As all of us that make our own clothes will own, eventually we run out of hangers and hanging space. The latter we can sometimes fudge by folding and packing away the ‘older makes’ or those we don’t wear too often. That way it doesn’t look as though we ought to call a halt to our sewing production. However, hangers or lack thereof, sometimes present a different problem. Hence the title of my post [bear with me].

A couple of weeks ago I reached the stage where I had made about three new dresses and four blouses and didn’t really have the hangers to put them on [oh, and another skirt]. My #’s 2 and 5 daughters were visiting and I happened to mention to #2 daughter that I was thinking of buying all white hangers for my sewing closet. I think I said something on the lines that it would be nice to have them all the same. My #5 daughter then said ‘oh, mother that is so anal, please tell me you’re not!’ Now I understand #5 completely, I am not a ‘matchy-matchy’ person in the least myself so I do know where she is coming from, however I do like things to look nice without being too fussy, but judge for yourself – I think it looks neater, you may not notice any difference.[Hangers bought from in case your interested]. Trouble is, I need a few more!!

January 2015 #1 014edited white hangers 002Again apologies for the quality of photography. These are my most recent makes, like all dressmakers there are other closets hiding other stuff, but we wont talk about that.

Watson update;- I am behind in my sew-along plans – because that other work in progress -life – has intruded, but I will catch up eventually.

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I have to say that I have never joined in any sew-along, knit-along or any other thing-along, but I have come to this via a very roundabout route. To cut a long story etc., losing a bit of weight recently did not just mean I had to alter my skirts and dresses, but I have also come to realise that my undie things will also need adjusting starting with my bras. I have the ubiquitous Kwik Sew 3300 bra pattern so loved my many of course, but decided this time round to change route. I have Norma Loehr’s book ‘Demystifying Bra Making and Construction’ on Kindle and had a bit of a light bulb moment when I read this bit;

While some of the parts of the bra and their function are obvious ( the cups contain the breasts) others are not (the band supports the cups, not the straps).

Loehr, Norma (2013-04-08). Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction (Kindle Locations 122-124). Orange Lingerie LLC. Kindle Edition.

Now who’da thunk that? here’s me thinking that the straps kept the little baggages from falling on the floor,[apparently there’s one born every minute] Now the Kwik Sew pattern does not have a band, it has wires. Ms.Loehr suggests both band and wires and although Watson has no provision for wires, I am thinking that the fit of the band should alleviate the necessity for wires. I have yet to catch up with the preparations and download the pattern and I have a bit more reading of Ms.Loehr, but I thought I would get this down in print so there would be less chance of my reneging on my decision. That is no guarantee mind you, just lessens the odds. I’m hoping it will be instructional. I need to move along from my comfort niche [it’s not as big as a zone]. We’ll see.



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timthumbHUVSUP0J red Monet timthumb

Just a very quick note to say that Simple Way, the leather bag kit people I told you about, have just informed me that they are having a JANUARY SALE – starting today and ending on the 31st January.

If my post aroused interest – do go over and have a look. Happy hunting!

n.b. I have no affiliation with Simple Way at all – just love their stuff.

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I am offering grateful thanks to Jane [] who did a post on ideal gifts, and she linked to this;


Which led me via a convoluted route to the ever helpful Kate at [do check them out!]. They do all wonderful things in leather, ideal for those us who like to have our wardrobes and accessories handmade. They even have ready mades for those who aren’t keen to do it themselves.

timthumbshoes handmade

The handbag is the Kelly bag of course, and is probably going to be my next make, but meanwhile, back at the ranch I have made two of these [yes two!!]

red MonetThis is the Monet bag, it comes ready cut with the holes punched and the needle and leather thonging to sew it all up – what could be simpler? I made a black one first [bought through Janes’ link from Fabric Godmother] and then this one in Very Berry Red, which I love, from the Simple Way themselves. I also bought one for my daughter Abigail to make and she loves it as it accommodates her i-pad beautifully. Not content, I also bought us both two kits for these;

timthumbHUVSUP0Jyellow purse

So even if you have had no interest so far and are just curious – and if like me you love to try and learn something new, then check these out. They are so reasonable and I agree with Jane, they would make lovely presents, although it may be a bit late for giving next week, but there are always reasons to give aren’t there?

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Since my recent sudden and quite unexpected illness I have lost a bit of weight, so most of my sewing recently has been alterations. Ugh! this would usually bring on a long list of things I would rather do than that. However it gave me a good opportunity to go through my wardrobe, cull those items that really weren’t worth the alterations, discovering other items that would now fit comfortably and not snuggly  and finishing items where the fit was more spot on. Truth be told I had let a few pounds creep on but told myself I was still in the ‘size range’ I normally had so what? We can usually tell ourselves anything we want to hear but given the opportunity I took it and that is why the prospect of alterations was not half so bad as it might have been. I now have fewer skirts, but that means an opportunity to make more! There’s always a silver lining when you’re a seamstress [not literally of course]. I now have a valid reason for looking at more patterns and using up some of the store of fabric I have.

