Posted in Lifestyle, Plans, Sewing

Wendy takes Manhattan


It seems like forever since I last wrote a blog post. Not quite forever, but 20 days really is a long time in the blogosphere.

I would love to tell you that I have sewn up a whole new wardrobe in that time but I have not made much at all since I was last here. I have a few projects that are cut out and ready to be sewn up  (a bra, skirt, two cardigans, two tee shirts) and a few projects on my knitting needles (scarf, jumper, baby cardigan) but hardly anything finished to completion. Except for a top (for me) and dress (for my mum). The top is a lovely striped French Terry number, that started off as a Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress and later became a top when I realised I’d probably get more wear out of it that way. One of my best ever decisions.

This was taken before I changed the length to turn it into a top. You get the idea.

The dress for my mum is a simple summer dress, made from old lady fabric, that just needs hemming. I’ll do a proper post all about this one later. While it is a simple enough summer dress, sewing for someone who is elderly, disabled and has limited mobility, presented me with a load of new challenges that I had never really considered before.

I actually thought I would get a load of sewing done during the last few weeks. The boyfriend has been working in NYC for the past month and, strong independent woman that Beyonce told me to be I am,  I really embraced this as a time to get stuff done and learn some new skills. In reality, I ended up missing him terribly and feeling too weary to sew or do much other than eat my feelings. Also the baby cats were pining for him and became very demanding – they barely left my knee while he was away.

I eventually flew out to join him in NYC this week and, as always when I visit this city, I had an amazing time. I met some lovely people; attempted to drink all the local beers and visited the greatest sites of NYC – Purl Soho yarn shop and Mood fabric store.

Wearing my Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dress in Brooklyn, NYC

While it was wonderful to be there and to touch all the pretties, I didn’t actually buy anything in Purl Soho. To be honest I didn’t really see anything that I can’t get in my local yarn store. Also, because of the state the pound is in at the moment, it was all super expensive. I’m still really glad that I got to visit though.

Purl Soho – I came for the selfie

As for Mood Fabrics… this is hands down the greatest fabric store I have ever visited. Friendly staff, who really know their stuff and were a delight to talk to, and oh my god the fabric. There is so much fabric in Mood that I got completely overwhelmed and had to sit down for bit and compose myself (seriously). I could have bought so much more but I managed to show a bit of restraint and bought three lengths (2.5 yards each) of printed silks. All polka dots. This wasn’t an intentional plan, I  just have a thing for polka dots (and stripes and gingham, but that’s another blog post).

Mood Fabrics – I have this thing for polka dots

I haven’t really decided yet what I am going to make with the silk but I suspect lovely light weight summer dresses. I welcome any ideas you might have for it.

I think maybe a Sew Over It 1940s Tea Dress for the pale peach and pink dots.

Sew Over It 1940s Tea Dress
Sew Over It, 1940s Tea Dress

Possibly a Tilly & the Buttons Bettine for the pink with white dots. I don’t know though. Is a Bettine special enough for this lovely fabric? I think I will need to do a toile first and see if I like the fit of this dress on me.

Tilly & the Buttons, Bettine Dress

And I am really not sure about the navy and white polka dot. Maybe another BHL Anna Dress. A short version this time, with a V-neck.

By Hand London, Anna Dress

This could all change, and there are a gazillion other things in the queue to be made ahead of these, but it is good to have plans!

Posted in Plans, Sewing, Wendy Project

The Wendy Project part 3 – Wardrobe planning

I went along to the Knitting and Stitching Show at London Olympia at the weekend – armed with notes! Notes on the patterns I am interested in making next and notes on the fabrics I wanted to buy. Seriously, I took notes. This is so unlike me!

And it is all because of this little self discovery personal challenge of mine – The Wendy Project.  For the last month now I have been looking at the things already in my wardrobe, and my style icons,  and I think that through doing this I have now got a pretty good idea of what my personal style is.

My style – a little bit quirky and with a vintage edge.

