Saturday 23 May 2020

Time Passing

Where are we now?  Many weeks into lockdown, a slight easing of restrictions in the UK but for our household, little has changed.  We are mainly staying in.  Husband is working from home, daughter is studying and taking University exams at home, I am also working from home too working on social media stuff for gorgeous fabric store Clothspot and also for a new venture, CraftyMonkies & their online crafty workshops (including sewing, quilting, papercraft and screenprinting!) and lots of sewing.  

Twins were born in my husbands family just before all the crazy COVID stuff began so these quilts were started mid-March, and finished a few week's later.  I used a pattern in Lori Holt's Spelling Bee book and stash fabrics.   I added a couple of teal/turquoise prints bought at the last meet-up I went to in March.  I wanted some subtle colour differences between the two but also a pair.  They are now with the new arrivals who are doing well.  It may be quite a while until we can see them in person but we catch up with their progress via photos and videos, they are unbelievably cute!

Last night I started a mental list of all the stuff I'd sewed since my day job stopped and we started living life at home.  My hands were aching yesterday, a bit overstrained and as I totted up my makes, I'm not surprised.  I do tend to throw myself into something in a stressful situation, often with a high degree on intensity.  This has been one of those times.  Part of me loves the time stretching ahead.  I've made so many things I've wanted to make for years.  My fabric and thread stores have provided all I've needed and my wardrobe is getting refreshed- I'll share all the makes once I get myself photographed.  And then there are the obligatory masks - mainly for others, I try to avoid situations where I would need to wear one.  I've used lawn and poplin, including Liberty to concentrate on comfort to encourage the wearer to keep it on when required.  These ones are using Monica's Happy Zombie pattern.  I've made some others mixing this pattern with the Dhurata Davies Mask.  I like a mask with some shaping- both these patterns use darts, and they both avoid a centre seam. 

Spring has been spectacular.  In our daily walks, we've seen so much beauty.  Our little city is so quiet right now and the pathways are often less frequented than the parks and open spaces so we've seen many beautiful sights, often unexpected.   Most of the time, I try not to think far ahead, just concentrate on the day we are in and enjoy it.  The time together has been a treasure and I feel very lucky.  But I won't lie, some days I'm flat, tired, worried, scared and on those days I hide away, sleep the time off if I can.  Then the feeling subsides, I make stuff, work, cook, garden (not this one, ours is a tiny courtyard), walk Joni and repeat.  I try not to dwell, just keep on keeping on and looking for the positives.

Sunday 3 May 2020

Book review: Sewing Basics for Everybody by Wendy Ward

Wendy Ward is one of the most reliable voices in sewing today. She released Sewing Basics for Everybody earlier this year and the blog hop promo tour is currently active.  I wasn't able to take part this time as I had work commitments scheduled at this time (that was back in the pre lockdown life!) but I did very kindly receive a copy to review.  I find that with each of Wendy's books, the style gets closer to her true aesthetic and this book really feels like her functional style has been given the freedom to create a modern utilitarian capsule wardrobe.  The keyword in the title is 'Every': this book is based on five core basic patterns with full variations and instructions to make twenty different designs in woven and knitted fabrics for any gender, age or body shape.

The book is divided into two main parts: Techniques and Projects.  In the first section, there's lots of detailed information in writing, diagrams and tables. It's packed with a comprehensive range of tutorials that cover the key skills throughout the book from adding a bust dart to, sewing welt pockets, and even stencil painting.  Then the main part of the book concentrates on the projects with a chunky chapter (including variations) devoted to each of the five core patterns.  These sections are photo-heavy and feature a diverse range of models- different genders, ages etc.  The photos are crisp and concentrate on cropped close-ups of the garments.  

The instructions are supported by Wendy's excellent diagrams throughout like the tunic dress (below) variation of the Felix sweatshirt.

The 'Harper' pants stood out to me as a classic slouchy pant.  They reminded me of how I started sewing garments in my teens.  I would take my dad's old discarded trousers and pleat the waist and peg the legs until they fitted teenage-me (we're talking circa 1985).  I have photographic evidence somewhere!  I really like the pleated hem detail (far right purple pants) to narrow the leg. 

The Kim jumpsuit is a great style with three distinctive variations.  Fiona from Diary of a Chain Stitcher has made a great vintage workwear version.

As with Wendy's other books, there are full-size pattern pieces to trace off (some pieces need to be traced off more than one sheet) at the back of the book.  As ever with Wendy, these are garments designed to be sewn on a regular domestic sewing machine and her attention to detail with plackets. cuffs, pockets, zips, linings and more will either teach you new skills or brush up your existing ones

Read my other reviews of Wendy's books: