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.

 

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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!

Side

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?