My dad told me that when I was a child, I used to walk up to ladies on the street and pet their fury coats. It was the 80s, so there were a lot of those going around, and I was 5, so it was cute, not creepy, but the point of the story is that pretty much all my life I have been attracted to soft, pettable materials.
And that is still the case, many many years later. I love soft fake fur, fleece, minky, that thing that fluffy dressing gowns are made of, you name it, I want to just lovingly stroke it.
So of course that the last time I visited Abakhan with my friend Simona, who is a lucky devil for living 10 mins walk to the Bolton shop, I just could not stop myself from getting this piece of stripy micro-furry stuff (no idea what it’s called), like a faux fur, but with short, soft, lovely hairs. I have no idea if it mimics any real animal, but as soon as I laid my hands on it, I could not care less. It was less than a meter and I had no idea what it could be made into, but I just could not let go of it. So I brought it home with me.
This does sound a bit overdramatic, doesn’t it? Well, maybe a tad.
But no other dress I ever sewed, except my wedding dress, put me through the wringer quite as much as this Sophia Dress from Burda Style Magazine Vintage Special. It took a long time, a lot of head scratching and a lot of swearing to turn from pattern+fabric into a dress I can slip into. And all for just one wear…
Was it worth it? Well, read on and tell me what do you think…
Before I started sewing, if someone mentioned TNT, I would think of bombs and explosions. You know, trinitrotoluene, the stuff that is used to detonate things and would show up in cartoons, usually blowing up Wiley Coyote. How misguided I was…
In the sewing world, TNT actually stands for Tried’n’True patterns, i.e. a pattern that you have made loads of versions of and has stood the test of time, fit and wear, to become a wardrobe staple.
Why are we talking about this now?
November is TNT month over at the Sewcialists, the online sewing community. So I wanted to give you my take on them as well. Join the conversation with #sewcialistsTNT.
A few years ago, in a moment of insanity, I ordered a big lot of scuba remnants off eBay. Now, all seasoned sewists know that a remnant lot will most likely be random pieces of fabric, that most of the time cannot actually be used for anything useful.
Well, somehow, I forgot this little details. And I clicked ‘Buy now’ without thinking anything of it. And, surprise, surprise, when my order arrived, there were indeed random pieces of scuba, in various colours, none bigger than about 40×30 cm and some even smaller.
I am definitely of the ‘waste not, want not’ persuasion, so for the past couple of years, I have been working my brain to figure out what to use these pieces for.
I don’t know about you guys, but I find it quite hard to define my style in a few words. I try to go for modern minimalist, but not sure if that always comes across.
However, I can easily tell you what my signature look is. Anything with a little bit of pleather on it. Man, I love faux leather and I could literally add it on to anything! Case in point, the pleather sleeves here and here, the pleather chiffon dress here, more pleather inserts here and more sleeves here.
So you would have thought that I got this pleather sewing down to a T.
Well, you would be wrong! I only realised last week that I have been making my life harder than it needed to be for no good reason.
Let me tell you what I learned that changed it all!
My train arrives in Manchester at 12.30 on a very cold, but sunny Saturday in January 2017. I am literally chomping at the bit to get off the train. With a brief, absent-minded kiss to my husband, I rush as if hypnotised out of the train station. Never mind pedestrians, traffic, Saturday tourists. I am dragging my minuscule suitcase after me at an incredible speed. I almost run, filled with giddy excitement. It feels almost like a date, my heart rate is up, my cheeks are flushed. And finally, I arrive…
My living room floor is currently covered with the ENTIRE content of my sewing room! It’s complete CHAOS! (Psst, don’t tell my husband, he’s away for a few days and I hope to have it all back to perfection before he gets back). And it all started with getting my eyes checked and having pupil dilation drops put it.
