I bought a few Grainline Studio patterns in the Black Friday sale – the Scout Tee, Lark Tee and Driftless cardigan. I have been planning a handmade wardrobe for a while and want to get ahead so I can join in with Me Made May later in the year. I have a few dresses and tops now but not that many basic every day tops. I also prefer to wear fine gauge cardigans and have realised that I’m not really going to be able to knit my own ones so why not try sewing them instead?
This Scout Tee is made with Observer fabric in Speck Stardust Metallic print. I made a size 4, grading the waist to a size 6. I looked at the garment measurements afterwards and realised that the grading was probably not necessary as there is a lot of ease in the pattern anyway.
I’ve tried to move away from making clothes in quilting cotton as it feels quite stiff and crisp even after washing, but this print was so pretty with the metallic splashes that I decided to make an exception. It feels quite comfortable on, although I usually wear a thin layer underneath.
This top is made with an Indonesian lawn I bought on holiday in Dubai. The fabric is very soft and light. It says Liberty on the selvedge. Although it does not appear to be genuine, the fabric is comparable to tana lawn.
I was planning to make this a toile but I love the print now I’ve made it up and have worn it a few times already. This weight is ideal for the pattern as it drapes well and is comfortable.
Finally, this is my Driftless cardigan. This pattern was more of a challenge, with 11 pieces to cut out. Unfortunately I forgot to cut out the lower hem bands and threw the remaining fabric away before I realised, so improvised by slip stitching the hem. It is not really noticeable and gives a reasonably neat finish.
The fabric is a featherweight jersey from Fabworks which has now sold out. It was a bit slippery so a challenge to cut out, but easier than expected to sew. I am planning another in their amazing felted wool jersey. The teal has sold out but there is some navy and black left if you’re quick.
I’ve got a few more projects ready to blog about so am looking forward to sharing those with you as well! In the meantime, I am also planning for Edinburgh Yarn Festival, my first visit there and first trip away on my own since I can remember!
I’m playing catch up with a few makes so you’ll all have to bear with me while I race through them so I can get to the new stuff! I have been posting some of them on Instagram so they might be familiar to anyone who follows me there.
This skirt was made using a tutorial for a Flat Fronted Skirt found here on the Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom blog. I love this Dashwood cuckoo clocks print and it has been very versatile due to all the colours in the print.
My daughter has worn it lots with coloured tights and bright cardigans.
Didn’t realise the above shot was so moody but I still love her little poses!
This is the Oliver and S Culottes pattern (from the Lunch Box Tee + Culottes set). I bought the Cotton and Steel apples print with a skirt in mind but thought this pattern would also work well.
I cut a size 4 and the waist was a little big for her, but I cinched it with a row of hemming inside the waist seam. The box pleats are very cute and gives a very nice tailored look.
She chose to wear this with red sparkly tights, an orangey-red cardigan and a cute Uniqlo x Liberty top. Bright and a bit over the top!
This mirror from Bangladesh is her current obsession. She has her fads (like her mother!)
These moments are rare but precious. The little one takes every opportunity to attack his sister, and he finds plenty of them! But he gets away with it thanks to his mischievous smile.
He’s wearing the Oliver + S School bus Tee in a C. Pauli organic interlock from The Village Haberdashery. I wasn’t too hopeful as my printer scaled the pattern smaller and although I cut a 2T it was tiny and I realised too late. I used a 1/4″ seam and it fits, because he is small for his age. It won’t last too long though.
So that’s a whistlestop tour of a few things I’ve made. I have also made a few clothes for myself which I will blog soon.
I’ve been sewing on and off for about 10 years now and although I still consider myself an adventurous beginner I have found it to be a fulfilling and enjoyable creative process which has brought me a lot of pleasure. I have sewn my own clothes on occasion and many times for my children and feel I’m ready to take the next step and make more clothes for myself.
I’d like to share that process here as well as make it easier for other Muslim women to make their own clothes. I enjoyed watching Rumana‘s stellar performance on Great British Sewing Bee – with some relief, as a friend applied on my behalf a few years ago and I didn’t make it past the interview stage! I don’t think I could have managed a lot of those challenges, especially in front of a camera. I also realised that there was a lot of interest in sewing and dressmaking, but that many people feel like it’s something that they won’t be able to do themselves.With the explosion of hijab blogging and modest fashion for Muslim women, I’ve often been interested but also feel that it taps into the disposable and commercial nature of fashion blogging – looking for the next thing to keep pulling in readers and continuing to perpetuate the myth of looking perfect and having endless clothes and accessories to wear, which most people can’t aspire to. In addition it occasionally doesn’t fit into the ethos of hijab and being less materialistic, but seems another way to display one’s sense of style. This is not by any means a criticism of all Muslim fashion bloggers, who I am often slightly intimidated by!
For myself, sewing is a creative pastime but is also very practical. I personally believe sewing is an essential life skill, in the sense of being able to hem a skirt or sew on buttons. In addition, there are a lot of other benefits, especially for Muslim women who feel they may have less choice on the high street (although many companies are remedying that – Inayah is my favourite). Here are some thoughts I had on the benefits:
- Choice – I hear a lot of people complaining about the length of sleeves, lack of suitable ankle length skirts or dresses. For example, often the fabric and colour will be perfect but the neckline may be too low, or the dress may have short sleeves or a slit. By choosing to make your own clothes, the ball is in your court.
- Quality – By and large the quality of high street clothing is now quite poor compared to what it used to be. A lot of clothes in affordable shops are made of cheap synthetics which lose their shape, bobble or fade quickly. Your £15 could go on a beautiful organic cotton jersey rather than on a polyester blend t shirt.
- Ethical concerns – We should all be concerned about where our clothes come from. A friend of mine recently visited a clothing factory in Bangladesh run by a well respected organisation yet there were very young looking children laboriously embroidering clothes in silence. By making our own clothes, the labour involved is not a source of guilt, but a source of satisfaction.
- Cost – the cost of high street clothes is going up all the time, while the quality is decreasing. Sewing can be expensive or can save money depending on the fabric you buy, but there are many bargains to be had. I do believe that well made clothes are more equivalent to quality designer wear than the high street, without the price tag.
- It’s easy! – OK, haute couture is not easy to achieve but the majority of clothes most people will wear are simple to make. T-shirts, blouses, dresses and skirts are all achievable by beginners with the right pattern. There are also many free sewalongs which walk you through from beginning to end, making it even easier. You can also easily achieve much nicer finishes, such as French seams.
- Tailored to you – for me, being shorter than your average European, shopping is often frustrating as sleeves and hems are too long, the waist is in the wrong place or pockets are too low for comfort. You can make clothes to fit you, rather than a standard size.
- Slow fashion – by making your own clothes, you appreciate the effort and work that went into them and treat them with more respect. While it’s not practical to assume you will make all your own clothes, throwaway fashion becomes less acceptable.
Convinced? I will be posting some patterns that are hijab friendly or easily adapted to be shortly. In the mean time, please use the hashtag #hijabisewist on Instagram or Twitter so we can find your posts!