I. AM WEARING. SPACE PANTS!

Do you ever get the urge to make something ridiculous, maybe based on something you’ve seen on TV, or in a magazine, just for shits n’ giggles? I mostly started this little project because of something I saw on the internet a couple of months ago. Seeing Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones sing about his space pants on Saturday Night Live appealed directly to the dafter side of my sense of humour, and I knew that I had to make some of my own.

Now, I’m sensible/conservative (small C) enough that I’m not going to make space pants for everyday wear. I’m really enjoying running at the moment but I’ve struggled to find ready-to-wear leggings that fit me properly. If they fit round the waist, they’re see-through on the hips/bum. If they fit round the hips, then they fall down because they’re not tight enough on the waist. It’s not a good look and, more importantly, it just isn’t comfortable. I think the Helen’s Closet Avery Leggings are the answer to my issues.

The pattern is exactly what I was looking for. When stitched together, the rise hits at the widest part of my hips, so all I needed to do was alter the waistband pieces to fit my waist. I made View B, which features a shorter leg and a waistband that hits directly on the waist, rather than the lower rise of View A. I cut an XL in the leg, then blended two sizes down to an M at the waist. They were also a bit too long, so I lopped a few inches off the length so they hit at the ankle.

Front

Sewing these up brought me so much joy. The whole project made me giggle for the daftness of it all. I love it when fabric does that. 

It’s an easy construction, as well. The hardest part was probably inserting the elastic, and that’s mostly because you cut it smaller than the waistband and then stretch as you sew. I’m not used to doing this, but it’s simple enough when you get the hang of it – you just need to remember to stretch both ends as you go. These are tight on the waist but not uncomfortably so, and it means that they are going absolutely nowhere. I’ve tested them out on a run and they DO NOT BUDGE. Exactly what I want in a pair of running leggings.

Waistband

They do look tight around my waist, but I assure you, it is not uncomfortable. 

So anyway, the ridiculous fabric. The Averys call for knit fabric with 70% stretch. I found this stuff on the Harts Fabric website under the Athletic section. They have some fun prints on there – mermaid scales, cats shooting lasers from their eyes – but it was all about the space print for me. Who wouldn’t want a tour of the Solar System on their lower body? I have no idea what the fabric itself is made of, but it sure as hell is not natural. When you cut into it, it produces actual dust, not fibres, and it has a kind of plasticky smell. I doubt it will do much to wick moisture away from my skin on warmer days, and it is getting warmer here in Seattle, so I probably won’t get much use out of them until the autumn. I’ve got another pair cut out in wicking fabric that should see me through the summer.

That said, I LOVE my space pants. They’re the perfect blend of a great fit and silliness. It’s this kind of thing that makes sewing your own clothes such a wonderful gift. You want to make leggings that cover your legs in the cosmos? You can totally do it. Awesome.

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On the cutting table: May

Hey hey! Happy Wednesday! It’s been a while since I’ve done a planning post, mainly because life has got in the way recently. I’ve been sewing here and there, but without any real plan against it all. Sometimes it’s nice to do that – to just make things because it takes your fancy, rather than meticulously scheduling everything in. I’ve had a few thoughts in mind for my spring/summer sewing (and my plans this month reflect that a little) – I did so much last year that I don’t think I’ll need all that much that’s new, but more on that later this month.

My sewing plans for May are, I think, a realistic take on what I think I can get done this month. Chris and I are going to Portland for the last weekend in May (Memorial Day over here) so I’ve tried to plan accordingly.

  • Multiple pairs of Helen’s Closet Avery leggings: I’m really into running at the moment but the thing I find frustrating is that I can hardly find leggings that fit me properly. It’s the age-old problem that if they fit round the waist, they stretch too much over my hips/rear and go see through. If they fit me around the hips, they’re too loose around the waist and they fall down. I’ve already muslined the Avery leggings and I’m pretty pleased with the results. I just need to get them sewn up in fabric I want to wear. Luckily I have AWESOME fabric up my sleeve (or rather, in my stash) so I’m looking forward to finally running in complete comfort. This will be my Make It Happen project for the month.
  • White linen Alex shirt: I know. I just can’t quite quit this pattern. But with summer approaching, I can’t get a loose white shirt out of my head. I want to use it as a normal shirt, but also something to throw on as an extra layer on cooler evenings. I already have a white shirt, but that’s a bit more fitted. This should be a good, casual basic.
Front

Like this, but in white. I might put the pockets on this one, too. 

