Archives For Handmade Wardrobe

Play

CH 122 Handmade Wardrobe

This month on the show I’ll be talking about working on pieces for my Handmade Wardrobe. Today is about my first project, the Angelus Novus Cardigan for the East London Knit Klee KAL. I’m also talking about attempts at organising my time in The Simple Things segement.

Show Sponsor:

Meadow Yarn

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include Northbound Knitting, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Show Links

You can still enter the givaway for the Stitching Up Paris guide book by leaving a comment on the episode shownotes here.

New Designs

Amirisu

Botan Shawl

Spindrift Shawl

Sign up for the Spindrift Shawl Workshop here

Spindrift Shawl KAL group on Ravelry

Klee Collection KAL with Renee Callahan

We will be having a KAL for the Klee Collection in the Curious Handmade Ravelry group starting 9 May.

I will be knitting the Angelus Novus cardigan in Blacker yarn.

Renee is offering a super generous offer of 20% OFF all her patterns for my listeners with the code EastLondonKnitKAL.

Blacker Yarn is offering 10% OFF any DK weight yarn from their website until 12 June using code KLEEKAL

The Simple Things

The One Thing

Zen Habits

Harvest App

Better than Before

Happier Podcast episode about watching out for loopholes

Play

ch95

On this week’s show I’m introducing a really fascinating swatch along, catching up on the Summertide MKAL and Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge, and continuing to explore what Slow Fashion means for me and for us as a society. It’s a subject that I’m really passionate about (as you’ll hear!) and the deeper I go with it the more meaningful it becomes.

Show Sponsors

Today’s show is sponsored by The Fibre Co, and their beautiful Acadia yarn.

TheFibreCo_Logo CH

Acadia is named after the oldest American national park east of the Mississippi river, a place of natural beauty where the sea and mountains meet, slopes are densely forested and wild blueberries abound. Acadia National Park is in the state of Maine, The Fibre Co.’s birthplace.  The yarn inspired by this beautiful region has a rustic look and a soft hand. A subtle tweed effect is created by the silk noil that is combined with a heathered base made from fine merino wool and brown baby alpaca. The yarn is a classic DK weight and makes a beautiful textured fabric that is perfect for next to the skin accessories as well as garments.

You can snag yourself some Acadia at our other sponsor’s shop, Meadow Yarn:

Meadow Yarn 

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include madelinetosh, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Show Links

I was excited to learn about the Breed Swatch Along that the Knit British Podcast is hosting!

Shiny Bees Podcast where I first heard about the SAL

Knit British Podcast Episode 42 which introduces the SAL

Breed Swatch Along FAQs

I mention several natural yarns I’ve got stashed (and/or have used in the past) which would be great for the Breed Swatch Along:

Black Bat

Blacker Yarns

whisperingislandblacker2

Whispering Island in Blacker Yarns Shetland DK

Hole and Sons Poll Dorset

I’m hoping to participate because the Meet My Yarn KAL I hosted a while back was so fascinating to me, and I didn’t quite feel finished with exploring the subject of fibre-focused swatching when it was over.

The Curious Handmade Meet My Yarn KAL thread…lots of great info there

Fibre Company Cumbria which sponsored the Meet My Yarn KAL

I also have two books that I think would be amazing resources for this SAL:

The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their Fibers

Pure Wool: A Knitter’s Guide to Using Single-breed Yarns

What’s in the WIP

Slow Fashion October 

– Karen Templer from Fringe Association is giving us all great prompts for thinking about how we consume fashion, and I’ve started a blog series in response.

– I mention Fashion Revolution

The Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge

The challenge is still going strong! It ties in beautifully with Slow Fashion October, so it’s been great to see the cross-pollination going on. I’m still working on my Times Square and need to put the sleeves into my Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt. The finishing date is October 31st, so you’ve still got some time!

Summertide MKAL

The last clue has been out for a week, and the FOs are beginning to flow! We’ve got great prizes, so make sure to post a photo of your finished shawl in the Summertide FO thread by Oct 31st to enter!

Knitvent 2015

This project is still top secret, but I’m working hard to get it ready! I’ll be offering an updated version of my popular (and free!) Holiday Gift Knitting Planner very soon, so that you have lots of time to get properly prepared for the season. Keep your eyes out for that, along with hints about the new Knitvent collection!

