Tag Archives: Sewing

Drapey Coco top

close up coco topI told you another Coco was on the cards! Pretty much as soon as the last hem was finished on my green Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress I was cutting out my next. I purchased this remnant of drapey jersey from Abakhan Fabrics in Manchester because I thought it was enough to make a top, and I was right! There’s a little bit left but there definitely wasn’t enough for a dress version.

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This fabric was much more lightweight than the sturdy medium weight jersey I used for my first Coco, and that did make it a bit trickier to sew. That being said, it’s a pretty forgiving pattern and unlike the first one I didn’t take any in from the sides, which made it even more forgiving! If there are curvy seams anywhere here it’s basically impossible to tell…

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I am pleased with this addition to my wardrobe, I always saying that I don’t have enough handmade tops to go with my handmade skirts and culottes, and this feels so suitable for the coming autumn. Here I am looking cool in the Northern Quarter in Manchester, but I can see this top styled with a mustard a-line skirt for a slightly different look. Now I just have to make said skirt.

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Oh also, I realised I didn’t really mention on here that I changed my hair colour rather drastically… I mean you could probably tell but yeah, it’s pink now. I love it even more than the last time I was pink, which was 2014. Here’s a bonus photo of me back then-

#mmmay14 self drafted dress for Bowie night!

A post shared by @lottievinsen on

I think I’m maintaining it a lot better this time too. Mainly, this is because I’m not a struggling student, which means I can afford to buy pink friendly shampoo. Also Michael was a dab hand at the bleach! Who knew. that being said, I did forget to add any wax on the day these photos were taken, so you have to enjoy a reasonable amount of hair fluffiness here.

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Green Coco Dress

Coco Green Profile

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The Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress must have been one of the first patterns I purchased. It was back when I had pink hair for the first time, and that song by Iggy Azalea was playing everywhere. I bought this green medium weight jersey from Ebay at the same time, and promptly didn’t do anything with these two items… Until now!

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As everyone who has ever made this pattern will attest, this is a super quick and easy pattern, it almost feels like cheating! I decided this would make a good autumny dress, so I decided to go for the quarter length sleeves. I omitted the funnel neck and cuffs to make it easier to wear jumpers and cardigans over it.

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There isn’t much to say about this pattern, as it’s only four pattern pieces. I graded between sizes as I have a bigger bum than patterns usually expect. I think for me Tilly’s patterns come out a little large, which it’s worth me remembering, because as with this pattern I ended up taking in quite a lot to make it fit in a way which is a bit more me.

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Like with my Ready to Sew Jazz, it felt a bit strange not having a defined waistline putting this on for the first time, but I got into it. I really like the neckline, and I’m keen on this bright colour and the comfy but cool retro shape, another Tilly and the Buttons success! More coco to come very soon…Green coco fountainGreen coco with coat

Pattern Testing Jazz by Ready To Sew

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I’m not sure about any of the expressions I gave in any of these photos… It’s me again! I’ve had a lot of exciting opportunities recently which is great, but does mean a lot less time for the old blog. That being said, I have a new make to show you all!

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It is my great pleasure to introduce to you Jazz, the new pattern from french pattern company Ready to Sew. They contacted me to ask if I would pattern test and I jumped at the chance. It’s a loose fitting dress or jumpsuit and has sleeve and length options, and I have to admit the design isn’t necessarily something I would have gone for without prompting. When I was sent some photos, however, I saw a black sleeveless jumpsuit version, and I realised that actually my wardrobe could definitely benefit from an easy breezy outfit like that.

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I went for a navy viscose from Abakhan Fabrics. It was my first time with viscose but this specific fabric, while drapey, still had a bit of weight to it which I think probably helped. My cutting could have been a lot better, but sewing it didn’t present too many challenges as long as I went slowly.

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I was sent this pattern to test the instructions and constructions, which I’m not going to detail here. I don’t think it would be very fair to talk about negatives which might not even be in the final draft. This is an intermediate pattern and I definitely feel that in the instructions. Ready to Sew does have a nice feature in their instructions where they have links to tutorials on how to do certain steps such as the invisible zip, if you’re concerned it might have some new construction techniques for you.

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I’m happy to wear this jumpsuit, but as I had to make it quite quickly (see above business, coupled with a temporary loss of sewing space in the flat) I did make a few irritating mistakes which I’d like to rectify next time I make it. One great thing about this pattern is that on the cutting layouts there is a guide showing you which edges you need to serge, which I’ve never seen before but love.

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I enthusiastically zig zagged the required edges, but in my eagerness I didn’t really take much care in ensuring the stitches would actually be caught in the seam allowance. A few zig zags do poke out onto the front of the fabric as a result, oops. Also, I’m beginning to think the sewing foot I thought was for invisible zips is actually only for normal zips, as I have yet to use it successfully.

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As I said earlier, I originally wasn’t sure how this jumpsuit would fit into my style and wardrobe. I very rarely wear or make clothes without a waist, having a look at my choices over Me Made May shows that for certain! I think I’ve got it into my head that because I’m petite and have short hair, I want to show some kind of curve of the body at all times.