  • Red Helen’s Closet Winslow culottes: Remember last year I had these wonderful red culottes that I loved, but then managed to irredeemably rip the fabric on a nail on a trip to the pub? Well, I loved them so much that I’m making them again. Those culottes were awesome. I obviously need more. The Winslows are a quick, uncomplicated sew, so I should be able to rustle these up in no time.
Front

They will be mine again. Oh yes, they will be mine again. 

What are you sewing this month? How are your SS18 plans working out?

The eyes have it

Hola! I know I said last time that I’d be back into regular blogging since I’d settled down into the new job, but I LIED. I’d do it again, dammit! It’s taken me longer than I thought it would to get back into working life. Turns out that after spending all day at a computer, I don’t really want to sit and write blog posts about what I’ve been sewing in my off time. And I have been doing a little bit of sewing. I have a small backlog to tell you about, and I have actually started making a pair of jeans! More on those once I’ve finished them, but for today let’s take a look at something a bit more simple – a Sew Over It Molly top.

Front

Can you believe that this is only the second pattern I’ve made from the City Break ebook? After all my fangirling? I’ve made all the Alex shirts, but so far I haven’t ventured further. The Molly is the first pattern in the book, and it’s probably the simplest with only four pattern pieces – a front, a back, a sleeve and a neckband. It’s designed for knits, which is probably why I’ve ignored it so far, but now I’ve made my peace with jersey it’s time to give it a go.

It is simple to put together, too. I’ve made quite a few easy t-shirts over the last six months (the TATB Agnes and the Deer & Doe Plantain), and this one’s probably the easiest due to the sleeve construction. The kimono shoulder means that there are no fiddly sleeve heads to contend with (not that sleeve heads are that complicated in knits; it’s more that these are super-simple by comparison), and you insert them on the flat, so it’s a single, straight seam. Otherwise, I cut a 12 and blended out to a 16 at the hips as usual, but I also reduced the seam allowance a bit on the sleeves – when I pinned it together it looked like it would be a smidge too snug. I’m glad I did, too, as they feel quite comfy, all told, though I’d maybe take a little out of the length next time.

Side

I feel like I don’t have that many light-coloured tops at the moment, so I cracked out this funky eye-print jersey which I bought at Drygoods Design a month or two ago (looks like it might be sold out now). Chris doesn’t like it. He thinks the eyes are a bit creepy. I can maybe see his point – perhaps it’s a bit much to have a whole top out of it. I’m thinking it might be better as a highlight fabric. I’m looking forward to the new Tilly & the Buttons book, Stretch, being released over here. There’s a raglan t-shirt in there that I’d like to try (the Frankie??), and I have enough of this stuff left over to get the sleeves out of it, and then I’d do the body in a contrast colour. Anyway, the fabric is lovely and soft, and although it’s quite light, it also feels quite snuggly and it was a pleasure to work with.

So yeah, the Molly was a nice, quick sew, and I’m sure it’ll see plenty of wear over the spring, but I’m not entirely convinced by it. If it was a toss-up between this and the Plantain, right now I think the Plantain would win. I’m not sure the combination of the sleeves and the drop shoulder suit me, and I don’t think the front view photo is the most flattering pic of me, but maybe I just need to let it grow on me? I printed off the entire pdf, so I have the dress extension – maybe I should give that a go and see what happens?

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Ice cold in Alex

Hiya! Hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend. Chris and I went up to Vancouver for a couple of days to see what’s going on, and I think it might be love. It helped that it was a beautiful couple of days, but man, what a nice place! It reminded me a lot of Sydney – a modern city built around water that’s full of friendly people. We spent Saturday exploring Stanley Park and Gastown, then yesterday we went on a tasting tour of Granville Island Public Market. If you ever find yourself in Vancouver, get yourself on one of those tours. We emerged from it feeling stuffed to Christmas Day levels, but so satisfied. Vancouver: recommended.

I took my latest finished project with me in the hopes of getting some decent pictures, but while it was lovely and sunny outside, it was damn cold too, and this Alex shirt does not lend itself to colder climes. I made it out of this gorgeous sand-washed rayon which I waited ages for. I spotted it on the Hart’s Fabric website over the summer and knew that it had to be mine, but alas it had all gone. I was a little despondent because in my experience, a lot of fabric shops won’t restock once they’re out, but this time my luck was in. They got more a month or two later, and I swooped like a fabric-obsessed magpie.

