Scout Tee with Petal Sleeves

In October I had the pleasure of attending two lovely weddings. My plan was to make a top and skirt that would look like a dress when worn together, but could also be worn separately.

It didn’t quite work out as planned… but I do now have a new top and a new skirt!

I finished making the top in time for the wedding of Eleanor (of Knit Nottingham) and Dr Chris. I didn’t get the skirt made in time but the top looked okay with my echinacea circle skirt… so that was lucky!

Eleanor and Chris had encouraged people to wear handmade garments so I was really glad to finish the top in time!

There was a fabulous array of handmade outfits and the bride looked amazing in her dress made from Kaffe Fassett brassica fabric. Eleanor also made Chris a tie to match the sash on her dress, knitted her cardigan, crocheted a bag and I think she made her jewellery too!

I made my top using the Scout Tee pattern – having made it before and knowing that it was simple to make and a good fit for me. Grainline Studios have added a sleeve extension pack to the pattern including a long sleeve, a cuffed sleeve and these petal sleeves…

The petal sleeves make it feel a bit fancier. I also used a drapey fabric which I picked up from Just Sew in Penrith while we were on honeymoon.

I don’t often go out-out, but this style is perfect for the kind of socialising I do – so I know that I will wear it a lot. It was great having the deadline of Eleanor’s wedding to get it finished!

I then managed to get the planned skirt finished in time for the following weekend when we travelled down to a beautiful wedding in Cornwall of our good friends Jen & Andrew.

In a way I’m glad that I didn’t push myself to finish it before Eleanor & Chris’s wedding because I decided that the skirt and top together didn’t look great!

The skirt did however look nice with another top I have – so from two metres of fabric I made two new half outfits!

The skirt is quite fine and floaty so I think I will get more wear out of it in the summer. In the meantime I’m planning to make a long sleeved Scout Tee and think about tackling a dress pattern!

By the way – I know that I said I was going to make some non-teal things… but I’ve got a stash of teal fabric and yarn to work through first, so it might be a while!

Huge congratulations to Eleanor & Chris and Jen & Andrew! X

 

New Denim Circle Skirt

Just over a year ago I made myself a denim circle skirt. I’ve worn it loads, it goes with everything and I love it!

I wore it a lot during Me Made May and mentioned that there were a few issues with it and that I wanted to make a replacement.

The waistband is too loose so I added belt loops – but even with a belt it drifts down and I feel uncomfortable in it. It only has one pocket because I put the zip in the side seam at the other side. And the zip is a bit wonky!

Here’s my second attempt!

I decided to go for a paler denim because I fancied something different and I know I’ll wear it a lot in Spring/Summer. I’m also planning to make a longer dark denim skirt to wear with boots in the winter… maybe with a gathered waist rather than a full circle.

It still isn’t perfect, but it’s a much better fit around the waist and has two pockets! I promised that I would do a quick guide to making a circle skirt once I had made a new one… so here it is:

  • Start by measuring your waist circumference and required skirt length.
  • Divide your waist circumference by pi (3.14 will do!) to find your diameter and then half that to find your radius. Make a note of these measurements!

I made the above skirt using a half circle for the front and two quarter circles at the back with a centre seam and invisible zip (which I’m not showing you… it’s very neat but definitely not invisible!). It also has a pocket in each side seam. If that’s what you want to make then continue as follows:

Start by making a paper pattern (I used brown parcel paper).

Front

  • start by drawing two lines at a right angle then draw a quarter circle using your radius measurement (please use a ruler and set square… the below is just a rough sketch!)

  • Measure your required length down from each edge and draw in the bottom curve.

  • Don’t forget to add seam allowance (I did 1.5cm) on all edges apart from the centre front which will be cut on the fold to make a half circle for the front.

Back

The back is pretty much exactly the same pattern as the front but will be cut as two separate pieces so you also need to add seam allowance to that edge.

Waistband

  • I made mine 2.5cm deep – you might want deeper or narrower – just decide on the depth and cut a strip of fabric to your required depth x2 plus seam allowance and the length of your waist circumference plus seam allowance on both ends.
  • Then cut a piece of interfacing the same length but half the depth and iron this to one half of the reverse of the waistband.

