corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


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Zippy

Here’s how another One Thing can lead to another, which can lead to many more…..I just love the trail of thoughts and ideas and discovering where they all end up. Starting points……

Mags sent me to Croftmill for grey ponte at £7.00 p/m: Elaine sent me to Kaliyana for asymmetrical zip jacket and the Anti-Suit: one of the lovely ladies from our Sewing Away Day donated a fine grey spotted cotton jersey: Julie wore a jacket on the same day that had droopy back pockets and was so casually impressive and understated that I want one: Anne showed the most beautiful Chanel suit this week: many, many other blog active sewers have been showing and telling their cropped/wide leg/trousers/culottes. I put in the hours of planning, cutting and sewing.  Armed with a bag of assorted open ended plastic zips, some almost-matching thread, some patterns and a bit of flexible time – this is the result from my too short half-term break.

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Many patterns were gathered, edited and then finally selected to the finalists – Vogue 8641 five easy pieces, Vogue 1550 Paco Peralta, Vogue 8559 Marcy Tilton, self-drafted Three Bears T.

I’ll start with the jacket as it is a wee bit impressive, even if I have say so myself because there’s no one else writing this. We’ll call it an idea in progress.

Start with Marcy Tilton’s 8559 (OOP) cardigan-wrap top; no side seams and cut on the fold, no back seam either. A waterfall front, centre back seamed collar and shoulder seams. Clever pattern placement can easily incorporate selvedge edges too, although using the dark grey ponte fraying isn’t an issue and raw edges are abundantly on view. I added a whopping 9″ to the length, then got to work on adding zips!

Three zips on either side. Hopefully they form some sort of design feature on their own but they are also functional – an infinity jacket? I had to press gang Doris into modelling today because, quite honestly I couldn’t have been bothered. Hopefully you’ll understand why in a just a moment.

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Left open and unzipped, the zips provide a bit of weight to help the fabric drape (ha – I like to believe this is similar to Chanel’s chain on the bottom of a jacket – dream on….).

Zip 1 – short centre fronts. Zip 2 – bottom right edge matching with a right hand side princess seam location. Zip 3 – 45 degrees on right hand side and shoulder width on left.

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All the zips zip into one another; that is, zip 1 will zip into zip 2; zip 2 will zip into zip 3 and so on. This multitude of zips allows for a multitude of closure options; exaggeration of the draped front and hemline, cowl necklines, loose or square body shape.

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Zip 3 zipping into zip 3 pulls and is quite difficult to do up so I might have to rethink the position of these ones. However, I can close zip 1 with zip 2 or zip 3 for yet more variations.

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If zips do not provide enough variations for your taste, then add a sewn brooch to merely clip various points of the jacket closed to suit your mood and the weather conditions.

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But wait, that’s not all. Being very impressed with Julie’s jacket, I added a deep strip of leftover fabric to the back and sides of the jacket matching the raw edges to provide those covetous voluminous back pockets and I also managed to get two at the fronts too. They will be very handy to hold emergency rations such as Kendall Cake and Mars Bars.

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And because this ‘pocket’ band is on a different grain there is a gentle shading that I always find attractive in unique clothes. Other waste selvedge cut offs were added to the sleeves as mock cuffs, adding weight and extra finishing.

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I did experience the dreaded jersey wobble – which could be an acronym from suburban New York for cellulite but I mean the stitching of a zip to stretch fabric. Is there a remedy? I know I could have added interfacing but this is an unlined jacket and visual evidence of reinforcing would be unacceptable. All suggestions welcome for both problems……….DSCN7564

The tunic top was quickly made from the donated cotton jersey in Vogue 1550. There’s nothing fancy or notable about this, apart from the fact that IT IS Paco Peralta. I didn’t add the signature inserts but did manage to do admirable mitred corners on the side drape points.

The pale grey ponte was put into use as a pull on pair of trousers from Vogue 8641 (OOP). Again, not too much to declare about these apart from adding two, shaped patched pockets on the front and cropped, more because of fabric restrictions than trends.

Finally, I just had to make use of the leftovers and cutoffs and managed to sew a Three Bears T (see link above) that became more of a sweatshirt. It has two layers below the bust seam that allows for minor variations of styling. There’s a few raw edge seams to follow the theme, such as cuffs, hems and bust line.

