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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Wardrobe Architect Week 7: Exploring Solids and Prints

Well I’ve got a little behind with my Wardrobe Architect posts! The last one I wrote was almost a month ago – so much for writing a post every 2 weeks! I ran out of time for blogging much the last couple of weeks because I was working on my dress for The Dressmakers Ball (which was amazing! Post to follow soon), which took much, much, much longer than I thought. Also last weekend we had a power cut for half an afternoon and a whole evening and night (the power came back on the early hours of the next morning) so I did lose some time there.

Anyway, to this week’s Wardrobe Architect post. It’s all about exploring solids and prints this week (it’s not just a clever title!). The introduction for this week says:

“What I’ve heard over and over from you guys is that prints are incredibly seductive. Fabric stores are awash in adorable prints that look great on the bolt. But often, we get them home and don’t know what to do with them. Or, we make garments that sit in our closet and never get worn, either because they are too loud, too cute, or they just don’t go with anything.

By thinking ahead about the prints that you are really drawn to, you can narrow your choices and sidestep this feeling of being overwhelmed at the fabric store. If you know what’s really you, you’re less likely to collect things simply because they’re pretty or cute.”

There are also some questions to think about to help you narrow your choices with regard to solids and prints:

Prints vs. solids: What percentage of your wardrobe do you actually want to be comprised of prints? Some people wear prints all the time, for others they’re more of an accent.
I think at the moment prints are probably maybe 30-40% of my tops and dresses, but 0% of my trousers and skirts. I would like to have a couple of pairs of cool patterned slouchy trousers, but that probably is about the balance I like.

Scale: Do you tend to prefer large scale prints, small scale, or a mixture of both?
I think mostly I like smaller scale prints – being quite a small person I’m not sure I’d be able to pull off a giant print. Maybe if it was a simple shape of garment and there was, like, one repeat? Oooh, there’s an idea!

Contrast: Do the prints you like use lots of contrasting, bold colors? Or are they more tonal and subdued?
Definitely more tonal and subdued – I know I’d be a bit scared to wear something in crazy colours!

Naturalism: Do you feel drawn to flowing, organic, or naturalistic prints? Or are strong, abstract, geometric designs your thing? Or are there versions of both that you love?
I’m not really a fan of floral prints, so I would go for abstract and geometric designs definitely.

Mood: There are hundreds of styles of prints. Are there prints you choose that relate to your 5 style words?
Not sure, I’ll have to think more on this one.

I’ve narrowed down the kinds of prints I wear to a few categories.

Spots

#SewDots GBSB Drapey Knit Dress#SewDots Delphine skirtNavy Spotty Rushcutter DressBlue Spotty Archer Button Up
(Clockwise from top left: Drapey Knit dress, Sew Dots Delphine skirt (with a spotty lining), Blue Spotty Archer shirt, Dark Blue Spotty Rushcutter dress)


(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

Stripes

Interestingly all the striped things I’ve made have been basically the same colour!

Breton Striped Plantain Tee
(Clockwise from top left: Colette Laurel, Ugly Dress Refashion, Marianne Dress (not yet blogged), Breton striped Plantain Tee)

(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

Geometric (or not spots or stripes)

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtTilly and the Buttons Coco Dress (Made Up Initiative)Aztec Linden sweatshirt(Clockwise from top left: Melilot Shirt, Coco Dress, Aztec Pattern Linden, Moneta Party Dress)

(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

Florals and Novelty

Weirdly I’ve actually made a few flowery things even though I didn’t think it was my thing! Also there are some cute novelty print fabrics, but I tend to steer clear of them as I’m afraid I’ll feel stupid wearing them!

Yellow and Navy Flowery Deer and Doe Plantain Tee

(Clockwise from top left: Flowery Archer, Flowery Plantain, Vintage Summer Dress, Orla Kiely-esque Colette Laurel)

Interestingly I don’t really wear these items very much, apart from the archer, which I think means I need more archers, and that the prints and fit of the 2 dresses weren’t brilliant!

These are 3 of my favourite novelty prints – I think I could pull off the blue cats one because it’s actually a little more abstract. Or maybe I just need to grow some balls and wear what the hell I like!?

