Sheepskin lined Kelly Anorak

I’ve had the paper pattern since my birthday last year but never felt the need to make a Kelly until I did. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I needed to make one.

I only have one proper coat, which is my Cascade duffle coat, and I’ve worn it to death. It’s a bit bulky to wear in the car but my car takes an age to warm up and I’ve been pinching my boyfriend’s fleeces – enter car coat!

I bought the navy oilskin from Merchant & Mills and debated the lining for ages. I was originally going to go for a quilted lining like Lauren from Guthrie Ghani but I couldn’t find any thinsulate online. Then I was going to go for a fleece lining until I was browsing Closet Case Files Kelly anorak supplies and she suggests sheepskin lining. Bingo! I bought some (fake) sheepskin lining from eBay. The snaps also came from eBay, the zip and cord from Guthrie Ghani and the stops/toggles were also from Merchant and Mills.

I was pleasantly surprised when the oilskin arrived, I was expecting to feel slick or greasy in some way but it feels just like a stiff cotton. All this just for a car coat… I just hope it’s warm enough to wear as the sleeves are only lined with rayon from my stash.

I’d like to say that the coat came together easily but it was one of those projects where every seam seemed to need unpicking. The instructions were generally fine but having just made the Sasha trousers I’ve figured out that I really don’t get along with Closet Case instructions. I had to consult the sewalong which you shouldn’t have to do when paying for a paper pattern (plus extra for the lining expansion). The only part I really struggled with was around the hood as you sandwich the hood and facing between the coat front and I just did. Not. Get. It. Until I did. Weird huh?

The instructions have you construct the coat shell, the lining and hood separately so you don’t really feel like you’re making a lot of progress and then all of a sudden bam! You have a new coat.

When it comes to bagging the lining it’s not done in the traditional bagged sense. You sew part of the neckline/hood, the sleeves and lining together and then fold the hem up and sew down. The instructions tell you to partially sew the neckline and then hand stitch the rest but I couldn’t see any reason why not to sew the whole thing as the hem is left free to turn it back right sides together. My hand stitching is less than secure and the hood/top of the coat gets the most stress from being hung up so I didn’t want to risk it pulling free. Another suggestion if you’re lining would be to insert the snaps before lining. There’s no way I would’ve got them in through the lining and the instructions tell you to do it at the end. This means you would feel the inside of the snaps inside the jacket and also I had enough trouble trying to insert them through 3 layers of oilskin for the pockets.

This coat is currently sat in the naughty corner though as the instructions annoyed me a little but it seemed like every single seam I sewed needed unpicking and it was driving me mad! Not to mention the oilskin kept puckering and wouldn’t lay smooth. I was rushing to get it finished as it was just over sewing it.

I went for a size 4 at the shoulders and a 6 all over which would be fine for a thin lining but this lining it really thick. I cut all the pieces out before receiving my lining fabric so I just ploughed on ahead. You can see in this picture it’s a bit tight with a jumper underneath (that’s not why the snaps are undone though! They needed hammering in fully).

If you’re reading this having never made a coat before and feel that it’s an impossible task it really isn’t. It’s just A LOT of steps and a great deal of cutting out. Just take your time, find a pattern you will wear (not one that’s easy) and crack on!

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Lois dress

I’ve been eyeing the Tessuti Lois dress for a while. Tessuti patterns are hand drawn which if you’re not used to can be a little jarring but once you get passed it they’re like any other pattern.

I used my previous Rifle Paper Co fabric which I’ve been hoarding for a while. I’ve had various plans for it including a jumpsuit but I saw the Lois dress on Tessuti’s Instagram and sent it off to the copy shop. I use Net Printer and their delivery is always fast. Do bare in mind that the copy shop files are labelled funny, there are 3 copy shop files in separate documents rather than the same one and so the first time I had it printed I missed half the pattern!

Judging by the finished measurements I could squeeze into the size 8 and a few comments online said that the dress comes up quite large.

Goofy outtake!

The dress is a little low cut but I’ve worn it to work with a cami underneath and wore it last night for my best friend’s 30th without. It’s a bit booby for me but it was a nice change from being covered up!

When trying the dress on to check fit I realised the rayon has a little give in it and therefore I could squeeze it over my head without inserting the zip. The zip instructions are unlike any I’ve ever seen and I almost wish I’d put the zip in to try it.

I left off the armbands even though I’d cut them out as I have narrow shoulders and I thought it might overwhelm. I like how it sits without, I just turned under the hem twice and stitched instead.