Upcoming Events

Online Reveal Party for the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge and Summertide MKAL

Save the Date! Tuesday November 3rd

Since we’ve got two big projects finishing at the same time, I thought it would be really fun to get together on Ravelry and Instagram to showcase styled photos of our completed items. I’ll be starting a thread on the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group, and we’ll take the hashtags by storm.

#CHWchallenge

#SummertideMKAL

There might even be a surprise or two!

The Pebble Beach Workshop:

Friday October 23rd

I’m hosting and teaching an in-person lace-knitting workshop based on Pebble Beach at the beautiful Makelight Studios in London. It’s going to be a wonderful day of exploring creativity and skills, and I’d love to see you there if you can make it!

That’s it for the show notes today. Happy knitting!

Slow Fashion October: Week One

Helen —  October 5, 2015 — 2 Comments

As I’ve mentioned on the podcast a few times, I’ve been really excited about Slow Fashion October, a movement that Karen from Fringe Association is hosting this month. I’ve already been thinking a lot about the subject of slow and handmade fashion throughout the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge. Karen’s invitation has led me to dive a little deeper into my own journey on this path. I’ve decided to blog my way through Slow Fashion October with a series of weekly blog posts in response to Karen’s prompts. I’ve been really enjoying the chats on these subjects on the Curious Handmade Ravelry group, and I hope the added richness of Slow Fashion October will spark even more wonderful conversations.

Here’s Karen’s prompt:

“Slow Fashion is a big subject, and I want every week to be inclusive of everyone who might be interested — from sewers and knitters to thrifters and menders and anyone just trying to be more mindful and informed about where their clothes are coming from and what environmental impact their buying habits have. So I’ve broken the month down into weekly themes that encompass everyone, hopefully—

Week 1,  October 1-4: YOU
First let’s introduce ourselves: Where are you at with all this / What first got you interested in Slow Fashion / What are your skills / What do you hope to get out of Slow Fashion October / What are your personal goals for the month / Do you have a special project you plan to tackle this month?”

It all started out wanting to live with less about 7 years ago. It was something that started in a very small gradual way and there have been several different influences and reasons for making changes.

A few years ago I started to get disturbed by my increase in consumption — partly prompted by the birth of my children — each affected me in quite different ways.

When I had my first child I foolishly spent a LOT of my precious maternity leave (and pay) shopping both in shops but mostly online, with one hand while feeding/patting/held captive with a sleeping baby on me, too scared to move. I thought I could solve every child rearing problem (that wasn’t a problem at all, in retrospect) with a gadget or soothing device. We survived the first couple of years of parenthood and my rate of shopping eventually slowed down a bit.

When I had my second I had started to think a lot more about environmental issues (something about having kids often prompts this awareness and it certainly was true for me). So by the time Lexie arrived I had a very different mindset

I had kept most of my baby clothes and stuff in the hope of having a second child – but before she was born I actually started selling and giving a lot of the extra things away. I knew that I didn’t need or want a lot of the extra stuff and that it actually just got in the way and slowed things down a lot of the time.

Then I returned to work but found I really didn’t enjoy my job any more. I started thinking that if I didn’t need to buy so much “stuff” then perhaps I didn’t need to earn as much.

I was very influenced by Leo Babauta at Zen Habits as well as other blogs on minimalism. I remember sitting at my desk reading them and starting to change my thinking and increase my awareness of my own behaviour. I started noticing that a boring or upsetting day at work meant a treat: ie shopping.

My best friend also passed away after losing a 4 year fight with cancer around this time so I had been investigating lots of topics around being healthier and less stressed. It seemed to make even less sense to be working in a job I didn’t enjoy to pay for childcare and a bunch of disposable clothes and stuff I didn’t really need.

Now I’m interested in dramatically reducing my and my family’s consumption generally but especially of plastic items.

I am still a long way from where I would like to be in this regard. I find it very difficult to avoid buying plastic and I still enjoy shopping and buying clothes. But I’m happy that I’ve also come a long way and have a lot less in my wardrobe and hope to make more of my clothes myself. I have all the skills I need to sew, knit and make things. For me the bigger challenges are finding time and not just quickly buying things for convenience sake. Also a challenge that we all face is sourcing the sustainably produced materials such as yarn and fabric.

I have sewn my own clothes since I was 7 and was taught by my mother, but stopped sewing when I was in my 20’s. I’ve been knitting and designing for a few years now but haven’t made many garments (yet!).