(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

I’ve found it really interesting to really analyse which prints I like and wear. The main theme, though, seems to be blue! I think I might have subconsciously known which prints I like, but having really thought about it and bringing it into my mind more consciously, hopefully my fabric buying won’t end with me thinking ‘what am I going to make’ and then ‘I’m never going to wear this’.

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Fabric shopping in Birmingham

Last Saturday I went with some of the ladies I met at Sew Brizzle to go fabric shopping in Birmingham. I was sad to have missed the bigger meet up the previous week but in a way it was nice to go in a small group as it gave me the chance to chat with everyone (which I didn’t manage to do the time I went to a big London meet-up).

Here we are outside Guthrie and Ghani. Thanks to Sarah from Like Sew Amazing for the photo – she remembered to take pictures when I didn’t! A very kind man took this picture for us 🙂

From left to right: Karen, Amy, Me, Sarah, Ruth and Jen.

Our first stop was Fancy Silk Store. I felt a little overwhelmed when we first went in as it’s deceptively big – and has an upstairs – and I couldn’t take everything in! I did spot that they had reasonably priced denim and after we’d been around some other shops, we circled back and I bought some stretch and non-stretch denim for Ginger and Morgan wearable toiles.

This is the stretch one – it has a nice flecked weave and looks a little like linen, but is thicker. It was £6.99 per metre and I got 1.4m.

And this is the non-stretch. I did want something a bit lighter for my Morgans, but this will do for a practice. It is a little lighter than the stretch one. It was £7.99 per metre and I got 1.6m.

After this first shop we headed into the rag market, where there are loads of fabric stalls, inside and out. I had made the mistake of not taking out any cash as I thought if I did I wouldn’t buy anything! But I did have enough to get some black and some white cotton twill (I think it was twill and not drill, anyone know the difference?!).

I’m planning a 60s style colour blocked Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress. I bought 2 metres of the black and one of the white, and it came to £12 in total (so £4 per metre). I bought this fairly early on and for some reason it weighs loads, so I got pretty sick of carrying it around by the end of the day – I was glad I waited until the end to get the denim!

After the rag market, we all got on a bus and went to Moseley to visit Guthrie and Ghani. I was not-so-secretly hoping we would go there, and I’m so glad I was with people who knew how to get there! I just followed 🙂 I could easily have spent a small fortune in Guthrie and Ghani – you can tell everything is really good quality. And the shop is so pretty!

I decided to treat myself to a couple of patterns which I wanted – the Ebony Tee and Dress by Closet Case Patterns and the Guise Pants by Papercut Patterns.

They have a really great selection of remnants and I couldn’t help picking up a couple of them. I just loved the pattern on this Robert Kaufman cotton. It’s navy blue, though it looks kind of black in the photo. It seems to be called Storm Drown, and I can’t find it anywhere online so I guess it’s not available. This bolt end was 275cm x 90cm and was £15.50. I’m hoping there will be enough for a Colette Aster blouse.

I also couldn’t resist this gorgeous mustard loopback jersey. The photo doesn’t do the colour justice, nor how soft it is. It’s honestly one of the softest fabrics I’ve ever touched. It was £6.50 and there’s only 155cm x 40cm so I’m not sure what I’ll be able to make, but I had to have it.

The final thing I bought from Guthrie and Ghani was this coral crepe fabric. It has a lovely drape and a slightly mottled texture and I got 1.7m of it at £10.50 per metre. This is one of the more expensive fabrics I’ve bought, but the Anderson Blouse I’m planning to make will still only cost £17.85 which is pretty good for a blouse made of such nice fabric!

The last fabric shop we went to was Barry’s. I would have no idea how to find it on my own, but it’s definitely a hidden treasure!

This is another shop that is very, very full of fabrics and I think you could easily spend 4 hours in there and still not see everything!

I did manage to find one treasure, thanks to Jen (Gingerella). It’s this nice blueish-greyish cotton and I bought 2 metres – I can’t remember how much I paid, though. I think I’ll make a short-sleeved Melilot Shirt for when the weather finally gets warm!

So there we go, that’s my haul for a day’s shopping. Not too bad I think. Have you been fabric shopping in Birmingham? Did we miss anywhere good?

