far more than that. But anyway, my big arse roll of tracing paper is fab. I used to use baking/grease proof paper, which worked well but when you make alterations to the pattern the sellotape (cellotape?) doesn’t really want to stick. That’s not a problem with tracing paper. I do cut out using a rotary cutter and pattern weights and I don’t think I’d like using tracing paper with pins but I really like the extra thickness with weights, it gives a nicer edge to align the cutter against. This is the roll I bought, from Amazon as always.

Technique

I have been all about the bias binding this month. On my New Look 6217 as well as binding the neckline I bound the sleeve hems and the actual hem. It was sort of as a way to preserve length and sort of because I just really like the finish it gives. In the video I made a joke in this bit about how if you came too close I’d probably try to bias bind you, which is the only other thing I can think of that got me my strike.

Non-sewing

I am completely addicted to The Spicery and have ordered from them 3 times in September and signed up for a monthly subscription. They sell kits of premeasured freshly ground or whole spices, a shopping list for your fresh ingredients and the method to make fancy dishes and whole meals.

Selection of spice kits from the spicery
One of my many orders, look how nice the branding is

So far the manfriend and I have tried the Vietnamese beef stew, Indonesian Nasi goreng and had a date night in Thailand, which comprised of a coconutty brothy chicken soup to start, king prawn pad Thai for main and sticky mango rice for dessert and it has all been gorgeous. It’s the date night subscription box I’ve signed us up for and we’ve got date night in Bali next but I’ve amassed a bit of a stash with my many orders so there’s also a date night in Trinidad, rogan josh, jerk chicken and many more to come.

Vietnamese beef stew
Vietnamese beef stew

I would highly recommend it to anyone but I think it’d be especially great if you’re dating and want to pass yourself off as a great chef!

So that’s my September favourites, sorry it’s not a video complete with my daft faces, inability to speak correctly and a brief moment where I got distracted by my washing on the line. If YouTube respond to my appeal and they reinstate the video *fingers crossed* or let me know what to take out I’ll update this post with the video and let you know on Twitter.

How about you? Any favourite patterns, tools or techniques this month? I’d love to hear about them or watch a video of them. Though that may lead to me spending even more money than beauty favourites videos do!

New Look 6217 T’Shirt

Aka my new favourite t’shirt. There’s not really a lot to say about it so instead I seem to have a bajillion photos with very little difference between them.

new-look-6217-tshirt

Side note: New hair! It’s way shorter than I’d planned but I like it. Well I like it curly anyway, I took these photos yesterday after having it cut and I’ve since washed it myself and with it straight but not straightened apparently I look like I should be in an Enid Blyton novel going on an adventure.

But back to sewing, New Look 6217 is one of those New Look/Simplicity patterns that come with pretty much a whole outfit. There’s the t’shirt, a kimono, a skirt AND trousers. The t’shirt is super simple with just two pattern pieces and no darts. There is supposed to be a small opening at the back neckline and a button but I left it off as the neckline is super wide so it serves very little actual purpose.

nl6217-back

I’ve been test driving a new (to me) fitting book (review forthcoming once I finish the Emery dress I’m using it to fit) and based on that I took some length out between the shoulder and the bust point. Unfortunately I forgot to add the length back onto the bottom of the armhole so they’re a little snugger than they should be but it’s still okay. I also did the neckline differently to the instructions. It’s supposed to be finished with an exposed bias binding but I turned mine to the inside. Which makes the already wide neckline slightly wider. So for future versions I may bring the neckline in slightly but I actually quite like a wide neckline so I might not.

nl6217-tee

It’s also a teeny bit too short so I’ll lengthen it an inch or two for my next version and I’m pretty sure there will be a load more versions. My green Scout tee is one of my most worn self made garments so I have got more t’shirts on the to be sewn list.

new-look-6217-tee
I like it untucked and tucked in

The fabric is some viscose I had left over from my Sewaholic Gabriola skirt and I think it’s perfect for this pattern but I am planning a version with some slightly crisper fabric too so we’ll see how that looks. I used French seams throughout and I seemed to be in a very bias bind-y kinda mood. As well as the neckline I bound the sleeve hems and actual hem. I toyed with adding cuffs but decided against it, though I do think they’d look good so I might add them to a future version.

nl6217-close-up

Non-clueless versions

I really like it when bloggers put links to other people’s versions of a pattern they’ve made so I thought I’d start doing it too. Such a copycat.

It was on OhSewPretty‘s blog that I first saw New Look 6217 and it’s her version of the t’shirt and kimono that made me buy it.

How gorgeous is Mags’ Silk and Lace version? Talk about elevating a simple pattern to something special with fancy fabric.

I also love Thimberlina’s versions, especially the border print one. That fabric is sooo pretty and I love the contrast of the binding.

