Planning for Autumn/Winter

Now I know what you're thinking, 'it's still August so Summer isn't over yet!' and I 100% agree. However when you sew most of your own clothes you have to think ahead. If I want my warm clothes to be ready for the cold weather I need to get my skates on and start sewing them soon. So I thought I would share with you a few things I am thinking about making for this coming winter.

As I have said before, I am not going to make things just for the sake of having something to make.  I don't want to waste time or money on clothes unless I actually need them. That said I've wanted to make a coat for a while even though I probably have enough coats so you never know!

When the colder whether approaches I wear trousers much more often. My favourite pair of jeans (that I love) are beginning to disintegrate so I think I've reached the point where making some more is in order. I have been eyeing up the Ginger Jeans pattern from Closet Case Files for a while:

I think these jeans look great and I have only seen good reviews of the pattern so far. I am also tempted by the Ultimate trousers from Sew Over It:

Plus isn't the styling in this photo just the cutest? I am currently undecided between these two patterns and probably wouldn't invest in both in one season. The jeans would be easier to wear and more of a fun sewing challenge but the ultimate trousers are available in a printed pattern, would be easier to make and would definitely help me get my vintage on. What do you think?

My favourite thing about winter wear is wrapping up all warm in layer upon layer of knits. So Snuggly. Problem is - I can't knit. There are a few options open to us non-knitting folk.

The above is Curvy-Sewing-Collectives version of the Jenna Cardigan by Muse Patterns. I am very tempted by this pattern. It has lots of different options for lengths and sleeves so is a pretty versatile pattern and I know I would get lots of wear out of it- especially in Autumn and Winter. I would love to find a pattern somewhere for a big slouchy cardigan too for when the extra cold weather comes- any ideas? I am yet to find one I like though, maybe I'll just have to learn to knit?!?

So as I mentioned above I don't actually need a coat. I have a warm jacket, a waterproof coat and a big fur (fake) coat for the coldest days. But I do think it would be really fun to make a coat! I absolutely adore this coat:

Made by my friend Jacq over at Jacq-Made-It. It is warm, stylish and slightly easier to make than a full on sleeved coat. I think it would look amazing with a pair of black Ginger jeans right? Another (slightly more tricky) coat I have my eye on is the Cascade Duffle coat from Grainline Studios:

Super warm and a fun sewing challenge. My biggest concern about this coat though is that I haven't sewn with thicker fabrics like the wools you really need for this type of coat, and they are quite expensive so I would be extremely nervous that I would waste it all on a failed attempt. Eeek.

Dresses and Tops
The Ginger Jeans are not the only pattern from Closest Case Files that tickles my fancy. I also have been about to buy the Nettie Bodysuit pattern about 5 times so far and then thought better of it because I have lots of other things already to sew up. I am pretty sure I will actually go for it though this season because the pattern just has so many variations that I know I would use in the colder weather:

I can just imagine wearing a nice thick knit dress made from this pattern in the autumn and then layering up the bodysuit version in the winter with a cardigan and coat. This pattern is pretty much at the top of my list so there isn't much of a question here.

I am not short of dresses at the moment though so I don't think I'll be buying any other dress patterns for a bit. In terms of other tops I'd like to make myself another caroline shirt, possibly a dark wash chambray and another tartan one?

Finally for skirts, I think its unlikely I'll buy any new skirts patterns this year. In the Autumn winter I think I would like to make another pencil skirt, (possibly in houndstooth) and I have the Charlotte skirt pattern from By Hand London for that. I also have a very large ladies leather jacket that I am going to try and make into an A-line skirt using the Delphine pattern from Love At First Stitch (From Tilly and the Buttons). I find these more structured skirts are much easier to wear when the wind is a-howling!

So I think I have plenty to be getting on with! What are your sewing plans for the next few months? Zoe x

Geometric Emery Dress

Hold the phone, stop the bus and start a newsflash! It's an Emery dress! I think I have seen more Emery dresses, or variations of, than any other pattern so this isn't really newsworthy stuff here. However I think I made the best one. At least its my personal favourite. Since this is one of the only two I can actually wear I think thats perfect. I am delighted with the finished item.

Things I love about this dress:
1. The fabric! When I saw this fabric at Guthrie&Ghani I couldn't leave it in the (online) shop. I think it is beautiful and the colours are basically my chosen colour palette all in one fabric. In real life the print is just as gorgeous and really suits my style.
2. The fit is almost perfect, I've made one other Emery dress and the fit seemed pretty good so I didn't make any changes. I was actually planning to make some this time having not really done any alterations before (and I wanted to try it out) but it turns out, at least for this pattern, I don't really need to.
3. The dress pattern is really lovely. I can see why this dress is one of the most popular patterns for the last few years on the blogosphere, its simple, elegant and flattering without being overly dressy.
4. It is very wearable and fills (or starts to fill) the 'I need a few more casual(ish) dresses' gap in my wardrobe. This was something I identified during Me-Made-May and I know some people wouldn't describe this as casual however I would definitely wear it on the school run (and have) so I give it the casual seal of approval.

