Make Nine 2020 – update

I thought it was about time for me to give you an update on my make-nine-2020! Being more than half way through the year – I should in theory be more than half way through my planned makes… but unsurprisingly I’m a bit behind.

I mentioned last week that I’ve been suffering from a loss of knitting mojo. After finishing off my Esme Cardigan and Merry Jumper Dress earlier in the year – my garment knitting took a sharp nose-dive in terms of productivity.

My knitting mojo is definitely back! I’m really keen to finish my second Burnt top and my subtly festive beaded jumper… but I’ve almost completed some exciting new designs so I’m trying to stay focused on those and not get distracted… I can’t wait to share them with you!

I was actually pleasantly surprised by how my make-nine is looking and (perhaps I’m being unrealistic – but) I think it might still be doable this year.

I’ve started having a sewing evening every Wednesday and sometimes on a Sunday too, so I’m hopeful that I will finish my sewing aims for the year. Of the five remaining knit projects, two are almost half done and two are quick projects.

The only problem is… I’m not feeling in the mood to knit a fair-isle jumper right now. Maybe that will change when autumn kicks in. Even with the more vague plans I had for this year it’s still not vague enough! I’ve seen a cardigan in the new Rowan AW collection (coming soon!) that I’m excited to knit so I might do that instead and roll-over the fair-isle to make-nine-2021.

How’s your knitting/sewing mojo doing? Did you make plans or are you just going with the flow?

 

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?

Plastic!

There has been a lot of talk about plastic recently. Firstly after Blue Planet highlighted the issue and then Drowning in Plastic left us all horrified!

I’ve made some fairly big changes in my life over the last couple of years, largely as a result of wanting to lower my impact on the environment. Cutting out single use plastic has been part of this.

However – with some things it’s not been quite as simple as just cutting it out. For example – I already had a large amount of poly post bags and throwing them away would just add to the problem!

When I run out of post bags I will be switching to a non-plastic alternative, but in the meantime your orders will arrive in one of these…

The dark grey bags are biodegradable so they can go in your normal waste and will break down over time. The spotty bags are poly. If you want to recycle them – in the UK you can take them to a supermarket that recycles carrier bags (check with your supermarket). I’m looking forward to replacing these with non-plastic so please order lots from my shop so that we can use them up quickly!

Outside of work I have made a few changes to cut back on plastic, but I know there is still more I can do. Any tips?

I’ve been trying to shop at the grocers for fruit and veg instead of the supermarket. It’s not completely plastic free, but it’s better. I mean – come on Sainsbury’s… do you really need to deliver avacados and bananas in a little plastic bag? And fish that is already packaged in plastic in another little plastic bag when we’ve specifically requested “no bags”?! I’m starting to get angry so I’ll move on!

I invested in a bamboo coffee cup earlier this year, which is great. Our local favourite places now only use compostable cups anyway – so we don’t have to feel guilty if we forget them. And I also bought a metal flask which I love!

Throughout the summer heatwave my flask kept water nice and cool in the garden. It also means that I don’t have leaves or bugs falling in my glass, cats drinking out of my glass when I’m not looking or the danger of knocking over and smashing my glass… the flask has taken a battering. I bought it for when I’m out and about (times that I might have bought a plastic bottle) but I actually use it all the time at home as well!

As you know – I’ve also been thinking more about my clothing and have been making as much of my wardrobe as possible. I do wish it was easier to get hold of nice organic cotton – if you know a good place to buy let me know! Watching The True Cost on Netflix has had a big impact on how I view fashion retail.

I’ve also made some changes to my diet. I stopped eating meat (apart from fish) at the beginning of the year and stopped drinking cows milk shortly after… but I’m still eating cheese. It’s a somewhat hypocritical diet I know!

Eventually I want to eat a mostly vegan diet and I find that gradual changes are more likely to become permanent changes. This is a change I’ve been wanting to make for a while but I was pushed over the edge by watching Cowspiracy and Carnage. I’ve also been inspired by Deliciously Ella (I’m a little bit in love with her).

Have you been managing to use less plastic/reduce your impact on the environment somehow? All advice welcome x