I will think about whether I can add another special Slow Fashion project to my making list this month but I think realistically, and to keep things nice and slow, I will stick with my Curious Handmade Wardrobe challenges of sewing the Dress Shirt by Merchant and Mills and knitting the Times Square vest by Norah Gaughan.

Play

ch94

I’m so thrilled to have my Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge collaborator Susan on the podcast today. Many of you have met her on Ravelry as Kizmet, and through her wonderful guest posts here on the blog during the challenge. We have a wonderful chat about Susan’s journey to sewing for herself, about how struggling through the lessons is such a valuable part of any process, and about how we and many other participants are doing with our declared challenges so far!

Show Sponsors

Today’s show is sponsored by The Fibre Co, and their beautiful Acadia yarn.

TheFibreCo_Logo CH

Acadia is named after the oldest American national park east of the Mississippi river, a place of natural beauty where the sea and mountains meet, slopes are densely forested and wild blueberries abound. Acadia National Park is in the state of Maine, The Fibre Co.’s birthplace.  The yarn inspired by this beautiful region has a rustic look and a soft hand. A subtle tweed effect is created by the silk noil that is combined with a heathered base made from fine merino wool and brown baby alpaca. The yarn is a classic DK weight and makes a beautiful textured fabric that is perfect for next to the skin accessories as well as garments.

You can buy your own Acadia at our other sponsor’s shop, Meadow Yarn:

Meadow Yarn 

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include madelinetosh, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

What’s in the WIP

Summertide MKAL: Clue 4, the final clue is just out now! I’m going to be planning an end-of-KAL online party to celebrate our finished shawls, and if I can manage it, I’d love to have a little in-person party here in London. If spoilers don’t bother you, check out the hashtag #SummertideMKAL on Instagram. Lots of inspiration there!

We have three wonderful sponsors for the MKAL:

Skein Australia

Meadow Yarn

MariaElenaBliss

they will all be offering wonderful prizes at the end of October. Believe it or not, it’s not too late to join us! You can do it!

Show Links

Susan and I mention a whole bunch of influences and resources that helped her start thinking about learning to sew.

Project 333 (starting today!)

A Playful Day’s Interview with Sonya Philip

Curious Handmade Interview with Beth Kempton of Do What You Love

Do What you Love Course

Paper Fifty Three App

Cal Patch’s Classes on Creative Bug [affiliate link]

Nicole of Stash and Burn

Elizabeth Doherty Sleeve Construction

The Washi Dress

Libby from Truly Myrtle’s Guest Post for Curious Handmade

So many adorable finished objects are showing up in the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group…check out the threads to see all the great makes we mentioned.

Alabama Chanin

Events

Fringe Association Slow Fashion October

I mentioned this wonderful event hosted by Karen Templar last week, and I’m excited to take part. It’s going to be a beautiful exploration of the handmade. She’s just written a lovely opening post on her blog. Join us! The hashtag is #slowfashionoctober and I expect Instagram will be hopping.

Truly Myrtle’s Spoil Yourself Stitch Along

Just a couple of days left in this event, and she has some amazing sponsors providing wonderful prizes. If you’ve been making anything for yourself in the last few weeks, post your FO to the Ravelry Thread

The Pebble Beach Workshop: This is for any listeners within traveling distance from London! I am going to be hosting my first in-person workshop at Makelight Studios. It’s a beautiful space, and I’m very excited.

On Friday the 23rd of October I’ll host a lace-knitting workshop based on Pebble Beach. I’ll take you through all the basics and most frequently asked questions. It’s a great way to stretch yourself creatively in a supportive and inspiring environment. Places are very limited, so if you’re interested, please do book early!

That’s all our notes for this week! Thank you so much for being a part of the Curious Handmade Community. I’ll speak to you next week. Until then, happy knitting!

 

As all the excitement around the Summertide MKAL continues to grow, I’m stealing a moment to return to our ongoing Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge. I have another great interview for you, this time from one of my handmade wardrobe heroes, Karen Templer from the exceptional Fringe Supply Co (The shop’s tagline “Nice things for makers” is an understatement…her things are gorgeous.) She also writes an insanely inspirational blog, Fringe Association. Karen agreed to share her knowledge and journey towards a handmade wardrobe with us today, and I’m so happy that she did. Welcome Karen!

