Monday 4 March 2019

sewing plans: spring 2019

My winter plan went surprisingly smoothly. There were a couple of failures, sure, but everything I planned for at least got attempted and I was finished by the end of January. My only annoyance is that the M7626 trousers didn't work well enough for me to finally get my yellow pair. Sigh.

I've been worrying about this post basically since December. Historically my spring plans have been the least cohesive and had the least stuff made from them, and dressing for spring is such a headache. It's cold enough for tights but it feels weird to wear them, traditional "spring colours" don't suit me at all, and my summer clothes don't really lend themselves to being layered up. I really hate that Me Made May is in spring because I'm sure my clothes look much better the other three seasons of the year (though maybe I just think that because I'm not taking outfit photos every day and can ignore that I'm wearing the same five things on a loop, who knows). Looking at last year's photos I seem to have four spring modes: wearing autumn clothes and feeling unseasonal, wearing autumn clothes without tights and feeling uncomfortable, wearing summer clothes and feeling self-conscious (and/or cold) and wearing summer clothes with awkwardly-matched layers. This year I would like to not do that, so I'm going to plan with that in mind.

Colour-wise, my wardrobe needs a bit of variety. Last year I made a lot of black basics to wear with bolder pieces, but my Instagram almost-daily outfit photos show that I'm not doing that and am just living in black, blue and grey. They're nice outfits, but they are colour-limited in a way that I don't wish to be. So this time I have mostly green and yellow fabrics, and most of my plans are for separates.

Also I recently did a fabric inventory and YIKES I have way too much fabric relative to the space I have to keep it in. There are a couple of things I really want for spring that I don't have the fabric for, so I left those on here, but I removed several things from my original draft that would have required me to buy more stuff. Ideally I'd like to reduce my fabric stash by about a quarter over the next three months, with the eventual goal of getting everything to fit in the box, so I've divided my plans based on fabric acquisition and dedicated the last part to stashbusting.

Let's go!

Plans I have the fabric for

A maxi wrap skirt

I've often thought about making a maxi skirt but never actually done it (assuming we aren't counting that time I bought a piece of pre-shirred fabric, sewed the two cut edges together and called it a skirt). A long skirt that I could wear with long-sleeved tops would grant me a lot more versatility than just putting my suede Lupin jacket on over every summer outfit I own and repeating "pale pink suede goes with everything" on a loop. I mean, don't get me wrong, it kind of does go with everything, but that gets a little dull after a while. My mother bought me a piece of yellow/green/blue printed viscose (when in doubt, return to the peacock colours) and I'd like to make it into a wrap skirt. I've bought McCalls 7606 and I'm going to give that a try. Actually I got slightly ahead of myself, so I finished the skirt before I made the post... tune in next week for more exciting "did this wrap cause a wardrobe malfunction?" content!

An olive Nettie bodysuit

The Nettie pattern 100% won me over. Tops ride up on me so easily and it's made a huge difference to my comfort levels not having to think about that. I ordered fabric for a third one a few months ago, then put it aside because it looked very different from the photo and I was disappointed. On the website it looked like an antique gold with an embossed-effect leaf and sunflower print, but in person it's definitely a very yellow olive and the sunflowers are clearly brown tie dye. It's still not my favourite (I've seen it used in a few Instagram posts encouraging people to join in with 1970s week on the Great British Sewing Bee and the 70s are far from my usual jam) but now that a bit of time has passed I think I'm going to make it anyway; it's a very unusual colour for me but since I don't already know I hate it I might as well try it, right?

A pair of green trousers

I bought the Sew Over It Sara dungarees pattern when it came out, not because I had the remotest interest in making the dungarees but because the trouser portion looked like the exact most flattering shape for my body. It's not the most fashionable shape but sometimes I just want to feel like my legs are nine feet long. Also I remember the Ultimate Trousers being a fairly good fit once I modified the darts and I'm hoping these will be the same except with an actual waistband and therefore much less annoying. My trial version is going to be made of a moss green crepe, which I like enough to wear a lot if it works but not enough to cry if they're unwearable.

A mustard jersey dress

I debated delaying this one because it feels like more of an autumn thing, but I am in sore need of long-sleeved jersey dresses and it's definitely going to be cold for a while yet. I haven't picked a pattern yet; my original plan was to try and turn the Deer&Doe Magnolia into more of a day dress, but I'm less certain of that right now. I feel like it shouldn't be that difficult to find a go-to pullover jersey dress, and yet I don't have any patterns with both sleeves and a waist seam that I care to remake. Somewhere within the next three months I will find a solution to this.