 

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Wardrobe Architect Week 3: Exploring Shapes

This week’s Wardrobe Architect exercise is about finding out which shapes of garments you like wearing – and possibly more crucially, which shapes you don’t like wearing. Some of the things that contribute to the shape of a garment include ease (tight or loose), length, neckline, waistline position, sleeve length, and fullness. There’s a really helpful worksheet you can download from Colette to help you rate the different aspects of each different garment, to help you see which shapes you like. I think we’ve probably all sewn things that we didn’t feel great in, or weren’t the most flattering, and I feel like this week will be the beginning of me working out what’s good and what’s bad!

The worksheet has you grade different elements of different garment types, where 0 is hate wearing it and 10 is love wearing it.

Here’s my overview:exploring-shapes-worksheet
Then there’s another section with more specific necklines and sleeves to mercilessly judge:

exploring-shapes-worksheet-2

Skirts

According to my scores, I mostly like skirts which are mid-thigh or knee length – I’m too short to pull off midi! And I like them to be fairly straight in style, including pencil-type skirts, though I don’t like them to be too tight. I found some photos to sum up my taste – some of the photos are things people have sewn from patterns (including one I made myself!) because it seemed like a not-terrible idea to find things I might actually be able to recreate!

exploring-shapes-skirts-1 exploring-shapes-skirts-2 exploring-shapes-skirts-5 exploring-shapes-skirts-4exploring-shapes-skirts-3  exploring-shapes-skirts-6-2(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

Dresses

I definitely wasn’t surprised that what I like are shift dresses, without waist seams. Also that they are quite loose and hit me mid-thigh. I feel exposed and uncomfortable in mini-length things, especially if I have to sit down!

exploring-shapes-dresses-2 exploring-shapes-dresses-3 exploring-shapes-dresses-4 exploring-shapes-dresses-6

I also quite like the 60s-style high waisted look. I think this will be a silhouette I’ll experiment more with. I’ve been meaning to make a Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress (from Love At First Stitch) for ages, so maybe now is the time!

exploring-shapes-dresses-7exploring-shapes-dresses-1
(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

Trousers (Pants)

From my scores of trousers, it seems that I like most styles and shapes – really fitted, somewhat fitted and somewhat loose. Also I’m quite flexible when it comes to where they sit on my waist.

You can’t beat some classic black skinny jeans!

exploring-shapes-trousers-2 exploring-shapes-trousers-3

I do also like wide-legged trousers, though there is a limit! I think being short I can’t pull off giant trousers.

exploring-shapes-trousers-1-2exploring-shapes-trousers-4

I also like these more boyfriend-y shapes. The Morgan Jeans are on my #2017MakeNine list, so I’ll be making myself some this year.

exploring-shapes-trousers-5 exploring-shapes-trousers-6
(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

Tops and Blouses

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I like loose, boxy tops. I hadn’t really thought explicitly about what length of top I like, so that was interesting to think about – I like tops just above hip level. I don’t mind the odd cropped top, but with high-waisted bottoms. I think the tunic length on me would just throw off my proportions because I’m short. Weird how basically all the photos I picked are monochrome!

exploring-shapes-tops-1 exploring-shapes-tops-3 exploring-shapes-tops-5 exploring-shapes-tops-6

exploring-shapes-tops-7exploring-shapes-tops-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

 

Jackets and Blazers

I wasn’t really surprised by how I scored the different styles of jacket/blazer – I kind of knew I like quite loose, slightly boyish shaped jackets, in a length that hits on or just below my hip bones. Jackets are definitely an area I want to move more into, given the office I work in is fairly smart, and I feel a bit more put together and grown up if I’m wearing a jacket. This first photo is the hacking jacket from the first Great British Sewing Bee book, so that’s definitely on my list to make.

exploring-shapes-jackets-1 exploring-shapes-jackets-2 exploring-shapes-jackets-4exploring-shapes-jackets-3
(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

Cardigans

I found it really hard to find pictures of the kinds of cardigans I like wearing! I like round necked, plain, fairly fitted cardigans – it’s one of the few things I prefer to be more fitted and not as loose. Maybe I’ll explore with other styles in the future? Since I now live in a very cold place, I like the idea of some over-sized, snuggly knitwear!

exploring-shapes-cardigans-1 exploring-shapes-cardigans-2 exploring-shapes-cardigans-3 exploring-shapes-cardigans-4
(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

