Author Archives: Amelia Wray

Galentines Outfit (for the Pink and Red Party

I used Megan from Pigeon Wishes’ Pink and Red party as an excuse to make a new outfit – because why not when I’ve been sitting in my house for 11 months and have slightly lost my sewjo (because I sewed all the things I needed for my wardrobe last year!). So I made a sort of a suit!

I talked about my inspiration for making a colour-blocked suit in this YouTube video (I’ve resurrected my YouTube channel after making one video 2 years ago! Lol!)

 

I used the Joe Jacket pattern from Ready to Sew for the jacket – which is also the pattern I used for the jacket of my corduroy suit. I used a suit with a more smoking jacket-type jacket worn by Claire Foy for my inspiration and so this involved a little pattern hacking.

I sat for way longer than I would care to admit trying ti figure out how to hack the pattern to get it to overlap at the bottom – and then it turned out to be relatively simple! I just slashed up the pattern front, from the hem to almost the neck line, and pivoted the whole front edge outwards – simple! But lots of head scratching to figure out if this was correct!


I added patch pockets instead of the welt pockets – which is actually way easier than welt pockets! I used the pocket pattern piece from the Honetone Coat as a guide.

 

I also, of course, added the tie to keep the jacket closed, as in the inspiration one. I thought about adding a couple of belt loops on the back to hold it in place, but figures this was an unnecessary step as I don’t think I’ll really wear it open, so the belt doesn’t need anything to keep it in while it’s untied, if that makes sense?

I talked about the construction and fabric etc in this YouTube video:

 

The fabric was all from Fabric Godmother and the pink and blue fabrics are Tencel twills and the lining was a cotton (with a little stretch). The Tencel is very drapey so possibly wasn’t the best choice for something as structured as a jacket, but it is a pretty relaxed style of jacket – and I made sure I interfaced absolutely everything that would get any wear or that needed structure. There is quite a lot of interfacing in a jacket anyway, so that certainly helped.

I do love a spotty lining! Stupidly, though, when I pre-washed all the fabrics, I put them all in together and the blue Tencel really ran so I ended up with blue spotty fabric instead of white. Sigh – that wasn’t the look I was going for. But after washing it a couple of times with some colour catchers the colour mostly came out. You would think after sewing for so many years, I would have learnt better!

The trouser pattern I used was the Dawn Jeans as I’ve made them a bunch of times and after spending so much time hacking the jacket, I kind of wanted something I knew how to sew for the trousers.

I made the size 4, as I’ve done before, but took it in only 1.5cm on the back seam (as opposed to the I think 2cm I did on my other pairs) and sewed the side seams with a 1cm seam allowance (instead of 1.5cm) as they seemed a bit snug somehow! The waistband miraculously still fit!

I sewed the wide-legged version and I actually can’t believe I haven’t before! There was a while where everyone was making the Persephone Pants – and I made them as the trousers for my suit – but the fit was never great on me and I don’t really wear them much as a result. But I get the same look from the wide-legged Dawns so I kind of want some more wide-legged jeans/trousers in my wardrobe for days when I don’t want skinny jeans!

These are definitely going to become a Spring/Summer wardrobe staple once the weather stops being below zero – anyone else in the UK fed up of being so cold?! I know we’re known for talking about the weather ALL THE TIME but I’m a naturally cold person so when the weather is so cold I get really fed up really quickly! Roll on Summer….

I really hope I get to wear this outfit to an irl sewing party one day! Though I’ll probably use an irl party as an excuse to make another outfit, because why not, eh?!

Did you join in with the Pink and Red Party? Are you like me and you only wear pink (or only red?). I tried to force myself to wear red by knitting a cardigan years and years and years ago but I wore it, I think, twice because you can’t make yourself feel nice in a colour you don’t actually feel good in! Though speaking of knitting, I’ve rediscovered my enjoyment of knitting in front of the TV so maybe there’ll be some knitting projects coming soon(ish)….

Masks galore!

I spent some of the very end of December, after Christmas, running up some more masks as wearing them at work made me realise that while I had quite a few, it was stressing me out to do washing in time to get them cleaned so I thought I’d make some more (and use up some fabric scraps at the same time) so I’d have plenty to choose from……..and then I was furloughed again. But I think masks will be with us to stay so I’m not mad that I’ve got a bigger collection now.

Some of these are made from more crafty cottons I had lying around and some are leftovers from garments I’ve made. They’re all the Good Neighbour Mask by Bayron Handmade.

I made a kind of flick book of all the masks! Lol! Also they’re all below in photo form!

I’m looking forward to matching them to my outfit, once I start going outside again!

I hope all of you out there – and especially in the UK – are coping okay with the ongoing lockdowns and everyone is well xx

I knitted a hat!

I knitted a thing!

