Category Archives: Sewing

My First Foray into Lingerie

I hate bra shopping. I mean, I’m not super keen on clothes shopping in general, but bras are stressful. Boobs are not grown in set cup sizes, and also are not symmetrical, unless you payed for them to be I guess. I wonder if buying bras is easier after a boob job? Anyway, in this frustration I realised it might be time for me to give making a bra a go.

Following this excellent tutorial by Annika Victoria, I used a scrap of stretch lace left over from this dress refashion, and I mean scrap. I squeezed the pieces out and hoped they were close enough to correct first time.

I basically followed the tutorial to the letter. Next time I’d like to add some more length on the bottom though, I think I measured a little short. Also, since I’m making these on my own measurements, I think I should make two sets of pattern pieces for each boob, to properly tailor the bra to me.

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Annika uses normal elastic for her bralette, but I had a load of fold over elastic I purchased for using in underwear one day. I didn’t really know how to use it (and clearly wasn’t feeling researching it for some reason), so I just kind of treated it like bias binding, sewing it into place wrong sides together, then folding it over and sewing it down. It’s fine for this make, but I feel like i could look a bit more polished so I’ll work on that next time.

There will definitely be a next time because this was a lot of fun, and a very quick project, getting everything done in one evening. I made the straps cross over at the back which I really like. The fit isn’t perfect but it’s a perfectly wearable first go. Plus, since it doesn’t have any wires it’s very comfortable regardless.

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I don’t have any photos of me wearing this bralette from the front because… well… it’s a black lace bralette with no lining. I do, however, have this photo from the back-

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Cute! Ignoring the extremely crumpled skirt, which is not so cute…

Striped Turtle Neck Refashion

I’m pretty pleased with this one! I know I say that about all of my makes… I made this in something of a fever at about midnight one weekend. I wasn’t ready for bed y’all! Some go clubbing, I go sewing. Both equally valid btw, no judgement here.

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Anyway, my partner had a big clear out and I grabbed this top because I love me some monochrome stripes. My thought from the beginning was to replicate a top I already owned, with some improvements. I have this turtleneck crop top, but it irritates me that I always have to wear a tank top underneath. I’m not going to wear it as a crop top, it’s long sleeved. My tummy gets just as cold as my arms people!

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This is a pretty rough and ready ‘tutorial’ coming up here- remember how I said I made this at midnight?

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Lay your top over the top to be refashioned. Draw around, adding seam allowance, with a fabric pen.

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Unpick the sleeves at the shoulder sleeves and down to the cuff.

I then cut around the top pattern I had drawn onto the top, having tried the top on to see if the lines seem about right. Remember that the shapes for the fronts and backs of the armholes and neck hole will be different.

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Sew the shoulder seams together, right sides together. All of my seams were sewn with a zigzag stitch. I like how I cut through the label as if it were the fabric, it means I have a cool half label reminding which bit is the back. I also like the idea that someone will find this top in years to come and be super confused about this top Next made.

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Open up the top right side up, and pin the sleeves to the armholes. By doing it now you can shape the sleeve to fit around the armhole without having to work out how to cut them. It’s a much more forgiving order than constructing once the sides are attached. Just be careful to not stretch the fabrics as you do this.

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Fold the sides and sleeves to right sides together, and sew in one long line. Here you’ll catch any extra fabric on the sleeves in the seam. Don’t forget to trim this down after.

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Now, for the collar. I basically just sewed two of the side pieces I had left from taking in the top, sewed them together to make a long strip, and used that. Be a better person than me, and make sure the rectangle you’ve made is even. I ended up with a wonky collar. It’s fine, I evened it up enough so you largely can’t notice, but I believe you can do better. I measured around my neck how big the collar should be to look deliberate, but can also fit over my head. I then basically followed this tutorial for the neck which explains it better than I probably could-

Since I used a top for this, I didn’t have to hem the sleeves or bottom as that was already done for me. Hooray! I am really keen on this look. It doesn’t come across in these photos enough, maybe because I’d had a busy day at work and a lot of food before taking them, but it’s a very chic top. I definitely want to make more, especially since it was so fast!

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Vintage Fabric, New Skirt

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It’s been busy couple of weeks so this is coming a little later than I expected. However, I am resisting the urge to apologize because it’s my blog and that means I don’t have to apologise for not writing this sooner.

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My mum was having a clear out and I managed to score a load of fabrics and notions out of it. This fabric went top of the pile because the print is absolutely gorgeous. It’s I believe an 80’s cotton, and I thought it would make a lovely skirt.