My colours – Navy, reds, greys, black, purples, mid blues, mustard, soft yellows, pale greens, peach.

The next stage is for me to plan some makes that fit my style but also which work together and, crucially, are what I want to wear.

There are a tonne of things I want to make  but I have whittled it down to these:-

Bottoms –

Colette Patterns  – Juniper Trousers
  • Jeans – I’m thinking Ginger jeans.
  • Capri pants (actually made some this weekend, will blog about them soon)
  • Wide leg trousers (Colette Juniper I am looking at you)
  • Some full skirts. Not necessarily circle skirts but with some fullness. Knee length or midi.
  • Tulip skirt – love the shape of the Sew Over It Tulip skirt.

Tops –

gertie wrap.jpg
Patterns By Gertie – Wrap Top
  • I want to knit some 1940s cardigans  – I’m having a good look through my vintage patterns. This will take some time though.
  • Sweatshirt – not quirky or vintage but I want me a Linden!
  • 1940s  blouses – may need to consult Gertie for a pattern here
  • Tie front blouse- rockabilly style rather than pussybow
  • Basic t-shirt styles – I am really low on basics. Going to start with a Renfrew
  • Cami tops – again, I’m really low on basics.
  • Some tight knit tops – possibly Gertie’s pin up sweater pattern.
  • A wrap cardigan -Gertie to the rescue again

Dresses –

Kim dress
By Hand London  – Kim Dress

I wear dresses more than I wear anything else but would still like some more day dresses in my memade wardrobe.

  • A couple of summer dresses – I am thinking light weight basic summer dresses for my holiday but with a good vintage shape – possibly the By Hand London Kim Dress.
  • Shirt dress – The Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress is one of my #makenine2017 resolutions. I really want to make this. Soon.
  • A nice simple day dress – maybe a striped Bettine
  • A wiggle dress – perhaps another Gertie Dress
  • A fitted bodice/circle skirt dress – this is more of a going out dress really but I think maybe the Sew Over It Betty Dress.
  • Tea dresses – classic, look great and easy to wear. I need more tea dresses in my life.

Other –

Tilly and the Buttons – Fifi

I really want to start making my own bras. And maybe a boudoir set like Tilly and the Buttons Fifi.

This is a lot of things to make and the list will no doubt change  over the course of the year but it feels so good to have plans. I’m confident that I would enjoy wearing every one of these things and they all fit what I have now worked out to be my style.  Yes, I would be pretty happy having this lot as my memade wardrobe! Now to get sewing.

Posted in Sewing, Wendy Project

The Wendy Project – Style Icons

Hey there,

I have had the week off work this week for half-term break and have been sewing like a demon. I actually had all kinds of activities planned for the week including a couple of fashion exhibitions and fabric shopping trips,  but in reality I have barely left the warmth of my living room. I’m not remotely sorry about that.

It has been a half term well spent  – as well as some much needed time doing nothing, I have got two of my #makenine2017 projects completed. A Colette Patterns Anise Jacket and a knit version of the princess seam bodice/A line skirt dress from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book.

I’ll do a blog post on both of them soon but here is a sneak peek of my jacket – held together with pins as it still needs buttons. You can tell from my happy face that I am quite pleased with this one.


So I am still thinking about my style and how this translates into my making. At the moment my making goes like this: like a fabric – like a pattern – make the thing.  With no thought as to how much I will wear it, if it goes with anything, if it will suit me.

Case in point – I made this Colette Patterns Ceylon Dress a couple of years ago. Lovely pattern, lovely pink floral fabric. Looked absolutely awful on me and seriously, what was I thinking? Pink florals, and this style of dress, are so not me! All that work and I never even wore it. Soon after this photo was taken, the dress went into a charity collection bin.


I am hoping that through this little self-discovery journey, that I am affectionally calling The Wendy Project, I can identify my style as well as my clothing needs. I am hoping that it will help me to make better choices with regards to what I make rather than just churning out garment after garment.

