Seamwork’s Design your Wardrobe: the experience

Hi there! No clothes project today, but I wanted to post about something I’ve been taking part in this last month, along with over 3,000 other Seamwork sewists. Yes, you read that number right. How do I know there’s that many? Well, as of the time of publishing this post, that’s how many people are members of the Facebook group expressly set up for this project!


So what is it then? Well, I think everyone must be aware of Seamwork by now, but if you’re not, it’s the online, beginner-focused magazine/portal run by Colette Patterns. They issue an online magazine every month with articles, tips and two new patterns, aimed particularly at the novice sewist (although plenty of more experienced sewists use them too). It’s a subscription-based service and if you happen to be a member, you would have been invited to join the inaugural run of “Design your Wardrobe” back in January for free. Continue reading “Seamwork’s Design your Wardrobe: the experience”

Top 5 Reflections, Goals and Highlights bumper edition

This will be my last Top 5 post for 2017 and is a little collation of the last few topics in Gillian’s Top 5 series, which you can read all about here. These comprise my sewing reflections, non-sewing highlights and a few goals for next year. I tend to be the sort of person who thinks “Who on earth would be interested in my highlights?”, but I enjoy reading other people’s, so there’s my answer, I suppose. You can also read my posted Top 5 sewing hits and Top 5 sewing misses should the need hit you (and we all know which one is more fun to read ;))


Sewing reflections

Wardrobe progress: I’ve been sewing for about 2 years now and one of my “goals” from a year ago was to try and make more garments that coordinated, rather than just the stuff I like that doesn’t match anything else in my wardrobe. I think I’ve been fairly successful in that with the completion of a number of wardrobe basics, including the Scout tee, Lindens and various cardigans . Most days I wear at least one, if not two me-made items and that will only increase now I’m making the likes of jeans.


Continue reading “Top 5 Reflections, Goals and Highlights bumper edition”

Autumn/winter 2017 sewing plans

I haven’t made too many seasonal plans so far in my sewing career. In spring and summer I let myself float along on a sea of floral rayons and jewel-toned cottons as I flit around, picking from here and there. But for autumn and winter, it seems like more thought is necessary. Some of the garments (although not all) require a larger investment of time, and the materials can be more pricey. In addition, I still have plenty left on my #makenine to fulfil (see below) and a few #sewmystyle efforts left for the year. Most of all, I really want to make a dent in my stash, so I’m going to try hard to use fabrics I already own for the rest of the year. It really shouldn’t be too hard. ūüėÄ


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Me Made May 2017 Round Up: a few key points

My first Me Made May or #mmmay2017 challenge¬†is over! Organised by Zoe of the So, Zo, What Do You Know blog, it’s been a pleasure to take part in such a community-driven and enthusiastic endeavour. There are many reasons to take part and many things to take away from the experience, but I’ll restrict my waffling to a few key points that¬†slapped me in the face like a wet mackerel.

Back in April I said that:

“I hope it will help me take a good, long look at my makes and wardrobe and come up with some great outfit ideas, as well as streamline and consolidate my style.”




  1. It wasn’t as hard to wear one me-made garment a day as I thought it would be. I guess that was partly as a result of my effort to make some neutrals/wardrobe staples over autumn/winter. It also reflects the fact that I do actually reach for at least one me-made item on most days anyway. I hadn’t realised how natural that¬†had become¬†until now.
  2. My wearable me-made wardrobe is largely monochromatic. Or at least, monochromatic + blue. This was actually something of a surprise to me since I think of myself as someone who wears a lot of colour. There are a couple of reasons for this: the aforementioned focus on A/W basics, which were intentionally neutral, but also:
  3. I must finish me-made clothes completely. A few items of clothing I went to put on ended up having some small job to finish I’d forgotten about¬†– a button here, a loosened hem there. They didn’t get fixed even though I intended to attend to them.
  4. I have a lack of summery clothes. It got fairly warm early in May and has continued like that here in Seattle. Most of my recent clothes have been warmer weather items: sweaters and cardigans and so on. I must rectify this; my pineapple t-shirt and just-finished Alder are a good start. Yes, okay, okay, the other two t-shirts in the Pineapple post are black and white prints, which brings me to:
  5. I am very, very bad at making solids/plain clothes. I don’t think this¬†is an uncommon issue, but I keep intending to make a totally plain black top or grey skirt, and then end up adding something or using a slight pattern or plumping for the cool graphic print or whatever. It means that my co-ordinating item doesn’t quite co-ordinate and even though I’ve been making neutrals that match with each other,¬†they don’t all quite match with anything else. I love a bit of clashing, but everyone needs solids. Must make some.
  6. Surprise hits: Black Moji trousers. I wore them a lot more than I was expecting and I rather like the resulting silhouette. Truthfully, they don’t actually fit me all that well, so I plan to make another couple of pairs of similar trousers and/or smaller Mojis. The Plantain t-shirt was also a goodie. I think I may try and run up a t-shirt dress based on that pattern.
  7. Consolidating my style will take a while longer. I don’t really recognise “my style” in many of the pictures, although I do in some. More musing and more experiments needed.
  8. Accessorise more: Such a simple thing, but something I don’t take the necessary time to do. I’m more of a run-out-of-the-door kind of gal, but it makes a huge difference to outfits. I need to make more effort to get back to this –¬†I have tons of cool accessories.

