Week 3 of Design your own Wardrobe and the real garments

This week was all about sketching and planning your looks and making your list of plans.

Remember, this was my moodboard:

These were the items I wanted to incorporate from my wardrobe:

I had a pretty well formed plan early in the process. Through a lot of editing I had whittled down my list to four items that I then sketched out, cut out and combined using the Stylebook app:

I’m still not very good at drawing, but by keeping close to the line drawings I managed to get to this point.

I had started knitting the green sweater as soon as I knew I wanted to make something like that. It’s my own made up pattern, based on rough measurements and then just counting rows and stitches. I knitted it in the round and it was a very fast project:

For the dress I used the Seamwork Veronica pattern. Another really fast project though it has French seams all over and some handstitching. Here it is with the cardigan I altered for #alteritaugust.

After I made the dress I was pretty sure I had my favourite outfit of the bunch, but over the weekend I made these two and I love them together:

It’s the Seamwork Neenah with the bonus cowl variation and the Seamwork Osaka skirt. The Osaka in pleather had been on my moodboard last year, but I didn’t get round to it. It’s a simple, but fun project and took me a lot less time then I had expected. The top part is a crepe. I’m wearing it with a skirt pin, because I’m not sure at what size I’m going to end up and I didn’t want to commit to a buttonhole just yet. The Neenah was even faster to make. I cut it out and sewed it on my serger in an hour to my surprise when I had just planned to cut it out and make it over the course of this week.

I love all the combinations you can make with just these four garments:

And when you bring in some of my other clothes:

I think the Neenah and the knitted sweater will work really well with my dresses and the Osaka skirt will play well with all the tops I made last year and some of my shorter dresses.

This year I had very clear ideas about where I wanted to go from the start. It helps to go through the process a couple of times as I was able to edit my ideas really quickly. Last year I made a lot more garments and I knew I didn’t have time nor wardrobe space for that this time around. I was also very aware of the very few wardrobe holes I had left and I limited myself to working from my stash in both fabric, wool and patterns.

Design Your Wardrobe week 2

This is the moodboard I ended the first week of design your wardrobe with. This week is all about colour and fabric!

The first prompt had us shopping our fabric stash and for me that’s going to be the only shopping I’m doing and then the second prompt was about getting swatches from fabric stores, which I didn’t.

I have so many beautiful fabric at home! I have definitely been a fabric collector from the start of my sewing journey and I have zero regrets over that. Two years ago we went through a financial transition where we had a little less to spend for a while and I just could keep sewing from my stash. I have been pretty careful with what I bought and usually took some time to mull over if I really wanted something. Looking at my fabrics still makes me really happy and content. I do try to buy very little now and a fabric has to be really wow to enter the stash these days.

I had to use my moodboard and check my fabrics to see if the fabric matched the mood of the board. As I had already used the fabrics that inspired me on the moodboard I just checked if I still was happy with those and if they fit the WWWW criterium (what would Winona wear?). Here’s three of them, two of the black fabrics I want to use didn’t photograph very well, but they will be used.

Then it was on to colour. I actually had my colours done the first time I had my hair professionally coloured to determine the colour that would best suit my complexion. My hairdresser did a lot of things with pieces of fabric against my face and determined that I was a true winter. I think he’s right because the colour he selected for my hair never fails to make my face come alive (I really should keep it up, but I’m lazy and don’t go that often). And I love wearing the colours that came with this colour type. But for the outfit I’m designing I wanted to use a fabric that has a lot of colours not in my spectrum. I think it won’t matter because there’s not a dominant colour.

The third exercise I did was to check my existing wardrobe for items that I wanted to use for my outfits and that would fit my moodboard. I picked these for some strong colour and chic blacks.

Next week is going to be about planning and sketching my looks and then sewing and knitting the garments needed!

Week 1 of Design your wardrobe 2020

Winona Ryder: my style inspiration for this round

So I’m going to keep a sort of diary here of this year’s process so you can see what it’s all about. Seamwork has a forum where we can discuss all the prompts too, but this way I’ll be able to look back next year and see what worked for me.

What’s in store?

Before you start you’re supposed to gather all your inspiration in one place, like Pinterest. During the course you will whittle this down and maybe add to it until you have a workable mood board. Week 1 is all about setting your goal and creating a mood board. In week 2 I will shop my stash, refine my palette and use my existing wardrobe. Then in week 3 it’s on to defining my criteria, planning my looks and making my plans.

