General ramblings, Make Me A Wardrobe 2015

#mmaw2015-My First Make!

Hurray! I have finally, and very belatedly, finished my January make for the #mmaw2015 challenge ๐Ÿ™‚

I decided a little while ago that I wanted to try and work my way through Tilly Walne’s fab book, Love at First Stitch.
Tilly01It makes sense, as it is aimed at beginners dressmakers, and with each project it walks you through the steps you need, increasing in complexity as you work through the book.
I made the very 1st project-a simple headscarf- a while back, and project number 2 was these drawstring PJ trousers (Margot Pyjamas).
I procrastinated, and prevaricated, and for some reason found it really hard to get started. I think with young kids around, and a blog to blog, a new website to populate, and a book to finish, I always had some other pull on my time, and then I was struck down a horrid lurgy for 2 wks, and, and, and, and…..
I find it really strange that I found it so hard to get going. This is something I am supposed to enjoy. Something I am supposed to be looking forwards to, and be chomping at the bit to get started.
It may be because: a) I have to many other things to do already; b) It feels a bit selfish asking hubby if he can occupy the Smalls for an afternoon, ‘just’ so I can sew; c) I’m worried I won’t be able to do it/it will end up a huge mess; d) I wasn’t that keen on the PJ’s, but I knew I needed to do them, to take on board the skills I would need for the projects that come afterwards.

Anyway, they are done.
And they are wearable, they fit (except the waist is quite large-thank goodness for drawstrings!) and I have learned a lot.

PJ trousers1

PJ trousers21

Here are Some of the Things That I Learned About Sewing, and About Myself, That I Probably Already Knew, But That Doing This Has Emphasised!

1) A lot of sewing is not actually sewing.
It is cutting out patterns, and clearing space on the kitchen table/floor, and measuring, and pinning, and searching for the right colour thread, and discovering that there is a law that means that you have every other colour you might ever need already wound onto bobbins but not the colour you need this time, and ironing pressing
2) It would be better to try and carve out a large chunk of time to get everything done, rather than snatching an hour here and there, often a week apart, when I have totally lost track of where I am up to!
3) I am impatient to get to the sewing bit and try to take shortcuts with all the other bits
4) Number 3) does not make the sewing bit go as smoothly as it should
5) It is important to read and follow all the instructions, and to read through all the instructions properly before starting
6) When tracing patterns, all the little circles and lines/notches are actually quite important and need transferring across…
7) Sewing requires precision and accuracy
8) I am not a precise or accurate sewer (person)
9) I do not have the patience to zig zag seams (I used pinking shears…) but I am aware that I will need to either develop the patience OR source and master an overlocker
10) I would quite like to source and master an overlocker
11) I am not as good a sewer as I imagine I am in my head or as I want to be
12) But that’s ok, as it’s all a learning curve, and I need to take my time, and learn from my mistakes
13) I need to learn to walk before I can run
14) I am now keen to start on my second make!

How are you all getting on with your #mmaw2015 challenge?
I’ve seen some great bits of Facebook and Twitter, and have started a Pinterest board where we can all pin our makes. If you want to join (and I would love you all to!), we need to be following each other on Pinterest before I can send you an invite, and I need to know your Pinterest name, so leave a comment below/on FB/Twitter and let’s see how full of awesome makes we can get this board!

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  • Reply Nora@Home March 4, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Back again Jen! I’ve now made my March offering!

    How are you doing?

    Have been reading your posts but not commented except on the whiffy one!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Jen March 8, 2015 at 11:40 am

      Looks amazing Nora! I saw it on Pinterest ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply Nora@Home February 21, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Hahaha! Just read this after finishing my February project and coming here to share….great minds thinking alike or fools who seldom differ!?

    Please take a look….

    And by the way….congratulations Auntie Jen x

    • Reply Jen February 22, 2015 at 10:50 am

      They look great! And thanks so much for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply knitlass February 19, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Nice pjs! It’s very satisfying making your own clothes – I love it!

    I never have time to sew in long lazy days/afternoons any more. I have to grab small chunks here and there. This is where all the steps of a project can help. I can clear a space (on the dining table) and get everything cut out. Next time, I can get my machine out and do the sewing bit (not forgetting the pressing). Another time I’ll concentrate on the finishing/hemming.

