This post is a bit late but we were away last week. Here’s what I wore for the second half of the month.
I think it’s safe to say I have plenty of skirts! The one I’m wearing on Day 17 was altered after Day 4 and is now a much better fit. Everything I’ve worn here will be staying in the wardrobe – even the Mandy Boat-T which seems have grown considerably wider since I made it! There were a few casualties that were tried on and rejected. Some have made it to the alterations pile, others are heading for the charity shop. I’m determined to have a more streamlined wardrobe going forward.
Update from yesterday on something I thought about this morning …. One of the things I’m particularly sad about is that this Laurel Dress made in a lovely Liberty fabric now swamps me and I’m not sure I’ve got the time/patience to dismantle and alter it. I also decided this morning that I still don’t have enough tops.
I think my favourites from the second half of the month have to be the blue and white fish skirt (a curtain fabric remnant), my two Gable tops from Days 29 and 31 (also worn on Day 17) and my Merchant and Mills Top 64 from Day 30 which I wore while we were camping at the Hay Festival. The fabric doesn’t crease whatever you do – even when you fall asleep in your tent in the afternoon!
I was particularly pleased when I was packing for our trip on Day 27 to find my pile of ironing was almost exclusively made up of me-made and charity shop clothes.
Another great Me-Made-May which has once again focused my thoughts on what I make and wear. I’ve also really enjoyed seeing everyone else’s posts throughout the month. A big thank you to Zoe for this inspiring challenge. I always feel a bit lost at the beginning of June without the focus of my daily photo!
If you follow me on IG you will have seen all this already so feel free to look away now.
This is the third year I’ve taken part in MMM and each time it’s had quite an impact on the way I view the contents of my wardrobe. Since May 2015 I’ve almost stopped buying new RTW clothing and this year, although it wasn’t part of my specific pledge (which was to wear at least one me-made item a day), I’ve decided to be pretty ruthless to make sure everything fits/is comfortable/doesn’t have holes in it. If I’m not happy with something it will either get altered straightaway or sent to the charity shop.
Here’s what I’ve worn so far. Tights are very much in evidence, as are scarves! And curtain fabric turned into skirts and dresses!
Action taken so far :
- Coco top from Day 2 is in the recycling bag. I’ve never really liked the fabric and it has gone a bit bobbly.
- Skirt from Day 3 – one of my all time favourites – has had a new invisible zip inserted. I made this skirt before I mastered the invisible zip and my centered zip wasn’t up to much!
- Skirt from Day 4 has been taken in as it was too big round the waist and is being worn again today.
- The Gable top from Day 14 has had the front neckline dropped slightly and no longer feels like it is choking me! Also being worn again today.
I’m pretty happy with everything else.
Day 10 was a bit of a cheat because I was so keen to wear a dress I’d bought from a secondhand shop and just couldn’t wait until June! I did use one of my Anya bags made from the pattern by Zoe and as she is the creator of MMM I decided it was OK.
I never think I’ll being able to keep up daily posts on IG as I HATE having my photograph taken but I’ve even posted a proper photograph taken by Mr Jane Makes. I’m usually hiding behind my phone with a mirror selfie! Thank you to everyone for all your lovely comments – it really boosts my confidence.
Another reason I’m glad of the daily photographs is that I’ve been able to make this comparison. Regular readers will know all about Mr Jane Makes’ heart attack last June and his pretty impressive four stone weight loss since then. The stringent portion control and lack of inappropriate food around the house + increased exercise had a beneficial effect on me too. Here I am wearing the same skirt in May 2016 and May 2017. Since last May the skirt has been taken in – removing a total of four inches from the circumference of the waist!
Looking forward to the rest of May – and hopefully some better weather! It’s pouring with rain at the moment and I’m back in tights.
This is certainly leaving it until the last minute …. I can’t believe it is the first day of May tomorrow! April has been a difficult month and my sewing and blogging activity has been pretty much non-existent. My darling daddy who has been struggling along with dementia for several years became very poorly almost overnight and after five weeks in hospital has had to move into a nursing home. I shan’t dwell on it here but it has been heartbreaking. I’m just thankful that my parents were able to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary before this happened.