Week 1: goal and mood board

The whole course is set up as a pyramid in which you first build a broad base of inspiration which you refine in the weeks after. So this week is all about going big. But to keep things focused you get daily questions, prompts and worksheets. The first question of the week revolved around what my goal was for this collection. There’s reading materials on how designers do this and how you can use the same process for your own collection. Setting the goal rests on why you want to do this. So why do I want to do this? To me it’s another way to engage in my hobby. It allows me to be creative, playful and explore things I might not try otherwise.

My goal for this round of Design Your Wardrobe is to create a tiny collection that will fit into my existing wardrobe and at the same time will allow me to explore another facet of my style.

Day 2: what’s your story?

The second question revolved all around the story of my collection. Reader, I’m not a fashionista. I like making clothes and I want to make clothes that are beautiful to me, but I don’t really have language for talking about fashion, nor the inclination to follow fashion. I’m always really happy when the type of clothes I like come round again. Before I learned to sew that meant that I could buy things I liked and now that I sew it means that there are more patterns available in styles that I like. I suspect it’s the same for many of you. Seamwork uses some examples like romantic minimalism and vibrant playfulness. Looking through the Pinterest board I created before hand I’m thinking ‘Winona Ryder goes to college’. Though honestly, I couldn’t actually find a lot of photos of Winona Ryder wearing the things I thought she was wearing! Still, I have a certain image in my head of her and so:

With every choice I will make I will ask myself: would Winona Ryder have worn this twenty years ago?

Day 3: thinking about your contexts

Day 3 was about editing my inspiration for my goal, story and context. The context I chose was work and play. I don’t really wear different clothes to work. I’m not showing up in my lounge wear at work, but I am pretty dressy at home. You won’t often find me in sweatpants. I choose comfort for my work clothes and so I can easily wear them at home too. Weather wise I’m designing for three seasons: fall, winter and spring. So in short: layers.

My contexts: work, play, fall, winter, spring.

Day 4: Build a mood board

The preference here is to create a physical moodboard and I was sorely tempted to try and make that happen, but I don’t own a printer and so printing is always a bit of a hassle and because of the heatwave I didn’t feel like drawing this week. This is where you go back to your first inspiration board and whittle it down to the things that fit your goal, contexts and story. You can use pattern flats that inspire you, style photos, and photos of fabrics like I did, but your inspiration can also come from trims, notions, buildings, colours etc. I kept my mood board very much to the point as I don’t want to design a large collection. I used fabrics that inspired me when I took a look through my stash, some photos from Pinterest of the kind of style I’m going for and some patterns I have had on my mind for a while. Day 5 was all about reflecting, talking about your mood board over on the Seamwork board with others and admiring the work of others.

#sewingdisabled

Earlier this week Samantha from @purplesewingcloud started the hashtag #sewingdisabled and for the first time I felt compelled to use a hashtag to communicate something about my health and state of my body. Usually I try to ignore all the labels that could be used to label my various health conditions, illnesses and disabilities. Sometimes it’s just enough to exist in this body and I don’t want the world to show up to the party. Often I don’t feel like I want to be someone else’s inspirational story. Often I don’t want to be the shining example of how much people can overcome if they just don’t give up. I don’t mind not showing all my labels to the world. I don’t want the pity, unsolicited advice, being monitored that comes with people knowing.

One of my labels originates from a car accident I was involved in when I was 13. We crashed into a tree while on holiday in France. I sustained damage to my spine, nerves and brain. I’m often in pain due to this. The damage to my brain means that I can’t make my hands do two different things, have little spatial awareness and process information differently. I need to rest often and make sure I don’t overload my brain. Sometimes my right hand doesn’t function, sometimes my feet get mixed signals, sometimes I have a hard time using the right words and use weird words that start with the same letter, but have no connection otherwise. I walk into doors, I often can’t get keys into keyholes, I miss when I try to grab my coffee cup.