*****

Photo credit: Kathy Cadigan

Photo credit: Kathy Cadigan

Tell us a little about why you’re interested in having a handmade wardrobe.

First and foremost, I’m a control freak. 🙂 I want what I want, when I want it. But there’s also enormous creativity and joy and peace of mind in making one’s own clothes.

Which came first: Knitting, crochet or sewing?

My mom taught me to sew when I was young enough that I don’t really remember it, so I feel like I’ve just always known. But I have sewn only very sporadically during my adult years. I definitely knew more about sewing when I was in junior high school than I know right now, but I’m relearning pretty quickly.

I also was shown how to knit when I was a kid but I didn’t take to it. I did love crochet as a kid. But a friend taught me to knit in October 2011 and I was instantly obsessed. Have been knitting like a maniac ever since.

How often do you wear something you’ve made?

In the winter, you’ll find me wearing a hand knit sweater most days. I have fewer warm-weather clothes that I’ve either sewn or knitted, so less often in the warm months.

Do you want to have more of your wardrobe be handmade?

Photo credit: Karen Templer

Photo credit: Karen Templer

I’m in awe of people who are able to wear handmade every day, and love the idea of an entirely handmade wardrobe, but it’s not realistic for me. I run a business (Fringe Supply Co.) and a daily blog (Fringe Association), have very little free time, and I’m very slow — especially when it comes to sewing. I always have a lot of big plans about all the clothes I’m going to make and then manage to produce only a fraction of them. But I’m pretty committed at this point to not buying clothes made in faraway factories under unknown conditions, if it can be avoided, which is a big shift after a lifetime of mall clothes. I’m wearing things longer, buying less, and spending more per item to get things that are produced by known humans in known conditions. That might be a piece by a local designer sewn in a studio I’m able to visit, or something by a brand that isn’t local to me but is transparent about how and where production is happening, and ideally also about where the fabric comes from. I love supporting makers and small businesses, and want to be able to feel good about every garment in my closet, whether I made it myself or not.

Photo Credit: Karen Templer

Photo Credit: Karen Templer

Do you relate to “fashion” or “style” /or “capsule wardrobe /Or uniform? Do you have a uniform?

I have fairly limited tastes, so that does lead me to some semblance of a wardrobe. I’m mostly denim and neutrals, classic shapes but maybe put together in slightly unconventional ways here and there?

My house was built in 1953 and has old-school closets — not walk-ins. My closet has a little door, behind which is a shelf above a hanging rod. It’s small, in other words, and I’m determined not to exceed (or even max out, actually) its capacity. When you have fewer clothes, you want them all to work together and to be of good, lasting quality. So I do lean toward the “capsule” concept.

How did you start on your journey to a HMW?  

In the 80s, my school years, I did a lot of alteration/customization of store-bought clothes. Fashion was a ton of fun then — pegging your mens 501s, tailoring hospital scrubs, embellishing everything. But I didn’t make a lot of my own clothes from scratch until I started knitting sweaters. (I cast on my first sweater in the third month that I knew how to knit and have been knitting mainly garments ever since.) Making sweaters made me long to make other clothes for myself as well, which led me back to sewing.

Who inspires you in this journey?  

Beautiful Japanese sashiko thread, available from Fringe Supply Company. Photo Credit: Karen Templer

Beautiful Japanese sashiko thread, available from Fringe Supply Company. Photo Credit: Karen Templer

The entire handmade community, truly. As soon as I learned to knit, I started scouring the web for good blogs, which led me to lots of inspiring knitters and sewers both. Instagram is so awash in talented people I wish I could spend whole days just combing through hashtags. It’s so inspiring, all of it, and there are a lot of clever, thoughtful individuals who either got me thinking or taught me skills or whatever the case may be. Way too many people to name. But at the moment, I’m spurred on a daily basis by some really good friends in the industry who are incredibly prolific makers: Jaime and Amber of Fancy Tiger Crafts; Kate Gagnon Osborn of Kelbourne Woolens, who also sews most of her non-knitted clothes; Jen Beeman of Grainline Studio, who is also a knitter; and Anna Maria Horner, who is also about to get me started on quilting! Because that’s what I have time for, right?

When you choose a pattern, do you think about how wearable it is? Do you think about how well it will go with your other clothes?  