Me-Made-May is the creation of the lovely Zoe from SoZoWhatDoYouKnow? It would be overly dramatic to say that participating last year changed my life but it certainly made me think very differently about the clothes I wear and where those clothes come from.
I’m honestly amazed to be able to make the statement that since last May I have bought only two items of new RTW clothing – a sweater I’ve worn a lot and a t-shirt I’ve now refashioned/chopped the bottom off. Both my winter coats were charity shop finds, I refashioned several men’s shirts as part of The Refashioners 2015 and everything else I wear has either been from a charity shop, me-made or already in my wardrobe. The only exceptions are shoes and undies.
There was no question about getting involved again and this time round I have committed to wearing something me-made every day throughout May. Last year I went for three days a week because I wasn’t confident I could manage every day but in fact it was much easier than I anticipated. I’m not entirely sure I have enough clothes suitable for spring and at the moment I definitely don’t have much spare time to sew so there will have to be lots of repeats. However there’s no point in going for a challenge if it doesn’t actually challenge you!
To that end I’ve also committed to trying at least two new patterns during May. I have a tendency to stick with what I know to avoid stressful fitting issues but I could do with getting out of a rut – although don’t expect anything too dramatic!
I, Jane, of janemakes.wordpress.com, pledge to wear at least one me-made or refashioned item every day and to attempt at least two new-to-me patterns during this year’s Me-Made-May.
I’m planning to post on Instagram during the month to document my efforts, although I can’t guarantee it will be every day.
This week has been a bit hectic so my thoughts on Me-Made-May are a bit late.
My original pledge was to wear one me-made item on at least three days a week and to add one new item to my me-made wardrobe each week. I didn’t want to be too ambitious because I really didn’t think I had enough things to make a daily commitment possible. I’m pleased to say that I exceeded my own expectations by wearing something me-made every day apart from two Sundays when I just grabbed the first thing that came to hand. There were quite a few repeats but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be and I was generally very happy with what I was wearing each day. Although I hadn’t really planned it, I also managed to avoid buying any ready made clothes for the whole month.
I think my favourite/most useful items during the month, apart from the new things below were my floral frock, a stretch shirting top which goes with lots of my skirts and a chambray skirt (not pictured) I’d stopped wearing because the fabric had shrunk in the wash but the lining hadn’t. A five minute fix was all it took.
I added the following to my wardrobe either by sewing new garments, finishing half-completed projects or adapting previous makes.
I found the whole process quite inspiring and have definitely been encouraged to expand my efforts on the me-made front. I’ve realised there are a lot of gaps in my skills (and wardrobe) and I need to be more ambitious and confident – particularly in trying new patterns rather than sticking with the ones I know will work. I’ve now got my Grainline Morris Blazer pattern and hopefully I can get my head round that over the next few days. Having looked at the images I’ve just included I think I need to inject some more colour so perhaps this green ponte from Guthrie and Ghani will be the answer for the blazer.
I’m making progress on the self-drafted shell/vest top. Rather impatiently I used some expensive (but really lovely) jersey from Clothkits to make the first ‘proper’ toile and I really should have waited for the cheap and cheerful jersey I’d ordered from Tissu Fabrics to arrive, which it did this morning. It was a bargain at £3.99 a metre. However, the top is coming along and I think this attempt is wearable, although the fit under the arm isn’t quite right yet. Just the hem to go. I really want to take it up a bit at the shoulders to raise the neckline (and hopefully improve the fit under the arm) and then I think it will be almost perfect. I’m not sure if I’ll mess this one around or make the changes to the next version.
Having spent some time on the Guthrie & Ghani website the other evening I discovered that they sell espadrille soles. I really want to make my own espadrilles! I have quite small feet and can never get them to fit properly. I don’t know how I missed Lauren’s blog post last year but hers look great and they only use a very small amount of fabric. Given that Boden are now charging £60 for theirs I think these are well worth a go.
Have a good weekend!
As I had the house to myself over the Bank Holiday weekend I spent some lovely uninterrupted time at the sewing machine.
