August: All Sewn Up (aka I fancy a chat!)

Hi! If you follow me on Instagram and/or are a regular reader of this ‘ere blog, you may know that I spent a chunk of August back out in the States, a trip I avidly sewed for! As well as eating and drinking my own body weight, this trip also gave me much needed time to reflect both on my sewing life and life in general…

Sewing blogger

… and this new monthly ‘All Sewn Up!’ blog series is one of the results of that. I wanted a space where I could take time to both reflect upon and forward plan my sewing and to examine how this fits in with the current flux of my life in general. So, as well as covering things like: what I’ve sewn, what I’ve worn and what I’m dreaming of sewing; I also aim to share the notable books I’ve read, throw in snippets from my life, talk about the patterns I’ve researched and bought and whatever else takes my fancy. Basically having a mental spring clean by dumping the contents of my brain here. I guess some months they’ll be long posts, some months they’ll be short posts and some months they won’t be posted at all!

Logo Sew Sarah Smith

Spending an inordinate amount of time lounging in a hammock getting my ass bitten by mosquitos also gave me the time to do some much needed housekeeping in my little dot of the cyber universe. As well as redesigning the blog itself to make it more functional (it’s not 100% where I want it at yet – how do you find navigating it?) I also finally succumbed to buying my domain name so that it’s now simply ‘’.  I’ve designed myself a wee logo to celebrate. It’s not fancy but then neither am I. All in all, I think this is me finally committing to saying yes, this is my space and I’m claiming it. (And Yey to getting rid of hosting Ads!)

Ok, so with that out of the way let’s talk about August!

We actually flew out to the States on my birthday at the back end of July. I travelled with my family and my Sister-in-Law, Anna, to spend much needed time with family who moved to New York State a few years back. 11 months of the year it’s totally crap they’re so far away from us but it does mean when we do get to spend time together we really spend time together.

Home from home, sketched by Anna

I took mostly me-made items in my suitcase this time, including a few things I’d sewn up specifically for the trip. Here’s what I wore the most – it also made me realise what was missing from my wardrobe and so I’ve researched a few patterns I really need in my arsenal. Shall we have look?

My most worn item was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the last thing I sewed before packing – McCalls 7119 (blogged HERE).

McCalls 7119
McCalls 7119

It was so comfy in the heat; I didn’t feel overdressed it in, finding it versatile enough to pair with heels to go out for dinner but also to wear around the house with flip flops/thongs.

On days three and four, when my mosquito bites were at their angriest, I took to wearing this outfit – RTW linen blend trousers and my Coppelia Wrap Cardi by Papercut Patterns (blogged HERE)

Sew Sarah smith
Coppelia Wrap Cardigan by Papercut Patterns

Can we just take a second to talk about bloody mosquito bites!? On the second evening we lit the firepit out the back and I sat there sipping wine long into the night sensibly wrapped up from head to toe … yet having completely forgotten to douse myself in Deet first. I woke up the next morning burning; my skin had been savaged!

Politely asking the Mosquitos…

Not only had I been bitten a million times, I’d evidently reacted to them violently, coming up in huge welts which I don’t recall ever happening before (or maybe it did and I’d conveniently forgotten; a bit like the way we handle childbirth!) I subsequently spent the remainder of the holiday spraying myself to near asphyxiation and wearing mosquito bands on every limb to avoid repercussion! A few days in I read the blurb on the back of the can warning not to use whilst wearing rayon. Guess what I’d mostly been wearing?!


My two McCalls 7116 dresses both got a lot of wear (blogged HERE). This is the version with the bright pink flowers, which really goes well with my red skin!

McCalls 7116
McCalls 7116

Two sets of lounge/sleepwear were in heavy rotation – my Lakeside Pajamas (blogged HERE) and the Suki Kimono (see HERE). I wore the top with cut off jeans to go out in as well as sleep in. I also wore the shorts around the house paired with a Tee – they’re a bit too ‘short short’ to venture further afield in.

Sew Sarah Smith
Lakeside pyjamas

My Suki (HERE) was (and still is) the first thing I reach for every morning. But, remember I said I’d discovered a tad late that you’re not supposed to spray Deet near rayon/viscose? The Suki took the worst hit; I think it leaches colour and some of it has run – thankfully it’s just made the white flowers a tad pink in places – I can live with that. Frankly I’ll have to as you’re unlikely to wrestle this robe out of my hands. It’s a good excuse to sew another though, right?!