Overall, I was rather pleased with my results from the month. And more importantly,¬†I so enjoyed interacting with other sewers on IG, meeting a few new folks and cheering others on. I’m also really enjoying the round-ups. There are a few experienced sewers whose wardrobes are very inspiring in the breadth and cohesiveness of what they make. More than anything though, it’s been a lot of fun! And that’s exactly as it should be. Later!


Me Made May pledge #MMMay17

This is my first time to join in on the #memademay challenge. Last year I definitely didn’t have enough clothing to last a whole month, but I’m going to give it a good shot this year! I really fancied this challenge because the nature of it appeals to me, plus, on the more practical side, I could see lots of people getting good results with it for their creation processes.

Me Made May

If you don’t know it, Me Made May is an initiative created by Zoe of the So, Zo, What Do You Know blog and this is its 8th year already. She explains it all in much better detail than I ever could, but essentially the idea is that you create a pledge for the month of May that involves wearing or making self-made garments. There are many, many ways you can pledge, but the principal idea is that it’s a personal challenge that works for you.

I am starting off with what could be regarded as the most popular pledge and it is this:

‘I, Claire from and @belle_citadel, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear one me-made item of clothing¬†each day for the duration of May 2017’

This is going to be challenging for me, but I’m really looking forward to it. I hope it will help me take a good, long look at my makes and wardrobe and come up with some great outfit ideas, as well as streamline and consolidate my style. Let’s see!

If it sounds like something you’d be interested in, just visit Zoe’s blog here and add your pledge to the comments. Sounds like fun, no?


Blogger Recognition Award

What a lovely surprise to get a wee award that tells me I’ve made some online friends in the sewing world! At least, that’s how it feels, which is blinkin’ marvellous, since it’s one of the main reasons I started writing the blog in the first place. The internet is such an expansive and interesting place, which can be mined for facts and knowledge, provide a meeting place for like minds and, sadly, can these days also be used to misguide and misinform swathes of people simply by merit of¬†their online social media choices. Nevertheless, without the internet, I’d never have¬†encountered such lovely people and certainly wouldn’t have been able to indulge and invest in my new hobby to the extent I have. I’ve truly found something I enjoy deeply and sincerely, which is in no small part due to the many talented and kind-hearted bloggers I’ve found within the sewing community. Hopefully I can point you in the direction of some of my favourite reads¬†below.


There are a few questions to answer:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

Thanks so much to swarm of chickadees for this lovely award, which gives me a chance to mention a few other blogs I enjoy reading, as well as to reflect the sentiment back to her. I love reading her blog for its attention to detail, sewing dilemma discussion and fitting quandaries, not to mention the wonderful prose and reassuring conversations we have when there’s a little time in the day! Thank you Kamila!

2. Write a post to show your award.

Et voila! This is a post to show my award.

3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.

Brevity: not my strong point, but I will try. I had my son, Joe, almost 2 years ago and picked up crocheting while pregnant. I was in Germany and my husband had already moved over to Seattle for his new job, so I had a little time to kill, even more so since partying like a mad thing was out of the equation. I made a number of blankets and really enjoyed it (although naturally his favourite is the $8.99 Target blanket his Dada bought him, not the one I spent 3 weeks cursing over). I’ve always been crafty and when I moved to the States, I discovered that fabric, patterns¬†and sewing equipment in general are a TON cheaper than in Europe, which made me think about picking up apparel sewing as a hobby.

My full-time job was/is as a managing editor in the videogame industry and I wanted to at least keep up a little writing, to¬†ensure that¬†particular creative muscle didn’t wither away (it doesn’t take long). I’m not the biggest diarist, so the combination of a new blog + learning to sew seemed appealing. Little was I to know that there was a huge, well-established sewing community out there, that would foster my interest, inspire my learning and allow my husband to learn much more about sewing than he ever cared to know in 100 lifetimes (sorry, pet).

I don’t blog as often as I’d like, but I try to keep it up as much as possible and it has been very rewarding. Long may it continue!