I found Twinkle’s two gorgeous floral and anchor print versions by accident when I was actually looking up Lottie blouses. I really like the look of the button fastening on hers so I might make my next one properly.

Another Fabric Haul Video

And finishing on something completely different. I mentioned at the end of my last post that I was hoping to get in a bit of fabric shopping while I was in London and huzzah, I managed it. So I made another video of me wiggling fabric at you. I also talk about being a wimp and being scared of real life fabric shops. I can’t be the only one. Any of you guys scared of real life fabric shops or is it just me?

Anyway, that’s it from me. I’m going to do some slobbing on the sofa with my Manfriend and maybe watch something trashy. I hope you’ve all had a great weekend.

Stash Plans Video

I’ve seen a lot of Autumn/Winter sewing plans posts popping up over the last couple of weeks and as I always enjoy reading them I thought I’d share some of my plans. Though mine is going to be more in the way of showing you fabric I’ve already bought and telling you what I’m going to make with it.

So I’ve made another video, ta dah!

It’s nowhere near as good as the last one because it doesn’t have any woodland creature fabric on so it’s a bit boring really sorry. But not all of the fabric I buy has animals on so it was going to happen eventually, might as well get it over with straight away.

Fabric Haul Video: Animal madness

I’m a big fan of YouTube vlog type things and I’ve fancied having a go for a long time. I’ve even filmed a couple of videos before – one a sort of video email to a friend of mine who moved away and the other a rant about the cost of curly wurlys – and I really enjoyed it. It was what I wanted to make videos about that was the stumbling block for me. So when I read this post from Lizzy at Song of the Stitch on why sewers on YouTube is a good thing it really struck a chord with me.

The channels I’m subscribed to are quite varied. There are a few fitness ones, lovely Amy of She Cooks, She Eats and some beauty ones. Oh and Garfunkel and Oates of course. But like Lizzy says in her post, there aren’t really many sewing people making videos other than tutorials. That is starting to change, with Lisa Comfort of Sew Over It vlogging now and Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow has been making fabric haul videos for a while, which I’ve always enjoyed watching. So I sort of feel a bit like I’m jumping on a band wagon but to hell with it, I made a video!

It’s a fabric haul video but I also open a parcel of fabric in it, like beauty YouTubers doing videos of them openning their beauty subscription subscription boxes, because I thought that might be fun. I really enjoyed making it – even if it has made me very aware of my Resting Bitch Face – and I’ve already filmed another one. I understand that watching videos isn’t everyone’s cup of tea though so I probably won’t post all of my videos here and I’ll talk a bit underneath this one to tell you what’s in it if you can’t or don’t want to watch it.

I have been on a spree of buying animal print fabrics lately. No, not leopard, snakeskin or zebra like an adult. No no no. Fabric with sloths, foxes, raccoons and dinosaurs on of course.

animal print fabric collage
Guess what colours I like

The sloths are from Cotton and Steel and the print is called Lazy Day from the Honeymoon collection by Sarah Watts and I love it. I bought mine from the Village Haberdashery and it’s out of stock there now sorry but I’m sure you’ll be able to find it somewhere. It’s 100% cotton and I was pleasantly surprised with how light and not crispy it is. But I was going to buy it no matter what the fabric was because I have loved sloths since I was 9 years old and my school did a musical about rainforests that had a sloth in. They are my spirit animal.

The raccoons are a duvet cover from Primark and they are adorable. I saw them on Instagram and really wanted them but I don’t have a Primark in my home or work town but Manfriend suggested a trip to Swansea because he needed new clothes so I was able to pick one up. They only had singles so I’m not sure what dress I’ll make but I’m thinking a simplicity 2444, though I might have to use a different skirt. We’ll see.

The foxes are jersey and they came from myfabrics.co.uk and they’re 100% cotton, with no spandex so they’re less stretchy than the previous knit fabrics I’ve used but I still really like it. I like the greeny colour with the orange of the foxes and I like that it’s sort of marl. I have no idea what to make with it as I don’t think it’ll work for my planned Ballet dress. I’m thinking of hacking something using the kirsten kimono tee as a base, lengthened and with more ease added but then cinching the waist in somehow. Or I thought it might work with Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress. I’m going to wait for her blog post on making it up in a knit before I decide. Any suggestions of what to make with a knit without much stretch would be gratefully received.

And finally, the dinosaurs are also a cotton jersey from myfabrics.co.uk but this one does have spandex in it. So I can make a ballet dress as planned (I maaaay be obsessed). The blue is out of stock but they do still have it in cream with black dinosaurs.

So that’s my fabric haul and my first foray into videos. I guess I’m a sewing YouTuber now. She says after one video. If you liked my video you can subscribe to my channel for more haul videos and other things I think of. Are any of you guys on YouTube or do you have suggestions for sewing people to subscribe to?