Pockets

  • I don’t have much in the way of tips here… I just drew around my hand in a roughly pocket shape and cut out two sets!
  • Sew the pockets to the side seams – this video is quite a good guide.

Putting it all together!

  • Join the side seams and finish the edges however you prefer.
  • Pin the skirt to the waistband evenly and stitch.
  • Insert zip (!) and stitch back seam. The technique for inserting your zip will vary depending on what type of zip you use. You should be able to find a guide to suit you on Pinterest or Youtube. If you’re new to zips I would recommend practising on scrap fabric first.
  • Clip into skirt top if necessary to ensure the waistband sits flat.
  • Fold half of the waistband over to the back, tuck under the raw edge and hand-stitch in place along all edges.
  • Sew up the hem and you’re done!

This is just a quick guide and I’m not an expert – so if you have a play and add any improvements please do let me know in the comments.

I’m planning to fill my wardrobe with lots of swooshy circle skirts!

Me-made Wardrobe Planning

Last week Eleanor from Knit Nottingham posted an Instagram picture of her fantastically minimal, mostly handmade and beautifully colourful wardrobe… I feel inspired! (fyi – she does have some stuff in drawers as well).

I’ve been feeling in a bit of a wardrobe rut and the ‘I have nothing to wear’ feelings have been creeping back in. Since I started living with a capsule wardrobe, this has happened whenever the seasons and/or weather changes. It makes me want to shop!

So instead of shopping I did some planning.

I think the main thing that’s making me feel stuck in a rut is the lack of variation of colour in my wardrobe. You can probably guess which colour is dominant?! I adore teal and am happy to wear teal everyday… but I don’t want to wear head to toe blue and teal everyday and Eleanor’s wardrobe made me crave more colour!

In the past I have bought clothes in lots of different colours because of being limited by the choice in the shops. I might find the perfect shape dress in a colour I wouldn’t normally choose – but if it only comes in that colour and it suits me then I’ll step out of my comfort zone.

I saw that lack of choice as a limitation, when in fact it was encouraging me to experiment with colour. When sewing or knitting a garment there are so many patterns, fabrics and yarns to choose from that the automatic choice is to go for my favourite – ie, teal.

So I’ve decided that rather than just choosing my favourite – I want to plan a palette for my wardrobe so that there are at least a few bits in there to complement the teal!

I started my palette by searching Pinterest for ‘what colours to wear’. I found this pin really helpful and quickly narrowed myself down to an ‘Autumn’ palette based on my hair colour, skin tone and eye colour. I’m not 100% sure whether I’m a ‘Deep Autumn’ or a ‘Warm Autumn’… but hey – they’re similar and it’s just a starting point!

I then searched Pinterest for ‘Deep Autumn colour palettes’ and discovered that my best colours are deep, rich and warm and I should avoid pastels! Luckily this sort of matches my current wardrobe content and I’ve learnt the hard way that pastels aren’t for me. So I just need to make sure I’m adding in some more of the accent colours as I’m making things.

I might not stick to this palette perfectly, but it will be great to have it as a reference to keep me focused when fabric/yarn shopping. It’s also helpful to know that the internet thinks my best neutral shades are mocha type colours rather than greys. After holding lots of little colour swatches against my face I can confirm this is correct!

I have a little notebook which I used to take to sewing class to jot down reminders about techniques or changes I’d made to patterns. It has now become my mini me-made wardrobe scrapbook! So my colour palette is inside the front cover and the notebook is packed with ideas and notes about patterns. It’s only A6 – so perfect for carrying around in case I happen upon a fabric shop.

For patterns I’ve already made there are some notes on sizing etc, and I’ve also jotted down fabric quantities needed for these and patterns I’ve not made yet.

I normally end up in a fabric shop googling the pattern and guessing which size I would make, then converting the yardage to meterage… having everything in one place will hopefully make fabric shopping less faffy!