I think this takes it to 2 finished projects in 5 years
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I needed a new Winter hat for quite a while as I have one I was bought which a) isn’t very warm and b) I don’t especially love. I also have ear muffs for when it’s super cold – which is has been recently!

IMHO you can’t go wrong with a massive bobble on a knitted hat! It’s maybe a little big – I even already trimmed it down as it was really really massive!

This is the hat pattern from Learn To Knit, Love To Knit, which is also the book I used for my only complete jumper I’ve ever made! It’s in only one size and it turned out fine for me – and I guess you can fold it up more or less if your head is smaller or bigger than mine!

The fact that the hat is entirely ribbed also means there’s room for expansion/shrinking if required.

I used yarn from Lauren Aston design and I did kind of want coral yarn, to pick up that colour in my scarf, but I couldn’t find anything in that colour in the right weight so I went with my standard favourite mustard.

If you’re interested in knitting at the moment (which I weirdly am even though I notoriously get enthusiastic and then lose that enthusiasm approximately 10% into any project) you may know that it is very hard to buy supplies at the moment – I kind of love that people are turning to these kinds of hobbies in the lockdowns. It meant I couldn’t get a circular knitting needle which the pattern suggested, though, so I knitted it flat and sewed up the back seam – and you can’t really see it!

The last couple of weeks have been so cold I’m glad I can basically have only my eyes showing so the rest of me can be warm!

I definitely feel like I want to do more knitting and maybe super chunky wool and needles (meaning fast progress) is the way for my interest not to wane? I think I’ve been spoiled by how fact you can make something if you sew it that I maybe don’t have the patience for knitting any more? I really want to knit a huge blanket – especially a simple one as I wouldn’t necessarily have to concentrate on the pattern (which hurts my brain after a while). Are you knitting all the things during lockdown?

 

 

Arden Sweatpants for lockdown living

So this is going to be what I look like for the next couple of months (or more) after the announcement yesterday that England is going back into lockdown. It’s absolutely the right decision but to be completely honest I’m pretty embarrassed to be British right now. Brexit is a total disaster and we’ve cocked up the pandemic worse than probably every other country except the US.

So to celebrate more time sitting in my house, I’ve made more sweatpants. I actually made these back in October and wore them during the November lockdown and now they’ll get loads more wear!

I used the Arden pattern instead of making more Hudsons because while I like the Hudsons I made, they are a little on the snug side, especially the cuff, so I thought I would use the Arden pattern as I prefer how high-waisted it is. I know True Bias released a hack to make the Hudsons higher waisted but I’m lazy and had the Ardens already ready to go.

I made the size 6 as before and should have really looked at Helen’s excellent tutorial on making the Ardens into joggers. In particular I very much fudged the cuffs. I tried the original version with the elastic option but I only had narrow elastic and it looked really weird. I also didn’t want the cuffs as narrow as on the Hudsons so I kind of did somewhere in between the woven original Arden cuff and the Hudson cuff. They are probably a bit loose but also they’re much easier to get on and off so I’m not going to change them (also who wants to have to unpick overlocking if you don’t have to!?).

Both lots of fabric were from Fabric Godmother – I ordered it after I realised how much wear my Hudsons were getting and thought ‘I need more sweatpants in more colours!’ I went for black and mustard and they are both super soft and comfortable. It was their organic sweatshirt fleece and was really nice to sew with.

The cording was from Minerva Crafts, as was the case for the Hudsons I made but I must have chosen the wrong item because this stuff is like plastic whereas the stuff I ordered before was really nice. This is like tent guy ropes – not great. I’m definitely going to try to order some replacements. Helen doesn’t include a drawstring in her blog post but I used the Hudson instructions and made the button holes (with interfacing to reinforce them) before attaching the waistband.

Part of Helen’s blog post is to add the edging to the pockets which I did anyway as it is one of my favourite design details on the Hudsons. I used the Hudson pattern piece as a guide for the width and then lengthened it to span the whole pocket edge.

I didn’t foresee these getting so much wear to be honest, but COVID is here to stay for a long while yet I think so I’m very glad I’ve got comfortable options in my wardrobe, as well as all the jeans I made last Summer.

Are you feeling inspired to make more lounge wear given us all being at home looks unlikely to change any time soon? I’m not sure I would have considered myself someone who wore sweatpants before the pandemic but comfort (and warmth) is the most important consideration for me getting dressed at the moment – and when I was working in December, these are ideal to change into (out of jeans) when I’d get home! I’m a total sweatpants convert!

 

 

A review of 2020

I’ve done review posts (and then planning posts for the forthcoming year) for quite a few years on this blog and I wasn’t going to do one this year (I won’t be doing a planning post) but then I realised it’s been my most productive sewing year so far so it would be a shame not to celebrate all the things I’ve made.

