Stuff Jo Has Made has a new look!

Over the last few weeks it seems like everyone in Blogland (or WordPress at least) has been making their sites look a lot prettier. Sarah and Amelia have both revamped their blogs, and you might have noticed that I’ve been working on mine too. So let’s have a chat about what’s new!

New blog header!

Brand

I’m not sure I like the word ‘brand’ to describe what I’ve done here, as I think it makes it sound like I’m selling something, and ‘visual identity’ conjures images of marketing meetings. Either way, I’ve tidied up the way things look. I liked the pink that came as standard with my template (Sela) and I picked a blue-y grey to go with it. I’ve used these colours, plus the scissors motif, to make a couple of images on Canva.com. If you haven’t seen Canva yet, go and check it out! It’s a free, easy to use, online graphic design tool that’s perfect if you don’t want to shell out for expensive software (I’m looking at you, Adobe). I made a new site header, some generic blog post images (like the one above, plus here and here), and even managed to get a little logo that sits on the browser tab!

Wordpress logo square

Here’s a close-up of that browser logo, in case it’s too small in your tabs.

Template

While I liked my template, the way I was using it wasn’t working for me anymore. The old green background made the site look dated and messy, and I wasn’t happy with the way I was using the pages and the sidebar. Sela has some nice features – I just had to make the best use of them.

I’ve started to use the template’s ‘featured image’ function which gives each post a header image, but is also the one that’s displayed in the WordPress reader. If you don’t select one, WordPress will pick one for you to display in the reader (typically the first you upload) and crop it for you. As the space is landscape, and I use mostly portrait photos, you risk the system picking a crotch close-up. That’s not really what I want to show the world, and I’m sure it’s not what makes WordPress users click on my posts.

Pages

I’ve updated a few of my pages, too. The Stuff I’ve Actually Made page was getting really untidy with all my makes since 2013 crammed in there. I’ve split them into different categories so it’s a bit more user-friendly and you’re not constantly scrolling to find a particular skirt or dress.

I’ve revamped the Recommended Reading pages too, including different books, and adding in a section on cookery. My tagline for Stuff Jo Has Made has always included cookery, but I think I’ve only posted about it once or twice since starting blogging here four years ago. While I’ll continue to focus on sewing, I’m going to start dropping in the occasional post about food, cos I do love to cook and I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes recently.

One of the nice things about the Sela template is that you can use grids on your parent pages. I’ve used Stuff I’ve Actually Made and Recommended Reading parent pages for navigation, in addition to the drop-downs from the navigation bar. You’ll now see a cute grid linking you to specific pages, with images and a little blurb about the content. Looks totally professional and I’m properly pleased with it.

Recommended reading

The Recommended Reading parent page – Stuff I’ve Actually Made has a similar layout. I took all new photos for these pages too!

WordPress limitations

While I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done here, I’m getting a bit frustrated with WordPress and what its free plan can do. I’d like to be able to be able to change font colours and make the site more mobile-responsive. To get the grid feature on pages, you need to set a featured image. I didn’t necessarily want to do that as most of the sub-pages are image-heavy anyway, but it was a price I had to pay to get the pretty navigation I wanted. It would have been awesome, too, if I’d been able to make the changes I wanted and then publish them all at once, but there’s no real opportunity for you to work in draft and preview properly.

I’d like to go to a paid plan (e.g. WordPress, SquareSpace etc) to take advantage of better options for customisation, but I know what I’m like. I’m blogging a lot at the moment because I have a lot of spare time on my hands, but I know that when I eventually get a job I may not be able to keep up with the pace. And then, is it really worth getting a paid plan with fancy features and my own domain name if I can’t get the value for money?

Anyway, here’s my new-look blog – please do take a look around!

 

Penny black

You know how I said we were expecting a heatwave here in Seattle? Well, when I started this dress it had well and truly arrived and I melted like the Wicked Witch of the West in a water fight. Air conditioning is really not a thing round here so I spent most of my time sitting next to a fan and trying to stay as cool as possible. Unfortunately I didn’t quite get my latest Sew Over It Penny quite finished before the warm weather disappeared.

Front

Different location for my photos this time – there’s a mini allotment on the roof. We don’t have a tub but those tomatoes look like they’ll be pretty good in a week or two. 

