Tag Archives: clothkits

What I wore to London in the end

I did try shoes over socks and leggings, but wasn’t keen on how it looked. The main problem was really that the only shoes I have that fit over handknitted socks are red, and the socks I wore today are the same bright pink as my skirt, and really didn’t work with the shoes. And I couldn’t be bothered to try to find a pair of socks that worked with the shoes and the skirt, so I wore boots instead. It wasn’t really that warm, though it was gloriously sunny, so that was fine; ankle boots might have been better but as there are only about two weeks of every year when ankle boots are a better option than either knee-high boots or shoes I don’t own any.

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Shawl – Juliana
Shawl pin – Purlescence
Top – Dorothy Perkins
Skirt – made from a Clothkits kit
Leggings – eBay
Boots – Duo

Anyway, I had a lovely day out and got lots of knitting done – I have now finished the lace section of my Bigger On The Inside shawl and am on the final pattern repeat of the foot of the second Betula sock. And we went to Liberty where I got to stroke the fabric and dream of the day when I’m good enough at sewing to feel able to try to make something out of fabric that costs £22 a metre…

For the birds

Relatively tame olive-green tights today, but I was wearing my Big Birdie skirt and an owl brooch, so I think there was enough fun and whimsy in my outfit anyway.

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Necklace – made by Helen
Jacket – Jigsaw
Porcelain owl brooch – Susan Sharpe on etsy
Top – Gap
Skirt – Clothkits, made by me
Tights – Debenhams
Boots – Duo

I took a close-up photo of the brooch, though it’s a bit fuzzy:

Wol brooch

I’ve been wearing dresses a lot more than skirts recently, and I thought it was because I didn’t have any tops to go with the skirts I own. Actually, I realised today that I have plenty of plain but reasonably smart jersey tops; I just don’t have many winter skirts that feel right for work. Some of the skirts I used to wear are just too small, a couple of others have broken zips that need fixing, and several (from my Per Una phase) just don’t feel right – they tend towards the flouncy and while they worked beautifully with layered tops and tough boots, in a straightforwardly business casual outfit they’re just too girly for me.

Luckily, ‘not having enough skirts’ is a really nice problem for me to have. ‘Not having enough tops’ is tricky, because of fitting issues (though I’m wondering if I should just learn to make basic scoop-necked jersey tops so I can have them in the colours and sleeve lengths I want, with necklines that don’t threaten to show my bra to the world every time I bend down), but skirts are the one thing I can make relatively successfully. I see an examination of the fabric stash in the very near future…

Watch the birdie

I’ve only worn my Big Birdie skirt as casual wear before, but I thought the other day that it might be smart enough for work with a jacket; and I certainly didn’t feel too casual today.

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Jacket and t-shirt – M&S
Necklace – East
Skirt – made by me from a Clothkits kit
Tights – M&S
Shoes – Clarks

Merry Me-Made Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Front view

Today’s outfit includes not only my Big Birdie skirt, which I finally got round to hemming, but my “Quick Work in Thick Wool” jumper from A Stich In Time Vol 2, which does exactly what it says on the tin; after discovering that my gauge was off, frogging and casting on again for the next size down, this took me slightly less than a month from start to finish. It’s the first jumper I’ve made (as opposed to cardigans), and probably the best-fitting garment I’ve ever knitted.

Quick Work in Thick Wool

I used some Rowan Cashsoft Aran I bought in the John Lewis sale a couple of years ago, and the buttons are from the V&A Quilts exhibition.

Buttons

I’m very pleased with it, though it’s chunkier than I thought it was going to be and I’m not going to be able to wear it for work under a jacket as I thought I might – none of my jackets fit over it! It works very nicely over a long-sleeved t-shirt, though, and I might be able to wear it with just a vest under when the weather gets warmer (the short sleeves and low neckline at the back make that seem inadvisable in December). It does look very nice with the Big Birdie skirt, which I’m also very pleased with, especially the fit at the back where I added the darts:

Back viewSide view

I decided to do a bound hem, as a double fold might have been a bit bulky, and hit on the idea of using the ribbon Clothkits tie their kit bundles up with:

Hem

So I have a skirt I can secretly measure things with!

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a lovely Christmas. I am feeling increasingly squiffy on fizzy elderflower and orange juice (this must be all in my mind) and had better go and peel the sprouts now…

Introducing Mildred

I’m not sure I’ve actually introduced Mildred, who came to live with me a few weeks ago courtesy of the John Lewis vouchers given to me by my former colleagues when I left my old job.

Mildred in action

Here she is modelling the pieces of my new Clothkits skirt. I’ve adjusted all her measurements so they match mine, and she’s also wearing an old bra padded out with toy stuffing to give a more accurate representation of my proportions. She’s not a perfect match for me; I have more of a sway back than she does, and her hips also curve out a bit more abruptly than mine (I have a very high waist and a kind of long, gentle slope out to my hips from there, which is why for years I thought I didn’t actually have a waist at all), but she’s close enough that I could get a reasonable idea about fitting issues, and could tell (as I’d suspected from the fit of the Clothkits skirt I made in the summer) that the fit would definitely be improved by the addition of a couple of darts in the back of the skirt.

