Monday, 30 March 2020

no longer winter sewing: Sew Over It Hackney shirt, round two

We're getting into the third week of self-isolation and the last few days have been extra stressful for me. I couldn't even tell you why, I've just been tense and frozen and tearful since Thursday. It's both impossible to do things and impossible to not do things, and speaking to people on the phone so often is really wiping me out. Don't get me wrong, I'm really glad to have people in my life who love me and want to stay connected (and really glad to be able to have a way to continue my therapy sessions during a time like this), but... I'm so bad at the phone. I was never good at it, and then I worked an entirely phone-based job, and now speaking to anyone who isn't my mother stresses me the hell out. It feels like a really stupid thing to complain about, but there it is.

On to Patrick's birthday shirt, which was part of my winter plan but it seems a bit silly to title things "winter sewing" when it's nearly April.

I had made a pledge that if my second attempt at a shirt worked, I would make a third out of properly fancy fabric. Originally I'd been intending to do this for Christmas last year, but he requested that I make him another hoodie (something he had a slightly more pressing need for) and reschedule the shirt for his 40th. 

I'd assumed this would be a Liberty print shirt, but it is not. We can't decide whether it's Liberty's prints or Patrick's taste that's changed, but we looked for months and couldn't find anything that was right. Eventually I found Storrs Fabric through someone else promoting it on Instagram, and they exclusively make Egyptian cotton lawn in a variety of very Patricky prints. This was the one he was most enthusiastic about, so this was the one I went for. Handily, he then instantly forgot he'd ever seen it, so it was still a surprise on the day! It's the Santorini print, which comes in several other colourways. I almost bought the pink, but happened to see it in person on a trip to Shaukat and the base of that one is a very definite peach that would not look right on a man of this skin tone. 

The Sew Over It Hackney shirt fit Patrick really well last time, so I made the exact same thing again. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but there's something slightly off about the fit at the back. I did notice a couple of his other shirts doing the same thing, though, so it's possibly that he's changed shape recently. 

Knowing that he'd want to wear this for special occasions and thus would want to be able to wear cufflinks with it, I changed the cuffs. The first shirt I made had double cuffs, but the one thing he complained about with that shirt was that the cuffs were too skimpy (rather than the correct answer, "this shirt is very bad and nobody should wear it") so I didn't want to use that pattern piece. I measured the cuffs on some of his pre-existing shirts and concluded that what I needed was the original Hackney cuff doubled in height plus 1cm and squared off at the top. This has worked really well and I'll probably use it on any shirts I might make going forward.

Obviously this shirt hasn't really had an outing yet (he wore it for a celebratory wine drinking session over Zoom on his birthday, if that counts), but overall I'm happy to claim this was pretty successful. The fabric is vibrant and soft, the fit is mostly still there, the double cuffs came out well, and it was much easier to do everything this time round. I've gotten the hang of buttonholes now (as well as button placement, which was a major issue the first time), and my progress on tower plackets from "what the hell is this" to "OK, if I follow these instructions very slowly and carefully I can probably get it" to "well, it's extremely obvious that you just do this and you're done" was actively funny to me. Shirt number four won't be happening for a while, but I'm sure it'll feel like much less of an ordeal when its time comes.

This photo is pretty blurry, and I'm only including it to tell you that this was the day we found out our next door neighbours are dealing with quarantine by getting a GOLDEN RETRIEVER PUPPY and we're furious that someone else has a puppy and we don't. Patrick here is seeing the puppy for the first time and possibly plotting to steal it. 

This is why he's my favourite.

Up next: I'm not sure. I've taken a break from the dress as it's been causing me no end of problems, so I'm trying to find a slightly less annoying project to get things flowing again. Whether I have a finished project or not I will post again on Thursday - I think I still have a couple of things from a while ago I never got around to posting about, and I'm also thinking about doing another round of "what the hell do I make this fabric into". Ideally, though, I'll have made something!

