Looking back at 2021

Oh wow! What a Year. I’m super grateful for all the unforgettable and amazing experiences that I’ve collaborated on, whether it’s been testing for designers, blogging in return for fabric or being part of an amazing community on Instagram.

It’s been a rather busy one regarding testers as there has been 15 so far … I’ve had to turn away a few because let’s face it, I was burning the candle at both ends and running on empty. But it’s good I know my limits, well sort of – it’s been a steep learning curve!

I’ve been counting up the makes that I’ve made this year and there are over 60 – yes, I’m not sure how I’ve done that but somehow I’ve sewn over 60 garments this year and yes it’s still adding up as the year is not over yet – It’s only mid-December, we’ve still got over a fortnight to go.

I’m always taken aback about how many likes, comments and engagements I receive, I’m still absolutely humbled by the kindness of strangers, some of which, now really good friends that I’ve met IRL, some that I’d love to share a day with and meet. I keep looking at my stats on Instagram and still shake my head in utter disbelief that I’m over 4.1K. It’s been a lot of hard work on my part, but I’ve enjoyed it. Interacting with you, whether it’s been on IG, email, youtube has been one of the best parts of 2021 – it’s kept me going.

My YouTube channel has been organically growing since I picked it back up over a year ago and I enjoy thinking of ways to bring you content on that media. I must admit, it’s hard work doing the editing – but I’ve learnt lots, and still continue to. I often have ideas bubbling over in my head for months before I get the momentum and confidence to actually do it. I was particularly slow at taking up VlogMas due to the commitment thing, but I’m enjoying showing some parts of my day to viewers and subscribers alike.

I’ve not thought about my favourite make of 2021 – yet! I better get thinking though, time is running out. One of my favourites is the Davenport in the pink spotted viscose as part of collab with felicity fabrics and the other is one of my Wildergowns.

Spotty Davenport over on Felicity Fabrics’ Blog
My FPC Wildergown in Fabric (that I bought from Sew Me Sunshine)

You may have noticed a shift with my makes. Earlier this year on my IG stories I shared a whole load of fabric pulled from my fabric stash which I put potential outfits together and asked on stories if it worked. I’ve kinda got a good eye for this and really do get a buzz out of it. This was the start of something huge for me – OH BOY … HUGE!

For me, dresses will always thrill me but I need to and I want to invest in separate pieces such as skirts, blouses, tops, cardigans and of course trousers. My make nine 2021 mirrored that as well, which must have been an underlying catalyst to start this shift from just sewing dresses.

Ok, I’ve not completed my 2021 Make Nine but it’s been my best year so far, In previous years I’ve only completed 1 of those! I’m on the fence about carrying over the makes I haven’t completed/sewn from my make nine 2021 to next year. I still want to make them but feel if there’s a fresh board for nine makes, it might spur me on. There’s still 5 makes on 2021 make nine but I’m taking four and a toile as a win!

My Make Nine 2021 – a win?

I still want to add separates, particularly trousers. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the fitting drama with the Megan Neilson Dawn Jeans. Like many others in the sewing community, the Dawn Curve hasn’t been straightforward. Before I even looked at the instructions I knew it wasn’t going to be straightforward as a pair of culottes (jeezo, I love culottes!) but I think that worked in my favour. I wasn’t overwhelmed – my brain was open to “ok, we can fix this in a rational state .. at some point in the future” (we still need to re-toile them with the adjustments – maybe 2022?!).

Looking at what I need in my me-made wardrobe, has maybe helped me with my fabric stash – ok I’ve been on a ban since the latter half of the year and am due to come off it in January but that hasn’t really made a huge dent in what I’ve got, perhaps this coming year it will, only time will tell. I am in a privileged position to have such a stash and I have to admit still feel overwhelmed with how many projects I have planned or with the actual stash. I have had very successful destahes in the past, most of which have allowed new fabrics into the stash, which beats the point of destashing, doesn’t it? But the ban has opened me to potential outfits from my already existing stash rather than shop, which is good. I’d like to keep pushing myself to use the stash and make new outfits. So I think that’s one pledge I can take into 2022. It’s quite a big pledge.

It’s been a good year for my confidence and sewing. I’ve learnt to really accept my body, whilst others might not – but that is their problem and not mine. I’ve just accepted what I have is me. Sure, I still have many moments in my head doubting if I can pull a certain outfit of but that’s half the battle.