I don’t like the matchy-matchy trousers and top – too much like PJs. It looks much better with a dark grey bottom and believe me, I have many dark grey trousers to wear with this.

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So, there you have it – four pieces that became an outfit and what’s better, they can all be worn with existing wardrobe items that hopefully coincide with Oska and Kaliyana aesthetics.

This has got me thinking of joining SWAP this year although I am late to the party. My primary colours being grey and adding highlights of whatever colour I like because grey is such a neutral. Is there a colour that does not wear well with grey?

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This style of dressing is definitely not form fitting, no pencil skirts or slim-line trousers here but so comfortable, transitional and, dare I say it, unique?

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I mean, how many of your jackets have back pockets?

Now, in which pocket did I put that Mars Bar?


53 Comments

Jinxed Jamie Jeans

I think I’m going to have to find a new hobby and knock this sewing thing on the head. Ultimately I did mange to sew a couple of pairs of jeans but the journey was hard and the road difficult and I made many mistakes…..

While still believing I could follow through on my Sewing With A Plan without a plan, 69_poso_h15_311I had purchased this wine/burgundy/mulberry/pink coloured stretch cotton twill (although, I’m calling it denim) from MyFabrics with the intention of making jeans as one of my wildcards in the Heather colour scheme. One side of the fabric is deep burgundy and the reverse is pink (not sweet or sickly, just pink). First decision to be made was which side of the fabric to use and secondly, which pattern. I trolled sewing blogs and Goggle images, pattern companies and RTW. 011-Jamie-tasoHow about skinny legs so that I can wear my boots on the outside? I settled on Jamie jeans.

Except, every pattern reviewer of Named Jamie jeans is at least a few sizes and, in some cases a few decades, well below mine – would this style look OK on me?

One way to find out, huh? Read on and freely express your views and opinions.

PDF purchased and tiled, cut out, marked and sewn. There is a sew-a-long site that is a great help in construction and techniques, although I didn’t follow it faithfully.

 

Jeans 1

Using the dark side first (ha ha ha), I cut out a 12, one size smaller than usual, as I wanted a tight fit and hoped the Lycra would compensate. These ones are tight, chiefly because I forgot about the 1cm seam allowance and used the usual 1.5cm (5/8″). Very tight around my calves and there’s a bit of bunching at the ankles – design feature, don’t you know?

If you have seen pictures of these jeans or read any reviews or have a pair yourself, you might be able to spot a large difference between any Jamies that have gone before and the ones I present here – the front pockets!

The front legs are made of two pieces with a centre seam (nice little detail). One piece has the pocket and the other has the fly. What did this overly confident and rash sewer do? Only sewed the left side to the right fly and vice versa, so my pockets are slanting the wrong way. Still quite wearable but honestly! I did wonder why the notches didn’t line up when sewing the seams – now I know.

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However, the original purpose of making skinny jeans has worked – I can pull on my knee boots and I don’t get the bagginess and bunching around my knees.

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The pattern calls for 1.4m. I had a total of 2m but squeezed Jeans 1 onto about 1.1m by facing the curved waistband with cotton, not self fabric. A curved waistband is a thing of beauty but it does take up an awful lot of fabric. This left me with close on another metre, so I flipped it and made a second pair using the pink side of denim.

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This second pair are cropped due to fabric limitations. I managed to get the fronts right way round on this pair and I remembered to sew 1cm seams but I sewed the wrong pocket linings to the wrong pieces and instead of having useable pockets that are hand-sized I have these tiny wee things about the size of a credit card. Well, I suppose that’s all you need isn’t it girls? A credit card and lipstick and you can go anywhere!

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I would have ripped them out and done it again properly, but between seams, understitching, overlocking and topstitching – that’s a lot of ripping out and life really is too short for that malarky.

Apart from the pocket linings, the right pieces were sewn in the right order and to the right pieces on this pair. DSCN6072.jpgFly zip went like a dream with a perfectly matching zip. I tried them on to mark a hem. I rarely wash my fabrics before I sew – especially denim – as I know the ‘fit’ will be fitter after I sew then wash – allowing for 10-20% shrinkage. Now, don’t be telling me off and criticising my methods – I like fitted jeans – that tight fit that you have to lie on the bed and use a shoelace through the zip-pull for extra leverage to get it up and then the thrilling but slightly scary moment to test if the seams will hold. Well, my seams held – the zip did not!