Lately, I have been thinking about overhauling my sewing room more than I do about new sewing projects. I am really grateful to have a sewing room – our spare bedroom – but that leaves us with the issue of where do our guests sleep. Currently, it’s an airbed on the sewing room floor. I have been working my brain for ages to figure out how to put in a better sleeping solution. Well, try as I might that’s not happening, but I am getting a built-in wardrobe to tidy things up a bit. And I am shuffling things around to make a bit more room on the floor for a bigger air bed. Not ideal, but I will have a really nice sewing room.
Sometimes you just need a short and sweet little make in your (sewing) life. Something that sews up quickly and it’s also satisfying, and if it happens to be a wardrobe filler, well, then, that’s a Brucie bonus. You would not believe that this little top ticks all those boxes, buy my oh my, it so does. I had a completely different idea when I first picked up this pattern but in the end, I just left it as it was and super happy with it. (more…)
Like the last of the summer wines, the last of the dresses I’ve been sewing for the summer are making their way on the blog. Even if they do come with the sprinkling of goose bumps for accessories…
I’m so happy to be showing you one of my favourite makes of the year, which brings back amazing memories of my wedding in the Caribbean and another awesome wedding I attended in Italy in May this year. This is a hack of the Esplanade bra pattern from Orange Lingerie into a glamorous dress. Also, I have tales of jeopardy and crazy last minute sewing, so keep on reading to see how it all links together.
When I first saw Mimi G wearing Sew Sew Def Katie dress, I was immediately in love! And I knew I must make one right away. Then came the perfect excuse too: the #SewTogetherforSummer Instagram Challenge that Sarah (from Sew Sarah Smith), Monika (@rocco.sienna) and Suzy (@sewing_in_spain) have hosted earlier in the summer. I did finish it like Cinderella by the stroke of midnight on the 21st June to take part in the challenge and wore it the very next day for my birthday. But what do you know? Yet another project that I made ages ago and did not get a chance to photograph.
Why, you might ask? Well, because this dress is blinkin’ cursed! Allow me to elaborate…
I feel that I definitely did not make enough jumpsuits this year! And as you guys know, I absolutely LOVE them. I had planned this one for ‘Jumping into June’ challenge, but I didn’t even get close to finishing this one in by then. So here I am showing this red knit jumpsuit in mid-August, but with my track record and the backlog of unblogged projects, this is really not too bad.
So, as I was saying, I’m a sucker for a new jumpsuit pattern. And I was looking for a new summer TNT pattern for a while, as an alternative for my all time favourite pattern, V9075. I have been following Nikki from Beaute J’adore for years now, so when I heard she is releasing a range of patterns for McCalls, I was intrigued. M7444 got on my radar and after umming and erring for a while, I bit the bullet and bought it in a sale.
As I wrote in my previous post, August is #TributeMonth in the #sewcialists world. I wrote on the Sewcialist blog about 5 inspirational bloggers and instagrammers, 5 ladies whose style and attitudes I love. But there are so many more sewists I get inspiration from. So I want to dedicate my first post in August to some more of my favourite sewists.
As you already know, I love Burda Style Magazine, in spite of the copying sheets bonanza and dodgy instructions, so I take a lot of inspiration from sewists like Mokosha and Chris from Said and Done, who bring Burda designs to life in so many inspiring ways. So this particular project is a tribute to Mokosha, Chris and all the ladies who sew a lot with Burda. Mokosha made this very pattern here and here, in two very different fabrics. Thank you, ladies, and here’s my version.
You guys, the summer seems to be holding on in London, and it’s absolutely amazing! Nothing makes me happier than hot, long days and balmy summer nights. And wearing summer dresses and other delightful projects that I get to only put on a few days a year. And because I only get to enjoy them for a short time, most of my summer clothes are stored away for the majority of the year. But that’s ok, it’s even more fun to unpack the summer wardrobe and rediscover clothes you almost forgot you had.
Though sometimes there’s a downside… Things I loved last year just don’t work for me this year anymore. Sometimes I just pass them on, and sometimes I can actually be bothered to do something about them.
