Six day’s worth of Me Made Mays

I’ve got a bit behind so there are 6 rather than 4 days today…

Days 17 to 22

Days 17 to 22

Day 17 – The Christmas refashioned top with the Red Square Skirt. That skirt either needs a serious makeover to make it more wearable, or it’s for the chop on 1st June. It’s just looking too frumpy.

Day 18 – The chartreuse Cadfael & Cats Belcarra Blouse, paired with the aubergine jersey skirt.

Day 19 – The Pretty Summer Splodges skirt, worn with the stripey refashioned top, because I can’t find the white top I intended to wear with it, and the stripes were the closest to grey I could manage.

Day 20 – The Blue Roses dress. I got a lot of “You look very summery” comments. I’m treating them all as compliments. Also it was Friday Theme Day, so the photo was mostly of my lovely local pub, the Stoke.

Day 21 – The Watermelon Belcarra Blouse, and the You Mean I’m Wearing Orange?! Skirt.

Day 22 – A complete outfit repeat from Day 7, the Hong Kong top with the Counterintuitive Black Birds skirt. I was pulling a silly face because my niece was taking the pic. We were having a delightful lunch to celebrate her 19th birthday.

The main thoughts that I’ve had this week are around outfit repeats, because there have been a few now, especially dresses, because a dress is an outfit all by itself.

  • Firstly, I will inevitably repeat outfits – when two things go together well, I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t wear them together again on other occasions. If a dress looks nice on me, then I’ll wear it again. That’s the normal way I wear clothes. If they look good, I’ll carry on wearing them.
  • Secondly, another reason I would repeat outfits is that I have some self-mades that just don’t have multiple self-made matches – the Hong Kong top is a classic example of that. It needs a black skirt to match, but I only have one suitable black skirt. That doesn’t make it a “hole in my wardrobe” because actually I’ve got tons of black skirts to match it with, only they aren’t me-made.
  • Thirdly, I don’t particularly aspire to an entirely me-made wardrobe. I’m not going to sew yet another black skirt, however much I want to, because I do love me a black skirt, because I’ve got plenty of them (I say that, but the chances are I *will* sew myself another black skirt!). The challenge for MMM is to manage with just my me-mades, for this one month of the year- for the rest of the year I know I have more variation.

So unless I get on with some more of those UFOs in the pile there will inevitably be more repeats, of garments and quite possibly of outfits, over the next week.

And speaking of the UFO pile, I’ve put the metaphorical pile into more of a physical pile, i.e. I’m collecting them all together so I’ve got more of a handle on what still needs doing.  I did not realise how many I’d got!

Here’s the next four MMM outfits

Patterns in my clothing is making the text disappear!

Patterns in my clothing are making the text disappear!

Catching up…

Day 13 – Refashioned t-shirt from day 1, plus the Red Square skirt (which you can’t tell from the selfie). This was the best I could do for the Friday Theme of Stripes.

Day 14 – The All-nighter dress. I still love these colours with a passion. But I’m seriously thinking of cutting this down to a top, because the skirt part doesn’t seem to be hanging right.

Day 15 – The Dress of Many Colours (from day 11). It requires careful planning to repeat wearing this dress, because it is quite Noticeable. On Wednesday I was wearing it to work, and on Sunday I was wearing it at home, and to visit my sister, so there wasn’t going to be anyone there to say, “Oh, you’re wearing your bright/summery/colourful dress again…”.

Day 16 – The Squares & Triangles Circle Skirt, paired with a newly embellished t-shirt top.

This is yet another of my multiple Primarni t-shirt tarting up jobs. I had these crystals in my costume beading stash. They’re a slightly weird colour, a pale bronze-y gold. I don’t even remember acquiring them, as I’ve never had any costume plans in that sort of colour scheme, I’m guessing they were a mistaken Ebay purchase!