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Unwashed denim with broken zip

Of course, I had used a double row of stitches on each side of the zip for extra security, so double the ripping out! There comes a time when it is best to walk away. However, I knew that if I didn’t fix it right now then it would never be fixed.

Jilly showed me how to replace a jeans zip. The only zip I had at hand was white – so I used it! Yes, my friends you heard right – a bright white zip in deep pink jeans!

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Washed denim with replacement (and rather scrappy) zip but it holds!

This coloured denim was over-dyed; my hands, nails, ironing board, even my sewing machine turned pink! Perhaps another reason to wash the fabric first…..I know I couldn’t wear either pair and sit on a white leather sofa before washing them both. Into the machine they went and quite uneventful it was. Out they came and dried.

Both pairs have faded to well-worn denim and I like it. The seams have that rippled colouring that only comes from years of wear and washing, similarly on the pockets and fly. Achieving this look would have been impossible if I had washed the denim before sewing, so the pink hands were worth it.

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Needless to say, the white zip tape is polyester and stubbornly remains white even after the wash but the fly is a pretty good construction and covers it completely. Anyway I’m unlikely to be wearing my cropped bra tops with these jeans – LOL!

I did shorten a dress/tunicdsc01127.jpg I’d made a few years ago into a T-shirt/tunic because the colours match perfectly.

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Construction details for those of you who are interested: I focused on the fronts first as this is where all the hard work is – pockets and fly. Made back pockets with a strip of reverse fabric for added detail and top stitched in place. Jeans 1 – sewed inside leg seams and top-stitched, then outside leg seams, crotch, finally waistband and hems. Jeans 2 – sewed outside leg seams and top-stitched, inside seams, crotch, waistband and hems. I attached the waistbands as per Strides method: overlock one edge, sew as usual and stitch in the ditch on the outside to catch the overlocked edge on the inside. I didn’t add belt loops. All internal seams are overlocked which does create a neat and extra strength inside.

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The verdict: Love ’em! They’re like leggings with muscle. A little bit of stretch so I can at least sit down and walk up stairs but they hold an awful more in place than a four-way stretch and, of course, I’m wearing ‘proper’ trousers, not thick tights.

Back pocket placement – perfect

Fly zip – perfect (and relatively easy!)

Tightness and fit – perfect (when you sew 1cm seams)

Little details – perfect – two-piece back pockets that you can trim, top-stitch or do anything else your heart and artistic inspiration takes you.

Apart from the wrong-way round pockets and the too small pockets and the white zip….

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I don’t usually wear crimson lipstick – blame the auto-correct in iphoto.

I know I’m middle-aged, not a size 10 and have curves and dips and valleys -if you have these things also, then hopefully you can see that you too can wear skinny jeans. Just leave the cropped bra top at home and chose something more becoming or at least, covering……

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A final word on advice for dressing and undressing: put your socks on before the jeans as you’ll never roll the sock legs up under these tight legs to straighten them; the only method I’ve discovered to get out of these jeans is to turn them inside out on the way down, stand on the waistband and pull! Then you’re left with this –

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Hey – if you feel young enough to make and wear skinny jeans then you’re young enough to leave them in an unkempt, inside-out pile on the floor for your mother to pick up tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


43 Comments

SWAP A2, A3 & A2 Again

I’ve been away from blogging for a week or two so just to remind you that this is SWAP combination A.

Thank you all so much for such generous comments on Jungle January coat – it’s a welcome relief from forced coordination wardrobe planning.

In the silent weeks I made this.

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It was part of SWAP and the cornerstone of combination A – 3 garments that make an outfit and based upon my colour scheme of heather.

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Simplicity K1465 made in a ‘found’ mixed wool fibre tweed in pink and olive green houndstooth. The fabric came from an antique shop in Greyabbey and what you got was what you got. The pattern is a straight mock wrap skirt with a 360 peplum and a frill along the edge of the wrap. Fully lined, completely and utterly understitched, frill hand stitched down at crucial points; there isn’t a seam or join that isn’t sewn at least twice. The peplum and frill were laboriously hand frayed. The finished skirt length was totally determined by the amount of fabric.

