I am really guilty of sewing for everyone else but myself. When it comes to sewing clothes, I am usually only motivated when I have an occasion like a wedding. Although I love making fancy dresses for special occasions they tend to be the kind that only get worn a few times.
I needed a reason to make every day clothes, so I set myself a challenge to wear something me made every day of our family holiday. I have had so much fun with it that I wanted to share it with you and hopefully it will spread some inspiration.
Whenever I watch anything to do with fashion they talk about having basics that you can mix and match. I am not great at accessorising and I love colour and pattern so I am more about letting the fabric do the talking for me. You will notice that most of what I made was quite a simple design and more about the pattern.
I love a pair of shorts but have never made myself any before, although I have made my little boy plenty. I have been watching this tropical fabric dwindle over the last few months and I loved it, so I decided to use some of the last of it to create my first pair using Simplicity pattern 1887.
I didn't quite get the waistband right on my first pair so I missed out the tie. It didn't matter they still worked really well. I used Bosal cotton interfacing for the waistband which was a first for me but I am converted. It feels just like 100% cotton but is iron on; perfect for dress making.
I also love block printing and have my other little business Crafts by Katie where I create baby and toddler clothes. I packed my little man a few of the t-shirts I have printed for him and the toucan was a must have. Since this fabric featured toucans I thought I would print myself one too. It is the first time I have used one of my own designs for myself but it worked perfectly. I got the t-shirt from Primark and he loved that we matched.
I loved the fit of these shorts so much that I decided to make another pair. I also wanted to get the waistband right this time. I thought shorts would be another great matching outfit I could make us, so I had to think of the perfect fabric. I picked this raccoon fabric from Camelot. It is really fun and black and white goes with everything. I have a basic toddler shorts pattern here but I wanted to make him some with pockets too. It took a little adjusting to get them right so I will release the pattern with pockets very soon. He loved the pockets and took charge of looking after the room key so he could use them.
I made myself a pair of trousers years ago and I never wore them. I didn't think they suited me which is always the trouble when you make your own clothes; you can't try them on first. Since then I have been more careful about the patterns I pick and pick styles I know suit me. I have searched through my pattern box and I can't even find the pattern, so it has been many years that they have been hung unloved in my wardrobe.
I am really trying to avoid fast fashion so making clothes out of quality fabrics and making them well is important to me. I know they would have taken me hours, so definitely not fast fashion. Last year I decided to cut the bottoms off and turn them into cropped trousers. They are like a new pair of trousers and I love them. So comfy and floaty, perfect for travelling in so they were my airport trousers. The Simplicity 1887 also has a pattern for trousers so another pair is on my todo list. I didn't get a great picture of them but we did get this one as we got ready to board.
When we were on honeymoon we had a day in Barcelona and I found this beautiful large piece of fabric. At the time I wasn't sure what to make with it but after the maxi dress challenge on The Great British Sewing Bee I had a plan. I used McCall's pattern M5094 for the bodice but I didn't fancy adding a zip so I tried smocking for the first time at the back. It went better than I could have ever planned and I feel amazing every time I wear this dress.
It turns out that it wasn't that unique to Barcelona because I found lots of stalls selling it in Mallorca too. It does mean I picked up a pink version. If you are in Mallorca and want to check out this market, it is on in Alcúdia every Tuesday and Sunday.
I made two dresses especially for the holiday but I stuck to one pattern that I got free in a magazine. It is Lisette K2059. It is simple and comfortable and means I could use really fun fabric. The first one I made in Michael Miller corn flower cotton. I don't like belts so instead I found where my waist fell and added some binding on the inside of the dress to thread some elastic through. This is a great tip and an easy alteration if you want to add some shape to a dress like this.
I also made it in another Michael Miller fabric. It's called party like a pineapple and I named it my Pina Colada dress. I am not normally one for accessories, and usually forget to wear jewellery, but I packed a few of my favourite pieces and George helped pick them out for me each morning. I teamed this dress with a turquoise necklace that I bought in Kenya in 2010. These were taken on a trip to Sóller on the wooden train. George loved it and the route was beautiful and lined with orange and lemon trees. If you are taking a trip and aren't staying in Palma, check if you are nearer to Bunyola. A lot of people don't realise it stops there too; loads of street parking and a less stressful drive into the centre of Palma.
You may have noticed that the majority of what I have made so far has been in 100% cotton. Cotton is my absolute favourite material to work with. It is comfy and cool when it is hot. I only stock fabrics that I love and would use myself. The designers I stock are fantastic quality. We didn't have an iron in the room so all the clothes I have pictured have come straight out of the suitcase and there is barely a crease in them. This is a big factor for me, because I hate ironing.
The other reason I love using cotton is that I can use all the offcuts in other projects like quilts and bags.
Saying that, I gave a jersey dress a go last year after the Craft Cotton Company released some trial jersey fabrics. This was a great evening dress, the jersey is slightly heavier than cotton so it kept me warm when it got a little cooler in the evening. This is a New Look pattern 6122. I do find it trickier to work with and you don't want to look at the hem too closely, but it just means I need more practice.
Another item of clothing I dug out from the depths of my wardrobe was this top. It was another item I made years ago when I was first getting into dress making but I never felt confident enough to wear it. I can't find the pattern but I think I picked up the fabric in the Victoria centre market in Nottingham. I didn't like it before because I didn't know what to wear it with. Although I can't take credit for the trousers, they were New Look, they were the perfect match. I want to try and recreate these trousers so I will let you know how I get on. Wonky picture credit goes to George aged 3.
We got married last year and had the best day ever. I wrote about it too if you want some handmade wedding inspiration. When we booked our photographer, Heather Jackson Photography, it came with a pre wedding shoot so I made a dress especially. It is one of my favourites and I have had a lot of wear out of it since April 2018. You can see from the then and now pictures that it looks as good as new still. I sadly ran out of this fabric a while ago now but the pattern is a nice simple one from McCall's M4440. This pattern is one of the very first paper patterns that I bought because I couldn't find a maxi dress thay fitted me well, I have made it several times and it has more than paid for itself.
I mentioned my printing already using one of my own designs, but I also made a t-shirt with a block from The Arty Crafty Place; I get my fabric paint from them too. Another simple t-shirt made pretty and unique.
George didn't escape the handmade holiday although he didn't wear handmade everyday, he had a good few outfits and his pencil case wrap was a perfect for the plane. All his favourites were ones I had made, especially when we matched. The Adventure Awaits t-shirt was a must have for his first flight and the Stay Wild My Child is just one of my favourites. The blue seaside shorts are my pattern that can be found here and the raccoon ones with pockets will follow shortly.
So that is it, 10 me made items for me and 6 for my little man. When you make something for yourself, you put a lot of love and time into it. You make sure it fits perfectly and is in your favourite fabric. I am sat writing this the day after we got back and it is wet and cold (perfect sewing weather), so I won't be wearing them again in the next few days, but they will be a big part of my summer wardrobe for years to come.
I hope I have inspired you to make something for yourself or maybe set yourself your own sewing challenge. Happy sewing!