Black Poncho

 

This is the second poncho I made from A Beginner’s Guide To Dressmaking magazine. I really fell in love with the poncho is this magazine, it is a really simple project to make it.

The fabric I used on this one is a french terry which I purchased with my discount voucher from February Frocktails from the Fabric Store. One side of the fabric has the french terry and the other side is like velour so it is very plush. It is a thicker fabric than my Brickwork poncho so doesn’t have the same drape but I still think has a nice shape.

I did cut the neckline smaller on this one. Perhaps a tad bit too small as I have to be careful if I’m taking it on and off at work that I don’t mess up my hair (yes I’m vain at times) The neckline isn’t strangling me and is giving me more coverage across my shoulders and back.

Instead of adding bands to the bottoms and side of this poncho I just extended the width and length to the poncho before cutting it. I knew both my overlocker and sewing machine would go into meltdown with such bulky seams that the bands would create. Also adding the extra width meant it was faster sew as there were less construction steps.

On the shoulders I just overlocked the edges before I stitched them together then topstitched them down. To cover all my other raw edges I used leftover bias tape from my Black Dolman top. I stitched the raw edges of the tape and the poncho together then folded it under and top stitched down. Super simple but more machine friendly.

This was one of those projects where I actually spent an entire day sewing on it. I’d cut out the pieces the weekend before then the following Saturday started sewing. Normally I sew for only a short period of time then I get bored or I get sore. My attention span can be very short sometimes. I just kept going back and doing another step on this or sewing another seam and before I knew it poncho was done in the day.

It is too hot to wear this now that it is summer but I did get a couple of wears of it this year. One thing I discovered is that ponchos don’t sit under backpacks easily. I just have to keep that in mind when I’m going to wear one. Most days for work I just have a shoulder bag which easily fits under the side of the poncho. I love this poncho. When I wear it with my velvet York I’m very textural. I walk up to work colleagues and say “Go on pat me I know you want too” because people love the feel of both fabrics, I certainly do. I’m not normally a touchy feely person but I don’t mind in this poncho.

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

 

Culling Me Made Clothing And Accessories

So my decluttering journey continues. This time it was opening my drawers and culling items of clothing and accessories that I have made that I just don’t wear.

So what did I cull and why?

Basket Weave Skirt and Scarf

 

I don’t think I have even really worn this skirt since I made it even though the fabric was so soft. I thought I would wear it in Winter but I never did. When I made it the sizing was a little bit big and I know since I have made it I have lost weight so it would be falling off me now so out it went. There is no point in keeping the matching scarf which I made from the leftover fabric so that went too.

Roewood Skirt


As much as I love the colour and the fabric was really funky in texture I have only worn this a couple of times. The fit was a nice fit and I was really happy with that but the main thing for not wearing it I think was the fabric. It is a nylon spandex and I just don’t wear synthetic fabrics. I enjoyed making this skirt. The texture of the fabric was fun as it felt like fish scales but I have so many skirts and I don’t wear it. I would make the pattern again but this time in a cotton spandex not nylon.

A+ Skirts Green And Blue

I have made several of this skirt pattern but these 2 versions I just don’t wear. There is nothing wrong with them. As mentioned I have lost weight and the version I wear the most is currently taken in at the waist by a safety pin (needs permanent alteration) Before I had more skirts in my wardrobe I was wearing these a lot but now I have so many skirts I can’t remember the last time I wore each one

Longshaw Skirt

I nicknamed this my origami skirt due to how it freaked out my brain trying to fold it all together.   wore this skirt a few times last summer. The pockets are fantastic! I don’t know if it is the colour or the print but I always felt this skirt made me look too hippy. Not in the free spirted way more in the hips are huge way (which I know they are not) I want to make a black version of this pattern to see if the shape of this skirt really works for me but I know this version isn’t crash hot on me.

