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.

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.

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?


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?

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!

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?

On the cutting table: November

HOW DID IT GET TO BE NOVEMBER??? I feel like I’ve only just been sewing summer dresses and here we are almost at Christmas… It doesn’t help that today I’ve been making mincemeat ready for this year’s mince pies*, but come on, 2017, slow down!

October was a bit of a funny month – it felt like I was either gearing up to, or recovering from, my trip back to the UK, so even though I managed most of core sewing plans it feels like I didn’t really achieve anything. What a weird feeling! Anyway, my plans for the next month are:

  • Finish my quilt! I have been making good progress on it, and after wrestling with it through the quilting stage, I’m now ready to bind it. And not before time. I need to be snuggling under it on the sofa asap.
Quilt progress

Part of the reason I’ve been quite slow with finishing my quilt is because it currently lives at Drygoods Design, where I’m taking part in the Make It Happen club (so that’s their lovely Bernina machine, not mine). 

  • I also had the Coppélia wrap cardigan by Papercut Patterns on my list for last month but I didn’t get round to making it. I’ve got a lovely burgundy jersey to make it in – I just need to get it done now.
  • Harts Fabric have a great range of rayon and I’ve been keeping my eye out for them to restock this dusky pink stuff for a couple of months now. It came in last week so I snapped up two yards and now I don’t know what to make! I’m torn between the SOI Pussybow blouse or the Alex shirt. I’d like to try out a new-to-me pattern (the Pussybow) but at the same time I just can’t quit the Alex shirt!
  • Perhaps against my better judgement I’ve agreed to teach some of my Girl Scouts how to make their own clothes. I’ve given them the choice between the Colette Sorbetto, the By Hand London Polly and the Grainline Scout, so I’ll be making up some toiles for them to try on. I’m gently pushing them towards the Sorbetto as it has a nice range of skills to learn in a simple garment, but I’d rather they choose so they make something they’ll actually wear (at the time of writing the Scout is winning). This’ll be my first time teaching sewing, so fingers crossed it all works out!
Stripy scout front resize

My favourite Scout. Can’t believe I only made this 18 months ago – it feels like a lot longer. Cost per wear must be in the pence by now. 

Outside of actual sewing, I’m also taking part in #BPSewvember over on Instagram, run by Bimble and Pimble. I was going to take part in #Sewphotohop in September and completely failed, so let’s see how I get on with this one.

*I’m not going to get a sniff of a mince pie round here this year unless I make them myself. Every American I’ve spoken to about them has no idea what I’m on about so I’m not holding out hope of finding them in the supermarket. Mary Berry to the rescue!


On the cutting table: October

September was a busy month, wasn’t it? I went camping, started my job hunt (nothing to report yet) and officially hit my mid-30s. There was plenty going on in the sewing community, too, with #sewphotohop happening on Instagram. I threw Sew My Stash September into the mix and did a shedload of sewing to get rid of some of the extra fabric I’d been hanging onto for too long. I’m just about finished too – I’ve got a couple of Tilly and the Buttons Cleos that are nearly done (more on those, plus a round-up on Sunday), but until then here are my plans for October!

Once I’d finished making a dent in my stash, obviously I went out and bought more fabric. It was my birthday at the end of September and I got a couple of vouchers for fabric shops so who am I to argue with that? In my defence, though, I do have another wedding to go to this month and I have nothing suitable in my wardrobe for an autumn event in the UK. I haven’t spent all of the vouchers and my plans this month are a mix of new and stash fabrics and a UFO.

  • For the wedding I am thinking a pair of three quarter length Winslows (fast becoming a TNT for me) in some black triple crepe I’ve had in my stash for a couple of years.
  • I can’t decide on the top. I know I want to use this wonderful large-scale flamingo print rayon from Harts Fabric but I can’t decide on whether I want to make the Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse, their Anderson Blouse or a modified version of the Papercut Kochi Kimono, all of which I own. At the moment I think I’m veering towards the Anderson Blouse, as it looks nice tucked in or not, and I think it’ll work well with the Winslows (again, going for the extra in Poirot look).
Flamingo rayon

It will see an iron before I cut into it. Promise.

What to choose

L-R: Kochi Kimono, Anderson Blouse, Pussy Bow Blouse


  • I’m taking part in the Cosy Cardi Challenge on Instagram and since Helen’s Closet was having a sale the other day I snapped up the Blackwood Cardigan. It’ll be in this nice pinky/biscuit knit.
Biscuit knit

The colour looks more grey here but it’s really more of a pinky beige. Biscuit, basically. 

  • I’m going to finish the quilt I started earlier this year. I finished the top back in May just as it was getting hot outside and I couldn’t face the idea of swathing myself in layers of fabric and batting in the heat. It’s time to get it done.
Quilt top unfinished

The quilt top as it stands. It’s going to be awesome when it’s done. I hope.

  • If I have time, I’d like to make a stretchy top too, probably the Coppelia wrap cardigan by Papercut (check out Sarah’s versions here and here – they’re beautiful!). I don’t mind if I don’t get this done – with a trip abroad to contend with I am fully aware that I may prefer to spend time under the duvet instead of at my machine.