When I was getting diagnosed my neurologist told me I would never be able to work. I did my best to prove him wrong. I lead a very balanced life. There are a lot of things other people can do that I can’t, but since I had my accident before I had a settled life I never learned to miss those things. I learned to say no and choose my health over most anything after I overdid it when I was 18 and since then I’ve only gotten better at navigating life with my limitations. I have a full time job teaching teenagers so I balance this out with peace and quiet, rest and relaxation and I manage very well. I manage to do without painkillers which made me feel foggy and numb. I would consider my life a thriving and fulfilling one in which I can do and achieve the things I want. But Covid harshly reminded me that it’s always there. When the lockdown started my workload got a lot heavier. I’m the digital learning person at school. People, colleagues, students, parents, were messaging me 24/7. I tried to help everyone as fast as I could, while also teaching, parenting and homeschooling my kid. I didn’t switch off, I didn’t rest, I didn’t make sure there was silence in my life. I walked into doors more often. I dropped things because my fingers wouldn’t do what I wanted them to do, I stumbled because my feet didn’t cooperate, I had a harder time expressing myself coherently. The pain was getting unbearable again. I felt like I was 14 again and right back at the beginning of having to learn everything. When I saw that hashtag I knew that it included me.

These are some of the ways I sew around my disabilities:

  1. I use the slowest speed. This gives me time to catch up and adjust to what is happening.
  2. I work methodical and always do the same things in the same order.
  3. I keep my workplace tidy. I put away things I don’t use.
  4. I don’t batch sew. This doesn’t work for my brain. One thing at a time.
  5. I try not to multitask. If I do, things will go wrong.
  6. I don’t listen or watch new things whilst sewing.
  7. I don’t have long sewing sessions. Three hours is the most I can manage on a good day in which nothing else needs to be done. I usually do shorter sessions.
  8. I listen to my body (the Covid situation was an unusual hiccup). There are a lot of ways to engage in sewing even if I can’t physically sew. There are projects to research, fabrics to browse, other people’s work to admire.

Design your wardrobe: a year later

This August I’m going to participate for the second time in Seamwork’s Design your wardrobe. Last year was a big success for me and I ended up with some really versatile garments that have been worn throughout the year. This year my aim is to create a smaller capsule wardrobe (smaller than the one I made last year) that can stand on its own and fill in the last few remaining holes in my wardrobe.

Design Your Wardrobe is a creative course in which you identify your style, the gaps in your wardrobe and learn how to design a collection of garments within the parameters you have discovered for yourself. You get daily prompts for discussion, share your moodboard and plans and new this year: learn how to sketch clothes. I’m really looking forward to that last part, my sketching is so stuck at kindergarten level.

This was my final board for last year. I’m not very big on fashion magazines so my inspiration comes from the sewing world, but you can use whatever you want for your board.

After going through the Style Workshop (a bonus to the DYW series) I defined my staples, my beloved garments (these were the same fortunately), what I valued in clothes and from these things extrapolated my style words. These were: sleek, feminine, flared, high-waisted, stretch, layers. My starting point was my black jeans and the fabrics I wanted to use. That jeans was the first new jeans I had gotten since learning to sew and the first jeans I was really happy to wear and so it scored highly in the beloved category. Because sewing had turned me into a dresses person I didn’t have a lot of separates and I wanted to design a collection of separates. The first week had me define the story of my collection. In the second week I created a palette and shopped my stash. I didn’t buy additional fabrics as you can do, but made a couple of fabrics from my stash the heroes of my collection. In the final week I planned my looks and then it was time to get sewing and execute those looks.

Here’s my collection:

The Ogden cami was made with one of my top 10 fabrics: a Nani Iro double gauze in a perfect blue. I love this colour so much and it makes me so happy when I see it in my wardrobe. It works for hot days and colder days when layered. I’ve worn it often over the past year. I made a black Blackwood cardigan to go with all the tops. My Blackwood cardigans were my staples and favourites, but I didn’t have one in black that would go with everything. Same goes for the black Ginger skirt I made. Like the Blackwood it has sleek lines. It’s also highwaisted as is my preference.

Here’s another Ogden cami, with the same Blackwood cardigan, but now paired with the reversible Osaka skirt, a wrap skirt that you can use a total of four different fabrics in (you can make the upper part and bottom in different fabrics). I made mine in a quilted thick black jersey on one side and blue linen on the other side.

Here’s the black side of the Osaka skirt with the Freya sweater I also made for this collection. The Freya was inspired by the burgundy fabric I wanted to use and it’s a pattern with sleek lines. I wore this sweater so much that I have to make another one for my new collection. When it’s cold I want to be able to always wear one of these. The cowl neck is so cozy on cold days and burgundy was a new to me colour, but I think it’s a really great colour for me.

