Wednesday 17 April 2013

Me-Made-May'13 - Sign me up!

It's that time of year again... Spring is (supposed to be) springing, birds are singing and sewists all over the world are frantically panic sewing in the hopes of expanding their "me-made" wardrobes in time for Zoe's annual self-stitched challenge, Me-Made-May.

The idea, if you're not already familiar, is that we pledge to wear at least one handmade or refashioned piece of clothing each day for the month of May. For me, the reasons to take part in these challenges are threefold: 1, it's a specific chance to celebrate and show off what I've made/see where the gaps in my me-made wardrobe are and what I've clearly been avoiding making. 2, with every challenge and indeed item of clothing I make, I am reminded of how little I spend and how little demand I create for new clothes and fast fashion, with the aim to reduce my consumption further. 3, although I could (and mostly do) apply reasons 1 & 2 to my every day life regardless of this challenge, I love the community aspect, and the support and collective inspiration that comes with seeing hundreds of people worldwide get involved. So, my pledge:

'I, Elisalex of By Hand London and Stitch me Softly, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear one item of me-made or refashioned clothing at the very least, each day for the duration of May 2013'

This is the third time I've taken part in Zoe's challenges, and for the last one I rather ambitiously pledged to wear at least two items of me-mades... I did it, but suffice to say that there were many repeats, and I got pretty sick of quite a few items! So I've gone back to pledging just the one! And if I manage more, which shouldn't be hard seeing as I have a significantly more extensive me-made wardrobe another year on, well then that'll just be a bonus.

One thing I did find hard last time was the photographing and documenting my outfits each day and consistently writing it up throughout the month. So, instead, I think I'll just do my best to Instagram daily @elisalex (using the official hashtag #MMMay13) and then do a little round-up post at the end.

So who else is getting involved??

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Scouting for Spring

Let me begin by saying, poo to [most] shop bought clothes. What I can make for myself is so much better.

photos by Richard Round Turner

Let me go on by saying that the only reason these photos look all professional and posed is because they are professional and posed - we had the official shoot for our new collection of sewing patterns at By Hand HQ a couple of weekends ago, so I took full advantage and jumped right in while the girls were doing their make-up to get a couple of decent shots to submit for something I won't mention just yet (and won't mention at all if it comes to nothing!).

What I really want to talk about here is my new Scout Woven Tee by Grainline Studio. As far as other indie pattern designers go, Jen is up there with my favourites and my bestests. No one does polished casual classics like she does, in my humble opinion. Have you seen the Archer shirt?? Nothing short of perfection. I bought and printed that pattern within minutes of it having gone live.

So. You'll notice right away that this is not a straight up Scout. I made it from a beautiful, but huge, man's shirt I picked up from Traid for less than a fiver and had taken apart at the seams. I wish you could have a feel of the fabric yourself - the softest cotton lawn - the kind that only gets better with wear, and wear is what you get when you go second hand. I cut the front in two pieces with the already existing button placket as my centre front, and added a little collar to keep to the shirt theme. In the end I actually stitched the placket shut to avoid it flapping open at the bottom. I am deeply in love with this pattern. Perfect in its simplicity, wearability and adaptability. 

The timing of this make was, at the time, so perfect. Skies blue, trees beginning to blossom, sun shining and birds singing... but it wasn't to last. Having had the promise of Spring dangled in front of us so teasingly last week, only to be snatched back and force fed another helping of snow instead, I'll be wearing this top under a good few layers until further notice. In the meantime, I already have another Scout in the cutting and various metres awaiting the same treatment, as well as big plans for the Archer. Roll on Spring!

(In the photos above I am wearing: Scout Woven Tee; Charlotte Skirt; vintage shoes; Sonya Kashmiri bag)

Tuesday 12 March 2013

The Refashioners 2013

I could hardly believe my eyes when I got an email from Portia, aka Miss P, a few weeks ago asking if I'd like to be a part of this year's The Refashioners! Sewing blog buffs among you already know exactly what I'm talking about, but for those of you who don't - this year will see the second series of The Refashioners, in which Portia sends mystery (and generally pretty dodgy) thrifted garments out to a handful of bloggers for them to refashion/customise/repurpose/remake altogether into something not just wearable, but desirable.