Thursday, 26 March 2020

that time I tried to make a sports bra

Hey! I'm pulling something out of my drafts today as I haven't been able to get photos of Patrick's shirt yet. In my spring plans last year I said I was going to try and make a sports bra, and nothing more was said on the matter. But I DID make the sports bra, and just never posted about it because I couldn't figure out what to say. Now that some time has passed I've been able to reflect on things, and I'm going to try and formulate some thoughts. Bring on the year-old pictures!

I couldn't find much in the way of sports bra patterns, so I went for the one that seemed to be most popular. This is the Greenstyle Creations Power sports bra, which has tons of style options and cup sizes and reviews saying it's amazing for all sizes of bust. I wasn't so sure about that, but was eventually won over by the prospect of getting to make cool strappy things. I NEVER get to make cool strappy things. 

Look! I was such a dork about getting to sew and wear these. The trials of the big-boobed. 

Short review: I really like the shape of this bra, but in this form it does not function as a sports bra. It didn't pass the standard jump test, I didn't dare subject it to the "jump while holding 30kg overhead" test. There are probably things I could do to make it more supportive (power mesh etc., which I fully intended to use for this one but the thing I ordered claiming to be power mesh was literally just a piece of net), but I really do doubt it could ever be enough to see me through a weightlifting session. It's fine for a medium-paced walk, however. 

The pattern, as I said, comes with a ton of options: two different strappy backs, a racerback with or without a keyhole and with or without a pocket, adjustable straps, nursing straps, all sorts of things. It also has a huge range of band sizes and cup sizes A-H. I'm in a 34G, same as my regular bra size, and it's pretty much perfect fit-wise. The fabric is from the activewear fabric bin at Abakhan. 

I really like the straps for this one (they have clear elastic in them and they were really fun to make), but I'm not such a fan of the band. It's a piece of 2-inch wide elastic sewn together, so the whole thing pulls over the head. I don't like this at all and ultimately it's this that will stop me making this pattern again. It's a shame, because I really do like the shape and the straps, and I think it looks really good. When I first made this I was fully gung-ho to experiment with foam cups and power mesh and whatever else to make this work. But after a few attempts at wearing it, I just can't. It's so unwieldy, and every time I put it on or took it off I was terrified it was just going to break. 

What's particularly annoying is that I thought I'd found a use for it. My summer plans last year included the Jalie Gigi bikini, which I never finished as the top just did not work for me in any possible way. Somehow my boobs managed to sag more in that than they do with nothing on at all. But being me, I'd been working very close to the time I was actually going to need it, and with three days to go before holiday I had nothing to wear on the beach. Until I remembered I had this! I whipped up a pair of bikini bottoms (I used the Gigi pattern and they were fine) from the leftovers of this purple, and it was actually really cute. I liked it as a set and was happy to wear it on the beach. If I didn't hate the process of getting it on and off so much this would just be my swimsuit now and I wouldn't have it on this year's to-do list at all. I'm not really sure if there's any way to modify this to include a proper closure, and that is deeply frustrating to me. 

I really don't know whether I can recommend this pattern or not. The shape is nice, the options are nice, it fits well, and when standing still or walking gently it does actually keep everything where it's supposed to be. I imagine that with proper internal support it probably could be a decent sports bra, and it's certainly a nice swimsuit top as is. But the band thing is a dealbreaker for me. I suspect that's a personal thing, and I absolutely wouldn't question all the people saying this works well for them. If I could work out a way to maintain the support from the elastic but not have to awkwardly stretch it over my head, I would make two swimsuits out of it and then embark on a rigorous testing process to get the right amount of support for an actual sports bra. 

I'm going to have another go at getting shirt pictures this weekend, and hopefully that will be up on Monday. If not, I'm certain I have other things in the archives I can post about! My silk dress is in progress but going very slowly as I'm pretty new to working with the fabric. I'm considering throwing in a palate cleanser before I start on the Leather Jacket of Doom, Part Four. 

