I haven’t written on here for a long time. It feels weird not to acknowledge that but in the words of the Queen Mother…
Never apologise, never explain.
I haven’t written on here for a long time. It feels weird not to acknowledge that but in the words of the Queen Mother…
Never apologise, never explain.
It’s that time again! It’s May which means just one thing for the sewist – ME MADE MAY. And, if you are me, constantly sing The Lusty Month of May from Camelot. For the uninitiated, Me Made May is a yearly challenge to wear your homemade clothing – some people pledge to wear me made every day, others wear one item a week etc. This challenge was founded by Zoe who explains all on her blog.
Every year all the Me Made May outfits on Instagram make me a bit jealous. Although Me Made May is a personal challenge, not a social media challenge, people naturally use social media as a way to document it. If I’m honest, I get jealous of everyone else’s makes! Other people seem to sew so quickly and successfully while I feel like I’ve not made anything good for ages! Recently I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the sewing possibilities and limited by my skill level. I imagine all the incredible things I want to make, but I’ve got some kind of sewing block that stops me actually making anything. This May I want to try and recapture the joy and fun of sewing and get over my fears of messing up. The only way for me to do anything is to have a deadline so….
I, Frances Scott, pledge to wear me made garments at least three times a week this month. I will try not to repeat any of my Me Made May outfits. I will record my outfits on Instagram and blog about the experience.
Hopefully this will be the kick up the bum I need to finish off my abandoned works in progress! I also have some quick and easy projects that are all ready to go that I’d like to get sewn up this month.
I have challenged myself to blog about Me Made May and share my outfits on instagram because I’m really lazy about doing it!
Basically, I’m hoping Me Made May cures me of laziness.
Well, I’ve been a bit quiet for a while eh? Lots of things have been going on and I’m not ready to talk about the biggest and most exciting and scary thing yet. I’ll definitely share all about it when I feel I can. As long as it goes to plan… Touch wood…
One pretty big thing that’s happened to me this year is that I turned 30. THIRTY. I think I’m supposed to be sad about this or something? But I am really happy and excited to be in the next decade of my life. This is the decade when I plan to do lots of the big exciting stuff: get married, have babies, own my first house, and find a more interesting job. I am completely ready to be in my thirties. Basically everyone over thirty says that their thirties were better than their twenties, so I’m pretty excited about that. If I’m honest, I feel like my twenties were about me feeling stuck and sad! I doubt I’ll look back on them with a huge amount of affection.
My thirties have already got off to cracking start. I already feel happier than I was at twenty-nine! And the aforementioned massive scary thing has already caused more excitement than I had in the whole of 2018. Will 2018 be the year that goes down in history as the most pointless of all? I can’t think of anything that happened apart from the weddings of a few friends. I have let myself tie my emotions to the world of politics too much ever since 2016, which meant that 2018 was a year of worry where nothing much really happened.
At the start of this year, I decided to be happy and focus on little everyday things that bring me joy. It has made a big difference. I obviously don’t think that choosing to be happy can cure depression or anxiety or any clinically diagnosed condition, but I do think it’s helpful if you are a mardy, pessimistic misanthrope. I have gained some perspective and just lightened up. Last year, I was falling into a real Sunday night funk every single week. Not once was the worry justified. Right now it’s Sunday night and I am completely indifferent to work tomorrow. I’m not going to pretend I want to go to work, but my heart doesn’t sink every time I remember.
It’s really hard not to talk about The Super Secret Exciting Thing so I think I’ll leave off here. Hopefully, next time I post I’ll be sharing the awesome news!
What has been preoccupying me:
LISTENING TO: DRESSED
This is a wonderful podcast about fashion history. It’s written and hosted by two actual fashion historians and I’ve yet to skip an episode. The topics for the episodes vary – they might be on the history of a particular garment, a historical figure, a designer, sustainable fashion or textile conservation. I thoroughly recommend.
READING: THE SLEEP OF REASON
I had to read this book after reading this this article in the New Statesman (I would recommend reading that article even if you have no interest in reading a book on such an upsetting topic). This book is obviously not going to be for everyone, but it’s really well written and compassionate.
WATCHING: AFTER LIFE
Look, I hate Ricky Gervais and his usually smug smug face and his stupid pointy teeth. I enjoyed the original office but that’s it. I’ve never found Ricky Gervais funny or interesting since. Last night I thought I’d see what After Life was like because I’d seen the trailers that are EVERYWHERE and I saw some people I liked were in it. I watched the whole of it in one sitting. I repeatedly had to wipe my eyes. I almost gave myself a dehydration headache from crying so much.