Not only can I not wait to see what I've been sent to refashion, but I'm also feeling pretty damn proud right about now to have been placed among such prestigious blogging company. The other girls taking part are all huge inspirations and I'm almost more excited to see what they come up with than I am to take part myself! Almost, I said! Just lay your peepers on the line-up -

Zoe - So Zo...
Dixie - Dixie DIY
Lauren - Lladybird
Tasha - By Gum By Golly
and me

There's not much I enjoy more than a good challenge... if it's more than I can chew, I'll take me a big bite! Portia, do your worst!! x

Saturday 23 February 2013

DIY tile coasters

I have a bit of an obsession with tiles. Especially Islamic, Art Nouveau & Mexican tiles. A bit like my obsession with fabric I suppose: I would (and do) hang fabrics on my walls as if they were works of art. And since tiling most of my kitchen a la Mejicana, I thought it only fitting to put the leftover tiles to good use. It's like I always say - a beautiful dress should always have a matching cushion case. In this case, a tiled kitchen should have its matching coasters. Here's how:
Get some tiles. Get some felt. Get some glue (I like UHU).
Cut felt to match tile.
Stick felt to bottom of tile using glue.
Now make a dress and use leftover fabric to make a cushion cover.
Result: you're at my house.

Friday 22 February 2013

Gifts that keep on giving...

It was one of those truly touching moments back in June when I received a squishy parcel in the post containing a generous metrage of a certain Aztec cotton jersey from a certain generous with a capital G fellow blogger friend - yup, none other than Marie of A Stitching Odyssey. Wanting to make the most of the beautiful print, I immediately made up a floor sweeping 1/4 circle skirt. I still had a little leftover which went back into my stash with modest hopes of one day becoming either a top along the Renfrew or Dixie lines, or simply another breezy mini skater skirt or something... But apparently the Stitch Fairy had other plans - and somehow I managed to get a whole dress out of little over a metre! And I still have leftovers!!?!! Marie... what did you send me? The fabric that never ends??? BLESS YOU.

If you follow me on Instagram @elisalex you will have already seen this picture of me freezing half to death...

The dress is just another variation on a very simple self drafted bodice - previously made up with a dipped hem skirt, 1/4 circle maxiskirt which was later re-made mini due to some unfortunate machine inflicted shrinkage - and this time with a straightish miniskirt that kind of goes up at the side seams a bit like a mannish shirt... What's that even called?? I feel like it's on the tip of my tongue here... 

I actually made this dress way back in December, along with a fair few other as of yet unblogged makes. I'll get to it eventually, I promise! But I'm afraid the By Hand Blog comes first - especially with exciting things like sewalongs and new patterns coming soon...!

It's only now looking at these pictures that I've noticed the stripe matching at the side seams - not at all perfect by any means - but pretty good considering it wasn't even done consciously. I'm sure this isn't the last we'll see of the Aztec jersey. In fact, I don't think I'd be alone here in guessing that Marie is actually, and not so secretly, the Stitch Fairy herself!!! 

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Better late than never: my first (Disco) Renfrew!

I've had this pattern for a long time. Probably even since Tasia first released it. I had just finished my Minoru jacket and was definitely sold on the wearability of Sewaholic patterns. Within the first hour of receiving my Renfrew in the post I had already traced and cut all my pattern pieces (ok fine, I did no such thing. I cut that tissue paper right outta the packet. I try to be more of a perfectionist these days). But at the time I didn't have any decent jersey in my stash, so I slightly ran out of keen steam and instead settled for salivating over everyone else's versions of the Renfrew Top that kept cropping up in my reader. Seriously, there was a month or so where I don't think anyone blogged about anything else! Renfrews that stick out in my memory have to be Andrea's Renfrew cardi (definitely need to try that), Marie's flamingo print numberLladybird's many monochrome's and Joanne's adorable maternity Renfrew.

So, with my PMS sewing list in mind, I have been sure to keep a sneaky eye on the lookout for worthy knits whilst fabric shopping. I've acquired some stripey knits, the odd metre of a block colour here and there, and they will definitely all get Renfrewed at some point soon. But - then I met this muted gold viscose jersey, and immediately I envisioned the Disco 'Frew. A fabric such as this requires appropriate treatment, after all. 

The adding of the peplum could not have been easier; it's just a super short circle skirt (always having to refer back to our circle skirt maths tutorial of course) seamed to the waistline of the bodice and reinforced with elastic, which also cinches the waistline perfectly. The seam itself isn't so pretty from the right side, but that's easily remedied with a belt. As for the hem, I used the same vintage Tyrolean tape I used for the shoulder seams (such a pretty detail!) stitched over the turned in hem. I'd actually never thought to do this before when hemming a knit fabric, but it worked so well, and adds a bit of welcome extra weight. Fit-wise, I cut a size 4 (UK 8) and ended up taking about half an inch out of the side seams, and I had to shave a good inch from the sleeves to make them a slimmer fit. Looking at these pictures now, they could probably do with another half inch or so taken out to smooth those crinkles, and a good inch off the sleeve length! Which reminds me, the sleeves on my Minoru jacket are too long too... Something to remember: my arms are shorter than Sewaholic patterns suggest!