Mental health wise I had a pretty horrendous start to the week, so yesterday I started prepping a bunch of learning resources that I can do when I'm not feeling able to move off the sofa. I don't necessarily recommend that anyone else start four things at once, but I get really stressed out when I have One Thing To Do and tend to be much more productive when I feel like I've chosen to do something. On Monday I said I was planning for coding, wire wrapping and basic Welsh, and I've bought a class for all of them (I mean, technically "bought a Welsh class" translates to "planning to steal Patrick's Rosetta Stone app", but the end result is the same). I've also done my first online drawing class, which is something I've been thinking about for years. I've always been utterly useless at drawing, to the point that my art teachers literally stopped bothering to teach me anything, and I've always wondered if it was possible to learn to get better at it. So far I've drawn an eye, and it's not terrible! The first class is literally "I'm going to draw an eye and explain what I'm doing, and you're going to copy me" and while my eye looks nothing like his eye, it does look like an eye, so I'm encouraged to keep going. 

Hope everybody is safe and holding together. The offer to hit me up for a chat remains open! 

Power sports bra

Fabric: 0.5m of unspecified activewear fabric from the by-the-kilo bins in Abakhan
Cost: I paid about £12 for just under 2m
Pattern details: Pullover sports bra with multiple back/strap options, mix-and-match sizing 28-46 band and A - H cup sizes
Size: 34G
Alterations: None
Would make again/would recommend: No/Maybe?

Monday, 23 March 2020

spring sewing: Gemma sweatshirt

How's everybody doing? We're on day seven now, still mostly holding it together. Patrick's 40th birthday was yesterday and was obviously a much more subdued affair than we'd planned, but I made a cake for him and we had champagne over Skype with a couple of friends. The working from home is driving him a little crazy (as it seems to be for everyone), so he's voluntarily joined in with my anxiety bullet journalling. I was really sceptical of bullet journals to begin with - it just seemed like an excuse for women with disposable income to buy thousands of slightly different sellotapes - but it's actually working really well for me, both as an aid to my anxiety and my executive function issues.

Now, sewing! Gemma sweater! I've been going back and forth on this one for a long time. I've always thought it was a really cool design and heaven knows we all need a few more patterns that are actually prepared to be vaguely interesting, but I was concerned about the fit. The sweater looked to be super loose and the maxi dress skin tight, neither of which I'm crazy about. I'm not sure I'll ever make the dress, even though I'm actively looking for jersey maxi dresses right now; I can't see a clear way to get a looser fit without removing the shape entirely. But I really wanted the sweater, so I had a go.

This was my first attempt:

It's a little pointless to even show you this. You can't see the detail, but you can see my horrendously bumpy overlocker seams. This was the first non-test I sewed on my new toy, and it was a BAD idea. It just hated this fabric, and this fabric hated it right back. I thought that I was doing something horribly wrong until I tried to sew a bunch of other fabrics and it was all smooth and quick and lovely.

I picked this fabric out of the Abakhan by-the-kilo bin for one reason only: it is the softest thing I have ever touched in my life. It makes me feel like a cartoon angel rolling around on a cloud. I wish it looked different. I haven't worn camo since 1997, when All Saints and combat trousers were the number one trend and camo dresses were the only thing I could get in Mark One (the shop of choice for twelve-year-old me) for the school disco. And even that was purple camo. Which I fully accept is probably worse. The point is, I have never felt the urge to wear this kind of print and this hasn't changed my mind. But I have been wearing this a lot at home, because SO soft. It's also super drapey, which isn't really the right thing for this pattern but has made me want more drapey sweaters.

I didn't make many changes on this one. I swapped the collar out for a neckband (I didn't alter the neckline) and I didn't put the drawstring through the bottom. Hemming it at all took it to a weird length I didn't like, so I haven't. I can deal with the camo better when it's a long, slouchy sort of thing.

When I sat down to write my plan, this was the only version I had in mind. As I was writing about the weird camo, a little voice in my head suddenly said "but a black version with leather contrast tho" and I got very excited. Excited enough that I didn't really care when the first version came out a quasi-failure.

