My #SewingTop5 For 2019

Normally in December I do recap or review of my year in Crafting. This year I have decided to take part in The Sewcialists Sewing Top 5.
Here are my 2019 Top 5’s

Top 5 Hits

  • Sesame Street skirt
  • Blue Velvet pinafore
  • Denim pinafore
  • Lego skirt
  • Charity bags

In 2019 unfortunately I never did as much a sewing as I did in 2018 but I managed to make things both clothing wise and gift wise. My most worn items which get worn almost on a weekly basis are my Lego skirt which I made in 2018 and my Sesame Street skirt which I did make this year. They are fun skirts which bring smiles to peoples faces. I enjoy wearing them. My denim pinafore which I made following my trip to Melbourne this year is another highly worn piece, again almost weekly. With the pocket on the front it is really functional and the fabric means I can wear it with dress shoes or sneakers. I am really proud of the bags I made for charity this year so they have made my list. I like using my sewing skills in a practical way to help others. I think these bags turned out really cute this year. I’m proud of my blue velvet pinafore, I loved the fabric as soon as I saw it and it turned out just the way I imagined.

Top 5 Highlights

  • February Frocktails
  • I love My Fabric Party
  • Spring Frocktails
  • Fabric Swap Day
  • Melbourne Fabric Crawl

Winning a $150 shopping voucher for The Fabric Store at February Frocktails has to be the highlight of the year. I had the so much fun at both Frocktail events this year. It is fun to be around fellow sewing people talking all things patterns and fabric. The fabric swap day where I decluttered so much sewing related items was also a really good day. I came home with empty bags and a weight off my shoulders. Going to Melbourne this year and spending the day on a fabric crawl is an adventure I’m never going to forget. It was relaxing and I was doing my own thing. I met interesting people, touched lots of fabric. You don’t have to leave the house to have fun, the weekend I spent at home for the “I love my fabric Party” was fantastic. It really allowed me to connect to the fabric I had. I sorted my fabrics, culled a lot, saw pieces that were missing. I found fabrics I’d forgotten I had. I was sharing pics on Instagram with others but you could spend the weekend in your stash and not do that and still have fun.

Top 5 Reflections

  • Pockets!!
  • One Step, Two Steps
  • Missing Pieces
  • Do I Really Need It?
  • Relax and Enjoy The Process

Things I have learnt this year that pockets are awesome and they should be on everything. If I’m wearing something and it doesn’t have pockets I’m lost. Which brings me on to missing pieces, I need more skirts that have pockets. At this point that is probably the biggest missing piece from my wardrobe particularly in Summer but I do need to look at my wardrobe before I write my next To Sew List and see what is missing. From now on I want to make items which are missing from my wardrobe rather than making a pattern just for the sake of it or to complete a self imposed challenge. In terms of making things I have learnt that things don’t need to be made in quick amount of time. I need to relax and enjoy the process of making an item. By just doing one step and then the next step I can get things done. It doesn’t matter what I am making whether it be clothing or a gift doing little steps one at a time means the item gets completed in the end and remember if I am not enjoying it then why I am doing it? The last thing I have learnt this year is that I need to stop and think if I really need something before I get  it. This year I saw how much stuff I had that I wasn’t using. Not only did it cost me money in the first place, it was taking up space and causing me stress.

Top 5 Goals

  • Be Realistic
  • Get Organised
  • Plan Ahead
  • Shop My Stash
  • Sew Because You Want Too

Since I started sewing back in 2011 this year was the year I really felt pressure from myself to sew things. I felt really unorganised and I changed kept changing my mind at the last minute on gifts I was making which often resulted in me running to the shops or buying supplies last minute so I could make them. In 2020 I know I’m going to have less sewing time so it is essential that I plan projects for myself and gifts ahead of time. I need to write things out clearly, shop my stash for supplies and give myself enough time to make them and be realistic about it. I have to remember to sew because I want too and not because I have too which is something I have felt this year. I know these are vague goals but they things I need to keep in mind. I might even write them in my diary to remind myself.

So this morning I was inspired to share my Top 5’s for the year. What are yours?

Cassiy 

 

Handmade Charity Bag Extras 2019

For my charity bags this year I did make a few things to add into them.