I am definitely planning more of these, most likely more casual, less blog-worthy versions. There will be stripes, block colours and long sleeves aplenty. I doubt I'll go for the cowl neck variation, not really my thing, but you never know; give me a couple of metres of some supersoft thermal knit and I could be swayed. You'll see it here first.

Sunday 20 January 2013

What the f*** is that in your freezer??!?

In my freezer you'll find the basic essentials of life (bear in mind this is just my little fridge freezer; I also have a pretty serious industrial freezer big enough to hide a pair of bodies that I found on the side of the road that is host to a many more exciting frozen goods... no bodies though):

Fish fingers. Obviously.

Lots of ice-cream. Of both the Italian and dairy-free varieties.

Black Cow vodka. Seriously good stuff. Made by a friend of mine in Dorset, this is the world's first vodka made from pure milk. Seriously good stuff.

A sandwich bag full of crochet granny squares. Whaaaaaat?! 

Truth is, I got moths.

I started crocheting these squares in the Summer, using my many, many random balls of DK yarn with which I don't yet have the patience to knit something real, but always seem to buy from sale bins or discontinued stock. A technicolour granny square blanket along these lines seemed the obvious fate for those poor lonesome yarns. 

After a slowish start, I really got into the swing of things as Autumn turned to Winter when I was given a beautiful yarn basket from a beautiful friend for my birthday. I knew immediately that that would be the official granny square blanket basket. So things were going great... and then I went away after Christmas for a couple of weeks... the moths saw their opportunity, moved in and got busy.

Anyone who knits/sews/owns cashmere will know that it's not the fully grown moths that chomp away on your best woollens, but in fact their larvae. Their pesky, greedy, good for nothing offspring. Killing moths as and when you see them is obviously a good preventative (extreme moth contraception), but what you really want to do is actually stop them f***ing in your stash. This time I was too late. When you find those white wispy strands of moth larvae the only thing for it is to get that shit in the freezer. That's the only way to kill them.

I have not been put off by this little hurdle however, and I am full steam ahead with operation Technicolour Granny Blanket Stash-Bust and hope to have all 432 - yes, four hundred and thirty-two - squares done and joined for next Winter. In the meantime, as a precautionary measure, each square I complete is immediately relocated to a sandwich bag in the freezer until further notice.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Knitting machines - keep or sell??

I need your advice!!

So I have these knitting machines. Three, to be exact. Brothers KH-860, KH-260 and a KH-830. Complete with their ribbing attachments, little foldy table, some cones of yarn, and some wonderfully 90s pattern books and punch cards. I've had them for a couple of years now, gathering dust under my bed, so the other day I figured I'd just do the sensible thing and list them up on eBay. Because, really, when am I going to have the time to figure out how in the hell to operate them, and who wouldn't want an extra hundred quid or two just before Christmas?

But then I got them out to take some photographs...

Scary looking? Hell yeah. But aren't you now feeling kind of intrigued...? Immediately I Google the models and up come a flurry of YouTube tutorials on how to set them up, cast on, and do all sorts of amazing stuff... It is thanks to YouTube that I learnt to hand knit after all; now the world of machine knitting could become my oyster too! And let's face it, when it comes to hand knitting, I'm more of an instant gratification kind of gal with a penchant for circular needles or DPNs, so how great would it be to be able to think up and whip up, and I mean really whip up, a few cabled jumpers here and there for me and the little man? A great big knitted blanket for f*** sake??? Plan to list on eBay scrapped there and then.

I did think I should probably double check how much they were going for though... £500 each??!! That's potentially £1500 for all three! What do I do guys?? I need your help here. Do I keep them and get all obsessed with this new-to-me craft, or take the money and run? Not sure where I'm running to but you know what I mean. The learning of a new craft is always so deeply exciting... I love that I'm building up a bank of skills and developing my creativity in ways I hadn't planned. And of course, the making and the wearing and the giving of something I've made is also a big motivator! But the time and the money that goes into these hobbies, and those slightly manic nights when you can't get to sleep because you're so excited and inspired and just need to keep on knitting...! Don't I already have enough on my plate?

