stealing from my unborn daughter

Since I envisage spending quite a lot of time in my pyjamas and other ‘forgiving’ clothes for the next few weeks and months, I decided that I needed a dressing gown. I haven’t had one for a few years and well, I fancied one.

Enter Simplicity 1563 which I already had from making a dressing gown for my Dad a year or two ago. I remember it being pretty straight forward and since the pattern nauseatingly states that it’s for both “guys and gals”, this gal gave it a go. I also remembered that per Simplicity’s usual MO, it comes out massive. I cut the size XS and it accommodates by 9 month belly perfectly.

This post also serves as an apology for my unborn child – I was saving this fabric for her. I had had it for a long time but once we knew she would be arriving I thought I would keep it and make something – anything – for her out of it. But the need for a dressing gown came sooner than the baby so, there we are. Sorry Baby! I promise I’ll take you to the natural history museum and let you buy any dinosaur tat that you can find.

Clearly I didn’t have enough of the dinosaurs so made do (or, in fashion parlance – made a feature out of the design lines) with grey scrap fabric that I think was once a jersey sheet.

Another design decision – I forgot to put the pockets in. I’m relatively annoyed about this but not so much that I can be bothered unpicking the side seams to put them in.

The pattern includes a really generous hem allowance on the sleeves but I left them quite long because I find it cosier. And who doesn’t love that realisation that your sleeve has been sitting in your bowl of cereal..

If you’re in the market for a dressing gown then this pattern is worth a shot. But get it when it’s on sale. And make about a million sizes smaller than you think you need. And for goodness sake, ignore the t shirt pattern that’s included, trust me. And the pj bottoms are a bit odd too. And it takes longer than the two hours that it’s supposed to. On second thoughts, there are probably better patterns out there.
Go and make yourself a cup of tea, sit in the sunshine and research them on your laptop.


Blast from the indie-sewing-world past

Happy 2018

Do you remember when Sewaholic was the company that was really hip and that everyone was talking about? That seems very 2013 now. Last I heard the company was sold and not much has happened since then. It doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with their patterns though, particularly for us pear shaped people, who the designs are especially drafted for.
The Belcarra was one of the first indie patterns I paid real money for and I’ve probably sewed it six or seven times over the years, to varying degrees of wearability. Happily I now have a new one to add to the collection.

It’s black I’m afraid so you’re going to have to believe me when I tell you about the details.

The fabric is actually jersey, although not very stretchy jersey so I just went with it. Having sewed the pattern a few times I knew that there was some leeway for my lackadaisical following of fabric requirements. Besides, I am the owner of a changing body and jersey is my friend.
The fabric itself came from the market here and has flocked leopard print all over it.

All the seams are just narrowly zig zagged and then overlocked. I know I could have only overlocked them but didn’t feel 100% confident in the stability of that.

Standard twin needle finish on the neckline – taking it definitely into ‘t-shirt’ rather than ‘blouse’ territory

I took it out for coffee today at a new to me place which immediately got in my good books because they were projecting an old Fred and Ginger film onto the wall:

I’m not actually praying in either of the above two photos. The first was taking a photo of the projected film and the second was because, you know, coffee.

The t-shirt fits perfectly over the bump and, as per usual, I refused to make any alterations to make it maternity friendly so I’m sure it won’t fit me until the end of my pregnancy but should be fine for afterwards. Swings n roundabouts.

So my words of wisdom are, don’t necessarily go chasing after the shiny new patterns that get released every week into the world, dig out your old favourites too!

Also, use your scraps for underwear.

(that’s a Seamwork Florence btw)

Off-White Christmas

Apropos of nothing – I’ve made a jumper
I’m not entirely convinced that I really needed one but the thought struck me so there we are.
The fabric is a really soft and fairly thick sort of fake cable knit from the market that was €4 per metre. I have an irritating amount left. What can you do with sweater-weight fabric apart from sweaters? I usually make underwear with scraps but this fabric would make some heavy duty pants..

For the ‘pattern’ I just lay down a jumper that I already owned (a brilliantly nonsensical one that has letters but no words at all, no matter how carefully strangers try to read my chest in the streets) and cut around it. I didn’t bother tracing it onto paper first, just went straight in with the scissors. YOLO.

