Monday 31 August 2020

sewing plan: autumn 2020

Given that I basically went splat for the entirety of the summer, my hit rate for my last plan actually wasn't all that bad. I managed to make everything on my August plan PLUS a hilarious comedy top that makes me look like every single Spice Girl at once (oh, it's coming). I've carried over a couple of my original plans to this one now that I think I'm in a better place to get them done.

My main priority this autumn is trousers. Three of the pairs I currently own have simultaneously decided to bag out weirdly at the top of the thigh (why? I cannot work it out) and that cuts out a full half of them. I'm going to plan for four different patterns and may well try a fifth if I have the time. I want to reach December having multiple pairs of trousers I'm happy to wear on a day-to-day basis. Everything else on my list this time is an experiment, a "cool if it works" sort of thing.

As a bonus, if I manage to get the stashbusting parts of this plan done, that will leave me with only four outstanding pieces of fabric from my original resolution to get rid of everything pre-2020 in my stash. And one of those is a piece of swimwear fabric, which... extenuating circumstances are granting me a year's grace on using that one up.

Here's what I'm thinking:


A pair of jogger/trouser hybrids

As I said last month, this is the only thing I actually need right now. The world may have partially reopened but I'm still at home more often than not, and it would be useful to me to have lounge trousers that I knew I could plausibly run to the shops in if need be. I haven't decided what pattern I'm going to use yet - I'm weighing up whether or not my favourite pyjama patterns will look presentable enough in black ponte to pass for proper trousers.

Wrap trousers

I'm going to use the piece of blue chambray that showed up not quite the right colour to try out the Named Astrid trousers. They will either be my favourite trousers of all time or they will fill me with loathing and disgust, there is no in between.

Esther trousers

On my triumphant return to Walthamstow I bought a piece of navy wool-mix crepe, and I think it's going to become another pair of Victory Patterns Esther trousers. I get a surprising amount of use out of my last pair, considering they're bright green, and a pair of navy ones that could be more easily mixed and matched with colours (I maintain that more things go with navy than go with black) would be really useful right about now.

A test run from my trouser block

I said I'd do this back in spring and then never got round to it, so I'm trying again. I'm not actually sure what fabric I'm using for this as I'm running very low on stuff without a plan attached to it already, but ideally the next time I go fabric shopping I'll find something cheap and buy enough of it for two pairs so that I can make one pair as is with just an added waistband and then alter the second pair based on how the first pair sits.


A cocktail dress toile

I want to try out the Named Kaste dress, but as it's quite fitted and I'm not that familiar with their woven block yet I'm not expecting great things for the first attempt. As with my trouser block, I don't have fabric for this yet and would quite like to pick up enough for two versions so I have the opportunity to alter the shit out of it if I don't like it.

A maxi skirt toile

I'm finally going to use up that green sponge crepe, and I'm going to make a toile of the Deer and Doe Fumeterre (a pattern I've gone back and forth on numerous times in the past four years). If I like the way it looks, I'll make a proper version from my super-expensive barkcloth.

Another go at the stupid jacket WHY

I am carrying this over from my summer plan because I am an idiot. I am going to do a very basic, bare-bones toile of the Nicole Miller cropped biker jacket using a piece of pink, blue and gold fabric with butterflies on it that's been in my stash since 2016. I decided years ago I was never going to use it and it's been the lining of my fabric box ever since. But I did say I wanted to get rid of anything pre-2020, so I'm going to use it for this. Pray for me.

Cowl neck dress, round two

Last month I altered my Named Ruska pattern to have a cowl neck, made the dress, and it doesn't look quite the way I'd wanted. The cowl is incredibly skimpy and barely looks like a cowl at all. I think I need to go back to the pattern and both widen the neckline and lengthen the cowl itself. I'm going to use the white and grey sweater knit remnant in my stash for this - it's been there long enough that I can't be precious about it anymore, and it's not as if I don't still have a whole dress in that fabric.

A Hepburn top

So ordinarily I wouldn't consider spending £14 on a knit top pattern, but the fact remains that most of the tops I wear are That One Cropped Sweater from the second Gertie book. I've tried other things on similar lines, and I always end up going back. A similar draft plus a wide variety of cup sizes might get me to the black ponte dolman T-shirt of my dreams.


A slip dress

This is kind of a toile and kind of not, because I am taking the risk of planning to cut into my green silk. I've been quite precious about it because it belonged to my friend's late mother, but I do think it should be something. The conclusion I've come to is that it's not quite the right green for a general-purpose fancy dress, but it would be a nice weight for a slip-style nightdress. I used to wear those to bed all the time in my early 20s and I still love the idea, but I've always been a bit intimidated by the idea of making my own. I'd love any recommendations for a slip dress pattern designed for a bigger bust.

This needs to be something

I bought this linen mix fabric the other week and now I need to work out what to do with it. I bought five metres thinking I was going to try the new CCP Elodie, but the more I think about it the more it seems a bit rash to make a giant summer maxi dress in September. I put that up for a vote on my Instagram (versus using it to make two smaller pieces) and Team Maxi Dress was winning right up until a few hours before the end, when Team Two Pieces woke up and left me with an end result that was almost 50-50. Plus my mother, who wrote in a third option I didn't ask about. Love you, Mum. I think I'm leaning more towards a shorter dress and one other piece, but whether that dress is a shorter version of the Elodie remains to be seen.

This is a LOT, and I don't for a moment expect to get through all of it. My priorities are the fake trousers, one other successful pair of trousers, the maxi skirt and the stupid jacket toile. Whatever else happens, great. I'm going to attempt to continue daily sewing into September and see how that works for me.

Autumn is going to be hard work. There will almost certainly be an increase in Covid-related restrictions, our house buying isn't going as smoothly as I'd hoped, I possibly need a new diagnosis, the American elections are terrifying and we're barrelling head first into fascism. Over the past couple of months I've been trying to eliminate petty hate-clicking and and all websites that compel me to do it so that I have enough mental real estate for police brutality and TERFs and writing letters for my MP to ignore (sigh, I was so hopeful). I still haven't worked out what to do about Twitter because that's the most plentiful source for all of the above. In short, the likelihood of my dropping out for a month at a time again is fairly high, and I want to set realistic expectations for myself.

Up next: Jen Is Every Single Spice Girl At Once!


  1. Just a thought - I lift weights and I know you do too (not sure about frequency but I know you mentioned it/posted a few photos of you lifting). If you're good about doing certain exercises, your leg shape does change - I saw the most change in my thighs, and that might be the root cause of your trousers not fitting right all of a sudden. Maybe? Not sure, but I do know that exercising can change my shape in unexpected ways!

    1. That's a very good point and you might be right! I tend not to think of my thighs changing shape because they've always been disproportionately large, but I do have quads now that I didn't have a couple of years ago...

  2. I can't wait to see how the trousers come out- I've been debating the faux jumpsuit 2-piece look and have been trying to decide between (hopefully comfortable) woven jogger patterns. Had just about decided on Named Alexandria Peg trousers, but then True Bias Emerson pants also looked interesting (although a totally different shape!) Are you thinking more a pattern for knits though?
    For a slip dress, perhaps the Cashmerette Webster Dress? the straps could perhaps be changed if you wanted separate/skinnier strap pieces, but I've heard they have a good starting block for bigger busts.

    1. The fabric I have for my fake trousers is a stable/low-stretch knit, but I'm also considering patterns for wovens! I'm more interested in the shape of the pattern than the recommended fabric. I've made the Webster before, a few years ago, and to I'd have to more or less redraft it to get what I'm going for - it's more of a faced sleeveless tank bodice than a slip!