Making these notes made me dread making the Peony dress! It’s a beginners pattern, but when I was looking at the sizing/fabric quantity I realised that I range from a size 2 on the bust to a size 10 on the hips (American sizes). That’s going to be a challenging pattern to adjust!

I’m currently knitting a blue/teal jumper and have a stash of blue and teal yarn and fabric… it might be a while before different colours find their way into my capsule wardrobe but it’s good to have a plan and I’m loving my mini scrapbook!

Rowan Autumn/Winter

I’m still hoping we have some summer left, but the cooler weather has got me looking forward to Autumn and snuggly jumpers!

August brings us the launch of the new Rowan collection and Magazine 64 is a special ruby anniversary edition to celebrate 40 years of Rowan!

Here are my top picks…

Cinnabar by Galina Carroll

Cinnabar by Galinna Carroll

Knitted in Cashmere Tweed and Alpaca Soft DK with Kidsilk Haze embroidery, this is a gorgeous bit of cosy winter wardrobe luxury!

Redwood by Sarah HattonRedwood by Sarah Hatton

A lovely classic jumper knitted in one of my favourite yarns – Kid Classic

As well as the anniversary edition of the main mag, Rowan have launched a gorgeous new yarn – Alpaca Classic. It’s so soft, fluffy, lightweight and lovely to knit with… I have patterns in the planning!

I’m also loving the new Around Holme book – a collection of classic, wearable garments by Lisa Richardson using Felted Tweed, Valley Tweed and Cashmere Tweed.

Malham by Lisa Richardson

I always like to have a simple knit on the go and I love this really simple, classic cardigan knitted in Valley Tweed. The yarn creates such a lovely texture that it doesn’t necessarily need a textured stitch.

New Vintage DK is a great collection of designs from Lisa Richardson, Martin Storey, Sarah Hatton, Vibe Ulrik, Georgia Farrell and Quail Studio.

Mullion by Sarah Hatton in Softyak DK

How beautiful is this?! I’m in love with that lace panel in the back.

Gallerie by Georgia FarrellGallerie by Georgia Farrell in Alpaca Soft DK

I love the relaxed shape of this cardigan and it would be so gorgeously soft and cosy in Alpaca Soft.

Are you planning your Autumn/Winter knits yet?

Knit Break

I’ve had a bit of an enforced break from knitting this week. Partly because I had a lot of late night beading sessions working on my wedding top… but mostly because of wrist pain!

I don’t know if I twinged it, slept on it awkwardly or if I’ve just knitted through repetitive strain injury for too long… but it’s feeling much better after not knitting and wearing a wrist support for most of the week. I got a lot of sewing done and I’ve managed to do a few rows over the last couple of days.

Whenever I can’t knit – all I can think about is knitting! I’ve got lot’s of new designs planned that I want to start swatching and while taking part in Me Made May I realised that I’m really short on summer tops.

The new Kim Hargreaves book launched this week and it’s gorgeous! I want to knit all the things! But I’m staying focused on knitting the yarn I have and making garments that fit into my capsule wardrobe.

So I’m mostly dreaming about knitting all of these…

Burnt by Kim Hargreaves from Indigo.

I love the keyhole detail at the back and just happen to have exactly the right amount of Cotton Glace in a beautiful green! This will be the perfect little summer top with skirts.

Beaches by Kim Hargreaves from Echoes.

I’ve had a pack of the now discontinued Siena 4ply in black kicking around for a while and I think this would make a really useful and flattering top.

Sarah Hatton summer top from Simply Knitting magazine.

I adore this top and I’m hoping to have enough Summerlite 4ply left over from my wedding cardigan to knit it!

Tally from Sway by Kim Hargreaves.

Not a summer top as such… but I’m really excited about knitting a coral cardigan to replace my tatty old shop bought coral/orange cardigan!

With all the wedding makes I need finish and work knitting I have to do – it’ll be a miracle if I finish knitting any of these before the end of the year… but I can dream!

Wardrobe Planning

I said last week that I was feeling very inspired as a result of Me Made May and that there were a few blogs on the subject in the pipeline… and here’s one already!