 

Firstly were the sleeping eye masks. All the fabric and supplies came from my stash. The fabric used was leftover from another project, the elastic and binding were items I had on hand. A useful project made from stash items.

The second thing I made were infinity scarves from the leftover fabric of my Brickwork poncho. These are narrower than the infinity scarf I made for myself but I think are still a good size. They folded nicely to fit in the bags. The brickwork fabric has 3 colours in it – blue, gray and white. I realised I had the same shades of cotton yarn in my stash to match so I had to knit bangles to match the scarves! Knitted bangles are super easy to do. I love that I could make them match the scarves. I knitted myself a set of the bangles to match my poncho whilst I was making these.

I loved adding in handmade items into the bags this year. It is something I will do again for next years bags. I’m not sure what I will make yet, bangles for sure but as for other things I’m undecided at this time. I have 12 months to figure it out!

Cassiy

Charity Bags 2019

Last weekend I donated bags to Share The Dignity for their “It’s In The Bag” campaign. If don’t live in Australia or are not familiar with Share The Dignity they are a charity who support woman and girls across Australia who are in crisis. Each year they encourage people to fill a handbag with essentials that we all take for granted (toiletries, sanitary items, etc) The bags are distributed through local community groups to woman and girls who need them. I made up 3 bags this year. I make my bags as I don’t own any old handbags plus it is a way for me to use my sewing skills and fabric stash.

I used the same pattern I used last year which is McCalls M6338 View D. This pattern is a picnic tote bag but makes a great size handbag. I don’t include the extra pockets on the inside or outside. You make it a little differently to your average tote bag due to the drawstring top section but it still super easy to make.

The fabric I used was some I found in my stash during my “I love My Fabric Party” Unfortunately due to the way I stored my fabric previously the fabric had fade marks on it. I couldn’t use it for clothing but it was perfect for bag making. It is a flocked denim fabric that I fell in love with when I brought it. I played pattern tetris tracing out all the outer bag and tops from the piece. I just fitted them all on it. As the pattern pieces are straight edges it was easy to place the pattern piece on the fabric and trace around it with my quilting ruler and chalk pen. It didn’t take long at all to do them. Once the bags were finished you couldn’t see the fade marks at all. The fabric is sturdy too which helped the bags hold their shape.

For the handles and inner lining bags I used some blue rose fabric I brought a few months ago. This was fabric I only brought due to my obsession with blue roses. It is a quilting cotton more than a dressmaking cotton. It would have been too stiff for me to wear but was perfect for these bags. I was originally hoping to the handles in the denim but I didn’t have enough. I actually like how I have done the handles and the inner bags the same as it doesn’t look like I ran out of fabric for the handles, design feature! The drawstring is some ribbon from my stash. I needed to use a narrower drawstring than I used last year as the denim is rigid and the wider drawstring I originally inserted make it hard to pull the bags closed. These are my favourite bags yet. I love the colour, the fabrics. They fill up as a nice size.

I start collecting for my bags each year pretty much after I have donated the last lot. I have a box I stash everything in. I filled my bags with toiletries I had salvaged from hotel stays throughout the year, hair accessories/makeup I have brought on sale, socks, stockings, a few things I have made, face washers I have been given. When it come to filling the bags I empty out my collection box and divide it amongst the amount of bags I have.

I already have fabric set aside to make for next years bags. Next year I’m setting myself the $20 challenge. In 2020 I’m not going to be staying in as many hotels as I did this year which means I’m going to have to buy more of the items which I fill the bags with. Frugal me is up for the challenge and will be on the lookout for bargains and freebies throughout the year. I’m going to make a few things from my stash too. I really like supporting this charity and wish to continue for many years.

Cassiy

 

Cat Toy Footballs

I’m not crazy cat lady but I have made toys for cats for Christmas!

I used the same football pattern that I had made previously. These are just basic stuffed amigurumi toys or in simpler terms just crocheted toys. I didn’t put any catnip in them as I didn’t have any. If I decide to make more cat toys I might get some catnip to put in with the stuffing. The yarn I used was Stylecraft Special DK. It is an acrylic yarn but I like working with it as it so soft.