Another cozy sweater in my collection was the Astoria sweater that’s designed to go with high waisted skirt and pants. I think I’m also going to try it over a dress this year. I thought this mustard would be a fun accent colour in this collection. This is the black quilted side of the Osaka again.

The jeans that everything started with. I’m wearing an Ogden cami in one of my precious Nani Iro double gauzes and a knitted bolero.

A York blouse in that Nani Iro.

And the same blouse with the blue side of the Osaka skirt.

And a Seamwork Emmie with the dramatic sleeves bonus in the other really pretty Nani Iro.

And with the Ginger skirt again.

I’ve been able to wear the different elements throughout the year and combine them with things that were already in my wardrobe:

I think the garment I ended up wearing least was the Osaka skirt, but that had more to do with it not being highwaisted. My size beneath my belly button bounces up and down and the Osaka has a fixed closure and sits lower on my belly. It just doesn’t fit all the time. I’m planning on getting one of those pins that you can use as a closure so I can wear it more often.

The other garments have all been worn regularly. I’m pretty chuffed with my decision to not turn my Nani Iro fabrics into dresses as they got a lot more wear this way and I was able to wear them throughout all four seasons.

Sew Over It Maisie dress

As you might know, I’m part of the Sew Over It pattern insiders. This means that every month I get to take a look at the newest pattern and if I want to I make it before the release date. Then when the pattern is released all the pattern insiders show their versions and you get to see the pattern made up on different bodies and in different styles. This month’s PDF pattern is Maisie. It’s a fifties style dress with a crossover wrap front, a midi half circle skirt, a V-shaped neckline and short raglan sleeves. The bodice has a bit of pleating. Though the fifties are not particularly my style decade (forties-seventies-nineties are my thing especially the crossover of seventies does forties or nineties does seventies) I was in the mood for something else as I have been sewing for Wybe and wanted something fun for me.

Maisie is designed for stable fabrics with a bit of body to them. I had a spotty cotton in my fabric stash that I thought would fit the bill and that I had earmarked for a summer dress.

My measurements are 40-33-44 and I chose to cut between size 14 and 16. I usually cut a 16 for woven patterns from Sew Over It, but I wanted to make sure the bodice was filled out and I worried a bit about the sleeves dropping from my round shoulders. I usually don’t add length to the bodice despite being tall. My natural waist is pretty high and I can’t remember the last time I needed to lengthen a bodice. It’s worth to make a bodice toile/muslin for this as you really want to nail that shoulder/bust fit and it sews up really quickly so won’t be a big bother. I didn’t need as much fabric as suggested, this was creatively cut from 2 metres. The sleeves cover my bra straps and sit securely. I used seamtape to stabilize my neckline immediately after cutting the bodice parts.

(Pleats were hard to photograph with bright light!)

Other than cutting between sizes I made no other changes to the pattern as I was happy with the fit I got. It was a really quick and fun sew. I hadn’t expected that as it looks more complicated, but it was really straightforward sewing actually. The pleating was easy as it was the same pleating I have been doing for my facemasks. It took me about 3.5 hours to cut and sew. The most fiddly part was the binding for the neckline. I used white biastape for this as my fabric is on the thick side and would have added too much bulk. Because of the bulk I also used ‘regular’ seams finished by serging instead of the french seams that I’ve been doing lately.

Though the fifties are still not my main jam, I have been enjoying swishing about in this since I made it. The half circle is great for me, swish, but not a ton of fabric that pools around you when you sit down (I never know where to leave all that fabric when I’m seated).

Colette Laurel 2.0

When Seamwork put the call out for people to apply to become ambassadors for the brand I immediately responded. Which wasn’t all that logical as I have been very busy, too busy to sew, and have a full wardrobe etc. But I have a very soft spot for Colette/Seamwork as I learned to sew using their patterns and tutorials and the first garments that made me feel very happy about my new skill were made from their patterns. Whenever they do something I want to get involved. I’ve been a member from the start so I have a lot of Seamwork patterns and I also happened to have made a list of my sewing plans that included a lot of Seamwork/Colette patterns and so knew I would be sewing with their patterns anyway. Some of those projects are a bit more involved, like a colourblocked Audrey jacket and a Sashiko embroidered Sonya dress. Others are more of a quick project like this Laurel dress. In exchange for my ambassadorship I got a paid subscription for the coming year. But I’ll be mostly sewing with the patterns I already owned as I want to explore my pattern stash for a bit.