We are two weeks into 2019, and I don’t know if I’m surprised it’s already 14th January or shocked it’s not yet March. The weight loss adverts promising they are not diets have come and gone (I assume, I hid them as they popped up on my social media feeds), and we’ve had the passionate posts reminding us calendars and dates are arbitrary, and we should not throw our 2018 selves away like so much waste plastic. While I agree that resolutions are often dispiriting and doomed to fail, I think it’s a good time to think about what we can do to make our lives more enjoyable. Over the crimbo-limbo period I got a little new agey. I have made a Vision Board for 2019 (I’ll be honest and say it’s just pictures of people with excellent lipstick and hair) and my word for the year is Vibrant. I want 2019 to be a year of colour, energy and joy. This year I will spend more time doing what I love and less time fannying about scrolling though social media. My resolutions aren’t about trying to change who I am, but to making sure I spend more time doing what makes me happy.
We don’t know what will happen in 2019. Brexit looms over us and, even if you think it’s a good idea, as I guess you are entitled, none of us have a clue what will happen. I am inclined to brood over things I can’t control or that may never happen. If I’m not careful, I can become overwhelmed by news stories on how the country will grind to a halt if there is a no deal Brexit. I’ve decided I will not have a rubbish year just because the world is turning to shit. I have no power to stop Brexit, but I can make sure I’ve spent my Saturday afternoons doing something I enjoy.
So, these are my goals for 2019:
Let’s see what 2019 holds!
Hello, autumn! Autumn is when I want to get down to business and organise my life. It’s either a hangover from the academic year or because some primitive part of my brain that wants me to get ready for winter. I’m in one of those moods where I want to sort out everything in my life and emerge a paragon of wonder and joy. Ultimate Fran* is what I call the version of myself that I am always striving to become. Ultimate Fran does yoga every day, has a tidy and sparkling clean house, reads more books, wears proper outfits and lipstick every day, she looks nice in photographs and blogs regularly. Ultimate Fran would never waste a whole day flopping about on the sofa playing idiotic games on her iPhone. I am not Ultimate Fran by any stretch of the imagination, but I like to think I’m getting closer to her all the time!
Here’s what I’ve been up to:
So there you are! How has your week been? Do you have any big projects on the horizon?
*Is this weird?
Happy Monday night! I have decided to start writing a weekly post on Sunday nights (today is a bank holiday so it’s basically Sunday) to try and combat the Sunday blues I battle with every week. My plan is to share a few things I’ve been doing or enjoying over the last week and update the side bar with my current favourite podcast, sewing project and book.
As this is the first one, I’m going to include things that I’ve been doing/enjoying in recent weeks too.
And that’s been my week really! I hope you all had an interesting week and have some things to look forward to in the week to come.
What have been your highlights this week?
In a different life, I would be a world-renowned professor of TV and give lectures on the influence of The Way We Were on the Gilmore Girls. However, in this life, all I have is this humble blog with which to share my exciting TV insights and opinions. So here are three of my current favourite TV shows:
This may be the best TV show I have watched in the last year. It is a cold case crime drama and focuses on people more than the police investigation. All the suspects have a deep dark secret that they have been hiding for years, but the secret is not necessarily directly connected to the murder. I love any drama that’s about deep dark secrets. The idea that someone knows something is what makes famous cold cases so compelling and yet so frustrating. We know that there are people living today who know the truth, we just don’t know who they are. Unforgotten is about people who have done their best to hide their secrets only to have them come out as part of a murder case.
The detectives are played by Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar, and I really appreciate how compassionate and human they are. There are no traditional macho police characters in sight. And this is not the kind of show that’s about dead women with gratuitous shots of naked female corpses, so far only 1 season out of 3 has been about the murder of a young woman.
There are too many good things about Unforgotten to list so just get on and watch it!
Seasons 1 and 2 are available on Netflix and ITV hub, and Season 3 is currently going out on ITV on Sunday nights (and you can catch up on ITV hub!)
Dietland is an angry show for a terrifying time. It’s part story of self-discovery and enlightenment, and part feminist revenge fantasy.
Plum Kettle is a fat woman planning stomach bypass surgery so that she can be thin, and her real life can begin. She lives a small life, working from home and only leaving her apartment to attend weight loss meetings or visit a local café. Then one day she meets a young woman named Leta and everything changes.
Oh and there’s a feminist terrorist group killing rapists and dropping them from the sky…
Just watch it! Dietland is not perfect, but it’s just what I need when I am despairing of the world. Joy Nash is spectacular as Plum. Watch it and then follow Joy on Instagram so that you can gaze upon her beauty.
Dietland is available on Amazon Prime.
This is a bit of a wildcard because I’ve not watched a lot of this yet and I’m not sure what I think.
Faith is a solicitor on maternity leave, seemingly happily married with three children and living in Wales. One day her husband disappears on his way to work, and she starts to try and work out what has happened.
Keeping Faith was originally on BBC Wales, but it was a bit of a word-of-mouth sensation, and people all over the UK watched it on iplayer. Now they are airing it on BBC One for people like me who missed out on it the first time around.
This is being shown on Thursdays on BBC One and the rest is available on BBC iplayer
A couple of months ago I did Design Your Wardrobe the Seamwork sewing planning program (I might write about this if I feel so inclined). The aim of it is to get you to plan your sewing the way a designer plans their collection – gathering inspiration and developing your ideas before selecting patterns and fabrics. It really made me think about what I like to wear, what I want to wear, and what I actually need in my wardrobe. The answer to all of these questions was CUTE CASUAL CLOTHING! So I went to all the inspiration I had collected and started to plan some non-basic basics.