Front

It was worth the wait. This blush-pink stuff is BEAUTIFUL. It’s soft, it’s flowy and it’s everything I could want to bring my year of obsessive shirt-making to an end. It’s the perfect vehicle for an Alex shirt, lending itself brilliantly to the slouchy look. I began sewing it in November, and then… I left it until last weekend to finish. I got to the point where you have to hand stitch the collar closed and decided I’d leave it for the next day. That day never really came – I got busy with sewing a few things for our trip to Hawaii, and I discovered that knits weren’t so bad after all, and the shirt languished in a pile for a month or two. I know, I’m an awful person.

Anyway, once you stitch the collar closed the end is in sight with this project. It’s just the sleeves, hem and buttonholes left and then you’re done. So, I got on with it and sewed the last button on in front of the Super Bowl. Now, don’t get me wrong, some American sports can be exciting (Chris and I have been to the ice hockey a couple of times and had great fun), but I’m just not seeing it with American football. It was a good job I had something to do whilst it was on, cos I would have been bored to tears otherwise.

Back

I don’t really have much to say about this one. It is my fourth version of the Alex (see here, here and here for previous attempts) and I think I’ve pretty much got it down pat now. I left off the pockets this time, but I did do buttonholes. I don’t usually bother since it’s so loose I can get it on over my head without any trouble, but I might want to use it as a layering piece in the summer and maybe tie it over a dress so I thought it was worth it this time. And for once, my machine behaved beautifully and I had a completely Zen buttonhole experience. Win!

It’s lovely to wear, too. It feels so soft against my skin and the loose fit means I will always be able to have a big dinner and not feel a thing. This fabric was worth holding out for, and I’m glad I’ve finally managed to make it into something that’ll see heavy rotation in my wardrobe.

Yay!

Side

On the cutting table: February

Well, it’s been a little while, hasn’t it? Life’s been pretty busy over the last few weeks, and lately my blogging time has been greatly reduced. I started my new job three weeks ago, so instead of being a lady of leisure, I’m now gainfully employed and getting stuck in. It feels good to be working again and to have a real routine – having ten months off sounds amazing, but it’s definitely time for me to be earning my keep! I put the blog on hold for a few weeks while I’ve been settling in, but now I’m keen to get back on it. I have a couple of finished projects to share, but since it’s the first Wednesday of the month (only just!) it’s time to share my February plans!

Considering February’s a short month, I still have a bunch of stuff I want to achieve. We’re off to Vancouver this weekend, but we have the Presidents’ Day weekend coming up and I’m planning on spending it at my sewing machine getting on with this little lot. It’s gonna be awesome.

  • Start my Ginger jeans. So I was going to do this in January as part of my Make It Happen course at Drygoods Design. It didn’t happen. I was completely disorganized and couldn’t get my act together to print the pattern off and assemble my supplies and I ended up working on a couple of UFOs. That’s going to change. I have a lesson booked in and my fabric and notions kit are on order. Ginger jeans, I am coming for you. And I mean it this time!

Ginger jeans

  • Brindille & Twig pocket romper. Yet another of my friends has just had a baby. She lives in Australia, which is currently enjoying its long, hot summer so my traditional gift of a crocheted cardi just isn’t going to work. I wanted something lightweight and potentially short, and this seems to fit the bill. I’ve never sewn a B&T pattern before either, so this’ll be my “New To Me” sew for the month.
  • I can’t ditch the baby crochet completely, so this one is also going to get a crocheted blanket. I figured it’ll have a longer shelf life than a cardigan, and can be cracked out in the winter too. I’ve been furiously crocheting squares recently, and I’ve found that I can pretty much complete one on the bus to and from work.
  • I didn’t get to it in January, so the Grainline Morris blazer is still on my list. My work has a casual dress code, but it’ll be nice to have something to throw on over jeans that makes everything look a bit more pulled together. I’m just hoping that the jacket and jeans look doesn’t make look like Jeremy Clarkson too much.
  • I have been looking for a flowy top with a pleated neckline for AGES after spotting this one on Pinterest. I think it’s a Burda pattern, but the link was broken or something and I couldn’t find it on the Burda website (someone’s fixed it now though). That’s ok, because a similar one was on the cover of Love Sewing last month! I know I said last summer that I’m not a fan of the magazine, but I’m not above sourcing a copy (thank you, Mum!) when there’s something in particular I want to make. Anyway, I’m thinking this will be lovely in a nice rayon and I’m looking forward to whipping it up.

