Ok, so I'm about 5 weeks too late to announce my big plans for 2020 but honestly this year has run away with me already! I've been setting a new group of beginners free on their sewing machines, and making some plans for future classes and courses - too many plans! And not enough time!
Earlier this month I was invited to Mylor Yacht Club to talk to the ladies there about sewing, learning to sew, and the fight against fast fashion, and it was a brilliant place to share my personal objectives for my sewing activity this year...
The slide below from my presentation gives you some stat's as to why it is so important to pay attention to our clothes and textiles buying habits...
In the past I have bought things from Primark and the supermarket chains, as a quick pick me up, or in their sales, because I've fancied a bit fo a wardrobe lift. I have never just thrown clothes away, I always send things to charity, but at least two black bags of stuff go to charity from our house every year, and that is with extremely limited buying ( we are a family of four... ) as I we have more important things to spend on most of the time!
I really got thinking about this towards the end of last year ... Where I live in Cornwall in the UK we are culturally extremely aware of environmental impact, surrounded as we are by sea on three sides, incredible natural landscapes and all living very outdoors lifestyles. We see on a daily basis the impact of plastics and other waste on our beaches. I am so proud to live in a place where every business is making sustained and concerted efforts to improve their environmental foot print, and cluster of villages where I live is home to environmental campaigners and leaders of textile sustainability Surfers Against Sewage and FinisterreUK. I can't escape it!
With a background in fashion design I have always loved clothes, and their ability to shape my mood for a day, but my budget in recent years hasn't allowed me to be much more than vaguely functional in my dress sense, and I really wanted to change that this year, now that the baby producing days are over, and I can start to remember who I was before the girls arrived in my life!
So for me 2020 will be the year of of the memade wardrobe.
I have set myself a rule:
What I have found already is having this rule is really really making me consider what I make - my time is so limited, and so if I'm going to spend time making something, I really have to either want it or NEED it, which in turn is ensuring that I am creating items which will surely have longevity in my wardrobe...
In addition I want to be more environmental in my fabric purchasing - I'm a huge van of viscose, a fabric made as a by product of the wood industry. Its production does use up a lot of water, but it is made from otherwise wasted materials as far as I know. Bamboo is the most sustainable and wonderful fabric ever, but it is expensive!
I'll do a blog post later in the year on more sustainable and environmental fabrics, but for now, I'll stick with using up my stash, buying viscose when I can - and keeping my eyes peeled for bamboo that is an affordable price point for me!
Teaching sewing is such a brilliant job to have, and I nearly always come home from every class totally buzzing from another spent in great company teaching the thing that I love. But the reality of my sewing life at home is snatched moments here and there and WAY too many ideas than I have time to sew!
The Start to Stitch classes have been filling well from word of mouth and social media likes and shares but a website felt like a natural progression. A significant reason for this was my desire to have a place to share my sewing projects in more detail than Instagram or Facebook allows, and to share some of my hopes and aspirations for my sewing projects to come. And so the Cutting Table Diaries should become an online journal of my stitching adventures, my hand made wardrobe and my brilliant sewing finds. I hope it becomes a place of interest and inspiration to many sewists in Cornwall where I live, and beyond.
This is my cosy corner of my garden sewing studio where many things happen on my trusty old Bernina. Once day I'll write a blog post in honour of this loyal machine!
I have big dreams for 2020, and a rather ambitious project in the offing, so watch this space to find out more!
I love a free sewing pattern, and this is no exception!
It's a departure from my usual style, I love the look of swing cropped peplum tops like these but I worry that with breastfeeding boobs, and a mummy tummy it's just entirely the wrong thing for me to attempt wearing.
But, when I found this gorgeous teal double gauze from My Fabrics, I just knew it would become a top like this so I stepped outside of my comfort zone, searched for and found the perfect pattern in the form of the Peppermint Peplum Top and spent a wonderful couple of hours in my studio while Mr S2S took the girls out for a swim so I could sew in peace.
I LOVE this pattern, Its very simple, easy enough for a beginner and a satisfying and quick make. The only thing I did differently from the instructions was stay stitch the curves first as the weave of the muslin I used was so loose, and I think with hindsight I would probably add an inch or two to the length of the main bodice so it is slightly less cropped for this 'approaching 40' mumsy-mum.
The muslin is divine and the colour is gorgeous - but one word of warning, the gold spots melt off with an iron so press on the reverse or through a pressing cloth. This didn't matter for the bias facing but I did lose a fair amount along the way as it was all too much to fiddle with pressing cloths in the time I had available to get it finished before 2020...
I am thrilled with this and really glad I have a length in coral as well to be able to make one for next summers Cornish beach going and hopefully a holiday too.
Have you made this top? How was it for you?
I have a LOT of trouble keeping track of what patterns I want to make, and which fabrics I have in my stash to make them up with.
I am in the habit of downloading all the free patterns I can find and storing them in a folder on my computer desk top, and my paper pattern storage in the studio is pretty organised ( more on that another day ) but I have fabric hidden in every corner of the studio and house, and much of it bought with a specific pattern in mind. The problem is, sometimes i forget the pattern between the buying and the opportunity to sew, and that's where this brilliant journal from Patterntrace comes in!
I have made a little vid so you can see the inside of it but I am absolutely certain that this is going to revolutionise my making habits and help me HUGELY with my upcoming 2020 project...
How do you organise your thoughts? Have you a tried and tested system for keeping track of all the ideas, and all the fabric? I'd love to know!
Sewing. pattern cutting, teaching, tea and Jelly Babies!