I’m thinking about sewing my own clothes, now what?

“Should I just wing it?”

Put. The. Scissors. Down.

No, seriously, don’t wing it – read my suggestions below for pattern companies, where to buy fabric, what fabric to buy, what to do when the first thing you make is shit… etc.

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Lois Dress Hacks

The Lois Dress from Tessuti is probably my favourite Summer sewing pattern. I know that is a big call for a very simple dress, but:

  1. The skirt construction means it doesn’t fly up in Summer winds
  2. It has my favourite flattering v-neckline
  3. You won’t burn your back or shoulders wearing it

But I do feel there is so much more I could be doing with it…

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Juice Boxes All Round!

Are you looking for a reliable wine subscription box, which is customisable, fun, and reliable? Spoiler: I’ve found one!

I am not earning much money, but while I could go with Angel Wines or VinoMofo and get a cheap pack, I don’t trust their reliability. Often those kinds of businesses organise bulk deals where quality isn’t the priority. I’ve decided I value quality wine and customer service – and Diggin’ in the Cellars delivers on both fronts! By the way – all these opinions are my own; I’m not currently associated with Diggin’ in the Cellars in any way, and I have paid for everything I talk about in this review.

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Brioche or Bust

What did everyone do during the waves of lockdown? We had big plans. Learn a new language, practise meditation and kindness, read the Booker prize longlist, finally write that novel. What most of us did? Battled to remember our mother tongue, became increasingly cranky, anxious and depressed, binged on Netflix in our pjs. I bought a subscription to Coffee Break Spanish and watched The Spanish Princess. In English.  Hola, ¿Que tal?

But I did learn brioche. 

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DIY Rattan Handbag Lining

I’m not really a bag person. I have a Camper backpack for uni/travel, an Antler check-in suitcase, a hiking backpack, and my handbag. My current handbag is from Oliver Bonas, I bought it in 2017 when I was in Glasgow. It’s actually a great bag – it has multiple pockets which are great for smuggling or securing meds/treats from nosey dogs.

But my perpetual gripe with handbags is the lining. How do you ever get them clean? I always have at least one pen on me so the inside my bags always look like an ink crime scene.

Some of the links included in this post are affiliate links, which means I may get a small kickback if you purchase through them. Thanks for supporting this blog! Hxx

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The Perfect Persephones

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase through the links provided you’re helping to support the blog. Thanks!

Back in June, in that brief, happy period between Melbourne’s lockdowns, my little sister came over for her birthday wearing the most gorgeous navy cord, slightly wide-leg, high-waist jeans. She’d also had her hair cut into a very 1920s-come-2020s wavy bob. She just looked so sophisticated and casually glamorous.

I couldn’t copy her hair when the hairdressers all closed, but I could copy the cords! And I have finally managed the perfect fit of the Anna Allen Persephone Pants!

By the way, have you subscribed to this blog or our YouTube channel? It really helps me keep my motivation up to post, so I’d appreciate it!

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Sewing Retreat Wrap Up

Oops! I just noticed this sitting in the drafts, 5 months on… Sorry Catty! Sorry also that there aren’t more photos – I’ll try to find and add some soon.

Helen xx

Nine days. Big plans! I was going to sew up a storm, update my sewing journal, read some books, schedule in French practice…My plans were:

Finish the Merchant and Mills Clementine Skirt

Finish Style Arc Crystal Over Shirt (which was already cut out)

A Simplicity A-line skirt

Lander Pants

Dawn Jeans

Moji pants

2 x Cielo tops

2 x Molly tops

Grainline Renfrew t-shirt

Tilly & the Buttons Indigo dress.

The first day of the sewing retreat was spent lamenting what we had failed to pack/organise which resulted in an emergency trip to Mornington. That meant that I also printed out the Bryn Seamwork dress. This was a good thing.

The second day we went into Cowes for more supplies of things, including some scrap fabric for the pocket bags of my Clementine skirt. I was anxious to crack on with that while Helen was with me as she has done a Ginger Jeans workshop. She was great moral support with the pocket bags which I tackled that evening. However, the first thing I actually made was a happy accident. Helen ran out of fabric and I knew there was some green linen in my ENORMOUS suitcase of ‘just-in-case’ fabric. So she cut into it and then I decided to see if I could get a Cielo from the leftovers. I could. So I did. Discovered I had some cream linen ‘just-in-case’ bias binding and a whole case of ‘just-in-case’ buttons. Perfect!

That meant that the next make had to be the Moji pants as I had nothing to wear with the Cielo top. I used a beautiful silver sage twill for these and I’m delighted with the result. This is the third pair of Moji pants I’ve made and this time I scrapped the cuff and I’m pleased I did.

Next I did some mindless overlocking of the Lander pants and placed the back pockets on to the pieces, hand-sewing them. This meant I’d cut into my denim and, looking at, I thought there was possibly enough for the A-line skirt pattern I’d bought, thinking I’d cut it from some cotton stretch sateen I had brought with me.  I used it for the denim instead and lickety split – with a few zipper supply problems – had a straight skirt from that.

That brought my grasshopper attention back to the cotton sateen which I thought might make a Bryn. It did. Another Bryn followed – great shift pattern. Very easy to sew and to wear. The Clementine was looking too big by this stage, so I put it on the back burner.

Helen went home, the weather turned cold and I thought I’d make a Molly top with sleeves from a pretty stretch cotton/linen I’d originally thought would make a new nightgown. I stitched that up and wore it the same night – good, straight forward pattern and it kept me warm!

My husband and mother turned up the next day by which time I’d sewn the Indigo dress – so many gathers! – and made another Costa Tote – because there was still pesky denim leftover!

What did I learn? Don’t put your house on the market the day you disappear for a sewing retreat!
Have a checklist and delegate responsibility for certain items.
Make time to check your supplies – haberdashery, patterns and fabric.
It’s so much easier to sew in a space where you can spread things out!
Also, I can make a good portion of a seasonal wardrobe in a concentrated few days.

I declare the 2020 summer sewing retreat a success!

The Ilford Jacket, a new home and the plague.

Just before the first Melbourne COVID19 lockdown, we moved. It was great timing – before the tight rules on social distancing made it all a little more nightmarish. It was lousy timing – we’d imagined a family&friends-friendly home with its pool table, spa and lawn. A lawn! In the Hills. Rare.

Then, of course, the lockdown. Which forced us all back on our resources. Craftily, my own survive-the-apocalypse stash had survived my husband’s attempts to minimalise.

Enter the sewing splurge….

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