So here I am, sat (in my Blair Batwing!) trying to figure out what to make in February for my 12in12 challenge. I feel I need to keep it extra simple as half term will no doubt limit my sewing time. There are so many independent designers out there, using the internet and social media to bring their ideas and styles to the general public, but actually choosing a pattern and a fabric to go with it has been baffling me.
Do I go for the cute jacket pattern that came with Issue 21 of Love Sewing magazine in a light and summery striped seersucker? Or the Lou Box top from Sew DIY with a beautiful chambray? Always one for a bargain, today I found a fab bed sheet in Ikea on sale for only a fiver which I think would make a great Ella vest for the summer. And a post of the top ten patterns of 2015 from Burda Style made me instantly want to make the Wrap Top, ranked 5th, with a drapey sage fabric I bought last year but didn’t do anything with.
So what to make? – Cast your votes now!
The first make of my 12in12 challenge was the Blair Batwing shirt by Named Clothing. A straightforward easy wearing t-shirt. At €7 for the pattern download (£5.36 according to Paypal) it was a no brainer as it’s a style that I can see me making over and over in different fabrics and being very comfortable to wear.
The pdf was very simple to put together and I had the fabric cut out in an afternoon. The kids then took over so I had to leave the sewing for another day. I picked it up again later in the week and despite intending to sew on the overlocker I ended up using a stretch stitch on the sewing machine. I think the knit fabric I used was a little too thick and it has taken away some of the drape but given current temperatures I’m grateful for the extra warmth!
I only made one adjustment and that was to add a hem band rather than simply doing a double turned hem. When trying it on I felt it was a little short for me but I can easily adjust this next time.
Overall, I’m pleased. January’s item complete before the end of the month so I’m on track so far. Before I move on to choosing February’s piece I might just find the time to squeeze in a quick infinity scarf with this fab Riley Blake Lobster knit I picked up at here at Patch Fabrics. With today’s freezing temperatures I could use this right now! And for my next project – I love the Ella vest top by Liola Patterns but it’s not quite the season for vests right now so maybe the Lou Box Top by Sew DIY? Choices choices! Anything you’d recommend?
Last year a lot of work was done to tidy up the garden. After adding a plum tree in 2014 I wanted to add another fruit tree and it started me thinking about maybe growing some veggies too. I hoped it would be good for J – he could get his hands dirty with the compost and enjoying using the watering can and when required, the hose pipe too (one of his favourite things outdoors!). It was a bit too late in the season to get too much going but we tried peas and radish, carrots and spring onions, lots of lettuce and added couple of rhubarb crowns too.
The radish grew quickly and well, but he didn’t like the peppery taste so he quickly lost interest in those although I kept putting in a row or two every few weeks to keep them going. We tried the snack size ball carrots and again they did ok but they took much longer to grow so again he lost interest. He did seem to like us occasionally pulling one up to check how they were doing and would give it a good sniff before telling me how carroty they smelled!
The peas started well then succumbed early to powdery mildew but not before we managed to pick a handful of pods a few times and would sit and eat them fresh out of the pod while still sweet and crisp.
So this year I hope to do more and do it better. Santa was very kind in bringing me my own mini grow house to get my seeds started much earlier this year and also to be able to shelter the seedlings until they are more established. So what to plant? While I’ve been told tomatoes and beans are the easiest, they are not things we like to eat so there seems little point. Peas, radish and carrots are a must again, but I’m also hoping to try out some corn, squash, cucumber and kale.
I’ve begun following a few gardeners and allotment holders over on Instagram and am hoping to use them to prompt me and show me what to do when. So this along with a couple of good books and a lot of hope I hope to have a bountiful garden this summer!
Since setting myself this challenge I have spent hours browsing the web jotting down the great patterns I find as potential makes for my 12in12. There is a fantastic community of independent designers out there, so many options to choose from, and more than enough to fill your wardrobe.
While I am trying to expand my skills along the way, one of the key points of any pattern that makes it on to the list is simplicity. Running around after my two doesn’t leave me a great deal of time and being able to pick up and put down the work at any point is a must. I’m not a fussy dresser so something simple and classic is a winner. I have no doubt that if I find something really great it will end up being made several times over, in different fabrics, perhaps with different tweaks or adjustments as my skills improve.
On the list for January is the Blair Batwing. The pattern is now put together and fabric cut out. I need to mark out all the notches and then should be about ready to sew. The one thing I forgot to check for was any additional supplies beyond fabric and thread and so I am having to wait for a delivery of some clear elastic as this is used in the first seam. Hopefully I’ll remember to check next time and won’t be frustrated at having to wait to get started.
I have also taken delivery of a beautiful denim blue cotton chambray from Merchant and Mills. I’m not sure what it will end up being used for but it is almost silky soft so possibly a summer vest or perhaps a woven tee for when the weather starts to improve? I’m secretly hoping there is enough for both!
Anyway, I’ve pulled some of the patterns together here for easy browsing. Do any of them inspire you? Which would you wear/make? Is there any you would add? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I have decided I need a focus for the year ahead. Something positive to keep me from getting bogged down in the mundanities of life. Something that will challenge me but not so much I’m fearful to get started. Something that will teach me new skills and help me improve on my existing talents so here it is.
I am challenging myself to make my own clothing. One item a month for the rest of the year. It’s already got me buzzing – searching out indie pattern designers, checking out Instagram feeds (check out #handmadewardrobe for inspiration!), and of course fabric shopping. My hope is that by the end of the year I will have 12 unique handmade items which I will wear for years to come and a bunch of patterns to make over and over again, adding my own tweaks and adaptations along the way.
I made one item in December, a Fen top (pattern by Fancy Tiger Crafts) and was really pleased with how it turned out and have already made some notes on how I would adjust it if/when I make it again. I just need an excuse to wear it now but as things get back to normal now the holidays are drawing to a close I’m sure I’ll get chance soon. Got to take off the sweatpants sometime!
So today I have put together the pattern for the Blair Batwing top from Named Clothing (found here). It’s a fairly simple pattern and should result in a great every day top, something to sling on with jeans, which are an everyday staple for me. The pattern calls for knit fabric which is always tricky to sew with so I think this will be one for the overlocker. I’ve got a great fabric, an Amy Butler knit, and it’s not a fabric print I would pick out on the High Street so something a bit different for me.
So – wish me luck?
It’s not been a great start in some respects but good in others. The good – a full day ahead with the kids and no plans! It’s pretty much always a little tough when your parenting alone but the rewards are twice as good. Quick trip to the supermarket this morning followed by a stop at the McD’s drive thru for lunch and then an afternoon of TV and playing with Christmas toys and even a brief nap.
The sad part being no contact from their Dad. For reasons unknown he hasn’t been in touch for a few days. I strongly suspect that he didn’t want to tell me he was spending New Year with his new girlfriend, maybe because he insists on telling me they are just friends. Not that his plans would have made a blind bit of difference to me as I had a hot date with a couple of movies and a Dark Chocolate Orange! I don’t know why guys find honesty so hard. Still the silence and un-returned messages hurts as you would expect after 15 years of being in contact every day!
Still it’s onwards and upwards from here. Time to take down the decorations and write (read print!) the thank you notes. Our fresh new calendar is up on the fridge (free printable from http://www.landeeseelandeedo.com) and we are ready for wherever comes our way. May it be a happy and healthy one for you too.