What do sewing bloggers do with all the clothes they make??

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This is a question I’ve been pondering for a long time, most of the blogs I read make an average of two pieces of clothing a month, that’s 24 a year so if you’ve been blogging for say 3 years that’s 72 items of clothing!!!! I’ve found that I don’t keep all the things I make, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this on here before, but I’m almost the opposite of a hoarder. If it’s not being used, isn’t greatly sentimental and wasn’t a gift then I just don’t feel the need to keep it any more. This goes for clothes, books, cosmetics, well everything really.

When I make something I don’t end up wearing I either give it to charity or sell it on eBay to try and recoup some of the fabric costs. Of course there are also loads of pieces I’ve made that I love and wear regularly. Anyway I thought I’d pose this question to some of my favourite sewing bloggers to find out what they do. I’m so grateful to all the lovely ladies who got back to me with such thoughtful and helpful replies. Here are the blogs I got in touch with, if you don’t follow them already, do it now as they’re all amazing!

Dreaming of Avalon
Handmade Jane
What Katie Sews
Buttons and Birdcadges
Charity shop chic

I’ve been mulling over the best way to share all the helpful tips, somehow copying bits of the messages seems a bit creepy? So I decided to just make a quick list with the key answers:

  • Refashion –  Where possible try and fix what you don’t like about a garment or re-use the fabric.
  • Giving to charity – This is a popular option because you don’t really have to worry about the quality of your sewing, however it can be quite heartbreaking when you’ve spent hours and a serious amount of money on fabric making something to just give it away without knowing how it’ll end up.
  • Giving to friends/hosting a give away – I remember reading Handmade Jane’s post where she gave away some of her handmade wardrobe (If I was smaller I totally would have entered too!) and it was a real success.  Jane mentioned in her reply how nice it was to give them to other sewers who could appreciate the amount of work that went into making each individual garment. I also love the idea of giving to friends and family. However there is a flip side, I remember reading a post on a sewing blog a few months back (I’ve searched and searched but I just can’t seem to find the original post) where they listed all the pitfalls of sewing for family & friends.
  • Selling on Etsy/Ebay – A good way to recoup your costs, but it can be a struggle to make enough money to cover the time you spent making the garment.
  • Keep them – If you have the space, then this is a good option because personal style can evolve so in time you might fall in love with something your just not that keen on right now.

I hope this is helpful, it’s the kind of list I wish I’d seen last year when I was just starting out. I think I’m now finally starting to work out which fabrics, colours and cuts work for me so hopefully I won’t have quite so many bits I just don’t know what to do with!

The Pretty Wall

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I think I mentioned a few times that I’ve been working on beautifying the girls bedroom wall, although I love the wallpaper it’s still been feeing a little empty. It’s going to be on going project so I thought I’d share how’s it’s going so far and ideas I have for what to do next.

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Selection of vintage postcards (blogged about here)

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Children’s 1950’s Maudella sewing pattern envelope

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Cross stitch done by my aunt and/or cousin?! not sure but we love it!

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Cath kidston cross stitch, pattern from ‘Stitch

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Embroideries of the girls, blogged here (might do Rosie again as it’s a little creepy!)

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Belle and Boo picture from ‘Belle and Boo Book Of Craft’

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Cath kidston cowboy, pattern from ‘Make

 

Here are some more bits I’m starting or haven’t put up yet.

IMAG0257Another vintage postcard.

IMAG0259Postcard of ‘Cowboy Joe From Mexico’ by Angela Lizon

IMAG0266Embroidery Pattern from ‘Little Sew and Sew

belle and boo cross stitch

And finally to celebrate the royal baby in style I’m making a start on this Belle and Boo cross stitch pattern, it’s going to take a while and I’ll probably just hang it up in a embroidery loop, might add some of the bobble braiding too.

A trip to Goldhawk road

IMG_2638Recently I’ve read quite a few brilliant blog posts about fabric shopping in London, usually I just stick to a few shops that I know so I thought it would be nice to branch out and see what else is on offer. So on Thursday we headed to Goldhawk road, as it’s only a half hour bus ride away it seemed the perfect place to start.IMG_2637-horz

There certainly are a lot of shops, and some bargains to be had. I’m going to be honest though and say that even though everyone seems to rave about how amazing it is I couldn’t help feeling disappointed. Yes there are a lot of shops, but most seem to stock the same fabrics (at different prices!) which if your looking for a specific plain fabric in certain weight or texture is perfect, but if your after something special, a stand out print not so good. Of course they are there, but you have to rummage (not an easy task with two kids in tow even when your mum comes to help!) and then you have no idea how much they cost.

