MMM17 – Week 2 Catch-up

I’ve got my act together and I’m all ready with Week 2 of #MMM17. It continued to be quite easy, with a couple of skirt repeats, and lots of jewellery repeats.

Day 8 – Chartreuse Belcarra blouse with the aubergine ponte skirt. The jump ring earrings.

Day 9 – The black refashioned t-shirt with the stripy neckline, with the You Mean I’m Wearing Orange?! Skirt. Plus the pink pearl jewellery and a me-made hair flower clip around the back of my head. For dance teaching, I kept the t-shirt and added a pair of leggings I got from Hannan Mahmoud, a costume designer in Cairo, which I adapted because they were indecently low-rise, and a sequined hip scarf which actually belongs with a costume I made a few years ago.

Day 10 – At last! The Jif Lemon Dress came out! I think this remains my favourite ever make. Worn with my lemon bracelet.

Day 11 – The big floral half circle skirt and yet another embellished t-shirt – the one I call the midnight garden tee because of the black flower & bead appliqués. The jump ring earrings AGAIN!

Day 12 – First skirt repeat, the Black & White and Pink All Over skirt teamed with the beaded Christmas tee. I then had my first photo-documentation fail, because I went to the Dressmakers Ball on Friday night and completely forgot to take any pictures of my outfit! I’ve had to gank these from the Crafty Sew & So Facebook page. Go take a look there at all the amazing dresses people made and wore! For the record, I was wearing the Party Skater dress, all beaded up, together with matching hair ornaments, and matching pearl necklace, bracelet and earrings.

Day 13 – I was exhausted from the drive back from the ball, as I didn’t get home till 4.00am, so I didn’t actually get dressed until I had to go out. I was volunteering at the Guildford Wine Festival, where our charity, Oakleaf Enterprise, was running a blind wine tasting table. I had to wear the official Oakleaf t-shirt, but I paired it with my unremarkable black skirt, and the Dressmakers Ball earrings and bracelet.

Day 14 – Was a jimjams day!

So that’s us all caught up.

Oh, that Dressmakers Ball thing…? That was BRILLIANT!!! There were about 100 sewers there, all dressed up to the nines. And the really fun thing was that everyone *loved* it if you asked about their dress. It was so inspiring! I’m already planning next year’s ballgown…

MMM17 – Week 1 Roundup

It’s half way through May and no Me-Made May posts? I’m slacking!

It’s been going very well, and so far it’s been pretty easy. The main thing I’m noticing is that I’ve relied a lot on my refashioned Primark t-shirts, largely because most of the tops I’ve made so far are sleeveless or short-sleeved, and it’s not been the right weather. Hopefully the later half of May will be more summery (ever the optimist!)

I’ve been trying to make sure I wear jewellery every day, to accessorise whatever I’m wearing. I don’t have a great deal of me-made jewellery, but I’ve tried to use what I have got, and I’ve made a couple of extra bits and pieces. On Monday night I pulled out my big bag of beading supplies, and put these little babies together.
IMG_20170515_222002_782 IMG_20170515_222002_785

However, I haven’t done any fabric-based making or refashioning this month yet. I need to crack on with that.

Here is week 1 of #MMM17:

Day 1 –  Navy Juliette top with the pink polka dots skirt. Also baby pink pearl earrings and bracelet.

Day 2 – The Bonkers Zoë Dress. No jewellery, I forgot, my bad. I changed into dance teaching gear, leggings, refashioned tee, moustache skirt. And I remembered to put on some jewellery, same baby pink pearl earrings as Day 1.

Day 3 – Crystal embellished t-shirt, and my new unremarkable black jersey pull-on skirt. Also my jump ring earrings.

Day 4 – Black Juliette top and the Black & White and Pink All Over straight skirt. Seaside bracelet. Also my berry pink cardigan when it got chilly.

Day 5 – Refashioned lilac t-shirt with the new black & white neckline and black denim straight skirt. Baby pink pearl earrings again.

Day 6 – Saturday was a lounging about at home day, so self-drafted leggings and the stripy refashioned t-shirt.

Day 7 – The Under The Sea dress. With the seaside bracelet of course, but it was on the arm holding the selfie-stick!

That’s probably enough to be going on with, I’ll do week 2 in a separate post.

The unremarkable black pull-on skirt

As part of my preparations for Me Made May, I did an audit of what clothing I’ve got available to wear in May. I also did a check on my potential Separates wardrobe orphans. Nothing is an actual orphan, but it was clear that a plain black pull-on skirt was going to be a really useful addition to give me more flexibility on outfits.

