Mmmmm pie

Hi fellow sewing peeps

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will  already know that I’ve been working on reviewing my wardrobe the past few weeks. I’ve been struggling recently deciding what to make next and I think, other than the fact that I’ve got quite a few clothes already, it’s because I’m not putting enough planning into co-ordinating my outfits and, probably more importantly, I don’t have a solid base of neutrals to pull things together.

A random reference by Ruth recently to this website led me down a rabbit-hole of beautiful colours, capsule wardrobe plans and a format for pulling together a whole wardrobe which seems to make the effort of choosing what to wear each day both simple and straightforward. And when life is busy and your time is precious,  that did sound awfully attractive. Also I’m not being paid to say this, all these opinions are entirely my own.

Now, I’m not normally big on planning what I make more than a couple of items ahead, and I don’t think that’ll change, but what I did learn is that if I work on simplifying the colours I wear, using just a few key neutrals, then I’ll have a wardrobe that co-ordinates better. Apologies if this seems obvious, and yes it is, but I’ve been working for a long time with a palette of about 30 colours I was given by Colour me Beautiful, years ago, which apparently should suit me. Of course I wanted to be able to choose ALL the colours. And I did!

After reviewing some of the suggested colour schemes I then set about Powerpoint,of all things, to pull together some of my favourites and came up with this Pie chart. Mmmmm pie!

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If I’ve understood correctly, the idea is to choose a couple of neutrals which work together (in this case I chose olive and khaki, the large sectors of colour at the bottom) You then pick a light neutral (which should work with all your colours, the ivory at the top) and then a couple of highlight colours. I was drawn to a rusty red and teal.

For a wardrobe to work you need to have a base of clothing, as well as shoes, bags etc in your neutrals and you can then use items in your highlight colours to add some pizzaz to your outfit. The rules aren’t strict, but ensure most things in your wardrobe will work together. These items can be casual, smart, funky, classic, whatever suits your lifestyle and preferences but the colours you use bring it all together.

After looking at my wardrobe,  I refined my colour palette slightly, since I realised that I really enjoy wearing brown more than khaki as a neutral.

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It was hard to get to these colours, and I in real life I won’t limit myself only to these, but the exercise was both worthwhile and enjoyable.

So, the last few weeks I’ve been trying out the colour combinations from my existing wardrobe and these are some of the results. Apologies for the poor quality of photographs but the season of the Winter indoor shot is upon us, I’m afraid.

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I don’t know what I was thinking when this photo was taken (pie?) but I’m using brown as the neutral and rusty red/orange as the highlight. The jacket is an unblogged Butterick 5926  in a wool ponte from Fabworks with a hand knit scarf I made recently. The suede skirt is thrifted .

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This photo illustrates the problems with trying to pin down a particular colour, such as olive. I’d say this jumper was olive green, but there’s a lot of yellow in it and I don’t think it works too well with the tan skirt.

So, I’m continuing to work out my colours, and what works best for me but I’m already planning to make up a few items in the ivory especially, as that seems to be missing most from my wardrobe, as well as the neutrals. Is that, can I, almost, feel a SWAP 2017 in the air?

In other news, I’ve been busy with Christmas gift and party wear making, so they won’t make it to the blog anytime soon I’m afraid. This year I’ve chosen to work with ALL the sparkly and the shiny and the green 😉

I did also make a wearable toile of the Style Arc Marilyn Dress in preparation and I think it is going to be a very comfortable and stylish addition to my wardrobe. Plenty of room for pie in that silhouette I think!

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Have a fabulous, pie-full,  and stress-free sewing December everyone x

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Restraining Order

OK, you might want to settle-in now and have your favourite beverage at your side, as this is a bit of a long post, but there’s plenty of pictures too if you did just want to skip through quickly.

So, the last few weeks have been pretty crappy both at work and at home, and I’ve really needed some full bodied sewing distraction to get me through. I don’t have a burning need for more clothes but a wedding invitation in December meant I had a pretty good excuse (not that I always need one) to make something new and fabulous!    I had also bought these from the newly opened John Lewis in Leeds with the wedding in mind and was feeling pretty inspired.


The new Stylearc Marilyn pattern landed on my doorstep about the same time. I bought as soon as it came out because I just loved the combination of gorgeous sleeves, lovely neckline and a back seam for fitting.