This week I have been thinking about celebrity style, and the style of fictitious characters, whose wardrobes I admire. This was actually a lot harder to do than I imagined!

Here a few of those I came up with:

Louisa Clark in the film Me Before You. She is a lot younger than me, and this style is far too young for me, but I am drawn to the quirkiness of her wardrobe. All the way through this film I was ooh and aahing at her clothing.  The red dress  in particular is so beautiful.

Peggy Carter in Agent Carter. Love love love. I want to marry her entire wardrobe. That blue and red dress. Aaah be still my heart.  I don’t know how comfortable I would feel dressing like this all the time though.

Jess in New Girl. Dresses/cardigans/a bit cutesy. This is pretty much how I dress 80% of the time (the other 20% of the time my look is just lazy and a bit meh) but I am not quite as well put together as Jess.  I don’t feel particularly well put together anyway.


Audrey in Twin Peaks. Possibly a bit too preppy for me but she just looks cool a/f. Pencil skirts and tight knitwear are always a winning combination for me.


Paloma Faith. I am absolutely not a fan of her music but I can’t deny she has some great clothes. Well done Paloma’s stylist. These box pleats are just dreamy.


The entire female cast of Land Girls.  I love the 1940s blouses and I absolutely can not resist vintage knitwear. I really need to start tackling some vintage knitting patterns. So beautiful.


What have I learned from this? Well, nothing really. I have always known I love 1940s/1950s vintage and that I favour a quirky and feminine ensemble with some good knitwear. I think the key thing for me is to think about how I can now start to combine these features in my handmade wardrobe, to create pieces that work together as a collection and that I would want to wear.

Well that was fun. I have a sudden urge  to watch some Twin Peaks now.

Posted in Lifestyle, Sewing

The Wendy Project – Finding My Style

Hello again!

Firstly I want to say a huge thanks to everyone who gave me such lovely comments  – both here and on Instagram  –  for the princess seam bodice tutorial I did for the Minerva Crafts Blog. Even though I am a sewing teacher, it was the first time I have done a blog tutorial. I really loved writing it and I’m definitely going to start doing more of them on this blog,  as well as more collaborations with Minerva.

This week I have been thinking a bit more about my style and how I can direct that towards my handmade wardrobe plans.  After all my musings about not knowing my style in this post, I was teaching a lesson in school this week and one of my lovely 6th formers was talking to me about my current sewing projects  (currently got the Anise jacket and a Gertie princess seam bodice dress on the sewing table FYI). Out of the blue she told me: “I love that you have such a strong sense of your own style. Everything that you wear fits your style. It’s so great.”

Such adorable words from a 17 year old!

So perhaps I am not as lost with my style as I maybe thought I was, it just needs a little bit of tweaking and refining!

For my personal style audit,  aka the Wendy Project, this week I have been looking closely at my RTW wardrobe and picking out five things that I love to wear and asking myself why.

In no particular order then, here are five of my favourite pieces from my wardrobe (not modelled by me, obviously).

1. Box pleat black textured skirt by Gok Wan for Sainsburys.


I love this skirt and I especially love that it came from a supermarket! I really like the box pleats and the dramatic volume that the skirt has. I feel like a dancer when I wear it. That can only be a good thing, right?! This skirt rarely needs ironing. This could be a reason I wear it so often. I really,  really don’t like ironing. It is also a great winter skirt and looks fab with thick black tights. It’s fully lined and feels like a good quality skirt even though it came from a supermarket. I once had to visit Vivienne Westwood HQ for a meeting and I wore this skirt. I was really hoping someone would ask me where I got it from. Sadly Viv was not in that day and no one asked about my skirt!

2. Black cashmere cardigan from French Connection


I like close fitting, good quality knitwear and this cardigan is a perfect example. Soft cashmere makes me feel like I am being hugged.

3. Vintage reproduction sea-shell print summer dress from Collectif


I’m not crazy about the sea-shell print to be honest but I absolutely love the fit of this RTW dress. It seriously could have been made for me. A lovely fit and flare vintage shape which is insanely flattering. Nips me in at the waist and flares out perfectly at the hips. The fit of the bust is so good that I can get away without wearing a bra ( I am 40 years-old – scaffolding is usually needed!).