What do I do? What would you do??

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Advent 2012

Oh man I love this time of year. The dark days, the bitter chill, the cosy evenings, the fact that it's practically a crime not to fatten oneself up on stews and roasts and pies and puddings and... And I know I shouldn't be wishing my life away but I can't deny that I do spend most of year looking forward to now. Thank goodness then, that some clever soul thought up an Advent Calendar to help us squeeze every last tinsel clad drop out of the festive season before it's all over, all over again!

This is the Advent Calendar I made last year (tutorial here) and it really was the best I've ever had - for each day we thought of a little Christmassy something to do, with the odd treat or silly present hidden in random pockets. Last year my little man (who was three at the time) would get such a kick out of finding the right numbered pocket every morning, while I got all over excited about decorating the tree and making infinite batches of some cakey deliciousness or other! This year he's wanted to be more involved in the planning of our calendar, thinking up ideas of how he'd like to spend his holidays, and dedicating long hours to the decoration of his den... hmmn... let's just say he's nicked my favourite star fairy lights, and I'm down an entire roll of doubled sided tape and box of rhinestones. I'm actually a little envious. It looks really cool.

~ Advent Activity List 2012 ~

1. Pancakes for breakfast!
2. Decorate the Christmas tree.
3. Write a letter to Father Christmas.
4. Decorate the den.
5. Read stories about Saint Nicholas.
6. Go to our local street party to see the Christmas lights being switched on.
7. Hang out wreath.
8. Read stories about Hanukkah.
9. Movie night! Make popcorn and watch Christmassy movies.
10. Make Christmas cards for family and friends.
11. Gather unwanted toys, books, clothes etc and donate to charity.
12. Ice-skating at the Natural History Museum.
13. Practice singing Christmas Carols.
14. Wrap up warm and take a hot picnic to Kew Gardens. Remember bread for the ducks!
15. Escape to the country...
16. Bake and decorate sugar cookies to hang on the tree.
17. Make hot cocoa and roasted chestnuts and read stories by the fire.
18. Make Christmas spice cupcakes to take to school for the Christmas Party.
19. Appointment with Father Christmas!
20. Make Christmas Crackers.
21. Read stories about the baby Jesus.
22. Go to St Paul's Cathedral to listen to the choir.
23. Make a wish...
24. Hang out stockings for Father Christmas (don't forget to leave the reindeer a treat!).

For the little cards I just got a piece of thick brown paper and stamped it with white snowflakes using the butt of a butternut squash and a snowflake shaped cookie cutter. Once it had dried I cut the paper up into 24 little cards and wrote each activity over the top.

PS. Last year I found the following image on Pinterest... It seems someone had the genius idea of setting up a "Santa writes back" studio - I had every intention of doing this last Christmas but never got around to it. That and I don't think my boy really and actually understood, not like he does this year! So I have no idea if it's still happening or if they'll reply overseas, but I'm going to give it a go, and here are the details if you want to write to Santa too!

Thursday 8 November 2012

Sewing under the influence

One thing from my PMS sewing list: done! The small collar blouse from Japanese pattern book, Simple Chic.

Despite its casual, breezy appearance, I'm actually more enamoured by this shirt that many of my other more complicated or glamourous makes. For two reasons: firstly, I don't actually remember making it... I was completely out if it having gone under a general anaesthetic the day before, and considering all the morphine and codeine and whatever else they pumped into my system, it's a wonder I didn't stitch my fingers to the machine let alone come away with a shirt so well made and beautifully finished! Man, I even took the time to blind stitch the hem - although that part I do remember - and rest assured my fingers received a fair few stabs of the hand sewing needle whilst I zoned out to my second apocalyptic movie that day... And secondly, I feel like I've had a bit of a eureka moment with the making of this shirt. My monotonous everyday uniform of jeans & t-shirt couldn't be further from the sort of things I make and wear to go out, and I've been struggling to bridge the gap between studio slouch and dressed for the Opera. Not that I give even the teeniest damn what I look like when I'm slouching about, it's just that there are times when I'd like to feel a little more interestingly put together, yet still casual and comfortable. For me, this shirt does exactly that.

Construction-wise, I had been interested to see what it would be like working from this book, seeing as all the instructions are in Japanese. Before my operation I started making notes in the book as I figured out that the patterns did not include seam allowance, I began interpreting the characters for things like Centre Front, Side Panel... I figured out the sizing chart, then got confused as there seemed to be only one cutting line for this pattern - I was almost going to write a Help Me! post when I realised it was one size fits all! 