The spotty skirt is finished. I’m very glad I decided to line it because it has given it more body and it now hangs much better. I always find that sitting at my desk all day in a skirt lined with a satin-type fabric seems to put too much strain on the back seam and the fabric starts to pull at the stitches. On the last couple of skirts I have added a strip of satin ribbon, stitched along either side of the seam line, and this has definitely ‘spread the load’ and made a difference. I’ve done it again on this skirt just to be on the safe side.
I also decided to finish the hem with bias binding partly because I had cut it slightly too short and partly because the fabric had a tendency to fray rather drastically. I used this tutorial which was very helpful because I’ve never been sure how to finish the ends on bias binding and this worked perfectly. I know the grey lining and binding don’t really match the fabric but the lining was already cut out for another project so it saved a lot of time. I find it is much easier to hand sew the hem using the binding and it does give a really neat finish. The two layer construction of the fabric meant that I could just catch the inner layer so no stitching shows on the outside.
Next up was yet another Coco top. I mentioned the fabric in a previous post – a ponte Roma from Clothspot. When I came to use it it was a lot thinner than I had realised so I decided against the funnel neck and just went for the round neck version. I’m not crazy about the fabric and the stretch is minimal so it is a bit of a wriggle to get out of it! I’m sure it will be a useful basic though.
Last, but most definitely not least, the Brighton Pavilion dress (Butterick See & Sew B5447) is finished! It took no time at all once I got on with it and I absolutely love it. I’ve just noticed this photograph makes the hem look like it slants but it definitely doesn’t. The princess seams which are just visible in the first picture have blended in pretty well and the dress is lined in a lovely fine lawn which is really comfortable to wear. We have a party to go to on the 30th and this will be the perfect party frock! I’m so glad I’ll get a chance to wear it during Me-Made-May.
I’ve nearly finished another skirt with a nautical theme but that will be the subject of a separate post.
This week’s make is progressing well and after the last rather poorly executed concealed zip insertion this one went in reasonably well. However, compared with Karen from didyoumakethat?, my efforts are nothing! The care and attention to detail she has put into the zip insertion for her beautiful red lace dress are pretty impressive.
The spotty double gauze fabric from Clothkits tends to fray a lot so I’ve been finishing the seams off quite carefully by folding the edges under and using a zig zag to hold everything together. I might post a photo of the inside at the end if it looks presentable enough! The fabric isn’t as see-through as I originally thought but I’m still going with a lining because I think the gauzy nature of the fabric will catch on tights and stop the skirt from moving freely. A happy discovery was that I already had a lining cut out from this pattern which I hadn’t used so that will save some time. I experimented with pinning up the hem last night because I cut the pattern a bit shorter than I meant to so needed to be sure that it was going to be wearable and decent!
I’m still on course with my Me-Made-May pledge. Before the temperature plummeted today I was able to wear this dress. It is the same pattern as the infamous Brighton Pavilion frock but is showing signs of wear having been a favourite for several summers. The fabric came from C & H Fabrics in Chichester and is not a typical choice for me but it is very pretty and goes well with several of my cardigans which makes it quite versatile.
C & H Fabrics currently have a window display showcasing some fabrics by our local famous dress designer and founder of Red or Dead, Wayne Hemingway. The images on their website really don’t do the fabrics justice and the Tulip design is very tempting. I shall have to buy some so I can post a decent image of it.
My latest fabric purchase is from Raystitch. I found this organic cotton denim on their site a while ago but it was out of stock. I was keen to make another denim skirt in a neutral colour and discovered it was available again. It is lovely and soft but seems very robust. I’m thinking of trying a new pattern as an alternative to the last denim skirt – perhaps this one from Hot Patterns – but may end up sticking with what I know works. I think this is another fabric that needs to be washed before use in case of shrinkage.
No more Morsbags created over the last few days. I’d like to get another couple finished by the weekend as I have potential recipients in mind.
I follow quite a few other craft, sewing and food blogs and I often see things that make me realise how limited my skills are! This bag from Trish Stitched is absolutely fabulous. She is so talented. I really love the clock fabric lining.
You should also check out Tilly’s polka dot version of her new Arielle skirt if you haven’t seen it already. I really like the way the lining is incorporated in this pattern.