When you become a Seamwork member, you can use your credits to get the Colette patterns as well. Today I wanted to revisit one of those older patterns: the Laurel shift dress. This one had a update in sizing and drafting last year and I really liked the look of Wallis her version.

I had this beautiful rayon fabric designed by Alexia Marcella Abegg (called Moonrise rayon) in my stash and the border print just seemed perfect for a shift dress. I also felt I would be able to wear this dress throughout the year. As it is in summer and dressed up with a cardigan, tights and chunky boots in colder months.

On to the pattern itself: the dress is fitted in the bust and hips and semi-fitted in the waist. After checking the size chart and the fit chart I decided to grade between a 12 (perfect for my bust) and 14 (perfect for my hips) to get the same fit as the model. One of my struggles with the pattern before was addressed in the update: the sleeves. They fit really well now.

I did struggle again with the back. I had a bit too much fabric at the back neckline and added some darts to get rid of most of the excess fabric. It doesn’t sit completely right as my darts were an afterthought. I would add them properly to the pattern piece next time and true the whole thing. I’m team ‘If it’s in the back , not too noticeable and you’ll wear a cardigan often it’s not worth bothering with’, so I left it as is.

The pattern calls for biastape to finish the neckline with. I’ve never been a fan of finishing necklines with biasbinding. I prefer the invisibility of a facing and so I did an all-in-one facing for the dress (just used the top of the pattern pieces). I love understitching and the magic it brings of making a facing lie flat.

All in all, I’m very happy with this dress. I’ve been wearing it around the house and it’s comfortable and cool and I feel pretty chic in it.

MIY March Week 2 Tips, tips, tips!

Week two of MIY March is all about sharing knowledge. To be honest, most of my tips this week come from making mistakes and figuring out a, hopefully, better way. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m trying to get better at this and figure out best practices for me. Your mileage may vary on what is attainable, but as perfect is the enemy of getting anything done, you may as well start where you are.

1. Tips for sewing in a more sustainable way

  • My first tip would be to get to know your style. If you find that you make things that get little wear, this is a great place to start sewing more sustainable. The Curated Closet is a very good starting point if your style has been all over the place. I particulary liked the workbook (which you can use on its own). Colette Patterns has based the free series The Wardrobe Architect on principles from the book. There’s also the twice-a-year series from Seamwork to Design your wardrobe and a free sewing planner. Getting to know what fabric you will want to wear and the sort of garments you’ll actually love will ensure that what you make will get worn.
  • Try out your pattern layout before buying fabric. The layout plans that come with patterns are just suggestions and you’ll find that you’ll need a lot less fabric than suggested. For instance I made my velvet Anna dress out of 2.5 metres fabric (size 16) instead of the suggested 4.5 meters and the Sew Over It Lois dress in the photo took me 2 meters instead of 3.1 meters.
  • Save all your scraps and threads. There’s a ton of scrapbusting projects out there. Here’s my Pinterest board with projects. Now that I have a completely full wardrobe these are the projects that keep my sewing going. I’m making reusable make-up cloths at the moment. So far I made a quilt, beeswax wraps, foldable bags, handkerchiefs, a Bread bag, two of the Closet Case poufs (which use up a megaton of scraps and threads) and a drawer full of underwear made from my jersey scraps. I’ve used small jersey scraps to make clothes and blankets for Hanna’s dolls.
  • Make your clothes to last. Work on your seam finishes and make them durable. Use good quality thread and the right tension.
  • Prewash your fabric! Fabric shrinks a lot more than you expected and it might even shrink your garment to unwearable status (that happened to me once with fabric I really loved, so not taking that chance again).
  • 2. Tips for sourcing more sustainable fabrics

  • 3. What are your most treasured textile items?

    I love my clothes a lot. They would be my most treasured textile items! But apart from clothes:

    I really like my first Closet case patterns pouffe. It was such a joy to make and it took up so many scraps, but most importantly: it is very much beloved and used in our household. It made an actual positive difference in our lives as my husband can now rest his left damaged leg better than he used to. The second one I made is the one we use to read to my daughter at night. I’m saving up scraps for a third and fourth.

