…and the livin’ is easy

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I know it’s been a long time coming, but I finally have the time to write about something that has been on my mind for…. well over about 18 months now (but there is a sort of resolution, if you stick with it!)

Before we went away last year I wanted to sew something for myself, something I don’t think I’ve done since I was at Uni (literally half my lifetime ago). I have sewn for Niblet, for my dad, for my nephew and niece, but nothing for me. I have quite a few patterns that I have picked up here & there (on magazines, going for a song in the shops) but haven’t really contemplated them properly.

When I came to look for something to make, I was horrified to find that not 1 of my patterns was any use to me. I know I am not a skinny minnie and generally take a size 18 in the shops. I, mistakenly, thought I would probably get away with maybe a 22 in Patternland, but no… according to the ruler of Patternland I am a size…. that none of my patterns goes up to.

Aside from wanting to cry (a lot) I resigned myself to never making anything for myself again, which is a shame because I have very many patterns I really want to make, especially the Esme top/tunic from Lotta Jansdotter’s gorgeous Everyday Style book.

I ended up buying a top from White Stuff  before going away last year to cheer myself up from the self-loathing brought on by being told by the ruler of Patternland that I am a heifer. I have worn it rather a lot and consequently it is giving up under one armpit (I have tried, unsuccessfully, to mend it). It is a style that I like and think is reasonably flattering, and is similar to Esme.

Well, last week, thanks to the fantastic Clone Your Closet course run by Ministry of Craft, that I went on in May, I finally made myself something. I took the White Stuff top (and an M&S linen top) along to the course make a pattern from it, which I managed quite well. (I also squeezed in pretty much all of the other top, but have yet to get around to finishing all the pieces.)

I was really fired up after the course and started making a ‘wearable toile’ out of a groovy 70’s duvet cover, however with only pattern pieces and no instructions I was learning on the job. Having to try and set up on the dining room table every night after Niblet is in bed means it is difficult to get much done in one go and hard to maintain any sort of momentum, so the toile got 3/4 done and then fell by the wayside.

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Last week Niblet went on a ‘mini-break’ to Grandma’s for 3 nights, so the dining table could be fully occupied by a sewing machine and accompanying gubbins without having to pack it all away every night. I managed to complete a new version of ‘the top’ with some lovely fabric I bought when we were in Paris in June (more on that another time – as I may get a bit blog happy again for a few weeks!), I also made a scarf (more fabric from Paris) and started on a project that has been in my head for about 6 years.

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I have worn my new top 3 times already, although it does not drape quite the same as the original (slightly stiffer fabric) I really rather like it. Now I have made one and learned some top tips from the magical interweb about various construction techniques, hopefully next time I attempt to make one it will be quicker and easier. It’s just a shame I only have that 1 pattern to work from.

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check out the finishing on this…

Quick note: After writing this, I went for a trawl through the many weeks I have missed of blog posts from people I follow and wouldn’t you know it Karen posted about No Patterns Needed, the sort of book I might find useful. I had a quick look on Amazon and while I really like the top Karen made, I’m not sure there is enough in it that I fancy. I did however discover a few other books that may tempt me back for a second look.

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