These never actually started out as cat toys. I started the first ball in November last year when I went up north to my friends place for a couple of days with the intention of them being a kids gift this year  I came home put the project bag down and never got around to finishing them. Whilst clearing up my spare room I came across the project bag and guess what was in the bag my missing 3mm crochet hook! Instead of wasting the half finished ball I decided to finish it. Just like human kids no one likes to share their toys so I had to make a 2nd one.

 

These toys are for my knitting helpers that I had when I was working on B’s Birthday socks in January. For cats that aren’t used to being around yarn (my friend isn’t crafty) they were really well behaved both times I was up there working with my yarn around them.

Feeling good after making these. It is a fun pattern and I’m glad my original toy didn’t go to waste.

Cassiy

Disabled And Proud

This is the hardest post I have ever written and the most honest. It is something I think I needed to write. It will help explain a few things if I casually refer to them later on but it is also a post I needed to write for me.

I have been disabled my pretty much entire life but for a long long time I never really identified as being disabled. It was just there and it was my normal. I was born with a condition that used to be known as “clicky hips” which is Hip Dysplasia but it wasn’t picked up until after I started walking when my mum saw me walking in front of her and thought I didn’t walk right. I spent months in hospital in traction having my tendons lengthened. Whilst most kids first word is “mum or dad” my first word was “hurt” which I said as mum was carrying me home from hospital on the train after my tendon lengthening. She was excited that I was talking than realised I was in pain. I later had surgery on both hips to correct the dysplasia (open reduction on left hip, closed reduction on right hip) and I spent months in a hip spica. A hip spica is a torso to ankle plaster. I used to crawl in my hip spica and there still might be marks on a doorway at my parents house where I rubbed away the paint and plaster as I was going into the kitchen. Clever me even learnt to stand up in my hip spica which freaked mum out. I also then spent time in a brace after my spica. Thankfully Hip Dysplasia is now picked up at birth for babies born with it and treated straight away to try to prevent further hip complications.

In my hip spica with my guardian by my side

My childhood years were just like every other kid except I knew couldn’t run as fast as the others or do things like cartwheels, touch my toes or ride a bike (I never got off my training wheels) as my balance wasn’t the best. I played netball for 9 years, goal keeper and shooter were my favourite positions where I didn’t have to run as much (to this day I still shoot things into bins) I had a hip scar that the other kids didn’t have and I limped a fair bit (more if I was tired) but it was my normal and I didn’t think any differently. Every few years I would go and have hip x-rays but that was it. I did dislocate my knee during netball training when I was 13 but I went back and played netball the following season so that didn’t stop me.

My hippo that I got at 16 ahead of my surgery which I named after my surgeon

When I was about 16 I was in a fair bit of pain and after some tests it was discovered my right hip was bone on bone rubbing it away it. I was faced with the option of surgery or being in a wheelchair by the age of 20, it was that bad. I didn’t want the surgery explained to me in full otherwise there was no way was my surgeon going to be able to get me on the operating table. At the time all I knew was my hip was going to be cut in 3 places, spun around and couple of pins put in it. I later discovered the official operation was a triple pelvic osteotomy, which is a hip reconstruction. The surgery took longer than expected as my surgeon just wasn’t happy with it. Months later the pins that were put in to hold in it in place shifted deeper inside my hip but as I was use to so much hip pain I didn’t really take much notice of it. After the osteotomy I was on regular crutches for a few months then went off them until the pins were removed. I was limping a lot but I was use to it. When it came time to remove the pins they couldn’t be located as the bone had grown over them and again the surgery took longer than expected as they had to find them.  When the pins were removed I was on regular crutches again for a short time but I continued to limp badly without them and I was in pain. I think I spent about 2 weeks off them before it was decided I needed to keep using one so I started using a canadian crutch or forearm crutch and I have been on it ever since. If you need to use a singular crutch canadian crutches are much more comfortable and easier. Bonus is you can hang stuff off them whilst you’re standng waiting at places. There was a couple of nights when I was 18 that I went out without it but I was in so much pain it wasn’t worth it. My surgery at 16 changed my life forever. I elected to repeat a year 11 as I had spent so much time off school that year due to my surgery. I had to change my career path because childcare was no longer an option. I’m ok now with what happened but for many years I wasn’t. There was days where I hated using the crutch and I have kicked it and thrown it many times in anger. At 24 I was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis. It was something that I knew was always going to develop but it pissed me off for a long time as in my mind I wanted to make it to 25 before I got it and I didn’t.

