5 Things I Learned from Me Made May 2016

mmmay16Did you take part in Me Made May this year? How did you find it? I think this was the year I enjoyed least – the first 2 years I took part I was so excited to have enough me made clothes to be able to take part that I really enjoyed making an effort to wear my me mades and find ways to make them work in my wardrobe. I wonder if it was because for the first 3/4 of May I wasn’t working so it felt odd to get slightly dressed up – I feel like most of my me mades are smart/casual. But then conversely when I did get some temping work I found it hard to dress for a smarter office than I’ve worked in before.

My pledge was “I, Amelia of www.sewingmachinations.wordpress.com, pledge to wear at least one me-made garment 5 days per week. I will also try to finish off 3 garments I have cut out and make a completely me-made outfit for a wedding I’m going to at the end of May.”

I definitely completed the days of the week part – there were only 4 days when I didn’t make something me-made (sometimes I wore the same outfit 2 days in a row, in case you think there aren’t enough photos below :)). I did finish the outfit for the wedding – you can see the full post on it here. And I did technically finish 3 garments I already had cut out, though only 2 of them made it to the blog and only those 2 got worn, so I would call that a partial success.

Here are 5 things I realised while taking part in #mmmay16.

1  I freakin’ suck at taking selfies/ photos of myself in my clothes – like really really suck. In my defense I don’t currently have a full-length mirror and I felt bad asking The Boyfriend to take a picture every day. Also I kept forgetting until I’d got ready for bed!

Day 1 insta Day 2 insta Day 3 insta
Day-4-insta-square Day-5-&-6-insta-square Day 8 insta

(clockwise from top left: royal blue coco top, navy blue rushcutter, flowery plantain +
mustard yellow victoria blazer + taken in trousers, blue spotty archer,
breton plantain + refashioned victoria blazer, francoise dress)

2  It was much harder to dress for office work. I’ve been doing some temping since moving and it’s the first time I’ve had to wear office-type clothes – I’ve always been in quite casual jobs where I could wear jeans and trainers.

Day 9 insta Day 10 insta Day 11 insta
Day 12 insta Day 13 insta Day 14 insta

(clockwise from top left: flowery banksia, refashioned parrot shirt,
refashioned shirt dress, pink stripey banksia + black simplicity 2451 skirt,
refashioners refashioned shirt, turquoise coco top)

3  Conversely I don’t have much casual me-made things – for weekends and the weeks before I started temping.

Day 16 Day 17 insta Day 18 insta
Day 19 insta Day 20 insta Day 22 insta

(clockwise from top left: navy blue rushcutter, aztec print linden,
gingham violet blouse,
flowery plantain + mustard yellow victoria blazer +
taken in trousers, 
blue spotty archer, blue stripey laurel

4  I don’t have much warm me-made clothing and this year was unseasonably bloody cold through most of the month.

Day-21-square Day-21-b-square Day 24 insta
Day 25 insta Day 27 insta Day 28 & 29 insta
Day 30 insta Day 31 insta

(clockwise from top left – ending in the middle: lace dress for wedding,
mustard yellow victoria blazer, coco dress, green tartan gbsb
boyfriend shirt
, orla kiely-esque laurel + black victoria blazer,
breton plantain, black victoria blazer + refashioned freemantle
coat
, blue flowery scout tee)

5 I need to make some bottoms, especially trousers. All my photos are of tops or dresses – and mostly where there aren’t bottoms shown, it was a pair of rtw jeans from Primark about 10 years ago or a part of rtw skinny trousers from New Look about 8 years ago!

melilot-shirt-patternSo my plans are to sew some more smarter things for office working, including the Deer and Doe Melilot shirt which I just ordered – I have some perfect floaty fabric already in my stash. I also am going to order the Guise Pants pattern I think and maybe (once I’ve finally made some Ginger Jeans) use the Ginger pattern to make some smarter looking skinny trousers, by not doing the top stitching or adding the hardware – I think this will work, watch this space! I also bought some stuff in the sale Colette had recently – the Aster, Astoria and Zinnia which I think will all work well for office wear.

Roberts Collection 2

I think the 3 Colette patterns could, depending on fabric choice, also fill the other gap I have – relaxing weekend clothes. Apart from jeans I don’t have many items that I would wear just for slobbing around the house – and certainly not any I’ve made. And sometimes I don’t want to wear jeans, especially if I’m feeling bloated and am sitting down a lot – say at my sewing machine – I usually end up undoing the buttons just to feel comfortable. I have Marilla Walker’s Roberts Collection and I think this could really help me out with this hole. If you have any suggestions of patterns to sew (I’m too slow at knitting to knit any) warm clothes, I would be thrilled to take them off your hands. Also what fabrics are warm? I feel like I usually don’t take that into account and then end up too cold or too hot a lot of the time – usually too cold as a) I like in Britain and b) I’m cold-blooded I think.