At the moment most of my free time is being used for wedding makes. But that doesn’t mean I can’t plan ahead!

The people I most enjoyed following on Instagram during Me Made May were the ones who had a ‘look’. The queen of this for me was @kateevadesigns.

All of these dresses are made from the Flora Dress pattern from By Hand London.

It makes sense to keep re-making a pattern once you’ve found a style that suits you. I once bought a Dorothy Perkins dress in three colours because the style was perfect for me! Finding a handful of patterns that work well for me and perfecting them (rather than flitting from one style to another) will definitely help with increasing the number of handmade items in my capsule wardrobe.

So first of all I need to decide on my ‘look’!

So far I’ve been making loose-fitting dresses. This comes from a fear of zips rather than a style choice! I already have a couple of dress patterns which I’ve been scared to tackle, but are much more the style I normally wear:

I think the Betty and Peony dresses would cover most occasions and seasons for me. But after a super warm May, I’m also craving some strappy summer dresses! I’m trying to choose between the Acton Dress by The Fold Line and the Rosie Dress by Sew Over It. The Acton is only available as a PDF so that’s swaying me towards Rosie!

I would love to wear pretty dresses everyday, but in reality I spend a lot of time in separates. I often work at home in lounge pants and a top, so that I can easily change into jeans, shorts or a skirt if I need to pop out.

So I’m planning to make a new improved denim circle skirt (and possibly a new patterned one).

And some new tops! In the winter I wear knitted jumpers with my jeans or tucked into a skirt. I want to knit some more summery cotton tops to wear with skirts and also sew more Scout Tee’s and some vest tops.

So… I have lots of plans and no free making time at the moment! But, like most things in life, my wardrobe is never ‘finished’. I will always want to be updating and tweaking it.

I have a capsule wardrobe that I’m happy with and Me Made May has given me the time I needed to plan the tweaks and replacements. I can’t wait to get started!

Me Made May 2018

Me Made May 2018 is over! I nearly didn’t make it… I had a couple of days in the final week where I was really struggling with the restricted wardrobe and was on the verge of giving up. My least favourite part is posting selfies every day! But recording it in pictures helped me to keep it up and I’m glad that I made it to the finish line!

My pledge was as follows:

I, Jem Weston of jemweston.co.uk (@jemweston on instagram), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’18. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item each day of May 2018 as well as limiting my wardrobe to a capsule of 33 items in order to find new outfit combinations and to encourage me to put on ‘proper’ clothes when working at home!

I definitely achieved the above and, although I found it challenging, I really enjoyed taking part. The main challenge was the weather. We’ve had such a beautiful May that I would’ve been happy in strappy sun-dresses most days… but I don’t have any hand-made ones!

I also found the capsule wardrobe element challenging. Behind the scenes – I love living with a capsule wardrobe, but because I was sharing pictures I kept thinking that people must be bored of seeing the same outfits/garments repeated!

Here’s a round-up of my Me Made May:

I feel so inspired by this years challenge! I followed lots of new people on Instagram and discovered new patterns and places to buy fabric. I’m bubbling with ideas of what I want my capsule wardrobe to look like.

There are lots of projects in the pipeline for garments I want to tweak and things I want to make from scratch… lots of blogs to come!

MMMAY18 Inspiration

Last time I took part in me-made may I was wearing mostly knitted garments. I think I only had one sewn skirt and as most of my knitted garments are wool and May can be quite warm… it was tricky!

I was hoping that taking part this year would curb my shopping urges and inspire me to make. When going into a new season, and with a change of weather, it’s tempting to ‘refresh’ ones wardrobe by hitting the shops.

With the beautiful weather we’ve been having – I’ve been admiring (and somewhat jealous of) everyone’s gorgeous summer clothing… but finding myself thinking about what to make rather than what to buy. So me-made may is working (yay!), but the difficult thing to accept is that making clothes is a lot more time consuming than shopping for them so I can’t have my dream wardrobe instantly.

There are still lots of gaps in my handmade wardrobe and me-made may is a fantastic way to discover new patterns and see real people wearing them.