I am so pleased with this. It's exactly what I pictured when the idea hit me. Textural contrast is not one of the things I'm good at, so I'm extra happy that I thought of this and that it's worked so well. 

I got the leather from the jacket I was cutting out (I cut out my contrast at the same time, and I'm glad I did because I don't think I'd ever have squeezed it out of the scraps otherwise) and then spent some time mulling over black sweatshirting. I eventually went for the Stoff & Stil French terry, which I've used before and really liked. It has very low stretch and a very soft wrong side, which makes for a great cosy sweatshirt.

(Please excuse the random mish-mash of photos from two different days. I'm not really sleeping at the moment and it's been tough to get any pictures at all where I don't look either despondent or murderous. If things don't improve I may well end up making some sort of Venetian mask and wearing that for all my photos.)

I really wanted to make sure the leather pieces lined up properly, so I basted each seam before overlocking. The point of the triangle was slightly off on my first attempt, which you can't really see on that one but would be glaringly obvious here. I'm glad I did, because I haven't done much of this kind of diagonal panel sewing and my understanding of how the pieces needed to line up at the seam in order to sit properly was extremely wrong the first time I tried it. 

Both this and the previous version are the same size, a straight 44. I almost sized down for this one because I really didn't want it to be that oversized-looking, but thanks to the much stiffer fabric it looks much more fitted. I knew I wasn't going to want the drawstring hem so I didn't grade out for my hips the way I normally would. It's more obvious on this second version that I should have sized down in the shoulders, but I don't think it's that big a deal for a garment like this. 

For version one I sewed the elasticated cuffs as directed in the pattern, but for this one I replaced them with simple ribbed cuffs. I quite like the way the cuffs look on the first one, but a lot of what I like about them is the drape they create at the wrists, which this fabric was not going to be able to recreate. Also I wanted to make the neckband out of ribbing and thought it would look more balanced if I had the same fabric at the cuffs. The hem is a normal overlock-turn-and-stitch job. 

I will absolutely make this pattern again, I think it's great. I'll probably wait until I get another good idea for the contrast, or I work out how to turn the maxi dress into something that would fit me the way I like. Something I'd quite like to do is hack it into a hoodie, and maybe see if I can draft a front kangaroo-type pocket that fits in with the rest of the panelling. 

Up next on Thursday will probably be Patrick's fancy birthday shirt, assuming I can persuade him to be photographed. I'm hoping to get the silk dress finished this week and at least make some kind of start on the first leather jacket of doom, but I'm also trying not to only sew in case I burn out and it's not fun anymore. I would love recommendations for good how-to YouTube channels - I'm almost not bothered what I'm learning as long as it's taught well. Currently I have three things on my To Learn list: wire wrapping, Python, and basic Welsh. How useful will any of these things be? Who knows. 

Named Clothing Gemma sweatshirt

Fabric: Light sweater knit from Abakhan // French terry from Stoff & Stil
Cost: £4 // £15
Pattern details: Loose-fitting sweater with contrast panels, funnel neck, elastic cuffs and drawstring waist. Also a tight fitting maxi dress with back vent
Size: 44
Alterations: Swapped funnel neck for standard neckband, left off drawstring waist, cuffs changed on version two
Would make again/would recommend: Yes/Yes

Thursday, 19 March 2020

spring sewing: DR305 batwing dress

Two posts in a week! I very rarely do this anymore, but while everyone's stuck indoors I thought it might be worthwhile. I need things to occupy myself with and other people need non-terrifying things to read. I'm trying to see how far through my stash I can get over the next few weeks, and if that goes well I should have a decent amount of stuff to share with you. Especially since, as it turns out, overlockers are really fast. 

The other week I had had a very productive sewing day, in which I had finished two tops and made three pairs of leggings, and was sitting on the sofa after dinner while my boyfriend was in the bath, idly planning what I needed to do tomorrow. I opened up the instructions for the Kommatia Patterns DR305 (already cut out and waiting), saw there were literally four bullet points, and thought "I might as well just do that now."