Injury caused by hypermobile fingers stuffing a toy

Roll foreword to more recent years. I have grown to accept I have a disability and embrace it. I’m hypermobile. Most of my joints bend back further than they should, I get minor subluxations which means my joints move out of place at times and I have to move the joint around to try and get things back into place, sometimes I can do it straight away other times several hours. Not all joints are flexible (still can’t touch my toes) but hypermobility isn’t necessarily in every joint for every person. All my joints click and often I need to crack them to relieve the pain. I was cracking my knees one morning so much a work colleague thought she was hearing rain hitting the window outside, I did crack up laughing at that.

 

Last year I discovered a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome  (EDS) I was honestly in tears reading about it. Hypermobility falls under the syndrome. Suddenly all these unrelated symptoms or conditions I have all made sense. Aside from the hypermobility issues I have anxiety, depression, digestive issues, pain, fatigue, random bruises, insomnia, sleep apnoea, brain fog the list goes on. Many health professionals I have spoken to do believe I have it, some without me even mentioning it first. I’m in the process of trying to get an official diagnosis of it which I am desperate for. It is hard to put it into words why I am desperate for a diagnosis. Part of me wants an easy answer to tell someone if I choose to tell them why I am disabled. I say if because my disability isn’t something that I should have to explain to complete strangers in random situations unless I want to (believe me that happens a lot) I hate referring to it as a condition that I had when I was a baby when that is coming up to nearly 40 years ago. Part of me want confirmation of EDS so that I know I’m not making this stuff up in my head that I go through everyday.

A few years ago I started using #disabledandproud on some of my Instagram photos. Not to big-note myself and say look I’m special but to just to be comfortable and connect my with my disability which is a major part of my life. I’m not ashamed of walking with a crutch in fact I love it. I know if I didn’t use I wouldn’t make it out of the house each day. Mobility aids no matter what they are shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of. I don’t need to use it at home or around my general area at work (unless I’m having a bad pain day) The crutch I is something I use that allows me to get on with life.

In some ways I am not a confident person (anxiety and introvert part of me) but I’m not afraid to speak up when it comes to things like asking for a seat on public transport for myself or others. I do question or point out issues in terms of disability access when I see them. I don’t generally make a big deal about my disability as it just part of my everyday life but it is a very big part of my life that I have come to accept. Currently I still get a lot of pain, some days more than others but not the same level I had at 16. I am very stubborn person and want to do everything on my own but sometimes I do need help and often it is hard for me to admit that. In my mind it is like admitting defeat and I don’t like to lose. Like a lot people with disabilities I have twisted sense of humour. My favourite song lyrics ever “No one should take themselves so seriously” come from the blink-182 song What’s my age again? I can make fun of myself and call myself a cripple, so can my close friends or others I meet who are disabled but no one else can joke about it. As I mentioned earlier a lot complete strangers think it is ok to comment about my disability, joke about it or make assumptions about me. This is not something new I’ve been dealing with comments and jokes from strangers for over 20 years. The best one was when I got in a lift once on a railway station platform and an older lady said she should stand near lift exit first as it would be quicker for her to get out than me. Red rag to a bull!! That was it the race was on and instead of taking the 2nd lift to exit the concourse area I took the stairs and I stood there smiling as she got out of the 2nd lift. As I said I don’t like to lose. I’m now sick of the comments I get from strangers. I don’t understand why people think it is acceptable to joke or comment but they do. I don’t quiz people as to why they are ignorant morons but I am now thinking I should.

If you have made it this far thank you for reading my ramblings 🙂 In previous posts I have mentioned my disability before but I hope this has given you a more of an understanding about me, not that I have to explain myself to anyone but I’m choosing to discuss it on this blog. It took me years to say it but I am Disabled and Proud!!