I’m going to stick my neck out and say that I think rayon is the best fabric for summer. It is the only thing I wanted to wear because it’s so light, floaty and breathable. It’s perfect for wafting about the city on the hunt for the nearest ice lolly. That’s not to say it’s not without its pitfalls. While wearing my red Penny dress I went to the loo at our local cinema and got halfway down the street before I realised that my skirt was tucked into my knickers. I wouldn’t have clocked it had I not spotted my reflection in a window…

Despite that embarrassing experience I knew that my red Penny would not be my last, and that I’d crack out the rayon once more. I spotted this lovely bird/feather print on the Harts Fabric website (still in stock!) and, thinking that the birds all ran in the same direction, I bought 3.5 yards as suggested by the pattern notes. Turns out I needn’t have bothered. The birds face up and down, so with some clever placement I was able squeeze it out of about two yards – plenty left over for something else I think!

Side

Who needs to twirl when the wind will do the job for you? 

Having learned my lesson from last time, I added extra notches at the skirt waistline and got my head round the collar and button band construction much quicker (NB SOI have now updated the pattern with the missing button band notch). I did, however, struggle with threading the elastic through the waist channel. It was easy enough until I hit the side seam and the button band and then things ground to a halt. I ended up having to unpick the casing so I could give it a hand, which means the waist isn’t quite as neat as it could be. Do you have any tips to make it easier?

I also had a bit of a nightmare with the hem. After letting it hang for 48 hours, Chris very kindly helped me level it out again. It looked fine when I tried it on with the pins in, but when I hemmed it and tried it again, it looked wonky at the sides. Cue a tantrum and snapping at my husband who really didn’t deserve it and continued to very patiently help me. He really is my better half. Anyway, the team effort worked and the hem is now much more level.

I’m a big fan of this dress. It’s great for warmer temperatures, but I can also see it having a life beyond the summer. Paired with some tights and a cardi, it’ll work into spring and autumn. Till then, I’m going to pretend I live on the Riviera and swish about in it some more.

Back

My sewing space

Before I start showing you my sewing space, I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who responded to my last post. It was a tough couple of days and it was a huge boost for me that so many took the time to send kind words and virtual hugs. It’s been said before, but it bears repeating – sewing people really are the best. I’m feeling much more positive and I’m looking forward to our visitors arriving next week.

You're awesome Bill Murray

Anyway, this is where I sew! Back in London my sewing space was spread over several rooms. My stash was in the study, equipment and patterns on bookshelves on the landing and I did my sewing in the kitchen. I had a lot of stuff and to be honest, it was a ball ache having to lug it all around the flat. It was probably even more of a ball ache for Chris, who practically had to climb over the ironing board just to get a cup of tea.

When we moved to the States we travelled light, bringing just two suitcases each. The voltage is different over here so I knew I’d have to buy new machines, but I didn’t want to buy all new equipment. That meant downsizing my sewing kit considerably. I picked out a few paper patterns, chose a few fabrics from my stash and squeezed essential bits of kit into a wash bag.

Wash bag equipment

All this fit into the wash bag at the back. If you’re travelling anywhere and need your sewing kit, I’d recommend packing it in a wash bag – all the different compartments make it really convenient.

Our new flat is much smaller than in London and came unfurnished (apparently the norm in the US) so we had to think carefully about how we used the space. I was determined to have a sewing space, so I bagsied a corner of the living room where our dining table would go, and hotfooted it to Ikea.

I don’t want to accumulate a lot of stuff while we’re here so I went for the four-section Kallax shelves, telling myself that I wasn’t allowed to expand out of them. That’s one shelf each for my sewing machine, overlocker, patterns and stash. My rulers and cutting mat fit nicely down the back of the shelves, along with my muffling mat which I got for my overlocker, cos, y’know, neighbours. On top of the shelves I’ve got a lamp and a wire basket for my crochet stuff, both from Target. The grey wall (not my choice) means that the corner gets pretty dark so the lamp really does help in the evenings.

 

Corner shelf

One day I’ll make fancy covers for my machines. The black box is where my stash lives. 

My sewing/dining table is the Norden (looks like Ikea have discontinued it, unfortunately). Typically I use it fully opened out, and if I’m using it for cutting there’s enough floor space to push it out into the room so I can cut from all sides without moving the fabric. The table is right next to the shelves which means that I don’t have far to move my machines when I want them, or I need to put them away when we have dinner.

 

Sewing table

I tidied up for these shots. Can you tell? 

