Summer Of Selfish Sewing

selfish sew

Does that sound bad? Probably but learning to be a bit selfish is not always a bad thing, in fact sometimes it is necessary but this isn’t a psychology post so let’s move on!

At the beginning of the year I set myself some challenges and then I got a bit overwhelmed because work too over, the last few months I’ve been busily trying to fill up my vintage shop and run down old handmade stock so that I can start work on my new shop which is concentrating on making stuff that is more me and less generic run of the mill goods which I feel that I’ve been making, we’re calling those the practice years. So this means I haven’t really had much time to do any sewing or making of anything and that’s why I joined the vintage pledge to help me get back into sewing.

I managed to squeeze in a custom order for someone I know but I was so under pressure that I made a decision not to take on any custom orders until I feel that I can properly dedicate time to it. Also I need to gain more confidence and practice in my knitting skills.

But I digress, just because I haven’t had time to sew doesn’t mean I haven’t had time to buy fabric, in fact a buying ban is now in effect, though I did preorder some lush and very expensive fabric from the Outback Wife collection which has been pushed back until June so I still have a bit of time to sew something and make space for that.

But yes a buying ban is in effect until after our holiday (at least) and I’m going on a stash diet because look at this work room!!!! And this is the ‘tidy’ corner!!!

craft room

This is a combination of work and personal supplies, the wicker shelves house most of my art supplies and I really should retitle this post the Summer of Selfish Sewing and Making Art because I’ve been promising myself far too long that I will start making art again. Some of he tubs contain work supplies and once I’ve finished the bulk of Etsy listing (because lets’ face it, it never really ends) I’m going to decide what to actually make with them! The great big spring clean has been extended to a summer clear out as I’ve decided to stop being that lazy person who sends stuff either to the charity shop or recycling centre and try to sell some of it first and if that doesn’t work, recycle somehow in my projects before sending it to the recycle centre!

To be honest using up my stash is a rolling project, every year I’m like I’m gonna clear all this out before buying anything and I get part way through and replace it with twice the amount of stuff, hence why we are now at critical mass and literally have no more room. So summer project is to sew myself that wardrobe I keep saying I’m going to sew and then putting it off for whatever reason.

I’m taking my time on the new business, I want my designs to be me and so I need time to work on these and produce work that I’m happy with. I also need to reduce my workload currently as I’m reminded that I am just one person running a business and forget that you have to take on all the roles of a business and not just the ones you like and then pass off the rest to an assistant which would be awesome right now but obviously unrealistic! But I need to find more time for personal time, so am keeping weekend work free because you have to set boundaries.

So I will report back at the end of summer and see if by some small miracle I managed to exercise some restraint and not buy any more fabric or yarn and also got my butt into gear and made something! Though I definitely will because I need to make some clothes for our holiday.

Alpha Beta Gaga Dress


lempi dress named clothing 2

I’ve been meaning to add some more black and white pieces to my wardrobe for a while now. I actually have this material in three colour ways, white and orange, white and black and black and white. I mainly bought it because it was pretty cheap and perfect for toiles. Most of my toiles end up wearable and although cheap, this fabric is pretty decent for its price. I’m not sure I’ll end up wearing the white and orange colourway but it’s getting good use for mock ups and experiments.

lempi dress named clothing 4

I bought this pattern a while ago, I think probably in the Black Friday sales. As you already probably know, shirt dresses are a particular favourite of mine and I’m always looking for new variations.  I also decided I needed to add in a lining which wasn’t incorporated into the instructions but turned out not to be as scary or as hard as I thought. It also meant I finally got to use belt hole puncher/rivet thingy I got from Lidls a few years ago!

lempi buttons and belt

Despite having tonnes of buttons, I don’t have a lot of matching buttons and had to go and get 9 large buttons for this dress. The belt buckle I raided out of my vintage stash which is why it looks slightly random.

lempi pockets

The side pockets were the fiddliest but only because I was attaching a lining. First I made sure I cut the front lining minus 5cm from the edge  up to the fold point, so that it would sit neatly in the button band. I also cut in a few inches shorter at the hem. The only reason I added a lining was because the material was a little too see-through, which is why I don’t really wear white.

