Me Made Plans

I decided not to take part in me-made-may this year but I’m really enjoying seeing all the handmade outfits on Instagram!

My wardrobe is very slow changing and I haven’t added much to it over the last year – so my outfits this month are pretty similar to me-made-may 2019 anyway (mostly the lounge-wear/secret pyjama outfits)…

I know that I’m not the only one who’s been struggling to focus on things during lockdown… so I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s lacking productivity at the moment. But I am feeling really inspired by both me-made-may and having The Sewing Bee back on tv… so I thought I’d share a bit about what I’m working on and what I have planned next…

I’ve finished knitting the back section of this little jumper which is based on Sheen from Indigo by Kim Hargreaves. This is going to be my (classy) festive jumper. I normally decide far too late in the day that I want a festive jumper so I’m trying to be organised!

The yarn is from The Fibre Fox, which I bought at one of the fantastic Virtual Yorkshire Yarn Fests and the beads are from Debbie Abrahams. I decided to do a simple all-over beaded pattern rather than just beading the front section – I’m really happy with how it’s looking so far.

I think that my next sewing project will be a sleeveless version of the Peony dress with a gathered skirt using the tweaked bodice block from my denim version. I’ve got a few fabric options in my stash… but won’t be touching the expensive Liberty floral until I’m sure I’m happy with the pattern!

I think this will tick off ‘summer dress’ on my make-nine-2020…

For the ‘knitted summer top’ I’m planning to make another Burnt top from Indigo by Kim Hargreaves.

I love the green version I made last year – but when it’s warm and I’m wearing it tucked in, it feels a bit bulky around the tummy. So I’m planning to make a black cropped version that sits on the waist – to wear with high waisted skirts (or these fantastic culottes that I’ve got my eye on!).

Are you super productive at the moment or just making plans?

Merry Jumper Dress

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Following on from you wanting to see my finished makes… I finished my first make-nine-2020 garment!

The pattern is Merry from Kim Hargreaves Winter Blooms and I’ve wanted to knit it for ages! The book is now discontinued but there are some copies available for sale or trade on Ravelry.

It’s knitted in Rowan Kid Classic which is one of my favourite yarns – it’s so light and fluffy, but also lovely and warm. This shade is Mulberry and it’s absolutely gorgeous – it’s like a ripe and juicy Victoria plum.

And yes… it’s huge! It’ll be super comfy and cosy for working at home and mooching around in. I made the smallest size, but added a bit of length. Because it’s so wide, the extra length ate up quite a bit of yarn and I needed an extra ball just for the neckline which was very kindly gifted from Ippikin (thanks Molly!).

So my make-nine-2020 has gotten off to a slow start… how’s yours going?

Slow Wardrobe

I first started playing around with developing a minimalist wardrobe back in 2017. I refer to the wardrobe I’m aspiring to as many things: capsule, minimalist, handmade… but the one word that definitely describes it is slow!

Developing a style/wardrobe that works for you and your lifestyle takes time… particularly when you’re making a lot of the clothing yourself. I’m enjoying the slow process of making more considered choices and shopping for/making clothing that will be in my wardrobe for a long time.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the idea of having ‘uniforms’ for different elements of my lifestlye. I was never a fan of having a work uniform – but being able to say ‘when I do this thing I wear that thing’ certainly made things easy. I think many of us have uniforms for different occasions but don’t necessarily think of it in that way.

So I made a list of my ‘uniforms’ taking into account how I spend my time, what I feel comfortable in and what suits my shape. It’s really helping me to stay focused on where the gaps in my wardrobe are and what I want to make!

Uniform 1: Skirt & top (or dress) & optional cardigan

This is my most versatile uniform, both in terms of when I would wear it and how, with just a few pieces, you can swap and change to make a lot of different outfits. I wear something along these lines for most nights out, work events and workshops. It’s an easy look to dress up or down depending on the occasion.

In terms of making/shopping – I always make sure the skirts I buy/make can be worn all year round. So nothing too warm and heavy that wouldn’t work in the summer and nothing too light and summery that wouldn’t work with tights and boots in the winter.

When I choose cardigan patterns I normally have in mind that I will wear them over a skirt & top or dress so I like them to be either long like the Esme cardie or to sit at the waist like Lilac.

