SWAP2017 The Capsule Wardrobe Saga Pt 1



a long, involved story, account, or series of incidents.
“launching into the saga of her engagement”


rigmarole, story, lengthy story/statement/explanation;

chain of events, catalogue of disasters;
informalspiel, palaver

On Sewing With A Plan.

I decided to start tentative work on a capsule wardrobe. After reading FabricKated’s last 2 SWAPS and My Vintage Inspirations SWAP posts, I was inspired to join in. To be honest I have considered joining in before but this is the first year I have actually understood 50% of the rules. Kate has been kind and generous enough to help me get started and has posted some insightful analysis posts to launch me into the world of sewing with a plan.

The first post was a general answer to the question on how to start a capsule wardrobe. I recommend this post as it gives a very good starting point on what is a capsule wardrobe <link here>.

I found this post very helpful and my response was:

Thank you so much for your help with this Kate. You have made clear what I have been struggling to get. Its like what you said – a lot of the stuff out there on capsule wrdrobe was either too specific or too complicated. So far my take aways from this post are :
1. I need to make everything work together which is easier than trying to meet the SWAP rule on this.
2. I like what you say about dresses reducing options so I will be sticking to one dress.
3. I do love a nice jacket and am thinking of a lightweight mac for one of my overs.
4. Colour palette – I will try my best to use stash fabric so that will most likely determine the palette I will use. Though if I didn’t have my personal rule on using stash fabric – I’d have loved Emerald green, shocking pink, red and orange.
Thank you again!

No doubt I will be coming back and rereading this as I plan. I have my sketchbook at the ready.

Kate then followed up with a development post which also looked at colour palettes for me. Again I was blown away by how her astute understanding of my aspiration style. The post is here and its a very good read if you are interested <link here>.

The key quote in the post for me was:

We need some Kondo-inspired “joy” in our collection. Notice Hila says she loves the colours I suggested – love is more motivating than “I need to use up my stash”.  Please Hila, and everyone else, come up with a plan that excites and stretches you.  Better to create five items you love, than thinking “use the stash/complete the SWAP”.  I know many SWAP participants will focus on using existing patterns and fabrics only, and it is laudable. I feel that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well, and that means not compromising too much (when compromise might what you do all day everyday in real life).

I had been resolved to only using stashers but this tipped me over towards following my heart. So my colours were decided : Emerald green, shocking pink, red and orange, with navy and white as the neutrals.

This is a saga because I have until April 30th to finish the capsule. This is requiring a level of long-term planning I have not undertaken before. The trick for me is to think about what I want to wear next spring while I am in the groove of sewing with warm cozy knits.

To ensure that I just don’t finish a SWAP for the sake of finishing, I have added a further rule which is that I have to spend a month wearing garments I make for SWAP. I will document the month on IG and then do a post as well.

I haven’t ever thought I could do a capsule wardrobe – my initial thoughts were that it’s too restrictive. Most capsule posts I read tend to have the same stripe top-blue jeans combos which I would find boring to wear regularly. I love bright and bold colours. So I am hoping I can do something that will work for me.

Here is the formula for my SWAP ( you can read the SWAP rules here <link here>):

4 Lowers

4 Uppers plus 1 Dress (rogue)

2 Over garments

Here is what I am trying to achieve :

PicMonkey Collage

I noticed on the forum that many who are sewing SWAPs give the plan a name. After much rumination I settled on ………Be Bold, Be Bright, Be You Capsule. :-).d42183a5fbcb8a47def797dcfe7703ac

My next SWAP post will look at the patterns I have decided to go with.

Thanks for stopping by.

Peace and love,



Early 2017 Springwatch


This past weekend presented itself with some lovely weather so I was out on Sunday in the garden – cleaning the greenhouse, sowing seeds, etc. The etc includes taking in the beautiful spring sights.

I don’t know about you but I love the morning after a light shower. The flowers have the droplets clinging on to their delicate petals and its a lovely thing to see. I took these pictures using OH’s phone and I was rather impressed.2017-03-12 09.47.472017-03-12 09.48.082017-03-12 09.48.51-22017-03-12 09.49.132017-03-12 09.50.012017-03-12 09.51.292017-03-12 09.53.242017-03-12 09.53.402017-03-12 09.54.102017-03-12 09.54.282017-03-12 09.55.102017-03-12 09.55.592017-03-12 09.56.152017-03-12 09.44.202017-03-12 09.44.432017-03-12 09.45.032017-03-12 09.45.072017-03-12 09.45.16

Meanwhile at the allotment the garlic and overwintering onions are doing well. I just sowed the seeds for this year. The potatoes are chitting along. This year we are only going to plant one variety of potatoes : Maris Piper.

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Leek bed
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I think it was the birds that did this to our purple sprouting brcocolli

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2017-02-26 15.44.39
The onions sets and garlic.