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Because I don’t like pdf’s I ordered the pattern as a hard copy, but as you know if you’ve bought Style Arc before, you can only order one size.  I chose this based on my bust size and as this pattern isn’t fitted around the hips I thought I could get away without doing many sizing alterations, however on doing a tissue fitting I realised I’d need to do a few more.

So, for the first time in ages I did a a small full bust alteration, cutting the front full-length pattern in half at the waist and just altering above there. When I rejoined the 2 pieces obviously they didn’t fit but I just drew a connecting line from the upper to lower piece, it’s a pretty unfitted style there so no problems with that.

I also had to do my usual shortening of sleeves. They came almost to my wrist, but the pattern shows them just below the elbow. That was fine. The forward shoulder adjustment to the sleeve cap wasn’t though!

I use this tutorial to change my sleeve after doing a forward shoulder. I find it very simple and intuitive. On this pattern the sleeve is in 2 parts so I had to tape them together first, then do the alterations, which was straightforward.

What you’re doing is moving the sleeve shoulder point forward (where it meets the shoulder seam) to match the new location of the shoulder. The Marilyn sleeve is split so I then had to make a further adjustment to redraw a new split line from the shoulder line all the way down too

That took a while!

I’m making a toile for a change and have cut it out already in  a lovely deep aubergine poly crepe fabric (Fabworks, still in stock!) which I’m hoping will be wearable. I only had  1.5 metres and the pattern called for over 2 so the dress length will be quite short, but basically as per the pattern, because this dress is REALLY short, as drafted.   I will lengthen it to knee for the real version, which I hope (if I like the toile) will be in a gorgeous deep green silk/viscose velvet fabric that I’ve been sitting on for a while.

I did consider another drapey fabric I own, a beautiful quality heavy, pure silk crepe I got from Evilbay, which is in a no-good-to-me shade of bridal ivory and is a bit boring therefore too. I’m fancying doing a Shibori job on it so bought some brown Dylon hand dye (suitable for silk) last week and am quite liking something like this effect.

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I’m of the thinking that if if it all goes wrong I can just overdye it again, so I’m happy give it a bit of a try to see if I like it.

In other news, I’m not knitting (ok, I admit, I did do some knitting, but at least I am trying not to) but have started an embroidery project. It’s Cats on a Wall by this lady .


I’m not an experienced embroiderer, so I used the wrong needle at first, however once that was sorted it’s all looking ok-ish, and is probably a good learning project for a beginner like me. Longer term I’ve always wanted to hand-embroider a white on white table runner, Scandi style, something like this.

I have a couple of old embroidery books, from when my interest started a few years back, but I haven’t got round to doing anything about it yet.

This book is fab


I also love this one from the 1970’s  You’ve gotta love a table setting where there’s room for a pot of cigarettes for everyone to share, ha!

And, drum-roll please, after 7 long years, we finally got rid of some the deep red carpet we inherited when we moved to our current house. It’s all through the downstairs, sob, and  we only did our living room, but yay, and double-yay.   So I thought I’d celebrate by sprucing up the soft furnishings in there, and treated myself to this little kit. Thanks to Kate at Fabrickated for pointing this lady’s work out.

Progress shots on my projects tend to get posted on Instagram straight away. Like I’ve said before I’m really enjoying it. Lots of sewing people are on there, some you’d expect, and some not. Like Kenneth King for example.  I used to buy Threads magazine so first came across him there, and then I did the Jeanius class on Craftsy, which I loved. He’s warm and super-stylish and a great teacher. Some of the jackets he’s made are incredible. He’s always got a cheeky twinkle in his eye, and a smile hovering at the edges of his mouth. An inspiration in fact.

However I noticed this week that almost every post he makes results in an automatic “like” from me. It’s because I genuinely do enjoy them, probably, secretly, more than anyone else’s that I follow and certainly much more than anyone I’ve never met, or are likely to meet. I’ve commented quite a few times on them too, and he’s often replied. It did get me to start wondering lately whether I’m beginning to become slightly annoying. You know, that person who gushes way too much and is just overly friendly. And where the line is drawn between simply enjoying someone’s output versus officially stalking them, ha!   So, when does liking every single post someone does become a problem to them? Do they even notice? Would they actually say something too? Anyway, never in a million years did I think  that the result of joining IG would be a restraining order from the likes of Kenneth King, ha! Anyone else in his fan club? OK, only me? I’ll get my coat.