 

What are you making this month?

New to me: Papercut Patterns Coppélia wrap top

Sometimes when you sew, everything just goes right. Your invisible zip goes in first time. You put a sleeve in without getting any tucks in the fabric. You finish a seam just before your bobbin thread runs out. This is not one of those times. And just so we’re clear from the off, it’s all my own fault, and not that of the pattern. I made a fundamental stupid mistake which threw everything out, and meant that my first Papercut Coppélia top was a disaster.

Oops

Can you spot one of my mistakes? 

Before we get into that, let’s wind the clock back a little bit. The Coppélia has been on my sewing list since October but I didn’t manage it in 2017. This year I want to try more “new to me” pattern companies and this resolution seemed like the kick up the rear I needed to get this top made. I’m not a huge one for novelty prints (although I have been known to dabble), but I spotted this cute silver polar bear print knit in my local JoAnn and thought it’d be a good match for the pattern. I had visions of it being a Christmas jumper with a longer shelf-life.

Anyway, I decided Version B (the faux wrap top) would be the perfect pattern to kick off my sewing for 2018. I had to make my usual adjustments based on my measurements – blending out a couple of sizes to accommodate my hips. This was where I made my mistake. In hindsight, there were plenty of clues that would tell me which way up the front wrap pattern piece should go – notches, grainline, the cutting line for Version A – but I missed them all because all I saw was the pattern title, which ran perpendicular to everything else. Of course, I just assumed that that was the right way up, so I went on my merry way and began cutting everything out. Of course, I only realised that I’d altered the wrong side after I cut everything out and had run out of usable fabric. Arrgh.

So my mistake meant that my polar bears were running vertically rather than horizontally on the front two panels, and those panels weren’t quite wide enough to meet the back panel at the side seams. It meant that my snuggly polar bear jumper was not meant to be, but I did decide to treat it as a muslin and managed to stretch the jersey to fit at the side seams. Then I decided to put the cuffs on the sleeves. I had a complete brain fart with them and ended up sewing them every way but the right way, unpicking them at least three times and putting a hole in them in the process, not to mention when I got one caught in the feed dogs. Still, I persevered and I managed to get the muslin done. It was fine to check the fit, but not really wearable outside.

Take two

Front

Take two was more successful, though I’ve realised I’ve basically done a copycat version of Sew Sarah Smith’s Coppélia. Check her’s out here – it’s gorgeous on her!

Despite all that, I was determined to get something to show for my efforts, so I went back to JoAnn to pick up some more jersey. They didn’t have much of a selection – the shop is badly organised and the majority of the knits I could find felt synthetic or were just plain horrible. I eventually settled on this grey, medium-weight jersey, which I felt would fit in my wardrobe quite nicely.

Side

Today was perfect for blog photos – first time I’ve been up on the roof in ages! You can just make out Mount Rainier in the background. 

Taking all my mistakes into account, I was super-careful with my second attempt, and even then it only took me about three hours to complete it, including cutting out and a quick lunch break. It is a super-quick pattern with easy-to-follow instructions. I machined all the seams that would be concealed – i.e. the cuffs, and the neck and waist binding – and overlocked the rest. Once you close up the side and underarm seams it starts looking like a proper top and before you know it, it’s all done. From that point of view, I’d recommend giving it a go.

Back

You can see how the neckline doesn’t sit quite right here.

I did have to slip stitch the neckline closed, though, because when I pulled it down you could see a little bit too much of my bra – not a problem with the muslin. I think this has had a knock-on effect on the neckline at the shoulders, which doesn’t sit flush. I’m not sure how to fix it, but I’ll take it in to my next Make It Happen session at Drygoods Design to get some professional help (!). That little detail doesn’t bother me too much, so I’ll still wear this version; it’s just something to put right for next time.