Twenty minutes later, my boyfriend got out of the bath to find me holding a finished dress.

LOOK. I used the stupid sweater knit!

I was one hundred per cent convinced I was going to hate this dress. I thought the style would be unflattering, that the print would look stupid, that I would deposit it immediately into the bin having seen how I looked in it. And... I do not hate it. I don't love it either; I can't imagine where I would wear this and it's not really my style. Also I seriously messed up the neckband. But I will wear this at home and be happy to answer the door in it. I think there's something oddly charming about it.

Pattern placement was a tricky one. My body is simply not wide enough to fit both large centrepiece poppies on (few bodies would be), so I tried different things on the front and back. On the back I centred what I think is the "main" flower with the stamens, but I didn't want to do that on the front in case it a) did weird stretchy things across the boobs and b) looked like I was just a fan of this particular poppy and had gone and bought its merch. I set it off-centre instead, which was a better idea but I think could have done with being shifted slightly. It doesn't bother me hugely though. 

This is not how the dress is supposed to fit. I cut an XL in the top half and invented some new sizes below the waist. I absolutely made the hips bigger than they should be proportionally to the top half, but this way I will actually wear it. It's also one of those dresses that uses the same pattern piece for the front and back, so I slashed into it to give me about an inch of extra room at the bust. I also added two inches to the length and I was very grateful for it.

I was encouraged enough by the result (and the speed!) to cut into something I've been holding onto for quite a while.

This is a super-soft piece of sweater knit I got in the Abakhan by-the-kilo bin ages ago, and I could never quite work out what to do with it. I didn't want to give it a waist seam and cut into the print, I didn't think it would work as a form-fitting dress, and I rarely if ever wear loose-fitting clothes. When I realised that this dress pattern would let a print sit fairly undisrupted, I decided to forge ahead and get the fabric into my wardrobe.

This isn't exactly what I wanted it to be. Mostly because the fabric, which I thought would be pretty well-behaved, became a horrible clingy nightmare when I put it on. This dress is the same length as the previous one, but because it's so clingy it looks several inches shorter. I don't have a picture of the back because there was an unfortunate hungry-bum issue in the photos I took and I decided to spare you that particular sight. 

I do think the style of dress works well for the fabric, and I'd really like it if it wasn't for the clingy/extra short thing. I'm almost tempted to try wearing it with leggings, which is a thing I never ever do but after sitting on this fabric for so long I'd hate for it to go to waste. I'll give it a try over the next couple of weeks, while nobody can see me (other than Patrick, who has seen me in far worse states than this) and see if it's comfortable. If it is, I'll have a go at wearing it outside once that's a thing I'm allowed to do again. 

I'm reserving judgement on whether I'll make this again. I think the style is nice and it's an excellent super-fast project, but if I don't wear either of these out of the house then I'm unlikely to decide to make a third. I hope I do; it's great to be able to make an entire dress with 1.5m of fabric and I think I'd be more likely to treat myself to nicer fabric if I didn't have to budget for so much of it. I'll report back in a few months' time!

Up next will most likely be my Gemma sweatshirts, and I'll try to keep up a twice-a-week posting schedule until I'm out of quarantine. I'm asthmatic, so it might be longer for me than for others, but I'm really not sure yet. 

I also want to say (mainly to my fellow GAD sufferers, but also to anyone) that this is an absolutely rubbish time for those of us with spiralling brains, and I'm officially making myself available for mutual support. If anyone needs to be distracted, wants to set some kind of daily challenge or join in with my photography one, or just would like to type AAAAAGGGGHHHH at someone and have them type AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH back, message me on Instagram @the_slapdash or email me (address on the Contact page at the top). We can do this. 