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I traced a pattern from a mid length skirt from my wardrobe which I love- it was payment for helping out at a vintage sale a couple of years back and I think it was handmade for a theatre costume. To save time and tracing paper I used the same piece for front and back of the skirt. I wanted a centre back seam for the zip to be inserted into, so I simply drew that piece on the fold, adding seam allowance around the edges. I then added another line with seam allowance on the centre seam. Cut out one piece on the fold, and two with the extra seam allowance for the back.

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I really had to squeeze this skirt out of the fabric, as I didn’t have very much fabric. Pattern matching be damned! However, I managed to get all the pieces which was a relief, including one waistband piece. I added a couple of inches extra to the length, in order to create an overlap for a button fastening. This was a feature I really liked in my original skirt.

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I love this skirt, and it was so quick to make. I am anticipating at least another one of these in my future! I wear this style a lot all week long, because it’s a really versatile piece in my wardrobe. Plus, I have the pattern piece ready and waiting now…

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I wore this to the cat cafe in Manchester last weekend and the combination of new vintage skirt and cat stroking times became very exciting to me-

We went to a cat cafe today and I think we're still giddy about it 😺😻😺

A post shared by @lottieoflosori on

Plus, it’s nearly Me Made May time! Please do come over to Instagram to follow my pledge and join in the party. It’s such a lovely time for the sewing community to come together and celebrate the fact that we made our own clothes!

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Me Made May 2017- My Pledge

It’s that time of year again! May is on its way which for the sewing community can mean only one thing-

‘I, Lottie of losori.wordpress.com (@lottieoflosori on instagram), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade or refashioned item each day for the duration of May 2017’

Every year Zoe of So Zo What Do You Know runs a month long challenge to encourage makers to make the most of their handmade wardrobe. You can make your own pledge according to what would be the right level of challenge for you. Last year I was in a very corporate job, which is not something I sew much for, and so I went for wearing handmade over the weekends. You can find last year’s Me Made May on my Instagram or on the mmmay16 tag on the blog. However, new year, new city, new job, new pledge! Life in your twenties, amirite?

I am anticipating that I may be featuring a number of repeats this month, which is ok. About 30% of clothing in our wardrobes went unworn last year, and so it would be good to ensure I get good use from the items I have made. Similarly, it will help me identify where the gaps in my handmade wardrobe lie, in order to make clever choices in the future.

I will be posting every day on Instagram, but I am still to decide about the blog. I will definitely write a blog post at the end of the month about my thoughts, but would it be interesting to put the photos on here at the end of the week? If anyone has any strong opinions let me know, otherwise I’ll just make an executive decision.

If I am really struggling or my laundry grew too fast, I will count mended garments for a day, but I wouldn’t count them as part of my handmade wardrobe, as that’s just a way for me to prolong the life of my purchases.

You can follow my month over on my Instagram which you can find here, and I look forward to seeing everyone’s handmade creations!

Start the Fans Please

I love a novelty/ themed make, but I similarly hate the thought of making something I won’t wear. What a waste of my own labour. However, when I started my new job recently there was something I had to attempt…

 

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I work for the Crystal Maze experience in Manchester, which is awesome. I’m not going to say much about my work on here, but rest assured the experience itself is just like the original show, only you are the star! As a big fan of the original series, I had to make something I could wear to commemorate the occasion. There were a couple of options. I could make something Mumsie would be partial to, or perhaps one of the iconic bomber jackets?

Richard O'Brien Coat

I decided to make Richard O’Brien’s leopard print coat. I don’t usually wear anything with animal print, but I thought for this I could make an exception. The fabric is a pretty nasty cheap thing I got from Ebay, but luckily it didn’t sew up as badly as I expected. I was anticipating fluff everywhere. Maybe this fabric was so synthetic it didn’t understand that was a thing fake fur does?

I ‘drafted’ a pattern from a second hand coat I love, which can be seen here during last year’s Me Made May-

This photo seems like an age ago. Also, can you believe it’s nearly Me Made May again? I need to start thinking about that. I say drafted, it was actually traced from the coat. I haven’t done that on a whole item before, and especially not with sleeves, so I was a bit nervous. It wasn’t perfect, but I made it work.

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I’ve never really attempted a coat before but using With Wendy’s Youtube tutorial made it really easy.

I basically followed this tutorial the whole way, with a slight alteration. My coat has a shawl collar, and a small curved rectangle piece at the back of the neck. Having this and the facing sewn in created quite a thick fabric, which means it stands up really nicely. It’s a feature I’m very pleased with.

