Me Made May 2018 Round-Up

Now that May is well and truly over, I thought I’d do a recap of Me Made May. You can see my pledge here.

My main take-away is that I failed to make jeans. What a surprise. I’ve been saying I’m going to make jeans for 2 months (plus about a year before that!). I have a free weekend in a couple of weeks and it is my plan to make some jeans then – I wasn’t in the mood to make them on either of the bank holiday weekends in May as it was so bloody hot! The last thing I wanted to be doing was wrestling denim through my sewing machine.

I also found it pretty hard to decide what to wear as the weather was all over the place. I know it’s very british and boring to talk about the weather, but on the first bank holiday Monday when I was playing out with the brass band, it was 28 C and then there were other days that were 14 C.

I documented my outfits daily on Instagram and after a couple of days I decided to add another dimension to my challenge and try to have my photos look different from each other. This was kind of fun for the first week and then I just got even more fed up with documenting my outfits than in previous years because I then felt I had to think of somewhere new or a new pose for the photo. It was supposed to be a fun thing to try to break me out of my rut of the same few poses, but it didn’t really work out that way. I did, however, post as many outtakes as I could. It makes me laugh to see the stupid photos that The Boyfriend (who was a very patient Instagram Husband through the month) accidentally took. This might be the last year I take daily photos as it’s the least fun part for me, so I might try a different way of documenting my outfits so I can continue to scrutinise my wardrobe and plan my makes accordingly.

Here is a recap of all my outfits:

 

Day 1: silver toaster sweater
and navy simplicity trousers

 

Day 2: refashioned suit trousers
and gifted cashmere jumper

 

Day 3: mustard corduroy skirt
and thrifted navy spotty shirt

Day 4: flowery archer shirt and
black corduroy simplicity skirt

Day 5: electric blue coco top
and navy simplicity trousers

Day 6: yellow flowery plantain
tee and refashioned trousers

Day 7 part 1: white archer shirt
and black simplicity trousers

Day 7 part 2: yellow and navy
flowery sallie maxi dress

Day 8: refashioned raglan top
and black simplicity trousers

Day 9: spotty rushcutter
and freemantle coat

Day 10: refashioned coral, navy
and mustard dress into shirt

Day 11 & 12: spotty melilot shirt
and black simplicity trousers

Day 13: silver toaster sweater
and black simplicity trousers

Day 14: greyish melilot shirt and
navy simplicity trousers

Day 15: breton plantain tee and
navy simplicity trousers

Day 17: electric blue jersey
dress

Day 18: tester honeycomb
shirt

Day 19: refashioned coral, navy
and mustard dress into shirt

Day 20: white archer shirt
and black simplicity trousers

Day 21: navy and white
marianne dress

Day 22: stripey cropped inari tee
and refashioned trousers

Day 23: greyish melilot shirt
and navy simplicity trousers

Day 24: mustard astoria top and
refashioned suit trousers

Day 25: black simplicity skirt
and thrifted jumper

Day 26 & 27: navy simplicity
trousers and gifted top

Day 28: navy simplicity trousers
and spotty thrifted shirt

Day 29: spotty meilot and
mustard denim cleo

Day 30: mustard refashioned
skirt and thrifted shirt

Day 31: mustard astoria and
navy corduroy cleo

What I’ve learned about my handmade wardrobe:

  1. I need more trousers! I wore the same 2 pairs most of the month in rotation, and the suit trousers a couple of times.
  2. All of my knitwear is still ready to wear and I’m okay with that. I don’t have time to knit myself new things and most of the cardigans are still wearable so it seems not very eco-friendly to replace them all for the sake of having a 100% handmade wardrobe. I will make replacements as and when they wear out, but it’s not desperate.
  3. One of my favourite things in my wardrobe is my navy with white spots shirt (as you can see in Day 30) and it was from a charity shop. I think this is a good way to add to my wardrobe with things I wouldn’t necessarily make or things that I just like.
  4. I re-wore a few things that I had forgotten about, like the mustard corduroy skirt refashion.
  5. I didn’t get to wear a few things I really like because it wasn’t warm enough on enough days. I’m particularly sad my 2 In The Folds Collins Tops didn’t make it, but apparently the UK is going to have a 3-month heatwave so I’m sure they’ll get some wear this year.
  6. Most of my outfits fitted into the colour palette I decided I wanted to wear when I did the Wardrobe Architect last year, which is pretty cool. It is definitely easier to put together outfits when you like all the colours and they go with each other. The 2 cleos I made are definitely going to be a great addition to my wardrobe and fit into my palette. I’ve tried to be more focussed when buying fabric, and I guess it’s working!

