For once I’ve actually coordinated my sewing with the weather! Though, like most of my makes, this had a rather long lead time… I actually bought this 1.5m of Atelier Brunette “Shade Ochre” viscose fabric from Lamazi Fabrics last summer but didn’t quite work out which pattern to pair with it until recently, when I decided I wanted to try another variation of the Saraste shirt/dress/top from the first Named book, “Breaking the Pattern”.
It feels inevitable that, as July rolls around and the Tour de France starts up, I find myself sewing a cycling set! In 2019 it was with a goal to wear it to cycle 100 miles in Ride London, and last year it was to complete the Virtual Tour de France on Zwift with an ascent up Mont Ventoux but this year… well, I just wanted a new outfit!
Funkifabrics are one of my absolute fabric activewear suppliers and I’ve been sewing their various base fabrics for at least 8 years now, and frankly I’ve lost count of the number of races I’ve run in their fabrics. So when they got in touch back in January and asked if I’d like to try out their new Spider print base in the print and colours of my choice, I positively leapt at the chance! Their Spider fabric is what I’d generically call an “aerated polyester” (though this is nylon), and what all the big brands have their own copyrighted names for, but essentially it’s a matte activewear fabric with lots of tiny holes – plenty big enough to let moisture and airflow through, but small enough to not be see-through. It’s super lightweight AND has great stretch and recovery in both directions. It’s quite similar to the material often used in race tees, but with better stretch and a tad more texture.
Last year my mom bought me a surprise off my wish list – the dP Studio book, “Fashion Couture”, which ended up being one of my favourite sewing books of recent years. The included 12 patterns are all tops (hooray! No dresses I’m unlikely to wear taking up space in the book!) which are all really interesting and fashion-forward designs. Be aware that the size range is quite limited – it only goes up to a B111/W91/H118. I made the “wink top” in a jungle print viscose last summer in size 46 and it’s one of my favourite makes from 2020.
I will readily admit that I don’t pre-order many books. But I absolutely pre-ordered the Named Patterns new “Building the Pattern” book as soon as I could! I mean, why wouldn’t I after making so many patterns from their first book (and a few more planned, too!)?! The focus on this book is fitting alterations so there are TONS of diagrams and instructions and advice on getting a great fit even before you get to the patterns in the book (which can either be traced from the sheets in the book, or downloaded in A4/AO formats from their website).
The Luova pattern comes in three styles: a blouse, tunic, or dress, with two different collars and three different sleeves to choose from. The tunic (a short dress, really) stood out to me and I thought that perhaps I’d be able to make it from a 1.5m remnant of stonewashed denim from Fabrics Galore I’d recently bought. I got it thinking I’d use it to make another pair of jeans but it’s in no way what I’d consider a “denim”, btw – it’s far lighter than jeans and what I’d call a chambray, suitable for shirts or dresses. So it seemed perfect for this tunic!
I don’t buy fabric very often, but I recently fell headfirst into a few sales of shops which stock one of my all-time favourite fabrics, bamboo jersey! So my stash has been replenished and you can expect to see quite a few bamboo jersey garments over the next few months. But first to hit my machine was some sunny yellow bamboo jersey from Lamazi Fabrics. The “mustard” colourway appears to be out of stock now but they have some other colours in the Allure bamboo jersey range.
I absolutely love wearing the bamboo teeshirts I’ve made over the years so I only bought 1m, thinking I’d probably just want to sew a standard teeshirt again. But I had been tempted by the unique, pleated sleeves on the Forget Me Not Patterns “Iris Tee” since it came out, and I thought it might be a nice way of adding a bit of flair to an average tee.
It was probably inevitable that I’d be sewing more home dec projects – after all, I’m pretty sure it’s a natural next step after finishing renovation work, and we’ve just had nearly our whole boat rebuilt! This time around we wanted cushions for two very specific benches that we inherited…
Actually, we inherited a set of three storage boxes/benches from my longtime running coach, Barbara. When she had a studio in Shoreditch she had them built for the space, but after she closed the studio to go freelance they were taking up a ridiculous amount of space in her flat but she really wanted to see them rehomed together. So I said we’d have them for the boat, and two even ended up in our temporary flat while we were in drydock three years ago, but they’ve been in our storage unit ever since.
One is quite small, maybe a foot and a half wide, and that one is now near the front door in the Saloon, storing woollens inside and acting as a plant stand & drop zone for keys and masks. The next one is 1.2m long, has a hinged top, and lives in our corridor, storing guest bed linens for the time being. And the third one is a whopping 2m long (it barely fit in our estate car!), also has a hinged top, and is storing all of our life jackets and nautical flags. We thought it would be great for extra seating for our Saloon dining table, so we’ve placed it against the window to also give Nishi a place to sit and peer out the big windows (which will be getting wooden blinds when we get around to installing them).
I’m sorry guys, it’s my fault! I turned the weather to freezing, non-stop rain by sewing a pair of shorts. 😭 (insert jokes about English “summers” here)
But I was inspired by some recent fabric shopping at both Textile Express and Lamazi Fabrics and I really wanted to make this set as soon as possible – and hoped the weather would rise to the challenge, but it did not. In any case, the garments have thankfully turned out better than I’d hoped, and I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of both as soon as it warms up and dried out.
The fabric is not actually leftovers from the Thankful tee I made last year, as you might expect, but actually a 0.5m remnant I bought from Lamazi Fabrics recently for a fiver (bargain!) that is an exact colour match to my previous tee, despite buying the cotton jersey from different shops over different years. I’m not sure why this delighted me so much, but it does!
Our boat renovations are in their last few weeks, which means that everything is in disarray and even the meagre folding table I had been using to cut out fabric is now out of bounds, blocked in place by several massive sheets of plywood. But thankfully I planned ahead and cut out a few projects before this happened, the last of which I’ve now sewn – two more Jalie Coco sports bras, made entirely from activewear scraps!
If you recall, I made two of these last year, one in each view and with a few crucial tweaks to increase the support in order to be enough to run in. Please refer back to this post for the details of what those are, as I’ve done the exact same tweaks here. After wearing both the Y-back feather bra and the cross-back Tokyo bra for a few months, I can say that I definitely prefer the Y-back view. It’s easier to get on and off and feels a bit more supportive, even though the cross-back is perfectly fine! So for these, I just cut the Y-back (view B in the pattern) to make my life simpler.
Happy “over a week late but still my” birthday to me!! If you aren’t following me on social media (I mean, why not??) then you may have missed the absolute frenzy of renovation/building work that’s been taking place over the last few months. In November and December, the builders made us a new kitchen, bathroom, and utility room, and then after a short break, have spent all of February and May creating our Saloon (bright living/dining area, where these photos were taken!) and Snug (dark living room) and corridor. Considering these didn’t even have finished walls or subfloors (or lighting!) when they started, the transformation has been incredible.
But it does mean that for infection control reasons, I couldn’t be anywhere near them while they’re here working (we have a very small but self-contained back cabin we stay in). We’re grateful to be in this position, but it severely limits my sewing time before you even consider the sheer amount of dust, lack of cutting table, fact that large sheets of plywood and doors would randomly block access to my sewing room and omg did I mention the dust?!? So my planned birthday make was not finished for my actual birthday this year, which just happens some years! And it doesn’t diminish it in the slightest.