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James’s black velvet tee

Just before we went to France a few weeks ago, James expressed a desire for a black velvet teeshirt with a V-neck and 3/4 length sleeves, but lamented that he wasn’t finding any in the shops and asked if I could make him one. He specifically said that he loved the way the grey Paxson I made for him last winter fits, and when I offered to fix the few shoulder/neckline issues in it, he said he liked it that way, so I left the pattern as-is apart from turning the round neck into a V and shortening the sleeves.

The Cityscape dress

I was in need of a palate cleansing easy make after I returned from competing in Malaga and promptly came down with a cold (and made a wadder in the form of some deeply unflattering culottes that make me look 10 feet wide). Luckily, I had an invitation to attend the 25th birthday party of my local fabric store, Fabrics Galore, and while I sipped some bubbly I couldn’t help but do some shopping…

A pale blue Seamwork Eugene henley

The final Christmas present I made this year was a long-sleeved top for James, using the Seamwork Eugene Henley top pattern and some pale blue cotton lycra jersey he’d picked out last time we were at Ditto Fabrics in Brighton. I’d inadvertently picked up a remnant of their cotton lycra jersey previously and James raved about the fabric so much that I finally just brought a scrap of it in to their Brighton store for Gill to fondle and ID for me! Luckily for him, it’s something they always have in stock in a bunch of different colours

Kitty Weston shorts

If you follow me on social networks, you already know that I booked a staycation from my office job last week to work on some new pattern ideas that have been rolling around my head for the past few months. These shorts (and another shirt I’ll share shortly, too) were made in and around the pattern prototype sewing as a dedicated effort to get some “Fun Sewing” into my week, too. For ten days I pretty much put my head down in my sewing cave and did a continuous development cycle of drafting, prototyping, tweaking, prototyping, etc, and I’m pleased to report that my week was hugely successful! I’ve got four new patterns at the grading stage now, to be released over the next six months. Hooray!

But onto the shorts – I made these using the Weston Shorts pattern which came free with my Seamwork magazine subscription. If you fancy subscribing using my affiliate link, you’ll get the first month for $3 USD (half price) with two pattern credits, meaning you can choose to download this pattern and another from their back catalogue as well for your $3 (and no contract or anything). Which is a really good deal if you ask me!

A non-traditional Japanese kimono robe

A good friend of mine travelled to Tokyo in January, and asked if I wanted anything. “Oh, some nice traditional kimono print fabric would be nice if you see any”, I said. Well, he ended up going to Nippori Fabric Town one day and fell hard for Tomato (I might also add here that he owns a vintage Bernina sewing machine!). I ended up with a massive stack of cotton prints as well as some lovely wool tweed, too.

I’ve been meaning to sew up two of the more traditional prints in particular ever since I received them, and I thought they would coordinate really well together in a project as they’re the same colours but different prints:

Two quick tops

Not everything I made while I was ill was an involved as my navy Harriet jacket – I made quite a few small and quick projects, too, just to boost my mood. I wanted to show you two different quick tops today – it didn’t really feel like I had enough to say about either to warrant separate posts, but I wanted to document them just the same.

Seamwork Akita in Japanese floral

My friend Alex brought me back a ton of fabrics fro Tomato in Tokyo (which you’ll be seeing more of, I’m certain!), but this narrow, textured floral shrunk a TON in the wash and was narrow to begin with, so afterwards it was very narrow indeed. So I pulled out the Seamwork Akita blouse pattern since it only needs a narrow, non-directional print fabric because it’s just one pattern piece (no shoulder seams). In the end, the pattern piece touched both selvedges and I had to trim off some of the sleeve depth to fit it in!

I haven’t seen this pattern made up much, but I was disappointed in the fit – this runs HUGE, even for an over-the-head top (in contrast, the woven, over-the-head Sorbetto pattern fits much closer). In hindsight, I think I could’ve made the absolute smallest size and still be swimming in it (and no, no printing errors!). I chopped off about 6 inches in length, too, and it’s still on the long side.

But the worst bit is that the bust point is ridiculously low, which just looks bad. Luckily, it gets lost in such a busy print, but it’s still disappointing.

By the time I tried it on and realised it was massive, I didn’t have any bias fabric left to do the neckline facing, so instead I pulled out some silk charmeuse bias strips I had squirrelled away and used those to finish off the neckline in my preferred way. This is actually my favourite part of this top!

I’ve worn it with layers on top because I like the colours, but I’m glad I didn’t make it in an expensive silk like I was planning! The other Seamwork patterns I’ve made have been true to size, so I’m not sure what happened here…

Sweaty Betty striped tech tee

I had some weird, small offcuts of tech fabrics from my Sweaty Betty-working friend, one of which was this teal, black, and grey striped, slubby wicking teeshirt material. I cycle commute in street clothes that I wear at work all day (unless it’s pouring, in which case I change into dry clothes at the office) and I like to have a base layer which dries quickly. I never get that sweaty on my ride, but when I was ill it felt a bit harder than it does normally, so tech tees were useful.

Aztec print Seamwork retro bikini

I have a really bad habit of trying to cram in a bunch of last-minute sewing just before I go away on holiday, when most normal people would be packing their suitcase or reading through guidebooks. But no, I decide to sew up a pair of trousers and a bikini in the week before I leave!

I’d sewn up a swimsuit once before, but I’m not even sure whether I actually wore it in the water at all, as I hardly ever go swimming, and I’d moved away from one-pieces and that one had zero bust support so it just flattened the girls. But discovering that Team GB had been allocated the posh beachfront hotel with the pool, sauna and jacuzzi for the World Transplant Games gave me renewed enthusiasm to cram in the retro bikini patterns included in the August Seamwork magazine (which you can buy separately if you’re not a subscriber).

The Reno halter bikini top has ties around the neck and the back, separate seamed cups, and is also fully lined. The August issue (free!) gives tips on selecting and sewing swimsuit fabrics and elastics, and also how to insert boning, underwires, or foam cups if you prefer. I opted for the latter, since I had some in my stash anyway, though my foam cups were a little bigger than the lining piece, and I had to trim some off.