I am both back from our trip to the States and feeling back on form now, so I’ve started to tackle documenting the absolute mountain of finished makes from the last four months. I have some garments from early January, some made more recently and well, I’m just going to share them with you in no particular order! The photos are a bit more slapdash than usual, but I know that if I waited to do proper photoshoots of all of these then it’d be another 6 months before you’d get to see them!
So I’m going to start with a garment that was the longest in the planning, and also quite possibly my favourite of the early 2016 makes. It all started back in summer 2014, when I bought some fabulous navy wool coating & vintage silk twill from Ditto when I was down in Brighton. I knew I wanted to use them together for a transitional, short coat, but then I had quite a journey in finding the right pattern!
The psychedelic 1960s vintage silk twill lining that was originally made for neckties!
Over the course of 18 months, I ended up making five different muslins before I was happy enough to cut into the wool and silk:
- StyleArc Audrey (the silhouette and proportions were just so bad on me. So bad.)
- Burda Jan 2015 jacket in size 42 (way too small for non-stretch outerwear, oddly, though Burda’s fit is usually very standard)
- Burda Jan 2015 jacket in size 44 (traced ALL the pieces again and it still fit very weirdly)
- Patrones 342 No23 dolman sleeve coat (ridiculously tiny sleeves and zero arm mobility even with the underarm gusset)
And then finally I muslined Named’s Harriet lumberjacket pattern, bought during a flash sale during their advent calendar promotion. And I was like Goldilocks, it was juuuuuuust riiiiiight.
Buckle up, because the story of this jacket starts four years when I received a remnant of Dashing Tweeds “Urban Shadow” tartan coating from a friend for Christmas. Now, if you’re not familiar with Dashing Tweeds, they’re a really cool company who’ve revived old tartan and twill patterns and modernised them with great colours and even some reflective threads woven in. The remnant I received was one of these “Lumatwill” designs, and has reflective threads running along all the horizontal yellow lines in the design.
“More shorts?!” I hear you say! (Especially if you’ve also been experiencing our English summer) As I said in my posts on the mustard wool shorts and the linen denim Pietra shorts, my work at home lifestyle change is demanding more warm weather clothing since the boat is not climate controlled like my office. So I’ve been having fun trying out different shorts patterns that I may have overlooked the first time around!
This time I wanted to try out the Named Patterns Astrid Wrap Shorts (which also comes with an option for wide-legged trousers, which I can guarantee you I will never make!). But shortly after I purchased it, Named announced that they were retiring a bunch of their older patterns, including this one and the Harriet jacket I adore and wear ALL the time every winter. I managed to finish sewing these shorts the day before they removed this pattern from sale (yes, even the pdf, which makes no sense to me whatsoever as it literally costs them nothing to retain it!) and shared it on my socials, but it wasn’t enough time for me to do the photoshoot and get this post together, sorry!
This is turning into quite the magazine review week! Between getting my next sewing pattern ready for release (it’s with my testers now!) and working on the boat renovations every single weekend, I’ve had precious little time to devote to sewing recently, and when I do, I end of sewing easy TNT garments instead of spending time photoshooting or blogging about them! But I have been keeping a list so I can eventually blog about them, and the advantage there is that I might be able to wear a few as sets for the photos!
We’ve reached the end of another year, and another year of my monthly Burda magazine roundups. I started writing these regular reviews back in 2012 as a way of reminding myself of patterns that I’d otherwise just forget after a few months. Back before I had my own pattern business, I even had time to sew some of them (*sobs quietly to self about lack of time*)!
As I know many of you have said how much you enjoy my monthly review posts (and the stats on my website prove as much), I thought I’d refresh all our memories with a completely biased rundown of my favourites from the past year. In some cases, ones I wasn’t so sure on have become much more attractive, and others that I liked at the time have faded. And in the case of a few months, none of them have really stood the test of time (or I was just choosing them because they were the best of a mediocre bunch), so I haven’t included them at all here.
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!
As I mentioned earlier this week, we visited Dublin on a flying visit last week as James was speaking at a conference, and I decided to tag along to visit some of his family over there. I first visited Dublin back in 2000 when I was a student and did the very American thing of visiting for St Patrick’s Day (hint: it’s absolutely rammed with Americans and Aussies!). We went back again in 2008 to see some family and also buy an engagement ring, and then I had to fly over a bunch for work around 2011-2013 but those trips were mostly in-and-out on the same day, dealing with a difficult client. But it’s been long enough now that I’m mostly over the pain of those awful work trips, and since I had a spare day to wander around the city centre, I thought I’d revisit a few of the fabric shops I reviewed back in 2008.
While I’ve got mixed feelings that the Woolen Mills is no longer a source for haberdashery (mixed because I’m sad it’s closed down, but happy because it’s now a sister restaurant to our favourite restaurant in Dublin, The Winding Stair), I’m pleased to report that Hickeys on Henry Street is still going strong!
The origins of this dress are a bit “chicken and egg” – did I think about making the Breton tee dress from the latest Great British Sewing Bee book first, or did I decide I finally wanted to cut into the hefty black and white striped ponte in my stash first? I’m not entirely sure of the order, but I do like it when a plan comes together which doesn’t involve me buying anything more!
The Belgian pattern magazine La Maison Victor is usually something I hunt down while we’re in France (the Eurotunnel Calais newsagent being an reliable stockist!). But LMV expanded last year into translating in German (on top of Dutch/Flemish and French), meaning it’s available in Germany now, too.
It wasn’t quite as easy to find as the many flavours of Burda, or even Ottobre, but the major train stations in Berlin seemed to stock it, and it was the only pattern magazine I purchased during our trip. Boxing up all of my pattern magazines when I moved into my new sewing room showed me how many I have already, so I’m a bit more judicious in buying them these days – there’s got to be at least one “Must Make!” in an issue for me to buy it.
Luckily, I know La Maison Victor always has a good range of patterns, excellent illustrated instructions (you really don’t need to speak the language, honest!), and beautiful presentation, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Hoo boy. Last month’s Burda roundup sure divided opinion! Thankfully, October’s edition sees us deep into Fall fashion, with hardly a dirnd- oh wait… 😒