Anyway, after I got over those earlier setbacks, I actually quite enjoyed sewing the Coppélia. It’s so quick and simple, that it feels quite satisfying. This jersey is quite thick, so I think I’d like to try it in something a bit more lightweight to see how it turns out, but till then I’m happy this one had a happy ending.

Doggo

I got photobombed by a friendly dog!

Charlie says “always tell your mummy before you go off somewhere”

OK, I am aware that today’s post is something of a blip – a hot weather garment when it’s currently hovering around freezing outside. We’ve just been on holiday, though, so it does make sense, really. Chris and I spent a week on Maui over Christmas and it was awesome. Chris hasn’t had any proper time off since we moved to the US so a week of relaxation in the sun was in order. We did some active stuff (ziplining, snuba diving, helicopter ride) but mostly there was a lot of pool and beach time. Someone brought you cocktails as whales breached off the coast. It was lovely.

I’m not usually one for sitting about for a week, so I don’t have a lot of beachwear. I hadn’t been all that bothered by the Charlie Caftan from Closet Case Patterns when it first came out, but it grew on me exponentially the closer we got to the departure date. If you want a measure of how useful it was, I’d say it was a third cotton, a third sunscreen and a third saltwater by the time we got home. I wore it practically every day.

Front

That hat was a good buy too. Practically clamped to my head all week. 

And what better fabric for a beach cover up than this tropical cotton lawn? I originally bought three metres from the Village Haberdashery (looks like they still have some in) with the intention of making the Colette Penny dress, but never got round to it, what with all the other shirts and shirtdresses I was making this summer. It was fate, obviously. I fancied the idea of a maxi, but didn’t have quite enough fabric, so I went for View B (the short one with the gathered front) and added in the waist ties for good measure. I did grade out from a 10 at the waist to a 16 at the hips, but there’s so much space in there that I probably could get away with going for a straight 10 next time.

Back

Now, this pattern looks simple, and for the most part that’s true, but it did have a tricky bit in the shape of the front panel. It’s an interesting construction – you complete the front bodice first by sewing up to the neckline, which creates a letterbox through which you have to sew the front panel. That’s a bit of a faff, but then you’ve got to face it/encase it on the other side with an inner panel. You can do it on your machine, but I – wonder of wonders – OPTED TO HANDSEW IT IN. It creates a neat finish, and it didn’t take me nearly as long as it usually does. I did struggle a bit with this part of the instructions (spatial awareness is not my strong point), but there is a tutorial on the Closet Case Patterns blog which explains it really clearly.

Front panel

The rest of it is pretty simple, though I would suggest that you finish the side seam and pocket allowances before you sew them together. I followed the instructions to the letter which has you finish them after sewing, which meant that I would have had a few sharp corners to negotiate with my overlocker. I ended up zigzagging them instead (not my preferred finishing method) so I’ll bear that in mind for next time.

Accidental shibori

Like every good sewist, I threw my finished caftan in the wash straight off the machine, along with a bunch of other things I needed to wash before going away. Unfortunately, there was a pair of brand new jeans in there too, and I discovered that they were not colour-fast. Oops. I normally don’t have a problem with this, but this time some of the colour transferred to my new caftan and there are a few blobs of shibori-type dying. Lucky for me it kinda works with the colour scheme and it isn’t all that noticeable. Anyway, let this be a cautionary tale for you all to buy colour catchers, or at least wash your new jeans separately!

Shibori

Oops. That’s not the only bit, either. 

So as I’ve said, I wore this to death while I was away. I’m not sure when we’ll next be hitting the beach but I’m looking forward to warmer months when it may make an appearance on the roof of our building, which is a massive sun trap. Recommended for your next hot weather holiday!

And because it’s now stuck in my head, here’s some classic Prodigy from the early 90s.

On the cutting table: January

Happy New Year! I hope you’re all rested and recovered from the festive season and ready to get stuck into 2018. We came back from Hawaii in time for New Year’s Eve, but were too knackered to go out. We took the red-eye home so got back to the flat around 8am on the 31st, went straight to bed and then spent most of the day in our pjs eating pizza and building stuff out of Lego. That’s probably my ideal state, so I’m pretty happy with that as evenings go.

AT-ST Lego

This AT-ST from Star Wars can be built in the time it takes to watch Rogue One. I’m not really a fan of Star Wars but I did enjoy building this. 