I also found the level of service was pretty hit or miss, I think that stuff matters especially because I don’t have a lot of spare cash at the moment, which means I have to save up to buy fabric so I want the experience to be a positive one. In one shop a man followed me everywhere literally at my elbow (which always makes me cringe!), while another tried to charge £5.99 a meter for a low quality printed poly-cotton which is almost double everywhere else I’ve seen. I guess that is a bit unfair because for the most part the shop assistants were both helpful and friendly. And also almost everyone cut the fabric on the generous side.

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Maybe once you learn the shops that work for you it’s a more pleasant experience, but I don’t think I’ll be going back any time soon. I’ve been spoilt by my local fabric shop which stocks the most lovely prints in good quality fabrics, is always welcoming and the girls can play with the toy basket. I’m not giving up on exploring what the other fabrics shops around London have to offer though, Walthamstow market sounds great and definitely on the cards for a visit sometime before Christmas!

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Anyway I did buy loads of lovely fabric and my mum treated me to some to, which of course makes up for it not being as fun as I’d hoped it would be.

IMAG0219Offcuts bin synthetic blend chiffon fabric – 1.5 m

IMAG0216Another synthetic blend chiffon from a different off cuts bin – 2.3m

IMAG0224Cotton voile – 1.6m

IMAG0233Lightweight denim – 1.65m

IMAG0228silk blend – 2m
IMAG0226viscose – 2.1m

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Cotton Lawn – 2m

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IMAG0235As you can see I’ve tried to lean more towards the colours I like to wear (mainly blue!) and simple repeat prints. I’ve found that although I love the bolder colourful fabrics when I’ve actually made clothes out of them they don’t really suit me and I end up not wearing them.

Ooh and here are the bits my mum picked out for herself and grandchildren:

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Sorry if this post was a bit moany, maybe its just me I tend to find to much choice overwelming. I’m less kid in a candy store, more kid at reasonably well stocked tuck shop window.

Hawthorn – Take Two

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I finally got around to making my adjustments to the Colette Hawthorn pattern (you can see my first attempt here). This time I decided to make view 3, which is the sleeveless dress variation. The fabric is from a slightly faded vintage bedsheet I got at Wimbledon car boot for £2 with my dad (yes I treat him to the most glamours London hot spots when he comes to visit!)  a few weeks ago.

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I used a chocolate brown as an accent colour as pink and brown is one my favourite autumn colour combinations. I’m really happy with the fit, it’s a little lose but I like my clothes to be comfortable and to be able to sit down without them bunching everywhere because they’re so fitted.

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For me it’s always a bit of a nightmare to get a smooth finish on a really curved hem, there are a number methods I’ve never tried so I used this project as an excuse to try one out. I used an elastic lace to hem the bottom, this seems to be a really popular at the moment and although it gives a pretty finish to the inside, it didn’t work as well I was hoping. I think that might have been my fault, perhaps I pulled the fabric through the machine a little too much? It does look cute though!

IMAG0161 IMAG0163IMAG0200(Struggled again to take good full body pics of the dress, might have to ask my mum to help out next time!)

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Ooh and I just wanted to share a new sew-a-long announced today which I’m really looking forward to joining in with called ‘Fall for Cotton‘ hosted by Rochelle from Lucky Lucille and Tasha from by Golly by Gum (both brilliant blogs!). It’s all about embracing fabrics made from 100% cotton and making something with a vintage vibe. I missed out Rochelle previous 1940s sew along ‘Sew For Victory‘, but loved looking through the flickr pool, it was really inspiring! So even if you don’t want to join in sewing its well worth just following along and seeing the amazing things I’m sure people will make.