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This is, of course, ridiculous. Gender is performative and ultimately irrelevant to clothing, so who cares if I don’t look ‘femme’ one day, or don’t create an hourglass silhouette in a corseted style every day? Choosing to do or not do these things is both completely fine, of course, and any variation in between. Please, wear things you want to wear. I took a look at myself and realised I hadn’t critically evaluated why I wanted to always cinch in my waist, which needed rectifying. This jumpsuit was a nice way of showing the internal criticisms that I am still valid and cute and stylish in something loose fitting. And I like it! It’s really comfy, super effortless and I can eat as much as I want without worrying my food baby will press against the waistband!

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I also like it with a belt, and apparently want to sneeze if this photo is anything to go by. As I don’t often need to define my waist further, plus the fact that I rarely wear accessories (so don’t own many), I didn’t have an exact matching belt to try with this. I had a waist tie from a top I no longer own which, while black and so not exactly matching, did a good job.

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I am already planning my next one, I’m thinking for going for a brighter colour, or maybe a khaki to look like some kind of french fashion style army person who wants no part in the war, and only wants to look cool.

Disclaimer: This pattern was given to my by Ready to Sew free as a pattern tester. All views are my own.

Butterick 4872 Culottes

DSC01509This pattern was originally my Mum’s from the past (I think the 80’s), and it has variations for culottes at different lengths, skirts and trousers. That’s pretty much all the types of clothing you can have on your bum! This pattern could be all you need. It’s an easy pattern, with minimal pieces. It’s pretty voluminous, but there are some darts on the back and front pleats which keep it in some sort of shape. All of the pieces were in here except the waistband, so I just ‘drafted’ my own by cutting a big rectangle of fabric and using that! It worked out fine.

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A game changer in this make was the addition of my pattern marking pen. I am so glad I bought this people! No pins breaking the paper, I just weighed the pattern pieces down, and drew the lines directly onto the fabric. This also made pleats and darts way easier than using the thread method, which is a bit fiddly for my liking. I definitely cut out neater pattern pieces than I usually do as a result and I am very ok with that.

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The smallest size in this envelope was ‘12’ (although that’s pretty arbitrary, since this is a retro pattern the sizes are all different and funny) which was a smidge too big for me, so I eyeballed and made the pleats about an inch deeper on each side. They aren’t perfectly even, but that’s our little secret, k?

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Making these up were pretty easy. I forgot how bland and to the point commercial pattern instructions were, which threw me a little. These were my first seamed pockets and while they confused me for a bit were actually pretty simple. They look so good too! I’m definitely keen to make more things with this pocket type.

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The main sticking point was really near the end, when I was stitching in the ditch for the waistband. I got overconfident, and managed to snap my needle on the zip! This was irritating, but became even more so when I realised I didn’t have any regular needles left except what felt like the thicket, bluntest needle which ever crawled out of the needle tin. I hated using it, it was a terrible time. On the plus side, it made me very quick on those last steps! Don’t worry guys, I have ordered new needles… Sorry bad needle.

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When I started putting the pieces together, I was kind of unsure about how these would turn out. I love this chambray (denim? Not sure! It’s quite lightweight but still has a good amount of body), but was I setting myself up for a fail by combining with this very unashamedly 80’s pattern? I was wondering if I should have tried it with something more floaty, but actually one it was made and I brought it in to fit around my natural waist I got on board with the idea. They’re kind of weird and maybe a little ugly, but they’re cool and comfortable and I like this outfit. I also think they’ll work year ‘round which is a definite plus, seasonal wardrobes can be restrictive for me.

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Restyling Exchange 2017

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IMG20170603191525I know what you’re thinking. This isn’t Lottie, how did her hair grow that quickly? To that, I would say ‘What are you talking about? Of course this isn’t me, this is clearly another woman.’ Welcome to my Restyling Exchange entry! This was my first time participating in a challenge of this type; sending things to (sort of) strangers, and making clothing you weren’t allowed to wear, no matter how much you liked it! Organised by Pilar Bear and Amy Nicole, we each sent out an item, and we all received one to restyle and then send back. Fun!

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I was sent this top from Rachel. Isn’t that a lovely print? She liked the fit but not the way the pleated lining fell. I had a think about options and reasonably quickly fell on this-

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Can you see a statement sleeve in the making already? I garnered some ideas from instagram, and decided to add sheer sleeves with the pleats as the cuff. Once I started unpicking I also decided it would balance it out to add a sheer yoke.

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I made a pattern piece for the sleeves from a shirt I had with a similar silkiness, and it seemed to work out ok! Sleeves are definitely a lot less daunting than I used to think they are, and usually a little more forgiving than they pretend to be. Stuck up sleeves, thinking they’re better than me. I MADE you.

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The original top had a pleat at the neckline, but the lining didn’t, which meant that the outer fabric front piece was slightly larger than the lining. I basically just drew a line to create the yoke, so I needed to find a way of making the outer fabric match up. I didn’t want to take anything off the sides because I didn’t want to make it too tight by accident, so I did a veeery subtle gather on it.