The best thing about the table, though, is the in-built storage! There are six little drawers between the leaves. I’m only using three at the moment, but they house my threads, tools and notions pretty neatly. I could have left everything in the wash bag – it’s certainly compact, but rooting around in there to find my plastic bag of buttons or my pins was getting to be annoying. I’ve now separated everything out into jam jars (I ate a LOT of jam. It was a tough time) so everything is within easy reach and isn’t messed in with other things. If I need it, I can just lift out the jar and it’s all kept neat and tidy.

Top drawer

My most used equipment is in the top drawer. 

Although it’s not a dedicated room, I’m really happy with my sewing space. It’s easy to keep clean and I’ve got plenty of space spread out if I need to. I like the minimalist approach – it’s made me think about what I actually need rather than what’s nice to have, and should mean that everything’s easy to transport back when we eventually move back to the UK.

What’s your sewing space like? Do you have your own room or do you take over the dining room table?

Clearly you’re not a golfer.

Last weekend Chris and I went to see the Big Lebowski at Seattle Outdoor Cinema. I like to think I have a few things in common with the Dude. I think a rug can tie a room together. I like cocktails, but I prefer a margarita to a white Russian. I also like spending most of my time in my pyjamas. And to be honest, a lot of my pjs are so old (erm… well-loved) that they’re beginning to look like the Dude’s. I don’t leave the house in them (I do have standards) but it’s time to put a bit more elegance into my lie-ins and lounging.

The-Big-Lebowski

Goals. Source.

I picked up the Carolyn pyjamas by Closet Case Patterns a few weeks ago, attracted by the details – I’ve never done a notched collar, nor have I inserted piping before. It’s been pretty warm here over the last few weeks and sleeping in full length pjs is a bit uncomfortable so Version C with its shorts and short-sleeved top was the perfect option.

Front

As luck would have it, the perfect fabric was sitting under my nose. One day, as I was enjoying a particularly long lie-in, it hit me – my Ikea duvet cover (the Nypronos – available in blue or grey) would make awesome pjs. Now, I wasn’t about to cut my duvet cover up just to scratch that particular itch. I took my scissors to a new set instead, figuring that I’d be able to get at least a pair of pjs each for me and Chris out of it, and then keep the pillowcases for their original purpose. I wasn’t wrong – so far I’ve only made the Carolyns out of it, but with around four metres of extra wide fabric to play with I think I can squeeze out a pair of full-length pj trousers for me as well. Not bad for $30, AND I reused the buttons!

Side

I tried “come to bed” eyes but failed.

This was my first time using Closet Case Patterns and I was largely pleased with the experience. The pattern is well drafted, and almost everything came together easily. I appreciated the extra instructions about using piping and was so pleased with my first efforts that I immediately posted a pic on Instagram. The novelty didn’t wear off either – Chris probably got sick of me waxing lyrical about piping and how professional and neat it looks. That aside, I would have liked a bit more hand-holding on the notched collar, but Heather had included a detailed post on her website. I followed that and everything turned out peachily.

Back

I made the shirt first and really took my time over it. I feel like it’s paid off, too. I’ve managed to pattern match, which doesn’t always happen on my makes. It’s a shame that the under collar isn’t the top collar, because the pattern matching on that is a thing of beauty. Part of the reason I’m so pleased with it all is the fabric. It is basically chambray, so sewing and pressing it was a dream (which is weird cos usually I hate ironing duvet covers). As a result it’s turned out really crisp, and once finished I was convinced I could wear it out in the real world. Chris then pointed out that I looked like a nurse, so that dream was crushed.

I left the shorts till last, mainly because I wasn’t sure about my pattern grading. To accommodate my child-bearing hips, I graded from a 10 to a 16 from the pocket notch. As they’re quite short shorts (i.e. the shortest shorts you will ever see me wearing), there isn’t a great deal of space to grade between sizes. This means that the cuffs don’t quite fit properly and stick out a little bit, but not enough to put me off wearing them. Next time I’ll take a proper look at the pattern and adjust accordingly but right now I’m just glad they fit round my legs!

Shorts

Mike Rotch! Mike Rotch! Has anyone seen Mike Rotch! Seriously though, there’s a faux-fly in there if you look carefully.

So in short, I’m pretty enamoured with these pjs and I can see myself spending a LOT of time in them over the next few months. They are super comfortable and perfect for lounging about the house on lazy weekend mornings. When winter comes round I can see myself making more so I can gradually replace my tatty pyjamas with something a bit more put together. I hope the Dude would abide.

Bed

Attempting to pattern match my bedding.

Does split sizing equal a splitting headache?