What did you learn from Me Made May?

Honeycomb Shirt (and my first time pattern testing)

I recently did my first bit of pattern testing, for CocoWawa Craft’s newest pattern the Honeycomb shirt (and shirtdress). I’ve met Ana a couple of times and she is as lovely in person as you would imagine, so I was thrilled when she asked me to pattern test for her. I’ve made quite a few different shirt patterns before and I was excited to give a new one a go. I haven’t pattern tested before because, although I’ve seen calls put out for testers a few times, I’ve always worried that I wouldn’t find the time to make the pattern in time. Especially as my output is quite a bit lower this year than it has been in the last couple of years. But I did get it done in time, phew!

The pink fabric is some mystery drapey stuff I’ve had in my stash for years – I originally bought it from Rolls and Rems on Holloway Road, which I think might not be there any more. I used some of this fabric to make one of my very early makes, a Grainline Scout Tee (long since consigned to the charity shop) and I lined a Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt for the #SewDots initiative last year or the year before. I think it was a good choice for this pattern as it’s quite loose fitting (which is, handily, how I prefer my tops to fit) so I think it benefits from a bit of drape.

I made the shirt version as since I changed jobs (from a boring office job to rolling furnishing fabric) I’ve not worn so many dresses. I already have a couple more dresses cut out and didn’t think I really needed any more – I definitely need more separates. I made it in the size 3 (which is a UK size 10) as this was the size closest to my bust and waist measurements – my hips were a little big for the size, but there is so much ease there that I figured it would be fine. I also left off all the ties which can be included with the shirt or the shirtdress as they’re not really my style. I also made the short sleeves so I could wear this in this weird warm weather we’ve been having recently – the fabric is quite thin so not the best for Autumn/Winter.

I feel that the short sleeves are a little long on me – I am only 5’3″ so it might be that I have short arms. I might take them up a bit the next time I’m at my machine and have white thread in it.

The instructions were really easy to follow and I would definitely recommend this as a first shirt pattern to make – there is a grandad collar rather than a collar with collar stand and there aren’t sleeve plackets on the short sleeves. There are also some nice seam details which would allow you to adjust the fit to be a bit closer if you wanted.

Heh, I like how the wind caught the peplum skirt. Also, not sure what I’m doing with my face in the below photo!

The buttons were some I had in my stash – they’re leftovers from my Kalle Shirt, which I haven’t got around to blogging yet.

I did enjoy my first time pattern testing – I had enough time to make the shirt in time for the deadline and the pattern came together really easily. I’m not sure I had any particularly useful feedback, though. But I guess pattern designers try to have the pattern as finished as possible before it goes to testers, so I wouldn’t expect ti find major errors or anything. Maybe I’ll sign up to pattern test again in the future.

And this week’s outtake….

 

 

Colour Blocked Linden Sweatshirt

I made this Linden a month or two ago, so it seemed more weather appropriate then than it does now – today has been the warmest day of the year so far by miles! Autumn/Winter feels like it’s been going on for at least 3 years now so it was nice to finally not need 4 layers of clothing!

This make actually fits into the series Shauni is running on her blog, The Magnificent Thread, called sewing leftovers, which is pretty self-explanatory. I’m sure we all have those projects where we have half a metre or a metre of fabric left – I have a whole box full of such leftovers and I do go through phases of getting enthusiastic about using them up but this might be one of the first times I actually followed through and made the thing!

The fabric of the body is from my first Linden and my first Mabel skirt (neither of which I really wear). I think it was a really long ‘remnant’ from my old London haunt, Rolls and Rems on Seven Sisters Road. The sleeves are some black ponte I had left over from my Moneta party dress. This didn’t have enough stretch for the cuffs and hem band so they are made from some other mystery black jersey I had in my stash, which I used to make a not-very-successful Hemlock tee. So this was definitely a good buster of my left overs! Though I probably could have done without the cuffs as the sleeves are a little long!

Although I didn’t have a huge amount of the patterned fabric left, I did manage to match the pattern on the side seams. #winning.

