I have knitted two things recently using the scrumptious yarn dyed by my beautiful, clever friend Caitlan of A Maker's Burrow. A "stay-soft shawl" in 4ply yarn - a soothing, simple pattern with lovely stripy details. And using 4-ply means it is incredibly light feeling but also warm. I find myself reaching for this scarf day after day!
I've also made a "Stockholm pullover" vest in Caitlan's 4ply yarn held together with alpaca/silk fluff. We call this my cloud vest because it is so very soft and snuggly and warm. A wonderful winter layer. This is my first time knitting a vest and I loved the pattern - simple and yet elegantly shaped at the neck and shoulders.
I have also sewn two dresses - another sleeveless trillium dress in nani iro double gauze cotton. Yes, I have made this exact dress before in the same kind of fabric - so I knew it would get lots and lots of use. It's the kind of dress you can wear through the seasons with layers or none. The golden, brown and green and pinky hues just delight me - I think of autumn leaves and sunshine and summer grass. I had just enough fabric for the dress so the pockets were made with linen scraps from a kind friend.
And I also tried sewing this wraparound dress as a test - using a pattern I have wanted to try for so many years from this Japanese sewing book. The fabric was entirely recycled - it was once was the cover for an armchair which we threw out last year - a linen-cotton blend chambray in grey hues.
I am pretty happy with the result - but made copious notes of tweaks I'd like to make when sewing it again for a better fit. I have some black linen stashed up for my second attempt. It also lacks pockets which will need to be remedied. I like that I can layer it easily; wear it as a dress or a jacket - and those 3/4 length sleeves will always be my favourite.
Over the last few months I've been trying to document my handmade outfits with my phone. It's been helpful to see what colours and shapes I gravitate towards most days, but also to think creatively about how to wear things in different combinations.
Looking at these collages, I am reminded that making clothes is a privilege; a hobby which requires both time and resources. I don't want to just make clothes for the sake of having something to do/buy/acquire. I want to make things of beauty, use and longevity. And in the process of making my own clothes I find I am kinder to my body - her unique curves and quirks, her desires and sensations. I grow confidence and patience and playfulness. I find a little more of myself.
ABOUT the author
Emily Clare Sims is a farmer and mama to three young boys. Each day she looks for ways to notice beauty, contemplate her faith and savour the seasons...