I’m wondering if I should make a pledge for what I will have achieved by next Me Made May, to keep myself accountable!? Nah. I don’t want a whole year’s worth of sewing mapped out for me – what about all the pretty new patterns yet to come out!

 
You-may-also-like-coral

Navy-Spotty-Rushcutter-thumb 2 Fix It: Taking in the Waistband of Trousers thumbnail Black-Victoria-Blazer-thumb 2

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Style Inspiration: Dear Creatures

Have you heard of Dear Creatures? I think I discovered them via Pinterest (have I mentioned how much I love Pinterest? Oh, I have….) They’re ‘About Us’ page says:

“Dear Creatures is a labor of love for founders and husband & wife duo Rob and Bianca Sinclair. Since the day the two first met, they’ve been cultivating each other’s creativity and common love for decades past. Harmonizing traditional elements with a modern sensibility, Dear Creatures offers seasonal collections that spin sentimental tales of whimsy. With an understanding of decades past, Dear Creatures interprets each season with an eye for visual optimism. Dear Creatures looks to the future of fashion, with a nod to the past.”

I love them because a lot of their designs are quite sixties, and if you’ve been reading this blog for a while (or even not very long!), then you’ll know I’m drawn to 60s style clothes, so I thought I’d share my favourites with you. Some of these are from their most recent collection, but others are older so might be unavailable. But I figure most of them can be copied 🙂

This navy blue dress with white detailing is lovely and from their current collection. I like the higher-waisted, almost baby doll style of dress which was popular in the 60s and the detailing stops it being too boring!

Rennie Dress - Navy

I like the style of this dress and the pleating, but I’m not totally sold on the colour. I used to love this shade of blue, but I don’t think it’s really me any more. And I think I suit stronger, bolder colours. But they get points for having a kitty in the picture! Bella Dress - Light Blue

This is from their current season and I really like it. I’m finding myself drawn to maxi dressed this Summer, having never particularly seen the appeal before! Cross My Heart Maxi Dress - Paint Chips Print

This is another maxi from this season. Needless to say I love the colours (mustard is one of my all time favourite colours at the moment!). I like the contrast between the bodice and the pleated skirt.  Mojave Maxi Dress - Mustard & Black

This is the last one from this season which I’m posting.I’m not totally sold on the great, but I like the patterned detailing. This looks like a Colette Moneta dress to me.  Neuhart Dress - CreamI went through their previous collections and picked out my favourites – you can spot which ones are from the same season by the colour palette and the models!

I think these tops are sweet and I like the collar/ bow detail. I think any basic tee shirt pattern could be altered to have the little cut out and you could probably fairly easily draft a collar like this.

Autumn 2012 Tops 2 similar blouses from the same fabrics. I like the piping down the sides of the button bands and collar. This could maybe be copied using the Colette Violet pattern? Camille Dress - Yellow & Black or Navy & red

I love the colours of both dresses and the binding on the cut outs matches the skirts! I’m always intrigued by fabric and pattern mixing, but I fear it would look a mess, but these both totally work.Christine Dress - Green or MustardI also love these 2 tees. Again, I would think most tee shirt patterns could be made into these. You just need a little lace for the collar. And I think the sleeves are gathered on the shoulder, but I can’t really see properly. (Dear Creatures also make the very skinny jeans) Daisy Blouse - Green or RedI love these 2 dresses too – another example of great fabric combinations. And again the collar and binding around the cut out is coordinated with the skirt fabric. Elena Dress - Navy & Green or Mustard

These look like really comfy jersey dresses. You could probably fairly easily add the detailing with another colour of jersey. Maybe a Moneta dress with a v-neck instead of round neck?Emily Dress - Navy and Green More dresses! I’m totally drawn to their dresses and yet I wear way more separates than dresses! Jane Dress - Red & NavyI think I mostly like this one for the colour. Also the button and neck detail reminds me of my Spring for Cotton Dress. This is super sixties – my pattern from the actual 60s has the exact same design detail!Julie Dress - Mustard I’m definitely a fan of the shift dress, and I love these 2. Again the detailing around the neck looks like my Spring for Cotton Dress. I can’t tell if this is printed fabric with a border print or appliqued detail. I think the former, so if you found a fabric you like, this would probably be easy to copy, maybe using Colette’s Laurel pattern.Presley Dress - Orange & Mustard or Black & Brown This might be one of my favourites – I’m a sucker for navy blue and although I’m not normally necessarily drawn to nautical style clothes, I like the sailor vibe of the detailing around the neck.  What a Ketch Dress - NavyI definitely think eventually, once I stop being scared of sewing with knits, that I could copy some of these dresses and tops.

