Spring!!!!

Guys it’s been so long!!!  It’s over 6 weeks since I last posted, but I have been sooooooooooo busy. This is kind of a theme in my life! 

I have finally finished the first module of my MSc “making environmental decisions” – it was a bit of a yawn unfortunately, because it mainly involved learning new diagramming techniques. I have found a lot of the side reading really interesting though, and it’s already opened a few doors for me.  

Unfortunately I won’t get the results until June, so I’ve had to sign up for (and pay for £££!!!!) the next module without knowing whether I’ve passed.  I’m sure it will be fine…. My next module is “managing for sustainability” which  will be more my thing. I hope I can manage to stay focused on it while the weather is nice – its finally spring!!! 

I handed in on the 5th of April, and my mum and I went to a spa for a relaxation day on the 6th – partly in celebration and partly as a Mother’s Day treat.  Dunamoy Cottages and Spa – what a fantastic place!! 

It’s local to us – it was affordable, and we had an awesome time! We each had full use of the Spa, a facial, a massage and afternoon tea! I so needed that massage and I would definitely go back.  My masseuse asked what sort of pressure I would like, and I told her to work out what would kill me and then back it off a little bit – it was AWESOME. 

I’ve also been to the hospital and had some good news – my iron levels are back up to normal human level, and I’m definitely feeling the difference, much less fatigue! My ACR (one of the kidney readings) is also down by over 60% – still not normal human level, but well on the way! 

And finally…. I MADE A THING!!! 

I wanted to make my dad something nice for his birthday – when I was quilting and making bags there wasn’t much I could make for him, and prior to the glow-in-the-dark spaceman pajamas I had never made him anything to wear. He loves those pajamas so much, and they were such a good fit I decided to splash out on some really nice fabric and make him another.  

I used my trusty Jalie 2918 t-shirt pattern  and I got this gorgeous “Oceania” Art Gallery Cotton Spandex from Lamazi Fabrics (£20 per Metre and they still have some left!).  The quality is amazing, and it sewed up like a dream

At Christmas I couldn’t do neckbands, but I can do them now!! I was so pleased with this; it looks basically perfect to me.  My hemming still needs work, but it’s much improved from my last attempt so I’m happy.  

I failed to control myself with the fabric shopping unfortunately. I treated myself to this gorgeous “At Sea” ex-designer cotton lawn from the lovely Harriet at Sew me Sunshine  – it was really reasonably priced, and she still has some left!  

We’ll be off to Italy next month, and I want to make something out of it for my holidays, but it’s really fine and a bit see-through, so I’m not too sure what I should make. I like the Driftwood Dress  from Twig and Tale – but maybe I would need to line it?

I found Twig and Tale because I was looking for something to make for A – I got some gorgeous dinosaur cotton fabric in the sale from Lamazi – being stupid and not reading properly before I add things to my basket – I thought it was jersey and was planning to make a t-shirt, so I only got 1.5 meters – but it’s not stretchy!! Thank goodness for the Stitch Sisters Men’s Shirt Pattern Roundup  #mansewing  

I LOVE this pattern company; they were totally new to me their kids’ patterns are so cute I can’t even cope. 

I’ll definitely be making some more of their patterns because I have a new little niece or nephew on the way! (actually the baby will be my 1st cousin once removed…. but that’s such a mouthful!!) I already have a quilt started for the new baby, but surely every child needs a blue tweed fox coat? even if they live in South Africa…

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I made a thing!!

So I finally sewed something for myself!! The fit certainly isn’t perfect, but I’m pleased with it and I know I’ll get plenty of wear out of it. I’ve been meaning to make a Deer & Doe Plantain Top for a LONG time now. I downloaded the FREE PATTERN in November 2017 – that’s some impressive procrastinating : )

This new season I’ve been out around the shops browsing, there is a predominance of warm dusty colours, ruffles, bows and high necklines – basically I’ve seen nothing I would wear. I have a fairly impressive bust, and high necklines are so not for me. I didn’t desperately need new clothes or anything, but not having a lot of suitable ready-to-wear
options has definitely encouraged me to pay more attention to the UFOs. Actually this could more accurately have been described as a USO – an Un-started Object?

I have the gorgeous fabric that I showed in my last post, but I wanted to have a go with something I’m not so attached to first. The fabric I’ve used here has been in my stash for years and years. I think i initially bought it to attempt an infinity dress like these ones:

but 1. – I didn’t get around to it and 2. I’m pretty sure it’s the wrong kind of fabric for this king of dress anyway. On the positive side, i THINK it was fairly cheap (I think i would have picked a more vibrant colour if i’d had the choice, so the colour was probably decided by the price).

Here it is!! my first plantain! Please excuse the bathroom by the way, its literally our only mirror that shows anything below chest height – I have put it on the list of home improvements : )

My bottom hem is fairly terrible, but I’m pleased with the neckband, it’s the very first stretch neckband I have ever put in successfully. There is a tiny bit of puckering, but it’s passable, and I’m confident that I’ll do a better job next time!

Too much armpit fabric!

I’m pleased with the fit on the arm and the shoulder, but I have this weird bat-wing armpit thing. How do I fix that?

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Reasonably tidy neckband : )

I did have a panic as I was trying to make the neckband fit in, and I found the Modern Textiles blog Plantain Sew Along REALLY helpful.