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For the majority of this make I was singing the praises of this fabric. It doesn’t need much pressing, I can just use my fingers! It’s great, the fake fur means it stays in place really well with minimal pins! It’s soft! That was, until it came to fastenings. I had planned on copying the original coat in button placement, but that would have been about 5 button holes.

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This coat ate up my sewing machine like nothing else. It caused my actual footplate to rip off at least twice, sewn into the fabric in a horrific clump. My footplate! I had to unscrew the entire foot to get it away from it every single time, and it was nightmarish. I sat down one evening, expecting the buttons to be finished in an hour, and ended up there all night, saying rather unsavoury things to this coat.

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I came back the next evening, muttering ‘one buttonhole, just one.’ I made a large buttonhole in the middle of the length (roughly), and worked out where I could sew the button on the other side for best coverage. I didn’t spend too long on this, I was at the ‘well, everyone dies’ stage of sewing.

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I think wearing it buttoned up makes it look like a Richard Cheese outfit! Now it’s finished. I hope Richard O’Brien would understand that creative journey of hating your work at some point before it’s finished. Even though it was made with the understanding it’s an unusual garment for me, I actually will wear this. It feels cool.

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Altering a too small dress

Polka Dot refashioned dress (2)

Back when I was still at uni, I bought this polka dot dress from a charity shop. I loved the shape and the fabric, but it was too big in the bodice. No biggie, I thought, and took it home. One of the simplest ways to fit a dress which is too big is to sew in the side seams. However, this dress had a side zip, what I ended up doing was take it in at the centre, creating a centre back seam. It was an ok job, but I made the chest go the opposite direction and became too small. Here’s a photo of me wearing it last Me Made May.

As you can see; lovely dress, tight bust. I just kind of lived with it for a while, but more recently it became something of an irritation in the mornings. I don’t like having clothes which don’t fit, especially now I can fix that with sewing. Who’s with me on that one?!

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I finally sat down and assessed the problem. I had thought to leave the excess fabric on the wrong side of the seam, should I want to make any alterations. However, I had neglected to finish the seam allowances, and so that whole operation was rendered useless by the fact that the fabric had been shredded to pieces. My word past me, this was stupid. Why did you not finish the seams? Did you think it wouldn’t be affected by the cruel fate of the washing machine?

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Grumbling at my past over, I realised I would have to get creative to solve this fitting error. Luckily, that’s my jam. I dug a piece of black stretch lace out of my stash, and unpicked the centre seam of the dress. Next, I put the dress on and measured the shape I needed this extra piece to be. Well- I got Michael to do that, as I am no contortionist! A technique to gain fabric in a garment is to add a rectangular strip in the seam. However, this dress has a collar, which would have made doing that without ruining the collar very tricky. Instead, my idea was to create a lace keyhole insert.

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Having measured the positioning of the widest point, I pinned the lace into this opening, folding down the raw edges of the dress. I topstitched close to the edge of the dress around the keyhole, and finished the edges of the lace. You taking notes, past me? Oh, I guess you are….

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These photos were taken during a recent visit to the Museum of Science and Industry. I saw Gabby from Gabberdashery took over their Instagram recently, and thought I was due a trip to their textile section. I love how much better this dress fits me now, and the lace insert is pretty fun. It’s not something I would have gone for in the first place, but I like it. It’s nice that whilst solving the problem, I in fact created a welcome addition to the creation.Polka Dot refashioned dress

Tilly and the Buttons Orla Top

This make was rather a long time coming. All the way back in September, I was encouraged to buy this teal crepe from Sew Over It by Pocket for Sweets, during the Instagram challenge Sew Photo Hop. I got their jade crepe. Such a beautiful colour!

I knew I wanted to make an Orla top similar to the one made in the sewalong. However, I fell foul of not having the right equipment. I had been using some fairly cheap fabric scissors and until now they hadn’t presented too many problems. A couple of hacks into this fabric, however, and it was obvious I needed some better kit. I got myself some pretty wobbly pieces there!

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Christmas came, and I was lucky enough to get new fabric scissors and a rotary cutter and mat. However, I then had a lot of moving and new jobbing to do (see this post), and so Orla took a back seat.

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As soon as the sewing machine was plugged in, I was a go on this top again. I cut with a combination of rotary cutter and scissors and wow having the right tools makes so much difference you guys. I love my blade buddies.