PJ Top

This was my first attempt at making clothing for myself back in 2014 although I never finished this until 2015. I have worn this top a couple of times but it way too big for me. I’m not comfortable in it as the neckline is too big. I am “Miss Paranoid” who is always concerned about getting a chill in my shoulders. This top does not give me the shoulder coverage. I think I even gave the pattern during my purge earlier this month. I don’t wear long sleeve shirts to bed so I won’t be making this again. It was a good learning experience so not a total waste.

PJ Pants

These pants were made from an old poly satin sheet. It was only reading my blog post back I remembered thinking they looked like scrub pants. Not just the style of them but more the classic operating theatre scrub colour. I wore them a few times but I stopped wearing them. From memory they were a bit big and were a trip hazard. Last year I took a tumble when my foot got caught in a pair of store brought pj pants and I stopped wearing anything really long baggy. I still have this pattern and would like to make more of them but this pair I don’t wear.

Pink Beanie

I am not a pink person. I made this when I was volunteering at a charity event with a pink theme. Sadly I don’t volunteer anymore at it. I could save it as a spare beanie for Mr StitchNSew but he has enough beanies in colours he actually wears so this one can go.

Tunisian Scarf

This scarf is now a felted scarf after I accidently washed it on the wrong setting in the washing machine. Even though it is felted there is nothing wrong with it. It is still lovely and soft but I just never get around to wearing it. I’d rather pass it on for someone else to get use out of it.

For me it wasn’t hard to cull my me made items. I know some people struggle to part with things that they have made and I can understand their reasoning for finding it hard. Whatever you make there is a lot of time, costs and hard work that goes into making each item. I don’t know if I find it easier as I have been making gifts for years so I’m used to items I’ve made leaving my house or if it is because I am detaching myself from the emotional side of things when as I am decluttering. I don’t want to get all Marie Kondo and say I have picked up each item and asked myself “does it spark joy in my life?” That wasn’t how I looked at my clothing and all the items I’m in the process of decluttering. I look at it purely from a practicality side.

Do I wear it or use it?
Do I have another item that forms the same purpose?
Do I have the space for it?

If the answer is no then out it goes. I am not short of any clothing so there is no chance of me going naked anytime soon – the world breaths a sigh of relief 😉  I have more clothing than I actually need if I am to be honest. It isn’t just me made items I’m culling there are a lot of store brought items too that have gone and will continue to go from my wardrobe. I’m happy to take them to the charity bin. I would rather someone else get use out of them than them just sitting in my drawers and wardrobe. Every item I make is a chance to practice my skills on or try a new pattern or work with a new fabric. It wasn’t a wasted time making it. In a couple of years I will go through my wardrobe including my me made items again and cull items I’m no longer wearing. By then my style might have changed or maybe the colours I like might change – there will always be lots of blue Maybe I will go crazy and make 20 of the same pattern to find out I’m only wearing the same 3 each time, who knows what will be in my wardrobe.

Cassiy

 

 

Black Dolman

When I was at the first Cashmerette workshop last year I did a little fabric shopping and purchased some silk which I had no idea what I would make with. Jenny aka Cashmerette suggested I could make the Cedar Dolman top. You can either make the pattern with knits or wovens. I purchased the pattern and brought some cheap polyester black satin to make a test version. At the second workshop and with Jenny’s help I traced out the pattern on to trace and toile. That was February last year. I finally got around to making up my test version.

As the fabric was very sheer I decided I would try french seams for the first time. Why not try a new pattern and a new sewing technique on only your second time working with slippery fabric. Yes I thought I was a little nuts but doing french seams on this was actually easy to do. I cut my front piece on the fold so really I only had the shoulder and side seams to do. With a lot of pins it was easy enough to do. With the leftover fabric I made continuous bias binding and used that for the remaining raw edges around the neck, sleeves and bottom hem.

Modifications To Original Pattern

  • Cut the front piece on the fold
  • Added 4″ to both front and back pieces instead of doing the bottom band
  • Did french seams on the shoulders and sides
  • Used binding around the neckline instead of the neckline facing
  • Finished the hem on sleeves and bottom with binding

Yes it is polyester and I’m unlikely to wear it in summer but I love this top. The fit is really good. If anything I may bring in the shoulders in by about 1/2″ at the neckline but that is only a maybe. It doesn’t look to big and baggy but it is comfortable. Even in the polyester I was ok.