So this week Colette released their new pattern, the Penny shirt dress. I’m on their Pattern Insider email list, so I got a sneak peek on Monday morning and was smitten from the off. It looks like a lovely pattern with some interesting features – I particularly like the belt detail on version 2, and the sleeves on version 1 are super pretty. Obviously, I’ve already bought it.

 

Anyway, I note that Colette have introduced split sizing to their printed patterns; something they’ve been doing with their Seamwork patterns since the beginning of the year. I get why they do it – you need to draft differently for different body types, plus it gets confusing if there are too many sizes on a single sheet. If you buy the misses (0-16) or curvy (18-26) printed Penny pattern directly from Colette’s online shop, you also get access to both ranges in pdf format so you can grade more easily. You can also buy the pdf on its own, if that’s your preference. For more about Colette’s approach to split sizing, click here.

This is a great development from Colette – they’re doing their best to be inclusive and cater for as many of their customers as possible. As someone whose body spans the misses and curvy ranges by as many as four sizes between waist and hips, having the option to grade is essential. I wish more pattern companies would follow suit, and when I say that I’m looking particularly at the Big Four. A quick scan of the McCalls website shows that their patterns come in two size ranges, with a crossover of one size (e.g. the ubiquitous M6696 shirt dress comes in sizes 8-16 and 16-24). PDF provision is patchy, and even when they do exist they’re split between the same size ranges. Basically, if you want to grade between the ranges you have to spend your money twice.

This puts me off buying from them. My pattern drafting skills ain’t all that, and the sizing/grading advice on the McCalls website to pick from my hip size and alter the waist is a bit of a ball ache (yes, I am lazy). Would it be cost-effective for them to offer grouped PDFs a la Colette? Or is it worth doing a mid-sized range of printed patterns in addition to the misses and curvy sizes so that there’s more overlap? How would this affect their design process? Should I just bite the bullet and give the Big Four a go?

 

 

The silk that almost got the better of me

Hi everybody! How’s your Sunday going? I’m posting this with one eye on Game of Thrones (don’t worry, no spoilers) to bring you something I’ve been meaning to talk about for a while but just never got round to it. Part of my Me Made May pledge this year was to finally cut into some blue silk I’d bought from the Man Outside Sainsburys at Walthamstow Market last year. Well, I may not have blogged about it at the time, but I am still a woman of my word and I completed a new Sew Over It Alex shirt well before my 31 May deadline.

 

Front

Thought I’d change up the location today – this is the ground floor courtyard in my building and an attractive water feature.

I’ve covered the Alex dress and shirt before this year, so I won’t say much about the pattern – just assume that I made it in the same way, yes? You’d think that by my third attempt on a pattern everything would be plain sailing, but no! From start to finish, this Alex was a pain in the proverbial.

I had originally planned to make an Alex dress out of this, thinking I had bought more than I did. It turned out I only had 1.5m, so I had to settle for the shirt instead. Even then I had to do some pattern Tetris and single layer cutting to eke it out of the length. If that had been my only issue with the fabric I think I’d be ok with this make, but sewing it turned out to be a massive ball ache.

Side

I wanted to treat the fabric nicely, so I went out and bought sharp needles and some proper silk pins. Turns out I needn’t have bothered. The pins were super difficult to push through the layers, and when I tried sewing a scrap, my machine let out a big fat ‘nope’. I don’t think it managed to sew a single stitch. I tried several different needles and finally settled on a 70/10, which was the best of a bad bunch. The machine was still skipping stitches so I ended up taking things reeeeaaally slowly but there are a few places where I had to go over the seams more than once. All this made me wonder whether the Man Outside Sainsburys was mistaken in telling me it was a silk, but I did a burn test and it looks like he was telling me the truth.

Anyway, since the fabric and hardware weren’t playing ball, I figured that I’d probably have issues with sewing the buttonholes. I ended up only doing them on the button tabs and even then I had to unpick a few times. I didn’t want to risk it on the placket, so I ended up just sewing the buttons straight through. I can get it over my head without any bother so they don’t need to be functional.

Back

Despite my issues, I do still like the finished result. It was worth the extra effort to go slowly, I’m pleased with how it looks and it does feel nice to wear. Now that we’re in the middle of summer, it’s a little too warm for me to wear it right now, but I’m sure it’ll be in heavy rotation once the autumn arrives.

 

Penny for my thoughts

I’m thinking of renaming my blog. Confessions of a Broken Record sounds about right, since today’s post is about yet another shirt dress. That Winslow culottes post probably lulled you into a false sense of security, but mwhahaha here I am to talk to you about my Penny dress!