    There are some useful tips/blogs about efficient sewing (try Coletterie and Sew Mama Sew). One of the main things I have picked up is doing things in batches: sewing several pieces/seams without getting up from the machine before going over to the iron and pressing everything.

    Good luck in your sewing adventures – what are you going to make next?

    • Reply Jen February 20, 2015 at 10:28 am

      Thanks so much for all the tips! I think a skirt will be next!

  • Reply Bekki Hill February 15, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Great PJ bottoms! Good to see you listing your learnings, it’s always amazing what you learn from any project, isn’t it? Especially like your comment about having a big space of time being better than trying to slip things into odd hours – I think often we learn to do that as mothers, because that’s all that’s available and forget we deserve bigger chunks once in a while.

    • Reply Jen February 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Good point Bekki, thankyou!

  • Reply KathrynH February 15, 2015 at 10:59 am

    I really recongnised myself in your honest evaluation of your sewing!

    • Reply Jen February 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Glad it’s not just me Kathryn..!

  • Reply sandyfaithking February 15, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Love this blog ๐Ÿ™‚ They look great! I like your list of things you learned. All of the make do and mend eco-friendly stuff is a big learning curve, I’ve found. I suppose it’s because we grew up in the throwaway culture of the 80s when the big aspiration was to have enough money to buy more than enough stuff… ‘I bet your mum shops in Oxfam’ was an insult.

    My latest eco-friendly ‘thing’ is to grow fruit and veg in the garden. I know nothing about gardening (I usually manage to kill house plants) but I have bought seed potatoes and some seeds and ordered ‘How to Grow Your Own Fruit and Veg For Dummies’ which has good reviews. Learning to sew is next on the list. Sew exciting!
    (hahaha – must get out more) To find some good instructions that really are for beginners is essential, whatever it is that you’re trying. With pictures.

    • Reply Jen February 16, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement! Yes, gardening is something I need to learn too!

  • Reply Frankie Carson February 15, 2015 at 9:20 am

    I actually find it easier to work in small chunks off example you know when you’ve cleared to floor of stuff to Hoover, well that’s when I usually cut out my pattern. Then I Hoover! Threads and crumbs in one foul swoop!

    • Reply Jen February 16, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      But then do you get crumbs on your fabric..?!

  • Reply Jane G February 15, 2015 at 6:19 am

    Well done. I always find, it’s the getting prepared that takes all the time, It is so much easier once you get started. Look forward to seeing what’s next

    • Reply Jen February 16, 2015 at 2:46 pm


  • Reply Prolificprojectstarter February 14, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Ha ha, yes, so true. I hate cutting out too, but I have strangely come to enjoy pressing even though I hate ironing.

    I don’t have an overlocker so I can’t really say, but I’m not sure if it saves you much time and it certainly increases thread issues from what I understand. However, if owning one would make you want to sew more it’ll be good. In the mean time, I think there are several alternatives to zig zag, including pinking shears, french seams and flat felled seams see here (oh and facing your fear of knit fabric, for all my t shirt material makes I do no finish whatsoever at all!)

    • Reply Jen February 16, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      Thankyou! And thanks for that link-I will have a look ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply mehubbyandthekids February 14, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Well done for getting started Jen. I agree that sewing isn’t all “sewing”. I personally hate tracing patterns and cutting out and that’s where I take shortcuts if I can ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
    I also understand what you mean about asking for childcare “just” to sew. I often feel the same way. But it will benefit you and your family in the long run (by having better, nicer clothes) so ask ask ask. ๐Ÿ˜€
    And, the more you do, the better you’ll be. Good luck.

    • Reply Jen February 16, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks Nicola! Saw your t-shirt on Pinterest-looks fab-something like that is deffo on my list for this year!

  • Reply Jana February 14, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Congrats to your first PJ pants! I was very impatient in the beginning, too. I soon learned to also enjoy all the work that comes before the sewing step. ๐Ÿ™‚ Looking forward to read about your next projects. Best wishes, Jana

    • Reply Jen February 16, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks Jana! Reassuring to hear that I may develop some patience..!

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