Absolutely. Obsessively. Like I said, my closet is really small and I only want stuff in there that can pull its weight. And again, I’m slow, so everything I choose to spend precious time on really needs to be worth it. I’ve always had a shopping rule that I’m not allowed to buy anything unless I can instantly make at least three great outfits out of it with other pieces I already own. With handmade, I’m trying to follow the same general rule, but at the same time I can actually plan out a whole wardrobe — calculating how an array of pieces will work together once they all exist. Of course, the challenge is to get them all to exist! But I do spend a lot of time sketching and planning and choosing the right fabric or yarn. Planning might be my favorite part.

What’s the most wearable item you’ve made?

Probably my charcoal grey Bellows cardigan. I can literally put it on over just about anything I own! And would wear it every single day from October through March if that were socially acceptable.

bellows

What pattern(s) would you nominate as “highly wearable”?

I’m not often one to make patterns as written/drafted – I tend to find things that are in the neighborhood of what i’m wanting and then bend them to my will. I think the key is knowing what’s wearable for you and then finding ways to get there.

Do you have any suggestions of great resources for new sewists?

Jen’s blog, Grainline Studio, and the Colette site are both chock full of great info. I’m not as well-versed in sewing resources as I’d like, but those are two I feel like i’m always learning from. But I also say find people on Instagram whose taste you vibe with (check hashtags like #handmadewardrobe and #memade and #knittersofinstagram and such) and pay attention not only to what they have to say about the patterns they’re posting about, but also the comments from everyone else. There really is a lot of wisdom in that crowd.

So many thanks to Karen for joining us on the blog today! I really love hearing people’s stories: it spurs me on in my own quest for a more creative life. For even more inspiration and wisdom from Karen, you can find her online here:

Fringe Supply Co.

Fringe Association

Instagram

*****

So, are you onboard with the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge yet? There’s still lots of time, so take a peek at our very active thread on Ravelry. #CHWChallenge

Play

Curious Handmade Podcast 89

As we near the end of August – there is a definite end of summer feeling with more than a hint of autumn around the corner here in the UK. I always feel a bit stirred up around this time as I love hot weather and lazy summers BUT on the other hand…..knitting season right?!!

My guest on the show today is wonderful knitwear designer Elizabeth Doherty of Blue Bee Studio. We chatted back at Squam in June and I’m excited to be sharing it with you today.

Show Sponsors

Today’s show is sponsored by The Fibre Co, and their wonderfully soft and gorgeous Acadia yarn. If you want to see how wonderfully this knits up, take a look at the two tone sample of my pattern Whispering Island!

TheFibreCo_Logo CH

Acadia is named after the oldest American national park east of the Mississippi river, a place of natural beauty where the sea and mountains meet, slopes are densely forested and wild blueberries abound. Acadia National Park is in the state of Maine, The Fibre Co.’s birthplace.  The yarn inspired by this beautiful region has a rustic look and a soft hand. A subtle tweed effect is created by the silk noil that is combined with a heathered base made from fine merino wool and brown baby alpaca. The yarn is a classic DK weight and makes a beautiful textured fabric that is perfect for next to the skin accessories as well as garments.

You can get your hands on some Acadia of your own at our other sponsor’s shop, Meadow Yarn:

Meadow Yarn 

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include madelinetosh, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

What’s in the WIP?

Summertide MKAL

Hold on to summer with 8 weeks of knitting, camaraderie and mystery!

Summertide MKAL

CHWChallenge-button

Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge 

Interview with Elizabeth Doherty from Blue Bee Studio

Blue Bee Studio

Top Down: Reimagining Set-In Sleeve Design

Quince & Co

Squam Art Workshops

Elizabeth’s designs on Ravelry

Lina – the pattern that Elizabeth referred to that came out while we were at Squam

Elizabeth’s latest design Helvetica

Announcements

There’s just A FEW DAYS left to vote for Curious Handmade in the finals of the UK Podcasting Awards! It only takes a few seconds to vote, and every vote counts! and I’d be really grateful if you’d take a moment to vote for us here: all you need to do is scroll down to my photo and click!
ukpodawards-winners

September 5th is the Great London Yarn Crawl! There will be a special pop up marketplace, and there’s going to be an Indie Designer Spotlight stand. Several up and coming designers will be rotating through, and I’m lucky enough to be among them.