4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.

Advice huh? Well, I’m not sure this will be anything revolutionary but:

a) Be yourself. So much of social media is about presenting a front or a best version of yourself. Personally, I find it rather boring to read and can smell a potential “brand” a mile off. I much prefer reading honest reflections and seeing “genuine” photos of people. Some of the best blogs present natural photos that may be shot nicely, but aren’t Lightroomed to death, overexposed and don’t¬†feature¬†the same¬†unnatural pose in every shot. Given the gazillions of followers some of these branded lifestyle sites have, it may indeed be just me, but that’s how I feel and that’s what I personally want from a blog. There’s always IG and Facebook for the perfect shots! ūüôā

b) Don’t be shy! By which I don’t mean strip down to your undies for your photos or tell us your relationship history in eye-poppingly honest detail. We all have our “comfort zone”.¬†I just mean don’t worry too much about what other people think. I was absolutely cacking myself when I started publishing posts and taking pictures. I still don’t like having photos taken very much, but I find that when I look back on them even a week later, I get a¬†tangible¬†feeling of¬†satisfaction seeing what I’ve accomplished and the feedback I’ve received. You can make real friends online, but it tends more towards the anonymous space than not. You could be friends with someone for 5 years, never meet them, and then you¬†both disconnect and disappear. It happens. So I say¬†enjoy the moment and throw yourself in wholeheartedly – in whichever capacity feels the most comfortable for you.

5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.

I suspect I won’t be the first to nominate these people (I’ve left out some others I’ve seen have been nominated), but I do enjoy them all very much (amongst many, many¬†other blogs), so check these 10¬†or so out if you don’t already know them! I’m already discovering new blogs from this initiative.

Sie macht: a sewing blog


Self Assembly Required

Brambleton Threads

Bee Made

wasted weekends

zoubi zoubisou

See Carmen Sew



Helen’s Closet






#StitchingSanta 2016 revealed!

A very Merry Christmas to everyone! Here’s a little post to unveil the gifts from #stitchingsanta this year. This is a secret Santa gift-giving activity organized by Sheila from Sewchet and it was a lot of fun!


I received my exciting parcel fairly early in December, which spurred me into action and I’m glad to say I managed to get my parcel off shortly after.


My parcel was sent by the very thoughtful Moira from The Quilted Snail. At least, I hope that’s right Moira! I only have your email address, so I did a bit of googling and I think this is your blog. If not, let me know. ūüėÄ


Moira had clearly been checking out my blog, as she had me down to a tee with a beautiful grey and metallic length of cotton fabric. You can’t see the gold and silver accents in the picture too well, but they’re really pretty. Funnily enough, I just finished up an Almada robe in a fabric that also has gold accents, so you’re on my wavelength Moira! ūüôā To complement the fabric was a reel of grey thread (my favourite colour of thread¬†to work with – it’s so useful!). Also in my package were a pair of small scissors and a storage box. Coincidentally, I was just looking at these the other week and didn’t get around to buying any, so this is perfect! Now I have somewhere to store my snaps and hooks effectively. And the best touch were the little “handmade by¬†me”¬†labels. I have been meaning to buy labels for soooo long, so this is great!

Thanks so much for your kind gifts Moira, and thank you so much Sheila for organising this. It was a lot of fun putting together a parcel, but also so nice to receive a gift from someone who enjoys the same hobby as yourself. When my recipient blogs about their parcel I’ll add a little post about those makes, but for now, have a very Happy New Year!


#StitchingSanta and #SewMyStyle

Hey there! I hope you all had a very lovely Thanksgiving. We headed up to Vancouver and it didn’t occur to me for a while that of course it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving up there (silly European that I am) but we had a great time pottering around and enjoying the city. As far as sewing goes, I’m right in the middle of lots of pre-Christmas projects that I rather annoyingly can’t blog, but it would spoil any surprises that¬†I do actually manage to finish in time.


A cool café in Vancouver where you can play with and adopt cats


Continue reading “#StitchingSanta and #SewMyStyle”

New makes: Everyday Skirt #2 + Little Boy top patterns

This post was intended to be an Everyday Skirt / Linden top remakes post, but I managed to spectacularly screw up the Linden neckline (beyond repair I think, sadly), so instead I’ll stick with Everyday Skirt no. 2 and I’ll mention a couple of little patterns I used to make Joe’s Halloween costume. Therefore it is going to be a short post! I also wrote this originally just after Halloween, but I must admit something of a malaise has come upon me in recent days (sound familiar?) and so I am rather behind in posting. Ah well, onwards and upwards!


Continue reading “New makes: Everyday Skirt #2 + Little Boy top patterns”