Things I'd consider doing differently next time:
1. While I absolutely LOVE the design of the fabric, its a little bit itchy. This may be in part because I've worn it during the hottest week I can remember living through but even when its a little cooler its still just a teensy bit itchy. Nothing so bad that I won't wear it, and even if I had felt this fabric before buying I love the print so much that I would have bought it any way because, well - did I mention I love the print? But its not quite as soft as I expected.
2. The general fit is great but the armholes are quite low under my arms. I guess I didn't notice this on my first one because it has sleeves but I'll probably try and change this next time.
3. I'd use a longer zip. I really wanted to try and make a whole dress without looking at the instruction (and I did) so was pretty proud when it was finished, but after I had already inserted the zip I realised it was not the right length so I have to perform some pretty funky looking acrobatics to actually put it on. My daughter actually said to me when I first tried it - 'Mummy I think you have made it too small.' Well I proved her wrong - but it wasn't easy. Next time looking at the instructions just for this detail would totally be Ok with me.

Next on my sewing table is some workout gear so a BIG step away from this, but I kind of like the contrast. I'll show you it all in good time. Happy Summer! Zoe x

Lessons from Me-Made-May 2015


Wow another Me-Made-May has come to an end, and for me this year was a roaring success. I managed to wear a handmade outfit every day for the whole month without repeating any complete outfits. This was a pretty exciting moment for me and felt like a graduation from someone who makes and wears her own clothes into someone who has a complete handmade wardrobe. That's not to say that I didn't have any problems or gaps in my wardrobe- I certainly did- but that I have now made enough items that I actually enjoy wearing, that can be mixed and matched together and I can build on what I have already to fill my wardrobe. If you follow me on Instagram you will have already seen every outfit but here I will share a few other things I learnt over the past month.

1. My Capsule Wardrobe Works!
My biggest goal during May was to see if working on my capsule wardrobe had been worth the effort, and it DEFINITELY has. I had loads of items to choose from that could be mixed and matched together, that suited my style, to create lots of fun outfits. Altogether I only wore (about) 18 items, but managed to create 31 different outfits from these items. I admit that by the end of the month I was starting to get a little bored of the restriction but I think if I were to add a handful of new items it would spice it up a little.

2. I need some more icing (or as some people call it 'frosting')
I have focused so hard in the last few month on creating a capsule wardrobe that I have made loads of basics and very few fun, patterned items. Some people have called this making 'cake not icing'. Every one loves some icing and making the cake is the slightly less enjoyable part. I however have so much cake that I need some more icing to bring back the joy of dressmaking. Plus one of the main advantages of being able to make ones own clothes is that you can make something a bit different and not what every one else is wearing so it'll be good to take advantage of this a bit more. I will probably try from here on out to alternate between making a basic and then a fun item so I keep a good balance as I go forward, after all I don't want to waste all the work I have put in so far.

3. I love wearing dresses
Linked closely to the 'needing more icing' lesson I realised how much I enjoy wearing dresses. I now have a few fancy(isn) dresses (here and here) and a few casual dresses (here and here) but since I enjoy wearing them more than anything else I would really like to make a few more. The next item planned is going to tick this box so stay tuned.

4. I don't have many warm handmade clothes
Every day I started out wearing totally handmade but often, especially nearer the beginning of the month, I would add a few extra layers to keep myself warm and occasionally I changed altogether. Items I lack include jeans, cardigans, leggings and a handmade coat. These are all on my 'to sew' list going forward and I am thinking about trying a 'Me-Made-Winter-Week' to test out my winter capsule wardrobe sometime in either November or January. What do you think, would you be up for it? I for one wouldn't manage a whole month in the winter but a week would be a nice starting point.

5. I would really like some handmade sportswear
I literally never thought I would say this. I hated exercising until about 2 months ago when a friend of mine persuaded me to enter a mini triathlon with her. I know, talk about diving in at the deep end - literally. Since it had been so long since I last pounded the pavements I decided to start a training program to make sure I was up to fitness. This meant lots of exercise. And I did not have enough to wear. I am now totally addicted to exercising (another thing I never thought I would say) so some handmade cycle shorts, cycling top, running top etc are now also on my list. Whew that was a much longer story than I thought. During May my sportswear was all shop bought and I intend to change this soon. I have my eye on these shorts and this top pattern to start with, maybe advancing to a trisuit at some point?!

So that is quite a lot of learning from just one month of wearing handmade. From my long list of things to make it seems like there will be lots of activity around here over the next few months. Can't wait to get sewing. Zoe x
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