I had added these tops to my mood board to represent the kind of casual clothes I’m looking for:
I have always loved a baseball skirt. I love the classic raglan sleeves and design opportunities they offer. I knew that a baseball shirt would be a nice simple make that I would probably knock up in an afternoon AND it had the potential to help me use up odd bits of jersey fabric that are too small for other projects.
As Tilly Walnes’s new book Stretch! came out around the time of Design Your Wardrobe, it seemed only right that I use Frankie as the pattern for my own baseball shirt (and it gave me an excuse to order one of the signed copies that were available).
Unusually for me, I cut a straight size 7 top. I usually blend between sizes because my waist is about a size smaller than my bust and hips, and I prefer to make sure everything has some kind of waist shaping. The pattern is designed to have a relaxed fit so I will definitely take it in at the waist next time. The only alteration I made was to shorten the top a little because a) I have a short torso and b) I wanted to make more of a feature of the curved hem.
Sewing up the top was nice and simple, so I managed to knock it up in a few hours. I actually found cutting out the trickiest bit of all. I think I managed to slightly stretch the fabric and so I had a wonky arm and had to recut. The finish of the top isn’t entirely perfect – the neckband is lightly thinner in places where I was sewing too quickly to keep it neat, and the white thread I couldn’t be bothered to change to sew on the neckband shows through a bit. But I think small things like this aren’t really noticeable for anyone except me, and I’ve almost forgotten about them already. Whenever I get too bogged down worrying about perfection in the things I’ve made, I remember that my colleague bought a playsuit from Primark that had the legs in sideways so that you’d have to twist your torso at 90 degrees to wear it.
When I was thinking about planning my spring/summer wardrobe, I noticed that I was pinning clothes with really great details. Clever or funny or just a bit different, I really love an embroidered motif or patch on a simple sweatshirt or t-shirt, so why on earth haven’t I been adding this to my handmade clothes?! This patch was designed by Mel Stringer for Lucky Dip Club about 2 years ago, and I have been hoarding it ever since, waiting for the perfect place to put it. I thought of using a couple of other patches (I’ve been hoarding them without any idea when or where I’ll use them) but I love purple, and once I decided to do the sleeves and neckband in a deep purple, I couldn’t resist adding this lilac patch.
In a nutshell – I bloody love this. It was easy to make and the perfect vehicle for excellent patches! I’m not sure it’s the most flattering garment I’ve ever made but I couldn’t care less about flattering! It makes me feel awesome.
Evening Primrose was recommended by lots of internet people I trust, and so when it came to compiling a Christmas list, I had to put it down. I didn’t actually know what it was about, but from the cover and the title, I got the impression that it was going to be the kind of book that is half poetry, half novel, with long lush descriptions of South Africa and beautiful, poignant bittersweet moments. It isn’t really anything like that.
Evening Primrose is actually a really angry political novel. It’s written as the diary of Masechaba, a young woman who has left her religious mother to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. However, the realities of being a doctor and working within the South African health system are not what she expected. As well as dealing with the pressures of being a doctor, Masechaba is also dealing with her own personal history, her brother’s recent suicide and the legacy of apartheid. She lives with a Zimbabwean doctor named Nyamba who opens her eyes to the xenophobia that exists in South African society, even in Masechaba’s own mother.
I was really impressed by how such a short book managed to explore gender, the legacy of apartheid, mental health, menstruation and more. The author Kopano Matlwa is a doctor herself and is currently studying for a DPhil and Oxford University, which makes the fact that Evening Primrose is actually her third novel all the more impressive.
I don’t want to give away everything that happens in the book because I found that not knowing what to expect made the book so much more shocking and moving. I finished the booked with tears rolling down my cheeks.
I loved this beautiful, delicious book. It’s the kind of book you want to read in a day while lying next to a pool. It is about an intense affair between 17-year-old college freshman Flannery and 28-year-old grad student Anne at what appears to be Yale. Theirs is the kind of affair you (or at least I) expected to have at University – the kind of affair that turns you from a sensitive, thoughtful and gauche child, into a sophisticated woman. The kind of affair that will give you fuel for your novel, a couple of country songs, and will give you something to draw on when singing along with power ballads in the shower.
‘What would happen if I wrote some pages for you? Each day a page, to show you that I am finding our story, the story of how we might have been together, once. Of how we could be.’
The book is broken up into short chapters, about 2 or 3 pages long, which are the ‘pages’ in the title. They read like love letters or a sort of diary of the relationship – from the first meeting the breakup. The short chapters make the book feel like a collection of perfect little jewels of prose. Although it’s the kind of book you will want to gobble up within a few hours, the short chapters make it perfect for dipping in an out of throughout your workday – on your commute and lunch break.
Can you tell I liked it? There’s a sequel called Pages For Her which I have yet to read. I’ll report back.