The fabric is from a grotty little market stall in Kilburn and cost me all of £1 per metre! For that price I would've expected something deeply unnatural but it feels like cotton voile, and behaves like it too - easily creases, irons like a dream and no meltage when burned. So why was it so cheap?? 

Despite the language barrier, the technical drawings in this book are incredible. Each step is so clearly illustrated and impossible to mis-understand, even post-op and under the influence of serious pain killers. The epitome of sewing instructions! 

All in all, mega success. 

New skills acquired: interpreting Japanese sewing instructions; sewing under the influence. 

It's the kind of shirt I always wanted to buy but never found and somehow never thought to make - until now. Hardly surprisingly, I want to make more. And wouldn't it be cute as a mini-dress...?

Friday 2 November 2012

By Hand London is LIVE!!! is officially LIVE and our very first collection of sewing patterns is now 
FOR SALE, for real!

We’ve sat here, teary-eyed as we watch the first orders roll in, trying to think of a more eloquent/witty/intelligent way of announcing this… but there’s really no other way than WE’RE LIVE! IT’S REAL! WE DID IT!!
We are nervous, excited, terrified, proud… and we can’t wait to hear what YOU think. Any feedback would be so much appreciated – it is our first collection after all, and we only want to keep improving on our collections to come.
There’ll be a little silence over at the By Hand Blog as we recoup our emotions, send out packages, and put the finishing touches to the Spring Summer 2013 toiles… I am also currently recovering from an operation I had at the beginning of this week to remove a stone from my salivary gland so I'm hoping to get some light personal sewing done as I potter about the house, swollen of face and slurping of soup (I'm SO hungry!! Definitely going for a Mexican when I'm better... and a pizza... and...). Keep checking back to By Hand London though, as we will be back with details of the Charlotte Skirt SEWALONG which will be commencing mid-November!

Sunday 28 October 2012

The Hooded Simon - a knitting pattern

Will I be shot by the Sun-lovers if I admit that I'm in trans-seasonal bliss right now? The temperatures are erring towards freezing and the clocks have gone back eliminating another hour of sunlight; there are still heaps of crispy Autumn leaves everywhere fresh for the frolicking, and still a week to go before all the fireworks and mulled wine and toffee apples... It is getting seriously cold though. Perfect timing, then, to make a start on this year's snood, or Simon, as I will from now on be calling them, thanks to Kathryn of Yes I Like That. Made from Toft's chunky alpaca yarn and 10mm circular needles, this guy was knit in an evening and a half and has been warming my scalp ever since. Here's how:

You will need:
Gauge: 10 stitches / 14 rows = 4"

Cast on 60 stitches. Being careful not to twist your stitches, join to work in the round.
Knit 6 rounds of garter stitch (knit one round, purl one round, repeat).
Knit approx 22 rounds of stockinette stitch (just knit rounds), or until your snood is as deep as you want it to be around your neck.
Next round: knit 17, purl 26, knit 17. This sets up the width/depth of the hood. To adjust, increase or decrease the number of knit stitches either side or the purls - and obviously decreasing/increasing the number of purls accordingly to keep the number of stitches in the round consistent. This hood was designed to sit perfectly on the head as in the picture, therefore I would advise against making the hood shallower.
Next round: knit.
Repeat the last 2 rounds twice more.
Next round: knit 20, bind off 20 stitches, knit 20.

Working the hood:

Now, still on the circular needles, but now working in rows knitting the hood back and forth:
Row 1: purl 37, knit 3.
Row 2: knit 37, purl 3.
Continue in this manner, repeating rows 1 & 2 until your hood reaches your desired length (mine is quite long - it's to hold all my hair, of which I have a lot).
End on a knit row - as if you were just about to begin another row of purls.

Closing the hood:

The best way to close the hood (in my opinion) is with the kitchener stitch: holding the needles together (wrong sides of the work facing), cut the yarn leaving a nice long tail (about 4 times the length of what you'll be stitching o be safe). Thread on a yarn needle and following this great video tutorial, close the hood with the kitchener stitch.

You could, alternatively, cast off at this point and with right sides together stitch the top of the hood closed, or cast off both sides of live stitches with a 3 needle bind off. Man, wouldn't it be fun to make knitting technique video demonstrations? But in a really fun (& still instructional) way...?

With the advantage of hindsight, next time I make this I will avoid the silvery grey colour... Let's face it - I'm reminding you a bit of a knight in a chain maille hood, am I right?? A super cosy knight, mind you.

