Me Made May: The Final Week (and a bit)

Well May is over and it seems to have gone by so quickly. Unfortunately the great British weather wasn’t as good as last year so most of my summer dresses stayed in the wardrobe. Luckily I had the foresight not to pack away the cooler weather stuff.

 

Day twenty two

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Maria Denmark spotty Kimono Tee and Grainline Morris Blazer

I’ve grown rather fond of my Spotty Tees, now May is over I can wear them multiple times a week.

Day twenty three

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Liberty Mitsi Deer and Doe Sureau

This is a perfect in between dress, I actually got my legs out.

Day twenty four

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Stripey Deer and Doe Plantain dress

It’s first outing and perfect for pottering around in. It really needs some sunshine though…and a beach….and maybe a Yacht.

Day twenty five

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Blue Liberty Carline Maria Denmark Edith Blouse

This is my favourite thing ever. Like the spotty tees I can wear it almost constantly now May is over!

Day twenty six

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Gingham Maria Denmark Edith Blouse and Navy Miette Cardigan

It was sunny and I nearly put a dress on but we were going to the Cinema and I was worried about draughty air conditioning.

Day twenty seven

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Broderie Anglaise Grainline Scout

This hadn’t had much wear since making it last year. Partially because I can’t keep anything white clean but it also seemed a little unfinished. I added a French Lace trim to the hem and sleeves and like it much better now.

Day twenty eight

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Green Colette Hawthorn and Green Miette Cardigan

At this point I was becoming very conscious of how much blue I wear so this was a concerted effort to change things up a little.

Day twenty nine

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Blue Flowery Lady Skater

Yep, blue again!

Day thirty

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Sewaholic Cambie dress

Determined to wear a summer dress before May is out. (blue again)

Day thirty one

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Maria Denmark Liberty Edith blouse and Green Miette Cardigan

The final day and a chance to wear the second of my Carline Blouses. I’ve managed to find a bag with the same print and I’m also planning some matching knickers (overkill maybe?)

 

Final thoughts:

I easily managed to do no repeats and quite a few things didn’t get worn. It’s maybe time to do a bit of a wardrobe cull but I’m quite attached and sentimental about the things I’ve made.

I really like blue.

I’m obsessed with the weather.

I wore jeans for twelve days, dresses for fifteen and skirts only three times (and a Bruyere) I actually prefer wearing dresses but do wear jeans more often than I thought. I should maybe concentrate on making tops for a bit so I have something different to wear with them.

I’ve been wearing me made knickers all month but modesty prevented me from posting them on the internet. We are in the process of bedroom decorating so the majority of my undies have been packed away until they get some new drawers to live in. I’ve allowed myself five pairs but have to rely on them finding their way into the washing machine with some frequency. Luckily this week is Measure Twice Cut Once’s Everyone Deserves Pretty Knickers week so I’ll be spending time increasing my available knicker stock!

I am a little sad it’s all over, it’s been great seeing everyone’s outfits and I’ve really looked forward to sitting down with a coffee and having a real Instagram binge. There’s been so much inspiration and my monthly sewing budget has been totally blown on all the new patterns I’ve had to get. The only problem now is figuring out what to sew next, my brain is saturated with ideas and projects. I’m hoping the knicker making might give me time to take stock and put some kind of order to the sewing queue.

A big thank you to Zoe for hosting it again, it’s been a great month!

 

My Simplicity ‘Star Sewist’ Submission!

 Blogger

In March Simplicity launched their Star Sewist search. The challenge has three categories, each using a set Simplicity/New Look pattern:

Best dressmaking project -the NewLook shift dress 6145

Best Newcomer -Simplicity’s It’s So Easy 2286 skirt

Best Vintage Make – Simplicity’s 1364 blouse

I decided to attempt the vintage category using their vintage reproduction pattern 1364, a classic top with French darts

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The fabric I used actually came from the rummage box in my local fabric store and cost £1. I had a summer top in mind for it so when the challenge came along it seemed like destiny!

I cut a size 14, shortened the length by four inches and lowered the neckline by two inches. I omitted the zip; I basted the back seam and tried it on and although it’s quite fitted managed to wriggle in and out of it quite easily.

To get into the vintage theme I sewed it up on my old Singer. It was actually nice to get back to basics (although I did find myself reaching for the thread cutter button a few times!)

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I used French seams throughout and finished the neckline, armholes and hem with co-ordinating bias binding from my stash.