I’ve put a slide show of some of the garments that I’ve made in 2021 for you to enjoy.

As Always – Thank you so much for taking the time to read.

Happy Sewing,

Dreamy Davenports and another fabulous Emma Project!

When Friday Pattern Company contacted me, asking if I like to test there most recent pattern there was no hesitation in saying “yes”.

I’m sure you’ve seen the features of this dress but if you haven’t, here’s a illustration below.

The ruffles and the sleeves were the small details that sold it to me in the first instance. But as I made the tester up, the elasticated neckline and the cinched in waist literally blew my mind (in a good way) !

When the Davenport Dress was released, last Friday (16.4.21) – it was a double celebration as Scotland lifted the travel restriction which of course couldn’t pass by without a photo opportunity at a different location without a beige wall! Now don’t get me wrong, I love my beige walls as they allow the details on my garments to speak for themselves but sometimes you just need a different location!

I’ve had this Dashwood Rayon “the Secret Garden” in my stash for a good while and when Emma said she had bought some of the same fabric another wee collab was in motion. I think I bought it from Lamazi Fabrics way back in the day!

Emma @CoffeeAndGlassSlippers made the By Hand London Anna Dress – and boy, she’s knocking it out the park! Absolutely adore this and I think it’s one of my faves thats she’s made so far, Emma never fails to surprise me with her amazing style and sewing talent. I seemingly remember Emma telling me she got her piece of Rayon from John Lewis in Glasgow and it was half price, I think it was just after the 1st Lockdown and shops were just opened. Half price – Utter bargain!!!

Emma looks absolutely in her Anna Dress in the same fabric.
Swoon!
That jacket is such a great make that Emma made a while ago (another one of my favs!)

I found that the Rayon was a fray magnet. Way worse than the Ravishing Rayon that I used on my Kew Dress.

The Kew Dress by Nina Lee London in Ravishing Rayon by Dashwood Studio

For some unknown reason, I didn’t finish the edges with the overlocker after I cut which is what I usually do. I did, however finish most of the open edges once I put it together.

Ok the pattern is absolutely fabulous, I can’t fault it, so much so I had a second Davenport Dress ready as part of a collaboration with Felicity Fabrics, before the pattern was released, which you can read all about it here.

Davenport Dress in collaboration with Felicity Fabrics!

Both the Rayon and the viscose serve the pattern well with regards to the the ruffles and gathering. It drapes beautifully.

Location location location!

However, both times I had to slow down at the outer waist piece and how to attach that. Also adding the bodice yoke had me for a moment. I somewhat remember that the first time I did the pattern I had to walk away twice because my head wasn’t picking up the instructions right. You know, that cotton wool fuzzy head … uh huh?!

Found a Boulder to sit on!

Im looking to do a third Davenport Dress soon but it will be in a cotton. This pattern in the fabric will be quite different for me but it has such summer like pastel colours I couldn’t say no to it! I also see a hack coming very soon – keep your eyes peeled for that too.

It’s such a comfortable dress to wear.
Catching the rays down at the Cove!

As always, thanks for reading. I’ll probably talk about both Davenport Dresses on my YouTube channel very soon.

Happy Sewing!

Review || The Block Tee by Paper Theory

Disclaimer: I was given the Block Tee from Tara (Paper Theory Patterns) in exchange for my thoughts. I didn’t have to post anything but here you have it!

Image from paper theory – the block tee

Formerly known as the Kabuki Tee it’s been given the new name and now goes under The Block tee.

Line Drawing of the Block Tee

After some feedback and consultation with the community, Tara felt that having no Japanese heritage herself, it was only right to change the the name.

As well as a big name change, The Block Tee has has some small changes in the grading. This was also from feedback from previous customers. The change is small yet will help with the fit on the shoulders. The shoulder grading increments has decreased between the sizes 18-28, so the length of the sleeves aren’t as long.

Making the Block Tee was fun, quick but somewhat challenging as doing sharp right angle turns is not a quick job and you want to take care doing it.

If you are stuck and I was just needing that little extra visual, Tara has a really good video of how to do the Right Handed corners on her website, which helped me a lot.

Without any doubt, I cut two Block Tees’ … yep I didn’t do a toile, yep I’m a bad ass but I had totally faith in Tara’s design. I used linen: mustard yellow from Selvage and Bolts and the green from Blackbird Fabrics.

