Happy (belated) birthday to me!

The start of November saw a “significant” birthday for me – I turned 25. Hurrah! I think it sounds like a nice, responsible age, and seeing as I’m training to be a teacher, that’s a good thing. I want to at least seem what I know like I’m doing, after all.

I had a great day, including dinner with my parents at a pub-restaurant called the Prince of Wales. It’s a little expensive, but the food was really great, so if you have a fancy occasion in Sheffield, I can highly recommend it.

Of course, birthdays mean presents, and this year I got some pretty cracking sewing-related gifts. Shall we take a look?

It’s funny, my boyfriend lives in quite a small city in the centre of Germany, but it seems to be full of fabric shops! There are three within walking distance of his flat, which is very exciting for me and very boring for him. I visited him just before my birthday, and he gave me some €€€ and sent me loose.

I got everything at a place called StoffHaus (Fabric House). Nothing I bought was more than ten euros a metre, and I the quality is really nice. They also had some really fancy expensive silks and wools, if you were looking for something for a special project. You can also order from them online, although I’m not sure whether they ship outside of Germany.

This is a grey knit that will become my first attempt at sewing with knits. I am completely clueless when it comes to things like two-way stretch and stability and I don’t have an overlocker, but I’m hoping that I can turn this into a nice loose-fit dress by improvisation and sheer force of will.

I am so in love with this black and red houndstooth print wool. I actually had my eye on this for a Sew Over It Joan dress, but unfortunately they only had 1.4m left, so it’s going to become a pencil skirt instead.

More wool! I actually picked this up and put it back four times, then I decided if I’d been dithering that much, I’d regret not getting it. I want to make this into a relaxed-fit jacket, because I think the key to teaching is to having endless jackets and cardigans on standby.

And more wool!!! It was hard to get a photo of this one. It’s quite plain grey, I wanted to make some trousers… I haven’t decided if they should be slim leg and modern or wide leg and super forties yet.

That was my birthday fabric haul. Pretty good, eh? I was also the lucky recipient of this Vogue pattern:

I really like view C in particular: I’m planning to make up a few versions in different fabrics for summer and winter. At the moment I’m obsessed with having clothes I can wear in or out of work. That’s not too hard, because most schools aren’t crazy strict about what teachers wear, and I tend to like smart stuff anyway, but I do think my wardrobe needs a bit of bolstering with my job in mind.

Another friend bought me this book. Apologies in advance for the terrible photos, but the weather in Sheffield is so grim that my camera switched to its “night scene” settings and in the end I gave up a bit. But! I am the proud owner of Sew Scandinavian by Kajsa Kinsella.

It doesn’t have any dressmaking projects, but it has plenty of adorable decoration and accessory ideas. I’m planning on making this Nordic scene…

…thess lavender bags to make my drawers smell fresh…

…and this Dala horse earphone tidy! SO. ADORABLE.

 

And now for the big one… I asked all of one side of my family to club together to get something I’ve become more and more convinced I need…

This is the Lady Valet dressmaker’s dummy from Adjustoform. At risk of sounding like a copywriter, it has eight parts, so there’s plenty of room for adjustment in there – you can even change the back length. It also came with some handy bits: a tape measure (I’m always misplacing mine, so good to have several), a free-standing hem-market, and a clothes brush (essential if, like me, you share your house with four cats). I am completely in love – she’s so beautiful and professional looking. I am sure she will be a huge help in my sewing, so I can continue posting my home-made wares!

Trousers or pants? – New Look K6217

Of course that’s a rhetorical question, because these are clearly called trousers. But more importantly: the lovely Simo returns!

The pattern is New Look K6217, which I got free with Sew Magazine. You saw the simple top from this pattern here. I’m getting my mileage out of this one! They’re super quick and easy to make up – there are only four pattern pieces, and then the waist is finished with twill tape. The legs are a lot looser than you might guess from the drawing on the pack, so if you want a skinnier fit, I’d cut the legs a size smaller than you cut the hips and waist.

 

Simo actually picked out the fabric for these in January in John Lewis, my favourite overpriced department store. It’s 100% cotton and I think it was £10 or £12 per metre, which isn’t too outrageous.

Side note – Simo and I once went on a yoga retreat together where she upstaged me with her bendiness.

These photos were taken in Zürich by her conveniently obliging boyfriend – thank you Ansis! (They do live there, they didn’t travel to Switzerland just for the photos or anything.) We have another long distance sewing project currently in the works, so keep your eyes peeled, readers!

A designer conundrum, or: Help!

What to do? I recently became the owner of a beautiful Pierre Cardin coat. I know, so far that doesn’t sound like a crisis. But listen up: it was given to me by my boyfriend, so, well, it’s a man’s coat. And dear readers – I’m appealing for your help. How am I going to make this fit me? The main problems are the sleeves and armscye, which are both too big. It could probably also do with some shaping in the back or around the bust, but I’m not sure…

One idea I had was to unpick everything so I have flat fabric, then use a woman’s coat pattern to reshape the pieces (hopefully, the pattern pieces would be smaller than the fabric pieces themselves). Is that something that could work? Am I completely crazy?

Have you ever undertaken a project like this? How did it work? Did you use any particular resources? Please – help me!