Being too lazy to trail out my ancient serger, I used Jalie’s method for sewing jersey on a regular sewing machine, this is the method that I used on the 2 pajama tops I made at Christmas from a Jalie pattern, it worked well so I decided to stick with it. I plan to at least cut out the lovely Merboys Pirate fabric for my next plantain this week but I’ll be busy next weekend and I probably wont have time to sew it up until the week after.

When that’s finished, my next project is going to be a Sew Over It Molly Top and Molly Dress (probably with short sleeves) from the City Break e-book. Again I plan to make a wearable toile, not just to practice the techniques, but its a different shape and I need to make sure it fits in ALL THE RIGHT PLACES. I have some GORGEOUS fabric to make my toile up in, but I’ll save it to share when I have it all sewn up : )

Prep

So I have my Deer & Doe Plantain top all taped together and ready to sew on Sunday!!

Luna and Kali have been helping me – they’re such good kitties : )

Actually they’ve both been a bit bonkers – any time I try to do anything creative they’re all over me!

I have some gorgeous fabric ready to make my tops – I went a bit mad with the fabric shopping after Christmas – 2 from Lamazi Fabrics and another from Flamingo Fabrics – all jersey.

After my success making jersey pajama tops for my Dad and my other half I have the bug. I’m Planning to make the Plantain out of something from my stash initially, i have a dark green viscose jersey that i found in the cupboard, its been there for so long that i forgot i had it, and i’m not 100% sure where it came from! I’ve had the Sew Over It City Break e-book for AGES and i’m planning to make 1 dress and 1 top.

The 2 fabrics I got from Lamazi are quite stable – I’m planning to use the Gecko fabric for a short sleeved Molly dress for my holidays, and the Nautical Knots fabric for a long sleeved top version. The Merboys fabric from Flamingo has slightly more drape, so I think it will make a nice Plantain after I’ve had a go with the green fabric first.

Its actually even nicer than it looks in the picture, and all 3 are gorgeous quality! The Art Gallery Gecko fabric in particular was fairly expensive for me, so I’m hoping I can get some cheaper stable knit to make a wearable toile with before i cut into my favorite stuff! I’d love to hear any fitting tips for the Molly – I have a big chest and shoulders, so most things end up too big in the waist and under the bust. Its part of what feeds into my procrastination when it comes to sewing – I’m so scared of wasting the fabric and making a mess – and of wasting my time! these fabrics are so awesome though, as long as they fit where they have to I’m going to enjoy wearing them : )

Distractions


The obligatory backstory.


Forgive me my nonsense, as I also forgive the nonsense of those that think they talk sense.

Robert Frost

Hi!! I’m Kate. I like to sew and make my own clothes, but I rarely get the chance.  

Last year I tried to do the #MakeNine2018 challenge, but I don’t think I made ANY of my plans in the end. That said, I did make some things. I made some Christmas presents – a pajama top for my dad using the Jalie 2918 Boys and Men’s T-Shirt pattern and a tweed wrap for my Mum using the Skye Wrap pattern from Coolcrafting.com. I used Harris Tweed and Liberty cotton lawn no less, so it’s a really posh wrap! Both patterns came together fairly easily – the only issue I had was that the neckband piece for the t-shirt was WAY too small.  I haven’t been able to find many reviews of this pattern online, but it does seem to be a known issue. That said, I don’t really like a tight neckline on a pajama top, so I just turned the neckline under and stitched it. They both really loved their gifts and I’ve since made another pajama top for my partner with superhero cats on : ) 

I’m tempted to have another go a the Make 9 challenge, but I’m really busy all the time and it makes me feel bad if I plan to do something and then fail to complete it.  

So I’m going to address all the busyness. I work full time and I have a house to run – which is plenty on its own – but I have a few other things taking up my time.  

I am a chronic illness sufferer. In 1991 when I was 7 years old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  Through my teens and early 20’s I had some mental health issues and I didn’t take care of myself – like AT ALL, so now I’m dealing with some complications as a result of my poor control. These include Diabetic Nephropathy and Hypertension, diabetic retinopathy, tendinopathy and gastroparesis. Without going into the daily grind of constantly checking my blood sugar, managing my insulin, analyzing what I eat (every time I eat anything) to work out my dosage, being super-prepared in advance for all my meals and dealing with the chronic fatigue that comes with my hypertension, this impressive list of illness comes with a buttload of medical appointments.  

I also try to stay fit. It’s tough sometimes when I’m not feeling well – and my other half can generally be described as an athlete (more on him later) – which can be inspiring, but it can also make you feel like you’re not making any progress. So I run when I can, I go to a Strength and Conditioning or Pilates Class when I can, and I try to go Fencing every week. I met my other half through fencing when we were both at the University of York – I used to be better than him! But now he kicks my butt : (

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To top it off, I decided I had better do a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management. that’s been taking up a lot of my time lately… and to be honest I’m not enjoying it. Its been very theoretical so far, and I’m more of a hands on person really, so I’ve found it pretty frustrating. That said, I have learned some interesting things, about the Environment and about myself. I’ll see what score i get in this module and make a decision, but at the moment I don’t think I’ll be continuing with this course – but I’m open to alternatives!!


Our strength is often composed of the weakness that we’re damned if we’re going to show.


Mignon McLaughlin