New Year's Progress Report

Back on the 17th I set some bold goals to finish by New Year’s:

I thought it was time for a little progress report, seeing as how I only have a few days to go…

  1. Paco’s Drape Collar Tunic – I sewed this up in an evening before Christmas. Though I had to get very creative in order to get long sleeves out of the 2m of sweater knit I bought… Note to self: Buy more yardage, or shorten the body length next time!
  2. Clover jeans – I just finished these! I’m totally loving the fit and the (IMHO) improved pockets, too.
  3. Holly’s maternity maxi-dress, Burda 08/2008 #125 – Having no place to cut the fabric of the enormous skirt pieces, I actually took it along to work yesterday and cut it out on the big (and empty) lunch table at lunchtime! The few guys left in the office already think I’m weird anyway. Shrug. In any case, this is now ready to sew!
  4. Ruby Slip – I wanted to cut the skirt pieces at the same time I cut out the maxi dress, but the low table height was killing my back by the time I finished with the maxi dress. I don’t think this will take long to sew together if I can ever find somewhere to cut the single-layer, bias layout… A good cutting area is my new productivity choke point.

Happy 2018! (My Year in Review)

Happy fresh and new baby year, everyone! I always like to celebrate the first of the year with a look back at the year that’s just completed – this gives me a chance to reflect at the things I’ve accomplished, the garments I’ve made, and challenges conquered. As is traditional, I find myself starting 2018 with lots of great stuff on the horizon but unable to talk about it (this time last year my two big secrets were my Threads article and my book deal, so you’d better believe 2018’s secret project is a good’un!) so you’ll just have to trust me that the outlook for 2018 is rosy indeed!

Happy 2017 (my year in review)

Woohoo! It’s a fresh new year! Each year I like to take the first of January to look back on what I’ve sewn in the previous year. So while this post is a celebration of the new year, it’s also a look back at what I’ve been up to in the last twelve months, which I always find to be a helpful exercise!

Happy 2016! (My year in review)

Each year I like to take the first of January to look back on what I’ve sewn in the previous year. So while this post is a celebration of the new year, it also helps me to put into perspective the year that has just gone. Somehow I always think the year has been a bit low on finished makes until I put everything together for the year’s collage!


Click the image to see it better, or right-click here to see it in a new tab to get a better look!

Tip: If you’d like to skim back through the posts for the above projects, you can click Gallery in the top menu, which will only show you finished projects, without all the magazine reviews and in-progress reports getting in the way! (Though a few of the makes in the bottom row I haven’t blogged about yet!)

The Year in Stats

In terms of pattern companies used this year, I made:

  • 25 FehrTrade patterns (I put my money where my mouth is I guess!?),
  • 9 Seamwork magazine,
  • 6 Self-drafted (including traced from RTW),
  • 4 Jalie (well, the same sports bra pattern four times!),
  • 3 from the Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion in Fabric book,
  • 2 Burda Style magazine,
  • 2 Style Arc,
  • 2 Orange Lingerie,
  • and 1 each from La Maison Victor magazine, Named, Paprika Patterns, Imagine Gnats, Simple Sew, and Kwik Sew.

By my count, I made: 21 tops, 19 trousers (including leggings & shorts), 2 jumpsuits,
2 dresses, 10 pieces of lingerie (bras, panties, slips, etc), 1 bikini, 2 jackets/coats/cardigans and zero skirts (!). I made presents for my mom, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew, and James also received four tops and a pair of lounging bottoms this year, the lucky guy!

Happy 2015! (My year in review)

As I do every year, I like to spend the first of a new year to take the opportunity to look back on what I’ve sewn in the previous year. So without further ado, here’s a visual reminder of 2014!


Click the image to see it better, or right-click here to see it in a new tab to get a better look!

Tip: If you’d like to skim back through the posts for the above projects, you can click Gallery in the upper left menu, which will only show you finished projects, without all the magazine reviews and in-progress reports getting in the way!