Suki Kimono by Helen’s Closet

My Simplicity 1887 viscose trousers (HERE) were a godsend! Unbelievably lightweight and airy. So lightweight in fact I felt a bit, well, starkers, in them – feeling the disconcerting need to physically check I was walking around Walgreens wearing clothing and actually not butt naked!

Simplicity 1887 pants
Photobombed by the daftest, softest lump of a pup x

I wore both my McCalls 6886 dresses (blogged HERE) a few times; this is the perfect easy wear dress to throw on when you want to wear something really comfy, stretchy and forgiving whilst still looking fairly put together; I mainly wore them to go shopping or to stuff my face eating out – the key word here being ‘stretchy’.

Joann’s was a fun experience although I did feel a bit like a rabbit caught in the headlights walking through the sliding doors – it was massive. I ended up only buying three long lengths of fabric and various tools – I’ll probably post them up on Insta sometime soon as well as showing you what I’ve made with them here. The gadget section was fab and I finally got myself a spool holder! I had coupons worth 40% so it all felt a bit of a steal really!

My McCalls 6696 Shirtdress (blogged HERE) came out to play for the Attica Rodeo. I was originally planning to wear my maxi dress having envisaged myself wearing it with cowboy boots, however, when everyone else in the house decided to go all native on me, I decided I had to do my best impression of a Cowgirl too and a Shirtdress seemed fitting. I tried, and I mean really tried, to buy the perfect pair of cowboy boots whilst there but none I liked fitted.

Attica Rodeo
The Girls – Attica Rodeo

Definitely missing from my suitcase were a few pair of shorts, I needed more variation than the cut-offs I took. I want a City pair and a casual pair(s). I have the (1) Chi Town Chinos shorts pattern by Alina already so they’re a serious contender; the (2) Pierre Shorts by Republique du Chiffon have a few features I like but I’m a bit unsure about the the button front and the (3) Vogue City Shorts V9008 really caught my eye:

Sew Sarah smith
Decisions, decisions…

It was such a great few weeks. Hanging out with family really is the best. Days out, days in lounging around, letting the kids run wild, nights spent playing cards and quaffing. That’s one of my favourite words/verbs : to quaff. Talking of words…

…I also devoured two really good books:


Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keys is one of those novels you can’t put down once you’ve read the first page. Written by the character Charlie as series of diary entries – a man of low IQ but huge heart – following experimental surgery to raise his intelligence. Classed as a sci-fi novel, I found this a beautiful and affecting read.

A Place Called Winter by Daniel Gale – brilliantly written and quite epic in scale in terms of the vastness of the landscapes it paints and the mapping of the human heart it covers. I literally sobbed to the point of gulping near the end. I started reading it on the plane home but thankfully read the last few chapters safely in my own bed where my heart could break in peace.

So what’s next?

Summer’s running out here in the UK (or did it even really ever start?!) so my thoughts are already turning to Autumn/Winter makes. Whilst I was away I received a very exciting email about contributing to a sewing magazine; more of that later but suffice to say I think I have the perfect make in mind for it. There’s a great new Instagram challenge I want to take part in (the #cosycardichallenge) hosted by the lovely Amanda – check out her YouTube channel ‘I Sew A Lot’ HERE for the info. I’ve also just bought some double ended knitting needles so I can finally succumb to my craving to knit socks!

I’ll leave you here, I think I’ve taken up enough of your time for one day! Thanks for reading – please feel free to throw book and pattern recommendations my way!

Now time to get making eh!

Until next time, I hope your summer has been fab!






42 thoughts on “August: All Sewn Up (aka I fancy a chat!)

  1. Hi Sarah, I only just got round to reading your post. I know, sorry I’m rubbish!!! Sounds like you had a wonderful time (save for the bites!!!) and all the items you took were so versatile (fab pjs and I can only dream of set of pins like yours by the way!!) Thanks for mentioning the challenge I am so grateful. Take care lovely lady xxx


  2. Sounds like a fab trip, Sarah! Great backgrounds for pictures! Loving the new look. I’m thinking of getting that WP plan too. Let me know if you feel it’s worth it.