I’m over the moon with the dress and feel it will get worn a lot. It’s the perfect summer dress but also looks great with tights and a cardigan!

Sewing makes you love yourself

Sewing makes you love yourself #SMYLY comes from Hattie_Van_Der_Krohn, Athinakakou and Lisakisch. A sewing movement to promote body and mind positivity.

I’ve been struggling with my mental health recently. I had a lot of anxiety when I was younger but I seemed to cope better as I got older. In fact I didn’t actually know it was called anxiety until teaching a mental health unit, I thought that would everyone worried like I do. Thankfully I don’t worry as much but the feelings of anxiety have been getting worse.

Work has been really stressful lately, more stressful than it’s ever been before and I’ve been struggling to cope. It’s been hard to put my finger on exactly what’s causing the stress but I feel like it’s a lot of little things adding up that are causing that big black cloud above my head.

I feel that it’s important to talk about this especially in the world of social media and heavily filtered lives. #itsokaynottobeokay

It got to the point where I was seriously considering taking time off but I made it to christmas, had a few days off with Emily back in nursery and felt refreshed. Part of that comes from sewing. When I sew I block out the entire world. I put something on Netflix (was the crown, currently Riverdale) and get lost. Sewing feels like a gift to myself. A gift of time, a gift of self love (not like that) and above all mindfulness. It helps me to reset and clear my mind of all the crap that builds up.

I was teaching about mental health and we were discussing the different definitions of abnormality. Sewing your own clothes is abnormal, it goes against societies norms and values. However it’s not harming anyone (including myself) and therefore would not be classed as a mental illness. One of my students commented that she didn’t know how I could be bothered to sew all my own clothes. I just smiled at her because for me it’s not just a wardrobe requirement, it’s a necessity.

Making Christmas presents (or presents in general)

(This is a long ass post, get yourself a cup of tea and get comfy!). Also if you’re my mum, dad or sister do not read!! These are your Christmas presents that still haven’t arrived….

If you know me at all you know that I do not make anything for anyone! Gary’s been asking for something handmade for yeeears and I’m still yet to make Emily anything. When I first started sewing and before that, crochet, I used to make presents for all my friends and family. I quickly stopped when the effort I put in didn’t equal the reaction received. You know the, oh thanks, and then to add insult to injury you’d never see it again! My gran actually gave me back the quilt that I spent 8 months carefully hand-sewing.

Also I felt a bit embarrassed giving handmade gifts because my skills just weren’t up to scratch. Let’s be honest it looked a little Becky Homeecky.

Fast forward 4 years and I’ve started making gifts only for those who request it. This year it was my mum who asked for something I’d made. She loves my handmade gifts because she’s also a maker and knows the time/effort/money that goes into making something.

It got me thinking, I’ve got a shed load of fabric that needs using and it wouldn’t take me long to make some presents. I decided to make my mum a Hemlock and my sister too after perusing my stash. I chose the hemlock because it’s supposed to be oversized and therefore fit wasn’t an issue. The pink jersey was from Backstitch and the jersey from Fabworks. Both fabrics bought before I decided what I would make before buying (I find it’s more likely to get used this way!).

My sister has 2 babies under two and it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to make for them too…. Then Thread Theory posted about a wallet pattern and bam! I’m making for my whole family in Canada.

I took advantage of the Black Friday sales and purchased a load of PDFs on sale. I bought the Wiksten Harem pants, the thread theory bifold wallet pattern and the Brindille and Twig romper. The harem pants fabric was leftover from the Valley blouse I made (unblogged).

I asked my sister what colours she liked the babies in and specifically requested pink for my niece. I didn’t have anything in my stash and so bought some spotty jersey from Guthrie Ghani (who didn’t have a sale on. Wahhh). The snaps were in my stash and originally from eBay.

Kids clothes are surprisingly addictive to make! I cut the fabric in one evening and in another sewed both the pants and the romper up (in less than 2 hours!). Even though the harem pants are French seamed they still sewed up quicker than an episode of Outlander. This makes the effort of making much less and so I’ll be less offended if I never see it again!

For the wallets I bought a metre of fake leather. I’m not averse to buying leather projects but the thought of buying a hide and handling it grossed me out a little. Not to mention leather is crazy expensive.

This wallet very nearly didn’t get made. This was the THIRD attempt. So much for making one for every male in my general vicinity. The fabric I bought is very, um, springy and it made making the wallet difficult. The first attempt I used two layers of the “leather” and it was far too thick and wouldn’t lie flat. The second attempt I used yet more scraps from my Valley blouse. The stitching was uneven and looked too homemade to even think about gifting it.

