Sewing your Sunday Best … and Blogging about it on a Monday! (The Sunday Dress by Pattern & Cloth)

Hello! Having been quiet here for a wee while (too busy sewing!) I’ve now got a double-whammy of posts coming up in quick succession (haha clearly I blog as I live!); there’s a new sewing pattern launching later today I was really happy to be part of the tester group for; I’ll post on that next but, for now, I want to share the 5 dresses I’ve recently sewn using the Sunday Dress pattern from indie designer Pattern & Cloth. Read More

The Surprise Hit of the Summer! The Rosetta Dress by Pattern & Cloth

I’ve sewn quite a few things for my daughter over the years, including a fair amount of ‘fancy’ dresses. They’ve all had some love but nothing, I repeat, nothing like the amount of love my daughter has for this dress pattern; the ‘Rosetta Dress’ by children’s designer Pattern & Cloth. It’s been the undoubted hit of the summer, the first being worn so often that I just had to make a second so she had something else she wanted to wear!

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Melilot Deer & Doe tutorial

Two Deer & Doe Melilot Shirt : a story of viscose and lawn!

Melilot Deer & Doe tutorial

Wow … it’s taken me some time to put this post together; I made my first Melilot just before Christmas and the second sometime early in the New Year! But sometimes I get caught in a sewing stint I don’t want to break … or life happens … and then we launched #sewtogetherforsummer 2018 so this post kind of got put on a back burner. But, excuses aside, we’re here now so let’s dive straight in shall we!?

The Melilot is my first foray into the Deer & Doe collection and it’s fair to say it was something of a revelation… Read More

Sew Sarah smith

The Paro Cardigan by Itch to Stitch : Not my Finest Hour!

Mmmm, probably the less said the better, huh?!

Well it had to happen didn’t it. I’ve had a pretty good run with my sewing lately so Sod’s Law dictates I was due a Fail. This, my friends, is it; the Itch to Stitch ‘Paro Cardigan’.

In fairness, a lot of it probably is my fault. I blithely cut into to my fabric, which was stretchier than recommended, without making all of the adjustments I knew were probably necessary. I did size down to account for the extra stretch in the fabric but, looking at the finished measurements I knew I should probably grade and size down further in the waist and hip and I didn’t. I did go ‘as far’ as reducing the sleeve length but I also didn’t take anything out of the length of the bodice. Why? Well, I’m going to blame my momentary lapse in common sense on the onset of flu and the fact that I totally underestimated how much unflattering bulk those pleats would add.

Sew Sarah smith
It kind of looks Ok on Dummy doesn’t it?

Anyway, to cut a long story short, it’s enormous. I feel like a Matronly Battleaxe from another era in it; the kind I imagine gossiping over the garden fence whilst brandishing a rolling pin. It’s such a shame really as the fabric I used is truly lovely, a really soft drapey knitted poly blend which I’ve used before.

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Anyhoo, you can read the full sorry saga over on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, especially if you want to avoid the pitfalls I made (there’s a decent cardigan in the Paro I’m sure!) or, y’know, if you just fancy a giggle!

Until next time

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Sewing blogger

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 ‘www.SewSarahSmith.com’.  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.

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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!

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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?!

Yeah.

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?!

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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:

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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!

Sewsarahsmith