Officially Heading Towards Middle Age

To be honest it’s been sneaking up on me for a while now. The early years of my 40s passed by in a bit of a blur, but this last one has been trickier. It starts with that stubborn bit of spread around the middle sector which a couple of other bloggers have commented on recently. As I actually like exercise and eat fairly healthily (most of the time) a little bit of Christmas/ Easter / holiday indulgence usually shifts itself fairly naturally with a bit of time, but since I hit 43 it’s not going anywhere fast! Grrr…

My favourite hobbies have always been a bit ‘middle aged’, and I’ve always found it impossible to resist the raft of sewing magazines that come alongside them. But recently I’ve found myself gravitating towards the somewhat ‘older’ publications of Good Housekeeping (oh, how my younger self would have scoffed) and Prima (well, it does come with a free sewing pattern) and away from Grazia and In Style. Yes, I’m not ashamed to admit that fashion articles on how to incorporate a bit of Kate Middleton’s style or how to dress ‘beautiful at any age’ are suddenly more relevant than how to work a cropped top (heaven forbid) or conquer festival style (err, wellies and a good waterproof…).

But last month I officially embraced my middle ages by joining my local WI. Oh, yes indeed! My husband found this simultaeneously hilarious and horrifying. Anyhow, the next monthly meeting is their annual fundraiser, so I’ve been beavering away on my donations. Keen to increase my gift repertoire I attempted a new pattern for a Tie Wrap Glasses Case, which featured in Love Sewing Magazine (issue 25). I thought this would be the perfect gift for females of ahem, a certain age, but also useful for sunglasses for younger members.

This was the perfect project for using up pretty scraps and some fat quarters that I’d had for far too long. The pattern was really straightforward, but I must admit I found getting a bit of an assembly line going really speeded me up after the first one. I’ve never used batting before, so despite this being a pretty simple pattern, I felt I’d learnt something new too. I also found it daftly enjoyable matching the fabrics up together. Anyone else get a small kick out of this? 😉 Even the off-cuts in my bin were pretty, but I’ll spare you the photos… I managed to run up six cases over two short afternoon sessions and then used some smaller scraps to make some very, very simple lavender stacks, which again hopefully will have universal appeal.

I imagine there are some pretty skilled seamstresses amongst the WI members, so I’m hoping my contributions pass muster… Fingers crossed they sell!

Love Sewing Magazine Ella Skater Dress

I loved this jersey dress as soon as I saw it in last month’s Love Sewing magazine. I’ve been so impressed with their patterns of late, and by how many of them they manage to squeeze in! The only problem is keeping up with them… But not a bad problem to have when you have a subscription I guess 🙂 I really liked the fact that the skirt on this Ella Skater Dress had enough fullness to make it fairly casual looking, so great for weekends and less formal workdays, but not too much to leave me feeling hip-y. Straight skirts tend to suit me better generally, but are pretty constricting to wear all of the time, so this is a nice (and more comfortable) compromise.

This would be a great pattern for a beginner to knits, especially if you’ve already got a Coco or an Agnes under your belt. The instructions were really clear and it came together pretty quickly too. The only thing I found difficult was selecting a size. The hip measurements in particular seemed a little odd. In the end, I plumped for a size D, based on my bust measurement, hoping this would be the fullest part for me. Luckily this was spot on, phew!

I used the leftovers from my Papercut Coppelia cardigan and I’m so pleased with the result. The fabric seems to suit the pattern perfectly (which doesn’t always happen for me). It’s the perfect, layering dress with a cropped cardigan, and several of mine seem to match really well, pulling out the various colours in the fabric. Apparently there’s a tutorial to add a cowl to the neckline too, which I’m yet to investigate but sounds tempting. This is firmly set to become a favourite design for me.

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Pattern: Ella Skater Dress

Designer: Pattydoo (via Love Sewing Magazine, issue 22)

Size: D

Adjustments: none this time, but looking forward to adding a cowl neckline next time

Soundtrack: First Aid Kit‘s My Silver Lining

The Liberty Pinafore

After a pretty disappointing result from my first, much loved piece of Liberty fabric (the Seamworks Bristol skirt, see here), rescued slightly by the top I just about managed to squeeze out of it, I’ve been putting off using the rest of it… But when the latest issue of Love Sewing (20) popped through my letter box I knew that the very sweet Girl’s Folk Pinafore would be the perfect design for the baby needlecord I purchased for my daughter.

It’s as an easy-fit, simple design which I thought would perfectly showcase the beautiful fabric. I cut the L (age 8-9) which has come out pretty loose on her as you can see in the photos, but this is perfect for getting a couple of years’ wear out of it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets upset at the thought of a homemade garment only fitting for a year (or sometimes even shorter) when you make something for children!

The instructions were really clear and despite not being a fan of facings, I was impressed by how this came together, neatly hiding the straps beneath. Normally I’d want to anchor the facings down in a couple of places, but there are no fine threads to catch in this fabric, so I might just have to let it be. Because of the slightly heavier weight they do sit pretty nicely to be honest and it’s not me wearing it 😉

I toyed with the idea of completing the front pocket in a contrasting fabric and found the perfect navy blue (of course) cord in my drawers. But when I experimented with placing it on the front it gave the dress a totally different look, much more modern, which is great sometimes, but I resisted. Both of my children are on the cusp of ‘growing up‘ and I just want to hold on to them being young children for a little longer, so traditional won out! I used the same fabric instead, which kind of becomes invisible, but it’s there should her hands get cold or if she wants to collect conkers or whatever. I also resisted adding various buttons, even though I have loads that matched perfectly. Plain and simple just seems to work with this, and my daughter agrees: she absolutely loves it 🙂