I’ll be there from 4pm to 5pm at the Chelsea Town Hall.

Stop by! It’s going to be a really fun event.

Thanks again for listening! Happy knitting ….until next week.

 * * * * * 

I am a Craftsy affiliate so if you would like to support Curious Handmade when you are buying supplies or a class, click through the Craftsy banner below: it means I’ll get a small commission. Thank you so much.

Craftsy

Another lovely guest post as we ramp up in the early days of the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge! Today I’m really lucky to introduce you to the wonderful Libby from Truly Myrtle. Libby is a designer, podcaster and blogger who is already living the handmade wardrobe dream, and she’s graciously agreed to join us here on the Curious Handmade blog to share her expertise. There’s so much gold in this post, and I think it will really inspire anyone taking their first steps into the world of the handmade wardrobe. Libby talks about how to find great patterns and offers her best tips for a successful project. She designs knitwear but is an avid and acocmplished sewist as well, and this post focuses mostly on sewing, which is a growth area for a lot of us knitters who would like to branch out and make garments to wear with our beloved knits. 

* * * * * 

Libby from Truly MyrtleHi everyone! I’m Libby from Truly Myrtle and I’m really excited to be posting on the Curious Handmade blog today! Thank you for inviting me Helen! I am an enthusiastic champion of handmade wardrobes and I knit and sew many of

my own clothes. Much of what I know has been learnt through trial and error and I’m still learning every time I make something. These days I’m particularly keen to master the art of getting a perfect fit and a great finish as well as gaining skills in drafting my own knitting and sewing patterns. It’s proving to be another adventure!

As knitters, we are incredibly lucky to have Ravelry. It’s such a great resource for finding patterns, hearing what other have to say about them and seeing how they look on a variety of body shapes. But what about sewing? As yet there isn’t a similar resource and it’s daunting trying to figure out which sewing patterns to start with, how to find a pattern that you can master and what will suit you. I thought I’d share a few ideas about finding great sewing patterns and my favourite wardrobe staples.

GREAT PLACES TO FIND SEWING PATTERNS

3

– your local fabric store is probably a good place to start. They’re likely to stock fat catalogues of sewing patterns from all the major brands and the salespeople should be able to provide some good advice about what patterns will suit your level of experience. They might even offer classes!

– I’m always keen to support small creative businesses and there are many independent sewing  designers online these days. Indiesew stocks a number of patterns from indie designers and their blog is full of tips and tricks to support you.

– google it! Searching “independent sewing patterns” will bring up a heap of designer pages.

Some of my favourites are:

Colette patterns

Grainline Studios

Megan Nielsen

Tilly and the Buttons

Sewaholic

I particularly like these ones because they all have great blogs full of helpful information. Some even do sew alongs and walk you through their patterns step by step. You’ll find there are many many more independent designers and it can be a bit of a rabbit hole once you get started! I like to click on “images” when I search to view pictures of sewing patterns to get a feel of what might be available.

– look in your local library. There are lots of fabulous learn to sew or beginner sewing books around and many include patterns. Maybe your library stocks some?

– are you on Instagram? Me Made May is a huge event each May and this year thousands of knitters and (especially) sewers posted pictures of their handmade clothes including names of the patterns they’d used, under the tags #mmmay15 and #memademay. I found it so helpful to see pictures of sewing patterns on real people. It’s also a great place to find my next idea …

– sewing bloggers. There are hundreds and hundreds of sewing bloggers online sewing and reviewing sewing patterns. Search “sewing bloggers” and prepare to be wowed.

SOME OF MY FAVOURITE BEGINNER PATTERNS

5

Beginner sewing patterns are great for new sewers, experienced sewers and sewers coming back to their machines after a break. Many beginner patterns are great wardrobe staples and can be adapted and adjusted as your skills and confidence increase. Here are some of my favourites:

Tiny pocket tank from Grainline Studios. I’ve made several of these tops and they’re simple, require only a small amount of fabric and are a great summer wardrobe basic.

Washi Dress from Made By Rae. I love this pattern and I live in my Liberty print cotton Washi dress through the summer. The instructions are easy to understand and the pattern is endlessly adaptable. I’ve made a Washi tank top from the basic pattern too.

Clover Trouser Pattern. from Colette Patterns. Trousers can be scary to sew but this pattern is fairly simple and well supported on the Colette Patterns blog. You’ll learn how to put in a zip and how to get a good fit.