Getting organised

Do you keep tabs on your fabric and pattern stash? I haven’t until recently. In London my sewing space was so spread out and in such a mess that working out exactly what I had felt like too big a job. In fact, a little organisation was probably exactly what I needed. Now that I’ve downsized it’s a bit more manageable and I’m more inclined to tackle it. It’s useful to see what you have in stock whenever inspiration strikes, so over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to get it all logged!

You might remember that Sew My Stash September was inspired by a recent edition of the Love to Sew podcast. In that same episode Helen and Caroline talked about using Trello to keep track of their stash. It sounded like a good idea so I decided to check it out. It’s available at Trello.com and there are apps for iOS and Android too.

Trello - stash

Here’s my stash as represented through Trello. It looks like a Pinterest-type layout, but you can scroll through individual lists – e.g. there’s more in that Rayon list than what’s shown here. 

Trello is basically a list of lists (their words, not mine). There are three levels – boards, for your overall projects; lists, for groups of related things; and cards, for individual items or tasks. For example, I have a board for my fabric stash, which is divided into lists by fabric type, and the cards within those lists show basic information about each individual fabric. So far I’ve been including length and width, where and when I bought it and a description of the pattern. You can also upload pictures so I’ve included a photo of each fabric, which will help when I’m looking at patterns and don’t want to root through the physical stash.

Trello - patterns

I’ve logged my hard copy patterns so far, and am working through my pdfs. I’ve taken pictures of the fabric requirements/measurements etc too for quick reference. 

I’m trying another board for my sewing plans, starting with October. Again, I’ve included pictures for quick reference, ideas for fabrics and which version I’d like to make. I also state why I’m making it – whether it’s for an occasion or just to fill a gap in my wardrobe. One of the things I like about Trello cards is that you can include a checklist to keep your project on track (e.g. fabric bought, cut out, sewn up) but you can also set deadlines, which you can also view on a calendar. I’m not sure how often I’ll use this for everyday sewing projects but I have a wedding to go to next month and I’m making my outfit so I’m trying it out. It’s easy to move things round too, so if my October plans are a bit too ambitious I can just swap cards into the list for November.

Trello - card view

The inner workings of a card, and if you look closely you’ll get a sneak peek at my October plans…

This makes me think it’ll be good for planning and scheduling my blog posts too. At the moment I’m using an Excel sheet with a bastardised Gantt chart, which is lovely and geeky (gotta love a bit of conditional formatting), but it’s not very user-friendly. It’s difficult to move things round if plans change, and scrolling up and down is a pain. I like the visual element that Trello brings, and seeing things on a grid-based calendar is really useful too.

Excel planner

My current planner – it has tabs for posts, plans and blog ideas but it’s quite unwieldy. Time to update?

I’m sure Trello can do more than all this and I’m finding new and nifty features all the time. However, keeping it up to date will take effort on my part. I know what I’m like – I get a shiny new toy and play with it for a week or two, and then get bored leaving it to languish (I’m looking at you, Evernote). It seems quite useable, though, so maybe this’ll be just the thing to keep me organised?

On the cutting table: September

Hi everyone! It’s Labor Day weekend here in the US and I am off-grid at a campsite somewhere between Seattle and Canada.  But, thanks to the magic of WordPress’ scheduling function I can share my plans for Sew My Stash September!

So let’s get this thing done! Throughout the month I’ll be sewing exclusively from my fabric stash with patterns that I already own, basically because I want space for more fabric. It’s going to be a busy month, and I am in the middle of a job hunt, so if I get even half of this done, I’ll be pleased with myself. It’s good to have ambition, though, yes?!

With this in mind, September’s plans are all about quick wins, but with one more involved project. So here goes. In no particular order, this month I will mostly be sewing:

  • His n’ hers PJ bottoms from the rest of the Ikea duvet cover I used for my Carolyns. I’ll be using the longer length Carolyn bottoms for me and New Look 6859 for Chris. My first Big 4 pattern!
  • The one that’ll take the most time is a new Sew Over It Ultimate Shirt in this BEAUTIFUL rayon I got in Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. Britex is not a cheap shop and I limited myself to one piece of fabric from their huge collection. It was always destined to become an Ultimate Shirt, but I was waiting for cooler weather before cutting it – the colours and pattern scream autumn to me.
Bird rayon

So. Pretty. 

  • Some baby leggings from a Made by Rae free pattern. Two of my friends are pregnant and due in October. I don’t know what they’re having just yet but on the off chance they have girls (it’s a 50/50 chance, right?), these will form part of a couple of cute little outfits I’ve making. I’ll be making them from the leftover jersey from my Agnes top.
  • A pair of Helen’s Closet Winslow culottes in this funky Cotton + Steel rayon I got ages ago from Drygoods Design in Seattle. I had a bit of a disaster with my red pair so these will be a replacement pair.
Cotton and Steel rayon

This one didn’t photograph so well, but the blue is a darker navy. 

