As I mentioned before, I lost my sewing mojo at the end of summer and start of fall. Usually around this time I’d be buzzing with ideas for new, colder weather sewing projects – coats! sweaters! warm running and cycling gear! party dresses! But with shielding continuing long throughout the winter, I literally have no need of any of those things, and my wardrobe is already bursting with clothes (I literally don’t need any more clothes).
I have lost my sewing mojo. I think it occurred because I actually completed both sewing plans I laid out at the start of summer (casualwear and activewear), and then I realised that I really don’t need any more clothes. And with no events on the horizon to sew for, I’m kinda left a bit deflated. I actually sewed this dress a few weeks ago, more for something to do but also because I really liked its sister dress, but with summer waning, I’m not sure how much opportunity I’ll have to wear it.
One aspect that drew me to this project was rediscovering this fabric in my stash when I was hunting around for anything to turn into face masks earlier in the summer. I’d kinda forgotten about this cotton fabric that a friend had bought in Tokyo and brought back for me. Its bright and cheery bottle cap print spoke to me now, bringing a bit of a holiday feel to my home-bound existence. It was a narrow width fabric but my friend had the foresight to buy plenty of it so I didn’t have any struggle fitting McCalls 7381 into it.
Happy Friday everyone! I sewed this a few weeks ago when I was in desperate need of a pick-me-up so I went off-plan for a purely joyful sew! It’s all because of this incredible fabric I found, the Lucha Libre kitties cotton jersey from Like Sew Amazing. I mean, how could I not click buy?!
Sarah had actually had some of this jersey in stock before, but it pretty much sold out immediately – I pounced on this the second I saw she got stock back in, and I’m glad I did, because that round sold out quickly, too. She actually restocked this last weekend, and (yep, you guessed it!) it sold out again. So what I’m saying is, if you want this fabric, definitely follow Like Sew Amazing on Instagram and keep an eye on her IG Stories so you can pounce when she gets another shipment.
I am not a great lover of shorts for non-exercise purposes. I feel that they’re not terribly flattering on me and tend to ride up or bunch up when I move, so I only wear them on the hottest days of the year, and only ever around the boat (never to work!). In fact, I really only ever wear one pair, which I bought at The Gap in 1997 when I was 18. Seriously. But even those are wearing out now with the fabric beginning to disintegrate in places, so I figured now was the time to make a few pairs of shorts for summer to wear around the boat.
First up I thought I’d try the shorts version of the Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants since I’ve already made the trouser-length twice already and loved them, so it was a fair bet that the shorts would work for me, too.
A while back I’d heard of a fabric called “double gauze” that was supposedly perfect for hot weather, but at the time it was really only available imported from Japanese shops and really expensive at that! Fast forward a few years and it’s now much more readily available locally, so when I was in Brighton last August I bought some of their muted teal double gauze fabric (also available in a bunch of other colours), keen to try it out. Double gauze is two layers of cotton gauze/muslin fabric joined together with stitches in a grid pattern which creates a sort of seeersucker or quilted texture. It also means the two layers may not be 100% on grain to each other, and it really likes to shrink in the wash so be sure to pre-wash it.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it though until I saw the perfect day dress in the May 2019 edition of KnipMode magazine (#11, though #12 is a longer version with longer sleeves). The pattern is available to buy online, too, though be aware the instructions are in Dutch.
Like the best comic book superheroes, this dress has an almost unbelievable origin story.
As you know, I’ve been sick with multiple viral infections for months, and have been pretty down about it all. Well, I stepped out of the flat one day a few weeks ago and bam! right on the pavement outside the flat was a Tilly & the Buttons Bettine dress pattern, just lying there! I mean, seriously, what are the chances?
I could’ve just left it there for whomever dropped it to recover, but with rain forecast later in the day I didn’t want it to get ruined and besides, this was the Universe giving me A Sign, and I didn’t feel like I should overlook the only good luck I’d had in months! So I took it home and started fabric shopping immediately.
I can’t start this post today without first sending out a massive, massive THANK YOU to everyone who’ve commented and gotten in touch on all forms of social media to say congratulations on my book deal. The response has absolutely exceeded my expectations and I’ve been overwhelmed by the love, enthusiasm, and confidence you all have in me. Thank you.
Over the last few months, I’ve been working on the book full-time, putting all my energy, thoughts, energy, and even my dreams into the book (no, really – a solution to one of my design problems actually came to me in a dream!). But I know it’s easy to get burned out in a project like this so I try very, very hard to Keep Weekends Sacred and not work on the book. But I still want to do a little bit of sewing here and there (not just sock loom knitting!), so I’ve been doing quick little weekend projects unrelated to the book that I can clear out of my sewing room in time for activewear sewing during the week.
Last month’s issue of Love Sewing magazine included McCalls 7381 free and I thought it looked like a nice little dress to make up over a weekend (if you’re in the States, this pattern’s on sale through the end of today, just fyi!). My stash is absolutely at capacity with fabrics for book samples, so I wanted to use up something I already had and found a Japanese print cotton that my friend Alex brought me back from Tomato in Tokyo last winter. Ideally, the pattern should use something less structured and more flowy than a quilting cotton, but I don’t tend to buy many fabrics like that, so I figured it’d be fine for a casual summer day dress.
This shirt is a bit of a departure for me, both in terms of what I normally wear, but also in terms of what I normally sew. I don’t tend to wear many button-down shirts, because, if I’m because brutally honest, I really can’t be bothered to pick up an iron outside of when I’m sewing! And I don’t usually wear prints outside of activewear, and certainly not Liberty ones (way too twee for me!).
But a few weeks ago, I knew I had the Sewing Weekender coming up and I wanted a project to take along for the open sew session that didn’t involve an overlocker (since there’d be only two for 50 sewists) and that wasn’t anything close to the Work Sewing I’d been doing so much of recently.
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:
The three words in the title may not seem like they naturally go together, but it’s all made possible by the super stretchy denim I bought from Mood when we were in NYC for my birthday in March. The weave definitely looks more like a denim/twill than a knit, but strangely, there’s more lengthwise stretch than widthwise (about 50-60% compared to only about 20%). There’s still plenty of stretch there for them to just pull on with an elastic waistband, and the fit is definitely more “leggings” than “jeans”, despite the denim.
I made these well over a month ago, and I’ve been wearing them pretty much twice weekly since then – they’re unbelievably versatile and so much more interesting than just a basic stretch denim legging (or, ugh, “jegging”). They were one of the last items to be made in my old sewing room, and I’m not entirely sure why it’s taken so long to photograph these, because I really do like them!
There’s no pattern to talk about here, I’m afraid – I just opened my basic leggings sloper in Illustrator and made some modifications to fit what was in my head.
In short, I drew some design lines on the Front where I wanted the pleated panel to be, sliced that off as its own piece, then digitally spread it apart again to have twelve 1cm pleats with 2cm in between. (You can do this really quickly by overlaying a grid onto the pattern piece, splitting it apart, then moving the top (or bottom) piece by the amount you want the total spread to be (in my case, moving it 12 × 2cm=24cm). Then just set those pleat pieces to distribute vertically!) IMHO, this is so much easier then getting out scissors and tape and a ruler and trying to draw out all the pleats myself. I truly am a digital native when it comes to pattern drafting now, I swear!
Worn here with my mustard Drape Drape top – still a favourite 2.5 years later!