I then secured in place when finishing off the button band and finally I finished off the belt and the hem line and sewed on the buttons. I made a bit of a hash job with some of the button holes, half came out fine, the other half not so great. Not sure what happened there but needless to say buttonholes are have gone on my nemesis list along with zips! These photos have also reminded me I need to add a snap button to deal with gapage due to too much boobage!

lempi dress 3

All in all I like this pattern, the instructions were easy to follow, there were a lot of pieces to cut out and iron interfacings on to in prep of making this dress but the actual construction was pretty easy. Adding a lining wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, in retrospect I should have attached the lining to the sleeves before attaching the collar but I’ll know for next time.

lempi dress 4

Things I would do differently next time are probably choose only one set of pockets, I think I prefer the outer pockets and would raise them up a bit. I might also lose the sleeves as I quite like going sleeveless, especially in the summer. A thought has crossed my mind that if I were to lengthen the sleeves this might also make a nice trench coat but that’s an experiment for later down the line.

lempi dress 2

This is officially my 5th item of the year. I was little apprehensive about this pattern especially with adding in the lining and I’m not sure 4 pockets are really necessary but it was definitely good practice. Also as you can see from the photos with this grid pattern, it looks a little better with just a plain black belt which I think helps break up the outfit a little.

I’m not sure I like the sleeves on the dress but it could just be the material and the fact that I usually prefer sleeveless dresses. I used a cotton fabric I bought for practice makes, this is technically a toile, so I’m not too fussed over the mistakes. I’m a little concerned it looks a bit too much like a funky lab coat or maybe that’s just because I’m not used to wearing white! Though you can see my love of grids has not waned.

And that is the Alpha Beta Gaga Dress, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences of sewing up this pattern.

lempi dress named clothing

Pattern -Lempi Button down dress by Named Clothing
Material – 100% cotton fabric
Style -Modern
Size – 42
Post Title -Alpha Beta Gaga by Air

Tropical Themed Fabric Haul

fabric haul

After having a little clear out of some old fabrics and then the start of the vintage pledge, I decided to stock up on some tropical themed fabrics I’ve had my eye on. Unfortunately when I went to buy them, one of them had sold out but they still had it in another a colourway, so after umming and aahhing I opted for that.

This year I’ve been buying a lot more cream and white fabrics which means I need to go and stock up on some lining. My sewjo has waned a little over the last few months but my clear out project for work is nearly complete and my work room is no longer chaos and soon I’ll be able to get back to sewing and also taking some outfit posts of stuff I’ve already made!

But back to today’s post, I have about four or five online retailers I go to get fabric depending what’s in stock at the time. They all so far have been very reliable and very speedy with their shipping.

To start off with I got this tropical beach in Indigo fabric by Sevenberry  which is Made in Japan and I got from The Village Haberdashery.

tropical ech by sevenberry

It’s cotton and has a really nice drape to it, it’s £14 a metre but I used some of my stash points (a loyalty scheme) to get a small discount. I bought 3 metres and I do have an actual plan for this fabric which might man frankensteining two different patterns together.

Next up was my Fabric Godmother order. All these are a linen/cotton mix at £9 a metre

monkey puzzle in orange

This Monkey Puzzle print I originally wanted in the blue colourway but it sold out. I’m thinking culottes or shorts for this.

pink pineapples

The pink pineapples I think I will use to make a 70s style maxi dress from a pattern in my stash. These cotton/linen mixes are quite lightweight and a bit see through, so will need a lining.

mega pineapple

I’m on a bit of theme here but I couldn’t resist this mega pineapple print! These pineapples are about 30cm long, so I’m not sure yet what to make with it. I’m thinking maxi skirt or use this as a skirt on a dress with a black top. I need to think this one through but I’m swaying towards maxi skirt. Alternatively they will make great cushion covers!

Lastly I got this Frida inspired border print by Alexander Henry from Fabrics Galore.

frida border print by alexander henry

frida by alexander henry

There will definitely be a pencil/wiggle skirt whether it be attached to a dress or just on its own. I’m thinking I need to make more combo pieces, so I can mix and match stuff.

So that my little haul, all I need to do now is wash them and sort out some patterns ready for some sewing!

Have you got any sewing plans for this summer?

Tasha x

A Vintage Pledge


I took part in last years Vintage Pledge and much to my surprise I came in as a runner-up in one of the categories. Although it wasn’t for certain if the pledge would be running this year, Marie from A Stitch Odyssey still set up a pledge board on Pinterest for those who wanted to share this year’s makes, and I asked to join as an incentive to keep up with sewing pledges this year.