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I cut out the tie belt as well but once the top was made decided against it as I thought it would be a bit too fussy. Instead I took inspiration from a vintage pattern and added two little rouleau bows on the shoulder.

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I’m really pleased with how this turned out, the pattern really does do the fabric justice. It’s probably the cheapest thing I’ve ever made as well, only costing £1!

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The Grainline Morris Blazer

 

I’ve been meaning to blog this for a while, I made it over a month ago but got caught up in Me Made May and other projects. It’s the new pattern from Grainline, a slouchy cropped jacket made for fabric with a slight stretch. One of my new year’s resolutions was not to jump on every shiny new pattern that gets released, I’ve been so good. I think I lasted three days before I succumbed, it was Hila’s at Saturday Night stitch which finally pushed me over the edge. I had problems downloading the pattern, purely down to my computer playing silly buggers. I got in touch with Jen and she got back to me and sorted it out in less than half an hour, so impressed with her customer service.

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I thought I’d start with a wearable muslin so bought a couple of metres of Ponte from my usual Ponte dealer. It was described as ‘Airforce Blue’ but I think it’s verging on ‘School uniform blue’! The PDF fitted together perfectly and was very quick to cut out. I made my usual Grainline adjustments; cutting a size 12, shortening the body by two inches and the sleeves by three inches.  I used a metre and a half of fabric.

The instructions were excellent, the only problem I had was figuring out which way up the back facing went in. It was one of those moments where the more I think about things the more complex they get. I spent a good fifteen minutes, inverting it, holding it up to the bottom of the jacket before I finally committed, luckily it was right (and glaringly obvious!) I used my overlocker to sew the side and back seams and finish off the armholes, the rest was sewn on my normal machine.  I cut two pieces of interfacing, one for the lapels and also one for the front part of the jacket.  A couple of people had had problems with the jacket bagging out at the bottom front.  Interfacing both parts has given both layers the same stability and seems to have helped.

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I really enjoyed making this, it was one of those projects where I could just happily poddle along. I think it makes a big difference when things are drafted well and everything fits together perfectly. It’s definitely an ideal do in a day project.

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I’m going to make a few changes to my next one, the fit is perfect around the shoulders but I think I need to grade up a size over the bust and waist. I’ll keep the original length, I was a little apprehensive about it being too long but I think taking those two inches out has left it a little too cropped. I’m stumbling a bit with the fabric for the next one though, ideally I’d like to try a stretch cotton sateen but the only fabric I have in my stash is sky blue with orange flowers! I have in my head the fabric I’m looking for, black or navy with delicate oriental flowers. I haven’t found it yet but I’ll keep searching.   It’s highly likely that I’ll get distracted though and end up with giant multi coloured cabbage roses!

Me Made May ’15 week three

I can’t believe it’s the end of week three already, it’s flying by. Unfortunately the opportunity to get the summer dresses out this week was non-existent as the weather seemed to think we were back in February. Anyway on to the roundup:

 

Day fifteen

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Stripey Grainline Hemlock with my Peggy Sue Cardigan

I should wear this cardigan more often, the cable ribbing is lovely!

Day sixteen

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My old reliable navy By Hand London Anna dress with green Miette cardigan.

I love this dress, it’s perfect for throwing on when I really can’t decide what to wear. It looks like white polka dots but they are actually little daisies. I have a bit of a thing about navy and green, I’ve been searching for some navy and green stripy knit fabric for ages without success. I know it must exist somewhere!

Day seventeen

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Deer and Doe Bruyere

I really need to make another one of these, it’s a lovely pattern and fits my frame really well. I actually have some Chambray to make a dress version but it keeps getting bumped down the list.

Day eighteen

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Grainline Moss ‘mini’, purple Deer and Doe Plantain and Purple Miette cardigan

A horrible cold and wet Monday morning necessitated woolly tights and layers. I love my purple Miette, it’s a quite expensive silk and merino blend yarn but it holds the lace detail well and doesn’t ‘bobble’ like my wool ones.

Day nineteen

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Denim Colette Laurel

I finally got around to making this denim shift a couple of weeks ago and I love it!

Day twenty

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Grey Deer and Doe Plantain, Grainline Archer and By Hand London Victoria Blazer

At work so lot’s of layers as I really had no idea what the weather was going to do!

Day twenty one

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Christine Haynes Broderie Anglaise Emery dress with Navy Miette Cardigan

Another old faithful dress. I put my boots on again but the weather really warmed up at lunchtime!