I do want to acknowledge my privilege before I dive into my makes because I know a lot of people have lost friends and family members this year and have lost jobs and had their lives as they knew them fall apart. I myself work in a bookshop and was furloughed when the UK went into lockdown in March and was about to go back to work when we entered the second lockdown in November, but this was delayed until December. I was back at work for 4 weeks and a day when Gloucestershire was moved to tier 4 (today) meaning that I am furloughed again. I have been paid at least 80% of my wages that whole time and my partner and I have relatively low outgoings (and he went back to work in June) so we have been okay financially. I also have a flat to live in and hobbies to occupy me so I was able to enjoy most of my time not working. There were weeks when I was fed up of being in my house, but I did manage to visit family in the Summer when it was permitted and we have my partner’s family close by where we live. I have no children so I didn’t have to suddenly become a teacher over night and this means my time has been my own to do with as I please. I have also had regular online chats with my close group of friends from uni and I feel we have deepened out friendships – usually we try to meet up once per year and have a whatsapp chat but it has been nice to feel like we are close together even when we are (literally in some cases) thousands of miles apart.

With all that said for the first 3 or so months of the lockdown I sewed ALL THE THINGS that I had in my mind to make for probably years. I had bought fabric with specific projects in mind and then never quite got around to them, even with moving to working part-time last June (2019). In 2019 I made 16 garments and in 2020 I made 35 garments (2 of which I haven’t yet shared here) and refashioned one. That’s quite a difference!

I’ll start with jackets and coats – I didn’t realise I made 4!

Sequined Bomber jacket

Houndstooth Richmond jacket


Gold Rumana Coat

Victoria Blazer Coat hack

And of course, no sewing year for me would be complete without a bunch of shirts!

Blue and Pink Popover Kalle

Yellow Geometric Kalle

Faces Kalle


White and Black Checked Blaire

Classic White Melilot

I also did some epic scrap-busting and made a load of Inari Tees from larger scraps I had in my stash.

Silver Knit Inari

Electric Blue Inari

Jungle Print Inari


Crowd Inari


Cotton Lawn Inari


Pink Striped Inari


Yellow Geometric Inari


Black Striped Inari

2020 was also the year of making jeans for me – I made 5 pairs in total!

Ginger Jeans

First Pair of Dawn Jeans


Pale Denim Dawn Jeans


Black Skinny Dawn Jeans


Navy Skinny Dawn Jeans

I also made some other trousers that weren’t jeans!

Black Crepe Evelyn Trousers

Grey Hudson Sweatpants

Navy Blue Hudson Sweatpants

Navy Blue Double Gauze Arden Pants

Mustard Double Gauze Arden Pants

I finally made 2 pairs of Carolyn Pyjamas, the fabrics for which I had had for years and years!

Liberty Cotton Carolyn Pyjamas

Boaty Carolyn Pyjamas

I refashioned my Sew Over It Anderson blouse into a Marilla Walker Mercury top and I very much prefer the new iteration of this gorgeous fabric!

I made another Cleo dungaree dress mostly just to use up some leftover denim. I’m not sure how much wear it will get to be honest!

I also made another Sew Over It Nancy Dress – again not sure how much wear it will get, though it will certainly have to wait for warmer weather either way.

Another makeĀ  I’m not sure will get much (if any) wear is this Sallie Jumpsuit. The fabric is a little too thin and clingy for me to feel completely comfortable.


On the opposite end of the scale is my denim Roberts dungarees which have already had sooo much wear! They’re so comfortable and a good choice for days when I’m mostly sitting at home but don’t want to wear sweatpants!

It’s no wonder after all the sewing – and all the new items for my wardrobe – that I slightly ran out of steam after the first few months! Though a few things were made after the first main batch, the vast majority were made in April, May and June.

I want to try my hand at underwear in 2021 – I bought some supplies to make period pants, to find another way to be more sustainable and reduce my impact on the environment. I did made reusable make-up wipes this year and they have been a triumph!

I also stopped wearing bras really at all last Winter (under so many layers of clothes when it’s freezing at work, who can tell anyway!) but in the Summer with only one layer on I do kind of want at least something else to protect and slightly support my boobs so I’m going to have a go at making some bralettes. I’m lucky that I don’t need the support of underwiring or more supportive bras – when I was younger (like a teenager) I wished I had bigger boobs but now I’m so glad they’re not!

I’ve also got a (rescheduled) wedding to attend in the Summer so I’ll definitely be making a new outfit – I don’t feel like I went out that much before the pandemic but I like having bigger events to go to as an excuse to make something fancier than I would wear in my every day life.

But these are my only plans – I used to plan yearly and monthly my makes but I almost never followed through with the plans so I’m just have ideas for now. And now my wardrobe if necessary items is pretty much complete I might have a go at some more frivolous makes just for fun – and to expand my sewing skills!

Happy New Year! And thank you for following my making journey this year – I’m so thankful I have had sewing to keep me occupied for the vast majority of 2020!