  • A pair of Tilly and the Buttons Cleo dresses. The blue denim was one of the pieces I brought with me from London, and I bought the stripy stuff at Our Fabric Stash in Pike Place Market. I’ve got some dungaree buckles in my button pot too, and I’ve been itching to get rid of them for too long.
Cleo dresses

I got the patches in the Fremont Vintage Mall. It’s basically a junk shop but you can find some gems if you’re in the mood for a rummage. 

That’s seven items in all – if I manage to get most of this done I’ll have made a healthy dent in my fabric collection. When I was going through the stash, I found that I had ideas for the rest of it, but it’s good to be vaguely realistic, isn’t it?

Are you joining in with Sew My Stash September (click here for more)? What’s on your list?


On the cutting table: June

So I spent most of yesterday glued to the UK election coverage. There were snacks and Dimbleby. It was awesome. While I’m worried about what the Tory/DUP coalition will bring, how long it will last and what effect that will have on Brexit, I’m suddenly more optimistic for Labour. Fingers crossed they can continue to put aside their differences and form the effective and coherent opposition that’s been MIA for too long. I hope my optimism lasts…

Anyway, let’s put the hot takes to one side and talk about sewing instead! The weather is definitely on the turn here in Seattle. The rain finally seems to be abating and it seems like summer might just be on the way. And of course, I have not prepped for this at all! This months plans are basically panic represented through the medium of sewing.

Despite not finishing my quilt last month (I didn’t want to swathe myself in a duvet in the summer, sorry not sorry), I did manage to make four things in May, so I’m sticking to the four items rule:

  • One day I looked at my duvet cover and decided that it would look awesome as a pair of pyjamas. As you do. So I bought another and the Closet Case Patterns Carolyn pj pattern and decided that would be a good idea. As all I have are winter pjs, these will be short in the leg and the sleeve and if Chris is lucky he may get a pair too (obvs done in a man’s pattern).
  • Running tights. I’ve recently taken up running again and I have a problem with tights. If I choose a size to fit my waist, the leg seams cut into my legs causing unsightly bulges. If I choose a size to fit my legs, they’re too big round the waist and end up falling down as I run, which is a bad look. I’m going to try the Seamwork Aries leggings, with the intention of grading to fit my weird body.
Aries leggings

Source. I wish I was this bendy.

  • I love the new Penny dress from Sew Over It (available via their PDF Club at the moment, but launching IRL later this month I think). Of course I would. It’s by Sew Over It and it’s a shirt dress. I’ve ordered some lovely rayon from Hart’s Fabric that I can’t wait to sew up, cos it will be super cool and lightweight. Bring it on.
  • Sub point. The Penny dress looks suspiciously similar to the current SOI sewalong in Simply Sewing in the UK. If you’ve already bought the magazine you could probably hack it into a Penny by shortening the skirt and lopping off the sleeves. Just sayin’.

What are you making this month?

On the cutting table: May

I’ll be honest. Right now, I’d rather be outside. Seattle is gorgeous today – the sun’s out and it’s so warm that I’ve even got my legs out. I want to be out and about enjoying it, but Chris saw fit to swipe my keys this morning and I am stuck in the flat till he gets back this evening. Blogging it is.

I’ve got a small backlog of makes, but since they all need to be photographed let’s chat about my sewing plans for this month instead! As American bureaucracy is forcing me to be a lady of leisure, I think I can manage four projects this month:

I’ve been promising myself for ages that I’d make myself a basic, multi-purpose white shirt. I finally found the perfect medium-weight cotton shirting in District Fabrics (my new local fabric shop) so I’m getting on with making the Sew Over It Ultimate Shirt. It’s already half-finished, but I made a mistake with the sleeves that I haven’t corrected yet. Tomorrow’s job will be to get it finished!

Part of my Me Made May pledge was to finally do something with the sand washed silk that’s been sitting in my stash for the best part of a year. After seeing Leigh’s gorgeous version, I’ve plumped for the Alex shirt dress from the Sew Over It City Break ebook. I’m just wondering if I have enough fabric now – the pattern calls for 3m, and I have 2m, but I managed to eke my shirt version out of much less than the recommended length…

Sandwashed silk

This doesn’t do justice to the colour. It’s more of a petrol blue.

Continuing my Sew Over It fangirling, I’m going to make the Vintage Shirt Dress for a friend’s wedding next month. I don’t have any fabric for this yet, but I’m looking forward to scouring the fabric shops of Seattle to find something. District Fabric is lovely, but there’s another good one in Capitol Hill and one in Queen Anne that I haven’t tapped yet. I feel a tour coming on!


My last Vintage Shirt Dress. Can’t wait to wear this one again.

Finally, I’m halfway through a mammoth quilt, inspired by this one I found on Pinterest. I’ve done the top so far, and since it’s queen-sized, I’m wondering how I’m going to fit it through my machine. I’ve bought a walking foot, and I’ve been watching a free Craftsy class about making my first quilt. I may have bitten off more than I can chew for a first quilt, but I’ve enjoyed picking up new skills so far.

Quilt top unfinished

One quilt top. It’s HUGE.

In the time it’s taken me to write this, the weather’s turned on a sixpence. Clear blue skies to an almighty thunderstorm in less than an hour. Perhaps I’m better off locked in the flat after all…

Anyway, what’s on your cutting table this month?