Here’s the original:

I actually think that it’s a bit long to be practical so for my new version I took about 15cm off the bottom

I made a slightly curved hem which isn’t very well captured in this picture but here it is anyway:

Being bloody minded I made absolutely no changes to account for it being essentially maternity-wear currently which has resulted in a few pulls in certain places but I’d much rather have some slight fit issues than most people probably wouldn’t notice than an item of clothing that only lasts me a few more months

In a way I wish that I hadn’t cut the V neck so low as it means I have to be vaguely picky about what I wear underneath it which is kind of annoying. Ah well, too late now.

I really like the off white colour but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this time next year I write a post about how I had to dye it navy blue to cover up all the baby sick/poo/milk stains. Roll on 2018. I can’t wait.

lumps and bumps

The red pen drew me in, it always does. It means something is on sale.
In this case, the red pen of destiny took 50% off the price of this Burda maternity pattern

It’s fairly ugly but I was willing to give it the time of day. I liked the look of the top and the shorts look like they have potential (if not over the winter months in Belgium) and anyway, like I say, it was on sale.

Last weekend I made the top. It’s about as basic as it gets, there’s not even any ruching on the sides or the dipped hem that you sometimes see on maternity tops. It’s more just like a fairly forgiving non-maternity jersey top. Which is fine by me.

The neckline is really wide and I used some starry bias tape on it that now reminds me of pyjamas

Those sleeves though, I’ve really not made my peace with the sleeves. Surely they are just a one stop annoyance shop? Don’t they accidentally get dropped in your bowl of cereal or trapped in doors?

As a card carrying member of the sleeves-always-pushed-up club I’m pretty sure I’ll be lopping these off below the elbow and hemming them there. Then I can happily keep the top as what my Mum would call “a useful layering piece”

I’m wearing it here with what I am very much hoping will be another win. I’ve recently found myself reaching for my one remaining Colette Mabel skirt as it is pretty forgiving on a changing shape and very useful for work and play. This new Mabel won’t be as handy simply because of its colour but I’m fairly optimistic anyway.

I managed to find a very good colour matching thread:

No such luck with the overlocker:

At the moment it goes over the bump quite nicely and I might even be able to wear it under the bump later on. My spotty vest is still putting in some good service

My one concern is that the skirt really does show up all the lumps and and lines of everything going on underneath:

Let’s face it though, I’m going to be wearing it with huge jumpers that almost completely cover it anyway.

I think my maternity wardrobe is pretty much complete. Now to figure out the rest of this child-rearing business..

Simplicity made me grumpy

Behold, I have become that which I did not want to: a different person because I’m growing someone inside of me.
I made up a pattern which I had in my stash even though I wasn’t particularly enamoured by it because I’m now getting to the point where I’m fairly limited by choice for smart-ish things to wear to work.
Simplicity 1469 which I’m pretty sure is now out of print

(image from this eBay sale)

The best thing about the dress is the smallest part of it –

This scrap of fabric. I bought the remnant for 50 cents at this shop in Aachen, Germany along with some other very good quality jersey scraps. It was just large enough for the ‘vest’ of the dress and some underwear.

The worst part of the dress is that I don’t really like it…

This is in no small part due to Simplicity’s well documented issue – what they would call a ‘generous amount of wearing ease’ and what the rest of the sewing world calls ‘ridiculous sizing that could be because of vanity or stupidity but wastes fabric and time’
No, I didn’t check the finished garment measurements and yes obviously that would have helped alleviate some issues but there we are. I made the dress up in a size M which seemed fairly reasonable.
After trying it on I looked like a 9 year old wearing a dress for a large sized adult –

Why are the sleeves so loose? Why is the bust so saggy? And why did I wait so long before trying it on?

By this point it was pretty much done. No small feat actually. It wasn’t tricky, just time consuming so I hung it up and ignored it for a few days before going back and taking it in along the side seams from the sleeve hems to below the waste. This took it down to more or less XS size which is ridiculous and means that anyone who is a ready to wear size 10 or less would be completely sized out of the pattern.