Kommatia Patterns (Studio Calicot) DR305 batwing dress

Fabric: Sweater knit from Walthamstow Market // sweater knit from Abakhan
Cost: £4 // £6
Pattern details: Very simple short batwing dress with raglan sleeves
Size: XL, graded up further at the hip
Alterations: Made proportionally larger in the hip than intended, extra fabric added to centre front, two inches added to length
Would make again/would recommend: Maybe/Yes

Monday, 16 March 2020

spring sewing: McCalls 8003

So... this is fun times, isn't it. I've actually been doing fairly well this month, health-wise; I found a couple of systems that seem to be working really well for me and I managed to get back to the gym to take classes with a new instructor, rearrange my eating habits to make slightly more sense, and stay on top of my mental processes enough to actually get things done. So obviously this is the time the world breaks and I have to start prepping to stay inside for weeks (the thing I've been doing by default for the past several years). I want to keep the brainweasels away, so I'm thinking I might try and learn to code or something. And of course, I want to sew. I've actually got a fair bit done over this past week or so, and I'm going to start with one of the first things I made on my new overlocker.

Knit tops with a bit of interest to them are something I always need (I can find no evidence that I've ever come across a woven top I want to wear) and they're not quite as common as I'd like them to be. I'd been looking at McCalls 8003 for a while, and my main concern was that the boob window would be incompatible with my oversized bust and would end up looking indecent. But then there was a sale, and I decided to give it a go with this grey jersey I'd never found the right partner pattern for.

(I got a haircut! I didn't like it on the day because she flattened the absolute shit out of it, but after I washed it myself and styled it to keep a bit of volume in, it's the nicest cut I've had for a while.)

Anyway, it turns out that the boob window doesn't actually interact with the boobs at all, it sits quite high on the upper chest. So there aren't any decency issues. However, this is not what I had assumed when I was cutting out, and as a result the upper piece is very loose on me, as you can no doubt see. I managed to alter things a little and it's settled down a bit after a couple of wears, but I haven't been able to correct it entirely as the extra fabric really needed to come out of the centre front. I also think things are being pulled slightly out of whack by the sleeves - I never normally adjust for my biceps in jersey but this one has surprisingly little stretch given its composition and I could have done with a tiny bit more room. I think this too will correct itself a bit over time as the jersey is forced to deal with me flexing every time I notice a tiny bit more bicep definition. (I promise I don't do this where anyone else can see me, I know how annoying it is!)

The neckline on the pattern is an extremely tight jewel, and I literally couldn't get the neckband over my head. Admittedly I would have scooped it out a bit more even without the neckband issue - I think design-wise the very high neck is the right thing for the pattern, but I never like the look on me. So I hacked at it a bit and made a longer (and thinner! Why are so many neckbands stupidly wide?) band to make it a bit more flattering.

Having got two tops, three pairs of leggings and a dress made in two days with the help of my new friend the overlocker, I was inspired to keep going.

I bought this fabric from Like Sew Amazing last year, and as soon as it arrived I realised my mistake. It's not the fabric's fault - it's very nice. But I'd bought it to make a cropped sweater, and over the years I've realised I just need to stop doing that. I've made so many, and I wear exactly two of them. They're both short-sleeved and black, one plain and one large-scale floral. There are a couple of others I used to wear a lot before the fabric gave out/I realised were slightly too see-through for comfort, but so many of the "oh, I have a metre of fabric, I'll make a cropped sweater" versions just never see the light of day. For me, this style of top is an assistant, not a statement, and there's no point in making eye-catching ones because I'm never going to base an outfit around it. I almost cut into this anyway just to get it out of the stash, but managed to exercise enough wisdom to hold off.

For this version I took approximately 1cm out of the upper front piece at the fold line, and after basting and trying it on I also took 1cm off the long edge. I also added a small FBA to the lower front piece, and these two adjustments combined gave me a much better fit. For the neckline I scooped it out from the get-go and did my own thing with the neck binding.