I graded from a 22 at the arms and bust to a 26 at the hips. I could always go down a size all over since the pattern has lots of ease.

I found that I used under 1.5 metres especially without needing to cut the piece for the bias binding as I wanted to use some of the bindings that I bought from The Specky Seamstress (The “Sewing Appreciation Society” Bias was received as a gift).

It’s quite a handy pattern and I feel I’m going to potential do a Block Tee with some of my scraps (watch out for that!).

I’m pretty chuffed with the results and yes I feel I need to practice these right angles! It’s a lot trickier than I thought but don’t let that put you off. Just take your time and pin pin pin!

Like most makes these days, before I start sewing pieces together, I overlock the edges. One for finish and two, to stop any fraying.

The details of the Block Tee are really smart. I like the lines that it has. It’s just has a different spin on the Box top.

I’m super chuffed that the block tee goes to 57.5”/146cm hip body measurements. It’s got a good amount of ease in it too. It’s going to be a nice staple in my wardrobe, especially in linen over the summer period.

If you haven’t tried The Block Tee yet and would like to give it a try, I’d definitely give you a gentle nudge of encouragement. However (again!), go slow round those corners!

The Mustard Yellow Block Tee Details:

  • Mustard Linen from Selvedge and Bolts
  • Label – “Handmade” This is for Makers
  • Label – “Slowly Does It” The Pink Coat Club
  • Bias Binding “Ruler” – The Specky Seamstress
  • Label – “Sewing is the F♥️cking Best” – Kylie and the Machine.
  • Necklace from Lynsey Walters

The Green Block Tee Details:

  • Green linen from Blackbird Fabrics
  • “Perfect Me” label from Little Rosy Cheeks
  • Bias Binding “Sewing Appreciation Society” – The Specky Seamstress.
  • Gold and white cord necklace from Stitching Me Softly

Happy Sewing!

New Make: Bakerloo Dress

Oh Bakerloo … ha ha (yes easily changed from ABBAs classic “Waterloo” Song.

As part of the new inclusive sizing (18-28), I was part of the tester team for Nina Lee’s newest pattern, the Bakerloo Blouse and Dress.

With it’s Statement collar with a frill and big voluminous sleeves, what more could you want?

You can either go for the blouse or you can add a skirt.

For the tester version I made the dress, yes … I am a sucker for a gathered skirt!

Before we get into the details. I want to say thank you to Nina who, after I reached out when the 6-20 range was released to say I was slightly disappointed to not seeing both of the size ranges being released at the same time, asked me to be a tester. So Thank You Nina!

Ok details … I’m sure you want them, yes?

Practicing my dance moves!

Right. The instructions are pretty much really detailed. Lots of illustrations and descriptions with step by step details on how to get the statement collar and fabulous frill perfect.

Size wise, I went with a 22 with the bust and then graded out at the waist to a 28 but could probably go down a size as it is quite roomy. The skirt is a size 28. My measurements are: Bust 46, Waist 46 and hips 57/58.

For my fabric, I chose a tencel twill from The Fabric Room, which I’ve had in my stash for a good while now. I think I heard about The Fabric Room’s Tencel Twill via my good friends in Sew Scottish. Minimum order is 3 metres and the colours are limited but it’s worth a look as it’s £4.50 a metre!!!

The Khaki Tencel Twill

Also, worth noting if you have a plain fabric you can really play around with the cross grain of the woven. For my size, it quoted 3.10metres but I managed to use 2.6metres out of the 3m of tencel, which is pretty good I’d say.

Maybe tencel twill wasn’t the best fabric choice as I think the collar pulls the neck down a little because once you’ve got the interfacing in the collar and added the frills, it’s quite a substantial weight. But it won’t stop me from wearing it – oh no!

Will I make this again?

Yes, but I’ll make the Blouse version with longer sleeves. I might raise the darts at the bust on any future versions. And when I do the dress I’ll shorten the bodice. I think that’s all. But yeah, I’ll make it again 😄

So I’ve added a few labels …

1) “One of a Kind” by Stitch Collective on the Frill.

2) Worth the Effort by Kylie and the Machine at the back closure.

3) “Handmade” by This is for Makers on the inside at the back

I think the most favourite thing about this make is the sleeves! It’s so simple, the elastic cuff but punches a statement as does the collar and the frills. Overall it’s a great dress, It delivers and it’s very now but I’m sure I’ll wear it to lots of occasions in the future.

Happy Sewing!