Sewing with Knits Class by Meg McElwee. This a series of classes showing you how to make five sewing patterns (also included) rather than a sewing pattern per se but I thoroughly recommend it if you’d like to try sewing knits on your regular sewing machine. The patterns are great (the t-shirt pattern is my staple t-shirt) and you’ll have lifetime access to the classes showing you how to make each of the patterns.

Alabama Studio Sewing & Design. This is a book rather than individual pattern but it is absolutely fabulous. The patterns in the book are very stylish basic shapes and are intended to be sewn by hand (the book is stuffed with wonderful information showing you how) but could also be sewn by machine. Personally, I love the hand-sewn look and I really encourage you to have a go with patterns like these if you’d like to try sewing but don’t have access to a sewing machine or want to sew out and about.

TIPS AND TRICKS

6

– Like it has for knitting, the internet has revolutionised sewing. Many of the sewing patterns from independent sewing designers are only available in pdf form so you’ll need to download them, print them out and then assemble them before you can use them. I’ve written a guide to help you work out how to quickly and easily get a pdf pattern ready for sewing.

– It’s a good idea to make a muslin. It’s a bit like a swatch; a test run of your pattern to make sure it fits you properly. I often make a “wearable muslin” from a fabric that’s a bit cheaper than my real fabric. Just make sure the two fabrics are similar in weight and feel.

– Ask for help. Don’t get discouraged by mistakes. We all make plenty of them! If you’re confused reach out. Maybe your neighbour sews? Maybe your mum or your friend? Look for classes in your area if you’re wanting to learn with others or join a sew along online. Sewing days with friends are a good way to learn new techniques and share tools and machines.

Good luck with your handmade challenge! What are you planning to make? Will you try your hand at sewing?

Most of all, have fun xxx

A big big thanks to Libby for her wonderful contribution. You can learn more about Libby here:

Truly Myrtle Website

Ravelry

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Facebook

CHWChallengeIf you heard last week’s podcast, you know that we’ve just launched a really exciting challenge which will be running over the next three months. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can be more intentional about creating (and wearing) a wardrobe of handmade garments and accessories that work together for real lifestyles. There are so many reasons why a handmade wardrobe is a worthy dream: the ability to truly express your individuality, clothes that truly fit your shape, the chance to break free from the destructive cycle of “fast fashion” and (of course) the sheer joy of making things and flourishing in your own creativity.

I was chatting about this to a friend of mine, Susan, (she’s Kizmet on Ravelry) and we decided together that the time was right to get serious about exploring this subject. That’s why we decided to launch this challenge. We want to start a conversation about where you start with a project like this, and what it takes to create, curate, style, maintain and wear a wardrobe of beautiful things that you’ve made with your own hands, and we want to do it with the input and support of the creative community. We’ve decided on a really generous timeline so that everyone can take part without needing to rush.

Would you like to join us? The rules are simple:

Guidelines for the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge:

Dates: August 7-Oct 31, 2015

August

This month is for dreaming, getting inspired and planning your project. Really give yourself time to take a look at what you already have and any gaps that might be crying out to be filled. Whether you’re in need of staples like a workaday pullover or you want to shake things up with a really artistic piece, this is all about focusing on your own individual needs, wants, and dreams. Make moodboards, if that inspires you. Shop for materials and notions.

The parameters for the wearble object(s) are extremely open: the project simply has to be anything you can wear, clothing or accessories, and all types of crafting are acceptable: knitting, sewing, crochet, embroidery–all are welcome.

September

Time to start your handmade wearable object: a piece or more to add to your wardrobe!

October

Finish up your wearables and post photos in the FO thread. We’ll be most inspired if you can photo them with you wearing them.

Come chat!

We’re curious about lots of things related to a handmade wardrobe, and we know that community support is going to be a big part of seeing this project through. Everyone will be getting together in the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group to share, ask questions, offer advice, and cheerlead each other through the whole process.

Official chatter thread

FO thread

We’ll be asking questions, where we can dig deeper into every aspect of creating a handmade wardrobe. Whenever you decide to jump in, feel free to answer them with us! We’ll update this post as the questions are posted.

  1. First, why are you thinking about this and going to take on the challenge? (added 8/8/15)

That’s all the details for now! We’re really excited to see where this challenge takes us.