This is what happened to this particular dress. You might remember it from last year, the pattern is a rather peculiar asymmetric shape that I had also added a few modifications to as well. Well, when I put it on one day the other week, I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. But it’s a really lovely fabric and I quite still like the shape, it was just the elastic gathering didn’t work for me anymore, it felt really constricting.
I’m sure you guys have learned by now that I am probably the most selfish sewist ever! I HATE sewing for other people! I don’t like how hard it is to get hold of them for fitting, how they always want things I quite dislike (ditzy florals, beah!) and how in the end, I have no new item to add to my wardrobe. Selfish, I told you! Plus half of them are blinkin’ ungrateful! With one exception: my sister. We are virtually the same size, so I don’t really need her for fitting, I can just take my measures. She is always suitably impressed and grateful. And she wears what I make for her. Even so, I still procrastinate like the dickens when she asks me to make her something.
I am embracing #YearoftheSleeve, at long last! As you might remember, I am still on a retail fast (only one emergency pair of trousers bought since 1st Jan 2015), so the only way to access trends and fashion is through sewing my own. Flutter sleeves are everywhere this year, both in shops and in our very own sewosphere. And McCalls made it all easier with this pattern, M7542, a simple top with a lot of sleeve variations, that can be a great starting point for all sort of yummy designs. And so I jumped on the bandwagon and bought the pattern to have a play myself. I was really gutted I didn’t get around to actually entering the competition, but there were some great winners that provided loads of inspiration.
As I was planning this post, I was thinking that yet again, I am being very weather inappropriate. This is because of course I’m behind on my blog pictures and did not post this when I actually made it. Then again, what’s new? However, when I stepped outside to take the pictures it felt well suitable, it’s really nippy in London. So, let’s pretend we’re in the Southern Hemisphere and it’s autumn rather than summer.
Hey guys, I’ve got the post-holiday blues! You might have spotted on IG that I was in Tuscany in Italy last week. I know it’s now almost a cliche to rave about how amazing it is, but it really is. I had been dreaming of going to Florence since I was 14 and got an A+ for my essay on Lorenzo the Magnificent in History, but this was the first time. And I was truly blown away! I absolutely adored Florence, in spite of the hoards of tourists being spewed out of tour buses and the ridiculous queues for anything remotely interesting. But perhaps the best parts met us when we stepped out of the cities, in the Chianti countryside, with vineyards and rolling hills and the most beautiful light anywhere!
I’m finally getting around to posting about a little dress that I made ages ago (I’m sure you’re seeing a pattern here…). I took picture last weekend, while enjoying the fantastic weather we had in London. In hindsight, good call, Batman, because it went back to being freezing here (although quite sunny) and those toes would not have lasted in sandals even for a few seconds. And I had it in my head that this dress requires chunky heels. I feel like I’m impersonating Mimi G while wearing this dress and you can’t do Mimi G without the heels.
Guys, beware! The jumpsuit season chez Sewrendipity has begun! Again! Yes, that’s a few good months to go until #JumpIntoJune hopefully kicks off again. But as I was saying in my previous post, sometimes a fabric + a pattern just equal love, and you have to go for it! And I do love my jumpsuits, and as a matter of fact, my culottes too!
You know how sometimes you’ve had a piece of fabric in your stash for a while and then you see a pattern and they were just meant to go together? This is what happened in this case. I was browsing the Seamwork website just before Christmas, as I had some credit to spend and I saw Ida. She really spoke to me, and then I remembered that I had this piece of embossed scuba in my stash, so the decision to get it was a no brainer. And it turns out to be such a quick make that a few days later, it was ready to wear during the Christmas party season!
Not sure if you’ve noticed, but it’s been a bit quiet on the blog lately. We have actually been closed for holidays, and if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you would have seen some pics from South Africa popping up. And of course, I was not organised enough to schedule any posts while I was away, so you got radio silence.
If this is starting as I mean to go on in 2017, then not sure how much of me you’ll end up seeing this year. On the plus side, sewing hasn’t been all that scarce, it’s just the photographing and blogging that I have been rubbish at.