4. Blue and ivory v-neck t-shirt by French Connection


I rarely wear t-shirts but I really like this one. I love the low neckline and the ivory panel on the front is so flattering. It is just a t-shirt but the softness of the fabric (a lovely lightweight viscose), the slim cut and the panel detail make it seem a bit more luxurious.

5. Vintage reproduction jumpsuit from Collectif


This is a crazy print, and it is louder than I normally wear, but I love this vintage repro jumpsuit. It makes me feel like Agent Peggy Carter going on holiday!


So what have I learned and what can I take to my homemade wardrobe plans? Hmmm. Well I don’t like ironing and I don’t like wearing bras! Haha!  Also, I like good quality knitwear and fabrics. I like well fitting, structured clothes rather than loose fitting garments. I like vintage styles. If I am going to wear basics and wardrobe staples, like t-shirts, then they need to have something a bit luxurious or different about them. I like clothing that is a bit quirky and maybe a bit dramatic.

So maybe this is my style and what I should focus on. I’m making notes here for my sewing plans!

Join me next time, where I will share some celebrities whose style I admire and relate to.

Posted in Lifestyle, Sewing

Introducing The Wendy Project

Hello sewists!

I have been thinking about my wardrobe and my style a lot this week. It has struck me that I don’t really know if I have a style anymore and, if I do, I don’t really know what my style is. I’m 40 years-old now and, while I knew exactly what I wanted to wear in my 20s, these days I really don’t know what I am doing.


I am a terrible shopper – I buy things that I think I like but I don’t put any thought into how they might make me feel, if they go with anything else, how often I might wear them. As a result,  I have things in my wardrobe that I have worn once or twice. Things that are OK but nothing much that really suits me and makes me feel great. I’m hoping that my newly reignited sewing mojo will eventually result in a fully handmade wardrobe but I fear that, unless I take action, I am going to end up in the same situation I am with my ready-to-wear clothes – stuck with a bunch of ill thought out me-made items that I don’t want to wear.

So taking is action is exactly what I am going to do. I am starting my own personal challenge on here,  The Wendy Project,  to rediscover my personal style and learn how to plan better for a me-made wardrobe that suits me and my lifestyle.


Things I already know about my style:

  • I have always loved vintage clothes. My handmade wardrobe must include elements of vintage style.
  • In the past I would have said my style was cute and quirky. While I don’t think age should be a barrier to what we choose to wear, I don’t feel that the cute and quirky outfits of my twenties are going to look that great in my forties. I need to find an age appropriate way to do cute and quirky or re-evaluate if this is really me anymore.
  • I am pretty good at picking out lovely skirts and dresses to wear for work but my off duty clothing is pretty much limited to jeans/jeggings and t-shirts/jumpers. Lazy dressing that has got stuck in a rut and really doesn’t feel like me. I want to have stylish and comfy off duty clothes.
  • I am fairly slim with an hourglass shape and big boobs. I like quite fitted clothing and fit and flare silhouettes.  I have a bit of a tummy and I don’t much like my legs. Generally I am quite body-positive but I consider these to be my ‘problem’ areas
  • I have never been very good at accessorising. I have a feeling that some good accessories would really  help me when pulling a look together.

The next thing I am going to do is have a look in my wardrobe and pick up to five things that I love and that I feel good wearing, to see if that gives me any help in discovering my style. I’ll be back with a blog on this later in the week, so make sure you come back if this is something that interests you.

Back to the sewing…

In other news,  my Anise jacket is now all cut out and underlined. Hoping to get a good amount of it sewed up this week, including my first ever attempt at bound button holes.

Also, I am looking to upgrade my sewing machine soon and thinking about getting a Brother Innov-is 100 but still undecided. If you have any sewing machine recommendations I would love to hear them!

Wendy x