Outerwear

Apparently I like grey and yellow coats! I also like them to be loose, and I love cocoon shapes (which weren’t really covered on the worksheet). I have a duffle coat which is more hip length and I like that, but I also love my Freemantle coat, which is a bit longer – you need to have some long coats, for warmth if nothing else! I may have to make another Freemantle because I really do love it. I might try making it more round necked, though, as the v is very deep so not super warm when it’s really cold unless you’re wearing a giant scarf!

exploring-shapes-coats-1 exploring-shapes-coats-2 exploring-shapes-coats-3 exploring-shapes-coats-4
(All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect pinterest board)

Well there we go. I don’t think there were a huge amount of surprises for me, but it was interesting to look at the specific design elements I like and like to wear – sometimes I look at things and think ‘I really like that’ but I don’t analyse why, so sometimes I sew things I think I’ll like but then don’t, because it doesn’t fit with these scores. I’m definitely going to try to remember to come back to this post when I’m planning my makes!

p.s. Sorry this is going up a day late – I was writing it yesterday evening and was still going at past 11, so I figured there was no point forcing myself to stay up and get tired just to finish it a couple of minutes before midnight, just to have it be published on the Sunday.

 

 

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Selfless Sewing: 2 Delphines for my sister

As I mentioned in my December planning post, my main task for that month was to make some skirts for my sister as she couldn’t really find any in shops that she liked, but she can’t wear a lot of the trousers she has because of her prosthetic leg. I managed to make 3 in time for Christmas and 2 of those were Tilly and the Buttons Delphines, from her book Love At First Stitch. I’ve made one of these for myself and was glad to have another go at the pattern.

The first one I made was from some lovely, soft red corduroy from Fabric Land – it’s so soft that it’s called buttersoft! I was worried the skirt might not hold its shape in such a drapey fabric, but it does, which is excellent. I made the skirts in a size 3 and lengthened them by 3 1/4 inches so it would hit just below her knee and cover the place where the prosthetic attaches onto her leg.

phoebes-red-corduroy-delphine-2As well as lengthening them, I sewed the side seams with a 1cm seam allowance instead of a 1.5cm seam allowance as Phoebe’s waist measurement is 28 in which is exactly the finished measurement of the size 3 but I wanted to give her a little ease. You probably don’t know this unless you know someone who has had a leg amputated, but initially, although you get your permanent leg fairly early on, the way it attaches at first is around the waist, so Phoebe’s waist is a little bigger than it otherwise would be. I can always take in the waists if they end up too big once the leg is attached with suction – the reason for this change is that it can take up to 8-9 months for the residual limb to shrink down to its permanent shape and size – there is swelling and fluid retention to being with – and this shrinking happens faster once you have your prosthetic. So there’s a little lesson for you!

phoebes-navy-drill-delphine-3
The navy blue drill was also from Fabric Land. It was really hard to photograph, so I apologise for the blurriness of these photos! I think this fabric is a little more on the petrol end of navy blue – I guess navy blue isn’t a colour that’s always just one colour, it’s not black or white! Phoebe’s not so keen on this one, but I think it might be easier to wear it when the weather gets a little warmer as she will hopefully have things that go better with it. Otherwise, it’s not the end of the world! It’s a quick pattern to make.

phoebes-navy-drill-delphine-2 phoebes-red-corduroy-delphine-3

The other change I made to the pattern was to use non-invisible zips because my sewing machine will not sew invisible zips. I think the bobbin is out of sync or something because when I put the invisible zip foot on, the needle always jams inside the bobbin case. Grrr. I should get it serviced really….. I can’t remember the last time I sewed a non-invisible zip (I kept persevering with the invisible zips, but sewing them with a normal zip foot) and I’d forgotten you need to sew the bottom part of the seam first and then put in the zip, and not the other way around as with invisible zips. So I had to unpick the first one a couple of times because I twigged!

phoebes-red-corduroy-delphine-4

When I was home for Christmas, I got Phoebe to model the red skirt. It fitted really well and was the length she was after – win! It looks good with her apt Christmas jumper too! She wore it the whole of Christmas day (after she had opened the present) so hopefully that means it has the seal of approval!

I quite enjoyed doing some selfless sewing – maybe this is the solution for when I feel like I have too many clothes but still want to sew things? I could make clothes for other people!

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