Darts!

Having pinned approximate darts on Mildred, I then pulled out the Mccall’s pattern I used for the skirt I made in my dressmaking class and used that as a guide to the best placement of the darts and the required depth.

Marked dart

After sewing the darts and basting the pieces together I tried the skirt on, and was extremely gratified to find that it fitted beautifully; the darts mean it curves nicely against my lower back instead of being too wide and slipping about.

Finished dart

I’ve now finished sewing the side seams and sewn together the lining (without darts – I recall from the skirt I made in my class that there were no darts in the facings and the lining is very lightweight); next weekend I might even get it finished.

I know that adding darts is a pretty straightforward adjustment (even more so as I just cribbed them off an existing pattern) but it’s the first fit adjustment I’ve ever done and I’m really very proud of it; I’m not at all confident about sewing and this makes me feel that I might actually be capable of learning to make myself properly fitting garments. I think the next step has to be conquering the full bust adjustment, as until I do that I’m stuck with skirts and what I really want to do is to make myself summer tops and dresses which don’t need camisoles underneath (wearing a camisole under a winter dress is no hardship at all, but it kind of defeats the object of a nice cool summer frock if you need a tight-fitting jersey vest under it!). I have been pondering the question of making muslins/toiles. Most of the sewing blogs I read say you should always make a muslin and that skipping this will Lead to Disaster, in the same way the knitting blogs utter dire threats about the dangers of not swatching, but then swatching just uses a bit of the yarn you already have (and swatches can be unravelled if you need to use the yarn for the final garment), whereas a muslin means buying twice the amount of fabric you actually need, and unbleached calico* is not actually particularly cheap here. I wouldn’t want to launch into a new-to-me pattern requiring a full bust adjustment in an expensive fabric but for not much more than the price of the calico I could get a cheap cotton or cotton blend which will end up making a wearable (if not perfect) garment.

Anyway, I think my next project should definitely involve a full bust adjustment. I can’t quite decide whether to try a re-run of the Market Blouse or have a go at Colette Patterns’ Sorbetto, which has the advantage of being much simpler although it would require me to get over my reluctance to wear sleeveless tops (though I see that someone has drafted a sleeve pattern for it). I think I could probably make either one out of the fabric I got from Natalie at the Glasgow School of Yarn, anyway. It’s got to be worth a try!

*which is apparently the UK term for what the US refers to as ‘muslin’ – I was rather confused as to me muslin is something which has mainly culinary uses!

Making Monday: plans

I decided at the end of last week that I really deserved a present to celebrate getting through the first four weeks of my new job, and as as result Saturday’s post bought a parcel containing an exciting-looking bundle:

Big Birdie

This is going to be a Clothkits Big Birdie Skirt with a Liberty print lining. I haven’t done any sewing for ages, and had been considering a winter skirt but not completely sure how to go about choosing the right fabric or picking something that would work as a lining (I think winter skirts need linings, as otherwise they always end up sticking to my tights).

I haven’t actually started cutting out the pieces yet, because I have some even more exciting sewing-related plans to carry out first. One of the difficulties I’ve found, since buying my sewing machine, is that as well as making time to sew I also need to make space; the only place I could set the machine up is on the kitchen table, so I needed to pick a time when T wasn’t going to want to sit there and couldn’t leave everything out between sewing sessions. However, T has been spring-cleaning and has finally disposed of the junk which had been accumulating in the conservatory for several years. Which leaves a surprising amount of space, and it struck us both that if we had something comfortable to sit on (at the moment it just houses bookcases and the dining table and chairs) it would be a lovely place to sit on sunny days, and that the futon which is currently in the front bedroom (the one which also houses all my clothes and the yarn stash) would fit down there nicely, and it’s not as though we ever actually have visitors who need to sleep on it.

Of course, moving the futon downstairs will leave quite a bit of space in the front bedroom. Easily enough for one of these, which will be perfect to put the sewing machine on. And then I’ll basically have a proper craft room, which is very exciting; I can move all my craft books up there, and the fabric and yarn which is still stashed downstairs, and have it all in one place instead. We’ve ordered the desk and it should be delivered tomorrow, so I’ll be spending next weekend building it and sorting stuff out, and then I’ll be ready to start my skirt in my own dedicated workroom where I don’t have to put everything away at the end of each sewing session!

(If you want to read more Making Monday posts, check out Natalie’s post!)

Handmade day

It’s far harder to wear things I’ve made in summer. In winter I managed to wear something I’d made almost every day just because I rarely went without a shawl or scarf, but even though we’re not having a particularly warm summer it’s still far too warm for me to want to wear things round my neck. At least having made two skirts now I get to wear those, and today was cool enough that I could wear a cardigan all day and therefore picked a handknitted one rather than a shop-bought one just for outdoors.

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Necklace – made by Helen
Cardigan – Hey Teach!
T-shirt – M&S
Skirt – made by me
Leggings – M&S
Shoes – Jones Bootmaker