If I needed inspiration to make more swooshy skirts with pockets – there is plenty over on Instagram: @kateevadesigns @michelle.a.sews @cleocmc

Since making the Alder Shirtdress I’ve been looking for a more fitted shirtdress and I’m loving these: @rhiannonbrum @megthegrand @craftysooze

I’m not quite ready to make trousers… but aren’t these gorgeous?: @lauren.leigh @slipslipkate @erica.l.wald

I love my Scout Tee and it’s the perfect fit. But it’s a rather crumply fabric and the colour looks a bit boring with denim, so I’m keen to make a plain bright or light coloured one and definitely a patterned one. I’m loving these: @aimeeshermakes @kathleenbmur @sozoblog

And I’m also keen to make some summer dresses and floaty skirts & cami’s: @boxcarsewing @sarah_naomil718

I might struggle to limit myself to 33 items next year!

MMMay/Project 333 Mash-up!

May is nearly upon us – and do you know what that means?… it’s time for a Me Made May/Project 333 mash-up!

Me Made May is a great concept which encourages us makers to wear our handmade clothes. To take part you simply hop over to the So, Zo website and post your pledge in the comments section. If you wear a uniform for work you might want to just pledge to wear me-made items on your days off, or if you wear something handmade everyday anyway, you might want to really challenge yourself and wear ONLY handmade items throughout May.

Last time I took part in Me Made May, my aim was to start wearing things I had knitted which never saw the light of day! The challenge taught me that not all of those items were for me and many of them have now found new homes. I’m trying to be a lot cleverer about what I make now and the emphasis is on quality not quantity.

So my pledge is as follows…

I, Jem Weston of jemweston.co.uk (@jemweston on instagram), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’18. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item each day of May 2018 as well as limiting my wardrobe to a capsule of 33 items in order to find new outfit combinations and to encourage me to put on ‘proper’ clothes when working at home!

Now that I’ve got used to having a slightly larger capsule wardrobe, I think I’m going to find the 33 items element of this the most challenging! Throughout March and April I have been living with 60 items of clothing plus limited (but plenty of) accessories, shoes etc. Out of the 60 items of clothing only 11 have been unworn throughout March and April so I feel like this is a good size ongoing capsule for me.

For Me Made May I will be back on the wardrobe diet and will be wearing just 33 items including shoes and accessories (eep!). So you can expect to see lots of repeated outfits… I’ll try and be creative.

I’ve recently been feeling the urge to shop! I’m hoping that going back to a very restricted wardrobe will remind me to enjoy what I have and encourage me to find new outfit combinations. One of the bonuses of a wardrobe diet is that you really appreciate those extra items when you reintroduce them. I’ll never take earrings for granted again!

If you’re planning to join me for the mash-up, here’s how I started my plan (excuse the messy scribbles)…

May weather can be unpredictable so I need to be prepared for cold and wet as well as hot and sunny… and everything in between! So I started by writing down the me-made items I was planning to include and working out rough ideas of outfits for different weather – including what shoes and other garments I would need to add to create complete outfits.

I than transferred all the items I’d written down onto a list and separated them out into categories. It came to 45 items! So then I crossed a few bits out and tweaked until I had my final list…

I find making a list away from the wardrobe is easier than making plans whilst looking at my clothes. It means you start with a blank page and add what you want – rather than looking at a full wardrobe and removing what you don’t want… which is particularly difficult when it’s already a capsule wardrobe! And remember – you don’t have to get rid of anything right now if you don’t want to! You can put things away and over time that helps to streamline (as long as you go back to the things you ‘put away’!).

There are only 11 me-made items on the list so you will definitely see some outfit repeats… but I’ll be trying to mix things up and that’s all part of the challenge!

I have also downloaded the Smart Closet app. It doesn’t work perfectly but it’s a good way of saving outfit ideas for those ‘I don’t know what to wear!’ days. And when you have a small capsule wardrobe – it really doesn’t take long to photograph your clothes and set up ‘looks’.

I hope to see some of you over on Instagram for some awkward me-made selfies… I’m excited!