A sports bra

This is going to be a bit of a punt. I'd sworn off the idea of bra-making because it's so fiddly and needs so many specialist supplies (and a bra that fits even a tiny bit wrong just takes over my whole day and makes me extra grumpy), but a sports bra seems way less fiddly and also would let me wear something with cool straps. Also I only have one sports bra and Patrick calls it "Jen's unattractive sports bra", so there's that. I got some blue-purple spandex in Abakhan that I'm going to use for the first go, possibly with a grey contrast if I feel like it, and following a recommendation on the Curvy Sewing Collective I'm going to try the Greenstyle Creations power sports bra (one of the strappy versions).

A denim skirt

I am going to have yet another go at this, and what I'm thinking of doing this time is picking a straight or A line skirt pattern and reshaping the side seams to be a little more tulip-shaped (or, possibly, just grafting the back panel of my tulip skirt onto the front panel of something without waist pleats). I haven't settled on a pattern yet, but I don't think it will be the Ness again as that fits me very strangely and would need a fair bit of alteration before we even get to reshaping the skirt. I might try the Cashmerette Ellis skirt, which seems like it should be just the thing but I'm a bit sceptical of the 1 inch difference between the apple and the pear fits.

Plans I don't have the fabric for but are quite important

A weekend bag

Last year I said I wanted to try making a weekend bag, but then I looked at some proper handbag patterns and freaked out about how much hardware they all seemed to take. A few people I follow have made the Grainline Portside travel set recently and I think I'll be doing the same. I've never used Grainline before (all the garment patterns seem pretty shapeless for quite a lot of money, though when I mentioned this at a sewing meet-up I had four women simultaneously give me dirty looks and yell BUT THE DRAFTING IS REALLY GOOD at me, which frankly didn't endear me) but it's a nice-looking set of bags and doesn't appear to need more than a few extraneous bits. I think I know one of the fabrics I want, but haven't settled on a colour to match it yet.

A light knee-length spring coat

I considered jettisoning this from my list, but it really is the thing that would make the biggest difference to my spring wardrobe. Once it gets too warm for my big wool coat I get a bit lost and end up trying to coordinate most of my outfits around a cropped jacket, and it would be nice to have something I could just throw on instead. Unless I get a better idea it's going to be the Victory Patterns Ulysses trench coat, and I'm still undecided about colour. In my head it's quite a bright blue-green, but I know how annoying that is to find, so I might be persuaded in any direction that isn't dark or neutral.

A first-ever shirt experiment

I want to plan in one big 2019 project per season and this is where I'm going to start. I think it's the best one to begin with because it's not for me and doesn't have any body image or fitting-related baggage to accompany it, so I can just focus on the techniques. I'm going to seek out a very classic shirt pattern for my first try before I attempt all the double-cuffed fancy stuff Patrick eventually wants (cufflinks are to him what earrings are to me). Any recommendations gratefully received!


Jersey offcuts

I have a bunch of different jerseys between 0.7m and 1.5m in length that I either picked up at remnant sales or had left over from a previous garment (why is it that when I buy 2m of a fabric I don't have any patterns that will fit on it, but when I buy 3m I have a bunch left over? Grrr). By the end of the season I want to have used or donated all of them, and I don't want to panic and end up making a dozen cropped sweaters. Only one of them is at all precious to me - a black and grey swirled sweater knit that I know will be my favourite thing in the world if I can find the right shaped top - so I may as well experiment with everything else. T-shirts, weird bodysuits, underwear, whatever I feel like trying. There will be at least one cropped sweater, though, I'm still me.

Those things from Walthamstow

This may seem like a vague category, but it's actually very specific. I always go to Walthamstow Market with a very defined list of what I need, and I always come back with about half that stuff and something else that I don't have a clue what to do with, but was really cool and also only £6 so it would have been a crime to just leave it there. I'm currently sitting on more than half a dozen of these, because I like them too much to accidentally use them for the wrong garment. I don't think I'm going to get through all of them, but I'm aiming to use two and have plans for the others (even if that plan is to give it to someone else).

This felt like a small plan when I was writing it, but having added the stashbusting stuff it's probably bigger than usual. The success of my winter sewing and the fact that my therapist asks if I've sewn and what I've made every single week gives me hope that I can do it.


  1. I love reading about sewing plans as that's what I often struggle with the most, so inspiring to hear what you are putting together! Would love to see pictures of fabric and patterns! Especially these mysterious "things from Walthamstow," they sounds like a post by themselves!

    I haven't made a men's shirt for years, but have been interested in watching Thread Theory patterns grow as a company and they have a men's button up shirt that I'd check out! They've been really committed to expanding pattern options for men.
    Meg from Cookin'&Craftin' makes a lot of men's shirts using a McCalls pattern~

    1. I was thinking about doing a Walthamstow fabric post! I'll put something together within the next couple of weeks - it would probably be super helpful for me to get ideas from people!