Some thoughts:

The blue thing is getting really silly, I actually wore it every day this week and that was after promising I would try to be more colourful!

I wore my boots for four days and it’s the latter part of May! The boots are now boxed up and ready to go into the loft, if it turns chilly again I’ll just have to put up with chilly goose pimpled legs!

I seem to be obsessed with the weather, all my Instagram posts seem to include a brief weather report. I think it comes from working outside!

Even though I said I wouldn’t, I might actually try and end the month with no repeats. I haven’t really worn any of my summer clothes so if the weather warms up I should be able to get through to the end of the month without any duplicity.

How is everybody else getting along now we are into the final week?

 

 

Me Made May 15 week two round up

Day eight

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Purple deer and Doe Plantain and Green Miette Cardigan

At work uniform!

Day nine

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Silk ‘Darling Ranges’ mash up

This is my favourite dress but the one I had most problems with. The fit was dreadful and I ended up completely redrafting the bodice and sleeves. The only original part of the pattern is the skirt and button band!

Day ten

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Paisley Weekend Doris dress

Living up to its name!

Day eleven

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Flowery Grainline Hemlock and By Hand London Victoria Blazer

This is an old tee and starting to look worse for wear but I love the fabric. The Victoria blazer didn’t get a lot of wear as it looked really ‘boxy’ on me. A couple of months ago I got around to unpicking the lining to fix it. I took it in at the waist and added fisheye darts to the front and back which has made a lot of difference. I’m glad it’s wearable now as the jacket is wool and lined with silk and I felt a bit guilty at wasting such nice fabric.

Day twelve

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Ladyskater with Myrna cardigan

Working from home so dressed for comfort (looking very blue!)

Day thirteen

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Stripey Deer and Doe Plantain with Grainline Morris Blazer (not yet blogged)

I will get around to blogging this Morris eventually. It’s a blue Ponte and this was the first time I wore it. It’s perfect for work, a bit smarter than a cardigan but just as warm.

Day fourteen

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Deer and Doe Sureau

This was my second wearable muslin of the Sureau and to be honest it’s had more wear than the final one! It definitely needs to be worn with tights though as I got carried away when hemming and shortened it a bit too much. Glad I got chance to wear it before the weather gets warmer!

Some thoughts:

I wear blue a lot! I didn’t realise how much until people started commenting on it on Instagram. I’ve worked out that about half of my wardrobe is blue along with a good percentage of my fabric stash.

Wearing the Morris for work was a good idea. Gardening usually means wearing practical clothes and my usual choice is jeans with t-shirt/cardigan/jumper/shirt. It was nice to look a little smarter and as we do get visitors I really should make the effort to look a little bit more professional. I can’t not wear jeans but if I can try and smarten up the top half that would make a difference.

If I’m honest I actually prefer cooler weather wear (autumn and spring, not winter!) I feel more comfortable in tights and boots. I’m just not keen exposing so much bare flesh when the weather warms up!

 

We are already halfway through, how are you getting on?

A Denim Colette Laurel

I have been meaning to make a simple denim shift dress for ages. I keep coming back to the pictures on my Pinterest sewing inspiration board but never quite getting around to doing it.

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I think the main reason is not having the denim available at my local fabric store. If I’m relying on the internet it’s very difficult to gauge the weight and colour, and there was a specific weight and colour I was after.

So when I went to the Leeds meet up, denim was at the top of my shopping list. It was actually the first fabric I came to and bought, I thought the quest might be a bit more difficult but it was just sitting there on the bolt waiting for me.

I used the Colette Laurel pattern which is quite a good basic shift dress. I’ve made it three times before, this was the most recent.

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I cut a size 12 as before, added pockets and made them a little bigger. I also shortened the sleeves. The pattern calls for a full zip down the back but with the ones I’ve made before I’ve been able to wriggle in and out without the zip. For this one though I wanted to add an exposed lace zip, I’ve had these in my stash for a while (from one of my late night Ebay trawls) but haven’t really encountered the right project for them. I figured the lace would be a good contrast to the utilitarian denim.  I’ve been a bit unsure about exposed zips before but I’m beginning to come around to the idea.

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I’m glad I finally got around to making this and I’m pleased with how it’s turned out. It’s a very practical everyday dress, kind of like the dress equivalent of jeans yet without any encumbrance around the waist! The fit is not far off, I’ve put on weight since I last made it, this is most noticeable on the bust so maybe a full bust adjustment would have helped. My bust does goes up a cup with each dress size though, as I’m losing a little bit with all the increased activity at work they may shrink back down or maybe I should stop making excuses for my laziness and just do the FBA!

