Being Frank…

Accepting my failings

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Yehaaaaaaaaaa! It’s the WIP roundup…

I’m hoping towards the end of this week to start putting photographs on the blog again having now sorted out my technological issues…in the meantime a status report…

This month the emphasis has been on decluttering rather than making,  so not much stash busting but little purchasing so I guess I end the month on a win

WIP’s first since I am feeling quite pleased with myself… you see I’ve finished my Mum’s cardigan…ok so when I say finished I mean I’ve stopped knitting, Mum is unfortunately still waiting for the finished article as it needs ends sewn in, sewing up washing blocking.  Pikkuveli on the other hand now has buttons and is in the cupboard waiting for winter

Myrna is on the naughty step but Liam and Catkin have both been examined, detangled and places found in the pattern

Everything else remains untouched or unphotograph or both

In sewing Hollyburn has been recut and is waiting resewing…nothing else resolved…I was too busy getting through second sleeve syndrome


Yarn –I ended July with 5556 grams and have ended August with 5756 having purchased 2 balls of sock yarn whilst on holiday (from a German supermarket) – I have however run out of hat sized bits of leftovers and have donated lots of ends of balls to an organisation in Nottingham who amongst other things are knitting poppies 

Material     Stash end of July 9959cm  Stash at end of August 9809cm

I made 2 Mabel’s this month although I counted 1 of them in the last round up. Both need hemming…neither of which are likely to be hemmed this side of Christmas (not even the one that was the right side) as I have it on good authority that the Mabel is not for me!

Fabric used 1.5 metres, 0.5 metres from stash…

However, none purchased… not sure I will be saying that next month as the weather is turning and thoughts are turning to thicker fabrics…of which I seem to own few…


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Stash Down

Sometime ago I made a sewresolution that I would find the perfect skirt pattern by making 3 skirts a month, different skirt each month… then I came down with flu and lost my sewjo for almost a year…

I started again this January…because lets face it I wear skirts a lot both for work and for home…and 12 months on I was still in the same clothing crisis I was in the previous January – I hate buying clothes, I’m sorry but there it is, I know I should be drummed out of the girls club… don’t fit in, never have, never will…stopped trying anyway…

Anyway this time there is a twist…a twist because I am feeling guilty and afraid that I may be turning into a cloth hoarder (but the prints are so pretty and the knits feel so goooooood !)…so wherever possible I shop the stash first before I buy

These are the results so far…I can’t give percentages as “stash” is an ever changing state of being… and I take a loose definition in that its anything that’s been in the house for more than 6 months…

January – sewed just under 7 metres from stash out of a total of 9.5 metres

February – 3 metres sewn from stash, 3 metres sewn all told

March – 6.5 metres sewn from stash out of a total of 6.5 metres

April – 4.5 metres stash, 4.5 metres sewn total

Then thing started to go a bit wrong

May – 5 metres, all out of my Mum’s stash, although tecnnically 2 metres were mine just were living at Mum’s…all of which were charity shop finds so I guess if we were keeping score I’d get points for that ?

June – none, not sewn there is still time and I do sort of have a skirt on the go but I’ve been lost in a house reorganisation…besides this is a skirt out of leftovers and I’m not sure how you count that

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An accidental participant in Me Made May

Seeing as I only have 4 sewn garments to my name, (one of them being a clothkit skirt and another being on its last legs) I didn’t sign up for Me Made May… but I do tend to wear at least something I’ve made every day… more so since I tried the 12 in 12 challenge as there has hardly been a day in the last 9 months where I haven’t needed a jumper or a cardigan.

It came as a surprise to realise as I was standing on the train platform this morning that I was wearing no less than 5 me made items…ok so by the time I was catching the train home I had discarded 2 of them and my coat (Yay ! It’s spring at last!!!)

So the 2 discards first…a bright pink hat (wurm…not yet blogged or photographed) and a great scrunchable scarf in a shade of teal  (hmmm maybe I should pay more attention to co ordinating my outfits…but then that would involve more co ordination of my wardrobe palette…maybe sometime…but not yet).

