Me Made May 2017 recap

My pledge for Me Made May this year was to wear at least one item of me made (or refashioned) clothing each day in May. And I managed it! Yay! I remember when I first started sewing it was a couple of years before I felt like I had enough clothes to be able to take part, so to have enough to wear something every day is pretty cool.

Week One:

Day 1: black simplicity 2451 with my newest charity shop jumper; Day 2: navy spotty rushcutter dress; Day 3: navy blue simplicity trousers and red and blue checked violet blouse; Day 4: spotty drapey knit dress; Day 5: bright blue jersey dress; Days 6 & 7 blue spotty archer with rtw jeans.

Week Two:

Day 8: navy blue simplicity trousers and turquoise coco top; Day 9: black simplicity 2451 skirt and pink stripey banksia top; Day 10: silver toaster sweater; Day 11: flowery archer with rtw jumper and trousers; Day 12: my dressmaker’s ball dress; Days 12 & 13: refashioned coral mustard and navy dress into a shirt; Day 14: blue spotty archer.

 

Week Three:

Day 15: refashioners shirt refashion; Day 16: semi-successful moneta dress with mustard astoria; Day 17: black simplicity 2451 with my favourite charity shop jumper; Day 18: refashioned dress with peter pan collar; Day 19: navy simplicity trousers and electric blue coco top; Day 20: refashioned teapot dress; Day 21: simplicity trousers and my favourite charity shop jumper.

Week Four (and a bit)

Day 22: navy simplicity 2451 skirt and melilot shirt; Day 23: silver delphine skirt and rtw jumper; Day 24: navy scribble striped marianne dress; Day 25: wide-legged trousers I took in at the waist with breton striped plantain tee; Day 26: denim moss skirt with my merchant and mills sewing t shirt; Day 27: Gertie cigarette trousers (as part of my dressmaker’s ball outfit) with a rtw jumper and the coat I made from my Grandma’s vintage pattern; Days 28 & 29: Coco t shirt and rtw jeans; Day 30: navy simplicity trousers and silver toaster sweater; Day 31: electric blue jersey dress.
Things I’ve learned from Me Made May:

  • I hate taking daily photos. Thankfully The Boyfriend was a good instagram husband and took most of them for me, but quite often I’d realise we hadn’t taken a photo when I went to bed!
  • My simplicity trousers got a lot of wear. I definitely need more trousers I can wear at work – though I also wear them on days off too.
  • Quite often (unless I was wearing a dress) I would either have a top or a bottom but not a full outfit, so I need to make more pieces that go together. Hopefully by the time I’ve finished the Wardrobe Architect I’ll have ideas for more of a capsule wardrobe.
  • I failed to refashion anything in May, which was another part of my pledge. I have a bunch of clothes ready for alteration, so hopefully this month I’ll get back into refashioning.
  • There were a whole bunch of things I’ve made – mostly when I first started sewing which I haven’t worn this year and didn’t wear last year, so I’m going to have a wardrobe clear out to get rid of things I know I’m not going to wear.
  • I definitely need to make jeans, and more casual things to wear on my days off.
  • I found wearing dresses easier than putting together separates, so I’m planning to make a few more dresses. They’re also good for hot weather – if we get more hot weather than the one week we had in the middle of May!
  • It was nice to rediscover some of the clothes I’ve made or refashioned which I haven’t worn for a while.
  • There weren’t that many things I wore more than once (apart from my trousers and simplicity skirts), so I think I don’t need loads and loads more clothes, so I’ll try to be more thoughtful about what I make from now on.

What did you learn if you took part in Me Made May? Did you succeed in your pledge?

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My Denim Moss Skirt

After the success of making a denim moss skirt for my sister for Christmas (though it was a little late!), I decided to make myself one, especially because there was enough fabric left from my sister’s one!

I do love it, but it’s not perfect!

I think the way it sits around my waist isn’t helped by my posture – I have quite hunched shoulders and my back is a bit curved so my belly sticks out. This is when I’m not thinking about it, which I usually do when taking blog pictures – I stand artificially straight! But even with the compensation it does look a bit odd.