It’s nice to have ticked a long standing sewing wish off the never ending list. I’m in a bit of a summer blouse mood at the moment but there’s a shirt dress nagging me which is desperate to be brought to life, so I might have to put that plan into action next!

 

 

Me Made May ’15 week one round up.

Well we have the first week over and it seems I’ve been a little premature getting my summer dresses out. We’ve had a couple of good days but instead of sandals I’ve been relying on my boots.

Anyway, here’s the run down:

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Day one

Spotty Deer and Doe Plantain, Navy Miette and Liberty Scarf

This is possibly my on the project work uniform!

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Day two

Colette Hawthorn (unblogged)

Had wanted to wear something a bit more summery but it was cold and windy so decided on my winter Hawthorn as it’s one of my warmest dresses.

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Day three

Weekend Doris dress

Sunday pottering around dress

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Day four

Marilla Walker Evan Skirt with stripy Deer and Doe Plantain

Bank holiday Monday, generally pottering with a bit of sewing time.

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Day five

Deer and Doe Sureau

Combination of work and running around trying to catch up with all the things that usually get done on a Monday!

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Day six

Grainline Archer and stripy Hemlock tee

On the project and a variation on the Miette, with an Archer instead.

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Day seven

Deer and Doe Chardon skirt with stripy Grainline Hemlock

Cold and windy again so out came the boots, black ones this time though!

Musings so far:

 

  • There has only been two days out of the week that I didn’t wear Grainline or Deer and Doe, I have made other patterns!
  • I rely heavily on my Hemlocks and Plantains, I didn’t realise how heavily until seeing the evidence! (I have made a couple of Maria Denmarks’ Kimono tees so I am starting to be a little more adventurous)
  • I like the stripes with the Chardon, I couldn’t find my black Plantain which I usually wear with it and just grabbed the first thing that came to hand. Quite like the idea of using stripes as a neutral.
  • I could probably do with more than one pose although in my defence the bathroom is north facing and I’m trying to turn towards the light!

 

How are you getting on with MMMay? Have you encountered any startling revelations yet?

Spots, Stripes and a Plantain Dress

There’s a bit of a theme going on with today’s post. These co-ordinating spots and stripes were part of my (quite extensive) haul from the recent Leeds meet up. I bought a metre and a half of each, I’d been planning a Breton Deer and Doe Plantain for a while so navy and white stripes were high on my shopping list. Leeds market is so good for fabric, I overdid it a bit but compared to the limited choice I have at home it was a matter of ‘get it while I can’. I kept asking myself ‘will I regret it if I don’t get it?’ the answer always seemed to be yes but I’m pleased I didn’t leave any of them behind!

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Anyway the Plantains were made exactly the same as my others, I think I have eleven now!

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I’ve been wanting to try the Maria Denmark Kimono Tee pattern for a while. The pattern is free when you sign up to her newsletter. I had a little under half a metre of each fabric left and just managed to squeeze the pattern on. The neckline is finished with either self binding or fold over elastic. I’d run out of fabric and didn’t have any FOE so I just turned the neckline and sleeves over twice and stitched them in place with a twin needle.

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The Plantains will of course get a lot of wear, they are perfect with jeans and a cardie for work, which is probably why I’ve made so many. I’m so pleased I got around to trying the Kimono tees though, they’re perfect little tops to wear with a skirt, something I realise my wardrobe is lacking. I will definitely be making more, especially as they use so little fabric and are such a quick make.

I wanted to make a dress out of the red stripy Ponte but couldn’t decide on a pattern. I contemplated making a Lady Skater but the curve of the waist would make the stripes off balance so that plan was shelved. As the Plantain fitted so well around the top I thought I’d have a go at lengthening it into a dress.

There isn’t any rhyme or reason to the following measurements, I just traced the original pattern and added a bit. I posted a picture on Instagram and was asked what I’d done so I’ve gone back, measured and taken a couple of photos and I’m hoping it makes sense!

I wanted more of a boatneck so raised the neckline by 8cm and reduced the width of the shoulders by 3cm.

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I lengthened the centre front and centre back by 24cm and followed the curve of the side seam down until it was 37cm from the centre. I also curved the hem slightly, the same as the original pattern.  I made the same adjustments to the back piece (but didn’t alter the back of the neckline)

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I added patch pockets using my trusty cardboard template and sewed the pockets on first. Once I’d sewn the shoulder seams I decided to take another inch off to widen the neckline a little more. I constructed the dress the same as the original pattern.