Looked like this…

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Along the way I sewed a Paco Peralta Draped Top (A3) in olive green wool crepe to wear with the skirt. il_fullxfull.292016701I’ve made this many, many times before. This time I added a little back neck opening with a button closure. Otherwise, nothing’ s changed and it’s still a very stylish and classic contribution to any wardrobe. In fact, I don’t think I’ve made a SWAP in the last 3 years without a Paco Draped Top being part of it. It’s a foundation and at the same time an embellishment.

I have another me within my head and sometimes (actually, many times) she is 100% right but I have developed the ability to totally ignore her. She had severe reservations while sewing this skirt but I carried on regardless of her little voice that kept saying ” No. This isn’t you. This isn’t your style. You will never wear it.”

And what do you know – she was right again! I hate that.

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So, I unpicked and cut and salvaged and saved what I could and ended up with a straight skirt without peplum or frill or mock-wrap and too short.

Undeterred, or maybe foolishly, I couldn’t leave the blasted thing alone.

Also along the way I sewed a pair of winter Strides in olive green Donegal tweed – both pattern and fabric from Merchant and Mills.DSCN6064

As usual after every make I had a little bit of tweed left over; this was added to my not-peplum-anymore skirt.

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I made some pleats like this:

Sew a big long ring of fabric, overlock the edges and hem. Hemming must be done before pleating. Mark out regular divisions – I used 1″.

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Concertina the fabric to the marks and pin. Then tack securely.

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Press extremely well with a damp pressing cloth and lots of steam on both side of the fabric.

I sewed the pleats to the lining and catchstitched the lining to the skirt.

The skirt’s side seams were rounded to reveal more pleats. And this is the ‘new’ skirt

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Swishy hemline with an apron-effect top skirt….

that goes with my pink fleece jacket

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as does the new Strides

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I have absolutely no idea what part of SWAP is done or has to be done or even what part of SWAP I’m working on – I just seem to be sewing clothes in a couple of colourways and hoping that I’ll end up with 3 + 3 +2 +3 coordinating garments.

My first item, the pink coat, was cut down and altered into a short fitted jacket and now the peplum skirt has been completely refashioned using pleats. I’d save a lot of time if I just managed to sew it right first time!

I actually think I’m doing APWS – a plan with sewing rather than sewing with a plan.

With these four things plus the grey Vogue trousers I now have five garments – almost halfway there.

 

 


44 Comments

SWAP A1 (again) & B2

I asked, you answered, I acted….

SWAP Combination A, first garment looked like this

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I listened and contemplated your very appreciated comments (thank you), then I got to work……….

Method: Lob off a wack of fabric from the bottom and remove patch pockets.

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Put on Doris and pin out two shaping darts at the back

and two fitting darts on the front – sew.

Fold over the big collar to narrow it and do some stuff with trims and topstitching along the hem, darts and other edges

Make a buttonhole and sew on an almost coordinating button found in stash. My little Janome’s buttonhole contraption won’t sew a hole for a button this big so I just cut a rectangle and small stitched in place for extra reinforcement. The fleece won’t fray.

So almost back to the original plan. I should have stuck to it the first place and not try to be smart.

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Worn today with the first garment for SWAP combination B (slate greys).

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The most delicious Italian finest fine wool in tiny herringbone bought from Joel & Sons in their end of year remnant sale. Made into Vogue 9162. I am planning on making all three items from this pattern for SWAP B. The pattern includes a loose-fitting, lined jacket with welt pockets, an oversized shirt and these wide-legged pants.

Slide3The wide legged trousers have in-seam side pockets and an elasticated waist (honestly, I really did type that and I made them and I wear them!).

Let’s have a word about elasticated waists – the good things are that you don’t need a matching zip, buttons, hooks and eyes to finish; easy to make; easy to fit; easy to pull on and off. The bad things are that it’s an elasticated waist! Gathering, bunching, I can’t help associating them with women of a certain age……and it feels like I’m not sewing a ‘real’ garment and taking an easy way out.

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Anyway, the trousers are actually quite good. They are supposed to worn with loose shirts on the outside to hide the elastic, so nobody but you and me will ever know. Just in case I ever decide to wear a short top or tuck in a shirt I added belt loops and made a button belt for a more polished look.

