Updated: Jan 30
When I first started sewing at the age of 17. I generally only made a dress if I had a special occasion to attend. I rarely ever wore them more than once. The world of fashion and sewing has changed a lot in the last 16 years and the attitudes towards wearing items more than once has changed a lot too. Thank goodness! I dread to think how many hours I spent sewing compared to wearing. My sewing skills have improved massively in that time too though, you would hope so after all that time. It means I am much more confident in wearing something I have made and no longer feel the need to pack a needle and thread, just in case.
Compared to the two to three times a year, I now wear me made clothes two to three times a week. Probably more so in the summer since summery clothes tend to be easier to make. If I am going anywhere special or think there will be a good photo opportunity, I am more inclined to wear me made.
We had a recent trip to the Isle of Wight, which was one of the best family holidays we have ever had! It always helps when you get a sunny British holiday but regardless, I think we would have had a great time. There was so much to do, we crammed in as much as we would but completely ran out of time. If you have never been, I would highly recommend it. Some good friends of ours have a fantastic website The Isle of Wight Guru, which will point you in the right direction to the best places to go.
I packed a me made suitcase again for our trip, but I only took one new item. Everything else came from my summer staples.
On our first full day there was an event on at Carisbrooke Castle, so we booked tickets to visit. They had sword fights and fire throwers and lots of other activities going on. It was a great way to spend the day. Although a few hundred years out, my William Morris dress felt at home in the medieval grounds. I made this button-down dress earlier in the year and have already sewn up this pattern twice. It is McCalls M8104 and I got it free in Love Sewing Magazine. My first go at it was a little longer and I made the sleeves capped but they didn’t allow for much movement. When I am constantly having to pick up a two-year-old, I knew I wouldn’t get any wear out if it if I left them as they were. This more flowy style is much more every day. The pattern also doesn’t include pockets, which of course I had to add. I use Tilly and the Buttons Indigo for the pocket pattern. I find it is the best size to fit my phone.
Our second day included a trip to the farm, so it felt like a good day to get my dinosaur t-shirt out. I was asked if I wanted to sew anything up in this new jersey for the Craft Cotton team and said I could make the boys some t-shirts. I used a pattern from Brindle and Twig that I have used before. It is the perfect easy to follow pattern for a beginner. I did try and cut corners by turning over the neckline instead of adding the binding. It was far too baggy and didn’t sit right so I ended up unpicking and adding it on. They were then perfect. We had a washing machine in the flat we were staying in so I did a wash load while we were there so the boys could wear them home too. I love the picture of them looking out on the back of the ferry.
I had enough fabric to make something for me. Although I had a bit more to play with and could have made a dress, I thought a t-shirt would be less in your face for a 30 something year old. I used the same pattern I made recently from drawing round a t-shirt I already had. I am wearing the cherry version as I write this. With the hot weather we have been having, it has been perfect for making sure my shoulders don’t burn but also airy enough that I don’t get too hot. The fabric was well and truly tested with our farm trip, go karts, trampolining and then we finished the day off at the beach. I forgot my bikini top so I tied the ties around my bra and made it more of a crop top which was a good enough compromise although I was still a little annoyed that I couldn’t go for a swim.
Day three was our most jam packed. We had a trip on a steam train which the boys loved! Plus, we had our own little cabin and my husband, and I could sit in relative peace for 40 minutes while we enjoyed the countryside.
After chatting with Paula aka, The Crafty Lass before we headed on our trip, I discovered that some of her family are on the Isle of Wight and we would miss seeing her there by a few days. She informed me that my Poppy dress was named after the area that we were visiting in Freshwater Bay. What a coincidence! Paula’s Aunt and Parents lived in adjoining towns, and they would refer to the space between them as the ‘blue view’, because the weather could be so different between the two places. Luckily for us the sun shone wherever we were on the island. I absolutely loved the idea that the fabric I was wearing was inspired by the place I was walking around. It took all my will power not to tell anyone we got talking to. The dress is the Hinterland pattern from Sew Liberated and it is on my top three favourite patterns. The poppy dress was my first time using it. Unlike my William Morris dress, this one felt too short, so I added the extra ruffle. I much preferred it anyway and I was pleased with this happy accident. I have made the same dress since and made the bodice a little longer. I also swapped the pocket for my tilly pocket pattern piece to give me a little more room.
The other thing I learnt from Paula (The Crafty Lass) is that the shorts I made in her Wild Dreams fabric were also named after a part of the island. They weren’t in my suitcase initially, but I obviously packed them when she told me. We didn’t get a chance to visit the National Trust Walter’s Copse unfortunately so, it will remain on the to visit list for next time.
I wore the shorts on our last day because they are super comfy for travelling in but we managed to squeeze in one last beach trip at Freshwater Bay before we caught the ferry in the afternoon. We went to a perfect rock pooling beach, and we had hours of fun exploring and throwing stones into the water. We hadn’t managed to do much exploring before then because our beach trips ended up being later in the day during high tide. Since we knew it was low tide, George and I went exploring and found some huge caves and felt like mermaids and pirates. I don’t think I have ever seen him more excited and happier. It was the perfect way to end the holiday and I think the final photo sums it up. The shorts pattern is Simplicity 1887 and this is my 4th pair!
All the items I wore, have been worn loads of times before and will be worn a dozen more before the year is out, I am sure. I always try and get at least two wears out of any of my clothes before I wash them unless I have been attacked by a toddler at lunch time or used the pizza oven for dinner. Not only will it help prolong the clothes, but it’s also better for our bank balance and the environment. I will add that I have complete faith in the fabrics, and I always prewash before I make clothing so I know that I will be confident when it comes to washing the finished item.
Hopefully I have helped inspire you to make some more everyday clothes that you can get loads of wear out of. If at first you don't succeed, try again. Make alterations and make your clothes work for you. Don't be afraid of making the same item twice and mixing it up with some fun prints so it feels completely different. I have a pile of older clothes that I have made and only worn once that I need to make alterations too. I find it so hard to go back to something that I have already referred to as 'finished'. I have made a point to never make that mistake again and now I have a wardrobe of me made clothes that I love.
I would love to hear if this has helped you discover any new patterns.