My new denim skirt is finished and I am wearing it today with this shirt from Topshop. I’m only showing the shirt because looking at its construction has convinced me that I could make something similar from the stretch shirting I bought the other day. I was disappointed because the concealed zip in the skirt didn’t go in as well as previous ones but it is amazing what some serious pressing and steaming can achieve and hopefully most people don’t study one’s rear end too closely! I was going to line the skirt but decided to try it without as I can always add one later. So far it is proving very comfortable so I think I’ll leave it as it is.
So far I’m ahead of my Me-Made-May pledge as I’ve worn something handmade every day and the above denim skirt is my make for this week. I wore the grey, part cashmere, top yesterday and I am very pleased with it. Another comfortable make.
I also managed to make four more Morsbags on Tuesday evening (and very early morning on Wednesday) so I was able to give them away that day. Only six more to go. Here’s the latest batch.
All this is really a distraction activity to avoid having to finish the Brighton Pavilion dress ……
I think I might be more inspired if the weather warmed up.
So far I’ve stuck with my Me-Made-May pledge. I’m not planning to photograph every outfit (and certainly not me wearing them!) but I will mention the highlights and the less successful ones.
I was very happy in the newly repurposed top with the patch pockets mentioned in a previous post and ended up wearing this on Saturday and Sunday which was rather lazy. It is very comfortable despite the slightly too-tight sleeves which I think are a result of me forgetting halfway through making it that the seam allowance on Hot Patterns is only ⅜ rather than ⅝.
Yesterday was a different story. The sun came out so I decided to pair the new bright green Coco with a floral skirt (Simplicity 2655). Far too much colour all in one go for me and I couldn’t wait to get home and change. This Coco top has not been an entirely happy make. The fabric is a very ‘springy’ jersey which kept curling up at the edges and I don’t really like the feel of it. I had decided to omit the side slits which was a mistake and it just wasn’t the right length. Despite the horrors of unpicking the microscopic stretch stitch that my machine produces I decided to take the plunge so the top is now shorter with side splits (tricky having already trimmed the seams). I think it will be OK in future without the floral accompaniment!
I am playing it safer today with an old favourite from Simplicity 2192. I love this shape and the fabric is a stretch shirting (not suggested on the list of recommended fabrics) which is really comfortable. I did try making it in white linen but somehow it resembled something a dentist might wear so that went to the charity shop!
I showed this next top in its unfinished state in my last post and it was completed on Saturday. Another unpicking session took place, this time on the sleeves due to less than straight stitching, which resulted in a tiny hole. I was going to try and repair it but in the end I just chopped off the sleeve hem and started again and in fact the new sleeve length is better. It does look a bit boring on the hanger but I’m looking forward to wearing it because the fabric is so lovely and soft.
My skirt today is another old favourite (Simplicity 2343 minus the frilly edge to the pockets) which is showing signs of wear so last night I cut out a new version. I don’t normally wash fabric before I use it but I wanted to be sure this denim from Clothspot didn’t shrink or fade too much. It was fine, just not quite as crisp as it was originally.
I had an unplanned visit to West Dean at the weekend. W, my partner, went out on his bike while I was visiting my parents and decided to implement his Fort Knox security measures on the front door. I had swapped bags and failed to transfer all the necessary keys and was therefore locked out! We agreed that I would drive up to meet him and this gave me the opportunity to visit the Visual Arts students’ selling exhibition to help fund their Summer Show. They were only taking cash so I was restricted to one purchase which was this lovely image by Cathy Griffiths. There was also some beautiful jewellery by Julia Tauber from the Metals Conservation Department.
Finally, one more Morsbag given away and one more made. I’d like to try and finish three more tonight as I have an ideal opportunity to give away four tomorrow which would take my total to 14 given away and only six more to make.
I did it! I signed up for Me-Made-May. This is my pledge :
I, Jane of janemakes.wordpress.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to make better use of all my hand sewn garments and aim to wear at least one Me-Made item for five days each week for the duration of May 2015. I also challenge myself to make one new garment every week during May to add to my collection.
I decided that I just don’t have enough suitable outfits to provide enough variation to commit to one item every day of the week but I’ll see how I go. I hope the weather warms up soon because a lot of my clothes are definitely summer-orientated.