I marked the centre front, and started from that point, so that I could make sure the crystals would look right, and if there was going to be any problem with getting the final fit of the crystals, it would be at the back of my neck. I used one of the top-stitching lines for the neckband as my mark for keeping the beads in the right relationship with the neck edge. So I wasn’t just throwing it together, but doing a Proper Job.

Trying to be careful and not just eyeballing it

Trying to be careful and not just eyeballing it

And it was all ready to wear the next day…



It is seriously sparkly!

Here’s the next batch of MMM pics

Days 9 to 12

Days 9 to 12

Day 9 – This was the first day of fail. However, since I’d been in the office over the whole weekend, and had no chance to get any washing done, I just didn’t have a me-made top available. I’m not going to beat myself up over it. The top may be a boring old Primark t-shirt, but the skirt is me-made and it’s the one that I keep wearing, because it’s so gosh-darn easy to wear, but haven’t quite got around to blogging yet. However, I’m getting the information together below…. Also, washing did get done.

Day 10 – First day of the Ofsted Inspection. I’m wearing a top I refashioned a little while ago, but again, totally missed out on blogging, and the black denim skirt, which is a brilliant Old Faithful kind of a garment.

Day 11 – And we passed! Graded Good! Hooray and celebrations all round! I wore the Dress of Many Colours. And got comments on how summery and sunshiney it was, all day long!

Day 12 – No rest for the Wicked, all the work that I had to shove to one side because of the Inspection had to get finished in double quick time, because those deadlines hadn’t been eased, regardless of Ofsted. Wearing my You Mean I’m Wearing Orange?! skirt. Although, to be honest, since I made the Dress of Many Colours, I’ve worn orange much more than I ever thought I would when I included little hints of orange in the appliqués on this skirt. I also wore this new-ish top that is more properly introduced below.

So here’s some of that missing info…

The aubergine skirt

I made this just before going on holiday to Cairo, in February, except I never got around to hemming it, so I didn’t take it on holiday after all. It’s a very straightforward jersey pull-on skirt, self-drafted, based on an existing Marks & Spencer skirt. It really couldn’t have been easier – a basic skirt shape, slightly tapering, with extra length for a turned down elasticated waistband.

The fabric is a frankly rather cheap and nasty jersey, and it’s already pilling a bit, I’d only bought it as a try-out for jersey projects. But it’s a glorious colour, and super-comfortable, and I’ll keep wearing it for now.

This is the best image I've got of it so far, but it's bound to feature again this month...

This is the best image I’ve got of it so far, but it’s bound to feature again this month. Clicky for bigger.

There is a top in the course of completion, to match. However this might be rather too warm to wear in the summer, on account of it being nasty man-made fibres.

I’m half contemplating adding some sashiko style embroidery to both pieces, but only if I think it will work for both items, together and separately.

Stashwatch stats: The skirt failed to use up the whole piece of fabric, because I’d bought over 3 metres of it, as I recall! But it counts as one use towards the stash-score.


Black refashioned top

I refashioned an old stripy t-shirt, some time ago, because it had a polo neckline which I didn’t like, and I used the fabric from the polo neck to create a strip of binding, to edge the new neckline. Well I had tons of the binding left, so I used it to open up the neckline of another t-shirt, like so…

Refashioned t-shirt

Refashioned t-shirt

I finished it with a herringbone stitch, same as I’d done for the original stripy t-shirt.

And now a gratuitous close-up…



Stashwatch Stats: This refashion took place before the stashwatch came into being, so it sadly doesn’t count towards my planned refashions/upcycles.

The Pink Stretchy Floral Top

I got this fabric last year at Ditto in Brighton. It was in their remnants. It’s got a lovely soft feel and it’s such a fun print! In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a giant floral pattern.

I made this top to go to Egypt with, and you’ll be glad to hear I did wear it out there. I cobbled a pattern together, by copying another of my t-shirts and giving it a sort of cap sleeve. It’s not sophisticated, but I think it works, and it’s pretty. Having created something of a signature look with the herringbone stitch, I used it again, with a plain white jersey binding, on the neckline, the sleeves and the hem.

