Handmade Wardrobe Challenge

I do ask myself sometimes if I over commit!! I am a full time working Mum and am out of the house for 11 hours a day! So why do I so want to keep on challenging myself....... I guess it comes from growing up in a house where my Mum, even though she only worked on and off during my childhood - was never still, there was always a sewing project or knitting project on the go and very often both at once.

I'm not the sort of person who can sit still on the sofa, my hands start to twitch and I have to be doing something.  When those hands stray to the phone to launch Candy Crush then I have to give myself a good talking to and pick up something more worthy to do - thats just how I am!

So when Helen of the Curious Handmade podcast set up the Handmade Wardrobe Challenge I was totally ready for it, even if my inner self thinks I am completely mad.  There was also a podcast episode recently from A Playful Day where Kate interviewed Jen from Makedo and Mendable and I was inspired by what she said - resonated so much with me.

Of course I am now 'of a certain age' and shopping on the high street (or in my case the highly air conditioned shopping malls) fills me with dread.  I am a number of different sizes and since my mastectomy and re-construction I am not really symmetrical any more.  Plus the fact that the materials are nasty unless you pay a fortune for designer wear.

Back in the late 80's when I was a tall slim size 10 (those were the days!!) you'd have thought I could have gone and bought anything I liked in the shops!  Well I have always been one who does not like to conform and the thought of wearing the same 'uniform' as everyone filled me with dread!  So I made dresses, tops, trousers, shorts and even my pride and joy, a short coat with a gorgeous silk lining and a huge round collar in a deep chocolate brown wool! (the collar was so wide that the whole thing would not even fit in my wardrobe - but it was the height of fashion at the time!)

So back to today - I live in a very hot place and one minute I am in the intense heat and the next in the freezing air conditioning so my wardrobe needs to adapt!  The Handmade Wardrobe challenge is giving me the inspiration to start thinking of what it REALLY is that I need to wear.

Therefore my first project is going to be the Sorbet Top by Collette Patterns.  This is a free pattern and I am going to make it in a soft blue linen, but with a gather at the front rather than a pleat.

Detail from the pattern!

Of course living in Abu Dhabi means that sourcing suitable material was not straightforward.  There are lots of fabric shops, as there are many many tailors in the city.  However..... some of the materials are not really what I would call subtle!  They are used for the gorgeous bright dresses the ladies wear under their Abayas traditionally and also for dresses for weddings and feasts which are the most outrageous and gorgeously over the top things you can imagine - I was so surprised when attending an Arab wedding - the ladies side was the most glamorous place I have ever seen!  Anyway I set off into the downtown area of Abu Dhabi to Cairo Fabrics which has a massive selection of very reasonably priced fabric and so I managed to get enough for 3 tops and also some gorgeous teal coloured jersey which will become something fabulous - although I am not sure what yet!

A trip to Downtown Abu Dhabi in 45 degree heat brought me to Cairo Fabrics and my haul!

So watch this blog - I may have to rename myself Louiseluvsfabric!!!

Oh and PS my Sewing Machine is very very old!!! I think its about time I treated myself to a new one!  Mine was bought with my very first Bonus from work when I was about 24 (previous had used my Mum's pass me down Jones) it cost £125 which was a fortune then!  My sister just bought a new Berlina and I am hugely jealous - any suggestions would be gratefully received!!!
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