Knitted socks…because I don’t have any decent  shoes at the moment and I’m still wearing winter boots  (note to self: Buy some spring appropriate shoes…or shall I wait to see if the nice weather lasts)

A fitted tunic style jumper in lilac…well I guess that goes with the pink hat…and possibly the scarf  (incidentally has anyone checked out Catkin yet ? Isn’t it stunning yet simple…)…I can’t post a picture of it unfortunately as I am a long way behind with photographing things…

and finally a skirt… yes I have made a skirt that I am happy to wear to work…unfortunately I haven’t made any others…

So today I made my debut in Me Made May…and it is also my finale…. hey it was fun whilst it lasted…

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I’m a winner !!!

I read a lot of blogs but I am more of a lurker than a commenter…(I find it hard enough some days to think of something to say here). As a result I don’t tend to enter giveaways very often as I don’t think I should unless it is a blog I have commented on from time to time or is one I have on my blog roll. Very very rarely I break my rule and on this occasion I am glad I did.

I have been lurking Anna (Paunnet blog) for some time and slowly reading my way through her archives…so I felt I could enter her giveaway without feeling guilty…and besides with such lovely By Hand London patterns to give away there would be lots of entries so my chances were slim…

But no, when the name came out of the hat for the Charlotte skirt it was me !


I am very excited and very very grateful to Anna…

Previously I would have avoided a pencil skirt on the grounds that girls with big hips and backsides should steer themselves towards A lines…but on recent evidence (since January I have managed to make 2 long straight skirts) may be that this shapely skirt might be a better bet !

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Body shape…and how you can’t believe everything you read in a style guide

About 3 years ago I had a stolen morning in Stratford upon Avon away from the housework, Husband and Spider. I  treated myself to having my colours done. One day when I actually start using this information I may post about it here, but by and large the colour wallet has been carried around and not much used.

However some of the things the lovely  Cat said during the session have stuck in my head one of which was that we tend to gravitate naturally to the colours that suit us (she was explaining that having your colours done was away of extending your colour range into things you might not have thought about and thus extending your wardrobe…and I think she may be right as I have never met a red I didn’t like (and that didn’t like me in return), my wardrobe has a lot of red in it and so does the colour wallet I carry around. My wallet also has several greens which I have always avoided and several blues…

I think the same can be said of clothing styles and maybe we should trust ourselves more than advice from fashion gurus…for example  I have a long body and very short legs.  The advice out there says I should end my skirts just above my knee because this will make my legs look longer, whereas skirts that finish on the knee or just below the knee will make me look shorter.

What the magazines don’t usually say is that you also have to take width into account. My widest point is my hip and thigh area and as  I have recently discovered, if I stop my skirts above my knee it actually emphasises how wide I am AND oddly how short my legs are. Looking in my wardrobe I see that pretty much all my skirts are long and I mean long long. We are not talking stopping just below the knee here but mid calf to just above the ankle sort of long.

The strange thing is I can’t remember how this happened. I just know that since age 17 or 18 I have by and large gravitated towards long skirts. I remember a couple of shorter ones but they tended to be very tailored and usually accompanied by a suit jacket.

“Ahhh” says the Fashion Guru “so you are a girl with wide hips. You need an A line skirt to emphasise your waist and skim lightly over your hips”

Ha, remember this from about 3 years ago

september 2009 047Well that’s me in a self drafted loosely fitting A line which stops pretty much on my knees. I’d assumed the issue here was the elasticated waist. Well I guess partly it is but partly I think it may be the length. If I shorten it I think I’m still going to look wide…so maybe I should go long ?

Yesterday I made a muslin for the Colette Ginger. It is a classic A line skirt. I had to grade between sizes as I am considerably less wide at the waist than I am at the hips. It fits at the hips and then flares slowly down stopping I think at the knee…and…well…lets just say I was in too much shock to take photos. You must remember that I have been dreaming about this skirt for over a year now. I have made so many fabulous versions in my head. I just wasn’t ready for real life ! Husband, who has been an admirer of the female form for many years and can be counted on for an honest assessment said “It makes you look wide all the way down, the “A” shape keeps on widening you !”

I may take photos later after I’ve basted the zipper back in but I think I need to take it over to my Mum for a consult, because whereas Husband is an honest opinion, Mum  is a sewist and can help with alteration options such as:

a)  Make it not so fitted at the hip so that it drapes a bit more

b) Make it out of a material with more drape, the muslin is a thick old curtain

c) Make it longer

d) Make it shorter (doubt it)

e) Take out some of the flare so it’s not so wide at the hem

f) choose another pattern !