The Year in Stats

In terms of pattern companies used this year, I made:

  • 29 FehrTrade patterns (no surprise, really!),
  • 7 Burda magazine (aka Burda Style),
  • 5 Self-drafted (including traced from RTW),
  • 4 KwikSew (well, the same one pattern four times!),
  • 3 Manequim magazine,
  • 3 Cake Patterns,
  • 2 Style Arc,
  • 2 Vogue,
  • 2 Orange Lingerie,
  • and 1 each from Simplicity, McCalls, ThriftyStitcher, Christine Jonson, Seamster, Named, Sinbad & Sailor, Drape Drape, House of Pinhiero, and Jalie.

By my count, I made: 31 tops, 19 trousers (including leggings & shorts),
5 dresses, 4 pieces of lingerie (bras, panties, slips, etc), 3 skirts, 3 jackets/coats/cardigans, and 4 bags. James also did well this year, being made a winter coat, 2 shirts, 2 cycling tops, and a dop-kit bag.

And I realise I’ve been sewing a lot of running gear but the total number even surprised me – 34 of the above were for running (though not all for me)!

The above may sound like a lot of sewing, but even this is only a fraction of what I’ve actually sewn – I couldn’t really include all the garments sewn for the Great British Sewing Bee, for example, or those made for custom clients (of which there’s been a LOT!), or for the book I’ve been working on, either. In all honesty, I think you could probably double the amount shown above and it’d be closer to the total output!

Happy 2014! (My Sewing Year in review)

As I do every year, I like to spend the first of a new year to take the opportunity to look back on what I’ve sewn in the previous year. So without further ado, here’s a visual reminder of 2013!


Click the image to see it better, or right-click here to see it in a new tab to get a better look!

Tip: If you’d like to skim back through the posts for the above projects, you can click Gallery in the upper left menu, which will only show you finished projects, without all the magazine reviews and in-progress reports getting in the way!

The Year in Stats

In terms of pattern companies used this year, I made: 15 Self-drafted (including Pattern Magic), 11 Burda Magazine (aka Burda Style), 8 FehrTrade, 4 Style Arc, 4 Cake Patterns, 3 Christine Jonson, 3 MyImage, 2 Pattern-Scissors-Cloth, 2 Jalie, and 1 each from Elan, KnipMode, Papercut Patterns, Drape Drape, Lolita Patterns, Kwik Sew and Simplicity.

So that’s precisely one garment made from any of the Big Four, but a whopping 23 items I either drafted myself or drafted and then released as a pattern! It’s no surprise Burda is otherwise up in the 2nd place position, and I’m pleased to see Style Arc and Cake ranking highly this year, since I discovered both companies this year. It is a bit disappointing that I failed to make a single Manequim pattern this year, despite reviewing my monthly copies! I must try harder next year to justify the subscription cost.

By my count, I made: 22 tops, 13 trousers (including leggings), 9 dresses, 9 pieces of lingerie (bras, panties, slips, etc), 3 skirts, 3 jackets or cardigans, and 3 bags.

A Year of Burda Magazine Patterns – Challenge Completed!

I (silently) set myself the challenge to sew one garment from each issue of Burda magazine (aka BurdaStyle) in 2012, and I’m proud to say I completed it! I’m not the sort of person to make New Year’s resolutions, or proclaim lofty goals to everyone who’ll listen – I’m more the sort to quietly commit myself to something, and see if anyone notices what I’m up to before the completion… I do know that Kristy has also been keeping up with the Burda challenge this year, and it’s been fun to see which patterns she’s chosen from the same issues (and on occasion we selected the same pattern!).

There were some roaring successes, a few fails (both my fault and not), and some that I changed my mind on only after months of wear. So I thought it was worthwhile to have a look through all the projects from this year, and my thoughts on each looking back from now…

January


Rating: 9/10
Link to original post: Great Basic – Grey Flannel Trousers

At the time I said: There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering about this design, but I just thought it looked nicely versatile, and something I could wear to business meetings as well as just team with a teeshirt if I fancied it.