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There are a couple of bits I wish I was slightly more skilled at- my seams were a little messy, especially in the sleeves, and I don’t know if I finished the raw edges well enough. However, I’m still really happy with the end result. I came out just as I envisaged it, and this is definitely the most advanced thing I have made for someone else! Wowsers, making stuff for other people is stressful, I was so nervous when unpicking mistakes. I sewed a sleeve in the wrong way around and it was tense getting the dark stitches out of that dark fabric…

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Rachel very kindly let me use these photos for this post, look how great it looks on her!

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Check out the #RestylingExchange2017 on Instagram for more lovely refashioning projects!

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.

Reel Life- Judy Hopps

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Welcome to another edition of Reel Life, where I find ways you can dress like your favourite characters from screen in the outside world. I love Zootopia/ Zootropolis/ whatever you call it where you live, and so I had to create a look for Lieutenant Judy Hopps. Excitingly, you can recreate this look with independent patterns.

Rowan bodysuit

Her whole outfit is very fitted, and so I’ve gone for stretch fabric patterns. Megan Nielsen released two gorgeous new patterns earlier this month and seeing the Rowan bodysuit I knew it would be a great fit for the top half of the outfit. Judy Hopps wears a police uniform which actually looks like it’s all in one piece, and the Rowan bodysuit creates a seamless silhouette, very effectively recreating the look. The colour on this example photo is almost correct already! I would use the turtleneck long sleeved options, and I would open out the neck pattern piece, curve the edges down, and create a faux mandarin collar similar to Judy’s. The neck might need extra interfacing to keep its shape depending on your fabric choice.

I like the armbands she wears, and you shouldn’t need a pattern for these. Get some stretch fabric, possibly ribbed, and cut a rectangle to fit around your arm. I would curve the end outwards to fit over your hand like Judy’s do. Or, alternatively you could adapt the cuff of your Rowan top and create an even more integrated look. So many possibilities!


Virginia Leggings

For the bottoms I think these Virginia leggings (also from Megan Nielson) would be great- comfy for all those chase scenes whilst also stylish. Bonus points for adding knee patches in grey stretch fabric.

Flora dress

Lastly, the police vest. There are a couple of ways this could be achieved in a real world sense. You could make just the top half of a pinafore pattern, bringing together the side seams with bands at the sides. You could perhaps knit a tank top, complete with police badge incorporated into the design? Or, I realised that the bodice of the Flora dress from By Hand London looks quite similar in shape. I would make it up slightly larger than usual, in order to account for the bodysuit underneath.

And there we have it! All ready to solve animal related crime.

Which characters from film and TV would you love to dress like on an everyday basis? Let me know in the comments and you may see it in a future Reel Life post!

A Zip After My Own Heart

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It’s March! I’m not always wearing gloves because I don’t need them!

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Spring is certainly on this way, and I am feeling the spring clean, new start kind of vibes right now. As you might guess from the boxes in some of these shots, we moved a couple of weeks ago. The new apartment is lovely, albeit with a bit of a life of its own, plus we have a spare room now which means I have a dedicated sewing space! I’m sure I don’t have to tell you guys how happy this makes me. I’ve got a gorgeous project on the go and I’m loving that I don’t have to allow tidying time into my sewing time. Just shut that mess away for the day, and pick it up tomorrow. Amazing.

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Ooh, attractive. I love a girl with a jumper for a face. I also have a brand new job which I wish I could tell you about because it’s awesome, but I really can’t right now. Come back in a couple of months and I might be able to spill the beans… in any case, I’m feeling in a good place right now.

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On the subject of spring cleaning, I got rid of a lot of stuff before our move. We were moving from the south to the north of the country (shout out to those who relocate frequently, you guys must be machines), and so I didn’t want to take anything all that way I didn’t care about. This required a rather brutal look at my sewing stash. Here’s roughly what I was dealing with-

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Now I’m sure this isn’t as much as other people function with very happily, but for me it made no sense to keep all of this mess. I was hoarding old shirts and things, thinking ‘I could do something with this’- there to die in the corners of the cupboard. Here’s the steps I always take when decluttering-

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  1. Work out exactly what you’re dealing with. Take everything out and put it where you can see it all. This often seems overwhelming but it’s kind of necessary to get a bit shocked by how much stuff there is.
  2. Pick up your favourite things. For me, the fabrics I love, the refashions I can’t wait to stick my teeth into. These will definitely stay.
  3. Pick out the essentials. The tools and materials you can’t be without.
  4. Right, now onto some decisions. I go through every item, thinking about how it makes me feel. Am I excited to use it, or does it feel like a responsibility? There is no joy in keeping stuff which makes you sad. Obvious, but sometimes it helps to hear it again.
  5. Donate what’s left, or in my case donate/ send to textile recycling. Let your unwanted items run free, live a new life!

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Thanks for reading this slightly meandering post, where I’ve interspersed it with photos of what I wore today. The top is a refashion from last year, and the skirt is a new to me vintage red cord. Red cord skirts everywhere, please!

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I suspect this might be a handmade skirt, judging by its insides. It has a slightly wonky zip insertion after my own heart. I’m a bit out of practice with outfit shots, I started a bit self conscious. To calm myself down I took a deep breath…

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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!