Spring is coming.

Big Fierce Outrageous Goals…2017….


This was going to be my first post in 2017 but it didn’t quite work out that way. Never mind.

It’s 2017 and I decided my first post(back when I drafted it)  will be a record of my broad goals – things I want to get done that I know of, right now. Over the course of the year, this will change, of course, but it’s a good starting point.

So in 2017 – I will/shall/do/achieve/endeavour to/

  • Sew lingerie.
  • Sew 2 Burdas (from the magazine) per month.
  • Sew 6 Knipmode patterns
  • Participate in The Monthly Stitch Challenges. I think every other month will do.
  • Make men’s jeans/trousers.
  • Sew 1 item from each of my sewing books
  • Knit and finish 4 items.
  • Complete SWAP2017 before the deadline.
  • Make 1 Christmas present and a Christmas tree skirt.
  • More sewing for OH and kids.
  • Improve my lining skills.

Health wise – I love doing yoga and will continue with it but I’d like to add some cardio to that by regularly going to Zumba class. I love dancing so it fits.

Here is a video I made talking/rambling on about some of these sewing goals.



Getting to know my sewing machine better

Hello chums,

I confess this post is shameful on my part. I am ashamed that I did not really bother to know my machine. Recently as I was looking for info on a flat felled foot…..

Let me tell you it all started. So I was doing this pattern drafting class at a local college which also gave me access to an amazing library full of pattern cutting and sewing texts. One Saturday I borrowed the much praised David Page Coffin book on shirtmaking (I was considering it for my personal sewing library). image_173I started reading it with gusto but quickly fizzled out because its is quite an indulgent book. Though the writing style is charming in the same sense of Elizabeth Zimmerman (the knitting goddess) it lacks the conciseness of Zimmerman.

Eventually, I got to the section on flat felled seams. He (Coffin) delivered a very withering critique of my current flat felled technique (the common technique of sewing the seam, trim one side and fold over the other to sew). My one take away from this book was the importance of a flat felling foot to achieve impeccable seams. The game was on.  As I scoured the net searching out said flat felled foot for my Husqvarna Viking H class 100Q (which annoying does not take generic feet ) I came across some YouTube tutorials and on the suggested watch list was a playlist by Heirlooom Creations.

I was surprised to find that they had 39 videos on my machine. Surely that can’t be right – my machine is but a simple one! Out of curiosity I started watching them and OMG! I was only using something like 5% of what my machine is capable of. Never mind the fact that I finally understood what this long shank thing that came with the accessories was.412415101lg_large

1311-photo20115It’s a quilting guide for perfectly parallel stitching!

Yes! I know there is a manual – I swear I read it cover to cover. Somehow I missed out how to use foot D for decorative stitches which has a wider low groove so stitches don’t get stuck (something that happened a lot). Or that the 1/4″ foot is perfect for topstitching. Or the darning function or the blind hem stitch etc…etc…

I see my machine in a different light now and can unreservedly admit that any shortcomings with regards to my machine have been due to me and not it at all!

Now back to the flat felling foot.  I decided against buying it as more research indicated that the 9 mm foot which is the only size available for my machine is only suitable for denim and heavyweight fabrics. Furthermore even if I wanted it for jeans making to get that RTW look, apparently the foot cannot go over seam intersections and you have to stop and jump the intersection and finish it by hand. Meh. Not worth the expense for me.

I did, however, get a narrow rolled hem foot and it does the business really well. I practiced on a slippery fabric and it was doodle to get a really neat and tidy baby hem. That foot was a good investment IMO. The next foot I have my eye on is a narrow zipper foot for centered zip insertions. I don’t always want to use an invisible zipper.

On that long technical note, I bid you adieu and leave you with something to think about – just how well do you know your sewing machine?

Thanks for stopping by,

Peace and love,


Portuguese Knitting Craftsy Class : A Review

During Black Friday sales last year, I bought a few Craftsy classes. One of them was Portuguese Knitting. The instructor is Andrea Wong, who is a very good and thorough instructor. I enjoyed the class immensely.

I bought this classes because I had read about how Portuguese knitting creates less strain on the hands. It’s widely cited as much better knitting style to prevent hand injuries. I was a continental knitter but it caused a lot of strain on my hands and I couldn’t knit for more than an hour without my hands becoming fatigued and achy the next day.

Because Crafsty has the 30 day guarantee I though I could always return this if it wasn’t delivering (I have returned Craftsy classes which haven’t delivered on their promise). I decided to make the free hat pattern that comes with the class to get practice.20161228_103646_hdr_medium

After a few tries I was up and running. Its much less strain on my hands. The first time I knit for the usual one hour and I had no pain in my hands the next day. On the second night I knit for almost 2 hours watching a film in bed. I had no pain the next morning either – and so on and so on. Gradually I built up my speed. Tensioning was my biggest problem. My tension was all over the place initially but once the new style had settled in it was fine. Like learning any new technique – the key is practice, practice, practice.

