For someone who is supposedly into sustainability, I’ve been sewing all the things in the first half of 2020. A few things happened: I started working in sewing, which gives me a ridiculous amount of sewing motivation. I wasn’t pregnant anymore, and some of my old stuff didn’t fit. (In a few months when the weather gets colder, I’ll be refashioning some of my baggier pregnancy clothing). And I stopped liking some of the things already in my closet (I hate when that happens!)
For the record, here’s the round up of my makes and all the pictures…
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1. She Wears The Pants epaulette top.
This was to participate in a sewing challenge I hosted with my friend Wilma @vladivos.. We called it #sewyourbooks and it was to encourage sewists to use the books that often languish on the shelf. Also my friend Blogless Anna runs a hashtag called #sewjapaneseinjanuary so the top also qualified for that.
Japanese patterns are usually a safe bet for me since my figure is not dissimilar to those of the models. Also the designs are roomy (short, minimal bust – can you believe sometimes I’m even a size M!). As for this top, it’s both hit and miss. Hit because of the colour and the pocket. Miss because the bell sleeves are utterly impractical. It’s in my pile to slim them down when autumn arrives.
2. Paper Theory LB pullover from recycled denim fabric. You can read about the fabric here.
3. Paper Theory LB pullover again, this time in black ponte.
To be completely honest, they were both semi-fails. The recycled denim colour blocked one is a bit too short and the fabric is too stiff, even when layered over a turtleneck. The ponte one I added a hem band, but it feels a bit “cold” (a friend gave me the fabric). Should really have saved the ponte for a skirt… never mind …. maybe I’ll try it again in linen? I do really like the idea of the top!
In March, as part of my work with Fibre Mood I started hosting sewalongs on IGTV. As a result my sewing output went up massively.
fibremood.com/en/patterns/582-afra-t-shirt/?ref=kateng(opens in a new tab)
- Fibre Mood Afra in linen jersey
- Fibre Mood Afra in cotton jersey
- Fibre Mood Frances (free pattern) from a linen eyelet which had languished in my stash. This was the garment that made me discover that the patterns which follow the XS-XXXL size range rather than the numeric sizing range are extremely generous. Always check the finished measurements! I will need to unpick and see if I can remake this as it slips off the shoulders. Ideally, I would take out a wedge of 4cm total from the centre, but that is not going to be pretty with a centre front seam. So, remake it is.
- Fibre Mood Benita pants with added pockets. If you need a front slash pocket hack for anything with a waistband, the tutorial on drafting the pockets is on my IGTV here.
- Fibre Mood Indira dress. I shortened this by 15cm, and that combined with the heavyweight linen turned it into a “shirt coat”. Still awaiting buttons as we speak…
- Fibre Mood Ivory. This dress took forever due to the top stitching. There is a lot to love, the details on the yoke, 8 panel skirt, the mother of pearl buttons … what I love less is that the cuffs are too tight (by design) to be able to get on and off without undoing all 3 buttons. An extra 2min getting dressed shouldn’t be a big deal, but somehow feels inconvenient.
- Fibre Mood Charlotte dress – a bit of bodice fitting but it came together nicely. If you look closely you can see it is too long at the waist. That was my fault for not pinning on a skirt piece on my toile to check, but I’m very happy with the fit on the arms, shoulder and bust. I dyed the fabric teal using Dylon machine dye. Not sustainable? Maybe not, but better than wasting the fabric… or is it?
- Fibre Mood Norma – love everything about this blouse, my fabric choice of a neutral stripe which goes with everything, the grey mother of pearl buttons, the way the sleeves hold their shape in poplin. The only thing I’d do differently next time is to lengthen it a little so it can be tucked in.
- Fibre Mood Mira dress, in a purple Liberty of London fabric from the deep stash. This is a surprise favourite. Nothing more to say!
- Fibre Mood Toni – fabric from the deep stash. The pattern has a shoulder dart at the raglan sleeve which I REALLY like as it reduces neckline gape. Fabric is from the deep stash, a lovely mid-weight organic jersey. Alas, even though it’s secret pyjamas and super comfy, the colour of the dress really washes me out. I’m putting it on the list to turn cut it up and turn it into stuff for the kids with a bit of added screen print.
- Half Moon Atelier La Brea – I used the leftover fabric from the Toni to make this tee and it’s absolutely fine! I love wearing it! Also, screen printed some lovely lips on it.
- Half Moon Atelier La Brea v2 in linen jersey with a neutral-ish (woven) bias to add interest to an otherwise plain tee.
- Fibre Mood Jutta skirt – another deep stash sew, this time in neutral linen. The construction of this is pretty interesting with the front pockets and facing.
- Fibre Mood Benita for a friend. She requested the full-length version and I’m kinda sad I gave them away. Coupled with the old white linen top, they made me feel like a million bucks! (see picture). Dyed with Dylon machine dye (olive colour).
- Fibre Mood Mira for a friend. She thought my purple one was a bit short so I lengthened each tier by 5cm. Worked out well, if I ever make this again I’ll do the same adjustment.
There was a heatwave and I wanted to make all the summer things … so I did!
- Fibre Mood Vienna – no picture as this went to Alex @sewrendipity. It was unfinished as she wanted to dye it and fit it.
- Fibre Mood Lola – floral yellow lawn going to a friend.
- Fibre Mood Lola v2 – white cotton crepe (i.e. single cotton gauze), with pattern mods (you can see the fitting things to look out for on my IG post here).
- Fibre Mood Ida top / Fibre Mood Betsy skirt combo – in raspberry linen that I dyed with Dylon “tulip red”. The fabric was originally ivory and not bright white so that could have affected the final colouring.
- Seamwork Catarina in Liberty lawn. Love this fabric!
Sustainable wardrobe fail?
23 makes! Last time I checked there were 52 weeks in a year so I’ve been sewing nearly 1 thing a week. Included in those were 8 sew along makes, 3 pattern promotion and blog post makes, 4 things going to friends. Which still leaves 8 things for fun simply because I felt like it. And a whoooole bunch of kids stuff for my own kids and that I sold as well.
In terms of fabric, I only bought the cotton lawns for the yellow Lola blouse and Seamwork Catarina. The rest was either gifted or in the stash. At the back end of 2019 I had intentions of opening a fabric store so I bought 50m of linen and jersey deadstock … I sometimes sell things but it’s not a full blown shop. Having said that, I do have a registered business and pay tax so nothing is under the counter.
Do I need to beat myself up about the amount of sewing? Depends on the way you look at it. From a wardrobe perspective, I should have stopped a long time ago. On the other hand, sewing fuels my creative brain and it makes me happy when people message me to thank me for the sewalongs or the techniques I demo. And others like the inspiration they get from my IG feed.
I guess the key for me is to view the lens of my work as providing useful info, trying to inspire others to sew, and making people happy with finished products. And from a leisure perspective, to make sure I am sewing because it gives me joy and energy.
- There will likely be more short video tutorials, probably on my IGTV account. Right now you can see the front slash pocket hack you can add to any skirt or trouser with a waistband. Also, I also made a video on how I use bias tape to make a facing.
- I will blog more about my makes, as an alternative creative outlet to simply cutting stuff and being at my machine. Hopefully, these will cover some useful fitting advice also.
- The sewalongs are continuing for the foreseeable future … so you’ll keep seeing more Fibre Mood!
- And the textile and anti-greenwash articles will continue every now and again. If you want to read the existing ones they are here. I have less time than before to do the research and reading and to be honest my enthusiasm is less since I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle every time I see someone put misinformation out there…
Till next time