I think the main problem is that it’s a little too big on the waistband. This is the first Moss Skirt I’ve made for myself and so I guess it’s a wearable toile. I made the straight size 2, with the extra hem band. Marie from Sewn Bristol talked about angling in the waistband on the Moss Skirt in a vlog, so if I make it again, I’ll try that. I do fancy making it again, possibly without the hem band in a more work-appropriate fabric as it is a nice skirt. With pockets!

You can see from the back view that I probably do need a sway-back adjustment as it sits oddly above my bum – my bum seems to make a shelf on which fabric is pooling. I know I sound like a broken record, but I really do need to start working on my makes fitting better. I also have a Burda Academy course which I signed up for ages ago (but it’s a take any time one so I didn’t miss it!) which will teach me how to draft my own blocks/slopers. I think this will really help me when tackling new patterns as I’ll be able to compare them to my blocks and see what adjustments I’m likely to have to make.

Something went a little awry when I was sewing the fly. The one on my sister’s skirt was perfect, but something happened where it’s a little twisted at the bottom of the curve of the fly. It’s not super noticeable, but I notice it! But I did use a proper jeans button, like I did on my sister’s one, which pleases me probably more than it should!
Pockets! That is all.

I used some lovely sewing-themed cotton for the waistband facing and the pocket linings. It seemed apt. And it was given to me by one of my very best friends, so it adds a lovely meaning to the skirt.

Here’s a close-up of it – it has pins, pin cushions, buttons, safety pins and lots of other crafty things on it. Also you can see here that I overlocked most of the seams. I’m just about getting to grips with my overlocker, though I haven’t been brave enough to actually sew anything on it yet; I’m currently sewing seams on my sewing machine and then neatening the edges on the overlocker. I make too many mistakes to be trying to unpick overlocker thread – or to have shaved off the seam allowance on the first go, then realising I’ve messed up again!

I really like how the topstitching shows off the seams lines – especially on the back yoke pieces. But my god was my sewing machine not enjoying sewing the top stitching! I didn’t have anywhere near as many problems on my sister’s one, but it was just spewing out so much thread and it was really, really loopy. I fiddled with the tension loads but it still wasn’t having it. I did my best, but the topstitching doesn’t look great on the inside! It also seemed to slightly stretch out the hem, as the fabric has a slight stretch to it. This does not bode well for making my first pair of jeans……

I thought I’d leave you with this photo of my helper for my photoshoot!

Having finally had weather warm enough to venture outside in, I went out to take these pictures and was immediately set upon by our neighbour’s cat who we call Julian (but his real name is Mr Pickles). He’s very friendly, but often outstays his welcome, especially when he comes into our flat and I’m trying to cut out fabric and he jumps on the table and won’t get down/jumps back up as soon as I put him on the floor! That’s what cats should be like, though, so I can’t be too annoyed 🙂 He does make me want cats, having grown up with them my whole life!

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April Makes and May Plans

Well, another month has come around! I can’t believe how quickly this year is going – is that a sign that I’m getting old?

I didn’t manage to blog much in April, but since I had a week off work, I did manage to make a few things! I sometimes find I either have time to make things or to blog about them, but not both. Does anyone else find that?

Hopefully you’ll have already seen the triumph that was my first pair of trousers! If not, you can read more about them here.

I also made a denim Moss skirt, pretty much like the one I made for my sister – I made mine from the leftover fabric from hers. I added the hem band, though, whereas hers was just a lengthened version of the mini length. I like that they ended up a little different.

I also made one of my #2017MakeNine, a Marianne Dress. It looks much better on my body than it does on a hanger! I’ll take some photos and blog about it in more detail soon. I think this might become one of my go-to patterns for jersey shift dresses. It’s a really lovely shape (though not on the hanger!).

Eagle-eyed readers will spot I didn’t quite make everything on my list that I had planned to make in April. This is partly because I’ve been making my Dressmaker’s Ball dress, which has taken a surprising amount of time – I don’t seem to have made much progress the last couple of weekend days I spent sewing, but I’m pretty much at the point of hand-sewing the hems and a couple of other little bits and pieces.