  3. Thanks Dee! Ooooh I love Marmite so that would be no hardship!!! Ah you’ll enjoy the 7116; certainly the view I made is super quick to do. And thanks, I’m kinda writing it in my head already! Xx


  4. Thank you Sarah!!!!! That’s so good to hear. Ah, thought so….glad I didn’t miss much! Although I’m hoping for a September heatwave, yeah I’m craving sewing knits really looking forward to seeing your A/W Makes I need inspiring!!! Xxx


  5. Thanks Suzy!!! I hoped it would be interesting to show how things work in real life settings rather than just talk about ooooh the lovely new shiny thing I’ve made! Ooh yes, I think I prefer the look of the Flints as shorts actually. And ta, I’m adding that book to my checkout list!!! Xxxxx


  6. That’s it exactly Beck isn’t it! I don’t seem to have too much spare brain capacity these days and yes, 2am, tends to be its most active period! You too huh!? By the way, I’m LOVING your blog! Xx


  7. Ah thank you Helene! I’m so glad I found you on Insta too! Oh that’s my daughter and I totally agree with you – the dress is a RTW one that I could not leave in the shop. It’s a great idea to copy it for yourself, I’d LOVE to see how that turns out. I’ve every intention of copying the dress too to make another for my daughter xxx


  8. Thanks you Kathleen! That’s so good to hear 😊Ooooh Vlogs…Eeek I’m not sure I’d be any good at that but I can see it would be fun! Ah, lol, your poor Hubbie – I’m on a mussion to research mozzie allergy now!!!! Xx


  9. Ah – bang goes that theory then! Yeah that would seem a bit if a waste wouldn’t it – I was the only one drinking white wine that evening; I blamed that! Sounds like we’re allergic huh? And thanks love!!!! Xx


  10. Consuming marmite has always worked for keeping mozzies at bay for my family. If you don’t like marmite, vitamin B tablets – they can’t stand the smell apparently.
    I particularly liked the McCall 7116 dresses and have that pattern myself but yet to make it.
    Looking forward to next mind dump.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yay on the new look blog and your own domain name! I really loved reading this post, and hearing all about everything. Sounds like you had a fabulous trip to the States. Definitely keep going with these posts! Like you I’m already thinking about autumn sewing, and can confirm summer never started in the UK!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This was great to sit and read with a cuppa, your trip looked amazing and all of your makes were perfect, love them all!!! I think the summer is pretty much over too, looking forward to the cardi challenge too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I enjoyed this blog post immensely…as ever you made me smile. Your holiday wardrobe worked really well, didn’t it? Love getting the extras too….kind of behind the sewing scene. Shorts are on my list for next year and I’ve seen some lovely Flint ones. Books…that would take me hours, but last night I finished Rules of Civility by Amor Towles which I already want to reread. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Love the idea of a monthly brain dump! Helps stop you from waking up at 2am with your head filled with all sorts of things you want to share! Look forward to reading this monthly feature…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Such a fun read! As I follow you on IG, I won’t tell you again how I love your vacation wardrobe and pics, but the little girl wearing a mustard dress with flutter sleeves really caught my attention here. What a stylish look! I totally want to copycat her dress in crinkle gauze!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Another great post Sarah! I do favour your new format – it’s much easier to navigate and congrats on claiming your own domain name 🙂 I wonder if I could suggest some vlogs to add to your arsenal of new blog styling? 🙂 Mosquito allergy is horrible! I’ve never seen that before – I know they tend to love some people more than others. They adore my husband which kinda works for me 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I can give a big recommendation to the Named Ninni culottes for shorts. I have made two pairs in woven even though the pattern is for knits. The loose silhouette meant no adjustments for ease were necessary. I live in the Sonoran desert, home of the hot summer. I am wearing these all the time. I know what you mean by feeling like you are wearing nothing at all! The longer length means I can even wear them to work.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. And my blood type is A +I’ve and I too get bitten to bits with welts as you describe so I’m not sure about the blood type theory! Dousing yourself in vodka can help. Terrible waste though, I’d rather put in in a cocktail 😘


  19. Loved reading this Sarah, sounds like you had an amazing time! New web design is great, colours are fab. Btw you’re not O Neg blood type are you, my husband gets attacked by all manner of flying insects, they don’t touch the rest of us, we’re all O positive!! X

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Off to check out those recommendations right now, thanks Jane! And thanking you – yeah that’s my sister’s place – housing in the US is so much cheaper than in the UK so you get way more for you money! Xx


  21. Your holiday wardrobe really was a success Sarah, very chic and stylish, and how gorgeous is that house as a backdrop?! God, I bawled my head off reading that Patrick Gale book too, it was so affecting. Two recent good reads for me have been Commonwealth by Ann Patchett and The Girls by Emma Cline. xx

    Liked by 1 person

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