Floral top close-up

Floral top close-up

Cairo top

You can just about see the top underneath the costume pattern, from our Costume Sewing course in Cairo. I really must blog that soon, because it was fascinating.

Having gone to the trouble of doing the nice edging on the hem, I think it probably looks nicer tucked in, or at least, it does with a skirt. When I wear it with jeans or yoga pants, it’s long enough to be slightly tunic-y.

Stashwatch Stats: This used up the whole piece of fabric (which wasn’t big to start off with!)
Current tally – I’ve used 3/10 pieces of fabric, used *up* 1/5.

I think that catches everything up now.


Me-Made May continues

More office selfies

More office selfies

Day 5 – The chartreuse Cadfael & Cats Belcarra blouse was paired with the Squares and Triangles Circle skirt, for colour purposes.

Day 6 – This was Friday, which meant Friday Themes. I seem to have volunteered to organise the voting on the Flickr group for Friday themes – if you’re in the group do please go to the Discussions and vote for your favourites. I made a sort of unilateral decision to go for Yellow as the theme for the first one, because we hadn’t had time to sort out voting or anything much. Since I really don’t wear yellow, the nearest I could come up with was the Jif Lemon Dress, with its lemon appliqués.

Day 7 – The new Hong Kong top proved very successful, paired with the Counterintuitive Black Birds skirt. I really liked this silhouette. I must try to repeat this in some way. I’ve got plenty of straight skirts, I just need to find the right fabrics to make a load of shell tops. Damn this Stash diet!

Day 8 – The Blue Roses dress came out to play.

I’ve got no idea at all what I’m going to wear tomorrow!

The main realisation that has come to me in the last couple of days of MMM is from the hours of scrolling through other people’s photos on Flickr and Instagram. All the photos I’m liking seem to fall principally into the categories of Black and White, Bright Colours, Florals, and Geometrics. If I was unsure before, I think that proves definitively what my personal signature style is.

Is there anyone reading who’s doing MMM? Has it changed/confirmed your views on your wardrobe?

A long-standing UFO gets finished

I've had a lot of compliments on this top today

I’ve had a lot of compliments on this top today

This top has been sitting in my pile of things to work on for far too long, making me feel very guilty.

I made it at a lesson with Claire-Louise Hardy, aka the Thrifty Stitcher, last year! It was a one-off session on making a shell top, and I booked it in the hope of kicking off my sew-jo (yeah that really worked, didn’t it?!). It was at her studio in Stoke Newington, and I was really lucky because there were only two of us there, so we got tons of personal attention and guidance. It was the first time I’d seen any serious pattern-adjusting in action, and since the other lady there had a very different figure than mine, I got to see different kinds of adjustments. Claire-Louise was a lovely giving teacher, and I would go to another of her classes like a shot, and heartily recommend her classes to anyone. She’s also just a really interesting person to be with.

I came away with a top which was all but finished. All it needed was a tiny, tiny adjustment, which Claire-Louise had pinned for me. I don’t know why I didn’t do it as soon as I got home. Well actually I do, because Stokey’s quite a long drive away from Guildford, and it was late. But I could have done it the next day, or the next weekend. I don’t know why it’s taken me a whole flippin’ year. I’ve been feeling bad about not actually wearing the thing that such a good teacher has helped me to produce, all for the sake of adjusting a couple of underarm seams.

However, I can now cast off that guilt, and move on, so let’s look at the top I’ve managed to complete.

The first thing to say is that I bought this fabric in Hong Kong, when I visited there back in 1991, while HK was still a British colony, and I was still in love with my ex-husband. It was a wonderfully vibrant and exciting place to be, and we were there over the Chinese New Year, so it was extra special. I bought three or four dress lengths of silk, including this one, which is a silk/cotton blend, and feels divine. I gave it to my mother, as a gift, but she’d stopped dressmaking by then, and it sat in her sewing box until my sisters and I had to clear her flat when she moved into a care home. At that point I bagsied it back. So the fabric had been lying in my stash with a lot of emotional baggage attached to it, on account of the holiday, the ex, and my mum. But I decided there’s no point in hanging on to it, and it might as well get used, so it was one of the choices of fabric that I took up with me to sew this top from.