End of Sew Lily Week

This week has just flown by and I haven’t posted half the things I’d hoped too, to be honest the girls have been keeping me crazy busy! They seem to be constantly arguing and throwing everything we own on the floor at the moment and if it weren’t for strong coffee and paracetamol I’d probably of had a break down by now! I didn’t manage to make nearly as much for lily as I would have liked to, but here are the few I did manage:

Space Pinafore Dress

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My mum brought this fabric back from america for me, I was planning on making Lily some simple pj’s with it, but as soon as she saw it she asked for a space dress. I didn’t think it would work as a dress, but I think that’s because I was picturing something a little more formal. I’m totally in love with this pinafore though! I didn’t use a pattern as a base,  it’s pretty simple construction with simple box pleats at the front and a shirred elasticated waist at the back. It was so quick and easy to make, I’m visioning a lot more pinafores in lily’s future!

Umbrella top (pattern – women’s realm WR393)

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I’ve had this pattern for ages now, isn’t it great that whoever bought it originally put the magazine advertisement inside?! I love how simple and quick children’s clothes are to sew I literally knocked up this whole top in a morning, the zip (love vintage metal zips!) did give me a bit of trouble, but I’ll leave off fixing it until I get a new zipper foot.

Drinks top

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This top is made from the left over fabric from this dress (which was my first go at shirring!). I made my own basic pattern block using one of lily’s shop bought tops as a base, a really useful method for kids clothes as they are pretty shapeless so you can get away with drawing round them without unpicking the seams. I decided to learn how to do bias facing on the armholes, I still need a little practice but I think it looks quite smart and much more practical for kids clothes than proper facings.

It was a real nightmare to get Lily to let me take any pictures of her wearing the clothes, I’m not sure how other bloggers who sew for there kids all the time get them to do it? bribery?

Sewing Lily Clothes Week!

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I feel like I’ve been a bit of selfish sewer so far this year hardly making anything at all for the girls, now the summer holiday has come round I’ve really noticed how few practical clothes Lily actually has. Since she started school full time, I’ve mostly just been adding to or replacing her school uniform with only the weekends to worry about casual clothes. We have another five weeks together before she goes back so she definitely needs more things to wear! I’ve decided to dedicate this week to sewing Lily as many clothes as I can and work my way through some of my stash of smaller lengths of fabric.

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So today is these button up shorts, totally influenced by Ashley from Sew Ashley Sew’s lovely take on Oliver + S sailboat pants pattern. I love Oliver + S patterns they are simple yet stylish, but way too expensive to buy in this country!

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I decided to draft my own using a 1968 Style Pattern (2124) as a base. I used floral needle-cord fabric left over from this dress which I posted about year ago tomorrow (which is my Blog anniversary!).

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My pattern was a slight fail and it’ll need quite a lot of tweaking before I use it again, so I ended up winging it a bit while sewing the shorts together.

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Which is why the pleats at the front were more of a necessity than a style feature and little bit off centre.

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 They fit her well and she loves them, really that’s all that matters and now I know how to fix the pattern so there aren’t as many mistakes next time. I’ll keep you updated with how I get on with ‘Sew Lily Week’, now I’m off to watch ‘Tales from the Royal Bedchamber‘ on bbc4 and order some Gok Wan knickers à la Bethany from Arched Eyebrow.

Clothes labels and Spoonflower review

IMAG2521My package from Spoonflower arrived last week! At the start of June I blogged about my search for labels to put in the clothes I’ve been making with the intention of selling and was so when happy when I came across a tutorial for making them via Spoonflower.

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So here is my logo for my clothes label, it was really hard to come up with name which expressed what I’m all about that wasn’t already taken! I uploaded this image to spoonflower and repeated it to get a fat quarter of fabric which ended up looking like this:

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IMAG2527From the close up you can see the colours have lost some of their vibrancy, I’d read warnings before ordering my fabric that this would happen so to balance them out I made the colours extra bold in the original image.

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I spent an hour one morning watching ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ (yeah I love that crap!) cutting the fabric, ironing and stitching to create these:

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So happy with how smart they look once sewn in and really grateful to Sarah from ‘While they snooze‘ for the original idea of using Spoonflower to make labels!

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I’m so impressed with Spoonflower’s service not only did they keep me updated on my order throughout but considering the postage from North Carolina to the UK was only $2 it arrived really quickly! There was even a cute little handwritten thank you on the invoice! I’m really tempted to design and print more fabric now! I ordered a little fabric sample book and the silk crepe is lovely quality if not a little out of my price rang at $34.20 a yard, a girl can dream though!