This was a pretty straightforward make, as you would expect with Tilly’s patterns the instructions are clear and easy to follow. The fabric I chose is reasonably thick but still has a nice drape which made it a good choice for this top. It doesn’t press that easily though, so lots of steam required to put it into submission. It also frays quite badly so it might be easier to mark your notches with thread rather than snipping them into the fabric? Mine disappeared into the fabric a bit.

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I made the possibly over confident decision to make this first ever exposed zipper one with a decorative edge. I did a bit of a botch job on this, although I’m still pretty pleased with it. Do you try to tuck the bottom in like the instructions suggest with a normal exposed zip, or do you sew the metal bottom on the right side of the fabric? I felt like I was going mad because everyone I found online who used these didn’t seem to have any problems.

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I took the sides in by a bit because I like my clothes a bit more fitted at the waist, although I still feel like it might be a bit loose. The biggest bit of trouble I had was with the collar. I need to start thinking about whether my collars would be better off with lining on the bottom side, because I always have a problem with the bulk created with all the layers of fabric and interfacing. I also cut some of the collar pieces before I owned my rotary cutter, and so they don’t have the crisp lines they should have.

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Overall, I’m pleased I’ve finished this top, but there’s a part of me that still isn’t sure about it when actually wearing it. I wonder if the top is just a bit too long for me? Or perhaps the shoulders are too big, despite my pressing attempts. Plus, there’s the slightly costumey collar on my little neck. I just wonder if there’s something not quite right about it. However, I did wear it out over the weekend and felt good in it, so it might just be that I feel uncertain about it because it feels a bit different to my usual style.

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I would be interested in trying this top again, possibly in a slightly lighter fabric to see how that changes the look. I did like how it tonally matched with my secondhand coat, making a pretty sweet transitional ensemble.

Mending: Space Dress Edition

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It’s no secret that I love my space print Lilou. So much so that I am seriously thinking about making another space printed Lilou…

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I learnt a lot of skills during this make, the main one being there is a reason patterns give a recommended zip length. I went for one way too short because it was in my stash, and as a result it was always super hard to get out of the dress. It was a proper, two person pulling and swearing job. Not the most glamorous of undressings…

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I finally got ‘round to unpicking the zip and replacing it with a dress length invisible zip. I’m still not perfect on the zip insertion, but I’m definitely getting better every time which is nice.

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Here are a couple of photos to illustrate the fact that I mended my problems. This was before I went to work and still had that lovely morning glow/ stunned look. You’re welcome.

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Tablecloth Skirt Mark Two

I used to have long hair. It was determined to be straight and limp and boring, not matter how much I messed with it. I would curl it, it would deflate within the hour. I also had very little interest in doing anything cool with it. A bun was too complicated for me to work out. And so, during a period of being especially annoyed with it, I got it cut off, marking one of the best decisions of my life. No longer will my hair get in the way while eating, take forever to dry, and make me sad by hanging over like a wet blanket over my face. Best of all, it suited me. It turns out I was a short haired person stuck in a long haired person’s body. 

However, I’m sure none of you are surprised to hear I got some backlash from this decision. I remember being told to ensure I wore more flowery clothes, to offset the ‘masculine’ hair. Often I would be told ‘You suit short hair so much, it looks great! When are you going to grow it back?’, which is a weirdly paradoxical statement. I was also ‘warned’ that people would think I’m a lesbian, which is strange, as that isn’t an insult. Anyway, regardless of my sexual positioning, these strange stereotypes pursued me, despite the fact that reactions to my hair specifically were overwhelmingly positive. People have such messed up priorities sometimes.

I wanted to mention this little story from my life for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I got my haircut yesterday (after these pictures), and it got me thinking about how, to some people, my hair is something of a confusion to their prescribed view of what a woman should look like. Secondly, and rather more trivially, I made a long skirt into a short one, which also reminded me of this process.

This skirt was very originally a tablecloth, found in a charity shop. In my early days of sewing, I made this into a maxi circle skirt. It was a real ramshackle affair but I eventually made something wearable, at least for a few wears.

Like my long hair, I began to find the long skirt more trouble than it was worth. It kept tripping me up on the stairs, dragging in the dirt, and getting stained. I bundled it up into a bag for a bit, before using some of it for this Mimi blouse. The other week, I had a look at what was left of the skirt, and decided it would be perfect for a quick A-line skirt. I traced a shape directly from my Delphine skirt (I couldn’t be bothered to trace the proper pattern out again, as I said, I fancied a quick project), and cut as close to the grain as possible. I was considering going for pockets, but I went for a side zip so I didn’t fancy working those two things out together! The best bit was that I didn’t have to hem, as it already has these scalloped edges.The waistband is a bit of a mess and could do with being about an inch and a half smaller, but for a simple project I’m pleased with it. So pleased I took these photos outside when it was rather nippy.