It’s a plain and simple sleeveless shell top, from Claire-Louise’s The Great British Sewing Bee- Fashion with Fabric book. It’s  perfect for the summer, or even the spring and autumn months with a suitable cardigan, and I could make a dozen more now, because it’s dead simple, and I’ve still got the adjusted pattern (I’d need to tweak that underarm seam, though!).

The amendment to the underarm seams, taking them in a smidge to reduce a bit of gaping, meant that the integrity of the previously beautifully overlocked finish had to be compromised. I hunted around to see if any of the stitches on my Singer would mimic that stitching, and tried a couple. It’s not perfect, but it’s only for neatening, not for actual seams, so it’s good enough. When I make the top again, I’ll see if I can find any other stitch that will neaten nicely.

Pretty on the inside, well mostly

Pretty on the inside, well mostly

I’m happy that I’ve got this available as a wearable top now, especially to boost my Me Made May wardrobe slightly. It’s a bit of a wardrobe orphan at the moment – because it’s such a dramatic print, I need to pair it with something plain. I’ve got tons of plain/plainish black skirts, so in the long term that won’t be a big issue, but not many of them are me-made, so not brilliant for May. I’m planning on making a skirt with the remainder of the fabric, to match the top, there’s still nearly 2 metres left. That may be be one of my Thursday night sewing class projects for later in this term.

Stashwatch Stats:
This uses one piece of stash fabric, but doesn’t use it up, making the current blogged tally 1/10.


Well, one zip, at least.


I was thinking that I’d get my current sewing class project finished tonight. However, when I asked the tutor about zips, she suggested adding a placket to the lapped zip. This will make my dress more lovely, but it takes longer than a plain lapped zip without any placket. I would have finished it at home, but went for a drink with the former Gentleman Friend and kinda lost the momentum! Tomorrow I will be firing on more cylinders, and I should be able to handle the finishing off of the zip without Gail’s expert guidance. Though I still need her to make sure my facings get finished in a professional and pleasing way.

I’m really pleased with tonight’s class, because zips have been something of a bete noire. I’ve never been entirely happy with my machine-sewn zips, and preferred to hand-sew them, to keep control of what I was doing. I’m planning on trying a concealed zip for the next project now… Who’d have thought?!

I’ve also been using the overlocker, which is a bit scary, because of that cutting blade! But such a tidy finish!

Me Made May progress

I’ve made it to day 4, although to be honest, days 1 & 2 were lounging about at home days so I wasn’t making any kind of sartorial (or indeed photographic) effort.

My progress can be followed on Instagram (@missbeacurtis) or on Flickr (where I’m beassewingadventures).


Me Made May 2016 – well begun is half done…

Day 1 – Refashioned t-shirt top plus a simple skirt that I will blog more fully when there’s a decent picture of it.

Day 2 – Another refashioned t-shirt plus the same skirt.

Day 3 – The Watermelon Belcarra blouse, plus the Counterintuitive Black Birds Skirt. There was also a refashioned cardigan, and I made my flower hair clip.

Day 4 – The What Could Possibly Go Wrong Belcarra blouse, plus the rose-tinted Black Denim Skirt. And again, I had a refashioned cardi.

So far, I’ve realised that I just don’t enjoy wearing the What Could Go Wrong top. I had a hard time making it, and those bad vibes have stuck to it. I fear that once 1st June comes along, it will be for the chop.

I’m already seeing the gaping hole in my me-made wardrobe that is Tops, and wondering how many new tops I can make in the next few days to avoid repeating the same ones week after week. I’ve got a couple of UFOs (it would be nice to be able to call them Works in Progress but I think that would be self-deluding!) which might come in handy, if I could only actually F them. This might be my push to do so.