So my other plans for May are pretty much the ones I didn’t get around to in April:

My boaty Carolyn Pajamas

Hopefully some jeans

And I do have one addition, which I hadn’t planned before – a Roberts Collection dungaree dress from some black textured mystery fabric I got at the fabric swap at the first Sew Brizzle meet-up.

I think that should be enough for one month, especially since I’m probably going to make something for my nephew’s birthday too – so pretty inevitably I probably won’t make everything here, but I’ll do my best!

I’m also taking part in Me Made May again this year, so you can follow my progress over on Instagram if you’re interested to see how I wear my homemade wardrobe in my actual life. My pledge is to wear at least one me-made item each day through the month of May, though I imagine to manage it there will be quite a few repeats! I also am hoping to refashion something this month as I used to do it quite often, but haven’t done any in ages, but I have a whole loads of garments ready to be given a new lease of life!

Are you taking part in Me Made May? Will I see you at the Dressmaker’s Ball? I’m really quite excited about it, but also a little nervous – I’m glad some of the ladies I know from Bristol will be there!

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March Makes and April Plans

March turned out to not be that productive a month for me sewing-wise, but I knew that would probably be the case as I was away 3 out of the last 4 weekends, and I do most of my sewing at the weekend. This also meant I didn’t really have anything finished to blog, hence the little break from blogging.

I did manage to make my toaster sweater, which has already got a lot of wear, so I think there are more of these in my future!

I mostly made the Simplicity 1696 trousers I’ve been planning since October……which is 6 months ago! I’ll hopefully finish them this weekend, then I’ll do a full post about all the fit adjustments I’ve done/will have to do. I’ve got to properly sew the leg seams (they’re just basted), add the waistband lining and hem them. Hopefully!

I also make a present for my niece’s second birthday, but I’ll save that for my full post at some point in the future.

I don’t think that’s too bad considering I was so busy and therefore tired! I’m definitely finding that I am happy to not have evening or weekend plans 95% of the time, and if I have to do stuff more often than that I get knackered!

So now onto my plans for April (which we’re almost a week into!). I’m hopeful of making a few things because I have next week off work and although I will go out and about a bit, I’m hoping to sew at least a bit on most of the days.

The first thing I’m hoping to make is some Carolyn Pyjamas out of this amazing boaty liberty fabric which one of my friends gave me a couple of weeks ago when I was in London. I love it! And the pattern is one of my #2017MakeNine. I’m thinking to add some red piping – although someone on instagram suggested I do white piping, which I think will also look good. Which do you think I should do? There are 3 metres, so I think it will be enough for a pair of pjs, though I may do short sleeves with long trousers if there isn’t enough for long sleeves.

My next must-make is what I hope will be a good Spring garment; a stripey Marianne Dress. This is a pattern I’ve had in my stash for ages, and I don’t know why I’ve not yet gotten around to making it! This is partly why I added it to my #2017MakeNine. I bought this navy scribble striped fabric after seeing it on Rosabella’s youtube channel. I’m sometimes wary of ordering fabric online but because she said it was good quality, I thought it safe to give it a go and it does feel nice. I hope it sews up well! I’m thinking I’ll make the shirt-sleeved version but without the collar and without colour-blocking, though I may change my mind! Any thoughts?

My third hopefully definite make is my denim Moss Skirt. I cut it out a while ago, and having made one already for my sister, I feel sort of confident that I can make it without too many places where I get stuck!

Of course, this is already a pretty ambitious bunch of projects, but I’m hoping to make a start on some jeans finally. Both of Closet Case Patterns’ jeans patterns are also on my #2017MakeNine so I want to tick off one or two this month! I’m going fabric shopping in Birmingham on Saturday this week and one of my main aims is to get some denim for one or both pairs.

If I get time after all of this (which seems really unlikely!) I want to have a go at the Bellatrix Blazer from Papercut Patterns. I bought this last month as I wanted a slightly more fitted jacket pattern than the By Hand London Victoria Blazer which I’ve made 3 times (1,2,3), as I feel more put-together at work in a blazer.