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Happy Birthday Blog!

This post has taken me a long old time to write. Do you ever feel like you’ve been experiencing too much internet? I just felt smothered by it. So, I deleted all my social media apps from my phone, stopped refreshing the Guardian homepage every three minutes, and tried to spend more time doing other things. I’ve started learning the Ukulele again, having stopped after a very short burst about four years ago. My apartment is also now many bags of junk lighter, having gone through a donation spree. It’s felt good; necessary. Next, I’m going to clear out my fabric cupboard (yes, I know!), as it’s been making me feel more sad than excited. Sometimes a good cleanse can be useful for the creative soul.

Anyway, onto the purpose of this update, which is that my blog had its anniversary last week! Happy Birthday blog! Losori started a year ago now, and my goodness what a year. I am so glad I started this blog all that long year ago. Thank you to everyone who has supported me by reading, commenting or saying nice things in real life. There was a time that I didn’t feel confident telling people I liked to sew, or god forbid knit. I’m still not shouting it from the rooftops in the real world, but I’m feeling way more happy about my passions, and I do talk about them, both chatting to people and right here on this blog. One thing I didn’t anticipate is pride. I’ve been starting to feel good about making things and sharing them. Every new make is a little story of my process, and I actually get really excited about sharing that with the world.

Just to get vaguely personal, it’s been a rough year. I think it has for a lot of people. And this blog has actually been a bit of a rock for me, even if it might not look that way from the outside. I’ve been able to dip in over the year, adding to my writing, taking better photos, and each time feeling like I have achieved something, even in a small way.

I thought it would be nice to have a look at the hits and misses from my very first blog year, so I hope you enjoy.

Hits-

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First, the highlights. This year was pretty much the first one where I had both the time (sort of…) and the resources to sew, so I definitely saw my skills improve over the course of these 12 months. My favourite make this year, to no one’s surprise, has to be my space dress. Nothing has made me feel so proud and happy to wear. Do you ever put something on and it actually feels like it accurately represents you and who you are? Somehow, this dress does that. I’ve ordered a long invisible zip for this dress so soon it won’t take two people pulling to get this dress off…

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My Megan dress is again, not perfect, but I actually wear this to work and no one gasps ‘Gasooks, this woman is wearing an outfit made on her kitchen table. Cast her to the flames!’ They haven’t said that because I don’t work in a anachronistic medieval witch hunting club, but also because it legit looks like a well made item of clothing.

 

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I have knitted intermittently over the year, leading to my biggest project which was my owls jumper. I love this jumper, it’s so soft and chunky and lovely. The only thing with it is that it’s a little snug ‘round the neckline getting it on and off. Did I cast it off too tight? I’m not sure, but probably.

 

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And lastly, just a couple of other makes I’m especially pleased with. My America dress is just really cute and fun. I used to love this dress in its original form, and it’s great to still be able to wear it in a new way! Lastly, this nedroid costume was very easy but very effective. I liked being a bear and a potato.

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Misses and eh’s-

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I made this scalloped skirt as part of a facebook group’s challenge and whilst I enjoyed the process, I really can’t get along with the finished product. It doesn’t have a strong waistband so it sags over the course of a wear, plus the scallops always need ironing which just irritates me. These, combined with the fact the design causes so much upskirt with even the slightest breeze, makes it my top miss of the year. But, as a plus, it was my first time with buttonholes which was fun.

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This sleeveless Mimi blouse is a funny one, because I kind of like it, but am also not sure at the same time. The fabric choice isn’t really right for the pattern, and if you read back over my post about it, I was kind of cobbled together from a load of mistakes. But then it looks ok in these photos. I’m going to give it until next summer and see how it holds up with the rest of my wardrobe.

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One day I randomly got some pictures taken of me in a vintage inspired outfit, and thought it might be good to put on here. I then went on to do a couple of My Style posts, but to be honest I never felt altogether comfortable with this category. I think it shows in the photos. Compare my body language to in photos of my space dress, for example, and there’s a whole world of difference. I’m not going to get rid of them, as it seems dishonest, but they really aren’t my best work. 

And that’s been the year. Generally a successful one for makes! I’m very much looking forward to the next. Once again, thank you to you all, and I look forward to the next year of creativity!