Saturday, 31 December 2016

A Year in Sewing

Hey everyone!

With 2016 rapidly drawing to a close, I just wanted to take a moment and look back at my sewing output for this year. You might remember that in December last year, I set myself some sewing resolutions to complete throughout 2016 - you can find them here. Well, thanks to a combination of university and the appeal of other sewing projects, I haven't completed any of them! That's alright though, I'll get round to them at my own pace. For now, I'm just glad that I still enjoy stitching fabric into clothes I love to wear.

I've decided not to set myself any sewing resolutions at all for 2017. I'm in my third year of university, it's a busy time and I want to put my effort into studying. I will still try to make time for sewing whenever I can, I just want to be able to choose projects based on how I'm feeling at the time, not on what resolutions I made at the start of the year. Hopefully this will mean I continue to create a wardrobe which works for my everyday style, rather than one off pieces which don't fit in with the rest of my garments!

So, now for a look back on my sewing in 2016, what worked and what didn't. I've blogged 13 items of clothing this year, and completed 5 more whilst I've been back home for Christmas. This is definitely down on previous years - in 2015 I made 28 garments and 34 in 2014! However, I put the decrease down to an increased workload at university.

My top three favourite makes of this year are as follows:

Geneva Raglan Top

Megan Dress

Backless Emery Dress

All three are worn regularly and the dresses in particular fit into my signature navy floral style. However, not everything I've made this year have made it into my regular wardrobe rotation. Here are a couple of garments that haven't seen any wear this year and why:

Flora Dress
The By Hand Flora Dress is a gorgeous pattern and I really want to make it up in a different fabric - the (rather ugly!) fabric I used to make this dress was some cheap cotton I found in the bottom of a box at my university's craft club. Perfect for practising sewing a pattern I'd never used before, not perfect for day to day wear.

Renfrew Dress
Yes, navy is my colour, but without a pattern like flowers or polka dots, I will very rarely reach for a dress. This is a really comfy garment, but it's seen virtually no wear because it's just too plain for my usual style, and as a general rule I wear woven dresses far more often than knits. Lesson learnt!

Overall, I've grown really comfortable with my style. I know what I love to wear and sew, so even with the decreased sewing output I suspect coming up in 2017, hopefully I'll have a greater chance of sewing garments I wear on a regular basis. Navy floral fabric is more or less a must for me to reach for a dress in the morning, as is a heavily gathered skirt. I'm going to keep this is mind when planning future makes, and am looking forward to getting started on adding to my wardrobe in 2017!

To all of you out there, I wish you a wonderful, happy, healthy and creative year, and thank you as always for reading,

Beth x

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

2016: A Reflection

Hey everyone!

With the year coming to a close, I thought that today I'd take a look back on 2016 and reflect on both the good and the bad. For me personally, 2016 has been a wonderful year. I feel like I really hit my stride at university; I love living independently, studying what interests me and learning how to manage by myself in the wider world. I also took part in two national demonstrations (one against Trident and one against austerity), spent my first full year as a vegetarian (as opposed to the eight years I spent as a pescetarian - someone who eats fish but not meat) and celebrated me and my boyfriend's first year anniversary.

However, in many parts of the wider world, 2016 has not been a good year. Britain chose to leave the European Union, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, there have been dozens of terrorist attacks all over the world, mass shootings and a 41% increase in hate crime throughout Britain following the Brexit vote. It's at times like these when we should be standing together, supporting each other, not demonstrating divide and hate.

2016 has also become known as the year of celebrity deaths and this, too, is devastating. So much talent has been lost this year, so many inspirational people. But whilst you spare a thought for those whose passing is big enough to make the headlines, please remember all the people whose deaths have gone unnoticed by the media, but who are just as important and just as worthy of mourning and remembering.

I watched Pride earlier on this evening, which in part was what motivated me to sit down and get this blog post written. A funny, moving and completely inspirational account of how the LGBT community came together in a show of solidarity with striking miners, it has really reinvigorated my love of activism, socialism and the fight for peace. I don't identify as LGBT, but I do identify as a socialist and a feminist - and when you stop to think about it, they're all interlinked. The fight for peace and equality is something we should all be invested in, no matter who you are or where you come from. That is why in 2017, I want to get more involved than ever in trying to make our world a better place. In March, I'll be attending the 'It's our NHS: National Demonstration', and I really do hope that you will consider coming along too. I also want learn as much as I can about the feminist movement, so am aiming to join the feminist book club Our Shared Shelf, which was founded this year by Emma Watson.

I know I'm just one small person in a sea of voices and I know that at 21 years old, I'm still young and inexperienced. But I don't want my life to be harmful in any way - I want to reduce my impact on the planet, I want to care for animals rather than contributing to their deaths through the meat industry, and I want to help people who need it. I want to use my life to fight for equality and peace, and I want to help inspire others to do the same. If we all work towards the same goal, we stand a far greater chance of achieving it than if we work alone.

I will aim to be back at some point before the New Year to share my sewing achievements of 2016 and my plans for next year!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and have a lovely week,

Beth x

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Christmas Sewing List

Hey guys!

With the exception of my dissertation oral presentation tomorrow (I am absolutely terrified, keeping my fingers crossed it goes ok!), I have finished my work for the semester and am free to start planning all the lovely things I'm going to sew over the Christmas break.

With that in mind, I thought I'd put together a list so you can see what I'm hoping to make. I've not sewn since August so I'm planning on getting a lot done over the three weeks I have off, so if you have any more suggestions please do comment them below!

Cleo pinafore & dungaree dress - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

First up is the Cleo pinafore dress from Tilly and the Buttons. I am absolutely in love with this pattern and have got some absolutely gorgeous aubergine needlecord ready and waiting (I got the fabric as part of the kits Tilly has made to accompany this pattern, they're awesome and make the process so much easier).

I can definitely see a dress like this becoming a wardrobe staple for me, I've always been a huge fan of both dungarees and dresses, so to combine the two seems like a genius idea!

Evelyn Wrap Front Romper Teddy Sewing Pattern Ballet Style Lingerie PDF Instant Download Tutorial

Next up is the Evelyn Romper from Ohhh Lulu. I've had my eye on this pattern for ages, so I've finally taken the plunge and ordered some black satin from Abakhan to have a go. It's different to the kind of garments I usually sew, but I'm looking forward to trying something new. Plus my pyjamas usually consist of old t-shirts that I've had since I was 10 and some bottoms that don't match, so it'll be nice to have something a bit posher!


I was inspired to sew the Ogden Cami from True Bias Patterns when I saw Erin's gorgeous versions. I've ordered some teal crepe from Minerva Fabrics to make my own. Although my heart lies with dresses, I've been trying to get into the habit of wearing jeans a bit more often in the cold winter weather, so adding a few more tops into my wardrobe to wear with them is definitely a necessity.


Finally, the Astoria Sweatshirt from Seamwork Magazine. I've already got three of these in my wardrobe (navy, cream, then a colour blocked one with a cream body and navy sleeves). However, I've been wanting a burgundy one for ages! So I picked up some burgundy sweatshirt fabric from Ebay and am looking forward to adding another Astoria to my wardrobe.

I'm also planning on doing some selfless sewing and making a sweatshirt for my boyfriend with some grey sweatshirting fabric I have (I've never been much into grey, but he swears it goes with everything).

So, that's my sewing list for the Christmas holidays so far! I'm 99.9% certain it will grow, especially as I'll be able to visit my home town's fabric shop for the first time in almost four months!

Do you have any sewing plans for the holidays? I'd love to hear about them!

I hope you've all had a fabulous weekend and, as always, thank you for reading,

Beth x