What I did not do, in a very surprising move for me, was crop it. I fully assumed I was going to. But I pinned it up to try it on and get the right length and didn't like it at all. The proportion looked really strange. So I hemmed it as it was. I do not wear longer tops under any non-gym circumstances (I have one that I really like but it doesn't go with much), so this is a bit of an experiment to see if it will actually get worn. If not, I'll bring it back to the machine and rethink.

I'm also wearing some of the Jalie Clara leggings from my winter plan here. I made two pairs of full-length leggings and two pairs of shorts, which was enough work that I really wanted to give them their own post, but I just cannot write anything worth reading about several pairs of black leggings from a pattern I've already reviewed. So they're here, I've finished them, I've worn them to weightlifting classes and they've done me very well. The fabric is Italian matt lycra from Fabworks, which was recommended to me by a commenter, and it's really great. Nice black, exactly the right amount of stretch, and good recovery. Win!

I would absolutely make this top again. It's not something I'd want to have twelve of, but I do like to have this kind of thing available to me when I want to look like I've made slightly more effort to get dressed than I actually have. It'll be really good for spring and autumn, I think.

Up next: depending on what I get photographed, it'll either be the Gemma sweatshirts, Patrick's fancy shirt, or my poppy print batwing dress test. I've been struggling to take photos lately because body image stuff, but I'm hoping to get round that by using the camera more in general. There's almost certainly a self-quarantine photography challenge that already exists, and I'm going to try and do that in the hopes of forcing myself to be a bit more creative. I promise not to get too abstract with my project photos!

McCalls 8003 top

Fabric: Grey viscose jersey from Rolls and Rems // Stripy sweater knit from Like Sew Amazing
Cost: £7.50 // £15
Pattern details: Jersey top or bodysuit with keyhole detail, length and neckline options
Size: 14 at shoulders, grading to 20 at hips
Alterations: (for second version) 1/2 inch FBA, 1/2 inch taken out of upper front piece, neckline scooped, neckband redrafted
Would make again/would recommend: Yes/Yes with caveat to baste fit first

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

sewing plans: spring 2020

Spring! My least favourite season to sew for! I've been trying to fix this for years and I'm no closer to understanding what Spring Jen looks like. Also my failure rate is always much higher in spring regardless of how carefully I plan. So I'm going to take a different approach this year: focus my seasonal plan on stashbusting, and spend the next three months quietly stealing ideas from people so that I have a better chance of success with my spring plan next year.

Me next spring, maybe.

My intention is to not buy very much for this season. I'm not going no-buy or anything (I deeply envy people who can do things like this but I have never successfully given up anything in my entire life. Working to establish a healthier relationship with, yes. Cutting out entirely, nope) but I don't want to acquire more than 25% of what I get rid of. Everything on this plan is for fabric I already own, and if I can get it all done then that's 20-25m out of the stash.

On to spring!


Trying the godforsaken black leather jacket again

I need this stupid jacket. The idea of wrestling with fake leather for a fourth time is filling me with dread but I a) actively need this specific thing and b) am determined not to let this defeat me. I'm not going back to the Burda pattern, so what I want to do is attempt to mash together two other patterns. I have a Kwik Sew pattern which is the exact style I'm after, but it's unlined and I think too long. A few weeks ago I bought a McCalls cosplay pattern which doesn't quite have the collar/asymmetric zip front I want, but it does have a lining, a shorter length, and most excitingly of all, cup sizes. There is a very real chance that my first attempt at this will go wrong and I will be trying to find more black faux leather (the place I bought it from suddenly shut down), but I'm hoping it will give me enough of an idea of what I need to change in order to make...

A petrol blue biker jacket

This is a Minerva project this month. Hopefully after I've made the black one I will know exactly how I want to go about it. I have more of this fabric than I need, so my intention is to use it for both the jacket and the main fabric of my Portside travel set. Yes, I am planning two biker jackets in three months. No, that's probably not the best idea for a season I already struggle with. Please pray for me.