There are still staple items I need, but I have bought the pattern for a cape! Sadly the one I coveted was Vogue 8776, as seen here in Sarah’s make from Goodbye Valentino,

sarah gunn's cape

which looks absolutely great on Sarah but on looking at the pattern, which although Out of Print is still available in their OOP section, I decided that it wouldn’t be as easy to wear and move around [e.g. driving ]


I wasn’t too sure about the horizontal arm opening, I think it would tend to lift the whole cape and be a bit restrictive,  so I  have bought Vogue 8959 instead;


not quite as exciting to make perhaps but which I hope will be more wearable. On a more mundane plane, I have T-shirts and a T-shirt dress to make and I quite like Carolyn’s post on the Watson Bra pattern []. It looks nice and comfy and I have just the stuff. I feel my list of things growing exponentially already!

Posted in coats and jackets, dressmaking, handmade, Life a Work In Progress, me-made wardrobe, Sewing, skirts, Works in Progress | Leave a comment

NOT QUITE LIFE -v- ART! [an apology of sorts]

When you keep a blog-diary you inevitably collect a lot of photos  in your media file. As it is approaching the end of another year of wearing 95% of my own hand made clothes [the other 5% allowed for tights, shoes and coats – although I have worn handmade jackets] I thought I would have a look at mine to assess just what I have, how far have my sewing skills progressed if at all and lastly just where am I going next.

However one thing that struck me about my media file, apart from the atrocious photography, is that I have only one or two photos of me actually wearing the clothes. I usually take the photos in my sewing room on the dressform  [boring] or have one or other of my daughters wear them, again usually against a wall! The ones below are of me btw.

ice cream lady 006 ice cream lady 005

This, despite the fact that the blogs I really love to read and find interesting all portray the makes being worn and usually in absolutely beautiful settings, not just a wall behind. I am thinking of Carolyn [Handmade by Carolyn] and Sarah Gunn [Goodbye Valentino] and the list goes on all over the globe. Carolyn usually has her beautiful dog with her, who almost steals the show!

Now there is nothing wrong with taking photos indoors, usually here in the UK it is advisable due to the weather. BUT to see the clothes as they ought to be seen they should be on a model, not wooden, but living – mea culpa. Now I can’t promise an improvement in my photography skills, believe me I’ve tried and this is as good as it gets, but I can try to at least rope my better half in to take some of the makes actually being worn. There! I’ve said it and it is in black and white [good job nobody reads this blog!]

Meanwhile back at the ranch here is the first make recorded in this blog and here is the most recent. No improvement in the photos but quite a bit in the production.

 red dress 004

Posted in Blouses, DRESSES, dressmaking, handmade, knitting, Life a Work In Progress, me-made wardrobe, Sewing, Works in Progress | Leave a comment

SIMPLICITY 1609 – Lady in Red.

red dress 004

I just had enough material to finish my crimson Simplicity 1609 – the 1960’s tribute shift dress mentioned in my last post. I didn’t quite have enough to cut out the facings as per pattern, which were drafted all in one piece. I had to redraft the neck facing and sleeve facings separately in order to use up all available material. I didn’t line it, I shall make have made a separate undershift/petticoat to keep the fluidity of the design. Rightly or wrongly I thought that perhaps a fixed lining would ‘ground’ the shift too much. I overlocked the facings and side seams and bottom of the hem and it looks quite tidy inside but I can’t leave it without a lining of some kind because the material is quite scratchy.

red dress 005red dress 006red dress 008

For such a simple frock I was taking no chances. I find that the simpler the design the more careful the execution has to be if it is not to look ‘home made’, so as shown in my previous post I tacked all the markings, the balance lines and the darts. I also made up two toiles to get the skim-fit just right. In the end I cut it out and my first finish was just a tad too loose, so I had to go back and take in the darts at the back. I toyed with the idea of undoing the front and side seams and taking them in, but I didn’t have to and was I pleased about that!

So there you have it. I have a few projects in mind next. I really love Sarah Gunn’s Vogue 8776 cape

sarah gunn's cape


[] and would love to do it in just that tweed. However, I have a long list of ‘want to’s’ and a couple longer list of ‘need to’s’. Disciplining my mind is the problem at the moment to concentrate on keeping on task – whatever that is. My initial relief on getting back to sewing has waned a bit and I am now getting a bit annoyed with myself. I have a lot going on in the background and sewing is really my relaxation and escape I suppose, but it isn’t quite doing its job at the moment.

Looking back over recent posts I saw that in one I had listed the makes that I had not photographed or posted, one of which was my dyed ‘denim’ short sleeved blouse. This is just a plain shirt type blouse made from some no longer white cotton sheeting that I put in with other things I was dyeing navy blue. The result was quite a pleasing denim colour. I put a white collar band on it to lift the colour a bit. It is a very useful little blouse and I wear it more than I initially thought.

red dress 009  red dress 011red dress 012

Like most sewers I have to make myself strike the proper balance between sewing clothes I wear daily [such as underwear – on my ‘need-to’ list] more tops and skirts and those items where I feel I really need to stretch myself and improve my skills, coats and jackets – and yes, Vogue 8776!


Posted in DRESSES, dressmaking, handmade, Life a Work In Progress, me-made wardrobe, Sewing | 4 Comments