What were you doing 10 years ago? What the heck was I doing?!
Well, I guess in some corner of my house, I sat down with a laptop and opened a WordPress account. I remember being very inspired by sewing and wanting to be part of the online conversation.
Back then, it was all about leaving long, enthusiastic comments on other people’s blogs. If you want to hear how it really worked, you should definitely listen to this podcast I took part in. The online sewing community was US-focussed, fledgling, and vibrant.
Much has changed – other than the vibrant part. And I am sooooo happy to see how many people have filled this world of ours with thousands of Instagram posts and comments. It really is staggering to see how some of my peers have grown from isolated individuals (“You sew?!”) to being successful authors, business people, Youtubers and community hosts. What else is to be achieved, and by whom?
Did you witness the rather magnificent costume designer, Sandy Powell, wear a toile to the BAFTA awards? She’s raising money for Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage, the home of his creativity. The plan was to persuade famous attendees to sign her toile, and auction it off.
Her plan worked! The Instagram photos were amazing.
When I was a teenager, I had a white cotton drop-waist dress. God, I loved that dress. And now I love this one almost as much.
It’s a hack, inspired by Lisa Comfort’s recent vlog where she shared a hack of the Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress to make a maxi dress. Mind. Blown! So simple, so inspiring. And I had exactly the right fabric waiting to be pressed.
It’s an animal print viscose from – you guessed it – TMOS. It’s super cheap and so lovely to work with. There’s still some on a roll, so canter down to Walthamstow market, like the eager sewing unicorns I know you are!
I didn’t exactly copy Lisa’s version. Mine isn’t quite a maxi dress. I paired the Shift Dress bodice and the Myosotis Dress skirt, thereby combining two of my favourite patterns. Done!
I’ll be wearing this dress to death, I can tell. Have you done any hacking lately?
Have you guys seen polka dots EVERYWHERE this season? I have! The great thing about sewing is that we all likely have a polka dot somewhere in our stash, so we can crown ourselves officially ahead of the trend.
I don’t entirely buy the received wisdom that knits are easier to sew with than wovens. Sure, the fitting is more straightforward, but with each knit you spend some time (at least!) understanding the fabric’s structure and behaviour. Patterns for knit makes forewarn you to explore the personality of your fabric with swatch tests. Interesting.
I can’t decide if I like the lopsided wall or the fungal concrete more. Keeping it real, folks!
Now, didn’t I tell you I’d been making stuff? Here is one of my new outfits, composed of both sewing AND knitting.
Let’s start with the shawl, shall we? Long-time readers of Did You Make That already know that it takes me about one gazillion years to knit any single item. Glaciers move at a quicker pace. So, I’m keen to celebrate a finished make!
This is the Waiting For Rain shawl by Sylvia McFadden. It’s a lovely combination of calming garter stitch and head-scratchy lace sections.
It’s fun AND mindful to look back, look forwards – to remember the best (to not mind the worst) and hope for more to come. How was your 2019? I have to admit, I needed to scratch my head to remember all of mine – the past 12 months flew by in a whirlwind.
2019 was my year of the Myosotis dress – dang, I love this pattern. It struck a chord as the high street has been full of gathered, tiered dresses and it’s always fun to put your own spin on things. All of my successful Myosotis makes have been worn in HEAVY rotation and I have others planned.
Oh, man! We can agree that it’s been way too long since Ella last appeared on Did You Make That. Did you know that she’s just turned seven? And next year, I turn 50! How does any of this even happen?
Ella remains playful, stubborn, affectionate and such great company. She is also my BEST filter of fellow human beings. I largely reserve judgement until people have met Ella, and I continue to find her responses fascinating. She crosses the road to avoid people who are off their proverbials. Walthamstow continues to be a vibrant and diverse community – with all that entails. Yet, how does she know?! A little dog can have no concept of alcohol or drugs and yet … she most definitely knows. ‘Come on, Karen. We’re crossing the street.’ Some people who I don’t like, she loves. Others, we both adore. A few, we equally despise.
But to date, she agrees that a person who sews can only be good to the depth of their soul. I genuinely believe this! We invest our hearts into sewing. I just don’t believe that a bad person can do good creating.
Have you noticed? Somewhere along the way, the environment stopped being about the largesse of recycling your empty wine bottles at the weekend and started becoming… Well. Really urgent.
All around us are images of micro beads floating in pacific oceans, sea birds drowning in plastic, and turtles caught up in nets. Young activists lead the way – god, don’t you love our future generations? – and I feel compelled to follow.
Sewing has a pretty good track record in terms of sustainability. As a community we:
turn our backs on fast fashion
regularly recycle fabric, patterns and clothes
use our craft to protest
pass down generational skills
rescue forgotten sewing machines
We can feel good about ourselves, but we could feel better. Shall we agree on that?