    I also love the first quilt I made. It is definitely and emphatically not perfect, but when I see it lying on my daughters bed or see her curled up under it on a comfy chair it gives me feelings of belonging and home. I made it from fat quarters I got in my fabric subscription box from Sew Hayley Jane. And then there was THE BAG:

    I think I fell in actual love with this bag. It was made from the sustainable tote bag kit from Time to Sew’s Kate. I used sashiko stitching on the front from the book Make + Mend by Jessica Marquez. The first weeks after I made this I was keeping it with me most of the time so I could stare at it longingly. It reminded me how much pleasure there was to be had in working really slowly and enjoying the process.

    MIY March Week 1

    Earlier attempt at sewing that did not catch on….

    I love participating in challenges. I’m even one of those people who will post every day. I did notice that once you’ve done a challenge with prompts they all tend to blend into eachother as there are only so many sewing prompts possible. I really like what Wendy Ward is doing this year with MIY (make it yourself) March. The theme is sustainability, like it was last year, but with a focus on getting more in-depth than you usually do with these challenges. Every week has a theme and you can think and read about that theme and post your own thoughts on it.

    Wendy poses a few questions for this week and I’m going to write down my thoughts on those questions here. I’m going to start with question number two and then swirl back to question 1.

    2. What are your main motivations for sewing and making?

    One of my first makes was this Colette Moneta when I was four months pregnant.

    I started sewing over five years ago out of frustration with fitting clothes in changing rooms and finding that my body and the clothes in most stores were not made for eachother. I am tall and large. Nothing is dainty about me. Clothes in stores were too short on me and never fit me properly. They might fit in the waist, but not the arms, fit on the hips, but not the bust etc. They made me feel like a freak even though I was and am happy in my body. I felt that there had to be a way out of that frustrating cycle and vowed to learn how to make my own clothes and never return to a fitting room (I haven’t). I had tried to learn before, but when I didn’t turn out to be the next sewing wunderkind immediately, I had given up. Now, fresh from the changing room, my motivation was high and I was determined to stick with it. I taught myself with the help of books, video and online tutorials. The Colette Patterns blog and book were really important to me when I started.

    When I learned how to sew I also learned that there are a lot of things I like about the process. I enjoy the mathematical part of it, the creative process, the slowing down (I sew literally very slowly, my machine has a slider for speed and it’s the slowest possible) as well as the end result. I like the tradition of sewing, the many techniques to learn, the tactile experience, the community, the freedom, the way it allows us to express ourselves in a world that has become more and more about sameness in products like clothes.

    One of the first things I made for myself after pregnancy.

    1. Why is sustainable sewing important to you?

    The amount of wardrobe space I’m working with.

    When I just learned to sew I had just gone through a lot of weight changes (health related) and didn’t fit my small clothes (never will again) and then after I went down again I didn’t fit the larger clothes either. That’s the point where sewing came in. I had the opportunity to sew an entire wardrobe of clothes and I did. It was a lot of fun. But now my wardrobe is full. I share a three door wardrobe 50-50 with my husband and that’s the space I’ve got to work with. I gave away a few things that didn’t suit me, but on the whole I have made smart choices and made my clothes to last, which they do. I have taken into account my weight fluctuations and have sewed clothes that will fit my body throughout those fluctuations. There hasn’t been anything yet that has been so worn out it needed replacing. This is when I realized I don’t enjoy having stuff I’m not going to use a lot. It makes me feel uncomfortable now to make new things that might not get worn a lot. I’m clearly not a maximalist though I’m not a minimalist either. My wardrobe is pretty much done for now. I like what’s in it and I don’t want to get rid of perfectly good clothes just so I can make more. I try to wash my clothes as little as possible and mend them when needed. I slowed down considerably over the past six months after filling up my last wardrobe gaps and have made some decisions about slowing down even more. I’m opting out of sewing challenges and I’m quitting testing after fulfilling current obligations. I haven’t bought a lot of fabric since the start of 2019 (most of it has been for Wybe and Hanna) and am planning to stop accepting free fabric too (got one project left to finish). The fact that this has an added bonus for the environment is really good, it’s part of why I don’t feel good owning too much clothes. It’s also good to come to conclusions that are natural to me and don’t feel like deprivation, but more like spiritual necessities for me. I am not a person who throws away things easily, I love what I have and have a bond with the things I have made. I learned how to mend and am looking forward to exploring more ways to mend like darning.