Friday 26 October 2012

Pre-menstrual sewing plans*

*Warning: this post is has a fundamentally feminine undertone. If you are a man, and you find 'time of the month' talk offensive/nauseating/unfathomable, look away now. Or, for a little insight into the workings of a pre-menstrual mind, keep reading...

As I mentioned in my interview at Stitch & Witter, I am one of those sewists whose self-stitched wardrobe is firmly rooted in "too much frosting, not enough cake" territory - a term so perfectly coined by Sewaholic's Tasia. Always planning to make more everyday appropriate attire, but so often getting distracted by delicious fabric and vintage patterns better suited to cocktail dresses. Kidding myself by thinking that the more silk skirts I make, the more I'll be encouraged to dress accordingly every day. So has this become my reality? Do I take my son to school wearing sheer tulle princess skirts? Do I swan about in Sainsbury's in floor sweeping dipped hem dresses? The answer my friends - and sorry if this comes as a disappointment - is no, I most certainly do not. In reality, I like to stay in my pyjamas for as long as is socially acceptable. And this desire to be as comfortable as humanly possible without being naked, is at no time more heightened than during that week. You know what I'm saying here - that week just before the painters set up camp in my uterus, I hate everything my wardrobe has to offer (except for my pyjamas). 

And so it was the other day, as I sat glaring at all the things I didn't want to wear, I decided I would, right there and then, make a list of things I'd be happy wearing whilst feeling my worst. This is it guys, my pre-menstrual sewing agenda - time to start stitching up some cake and give the frosting a rest.

First up, and keeping to the pyjamas theme, I've been meaning to make a pair of slouchy silk peg leg trousers for yonks. Soft and slinky, low slung and worn with a t-shirt and cashmere jumper... aaahh bloody bliss. I've yet to find a pattern so any suggestions would be most welcome, if not I'll be drafting up these babies myself.

like this but silk - image source

The next thing I always imagine myself reaching for on those grouchy mornings is a loose, swingy blouse in a bright happy fabric... and I think I've found just the thing in my new Japanese pattern book, Simple Chic

A recent online trip to Etsy left me completely smitten with Japan Lovely Crafts' selection of pattern books (and the completely adorable Nobuko who runs the shop), most of which seem to be designed with pre-menstrual women in mind! Easy wearing and slouchy, yet somehow clean and contemporary at the same time. I already had the perfect fabric for C-2: the small collar blouse, and am cutting as we speak:

I am a firm believer that a girl can never have too many knits, especially when cramps need nursing, but for someone who believes this so wholeheartedly, I have far too few. I am ashamed to admit that despite the fact that I have been knitting for five years (and crocheting for 20), I have only ever made myself one cardigan. Countless scarves, snoods, hats, baby things, mittens, socks etc etc etc... but only one cardigan. Right now I'm still struggling to finish a cabled jumper I started this time last year, but more about that later.

I wish I had the patience (and a few extra hours in the day) to embark on a project of such perfection as this swing jumper being knit right now by Heather Lou, but I know I'd be knitting it from now until forever so I'm thinking about cheating ever so slightly... what if I found some lovely chunky knit wool fabric and stitched up something along these lines:

image source

Oh, the coze.

Next up, and this kind of goes without saying, are a bunch of jersey tops. Another thing that one can never have too many of - and I already have a fair few of Dixie DIY's short sleeved swing tops. But it's pretty damn cold these days so I'm going to take one day of quiet over half term to churn out a few long sleeved tops; maybe I'll even get a chance to try out Dixie's brand new Hot Cocoa Sweater pattern (free to download here!). 

Lastly, and perfectly completing my 'period closet', I want to make a drapey jacket/cardigan type thing.  Two patterns have caught my eye: another from Simple Chic, and a sleeveless version from an old Burda:

Looking at them together now, I think I'll be going for the Simple Chic pattern - not only am I too lazy right now to draft a sleeve, but also I think the Burda pattern has a bit too much swing, lending it more of a maternity vibe. I have the perfect fabric for this in my stash too - a light and crisp, yet weighty linen - however it is a difficult shade of cornflour blue (what the hell was I planning to make with cornflower blue linen??)... but I plan to rectify that with some black dye. 

I'm feeling very excited about this list girls; finally a plan to make some bits that might see some real action for a change. Meanwhile I'm still reassuring my silk dresses and see-through skirts that the perfect party for them is coming real soon...
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