A bomber or other light jacket

Literally everyone I've asked about my terracotta wool twill has said, "No, it needs to be a jacket, you were right the first time", so I'm planning for three jackets this season. I'm not sure what pattern I want to use here; I'd hoped that the Amelia would be the one but it's clearly not, and the other two patterns I use and like (the Lupin and the Kommatia J005) aren't quite right for this fabric. This might be another mash-up situation. Honestly three jacket projects in three months is a terrible idea, but I really want this Walthamstow fabric out of my stash.


A wrap skirt

The white/navy/black viscose twill is becoming a wrap skirt this year. I still haven't found a wrap skirt pattern that seems right and I'm this close to frustrating myself further by trying to make one myself. I'm considering trying the CCP Fiore and the DP Studio 4001, but neither of them are exactly what I have in mind. We shall see.

A denim skirt remake

I made a Cashmerette Ellis skirt last year and the denim was actively terrible. It somehow managed to fray through the flat fells. I do like the skirt, though, and I've missed having it available to me, so I want to have another go with some slightly more well-behaved fabric. I also made a resolution to get a grip on decorative topstitching this year, so I'm going to do that this time too.


A pair of trousers from my personal block

My trouser-making class went a lot better than my bodice-making class, so I'm actually inspired to try and use the block. (For my proper class review I will attempt to use the bodice block too.) I'm not going to do too much to it for my first go, just draft a waistband or facing of some kind and decide where to put the zip.


A test run of M8003

I've always wondered if I could get one of those boob-window tops to work for me, so I'm going to have a go. The first run is going to be a dark grey viscose jersey that I keep not using because the items I want in that colour won't work in that type of fabric. A few months ago I hit on something that would work for both, then very stubbornly refused to acknowledge for months that I don't actually want to make or wear that thing. So I'm going to use it for this and get it out of the way.

A sweatshirt

Two sweatshirts, hopefully. The Named Gemma sweatshirt has been calling my name for some time and it's time to try it out. I expect I'm going to need to tweak a few things to get exactly what I want from it (definitely the neckline and waist finishing, also possibly the fit), so my first version is going to be a loungewear one made from a piece of questionable camo sweater knit I got from Abakhan based entirely off of how soft it was. Once I know what I'm working with, I want to make a black version using leftover scraps of black leather from my jacket as the contrast.


A lined silk dress

I just want the multicoloured silk to be something at this point, so I'm going to make a lined Anna dress as I said originally. I've got a few weddings coming up this year so it'll be useful to have a dress in reserve. I'm not sure if I have suitable lining, so that might be the one thing I need to buy for this plan.

A batwing dress

There are a couple of fabrics I've been holding onto for ages because I know they want to be drapey dresses and I just can't imagine that such a thing would suit me. But as I'm at my wits' end trying to work out what to do with the stupid poppy fabric, I'm going to have a go and see what happens. I have a few optimistically purchased batwing patterns in my stash (and also a couple that I'm certain I never would have bought but there they are nevertheless), and I think I'm going to try Kommatia DR305. There is a VERY high chance that the end result will be too horrific for me to share publicly, but it's one of those things I gotta try.

Most of my planned projects this time are reasonably simple, once we get out of the jackets section. Patrick surprised me with an actually functioning overlocker for my birthday, so if I can get to grips with that it should speed everything up even more. I'm hoping this will give me time to finish up some of the things I didn't do from my last plan; the leggings and shirt are underway  and I want to use leftovers from one of my jackets to make the bag set. I'm not planning to do the fancy pyjamas anymore because my tests didn't work - I don't think there's anything wrong with the actual pattern, but it's not right for my shape or my style of lounging. Eventually I want to repurpose that fabric for another piece of swanky loungewear, but not during this set of plans.

I'm currently working on several things at once so I'm not entirely sure what will be up next. I still have a few things I haven't taken pictures for; I made Patrick two hoodies for Christmas but he's not been well enough for me to photograph him in them. It's his birthday in a few weeks and we're having an "everyone dresses as Patrick" party, so what you may end up getting is me wearing the hoodies in a long wig and fake beard. I promise to warn you in advance.