New dress: Seamwork Benning in stripes for March

It seems like a while since I posted, but I’ve been busy, busy, busy sewing – it’s just been quite a lot of testing. I seem like I’m testing more than ever, which was not my intention, but the thing is that lots of my favourite companies are expanding their ranges into larger sizes and D cups, which is just too enticing an opportunity to turn down. I expect they will finish up this process this year sometime, but for now I continue to support those efforts. And I do, as you know, quite enjoy testing.

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New test: Grainline Scout tees in extended sizing and D Cup

I tested the new sizing range for the Scout tee back in November last year and now it’s available for all over at Grainline’s website! This was a no-brainer for me as the Scout tee is one of my tried and tested woven tops and I’ve made several of them in the past. One thing I was never that happy with was my full bust adjustment on the original pattern. I adjusted the pattern quite early on in my sewing career and didn’t feel I’d quite got it right, although the resulting tees were not too bad. So when Grainline said they were releasing a new version in sizes 14-30 with a D cup bust, I was on it like a moth to a naked flame.

I’m sure you’ve seen the Scout tee plenty of times, but if not, it’s one of the best known indie patterns out there. It’s a boxy little woven tee that is the epitome of the phrase “wardrobe staple” and I wear mine all the time. It has a scoop neck and cap sleeves and is quite fitted at the bust, graduating to an easy fit at the waist and hips. The new extended version also has a dart to hug the D cup curves better and both versions have a bias-finished neckline.

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New top: I AM Irma shirt from I AM Patterns

Raaaarrrr! Check out my leopard print! At least, it’s sort of a leopard print, I think. This is the shirt review from the outfit I posted the other day, where I wrote a fairly detailed review of the Deer + Doe Acajou trousers. However, since I’ve already used the I AM Patterns Irma pattern once before, this post will be much shorter.

As you may or may not remember, I made the full-length shirtdress view of this pattern at the end of last year. I really liked the result and it was a fairly easy decision to use it again, but this time with the shirt view and the bishop sleeves instead of the straight cuffed sleeve I used for the shirtdress. As per the shirtdress, it has a collar with stand, a concealed button placket (great instructions for this part too if you haven’t put one together) and a box pleat in the back just to max out that billowy fullness.

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New trousers: Acajou Pants from Deer + Doe in wool

I don’t know if you recall, but a few months ago I was saying one of the effects of the pandemic on my sewing was that I felt an urge to create bright and colourful outfits even more than normal. Not all the time, but there’s definitely an element of “sod it, why not?” to some of my choices. And here’s another one! I decided to make this outfit before Christmas and had no idea if it would actually work or not, but as soon as I thought of it, I knew I’d have to give it a go.

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New test: The Elio wrap top from Allie Olson Patterns

I enjoyed testing the Highlands Wrap Dress in extended sizing for Allie, so when the call went out for testers for the Elio top, I was happy to participate. Additionally, I am slightly lacking in simple, interesting tops in my wardrobe and I certainly don’t have any type of knit wrap top, so nailing a useful wardrobe staple really appealed to me.

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New sleepwear: the epic saga of Christmas Carolyn pajamas and Ottobre menswear

Oh my gosh. I planned on making the Closet Core Patterns Carolyn pyjamas for the December Sew My Style project. And when I say the “December project”, I mean the Christmas 2019 December project. Yes, this is officially a mixture of very old project and that golden unicorn – the finally-finished UFO project. I had the bright last-minute idea of making sleepwear for everyone in my household as a well-meant gift on an impossible timescale. A pair of men’s pyjama bottoms for my husband and a pair of Carolyn pyjamas for my mother-in-law. And while I was at it, why not another pair for myself? I mean, they’re just pyjamas, right? Why not indeed?

Anyone who has already made the Carolyn pyjamas will be chuckling at this point knowing, as I too now know, that the Carolyn pyjamas are not a simple cut and sew project. They are beautifully detailed and those details take time. Quite a bit of time, actually. As well as that, my green pyjamas project was one of those where lots of little annoying things happened.