I have a big gap in my wardrobe where dresses are concerned. Most of my old dresses were ill-fitting or uncomfortable so I haven’t held on to many. I’m keen to sew some that are flattering without being too fitted so that they’re comfortable… wish me luck!

Uniform 2: The shirt dress

This is my favourite uniform – I pretty much live in shirt dresses… but I only have a few! Sewing more is in my plan.

I have a plaid shirt dress and a denim shirt dress that I wear with leggings (a lot!) in the winter. It’s such a comfy working-at-home outfit that also feels decent enough for nipping to the post office or going for a walk. I can pop a jumper over the top when it’s nippy and it’s an easy outfit for going to the local pub after my pilates class because I can just put the shirt dress on over my leggings and t-shirt. Perfect!

I made an Alder Shirt Dress a couple of years ago and I’ve worn it so much! It was meant to be a toile, but I never got around to making the denim one. It’s pretty huge on me… which I initially thought was a problem, but it’s so comfy and the fabric has softened with time so the size and drape feel fine.

I wear it for working at home, going out and work events – on it’s own in the summer and with a jumper over the top and tights in winter. I definitely want to make more and have seen this pattern hack to make a sleeved version which I really want to try.

Uniform 3: The jumper dress

This is currently very much a working-at-home-on-extremely-cold-days uniform because the only jumper dress I have is really scruffy, unflattering and super warm (knitted in alpaca) so I think I would explode if I walked into a warm room.

I’m planning to knit a couple of new jumper dresses which I will most likely just wear at home (due to the getting too warm thing), but will hopefully feel nicer in and less embarrassed when I have to answer the door!

Uniform 4: Jeans and top

This uniform will soon become extinct because I only have one pair of jeans that fit well and they’ve gone very thin and holey! I’ll repair them and continue to wear them for occasions where scruffy is acceptable, but in the future I would love to make some jeans. I need to up my sewing skills a bit first, but any tips for jeans patterns would be gratefully accepted!

Here are some old me-made-may photos of happier times when my jeans still had some shape and no holes…

I was also going to talk about sustainable shopping and colour palettes… but this turned into a long blog so I’ll save that for another time!

Do you have a uniform/uniforms?

Esme Cardigan

I finally finished my Esme Cardigan!Esme Cardigan by Kim Hargreaves | Jem Weston blog

I’m not exactly sure when I started knitting it, but I do know that it was on both my make-nine-2018 and 2019 plans. It didn’t actually take too long but I knitted many other things throughout (including all the samples for Cosy Alpaca Knits!).

I’m thrilled with it. And yes… I do already have other teal cardigans! My Frankie cardie is more of a summer garment because I can’t get my winter coat over the sleeves. And I wasn’t wearing my Wave cardie – so I decided to let it go and Esme is the replacement.

Esme is knitted in Kidsilk Haze and Fine Lace stranded together, which creates a beautifully light and fluffy fabric. The pattern is in Grace by Kim Hargreaves.

I knitted the smallest size, but added a bit of length (I have a long body) and I also blocked out the width a bit so that it’s not snug across the hips.

Esme Cardigan by Kim Hargreaves | Jem Weston blog

I decided that it would be unreasonable for this cardigan to be part of my make-nine for a third year! But it was a WIP so it means I’m sticking to my 2020 rule…

How are your 2020 knits going so far?

Rowan SS20

Rowan launched their new Spring/Summer collections last weekend and there are some gorgeous garments… here are my faves!

Lace Sweater by Chloe Thurlow from Mode at Rowan Collection Two, knitted in Summerlite 4ply.

I love this jumper – it would be so nice over a summer dress. A great extra layer for the unpredictable UK weather.

Striped Tank Top by Chloe Thurlow from Mode at Rowan Collection Two, knitted in Handknit Cotton.

Super cute and simple! I’d love to go extra nautical with navy and white stripes.

Bowie by Lisa Richardson from Rowan Magazine 67, knitted in Fine Lace.

Just look at those flouncy sleeves! This would take forever to knit… it’s going on the long list.

Bari by Lisa Richardson from Rowan Magazine 67, crocheted in Summerlite 4ply.

