Productivity that I can share here has ground close to a halt in the run up to Christmas. If I’m not hurtling through a gift make, I’m out on the town! My coat has laid neglected and I’m itching to get back to it, or even to make a skirt or a top – something, anything. Fortunately, the day job will soon break up for Christmas and I’ll have many more spare hours. Yippee!
In the meantime, my copy of The Colette Sewing Handbook has arrived and been lovingly pawed over and read in bed. It has a great narrative tone – understated, quietly sophisticated yet encouraging.
I’d love to know how anyone is making any money out of a ringbound, hardback book with five free patterns that retails on Amazon for £13.52 and will have had shipping costs to the UK. I can only assume the print run is MASSIVE – go, Sarai! But also my bad for buying from Amazon: their deep and aggressive discounts often mean few pennies find their way back to author purses. But then, is this book even available in the UK from more traditional sources? Oh, the ethics of book-buying in a 21st century recession! Perhaps the publisher views UK sales as a worthwhile loss leader to raise the profile of the book – which with Sarai’s firm UK fan base may be a canny choice. Who knows, who knows, do any of you care?!!
I won’t give a detailed review here, as there are several already online, but I thought I’d take a section of the book to inspire a blog post.
In the chapter ‘Editing For Your Style’ Sarai suggests taking from your closet five things that you love to wear. I decided to make my five choices things I’ve made. I thought it would be really interesting for me and hopefully you to see which items rise to the surface of the pile and get worn on regular rotation – and why.
1. The Sorbetto Top
I’ve made, ahem, five of these beauties. This one and my spotty one each get worn on a weekly rotation. What do I like about this top and why do these two in particular get worn so much? I like the simplicity of the design. It can sit neatly beneath cardigans and bring a bit of understated interest to an outfit. Both this and my spotty version barely crease. The spotty version doesn’t even need ironing. I think this top is a great canvas, and with the right fabric choice, they are immensely practical.
Made nine months ago, this skirt has seen a lot of wear. I can tell you exactly why:
- the colour
- the cashmere wool
- the A-line design
It was made from a vintage pattern that I’ve gone back to several times. You can’t beat an A-line skirt. It’s simple, but made in cashmere wool, it also feels gorgeously decadent to wear. I really like that principle of taking something very simple and giving it the best treatment possible.
3. The V8667
This dress has probably had about half a dozen outings since I made it in April. So it’s not worn frequently, but when I do wear it – oh, how I love it. I recently wore it to a gathering of editors. You have never heard so much excited squealing from a group of educated, intelligent professionals! The dress got a lotta love, what can I tell you. Again, I have fairly strong ideas what I like about this dress:
- the colour
- the wool fabric
- the slight retro feel
- the excellent fit
I think patterns are starting to emerge, aren’t they… What next?
4. The V1179
I’ve made three versions of this dress. They get worn on a seriously heavy rotation. (Although my first turqouise make is looking a bit sorry for itself now.) Again, I know exactly what I like about this dress:
- The simplicity – it has three pattern pieces.
- The comfort to wear.
- The myriad options for using different fabrics.
5. Snood Sensation
So, moving forwards, I think we can agree that I am drawn to:
- Strong, solid colours
- Relatively simple silhouettes
- Understated designs
- Wool! Both fabric and yarn.
Are there any other patterns that you’ve spotted? Anything that you think I’d like to make? What would you say your style is?
This was a really interesting exercise. Perhaps tonight I’ll take my inspiration from Stitch and Witter and prance around the house like a French mime artist in deeply unflattering tight leggings and T-shirt. No, not because I’ve finally lost my marbles, but because I am intrigued to see what my croqui will look like! (For an extremely thought-provoking blog on making a croqui, visit Lazy Stitching here.)