The Brits talk about the weather ALL.THE.TIME! This may be a stereotype, but it’s nonetheless, true. And before I moved here, I could not for the life of me understand why. But, after years of dealing with the mad, sad, bad, unpredictable English weather, I talk, and think, and worry about the weather as much as the next person.
So, of course, my wardrobe (and especially my newly crafted handmade wardrobe), needs to adapt and reflect my new meteorological reality. True, in Romania, we get -10 and even -20 degrees (that’s Celsius), but you just pull out the one mega thick jumper and moon boots for those few days, and then you’re back to your stylish regular schedule. Well, here, it’s never that easy. It’s never super cold so you can bring out the heavy artillery, but neither is warm enough for just a top or dress.
So, the question is, what do you wear when the temperature is neither here nor there?
Let me introduce the snuggly tunic with a stylish twist. We’ve got asymmetry, turtleneck and pockets! Nuff said!
I know I’m being controversial, but I’m close to being fed up with Christmas with 3 weeks to go. Which is why I am a bit in two minds about this project. I do feel a bit Santa Claus-y all wrapped up in this big piece of red wool. And that is definitely not a look I’m going for here. But it was quick and easy to make, it’s fairly warm AND the fabric was from Oxfam, nuff said! Too bad I don’t get to wear it until spring, this is definitely not a winter coat, my friends! (more…)
You have no idea how happy it makes me to finally write a post that’s about something I actually made! This is a very long overdue one, that I only just managed to photograph now. I’m telling you, sewing is a breeze, is the taking pictures that’s the killer! So really glad they are making an appearance on the blog at last.
As you might have seen here, I do love my culottes this year! I actually made this particular project in spring, but the weather got really warm before I got a chance to document them. They are really warm, so out they come again in this chilly weather we’ve been having in London. But I did get to wear them loads, so happy to report on how they fared in user tests as well.
I am so tempted to start this post complaining about the weather, but I just won’t! Trying to keep calm, get on with it and start sewing autumn projects. When I’m home, that is, which seems to look a lot like never. I’m living out of a suitcase of a few weeks now, travelling abroad and in the UK for work and leisure, and a few more trips still to go. So, I can only dream of snuggly warm clothes while still struggling to take pics of the last bits of summer makes.
Guys, it’s official, Autumn is here, so bring one the cosy sewing! Which is exactly what I did last week, with a nice wardrobe staple that’s definitely missing from mine. I think I’m going through a navy phase, as everything I’m sewing lately is in shades and variations of this colour. On the plus side, I am keeping to my colour palette, which I will tell you more about in a future post, which has navy as a main component. On the down side, navy is so difficult to photograph, so I hope these pictures will make sense at all.
Hey sewing guys and gals, looks like I skipped a week, but back with sewing goodies! I’ve been doing almost nothing other than sewing this weekend, so I will have plenty to entertain you in the following weeks.
Let’s get the show started with a little Addison top from Seamwork Mag. I have been lusting over some of their patterns for a while, but it was Addison that made me take the plunge and actually subscribe (that and the offer they had for Seamwork Radio podcast listeners). If you’re not familiar with it, Seamwork is an online magazine from the team at Colette patterns, which also offers two free patterns to download every month with their subscription. You can always go through the back catalogue and choose any pattern you want, so I chose the new Addison and the Astoria, which I haven’t made yet.
Hi everyone, how’s things? After a bit of a leave of absence to accommodate a little camping holiday in Devon, I finally have the pink culottes ready and photographed for you. Because everybody needs a pair of hot pink gaucho trousers in their wardrobe, am I right?
I’m the first to admit that I have been pretty ropey on the blogging version of sew & tell lately. That’s because I haven’t actually had loads to share. But boy, have I got a great one for you today (even if I do say so myself)! I absolutely love this funky little number, which is a very unusual twist on a nautical theme. (more…)