Cassiy

Brickwork Poncho

Earlier this year I picked up a great little sewing magazine Beginner’s Guide To Dressmaking. One of the main reason for buying it was I saw a pattern for a self drafted poncho. Since I brought it I have actually made 2 versions of the poncho. This is the first version I made.

The fabric I brought on my voucher shopping trip. It is a synthetic type scuba fabric. This isn’t fabric I would normally choose but the pattern calls for a scuba or heavy weight knit with drape. This fabric really spoke to me. I like the subtleness of the print. It came in a red and blue colour but this colour looked a little more classic.

The magazine steps you through how to measure out the fabric and cut the different pieces. It is a very simple make. The bland look on my face doesn’t show how much I actually like the finished poncho. Oh and I probably should have ironed it as it had been sitting on my lounge chair since I last wore it to work.

To cut out your neckline you are given basic measurements and instructions. I cut the neckline a little deep on this one perhaps. It does looks a little large and stretched out but I’m not bothered by it. I can easily take it on and off when I need too. You attach bands to the neckline like you do most tops. You can’t see it but on the back I had to piece my band as I ran out of fabric when I cut the original band. At least it is an easy way for me to tell the front from the back.

The back I am really happy with. The neckline doesn’t looks so stretched out and it covers my rounded shoulders which I think are improving. It is nice and long and gives me coverage at the back.

The pattern actually has you sew up the sides from the hemline to a point about ½ – ¾ the way up on the sides. I opted not to do this and have an open poncho. My reason not to do it was to make waking with the crutch easier, it gives me more range of movement. On my free shoulder I can also carry bag over the top of the poncho or underneath it. This works well except when it is really windy as the fabric just flys around. Generally it isn’t that windy so not is not too much of any issue.

The bands that run down the sides and the front are cut in a different direction to the main body of the poncho. With this print I love the contrast in direction to the body. I’m not usually into contrast details but I really like it on this. It is just a small detail but it adds interest.

As mentioned I brought the fabric from The Fabric Store with my voucher. In my head I had to have this poncho finished in time to wear it to the Spoolette’s VIP shopping night that was held in August as part of the Frocktails weekend. One of the girls working the day I brought the fabric was working that night and was excited to see I’d made my poncho. I’m a total dag so I had to pose with the bolt of fabric when I saw it again 🙂

I haven’t done this in a while but things to consider when I’m making clothing

  1. Comfort
  2. Classic
  3. Creative / Quirky
  4. Natural Fabrics ×

This ticks 3 out of 4 but I am happy with that. It is really comfortable and they style is a classic style poncho. The brickwork print is a bit quirky but in a sophisticated style quirky if that is even a thing. Even though the fabric is a synthetic it isn’t hot so wouldn’t irritate me. I wear it with layers so it isn’t too close to my body.

It is possible that I will still wear it this summer when I walk to work in the cooler hours of the day. Working in air conditioning I have my shoulders covered so this would be perfect for that. I can easily take it off if I go outside.

Cassiy

 

Change Of Direction

I have been thinking a lot about my blog lately and have decided to change direction a little and have added a new category “The Other Side of StitchNSew”

What does that mean?
This blog will still remain predominantly craft focused but from time to time in this new category I can blog about other aspects of my life that aren’t necessarily craft related. There is a lot more to my interests other than just yarn and fabric and in this new category I can share them.

Why the change?
The main reason is that now that I’m no longer making so many gifts I won’t have each week a finished project to blog about. I’m still crafting but things are taking longer to finish or I am finishing items but not getting the chance to photograph them quick enough to blog about them. If you follow me on Instagram @stitchnsew you will see on that I already share other parts of my life there so this is really just an extension of that.

What will I blog about?
I will might share books I’ve read or adventures I’ve gone which are non craft related. I’m frugal in many ways so I might share things in relation to that. Years ago I tried to start a second blog which was non craft related but I soon realised I couldn’t maintain 2 blogs so I stopped the second one. I’m not going to focus on any topic directly. It will just be a mixture of whatever is on my mind or going on in my life. I’m just going to relax and have fun. As I mentioned it won’t be every week I’ll blog in this new category but just whenever I feel like it.

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog. I hope you continue to read it and get to see another side of me 🙂

Cassiy