My thoughts now: I don’t think these look as nice in the photoshoot as they do in real life. I genuinely love and adore these, and have worn them pretty much nonstop, at least once a week to work, since I made them a year ago. I wouldn’t change a single thing about this pattern, and the silk pocket linings fill me with glee everything I slip my hands inside. I really do need to make some more of these!

Mobile sewing weekend report

I’m beginning to feel like my draped suit (Burda September 2011 #126 and 127) is dragging on forever, so it’s good that I am making progress in the few snatched snippets of time available to me over the past few weeks. I hope you’re not getting too bored yet!

We were out of town this past weekend, up in Sheffield visiting two very good friends of ours in their new place (a house with his’n‘hers sewing machines! We slept in a room with a vintage Bernina!). It’s about a 3.5 hour drive from London, so there was ample time in the car for handstitching, but it did require some planning ahead to get the suit in a state ready for it.

Going back to my earlier To-Do list from last week, I was able to finish the following on Friday night before we left:

  • Construct and attach the sleeve linings to the rest of the lining
  • Interface the jacket hem
  • Attach the lining to the jacket around the front facings and neck edge
  • Construct the skirt lining and baste to the skirt at the top edge
  • Attach the waistband
  • Machine-hem the skirt lining
  • Machine-stitch some grey lace tape to the bottom skirt edge

I also prepped about 5 lengths of grey and pink thread with beeswax before leaving so that I wouldn’t get horrible tangles while doing all the handstitching. I never used to bother with beeswax, but it seriously does help cut down on the excess tangling, so the time spent waxing and pressing the thread in advance really does save you time and frustration in the long run.

Then, in the in the car ride up to Sheffield and back (and, err, also in the KwikFit waiting room while we had new tires put on) I was able to:

  • Anchor the lining to the seam allowances at the underarm
  • Baste and hand stitch the jacket hem
  • Hand stitch the lining hem to the jacket hem
  • Hand stitch the sleeve lining hem to the sleeve facing
  • Baste and hand stitch the skirt hem

I just love how that hot pink satin piping turned out! You can also see my lace hem tape on the skirt here. This was a pack of lace tape I’d bought at the Amish dry-goods store in Perry County last year, paying 50 cents for it, and with a 1986 copyright on the package!

London Marathon Active Shorts

On Sunday I ran London marathon for the 4th time, but it was my 7th marathon in total, all since my bone marrow transplant in 2009. As is my tradition, I sewed myself something new to run it in! Yes, I’ve run all 7 of my marathons in self-sewn gear!

This time around I chose a shortened version of the Active Leggings from my “Sew Your Own Activewear” book. If you recall, this is actually the same pattern I used when I ran London marathon in 2017, the day before my book deadline! Both of the fabrics I used were from Funkifabrics, and actually both were leftover from the Steeplechase Leggings made for my Craftsy/Bluprint class. I just love this print and colour combo too much not to have it in both shorts and leggings form in my running wardrobe!

Finding balance (and fabric!) in Copenhagen

After the twin mammoth accomplishments of running London marathon and handing in my book manuscript (and illustrations, patterns, and sewn samples!), I really needed a break! The next few days were filled with sports massages, a spa day, visiting friends, and packing.

I’d only ever visited Copenhagen once, back in 2013 to run the marathon, but I really only got to see the sights directly along the race route, as I had to fly to Miami the next morning for work. Through the global running crew movement I’ve got a bunch of friends there, though, and my friend Christina in particular has stayed with us a few times over the years and when she and her partner Troels were over in January we all sat down with our calendars and finally picked a date for James and I to come stay at theirs and finally see the city properly. As it turned out, Troels ran an ultra the same weekend as I ran London marathon, so the weekend after would be perfect for us all.

If you’ve never been to Copenhagen, I definitely, definitely recommend going. It’s a compact, green, and pleasant city to visit, and it feels like the Danes just really nailed quality of life. Apart from eating everything in sight (smorgasbords!!), we did our usual boat tour, visited the food market, met up with friends, went to three different cocktail bars, and drank a lot of Mikkeller beer at their brewpub, War Pigs.