I find with these kinds of basics I don’t have a huge amount to say about them. I sewed it completely on my overlocker, which was a first for me – usually I sew on my machine first and then neaten the seam allowances on the overlocker afterwards, but I thought I was pretty safe with this as I’d made it before and the construction is pretty straightforward.

This might actually be a good transitional garment for cooler Spring days as the fabrics aren’t that thick, so it’s not really warm enough for Winter, and it’ll be too hot on really hot days but those in-betweeny ones might make this perfect!

Are you struggling to dress as much as I am now it’s finally warmed up?

 

 

White Archer Shirt

I made another Archer! I’ve made 2 before and I wear them pretty often – the flowery one for some reason feels more work-appropriate and the spotty one seems more casual, though I don’t really know why!

I feel like there probably isn’t too much to say about the Archer, now this is the third time I’ve made it. I made the size 4, as I have before, but this time I took 2.5cm off the shoulder pattern pieces to raise up the sleeves a little and make the shoulder seam sit more on my actual shoulders. The fabric is from The Great British Sewing Bee Live, from a shop called Holland and Sherry and it’s got a really subtle herringbone pattern in it. And it’s nice and thick.

For some reason I made the vast majority of this shirt in November but when I mentioned it in my planning post, I hadn’t done the buttons and button holes. I did most of this back before Christmas (I can’t remember when exactly) but I forgot the cuff button holes and buttons, so it languished as a UFO for a couple of months until the weekend before last I finally had white thread in my machine and did the last 2 button holes.

I did wear this to work but I wore it with my suit refashion trousers and it definitely gave me school uniform vibes – my uniform was grey trousers, white shirt, royal blue and gold tie and a black blazer! I think if I wear it with other colours then it won’t be quite so bad. Everyone has a white shirt in their wardrobe and I never think they look like they’re wearing a school uniform.

I used the second cuff option on the pattern, with the corners ‘missing’ and I’m really glad I did.

Here’s a shameless close up of my topstitching, which I think it amongst the best I’ve ever done. Which is lucky because this fabric did not like being unpicked – there were pretty much permanent holes wherever the needle went in.

This is my sort-of-outtake from this photoshoot – I took a whole bunch of photos and then looked at them and thought I should really iron the shirt as it looked soooo wrinkley!

I’m definitely glad I now have a classic white shirt – a definite wardrobe staple! Also I’m wearing a navy blue vest top underneath (because I was already wearing it) and you can’t see it, so it’s great to know the fabric is pretty much thick enough not to show it!

 

 

November Makes and December Plans

November has been a quite quiet month for me sewing-wise. I only finished 2 things, though one of them was a shirt and I like taking my time with shirts to make sure all the top-stitching is all neat and lovely. And this white Archer shirt definitely contains some of the neatest topstitching I’ve ever done. I really took my time because this was the really nice quality fabric I bought at the Great British Sewing Bee Live, plus I discovered it marked a bit when pinned and a lot when unpicked so I made sure to unpick as little as possible! The eagle-eyed reader may spot I haven’t sewn on the buttons yet – that’s for this evening in front of the tv!

My other finished item in November is possibly my favourite thing I’ve ever made – and I’ve had a lot of compliments each time I’ve worn it. I think it might be one of my best instances of matching pattern and fabric. It’s my first Sew Over It Nancy Dress. I signed up to the PDF club because of this pattern and it’s the only one I’ve bought this whole year!

I’m going to try to be as realistic as possible about how many things I’m likely to make in December, and I’ve come up with 2-3, though I know I won’t get them all finished! One thing I do have to finish, though, is my dress for New Craft House’s Winter Party next weekend. One of my friends at work gave me this dress which doesn’t fit her and it doesn’t fit me either, so I’ve unpicked it and am planning to make it into a By Hand London Sophia Dress. I’ve muslined it once and have made some tweaks, so just need to make a second muslin to check the new fit, then hopefully I can get cracking!

The other thing I’m hoping to get finished is this spotty melilot shirt. I cut it out a while ago, so I just need to get cracking.

I’ve got one or two Christmas presents I want to make, too, so it’s going to be a busy month! Plus I haven’t started any of my shopping yet! Does anyone else like Christmas but find the lead up to it a bit stressful and overwhelming?!