I pulled out the black viscose jersey I’d bought on sale at FC Fabric Studio, and my trusty stretch skirt self-drafted pattern. The jersey was just a tiny smidge too thin to use as a skirt on its own, so I decided I would just make two skirts and sew them together at the top and effectively self line it.

No problem! I whizzed through it, nothing could have been easier. It was a nice little stash-buster make. All ready for May!

DSC_0013

Boom!

Finishing off the Massive Paisley cotton

When I cut the Bonkers Zoë Dress, I had about 60 cms left over, and I decided that would be enough for a skirt. On Monday night I reached for my self-drafted straight skirt pattern, and sewed it up. This time, there was definitely no option for pattern matching, I was just happy that there wouldn’t be any big shapes with anatomically unfortunate placement. I even had enough of the weirdly shaped scraps to cut the facing pieces.

I decided I wanted to use one of the lacy zips I’d picked up at the Knitting & Stitching Show. I’d got one in navy, and although the navy in the paisley and the navy of the zip aren’t a perfect match, I was on a “use what you’ve got” kick and went ahead. It was going to be an exposed zip, so I read/watched a few tutorials, because I haven’t done one of these, and I worked out a method that looked manageable for me and was pretty enough.

Pretty lacy zip

I knew I was going to have a train journey up to London on Wednesday, so I decided to leave all the hand finishing until then. I knew I wanted to add a bias binding for the hem, because it would allow me to make as much use of the fabric length as possible. Also I really like the feeling of a satin binding when I’m not wearing tights. I overlocked the hem, and sewed on the binding, with the tiniest turn up I could get away with, all ready for the hand sewing. So Wednesday saw me hemming the skirt on the train, and neatening up the waistband by the zip.

Hem with bias binding

And today I was wearing it to work.

A fab new summer skirt!

 

Lookin’ good!

I did have a moment of panic last night, as I decided to try it on before going to bed. The zip stuck and then with all my faffing about with it the teeth split apart below the puller. The thought that I might have to cut myself out of it flashed through my mind! But then I got a grip and managed to ease myself out of it, and I was able to calmly coax the teeth back into their proper order. Phew!

Zip all A-OK

What would I do differently next time? Use fabric I can pattern-match more readily!

What do I love about this skirt? It’s going to be a useful Spring/Summer skirt. I love the lace zip, and I really want to use the rest of the ones I got now.

Blogiversary thoughts

Sunday was the four year anniversary of this blog starting. I was just looking back on my first post and I realised that I’ve done quite well in learning the things I thought back then that I would need to learn:

“Things that I will have to learn for this adventure to start being successful:

  • zips
  • buttonholes
  • proper fitting
  • finishing
  • neatness
  • patience”

Zips – check! I can do a centred zip (was my default from my teenage sewing days), a lapped zip (with or without protective placket, machined or hand picked) and concealed zips (thanks to the wonderful concealed zip foot). I don’t know if there are other kinds of zips to try, but if there are, I will not fear them!

Buttonholes – check! Although I haven’t really used buttonholes in series (for example, down a shirt front), I know how to use my machine’s buttonhole foot, and I’m no longer scared of them!

Proper fitting – I’ve learned that this is going to be a life-long learning process! But I do not fear the FBA, nor the swayback adjustment, and I can grade a pattern (though I may grumble about doing so!). So I think that’s another check.

Finishing – check! I’m happy with the finishing of my me-mades. Sometimes, the finishing has been more functional than pretty, but none of them have frayed. And with my lovely new overlocker, it is only going to get better.

Neatness – check! Well more or less – again, sometimes my neatness is more a matter of functionality. But I do a lovely invisible hem, I reckon.

Patience – Ah well, that’s another life-long learning process… But I’ve definitely come to understand and accept that the pattern adjusting and the cutting and the marking, while not technically “sewing” are key to the process of “making”. And I’ve learned to be a bit more Zen about that.

So overall, that’s pretty good going.

That led to me wondering where I go from here, in terms of my sewing ambitions and goals. I’m not at all competitive about this, and I’m happy just to be making nice clothes that fit me and suit my style. But I’d like to think my future sewing would involve making more complex garments than I’ve tackled to date, and improving my fitting skills. So I’m hoping that in the next two or three years, I would have made:

  • some button up garments such as shirts and blouses
  • some lined garments, including skirts and dresses
  • some more complex garments, such as jackets and coats. Especially if they are lined!

As well as getting better at the fitting and the patience.

I’ve got plans brewing for learning more about shirts. I’ve booked myself onto another Sew Over It course, but that won’t be for a while yet, so I’m not getting over-excited right now. I found the Zoe dress course to be a really positive learning experience, so I have high hopes that I will learn a whole lot more again.

