I’m a big fan of chenille. I’m currently writing this while underneath a big chenille blanket, and J has several big chenille jumpers (sweaters) that he pretty much lives in all winter long. So when Textile Express shared photos on their Instagram of a new stretchy chenille jersey, I literally hit the Buy button within seconds!
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.
I’ve been trying to sew down my stash a lot this year – picking projects that use up fabric I’ve already got (and love!) rather than buying new and running out of space in the little wardrobe that holds my fabric stash. So just before Christmas I was finally starting to recover from the dreaded flu and thought my sewing mojo could really use a boost in the form of a Quick Knit, err, Dress! Usually I sew a Quick Knit Top to boost my mood but this time I fancied a dress instead, and I had just the fabric to use.
I bought this particular fabric from the FabWorks stall at the Great British Sewing Bee Live show back in 2017 and I knew it’d make for a great and comfortable winter dress. I’m not often drawn to prints but I loved that this one was a floral with pixellation in places on a super stretchy but lightweight French terry, so it would be warm and very easy to wear through winter.
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.
As I mentioned last week, this past weekend was the first one in about a month where I wasn’t working, and I totally planned to fill it with as much Fun Sewing as possible!
First up was a “statement sweatshirt” using some luscious galaxy print ponte leftover from my birthday dress. I love that dress, but I loved the fabric so much that I wanted to be able to wear it with jeans and in casual settings where that va-va-voom sheath dress couldn’t really go.
I don’t usually sew from Big Four patterns as they’re so freaking expensive here, but in order to get the cheapest price on the Kwik Sew leggings pattern for my Like the Wind workshop, I had to become a Sew Today member, which came with my choice of two free patterns. After a bit of a think, I selected McCalls 6992 and McCalls 7026, which I actually frankpatterned together here!
Seen here paired with my Donna Karan denim-look leggings
It’s usually my experience that Big Four patterns have way too much ease, and this was no different. My measurements put me squarely as a Size 16, but after a peek at the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern, I saw that a 14 would be plenty big enough, and that’s what I cut. Really, a 16 would’ve just drowned me.
I decided to use some black scuba from Tia Knight for the contrast raglan sleeves and neck band, and I bought enough to make a skirt from the same yardage, which you’ll see later this week!
I’ve been a bad blogger this week. I’ve been doing lots (as you’ll soon see), but working every weekend for the past three, plus the weeks in between, and some out-of-town trips have all really sapped my enthusiasm to write! So I’m taking the lazy option out and catching you all up with a little roundup – a week’s worth of posts in a day…
Like the Wind workshop
Cult running magazine Like the Wind approached me a few months ago to ask if I’d like to run a “sew your own leggings workshop” at the week-long popup they were throwing together at the end of October. I’d known one half of the husband-and-wife team that run the magazine, but I’d never met Julie before this. Once I found out that she not only owns her own overlocker, but bought it when she sewed her own wedding dress with it(!), I knew we’d get along just fine.
We had five runners who’d only done a small amount of sewing before, but had never touched an overlocker before, and certainly not a coverstitch either! They each picked their own fabric from FunkFabrics’ range, and walked home in some very stylish leggings at the end of the afternoon!
Georgina picked a “Gotham” print, so of course she just had to pose with the Batman art in the gallery!
And here’s the finished set! I saw quite a few little “omg I’m so happy in my leggings” dances at the end, which really reminds me why I love teaching so much. Lucy posted a great writeup of the street art tour and my class, too.
There may be another Like the Wind workshop in the new year if we can work out the logistics, but there will definitely be more up at the Thriftystitcher studio in January and February, to be announced very soon! The classes are very similar, so if you’re a runner you can come learn at Thriftystitcher, or non-runners vice-versa at Like the Wind.
But I was so jealous of all their finished leggings that I treated myself to some Funkifabrics lycra this week (it was difficult, but I settled on this geometric aqua number in the end, because it reminded me of a Lamb album cover!).
Random sweatshirt sewing
When I was pulling out supplies to bring along to the workshop, I came across pieces for this sweatshirt that I’d cut out in February when I was trying to deplete random bits of leftover sweatshirting that was taking up too much room in my little sewing cave. The lavender “sacrificial sweatshirt” came out of that same cull, but for some reason I never quite got around to sewing this blue one together at the time.