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The trousers are unlined so I always wear my trouser-petticoat to prevent bumming and kneeing in the fine wool. These are always excellent for extra warmth in wintery weather.

BTW – just look at the difference in my colouring when I wear just dark grey and how much warmer I am wearing the pink jacket, so I might now have to rethink the solid grey combination for SWAP combo B!

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Only second garment in and once again a possible change of plans.

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SWAP will have to be put on hold for a week or two while I go on safari for Jungle January. Actually, my contribution for 2016 is heralding from the frozen heights of the Himalayas rather than the heat of the savannah ….

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As always I’m in two minds about wearing animal printed fabric. This is the 5th year of me joining in and every year so far my efforts are inside, under or otherwise somewhat discreet. This year I’ll either look devastatingly Parisian or else a very poor imitation of Cruella de Ville.

101 Dalmations - Live Action Remake.Copyright: Disney.

101 Dalmatians – Live Action Remake. Copyright: Disney.

Just for fun – spot the snow leopard

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36 Comments

SWAP ’16

Honestly? Did I just type that?

I said last year that I wasn’t going to do SWAP ’15, then I relented round about January 2015 and I ended up participating anyway – I made a full-on  Alabama Chanin 11 garments’ worth of SWAP!

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I did wear most of them over the (ha ha!) summer months and for sure the coat is worth its weight in gold for the number of times I’ve worn it.

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When the rules were published this year I said the same – not for me… I have work commitments from Feb through to May;  I had a potentially full-time project to contend with at the same time and so I thought I’d sit this one out and watch other people sew fabulous wardrobes. Yet here I am at the planning stage for 11 items to be sewn by May 2016. Sounds a long time away doesn’t it? I can absolutely vouch that it is not! The older you get, the faster time goes; hence  E=MC2. Honestly Einstein – you only had ask a middle-aged female sewer………it’s not that difficult to figure out.

1 x 3 pack A of one or more Colour(s)  (3 garments)
1 x 3 pack B of one or more Colour(s)  (3 garments)
1 x Combo Pack of Colours used in A & B (2 garments)
1 x 3 pack of Wild Cards

So what have I come with, you may ask.  While perusing and contemplating peaceful, serene landscapes ( I need a bit of restfulness right now) I hit upon an essentially British scene – the moors. Heather that is pink/purple and green in spring-time interspersed with slate grey stone. It is a common scene that stretches all the way from the far north highlands of Scotland to the lowlands of the south coast of Ireland. What is more appropriate to consolidate my heritage with the countryside?

I am a city-girl by birth and and lifestyle; so I have to combine the reality of my life with the romanticised version of birthright. I have come up with Heather and Slate.

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A collage of delicate pink/purple with olive green/mucky green and earth tones; mixed with stones that compliment the neutral greys and random rocks found upon moorlands.

I always start with colours for a SWAP – I find it both a focusing and starting point.

For set A – a combination of two colourways – the Heathers…

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For set B – the stones – slate grey….

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The 2 piece combination is still a work-in-progress……

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But I have the fabrics, if not the patterns, for the 3 wildcard set…

Slide5And now for the ‘very important thing‘. I can’t thank you all enough for your efforts, decision making processes and comments on my previous post. If nothing else it was fascinating for me to see how you see me. In the end, despite our best efforts girls, my life continues apace. I do not believe it was in any way influenced by what I wore on the day but rather how I conducted myself, so the fault lies squarely at my door. Hey-ho. Nothing lost, nothing gained.

Thank you all so very, very much (and I hate tautology but I really, really mean it this time) – the highest count comments ever on this blog – you are such an opinionated lot and I love it!

Just in case you don’t know about SWAP – it’s Sewing With A Plan organised by Stitchers’ Guild: plan and sew an 11 garment wardrobe in 5 months. BTW, you don’t have to stick to your ‘plan’ – it’s always a work-in-progress (see above). Stitchers’ Guild is a very welcoming and inclusive community of sewers. I started a SWAP for 3 years in a row before I finally got round to completing one so please don’t feel intimidated or pressurised to do it. It’s just a pleasure to participate and learn as you do so.

A very warm welcome to all new followers and readers. Thank you, as always….we can do this journey together. Ruth