Do you like Dear Creatures? Would you be tempted to approximate any of these styles? Any ideas of patterns you could use for them?

Book: Colette Sewing Handbook

After making a couple of Colette Patterns (Violet Blouse and Laurel Dresses 1 & 2), I thought it might be nice to review the Colette Sewing Handbook. I know this book is now quite old, but it’s relatively new to me. I got this book for free via my old job in a bookshop – a perk I definitely miss! I didn’t get it for free to review here, though.

Colette Handbook 1The book is like several sewing books I have (it’s an addiction, what can I say?) in that it takes you from knowing absolutely nothing about sewing and teaches you all the basic techniques and equipment, through all the things you might need to know until you can make some clothes, and with some patterns included.

The tips pages include:

Tools and SuppliesColette Handbook 2Hand stitchesColette Handbook 3Editing for your style (like Coletterie’s series Wardrobe Architect)

Colette Handbook 4Choosing fabric
Colette Handbook 8The patterns included are in an envelope at the back of the book:

Colette Handbook 12

Meringue Skirt – the book has some good tips for how to deal with scallops.

Colette Handbook 5Pastille Dress – there’s a whole mini chapter before this pattern on getting a perfect fit, including a sway back adjustment, which is something I always mean to do as I have a narrow back and curved posture.

Colette Handbook 7Truffle Dress

Colette Handbook 9Taffy blouse

Colette Handbook 10Licorice dress

Colette Handbook 11
I think the only one of the included patterns which is even vaguely my style is the Pastille dress, which I’ll try to make one day, when I’ve made all the other patterns on my list…. Does anyone else have loads of patterns, from books, and from companies, which you want to make, but never have the time to, and yet you keep buying more? And more fabric. Always more fabric! Has anyone made any of the patterns from this book?

Anyhoos, the things I like about this book are that it’s spiral bound – this might seem silly, but I’ve made a couple of aprons from the first GBSB book and trying to keep a non-spiral bound book open while trying to read the instructions is frankly a pain in the arse, so spirals are good. I also have found the instructions on the Colette patterns I’ve made really clear to understand, so I have high hopes for the fitting tips being useful. Do you have this book? What do you think? Do you have any other favourite sewing books? The new Great British Sewing Bee book is definitely on my list!

Gingham Colette Violet

A friend of mine gave me some fabric she had lying around and wasn’t going to use, so she gave it to me. I had it for quite a while and then thought it was perfect for a Colette Violet blouse. This pattern has been on my list to make for ages, and I’m definitely going to make at least one more in the future.

Gingham-Violet-5I love this gingham! I don’t wear red a huge amount – despite trying to wear red and knitting my Miette cardigan in red, I don’t feel like it’s super flattering on me. This fabric, though, isn’t all red, so I feel like it’s fine.

Gingham-Violet-7I made the effort to match the stripes going across (unlike for my GBSB Boyfriend shirt, where I just didn’t even think of pattern matching!). It’s pretty close across the front. I thought about trying to match the downwards stripes too, and it kind of worked on the front, but I’m out by one square in the repeat.

At the side seams I didn’t bother matching the stripes vertically, just horizontally.

Gingham-Violet-11I made a straight size 0, with no changes – I love loose fitting patterns for this reason! As long as it’s vaguely the right size, there aren’t huge fitting issues usually. The only change I did make was to use 6 buttons instead of 7 as that’s how many I already had in my stash. I spaced them at every 10cm.

It looks equally good tucked into a skirt (in this case my Navy Simplicity 2451) and loose with jeans. Cue loads of photos!

Gingham-Violet-1Gingham-Violet-2Gingham-Violet-4Gingham-Violet-6I thought the instructions were really clear and there was a handy tip for sewing the hem at the button band facing, so that it looks like the below – basically the hem goes inside the facing, rather than having to turn up the facing and have a really thick hem.

Gingham-Violet-10I sewed in one of my labels, of course.

Gingham-Violet-9

Gingham-Violet-3

So this was quite a quick and thrifty make as I was given the buttons and the fabric. All I had to buy was the pattern – and if I make it multiple times, then the cost of the pattern goes down per make. I bought the patter from Ray Stitch, who stock basically all the independent pattern labels, meaning I don’t have to wait for postage when I’m feeling impatient! I currently have about 6 independent patterns I’ve bought from them that I still need to make up – I’m going to ban myself from buying any more patterns or fabric until I’ve made up a lot of what I already have!