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I was a bit unsure whether it would work but once finished I tried it on and did a little happy dance! Like the tee, it fits perfectly around the shoulders and bust before gently skimming over the lumpy bits, the perfect little knit dress! I think it comes into the secret pyjama category as well as it’s so comfortable, without any restrictions around the waist.

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I think next time I will have a play around with the neckline, raising it higher and taking a bit more off the shoulder seams, just to make it more of a boatneck. There’s also the opportunity to vary the sleeve length which will make it useful for the cooler months.

So that’s all the tweaking that’s been going on. I’ve been planning to tweak the Deer and Doe Bruyere into a shirt dress since I made the original, I’ve got the fabric (a blue/grey Chambray) contrasting Liberty for the pockets and facings, I’ve even got the buttons and the top stitching thread but the poor thing just keeps getting bumped. Now I’ve got a stash of shiny new fabric I think it,ll be waiting a little longer. So much to sew – so little time!

 

My love of Scarves and the quest for Liberty neckwear

I know making a scarf is the sewing equivalent of boiling an egg, it’s only a rectangle of fabric after all, but bear with me.

I love scarves. Nine times out of ten when I leave the house I’ll be wearing one. Not the itchy wooly kind but nice fine drapey cotton ones. This doesn’t come across on my blog posts as you wouldn’t be able to see what I’m wearing, but I can guarantee it will be accessorized with a scarf.

Scarves have long been an essential part of my wardrobe and consequently I have amassed a fairly extensive collection. On the practical side they keep the chill off the back of my neck (and it does get rather chilly up here in Derbyshire) but they’re also great at pulling an outfit together. Since my teens I’ve been on a mission to have a scarf to go with everything. A good scarf can give you the opportunity to wear combinations that would look completely wrong without them. I recently acquired a purple and green floral one (virtually the holy grail for me) and now I can wear my purple Plantain and green Miette, AT THE SAME TIME!

I’ve been pondering about Liberty scarves for a long time. Following Liberty on Instagram has proved to be a masochistic move as they frequently post pictures of their scarves, just to taunt me. I’ve been trying to figure out a way of making my own using Tana Lawn. Although it is really light and buttery it has a surprising amount of body. Most of the scarves I wear measure around 2m x 1m but the nature of their fabric means they compress and scrunch down an awful lot. If I made one this size with Lawn there would be so much volume it would completely mummify my head. The other issue was the cost of the fabric, it seems almost frivolous to use a length of Liberty just to make a scarf.

If I’m feeling bored I like to waste time browsing Liberty fabric on Ebay. Usually I’m on the lookout for remnants big enough to squeeze a pair of knickers out of (although I do succumb to multiple metres far too often). I came across a few bits around 136cm x 35cm, a third of a metre.  They were less than a fiver, so I snapped up a couple a piece of ‘Sheree’ and ‘Elizas Blue’ as potential scarf material.

The fabric came and I tried to figure out the best way to use. It wasn’t long enough to wrap around twice, I could wear it just tucked over but the volume at the ends were really bothering me as it stuck out a fair bit. My next plan was to maybe narrow the ends to reduce the bulk. Then I had a lightbulb moment (which should have happened a lot earlier):  join the ends together and make an infinity scarf! (doh). In my defence I don’t actually own an infinity scarf (we did used to make snoods on the knitting machine at school, we had a little enterprise going, selling them to other pupils, thinking back the school was paying for the yarn!) Anyway a quick calculation confirmed that it was long enough to double up.

Essentially it’s a rectangle sewn together at both ends but I did put a little more work into the finishing;

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I washed the fabric a lot in a bid to soften it up, It went in every wash I did for a week.  I finally left it to dry crinkly.

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I ironed the outer edge, trimmed the little bit of fraying off for a nice clean edge.

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I used my rolled hem foot to sew a narrow hem down the long sides.

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And finished by joining the ends together with a French seam.

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Tah dah! I’ve been persuaded to the virtues of the infinity scarf, still not sure about wearing it as a long loop but doubled up is perfect. It’s actually more practical at work as I’m forever dangling the ends of my scarf in the water butts. They also get tangled up on thorny plants and collect sticky willy buds which take forever to pick out. I’ve since bought a few more bits of fabric, I can see a potential problem though, I’ll need to have a liberty scarf to match everything!