My love of Sew Over It’s patterns is well-documented, and I had to have this one as soon as it was released in June. Of course I did; it’s a shirt dress. The Penny is a casual day dress, with a button-up bodice and a circle skirt attached to an elasticated waist. I reckon I’ve been missing out on a whole world of swishing and twirling since I last made a circle skirt several years ago, so it’s definitely time to give it another go.

DSC_0591

To maximise my Penny’s swish factor, I went for this summery rayon (unfortunately out of stock) from Harts Fabric’s online store. I am fast falling in love with Harts – they’ve got a great selection and their service is really prompt. I managed to eke the dress out of 2.5 yards (the US is not on board with the metric system) with a bit of pattern Tetris and some single layer cutting.

Side

This is the only side photo I got where I wasn’t gurning. Looking at this pic, I may add an extra bit of length in the bodice as it’s pulling up slightly at the front.

Now, normally I find SOI’s instructions super clear. Really, it’s difficult to go too far wrong with their patterns, but this time I found them a bit confusing in a few places. I had to add notches to the skirt waistline so I could attach the bodice evenly, while the button placket construction was just a bit odd. You’re supposed to partially fold the facing out to the front of the bodice, but the instructions don’t specify by how much. It was only by looking at a kink in the facing piece that I had an idea of what was supposed to happen. It didn’t really make sense until attaching the collar. I think this could put off an adventurous beginner.

Other than those little blips the dress came together really nicely. A special shout out should go to Chris, who very patiently helped me level out the hem. I left it to hang for a day and in that time the bias shifted by 3.5 inches (apparently I’m not on board with the metric system either). Since I don’t have a dummy anymore I had to put it on to mark it accurately. Chris got his tape measure out and diligently marked out an even line with pins. He was bothered it wasn’t right but I think his eyes were playing tricks on him as it looks pretty good to me.

Back

Of course, I love this dress. As soon as I finished the hem I spent a good hour swishing and twirling around the flat in it. It’s light and floaty and will see me through the summer very nicely. I’ll definitely be making more, because I am so not over making shirt dresses just yet (not sorry) but I’ll make sure I’ve got my June/July sewing plans out of the way first.

Do you get obsessed with sewing particular garments?

 

Inspiration from the big screen: 20th Century Women

I’ve spent a lot of time on planes over recently – at least 24 hours by my count. Like most people I never sleep properly on transport, so I’ve been catching up with all the films I’ve missed at the cinema. Watching films that are intended for the big screen on the back of an airline seat isn’t ideal but I reckon I’ve done pretty well out of it. I’ve now seen all but two of this year’s Oscar nominees for best picture (Fences and Hell or High Water) plus filling in some long-lasting gaps in my viewing (Avatar. Don’t bother).

One of these plane movies was 20th Century Women starring Annette Bening, Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig. Bening plays Dorothea, a bohemian single mother in her 50s who enlists two other women to help raise her teenage son, Jamie, in late 1970s California. It’s an interesting take on raising a child – all three women use their own experiences to influence him. They don’t necessarily get it right (whatever ‘right’ is), but they all act with Jamie’s best interests at heart, showing him the world as they see it. There aren’t any plot twists but a great ensemble cast playing well-crafted characters. I’d recommend seeking it out if you can.

And do you know what? They wear some lovely clothes too! I love the late 70s fashions in the film. It’s modern vintage – no fussy features, simple to wear and comfortable. If I want to go for a vintage look, it’d be my era of choice. A lot of the clothes could be easily recreated using indie patterns – here’s a quick round-up.

Dorothea (Annette Bening)
Dorothea wears a lot of Liberty-style prints throughout the film, but my favourite has to be this pussy-bow blouse that features in the publicity shots.

I’m thinking the Sew Over It pussy-bow blouse or a hacked version of Tilly and the Buttons Mimi blouse would work here. And obvs, you’d have to use a Tana lawn like this one.

Abbie (Greta Gerwig)
Abbie’s style is a bit more punk than the other characters – think Patti Smith with a dash of Debbie Harry. My choice for her slouchy shirts and rolled up sleeves would be the Sew Over It Alex shirt in bright rayon. I did have a shirt like the one below planned, but then I used my red rayon on my Winslow culottes. Kinda wanna buy more now…

 

alex-front

Alex shirt

Julie (Elle Fanning)
I loved just about everything Julie wore in this film, which is basically a lot of denim skirts and blouses, and we all know about my current love for a good shirt… Anyway, I particularly loved this midi length skirt, which I reckon would be great as a Colette Zinnia (version 1) in a simple blue chambray.