With Portuguese knitting you can use  the neck for tensioning or a pin.0c8b8fd302b300cca6e7d7c5929fc17f knittingpinswithbeads

Magnetic pin option

I didn’t buy one – I made one using a safety-pin and one of my earrings. It works perfectly fine – I just have to be sure I am wearing a top I don’t mind having pin holes in. I knit at night in bed or early morning anyway. When I am out and about at kids activities I rarely bring the pin out and just use my neck.


Here is a Youtube clip showing how to purl PK style by Andrea Wong.

I am very happy with this and its given  me hope that my knitting need no longer be tainted by a fear of achy fatigued hands.

The class also shows you how to do colourwork and cables and lacework. Everything you need to know and it well structured.

Definitely one of my favourite classes to date.

Thanks for stopping by.

Peace and love,



BurdaStyle Magazine 10/2014 #105 Cowl Neck Dress Pattern Review


Let me preface this by saying that this is possibly my most favourite dress ever! Don’t believe me? Check out this IG video….

Made with some fabric I have been very precious about ever since I bought it at Fletchers Fabrics in Leeds Market.

Fabric before cutting out

This fabric waited patiently for its partner pattern. In other words, it was a stasher. For a long time. Then I saw this on Burdastyle.com…..

BurdaStyle 10/2015 #105


Like magic, I suddenly remembered the swirly 60’s style jersey knit fabric that was buried somewhere in my stash. It was a perfect marriage of pattern and fabric IMHO and, again, I cant tell you how much I love this dress!!! Pictures first….construction details second…..


I cut the size 38 which is my Burda size. No alterations at all. I didn’t use the instructions on this one – I just sort of pinned it out and took it from there. So I pinned the overlap how I wanted it to look, not sure if that’s what the designer was going for.

A brief perusal of the instructions had revealed that the sleeve was to be set it – No Burda – much as I love your drafting and style, I will not set in a knit jersey sleeve!!!!! I used the flat construction method instead and its ok.

All seams were overlocked. A simple zigzag finished the hem and the sleeves. I have plans to make this as a top and a shorter dress in a solid knit. I suspect this might become a TNT by the end of 2017 🙂

Thanks for stopping by…and until next time, happy sewing all!

Peace and love,


Burda Young B6849 Pt. 2 Needlecord

Hello chums,

I sewed up another Burda 6849 in a cotton fine needlecord fabric. This fabric has been a long term stasher so I was glad to finally get it out!

Burda 6849

I have made it in cotton lawn before here….

Burda 6849

I didnt need the instructions this time around as I am quite familiar with shirt construction. Note that this pattern does not have a tower placket so I used the one from the  Angela Kane tutorial. I decided to experiment by adding a velvet ribbon to the undercollar – something I see on OH’s shirts.


Pocket flaps and repurposed buttons.
Yoke cut on the bias.
Very proud of these tower plakets
Trimmed the undercollar with plush velvet just like some of my OH tailored shirts


I actually overlockeed all the seams. I just did not feel like doing flat felled seams. It was lazy. I did wonder if I’d regret it later and frankly speaking I don’t :-).

Working with cord fabric was a revelation. Never has my lint roller been more vital! I had to use it all the time – everything sticks to cord in a most annoying way in the sewing room, thread ends, lint, fluff – you name it and it sticks. My advice is to get loads of the lint roller if you embark on sewing with cord. DOnt even get me started on the amount of cord dust you get when overlocking the stuff!!

And yet I still will sew with cord again. It’s deliciously soft and warm. Cozy and durable 🙂

Here I am on a family night bowling during the Christmas holiday.2016-12-29 18.19.26.jpg

I really ought to make this in a solid colour to really appreciate the wonderful design lines….a chambray blue or a batiste white fabric…..

As always thanks for stopping by. Happy sewing!



Selfless Sewing: McCalls M6044 for my brother….but modelled by OH…

Hello everyone,

Here is a shirt I actually sewed in January 2016 for my little brother who lives in Switzerland. He spent Christmas with us and I offered to make him a shirt using McCalls M6044.

I took him fabric shopping – on a tangent -I honestly do not understand why he didn’t LOVE fabric shopping – we walked into B&M Fabrics and literally 2 seconds later he just pointed at a fabric and he was like “that one” (literally 2 seconds in the shop!!!!). “Have a look around and see what else is there – there are loads of lovely fabrics.” I said with a big enthusiastic smile across my face.


No, I like that one.

But you can’t know that you absolutely like that one because you haven’t looked at the others – plus we have 3 more shops to hit up

Needless to say, recognising the same pattern that was repeated in our childhood, I could see him digging in and being stubborn just cause I was telling him what to do. I retreated, puffed out my cheeks and exhaled.