Will I make this pattern again? Absolutely!! I’m going to attempt it with the silk I brought. Woven cottons in summer, knits for winter. I’m sure it won’t be the last time you see me making this pattern.

Cassiy

 

Blue Velvet Pinafore


Back in June when I went to use the voucher from the Fabric Store I won at Frocktails in February the second I walk into the shop a bolt of blue velvet jumped out at me. I am a Bower bird so I am attracted to any blue really but to be honest this is my shade of blue is my favourite. I used to love the song “Electric Blue” by Ice House when I was a kid, it is still a great song. The fabric just screamed York Pinafore.

If you haven’t read my blog before this is now Pinafore number 4. I decided to do the pockets different this time. To recap the pattern the York comes with a couple of options that you can make in full or mix and match to create the Pinafore for you.
Version A – Longer length, scooped neck, rounded pockets
Version B – Shorter length, higher neck, kangaroo pocket

On previous versions I’ve made version B but at the length of A. This time I made version A but with the neckline of B. There is nothing wrong with the kangaroo pocket and trust me I use it a lot in my others but in this fabric I thought it needed rounded pockets. I also took down the higher neckline down by about an inch.

This was a slow make taking me about a month from when I first ironed the fabric to when I finished it. I didn’t mind because I was enjoying making it. Doing little steps here and there when I had the chance like make the pockets, make the binding, sew a seam made me realise I don’t need to sew an entire garment in a week to actually finish something. I can do little steps here and there and come out with a finished project without being mentally or physically exhausted from making it which can happen with me. I am not the type of sewer who can spend 12 hours in a day making something from scratch and finishing it. My disability places limitations on my body so I have to be aware of my limits so that my body doesn’t punish me afterwards for doing something I love to do.

Modifications To The Original Pattern

  • Made the pockets patch pockets instead of sewing the sides of the pockets into the side seam line
  • Fully lined the pockets to be more sturdy
  • Deepened the higher neckline by 1″
  • Made continuous bias binding for all raw edge

I love the finished dress. Towards the end when I was top stitching down the binding I thought this could be my Spring Frocktails dress. I won the voucher at the last Frocktails why not wear something I brought with it to this Frocktails next month. It was never my intention when I brought the fabric but a blue velvet dress is pretty fancy for Frocktails, well as fancy as I go anyway.

Cassiy

 

Baggy Pants

Confession I actually made these pants in May 2018 but I hadn’t actually got around to blogging about them.

I was after some simple pull on elastic waisted pants, a wardrobe staple. After going through my pattern stash I decided I would try Simplicity 1446. The pattern looked fairly easy and it was what I was after plain pull on pants. To top it off it had in seam pockets!!

 

Now to be honest I can’t even remember what size I traced out. I would have to hold up the pattern pieces to the pattern sheet to see which one I used. The fabric I used I picked up from a Spoolette’s fabric swap. It was a nice cotton so easy to work with. Considering it was “free” fabric it was great to test out a new pattern with.


After I finished them I knew they were too baggy. The waist was ok but the crotch area was very baggy. It didn’t stop me wearing them and I think I did get a lot of wear out of them last winter.

Sadly they developed a hole in the back centre seam. I put them aside and to be honest I forgot about them and other clothing got piled up over them on a clothes stand I have in my bedroom. Every so often I would do a clean up and see them but I never got around to mending the hole until May this year when I wanted to wear them again.

I don’t know why I put off mending things when it doesn’t take that much time, it was only one seam after all. Once I washed them again and then wore them on a weekend away I discovered with them so baggy the crotch seam actually caused a graze on my inner thigh. I hadn’t wore them since about June or July last year but between then and May/June this year I’ve lost some weight and I think that is why the seam caused the graze.

After washing them again I have put them in the donate pile. I would like to make the pattern again as the pockets were great. I’m not going to use the same pattern pieces as last time. I’ll redo my measuresments and look at which is the best size to trace off now.