It seems like everyone is making sewing plans for 2018 on social media right now, though I’m personally feeling a bit ambivalent about it all. I have a few things I want to achieve in 2018 (see my last post for more) but I’m not entirely sure how my year is going to pan out just yet. I’m starting a new job next week and while I’ve been told that the dress code is “business casual” I don’t know how that will translate over the course of the year, how that’s going to inform my sewing plans and even how much time I’ll have now that I’m a fully contributing member of society. I may make some more long-term plans once I’m settled in at work, but until then I’m going to stick to planning month by month.

Without further waffle, here are my plans for January!

  • I’m going to take the bull by the horns and get on with my Ginger jeans this month. It’ll be my Make It Happen project at Drygoods Design and I’m thinking I’ll do it all in class time. It definitely won’t be a finished project by the end of January, but I’ll share my progress!
  • I started an Alex shirt back in November that has been sitting, unloved, waiting for me to finish it. I left it because I got to the bit where you have to hand stitch the collar down and I couldn’t be bothered, but the blush pink rayon I’m using is gorgeous and I need to finish it as a priority!
  • I AM GOING TO MAKE THE COPPELIA WRAP TOP! I have been saying this for three or four months now, and it hasn’t happened yet, but this month I really mean it, honest!
CoppeliaLongFront_1200x

I swear the model is taunting me. “You’re gonna make this top? I’ll believe it when I see it.” Image source.

  • I’m probably the last person to have a go at this, but I’m going to have a go at the Grainline Morris Blazer. I reckon it’ll be good for work and in the blue ponte I’ve ordered from Girl Charlee it should go with most of my clothes.
  • Another of my friends is due to have a baby by the end of the month, and again I don’t know what it’s going to be. I have some leftover batting from my mega quilt, so maybe I could do a baby quilt?? Or if I’m pushed for time, I might just stick with a crocheted blanket instead – much easier to do in the evenings or on the bus.

This looks like a big list but I’m quietly optimistic, since one’s already half-done and another is a long-term project. Watch this space for updates! What have you got planned for January?

My five goals for 2018

My final top five post for the year! It’s been really fun looking back on what’s been quite a productive year, sewing-wise, but now it’s time to look forward. Here are my five sewing goals for 2018, with some bonus life goals thrown in for good measure.

Make jeans.

I think I did pretty well to expand my sewing skills this year. I get a kick out of learning new things, and I’m going to carry on the theme by making myself a pair of jeans. It’s pretty timely, too – I had to buy myself a new pair the other day when my old ones got beyond repair. It’s a good time to replace my other RTW jeans, so that’s going to be my first project of 2018 at Make It Happen at Drygoods Design.

Ginger jeans

Make more stuff in knits.

If 2017 was the year I got over my fear of knits, 2018 is the year I want to really love them. I’m going to branch out from t shirts and make other things in knit fabric. Maybe a couple of dresses, maybe a couple of jumpers… Either way, I think it’s the start of a beautiful friendship.

Try new pattern companies.

2017 was also the year of the TNT for me. I made so many patterns multiple times that it got a bit silly. And if I’m making the same pattern over and over again, that means that I’m sewing from the same company all the time. I am a Sew Over It fangirl and proud, but it’s time to branch out a bit and see what’s out there. I’m going to start an occasional series on the blog called New To Me – watch out for that in the New Year.

CoppeliaLongFront_1200x.jpg

First up is this bad boy – the Coppélia cardigan by Papercut Patterns (image from their website, here). I’ve been promising myself I’ll make this for ages, but now it’s going to happen!

Be more sensible about my sewing list.

So I might have grand plans for sewing all these things, but I need to remind myself that I can’t sew everything, and that I probably don’t need ten shirts. I’m going to take a good look at the clothes in the wardrobe, identify the gaps and work on a colour palette. I like the idea of a capsule wardrobe and focusing on making a couple of garments really well, but at the same time I like quick fix sewing and the odd frivolous project in a crazy print, so we’ll see how I get on with this one.

Improve the blog.

I’ve really enjoyed blogging this year and I’m pleased with the little rebrand I did in the summer. I’m now debating whether I should move off the free WordPress plan and move to a paid one for a bit more creative freedom. There’s a few restrictions on the free plan that bug me, but I wonder whether it’s worth the cost to put them right? WP users – if you’ve moved to a paid plan, how do you find it?