    I’m not always sure what me sewing my own clothes brings the world. I still have consumed more than my fill. Sewing my clothes does not make wages go up or provide better working conditions. I try to use up every part of my fabric, but I bought so much fabric in my first four years of sewing and not all the good kinds of fabric either. These are all areas for improvement.

    So much fabric…. this does include part of my scraps and items to refashion…

    3. Why are you taking part in MIY march?

    I enjoy the community sewing brings with it. I like these challenges for connecting me with other people.

    4. Share with us your most worn and least worn makes.

    Most worn

    It’s my By Hand London velvet Anna dress. It has many things that I love: it fulfills one of my teenage goth dreams, it has embroidery, it’s warm and it feels very me. I wear this when I need to wear a blanket to get me through the day and it never fails to cheer me up. There has been one week where I only wore this. It has easily had over 30 wears, which is an important criterion to me.

    My Colette Moneta in a black and white viscose jersey. This is me. Easily ticks 90 wears or more. It might actually have 30 wears on instagram as I like sharing the daily wearing of my clothes. Good for wearing during at least three of the Dutch seasons. Another dress I reach for when I need my armor for the day ahead. Fit and flare is my jam. So is stretch.

    The newest addition to my wardrobe is the cardigan that I knitted to have the dimensions of the kindercardigan. It seems to go with absolutely everything and I have worn it a lot since finishing it in January.

    Least worn

    I’m a big fan of wrap dresses and that’s not the problem with this dress I only wore half a day. It’s the fabric. I love peonies, but I don’t love pink and didn’t feel like myself in it. I wanted to try, but knew that I might end up with something I wouldn’t wear. By making this pattern I ensured I had good pieces to work with to make two dresses for my daughter and some underwear for myself. The leftovers ended up in a pouffe.

    So those are my thoughts on week 1!

    Revisiting the Colette Moneta

    The first thing I made a little over four years ago was a Colette Moneta.

    It wasn’t the best fabric and it wasn’t the best sewing. This one lasted a little over two years before it came apart. I made a lot more Moneta’s, but most of those were modified in some way. I changed up the skirt almost every time as I’m not a fan of gathers. So I hadn’t made the original Moneta for a long time. In a short period of time three of my earlier Moneta’s came apart, mostly because I had used flimsy fabric. As this pattern is the workhorse of my wardrobe, I wanted to replace them with the best possible version I could make and use quality fabric and quality construction methods.

    This year I have mostly been sewing from my stash and try to sew just what I need. I also try to be conscious about the new fabric I get. There’s an imbalance in my fabric stash as there are more wovens in it whereas most clothes I wear are made from jersey. So whenever I need something new because I need to replace something, I might need to buy fabric as my stash doesn’t hold a lot of larger yardages of jersey. One of my favourite new suppliers is Lillestoff. I buy mine at Studio Spatz, who sell all sorts of organic brands. Lillestoff tries to keep the whole line of production as organic and fair as possible. I fell in love with this Lagoon fabric and got two metres of it:

    I wanted to make something I could wear during at least three of the Dutch seasons. In winter I might need an extra layer, probably not when working though (my classroom runs on the warm side) and decided to just replace the Moneta’s that were over and done with.

    I wanted to go back to the original pattern, knowing that I had worn my first ones a lot despite the gathers. So I followed the pattern and instructions to the letter.

    The only things I changed were:

    – lengthened the sleeves to 7/8.

    – finished the neckline and sleeves with foldover elastic to get a clean finish on the inside and outside.

    I really like the result. I had forgotten about the scoop at the back:

    And I like the gathers. They are gentle gathers (is that a thing?) so the skirt doesn’t billow and doesn’t make me feel like I’m drowning in it. I used the original instructions for the gathering (with clear elastic) for the very first time as clear elastic was hard to come by when I first started sewing. It was a surprisingly easy way to gather the skirt. I did sew very slowly when I did the gathers, which helped keep things under control and I had portioned the elastic so that the gathers were even around the skirt.

    What I would change:

    – I’m going to add some hooks to the shoulders so I can keep my bra straps in place as they peek out often.