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New sweater: The Amari jacket from Seamwork January

Hello everyone and a Happy New Year to you all! I hope you had a happy celebration, tucked away with your loved ones, and here’s to 2021 being a better year than 2020 was. I just have a short and sweet post today with some pictures of the Seamwork Amari jacket that is one of the two new patterns in Seamwork’s January magazine. I actually ended up making two, because my mother-in-law liked mine, so I whipped up another for her. It’s such a fast sew, it didn’t take long.

The Amari jacket is a pullover with dropped shoulders, a yoke, a stand collar and a quarter-zip. Seamwork recommend that you use knit fabrics with at least 25% stretch and that they are medium to heavyweight. You really need this so the stand collar sits up and also so that the zip can be attached properly. I used a lighter French terry for mine, and a thicker brushed merino for my mother-in-law’s pullover and you can see the difference in the stand collar (see hers further down the page). Hers is nice and upright, while mine, although still perfectly acceptable, is a little softer. I wouldn’t want to use a fabric any lighter than that. The bonus version of the pattern has a hood and drawstring, which is a nice alternative.

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My #SewingTop5 Misses (Fails) of 2020

Fails. Misses. Cock-ups. Chances to Improve One’s Skills. Whatever you want to call them, these are the things I made this year that didn’t quite work out for some reason. It makes me happy to say that it was really quite hard to find five items that come into this category, so my hit rate is steadily getting higher. Nevertheless, there were some. Here are my misses from 2019, 2018 and 2017 if you’re interested (last year is a personal fave of mine) and here are this year’s:

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My first quilt – a patchwork Alison Glass observatory throw quilt

Well, I never! If you’d told me 10 years ago I’d be making a quilt in 2020, I’d have split my sides on the floor laughing. Not because I’m a horrible person, but I would never have imagined myself to have the patience, interest and wherewithall to actually make such a thing. Even after I started making clothes, I regarded quilt-making as anOTHER craft. We don’t have a big quilt-making tradition in Scotland and so I saw it mostly as a charming, but quaint, American custom. I could see the appeal in theory but in practice found a lot of the quilts I saw pretty chintzy and not to my taste. Slowly, however, I became aware of modern quilting and started to see wonderful fresh (to my eyes) designs on Instagram here and there. I knew some of my favourite fabric designers, such as Carolyn Friedlander, Cotton + Steel and Ruby Star Society really dealt primarily with quilt fabrics and when I saw what quilters were producing with their fabric I started to be drawn in.

What really led me to actually making one, though, was that I planned to make a quilt to commemorate my parent’s golden wedding anniversary. I picked out a pattern and fabrics – and then realised I neither had a clue where to start, nor the necessary skills to sew such an important gift to a half-decent standard. Covid-19 arrived and during the US Presidential election week, I found myself casting around for something interesting, but not too technical, that I could do sitting in the living room, watching the news, rather than behind the sewing machine. So I came to the idea of a bright, colourful and very simple quilt. I could learn some skills and cheer myself up with the rainbow hues of Alison Glass’ Observatory Collection prints at the same time. Bingo!

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My #SewingTop5 Hits of 2020!

It’s the 20th of December! Argh! When did that happen? I’m actually reasonably organised for the holidays this year (I say this tentatively in case I’m tempting fate here) but I haven’t done a whole lot of sewing the last few weeks (at least, garment sewing) and I completely forgot about the end of year round-ups, which I love to take part in. I have lots of thoughts about the Year That Was 2020, but I’ll perhaps save those for the longer Reflections and Plans post I’ll do last. For now, here is my Sewing Top 5 Hits take that is part of a traditional round-up series from Gillian/The Sewcialists that I’ve taken part in for four years now. (Here are the same posts from 2019, 2018 and 2017 if you’re interested). Next up with be Sewing Fails and then the aforementioned Reflections post for 2020.

Without further ado, here are my #SewingTop5 Hits for 2020. It was actually really hard to pick this year. As I looked through my year’s sewing, I felt like a lot of my garments in 2020 had turned out rather well and the proportion of items I’m wearing on a regular basis is very high. This is in no small part down to the fact that I made a couple of intentional capsule wardrobes this year and the items from them are in high rotation. As always, it begs the question of how you classify your “best” makes and it’s not easy. I’ve gone for a mixture and here they are!

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