I’m also considering going to the Dressmakers’ Ball, which is on 12th May, so it might be that half of these plans go out of the window in favour of making a gown of some kind! I’m tempted to go just because when do you get the chance to make and wear a gown!? Are you going to the ball? Have you already started your dress?

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Selfless Sewing: Denim Moss Skirt for my Sister

I finally made the final skirt my sister asked for for Christmas a couple of weeks ago, yay! (Though I’ve got another one yet to blog) I decided to model it myself for some photos before sending it in the post. It is, of course, the Grainline Studio Moss Skirt.

denim-moss-skirt-1I have to say, I’m really quite pleased with this make. I like a simple skirt that has a front, a back and a waistband, but it was nice to make something a bit more complicated. And it has pockets!

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This was my first time sewing a fly, and I have to say it wasn’t as scary or as difficult as I thought it would be! The instructions for this pattern were really clear and easy to follow for the fly front. The only thing I found, though, was that the fly shield on the inside (which covers the zip on the inside) seems to be on backwards as the zig-zagged/ overlocked edge is the edge that shows then the zip is undone and the folded side is hidden, but I feel like it should be the flipped over. I know Jen from Gingerella also found this problem – which made me more convinced it wasn’t my mistake! She talks about it in this video, in case you don’t understand what I’m talking about!

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One of the things I really like about this pattern is the yoke on the back. I decided to use jeans-type top-stitching to make the skirt look like a proper denim skirt, and to show up the design lines that wouldn’t otherwise be obvious, like the yoke.

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I made the skirt in a size 6, and as eagle-eyed readers may spot, it’s a long version but without the band that is on the pattern for the long version. Phoebe didn’t really like the way that looked, so I extended the length of the mini skirt version instead, but 6.25 inches, to make it hit just below the knee.

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I was actually quite sad to have to give this skirt away to be honest, but luckily there was enough left of the denim for me to cut out a version for myself! You can tell I like it, by how many photos I’ve taken! I particularly like it with this striped top which my old boss gave to me! You can’t beat breton-style tops and denim!

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For the topstitching I used gutterman topstitching thread, in that goldy colour which I associate with jeans. I lengthened the stitch length to 4 (instead of my standard 2.5) and used blue thread in the bobbin, as there isn’t much topstitching thread on each roll because it’s so thick. I did have to play around with the tension a bit, because of having 2 different thicknesses of thread.
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If you follow me on instagram, you’ll already have seen that I used a jeans button for the first time on this skirt – sorry for the blurry photo, though! I was a bit scared to put the button on, because you can’t really move them once they’re on! I made the button-hole first and then made sure it all sat flat and straight and then marked where the button should go. And it all worked out okay!

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Here are some closer shots showing the topstitching. There is supposed to be a bar tack at the bottom of the fly shape, which sort of worked, but not really. If anyone has any tips of how to do that, I’m all ears!

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I did double rows of stitching on the centre seams and on the yoke, because it seemed right. Because the waistband is quite narrow, though, I thought one row of stitching would look best. I ummed and ahhed about the hem, and whether to sew it in matching or topstitching thread, and I’m glad I went for topstitching thread as it looks right.

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I used some thinner fabric for the waistband facing and the pocket linings. I think this might be the first time I’ve used contrasting fabric in this way, and I love it! This fabric is actually from a dress which my friend gave me in a big pile of things before I left London. The little dark flowers might look black from afar, but they are actually navy blue, which nicely matches the shade of blue of the denim.

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The pattern is really well drafted, so there’s absolutely no way the pocket linings will poke out to the right side, but it’s nice to get a flash of the lining when you look inside the pockets!

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My sister very obligingly took a photo of herself wearing the skirt – unfortunately it’s kind of teeny! The skirt looks a little big on me, because it’s a size bigger than I will make for myself, but it looks pretty perfect on her! Phew!

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Once I make my own denim version of this, it might become my favourite skirt pattern! Made in a smarter fabric, without the topstitching, and with a normal button, I think it will look smart enough for work.

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