In terms of content, I’m going to see how my blog posting pans out now that I’ll be a working woman again, but I am going to do some work on improving my photos. The summer ones are fine cos they’re taken outside, but when I’m stuck inside in the winter the quality drops off quite a bit. Time to get to know my camera better!

Bonus life goals

Call them New Year’s resolutions, but I have two things that I want to achieve next year in my life. First off, I’m going to run a 10k. I started running again in the spring, and then inexplicably stopped around September. Why do I do this to myself? It’s only going to be harder when I start again! Anyway, 10k seems to be my happy distance. Enough to get a nice workout, but not so long that I get bored. I’m going to find a race and build up to it.

Secondly, I’m going to learn how to drive again. I haven’t driven since I moved to London over ten years ago and my UK license has expired. I was never a confident driver and now everything’s on the wrong side of the road I figure I’ll need some lessons. Moving to the US has made me realise just how good public/mass transport is in the UK  – probably a combination of long-term investment and the fact that the country is that bit smaller. Anyway, it’d be easier to get around if we had a car, and I need to get on with learning again.

So that’s it! What a fun little exercise this has been! Thanks to Gillian for the prompts, and I hope you all enjoy the rest of the festive season and look forward to a happy and prosperous New Year.

Top five highlights of 2017

Well, 2017 has been a hell of a year. There’s been lots of upheaval and some huge changes, but some happy memories made at the same time. It’s been hard picking out my 2017 highlights, but I’ve tried to go for a mix of life events and sewing-related stuff.

I moved to another country.

The biggest thing that has happened to Chris and I this year has been moving to the US. We basically packed up our lives in the UK and flew to Seattle with two suitcases each. Since then we’ve settled in pretty nicely over here. Moving to a new place is hard, no matter whether it’s a new town or a whole new continent, but I’m pleased that we’ve done it and I’m proud of us both for making a go of it. And – NEWS JUST IN – I have a job! I’ll be starting 2018 as internal communications manager at a tech company in Seattle and, as much as I’ll miss my lie-ins and the extra sewing time, I’m excited to get started.

I’ve seen some new places.

Now that we’re here in the States we want to see as much of the place as we can. There’s so much to see here and with five trips back to the UK between us this year we’ve barely even tickled the surface, let alone scratched it. But we’ve had some fun times going to New York and San Francisco, and it’s been great getting to know Seattle and its many dining establishments. We’ve been camping in the Cascades too, which has been awesome as the countryside here is stunning. I want to see more, and I know that in 2018 we’ll continue to do more.

Mum Mt Rainier

At Mount Rainier with my mum this summer. That’s an actual volcano, you know. 

I joined the Girl Scouts.

When we moved here I knew that I would have a lot of downtime while I was waiting for my work permit to come through. I was a Guide leader in the UK so I thought I’d carry things on by finding a Girl Scout troop. And I think I really landed on my feet. My Scouts are juniors in high school (so 16-17) and they’re a great bunch. They’re really outdoorsy and always up for trying new things. I’ve done a whole load of stuff this autumn that I never thought I’d do, and there’s plans for a canoe trip in Minnesota/Wisconsin next summer. They’re certainly keeping me busy.

I’ve met some lovely new people.

When you move somewhere new, it’s important to make new friends! Through Girl Scouts I’ve made some good friends, particularly the troop leader, Hope, who has made me feel so welcome. I even spent an enjoyable Thanksgiving with her and her extended family when Chris was away, which was really kind. I’ve also made some friends in the Seattle sewing community through the Make It Happen sessions at Drygoods Design and general blog chat. Claire, of the lovely Belle Citadel blog, took me under her wing when I was having a tough time and now we’re having sewing and baking sessions galore! Without wishing to gush too much, I am so lucky to have found these people – it makes the mental upheaval of moving continents so much easier.

I taught my first sewing class.

I’m not likely to make a career out of it any time soon, but in November I taught some of my Girl Scouts how to make their own Grainline Scout tees. I had a great time doing it – even the prep! – and the results were pretty good, if I do say so myself. It was also fun to revisit an old favourite pattern and I’ve since made another with the leftovers from a length of fabric I had. More on that next week!

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I’m enjoying reading everyone’s top fives – it’s cool to see what everyone else has been up to this year. If you’d like more, there’s a nice post on Gillian’s blog where everyone is sharing links to their posts. Check it out!