I actually gave up at this point and asked my dad what he would like. My poor brother in law will just be getting a voucher as having family in Canada means I have to send the parcels off ASAP and I’d already missed my personal deadline.

Anyway third time lucky – I used my walking foot, put the machine on the slowest speed and pressed the hell out of the wallet. I used some scraps from my coat lining for the inner.

Sorry for the bad lighting I was just so pleased to finally finish it!

I also made Gary a wallet to stop him asking for something handmade!

The last thing I made was an Ogden cami for my friend Lisa. She’s already had a handmade kimono and specifically requested another handmade present so I bought the cami pattern during Black Friday and used a metre of viscose I had in my stash.

phew! Well done if you made it to the end. I’ve never made so many presents before but I really enjoyed it this year.

I’m even planning on making Gary a shirt for his birthday! Who even am I!?

2017 roundup

Another of my favourite posts to read. I just love seeing what people have made/their total tally over the year.

In 2017 I made a total of 36 things. Of that 7(!) of those were presents (1 Ogden cami, a wallet, harem pants, romper, pouch for the valentine swap and 2 hemlock tops) which I think is a record for me. I also made 9 tops, 8 dresses, 2 bras, 1 skirt, a coat and 4 pairs of trousers. Oh and one sweater!

Tops:

Burda chambray shirt / McCalls gingham shirt/ Ogden cami in cotton lawn/ alma blouse / Republique du chiffon Suzon blouse in clip dot fabric / pink stripe lark tee / valley blouse in cotton check / Tessuti Alice top / Sewaholic alma blouse

Bottoms:

Morgan jeans / Pauline Alice Rosari skirt / Sewoverit ultimate trousers x2 / Pauline Alice Turia dungarees

Dresses:

McCalls shirt pattern / By Hand London Kim dress / Ogden-Southport mashup / BHL Anna / McCalls floral dress / Sewoverit Eve / Tilly and the Buttons Cleo / Named Inari

I’m quite impressed by my productivity this year as I think it’s the most output I’ve ever had in a year!

Hits and misses of 2017

I absolutely love reading these posts about what people have loved and hated about what they’ve made. I find it really interesting.

Misses of 2017

Cleo dungaree dress

I’m not gonna lie I feel ridiculous in this dress. I think because I have a toddler I just feel really stupid if I’m dressed similarly to her! It was a 50/50 choice of making the cleo or another Pauline Alice Rosari skirt so I think I’m going to refashion it and see if it gets more wear.

Turia dungarees

My Turia dungarees have fallen in the same category. Although looking at this picture I might need to try give them another go!

McCalls M6696

I have no idea why I don’t love this dress as much as I was expecting. I think the lack of sleeves makes it harder to wear and the full skirt makes me feel too dressed up. It’s too twee for work and too dressy for a weekend.

Archer shirt

This Archer shirt has no sleeves and is totally the wrong length. I think I needs refashioning but I’m gutted this fabric which I adore isn’t getting worn.

Hits of 2017

Cascade duffle coat

I’m not going to lie I’m super proud of this coat. It’s the most time and effort (and most expensive!) project I’ve ever made. I absolutely love it.

Morgan jeans

As soon as I made these jeans I didn’t take them off for 4 days! The only reason I peeled them off was because they got muddy!

Alexandria peg trousers

I’ve worn and worn these to death! They’re comfy and easy to wear. Great for work too!

Sewoverit Eve dress

This Eve dress is fairly new but I find myself reaching for it straight out of the wash. It’s easy to wear, requires no ironing and makes me feel really put together.

Christmas Moneta

Oh how I hate sewing the moneta! That waistband elastic drives me mad but I love love wearing them.

I wear my white polka dot one on a regular basis and every time I wear it I think I need another! I’ve had some stretch lace in my stash for a while and when I was thinking about making a Christmas dress for our work do it popped into my head.

I had some blue jersey leftovers from a dress I made for a friend and they were a perfect colour match. I had scraps left of that jersey when I was done – gotta love scrap busting.

The lace has a scalloped edge which means no hemming the sleeves or the skirt! Yaaaaas. Therefore the dress came together really quickly. I had to fight my overlocker through the thick layers of jersey around the waist but other than that (and the elastic application which I had to do twice) it was an easy and quick make.

I originally wanted to have some lace without lining on the bodice but I thought it would look messy so I overlocked the layers together and turned under.