I think the problem I have here is that I gravitated early to a shape that I looked passable in and clung to it the way a survivor does to the shipwreck. I don’t know what other shapes suit me because I’ve never experimented… whereas other teenage girls I grew up with loved shopping I always found it a trial…remember the communal changing rooms of the 80’s ???

I know I can’t rely on fashion style advice because it’s all too general, talking about “Apples”, “Pears” and “Triangles” whereas really we tend to be a bit of one shape and a bit of the other.  Me I’m an hourglass fading into pear…I’m a standard size on the top but a petite below the waist…

I think possibly I need to go and see Cat again and make use of her wardrobe consultation service…at least that is specific…

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I made a resewlution…

At the beginning of the year Karen at Did you make that ? invited people to make a “sewlution” of what they wanted to achieve in the year. She’s put all the “sewlutions” in a jar and periodically will check up on how people are getting on with their aim for the year.

I made a sewlution. It appears quite a modest one as I want to sew a skirt which fits where it should and skims over where it doesn’t need to fit…I am looking for the holy grail of skirts, the skirt of perfect fit.  Quite an easy goal eh ? Just sew one skirt the whole year…

The small print though shows that I’m aiming for a little bit more. Actually I am aiming to sew 36 skirts. A new pattern every month and once the first fit of the pattern has been achieved, to follow my Mum’s advice which is that if you’ve taken the trouble to make sure your pattern fits you then make the most of your time and sew the pattern at least twice more.

I figure that, starting as I am from an empty wardrobe (OK 5 skirts) if I manage to make another 36 of which 50% are a reasonable fit then that should at least give me a decent selection of bottoms to go with all the T-shirt tops and cater for both work and home wear.

Only, I haven’t exactly got off to a good start.  Most of January was taken up with trying to get the Tirimisu bodice to fit…and then I took an ego boost break and made a pair of sheep pyjamas just to remind myself I could sew….and then…I came down with the flu.

The PJ’s were called into action towards the end of my enforced bed rest  as I started to run out of nightwear…I still have the seams to finish off, need to secure the elastic and to do the hems.


Flu has stolen 14 days of my life. I’m still not well but I’m capable of reading emails…fortunately it snowed here in Warwickshire overnight so I was able to work from home today rather than dealing with travelling to Reading whilst recuperating from flu.

So here we are, half way through February and I am already 3 skirts down… I’ve spent a large part of the last 14 days…well the bits I was conscious for (I have slept A LOT !) dreaming of tracing off a sweatshirt skirt from the Burda January 2013 issue. You’ll note I’ve only been dreaming of tracing the pattern off, it may be some time before I have the energy to make the skirt as well !

With a bit of luck I may manage 1 skirt by the end of February…course if it turns out to be “the skirt” then I can stop there, I’ll have achieved my goal…won’t have made much of an impact on the wardrobe crisis though !

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One of my worst habits is putting things off…often this is due to fear, fear of screwing something up, fear of making a mess of things and of ruining the materials…I am very good at finding reasons not to do things, telling myself “oh I can’t do that until I’ve done this”.

Sometimes though you just have to seize your fear and go for it…like the time I kept putting off decorating a 3 bedroomed house because I was scared of messing up wallpapering…I finally had to accept that no one was going to appear magically and do it for me (although my parents did wallpaper a room for me as a surprise for me when I was on holiday for which I was very very grateful) so I bought some plain lining paper and took the plunge.

I have this with sewing, except I am not scared of sewing, I enjoy sewing. What I am scared of is spending time on making something only for it to look terrible when I put it on…you see, since Spider was born I have been suffering from a “jelly belly”, my tummy muscle are completely shot and a liking for Gin (with full fat tonic) and red wine is not improving things much…I’m also scared of other people making things for me, my Mum has been waiting for me to trace off  pattern for her so that she can make me a skirt…she’s had the material waiting and ready for 10 months now…

Anyway, I can’t keep avoiding the issue, I have to jump into the abyss (because I have virtually no clothes, and the few that are in my wardrobe have been worn to death) …there must be a skirt out there that will look good, that doesn’t draw attention to the mummy tummy…so what I would like to achieve at some point over the year is  the Perfect Skirt…