My Spring sewing plans (and one I’ve already finished!)

I’m not a big one for New Year’s resolutions (... I never keep them!) but this year one thing I’d really like to work on is buying less and making more. Sustainability and minimalism are such buzzwords at the moment, but having made a few real life changes to streamline our stuff and cut down on our consumption, I’m convinced that this is an approach which enhances life as well as being good for the planet. That means an end to buying lots of cheap sale items and more sewing with sustainable, natural fabrics. Hooray!

So how have I got on with my sewing plans so far? Not too badly, I think.

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Breaking the Pattern

Firstly, I put together a beautiful tote bag in just a couple of hours. This is the Nummi tote bag from the new book by Named Clothing, ‘Breaking the Pattern’.

Before we talk about the bag, let me just say that if you like to sew, you have to buy this book. Really! It is beautiful (as you’d expect from the Named ladies), the patterns are all highly wearable, and there’s a range of different levels of difficulty for any stage of your sewing journey. Each of the ten pieces has a least two variations and even more suggestions for how to ‘break’ the pattern (that is, add and change things to make the pattern your own). I make that over 50 patterns for around £15 - woah!

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Nummi Tote Bag

The Nummi tote is the first pattern in the book and is incredibly simple. If you’re brand new to a sewing machine, this would be an excellent place to start.

And remember what I was saying about sustainability? Ever since the government introduced compulsory charging on plastic bags in shops, I permanently have a handful of totes in my backpack for emergency shopping trips. This is the perfect addition to my collection.

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I sewed this in an IKEA heavy cotton I had leftover from when I made our sofa cushions a couple of years ago (you can find a similar one here). It works really well. It has just enough weight to make it feel sturdy and practical, but it's still more luxurious than a supermarket-bought tote.

Given that one of the premises of the Named book is to help you 'break' the pattern, I'm already thinking of hacks for the next Nummi tote I make:

  • A storage "pocket" - I have a bag that has a little pocket in it that you can stuff the whole bag into. This makes it really convenient for carrying around in a handbag (sort of like a pac-a-mac). That would work so well here.

  • Turn it into a storage bucket - I want to sew up a set of little fabric buckets for little C's bedroom, for storing socks and bibs and other little person things.

I’m already planning my next few projects from this book.

Sade blouse

This summery blouse is one of the earlier patterns in the book, so will likely be another simple sew. I love the details of the open back and sleeves and the relaxed feel - perfect for a busy mum running errands on a warm day. This pattern will have the honour of being sewn in a very special fabric, a beautiful Nani Iro double gauze aptly called Grace Summer. I put this on my birthday wishlist back in November when I saw the incredible colours. So. Breathtaking.

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Saraste shirt dress

One of my go-to mum ‘hacks’ is to wear a lot of shirt dresses. Somehow if you throw on a shirt dress you immediately look more put together - crucial when you have little people pulling you in multiple directions! So when I saw that the Named book included a shirt dress pattern, I knew it would be on my list. I plan to use this structured geometric cotton from Minerva Crafts. I do love a good patterned shirt dress.

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Breaking from the Named clothing love, I’ve also got a couple of other projects planned:

Baby dungarees

There’s something about babies in dungarees, especially lovely baggy ones that make them look super comfy. So cute. I’m planning to make a pair for my sister-in-law’s baby in this soft giraffe print chambray, with sweet little olive wood buttons. And perhaps I’ll indulge my dungaree love and sew another pair for little C too.

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Pyjamas, pyjamas, pyjamas

I have to confess, I have never been great at pyjamas. By which I mean my ‘pyjama’ collection is mostly old t-shirts, boring joggers, and bobbly jumpers. This year I’m planning to channel Marie Kondo and make myself a capsule pyjama wardrobe that sparks joy. More to follow on the plans, but currently the Nina Lee Piccadilly pyjamas are top of the list of likely sewing patterns.

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And finally, a very special modern fans quilt

Ok, every quilt is special! But this one will be very special, because it will be for my lovely Mum and Dad. They are a stylish pair, so I want to do something that will fit perfectly in their beautiful home. I plan to use Suzy Quilt’s Modern Fans pattern, and a selection of Robert Kaufman Essex Linens. It won’t be cheap (!) but it will be very special indeed.