There’s a whole section of crochet in the main magazine this season which is great – this might be a good starter project for me!

Palermo by Lisa Richardson from Rowan Magazine 67, crocheted in Summerlite 4ply.

I love this! Pretty sure it’s beyond my crochet skills right now but you never know.

Which is your fave? Are you summer knitting yet?

Make Nine 2020

After a slight fail on my Make Nine 2019 plan… I decided to be a bit more vague with my 2020 plan!

Jem Weston - Make Nine 2020

I do have some definite plans for the above – but I wanted to have some flexibility on the exact projects so that I can change my mind throughout the year.

The colours above aren’t necessarily representative of what I’m planning to knit/sew with, but I am trying not to make everything in teal (which is challenging!).

I started the new year with a jumper dress in Kid Classic on the needles – I can’t wait to finish it! Hopefully it’ll still be cold. After that – I really want to finish my Esme Cardigan which was on my make nine plan for the last two years… so I thought it would be unreasonable to carry it over again!

Have you got a making plan for the year?

Made Six 2019

Earlier this year I chose my ‘Make Nine 2019‘ – The nine garments/accessories that I planned to make for myself this year. As you’ve probably guessed from the title of this blog… I didn’t make nine!

Of the items I had planned, I only actually finished two – some mitts and my wedding cardigan… both of which I started making in 2018! I’ve also finished knitting my Esme cardigan but as we’ve been doing work to the house I haven’t had the space for blocking (which I want to do before I finish sewing her up).

I also made a few things which weren’t on my Make Nine 2019 plan so this is my Made Six 2019…

Considering I also did all the knitting for Cosy Alpaca Knits this year – I think I did okay!

I’ve decided to be a bit more vague with my Make Nine plan for 2020. For example – I might plan to sew a summer dress but not choose a specific pattern until I’m ready to make it. This might be breaking some rules! But I think it will help me to stay focused on my Make Nine projects without feeling restricted.

Have you looked back at your 2019 makes?

New Vest Top

Last month I wrote a blog about summer tops where I somewhat optimistically outlined my plans to knit two tops and sew three tops before Autumn started creeping in!

I knew my plans were unrealistic, but I’m really pleased with how much I’ve done. I finished one of the knitted tops (Burnt by Kim Hargreaves), have a Ripple Bralette on the needles and I’ve sewn one of the three vest tops.

I traced the pattern from a vest that’s already in my wardrobe and I love the fit. This fabric is leftover from my Petal Sleeve Scout Tee and I knew the drape would work beautifully as a vest.

Although it’s super simple with no darts – it was quite time consuming doing the bias for the straps/around the armholes… lots of pinning. And I also hand-stitched the hem.

I’m going to hibernate the fabric for the other two vests until next Spring. I think it’ll be good to wear this one and check I’ve got the fit perfect before doing the others.

It’s nothing to do with the fact that I want to start working on my Winter wardrobe… honest!

 

Make Nine 2019 – Progress Report

Someone posted about their Make Nine 2019 on Instagram this week and I realised that I couldn’t even remember what was on mine! So it’s a good time to see if I’m on track and give a progress report!

So far this year I have ticked off my new mitts and my wedding cardigan

And yes… there was some cheating because I started making both of those things in 2018! But I’ve been super busy working on my new book which will launch later this year – so selfish making time has been extremely scarce.

I’ve made pretty good progress with my Esme cardigan too – I’ve finished the back and fronts – so it’s just the sleeves to do. It’s so fluffy!!

I should be cracking on with this now… but you know when you’re not in the mood to knit anything that you have on the needles and just want the excitement of casting on something new? Well that happened… so I cast on Burnt by Kim Hargreaves.

It’s not even on my Make Nine list. I’ve gone completely rogue! We’ve booked a holiday for later this year and I just fancied making something summery that I could realistically finish before we go away. I’m having to adjust the pattern a bit for my shape so hopefully it will work out!

I’ve also made a little bit of progress on the Peony Dress. I made a toile for the bodice (blending sizes) but I still need some help getting the fit right. Some of my friends have been going to classes and sewing clinics at Sewing Belle and I’ve been inspired by the lovely things they’re making. I’m hoping to join them soon and rediscover my sewjo!

How are your 2019 makes going?