I got off to a good start this year but the last month thanks to a myriad of reasons I’ve slacked off the making part a bit, mainly because of work but I’m determined to get my sewing mojo back (as soon as I find my sewing table this mound of work). So when Marie posted that the Vintage Pledge was back I started to think about what I could pledge to make this year.

So I decided to split my pledge into two parts.

Part one is to finish all unfinished vintage makes from last year, this includes a few dresses, some shirts and a pair of Capri pants in the most amazing vintage daisy print denim I scored at VLV19 last year.

Part two I had to think about a little more. I bought some patterns last years from Wearing History and so definitely want to make those up this includes a 1930s jacket, a pair of 1940s work overalls (dungarees) and some 1930s sports togs which are a pair of trousers and a blouse. Not sure about the 1940 playsuit set that I also got.

I also want to work from patterns that I haven’t used yet to add a bit of variety to my wardrobe but I think that will be a decision to make which ones as I go along. I’ve also been on a bit of a fabric spree and bought some lovely retro style print fabrics, mostly a tropical theme.

So that’s my pledge, I haven’t set a specific number but it’s also good to know knitted items are included as I have two volumes of A Stitch in Time to choose from as well. Let me know if you are joining in the pledge, so I can keep up with your makes on your blog or Instagram.


2017 Me Made Wardrobe Plans

This year I’m taking a more vintage approach to my wardrobe style, I was very much into vintage as a part of my style until I became self employed and then ended up mostly wearing jeans and t-shirt everyday for practicality sake more than anything, then my style just kind of waned a little. But I’ve been working on that since last year after going back to the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly festival last year, I was totally inspired by the vintage style again and have slowly been adding vintage and me made repro pieces to my collection.

I did this by also joining the Vintage pledge last year, I didn’t quite meet my target of a piece from every era from the 40s to the 80s but I did manage to get a few pieces in my wardrobe and ready for the festival.

After that I started have problems with my fluctuating weight/ food intolerances again which kind of put me off making clothes until the problem settled. Having to constantly resize clothes is a pain! Which is why I slightly changed my plan for January’s sew list. I do want to lose some weight because I do have a lot of clothes in my wardrobe that I love and don’t currently fit and I want to wear them. Like my favourite sparkly blue vintage lurex dress, a coral shirt dress and some dresses I got last year. I don’t do diets but I do need to exercise more and definitely eat less sugar! I know this is the time of year when diet fads and exercise programmes are thrown at you left right and centre but to be honest my aim to be healthy all year round but also not to deprive myself of treats! Not that I have justify my weight loss to anyone or health regime to anyone but sometimes it feels hard to find a balance between the sides. Anyhoo, moving onwards as that will probably be my only mention of health and weight this year on this blog!

So I managed to get a bunch of stuff finished at the last minute in December as I worked my way through the unfinished projects pile and so have some new pieces for this summer, only to find that none of them fit (see above) and so am moving on to making some new clothes that don’t really require much alterations if I do end up losing a few inches here and there, like the Lempi dress but we also know how much I love shirt dresses!

It will be mostly repro and vintage patterns with a few modern styles thrown in, there are some trousers and a dresses I really want to add to my wardrobe, I’ve been busy buying a few patterns and fabric for specific items in the Black Friday and Post Christmas sales. I’ve been laundering fabric and have a make diary to record projects and notes on each one. The make list seems quite long but that’s mainly for choice, I don’t actually plan on making everything, though I would like to make on average at least one thing per week! So I guess my ultimate goal is 52 items this year including knitted pieces!!!

I’m also hoping to blog at least once a week on things I’ve made clothes wise, each year I want to up my skills and I never got round to making trousers or a jacket like I wanted to but it’s definitely on the top of this years clothes making agenda! I also want to make more tops.

If the Vintage Pledge runs again this year, I will definitely be taking part and I will be writing a little bit more about vintage/retro life and also style and fashion in general as well because it’s a topic that interests me and has different meanings to people, and it would be nice to explore that.

I was also be carrying on with my knitting and adding a few more pieces that way, hopefully some socks and maybe a knitted dress!

What on you me made wardrobe list this year?