The fit is much better now and I have worn it to work. The grey jersey fabric is lovely and soft and does feel really nice. I can’t remember exactly where it came from I’m afraid.

The vest part is cleverly designed for feeding and similar to what you see in a lot of maternity/nursing RTW dresses

So it’s not all lost, I now have a smart-ish dress to wear which will fit for a while. To make it feel a bit more ‘me’ I wore it with ankle boots and this scarf but it’s just not going to be something I’ll be drawn to. More like something to drag on over my head when there’s someone important due in the office.

Learn your lesson from me, folks. Don’t believe Simplicty’s sizing and don’t sacrifice your personal style because you find yourself with free time, fabric and an untested pattern that happens to be lurking in your stash!

Unflattering for a reason

I’ve made an unflattering red dress!

Why? Well firstly, it’s Autumn so red sweater knit needs to be worn somehow so that’s one thing.

Secondly, I only had a remnant from a charity shop so the pattern choice was very limited.

Thirdly, I have made one or two Deer and Doe Plaintain tees into dresses previously and they always look nicer in my head than in person.

Fourthly, I’m 16 weeks pregnant.

I don’t think that since I’m gestating a human I need to give up trying to find flattering stuff but since my body is changing scarily quickly and all I wanted this week was to own something to wear for work that wasn’t jeans and wasn’t uncomfortable, this is what I’ve gone with.

Construction – it’s just a Plaintain extended in length as far as my fabric remnant would allow. I also decided to zig zag all the seams rather than use a double needle. This was less a design decision and more because I couldn’t be bothered to thread up a second needle. The lethargy is real yo.

I don’t mind it though, it looks kind of like a baseball.

It’s a fine dress, it’s comfortable, I like the colour and it’ll last me until the end of the year.. maybe? But remind me next time that the Plaintain really is just a t-shirt pattern and it’s not big or clever try to extend it into a dress. Let’s face it, I’m not short of actual dress patterns to use!

Happy Autumn all.

reporting for duty

I haven’t disappeared after all. But I haven’t done much ‘proper sewing’ recently.

Until now.

I sewed something that wouldn’t look out of place in my Star Trek Costumes book. I really do have a book of Star Trek costumes. It’s this one and it’s brilliant.

Courtesy of Liola Patterns via IndieSew, I feel like I now have a jumper that could see me through any political mission to Bajor,

some drinks at Quark’s  Bar on Deep Space Nine,

or Bat’leth training with some Klingons

but instead I went out for lunch, then to watch Liverpool get owned by Man City and then back through the park. Not very Federation-like.

apparently I always do this pose.

So this is the Zoe Raglan and while scrolling through IndieSew during some kind of sale I came across it and thought it looked kind of interesting.
I already had the fabric – a huuuuge remnant (like more than four metres kind of huge) of loop back jersey that I nabbed from a charity shop ages ago. The remnant is actually a weird off white/grey colour but it takes really well to dye so that’s what I did. Unfortunately in my excitement I dyed the piece that I’d cut off for this project rather than the pattern pieces themselves and I think it was really a bit too large for the dye to cover evenly so it came out a bit blotchy.
I cracked on with sewing it anyway. The pattern piece for the sleeve is brilliant – as evidenced over on my instagram and while it was slow going marking all those lines it was quite fun.
Sadly I had to piece a sleeve because I had cut out a completely different pattern to start with. It’s not ideal but I’m not cross about it.
You can see the piecing here. You can also see the stitching a bit. It doesn’t feel loose so I’m guessing that it’s just the weave and the fact that the thread colour isn’t a great match.

Once it was made up I decided that I couldn’t live with the splodginess of the dye job so I over-dyed it with a different colour. It’s much better now.

Photographer: “do something interesting with the lamp post”


The pattern has an option to add piping to the shoulders which I deliberated on for a while. I think it’s a cool idea but the ever changing colour of this fabric meant that I couldn’t really find anything that matched so I left it as-is. I wouldn’t exactly call it a ‘pared back’ style but it is certainly less fussy than it could have been!

I was saying spouting some kind of autumn cliché about the colour of the leaves on the tree.

But it is definitely autumn because I had apple pie today. Real apple pie, not from a replicator.