Ok, sure”  I was really proud of myself – felt like I was the bigger person and congratulated myself. Really I was. But that didn’t stop me dragging him around to the rest of the shops in the off chance that he might see something else he liked. I may have also bought one of two fabrics as well.

So that’s how we ended up with this fabric – a pale muted cotton. I’d say it’s a medium weight cotton which was ok for the shirt. Its not the best fabric I have sewn with but its not the worst either.

I had to trace the small size for him, of which I made a toile. At the toile stage, I took it in at the waist as he likes his shirts figure hugging. I also lengthened it by an inch because that’s what he wanted. He also didn’t like the collar which he felt was too big fo his style and I redrew the upper collar angle to what you see in the pictures.

McCalls M6044 is so easy and fast to sew. I sewed flat felled seams everywhere to give it a professional look. My little brother is the founder and CEO of his own biomechatronic company and he has to look professional.

Unfortunately, he had returned to Switzerland by the time I finished the shirt but he gave permission for my OH to model it before I mailed it.

I had forgotten about this project until the other day when I was sorting out our 2016 digital files. So here is my OH in a shirt that is one size too small;  I think he did a wonderful job of posing in a shirt that really is not a colour or print he’d ever pick for himself.

McCalls M6044


McCalls M6044


Flat felled seams……LIKE A BOSS!
Even the sleeve seam is flat felled.
This pattern does not have a tower placket – I add one based on a template

If I had to be perfectly honest, I didn’t enjoy sewing this as much because I was riddled with anxiety throughout the process. I was worried about whether I’d make something good enough. Still, I did my best and that’s what matters at the end of the day.


Writing this post did make me confront one of the uncomfortable reasons I personally avoid sewing for others outside of my kids and OH – I still don’t feel like I can sew garments good enough for them (hypothetical recipient of my sewn projects) to forgo an RTW option. Like they would only wear it around me to please me rather than be truthful and I couldn’t stand that. It’s crazy – I am so insecure I haven’t even asked my brother if he liked the shirt because I am scared of the answer. (Although I don’t think this fear is unfounded given that, though we speak regularly, he hasn’t brought it up either). The reality is that I shouldn’t think like that. Readers, I have a huge flaw. Any ideas of how I can get past this? Tough love welcome.

On that note, thank you for stopping by. Happy sewing all!

Peace and love,




Alder Shirt Dress by Grainline Studio Pt 4

Hello chums,

I must apologise in advance for the deluge of daily posts – I want to catch up with my blogging – only a few more posts to go before I am up to 2017. Please bear with me. And on that note………..

It’s no secret that I am huge fan of the Alder shirtdress having made 3 versions to date

First one was a cotton lawn palm trees & flamingos Alder

The second one was John Kaldor cotton lawn,

The third one was a Nani Iro double gauze.

I finally got around to making the fourth one using the same fabric as my Laurel shift dress.


Grainline Studio Alder Shirt dress layerd over my Burda roll neck top


I think one of the simple pleasures of life is the joy of sewing a TNT pattern. I am looking forward to wearing this in summer without any layering.

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time, happy sewing all!

Peace and love,


Burda Young B6719 Mens Casual Pants Pattern Review

My other half is my loudest cheerleader who deserves to benefit from my sewing addiction. So in order to show my appreciation of his support I made him some much needed joggers for lounge-wear.burda-6719-burda-mens-easy-sewing-pattern-6719-casual-pants-shorts

As usual I bought this pattern during a half price sale around November last year. The turnaround on this project was rapid given that both sewing pattern and fabric were purchased in November with pants completed in December #smug :-).

I found the fabric during my first visit to The Shuttle in Shipley. I actually bought 2 colours – grey and black – at £7/meter.

The pattern is quite straight forward to make. The instructions are good on this one. I didn’t add the cord at the waist as hubs said he wasn’t bothered. I didn’t need to make any alterations to the pattern which is always  a win. Based on his waist measurement I traced the size 38. Initially he thought they weren’t baggy enough for him but after he spent a day wearing them he changed his mind. I think its just that he was used to his very old previous joggers which were HUGE on him.

The pattern calls for use of the fashion fabric on the trouser cuff but I opted for black cuffing at the ankles instead. I think that works much better IMHO. The fabric has kept up very well – these get worn all the time and consequently get laundered frequently. However the fabric has yet to pill. Some fabrics pill pretty much straightaway hence why I am impressed enough to pick up more the next time I go to the Shuttle.

Burda B6719
Burda B6719


His verdict is that they are comfy and warm but the pockets should be deeper. I will be making this for him again in the grey, with deeper pockets of course.

Thanks for stopping by and until next time, happy sewing!

Peace and love,