Cassiy

Me Made May 2019 Wrap Up

So for the 2nd year I did Me Made May. This year I set myself the challenge of not repeating a me made item on the same day of the week for the entire month. I was documenting what I was wearing each day on Instagram to keep track of which day I wore what.

Ok so I don’t know if I cheated as I never really thought about what I called “me made item” I guess I meant in terms of clothing I have sewn and not knitted items. This year May ended up being really cold as I wore a lot knit wear in terms of cowls and shawls. My Magician’s Cape got a lot wear which is great as I never actually got to wear it last year. I did discover that my skin is a little sensitive to the yarn so I couldn’t wear it close against my neck. If I had my work jersey collar pulled high or if I wore a cowl directly around my neck I had no issues with the cape. I’m glad I got a lot of wear out of the cape in May and I’m sure I will continue to this winter.

 

In terms of the items I had stitched which I guess really was my challenge I did ok. I never actually repeated a me made item with the same RTW work t-shirt or on weekends my outfits were never repeated on the same day for the month. The way I wear clothing is that unless a skirt or pinafore gets dirty I will wear it several times before I wash it, dresses and tops are different they get washed after every wear. As a result of the way I wear things I didn’t actually get through a lot of different me made items. I found myself wear the same skirts and dresses that I have been pretty much wearing all year. With the skirts they were with the different RTW tops but not repeated on the same day of the week.

I did actually mix things up a little in terms of wearing my black lou box top differently to how I normally do. I wouldn’t say on weekends I was getting desperate but weekends became a challenge as I normally live in store brought leggings and music t-shirts. The only t-shirts I’ve made are pj shirts and if I went out on a weekend I couldn’t exactly wear them to do the groceries so I tried my black top with leggings and decided I love it. I now want to actually make more of these tops so I can wear them casually.

Having made 5 Turner skirts meant I was able to do a work week of Turner skirts which was fun and made me realise I don’t wear my green one enough. Black and Lego get worn pretty much weekly and so is now my sesame street. I do wear my red one but not as much as my green so I think I need to rotate these two more.

I thought I would wear my Kinder cardigans a lot this year but in fact I only wore my teal one once and that was it. Last year I loved them but this year I think it looked a bit too big on me and I wasn’t drawn to wear it. Another draw back was that it doesn’t do up at the front and as I mentioned May was cold this year in the mornings and I didn’t want to wear something I couldn’t do up. I have considered making one and adding a zipper to the front so I might try that and also go down a size.

Another discovery was I really hate with my concord t-shirt. The pattern is great but the one I have made just doesn’t fit me. The neckline is too wide for me and I will need to do a round back adjustment if I was to make this again which I want to do. I wore it one day and it was uncomfortable but the good news is that the sleeves aren’t as tight as they were when I first made it so my arms have toned up but I will still need to do a bicep adjustment on it.

Will I do Me Made May 2020? To be honest I’m not sure. I have thought about this and have decided if I do my challenge isn’t going to be focused on wearing items but maybe more in the planning of items from patterns, fabrics and yarn in my stash. Since last years Me Made May I now have a lot of me made items in my wardrobe and it is very rare for me not to wear a me made item to work. In ways I found the challenge I set myself a little stressful. I had to really think ahead of what I was going to wear and when. I had a couple events that I wanted to wear certain items to so I had to make sure they were clean for that or I that I didn’t wear the item on that day of the week beforehand so I could wear it on the day. I have particular items I can wear with sneakers so I had to plan ahead to ensure I could wear them that day as I need too a few times in the month. With the stress of work and few other things going on thinking ahead about my clothing was something I didn’t need. I hang my clothes out the night before work for the next day and that’s about as much planning as I want to do which I know is why I set my challenge to get out of that habit of just thinking a day ahead but really that is how I function. I’m not totally convinced I will be doing it next year. It was fun seeing everyone with their me made items on Instagram. I liked seeing the different outfits people wore, it gave me ideas on items I would like to make or styles I would like to try.

Cassiy