Making a Win out of a Fail

The Fail – adding to the stash

I fell off the stash wagon at the weekend. I was supposed to not buy any new fabric until I’d used at least 6 pieces from my existing stash. But there was a sale at FC Fabric Studio on Saturday. I’d only used three pieces, though I had cut out a fourth, without having done any sewing on it. Too bad – their prices are really good anyway, but when they are reduced, they’re brilliant. I couldn’t resist.

I went with a plan… I’ve got this new overlocker, and I need to practise using it. I decided to stick to jerseys, with the idea of making some leggings and t-shirts suitable for teaching dance in, because Me-Made May 2017 is coming up and I’ll have four teaching nights where I’ll need to clothe myself. And FC Fabrics have some beautiful jerseys.

I came away with over 8 metres of viscose jersey for only £10. Three of the pieces I found in the £2 remnants box, including a deep royal blue bit that turned out to be over 2½ metres – bargain! I thought I’d be going for their printed jerseys, but maybe because there weren’t so many of them on sale, or because the plains were just calling to me, it was all plains. They all have a bit of elastane, to make them stretchy enough for my dance-practice-wear purposes.

The colours are a bit off, but not too badly

However, I was conscious of my epic failure on the not-buying-new-fabric front.  I was already in deficit to the tune of 3 makes, and the stash has gone up by 4 bits.

The Win – using up the stash and firing up the sew-jo.

This fail galvanised me into action. I had four WIPs- patterns already cut out – and I could jollywell make some of them up, to start meeting that deficit. It helps that Saturday, apart from being Fabric-Buying day was also Me-Made-May-2017-Sign-Up-Going-Live day. As I have mentioned in my post, MMM is usually extremely good for my sew-jo. That, and an overwhelming stashguilt combined to make Sunday a day of sewing.

I sewed up the navy Juliette top that I’d cut out a couple of weeks earlier. I’d cut it before the black Juliette, to test my pattern adjustments, and I’d pinned it all together to test it. I’m not sure that even constitutes a toile! But it was still pinned, so it was good to go. Having made the black one so recently, the instructions were all still fresh in my mind. I didn’t include the waist ties, because I didn’t have enough fabric, so it was even easier/quicker. The longest process was the hand-hemming. I don’t really think there’s much else I can add. I’m impatient to post this and I haven’t photographed it yet, but it’ll feature in a post soon enough, I’m sure, and it’s certain to show up in MMM!

Oh except I sewed in a little charm, into the facing, so I’d know which is back and which is front. I got a load of these at the Knitting and Stitching Show last month.

Cute, eh?

And while I had the overlocker out, and threaded up with black thread, I pulled out a long-standing UFO, to see if I couldn’t have a stab at finishing it in time to wear to work on Monday (spoiler alert – I didn’t!). This was a straight skirt, using my self-drafted pattern. I’d cut it months ago, from 80cms of cotton sateen. The fabric was a tiny smidge too narrow to fit both front and back side by side, so I had to cut it rather more snugly than the pattern dictated, and I was relying on a slight stretch in the sateen and narrow seam allowances to make it work and still be able to sit down in it. This is what I had left:

I don’t like wasting material! 

I needed to cut the facings, and as there wasn’t enough of my main fabric left, I pillaged my scraps and used a bit of purple from the You Mean I’m Wearing Orange?! skirt. I used curved petersham inside the facing, while I was understitching, to make the waist nice and crisp and stable. The technique for that is in my Pink Polka Dots skirt post. In fact I referred to it, to be sure I was doing it correctly!

I sewed all the seams on the overlocker (I love it!) and then I tested my new concealed zip foot – it’s brilliant. Using Julie’s methods have resulted in another seriously invisible zip. I’m so impressed with myself!

Well, I managed to get all the machine sewing done on the Sunday evening, but the remaining hand-sewing of the facing to the zip, and hemming got postponed to Monday evening.

Facing, with charm

But I was wearing it on Tuesday to work.

I should really be getting on with my curriculum planning…

And how invisible is that invisible zip?!

What would I do differently next time? It’s a really good fit, actually, so I’m thinking that my self-drafted pattern may need a bit of width being shaved off it. On reflection, the Pink Polka Dot skirt made last year from the same pattern is also feeling quite loose. Maybe I’ve lost some weight in the bum & tum area. Next time I use the pattern I’ll measure myself and the pattern and see if I need to tweak it.

What do I love about this skirt? This print attracted me right from the start – I love a monochrome, and the pink just makes it pop!

So that was two down from my deficit of three. I’m going to see if there are a couple more quick wins I can get under my belt this week, to try and catch up with myself. Internet accountability is a powerful motivator!