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

365 Project – Week 12

Welcome to week 12 of #365 days of stitching and also post 200 of this blog! There’s not been a whole lot of stitching this week as I’ve been working on clearing stuff out as making changes to work but I still got a few things finished.

78/365 –  Pretty proud of this collar, can’t say the same for the cock up I made on the sleeve but hopefully I’ll be able to fix it.

79/365 – Worked on finishing off my Nuuk sweater. I hate picking up stitches, mainly because I’m a perfectionist.

80/365 – Made a lot more budget purses for the shop, which should be going up this week.

81/365 – Finished the sleeves.

82/365 – Have mostly been knitting this as my sewing space is out of action whilst I get on with this clear out. Having a fabric and pattern clear out, which will also be going on Etsy this week (hopefully).

83/365 – Started working on this scarf again. Hopefully a sample for the new shop.

84/365 – Finished the Nuuk sweater, just needs blocking. Despite swatching for this I still managed to knit it larger than it should have been, also had one ball of wool left over, so I could have knit it a bit longer. So my next one I’m going to knit a size smaller and longer. One day I’ll get the hang of the gauge thing.
And that was this weeks stitching. I’m a little worried about next week as I have a lot of work to get through before the end of March. Hopefully it won’t be all knitting pics, as I’m still concerned that this project is getting a bit samey but only 281 days to go!!! But then I guess that’s real life really, this project isn’t a curated Instagram project, it’s very cutaneous which at times comes across as not very spontaneous at all, if that makes any sense.

365 Project – Week 11

Welcome to week 11, this week I started sewing my spring and summer wardrobe as there was a definite spring vibe this week and the weather is a touch warmer in that I haven’t needed my winter coat much.

71/365 – So I started off with some shirts. I wanted them to be slightly longer to wear with leggings but turns I didn’t have enough for either, so they were normal length and the eye print is going to be long sleeve and the bear print sleeveless but will need some adjustment as I forgot to account for the fact that armholes on sleeved items sometimes run a little bigger! You live and learn!

72/365 – Finished the Alpha Beta Gaga dress just need to find time to photograph it for a blog post.

73/365 – New patterns arrived from Named Clothing, can’t wait to see what’s in their new collection  when it’s released on Wednesday.

74/365 – More purses from project remnants! The great clear out is slowly getting there.

75/365 – Using up more leftover fabric and found some metallic coloured leather I’ve been hoarding for whatever reason and so more purses and cardholders. this will be the last of the bags and purses for a while, then moving on to clearing out the hair accessory supplies.

76/365 – More progress on the Nuuk sweater, hopefully will finish this by the end of the month.

77/365 -Went and bought some button for my  Salal cardigan and also came back with some new yarn for another one as I really like the fit of this cardigan. Also some new crochet hooks with wider handles to hopefully stop hand cramp and some Aida fabric for my embroidery/cross stitch projects. There is a blog post imminent but I’m finally opening up my new shop this year and moving towards my intended goal.