Today is the first of May and I am wearing my olive striped Coco top with a denim skirt. I always worry when I first wash a handmade item because I tend not to wash fabric before cutting out and I dread things emerging from the washing machine shrunk to half their original size. Mind you, when I made my first ‘proper’ skirt a few years ago I fully expected it to disintegrate into its separate pieces the first time I wore it!
I have been reviewing the limited number of hand sewn garments in my wardrobe and there have been a few minor repairs to undertake. I noticed a small mark on a favourite striped top which no amount of stain remover would shift do I decided to add pockets to disguise it. I had none of the original fabric left so I used some grey knit fabric (more about this below) and fashioned some patch pockets. This fabric is very thin so I used a double layer and I’m quite pleased with the result.
This pattern is from Hot Patterns – the Plain & Simple Fitted T Redux. It has a back seam which gives a nice fit, although it does mean extra care when using stripes. I started another top from the same pattern last night in a plain grey knit fabric and it is well on the way to being finished. I bought this fabric some while ago in Lewes but I can’t remember where from. It has some cashmere in it and is lovely and soft. I was a bit nervous about using it because I thought it would be difficult to handle but it has been quite well behaved so far. I spent a long time attaching the neck band because it looked like it wasn’t going to fit but I was very determined. I did top stitch it because the fabric tends to curl up a lot at the edges and this has done the trick.
The bright green Coco is finished. I left the side splits off this one. Here’s a possible outfit for Me-Made-May!
I have several other projects lined up. I bought some fabric from Clothspot the other day. I discovered the site when searching for stretch cotton shirting and bought a remnant for £7.50 (2 metres). I’ve never even thought about making a shirt but this is a lovely crisp fabric with a slight stretch and if I can overcome my fear of buttonholes I’ll give it a go. The other two fabrics in the pile are a fairly robust denim (to become a skirt) and a black ponte roma which will probably become a Coco top with a funnel neck to replace a favourite Cos top which accidentally ended up in a hot wash with a pile of towels.
Have a great Bank Holiday weekend.
I have to confess to failing to finish the Brighton Pavilion dress mentioned in my last post. I’m still trying to decide whether to sign up for Me-Made-May before the end of tomorrow and I will need that dress if I’m going to be able to get through a whole month wearing handmade items! If I was Hila over at Saturday Night Stitch with a fabulous new blazer I would be a lot happier.
Whilst sorting through my fabric stash for suitable leftovers for my Morsbag challenge I came across several pieces of dressmaking fabric that had been hanging around for a while. One of them, which I think came from Ditto, is some kind of stretch fabric but not a jersey, it feels a bit more like a thin neoprene to be honest! There wasn’t quite enough for Simplicity 2655 (which is a favourite of mine) so I had to make the facing from a small piece of brown polka dot fabric and my overall pattern matching wasn’t brilliant due partly to the limited amount of fabric and partly to a lack of attention to detail. The overall effect is OK and the design is so bright this will hopefully distract anyone from noticing the pattern matching.
Talking of bright colours, I recently popped into The Cotton Wool Store in Petworth and bought some bright green jersey fabric to make another Coco top. I’m not sure what has come over me recently because I’m not usually seen in bright colours or prints but I seem to have had a complete about turn recently. The top is not yet hemmed but I’ve managed to use another piece of lovely Liberty bias binding for the neckline and I was so pleased with the cuffs on the previous version that I’ve used them again. I think they finish the sleeve off beautifully and they are so simple to do.
On the day I was there The Cotton Wool Store was also holding a sale in the town hall and I just couldn’t resist a visit. I picked up two metres of this amazing silk for £8. It is quite a heavy fabric and the flower pattern looks like it has been printed onto the surface with gold paint. I’m planning a very simple evening skirt. I think that with the very stiff nature of the fabric a dress or top would make me look like a cardboard cut out!
On the Morsbags front, the current tally is :
- Bags made : 10
- Bags given away : 9
- Bags still to make : 10
After the trapped pin incident on the first bag I decided to secure the handles in place with a small piece of double sided sticky tape before sewing which was very successful.
All the recipients so far seem to have been delighted and I hope all the bags are being put to good use.