Front view resize

My Zinnia from last year.

I’m also a big fan of this outfit (yellow and blue developing into a bit of a theme here), which I can see as a Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt and a SOI Ultimate shirt in light cotton lawn.

 

Red ultimate shirt

One of my Ultimate shirts in cotton lawn.

Do you ever get inspired by the costumes you see on the big screen? Let me know in the comments!

Oh, and hello to Jason Isaacs.

 

New to me: Helen’s Closet Winslow culottes

I spend most of my year in either jeans or skirts/dresses, with my legs covered in thick black tights. That’s fine for nine months out of 12 in Seattle, but now that summer’s here it’s time for my pasty-white pins to see the light of day. Now, I will never have the legs of a gazelle and in the summer that means I’m a victim of chub rub. The struggle is real, y’all. I can cope with a London summer, which lasts about two weeks if you’re lucky, but I’m told that we can expect consistently higher temperatures from mid-June well into September. It’s time to try making shorts.

Unlike Homer Simpson, short shorts are really not for me, but knee-length is definitely more within my comfort-zone. And if it can look like a skirt but with the anti-chafing benefits, so much the better. Culottes are the definitely the answer. After seeing so many ace versions around the internet (here, here and here) , I thought I’d give the Winslow culottes by Helen’s Closet a go.

That’s a Grainline Scout tee I’m wearing on top too.

One of the things I like about them is how they can work in a range of lengths – the pattern includes four lengths from short shorts to trousers (and also tells you which PDF pages to print – super useful).  True to form, I cut the knee-length version in bright red rayon which I thought would be light and breezy for when the mercury climbs.

It was quite breezy yesterday so these photos look like I’m standing in a wind tunnel.

With only four pattern pieces and super-clear instructions, sewing up these culottes was a cinch. There are some nice optional features, too. I particularly like the recommendation to put a bar tack in at either end of the in-seam pocket openings to help the pocket to sit forward. Sometimes I think understitching isn’t enough, especially in a slinky fabric, so giving it an extra bit of encouragement is a great idea.

Check out the bar tacks at either end of the pocket opening.

If I had any issues it was with the fabric itself. Rayon is super slinky so obviously I used extra pins where I could, but no matter how many I used I still couldn’t get the pleats to hold together completely through the machine, so they’re not quite as sharp as I would have liked at the waistband. I’m also trying to save a bit of space in my sewing area (it’s a corner of my living room), so at the moment I am overlocking insides in either black or white thread, depending on the colour of the fabric. I went for black in this instance, which seems to have worked out ok, but I think if the fabric was any lighter in weight it’d be noticeable.

I wore these out and about yesterday and felt comfortable all day. It was a reasonably windy day and it was refreshing (ahem) to be able to walk around town without flashing my undies to the good folk of Seattle. I have one change to make for my next pair, which is to raise the crotch by about an inch and a half. At the moment it’s a little bit too low, which means I don’t get any of the anti-chafing benefits. I’m looking forward to that next pair, which will be in a palm-leaf print cotton for a Hawaiian vibe – I’m staring at it longingly as I type.

No more Marilyn moments!

If you’re looking to dip your toe into shorts/trouser-making, this is a great pattern to try. Easy to fit, easy to sew, easy to wear. Recommended!

This post also appears on the Monthly Stitch blog as part of their New to Me challenge for Indie Pattern Month 2017. Check out the other entries here and be inspired!

On the cutting table: July

What’s on my cutting table this month? Exactly the same as what was on it last month, because I summarily failed to do any real sewing in June. It was a bit of a hectic month, with my last few weekends taken up with travelling and camping. Great fun, but it’s left me completely shattered.

Anyway, I’m back on it now and I’m continuing with my plans. Happily, it’s Indie Pattern Month over on the Monthly Stitch, so a lot of my sewing could end up on there too. If I can get it finished my Penny dress will be for the Dresses challenge, though I’m fast running out of time with a waist to finish, a hem to level and photos to be taken. It might end up as an amnesty post at the end of the month. My Winslow culottes are done and waiting for photos before the New to Me week and I may try and get my Carolyn pjs ready by the end of that week too, though I won’t push myself to get them done.

Sewing table

It’s never normally this neat.

Finally, thanks for all your responses on my last post on Love Sewing. It seems that many of you feel the same way, but several also pointed out the pressures that hobby magazines are under. It’s good to see things from both sides, so do go and check out the comments.