Me Made May 2015 #3

The last third of me made outfits. I’ve still been in recovery & off the exercise, and squeezed in a week in Cornwall – holidays! Lovely & much needed :-) But I packed way too much – in fact the clean unworn clothes I brought back outnumbered those that I put in the laundry! I took a photo – look!!

My unworn clothes I packed to take to Cornwall this May

My unworn clothes I packed to take to Cornwall this May

Over optimistic packing shorts, bikinis & my favorite sleeveless tops …

May 21st

A day at the office, grabbing lunch in Parade Gardens with the Empire Hotel in the background.

21 May

Simplicity 1459 dress (oh my, this dress washes like a dream – no ironing !! I have to admit that I was a bit fearful the first time I washed it, imaging all that skirt to press…..but no ironing required. Score!)

Suede jacket- Kwik Sew 3334

Then when I got home I slobbed out in …

21 May pm

Deer & Doe Plantain top

Polka dot leggings & skirt combo (yet to be blogged)

May 22nd

Working at home & feeling chilly….

22 May

So Zo Dolores batwing floral dress– now this is best when worn with a cardigan mainly due to its all over floral, it is a bit overwhelming without the solid colour to break it up. But as a cosy stylish dress, it’s a winner ….

Teal cardigan (yet to be blogged)

May 23rd

Holidays started!

23 May

Polka dot leggings

Chambray dress (yet to be blogged)

Red Oslo cardigan

May 24th

It was a damp & rainy day today & we went for a rainy walk, exploring the neighbourhood a bit, but no photos in the rain …

May 24

So Zo Dolores top- Dr Jacobi style

Sew Over It denim trousers

Teal cardigan

Suede jacket- Kwik Sew 3334

May 25th

Today’s walk to the beach …

May 26

Maria Denmark white Edith blouse

Sew U – Red cigarette pants

BHL Victoria knit blazer

May 26th

Sneaking in another read at the beach …

May 27

Built by Wendy dresses – Brighton Pavilions dress (yes! That means it was summer that day!)

Red Seamwork Oslo cardigan- to be blogged

But in the evening snuggled up with my

27 May pm

Drafting top

Floral ¾ Hudson pants

May 27th

Started with Floral Hudsons, Red Oslo and Drafting top as the evening before

changed into

May 28

Black Maria Denmark Day to Night drape top

Megan Nielson Tania Culottes

Red Oslo cardigan

May 29th

Shopping! Rain! Truro fabrics :-)

May 29

SoZo Dolores batwing top (this one is actually made by Zoe herself & was a gift. I think it counts for MMM?)

Teal cardigan

Tilly & the Buttons denim Arielle skirt

Sewaholic Robson Trench coat

May 30th

The perfect holiday dress – super comfy to spend 4 hours in the car driving home

May 30

Kitschy Koo Comino Cap dress

Red Oslo Cardigan

May 31st

I managed to go for a run today – I felt that I had enough recovery time & my friends were running around the country lanes, even though it was raining….

May 31 running

Nothing but Flowers Megan Nielson Virginia leggings

Maria Denmark Olivia tshirt (not blogged specifically)

Then changed into

May 31

Jamie jeans

Liberty Lawn Simplicity 2614 top

Muse Jenna cardigan in grey

Suede jacket- Kwik Sew 3334

And on a related note, here is a shot of my me made Pjs- summer versions. I have been refashioning those cotton finishers’ tshirts that I have got after half marathons using SoZo’s vest pattern. They are so much more wearable now.

so zo vests

I have also an array of Pjs – full length, but recently whipped up a couple of pairs of shorts using T&B Love at First Stitch Margot pattern – but shortening them. Using my four thread overlocker stitch I can whip these up in less than an hour from cutting out to sewing a button on to identify the front.  Sorry no photo here!

So my thoughts about Me Made May? I do really only tend to wear my self made clothes every day, including pants (most days & of varying quality!)  & slips, so the challenge is always taking the photos for me.  Having good solid jackets & cardigans make all the difference to completing a me made outfit & I loved my Suede jacket & my new as yet unblogged red & teal cardigans.

I was disappointed to be so off form that I couldn’t play around with my running clothes – that would have been more interesting!  But in effect I had 3 weeks off running which was a shame.

In terms of the photos, I didn’t get out & about as much as I thought I would, so whether I hit my target of 5 photos off-site is doubtful. Why I would think I could get 5 shots in out of 7 beats me – I don’t work in the town as much as I used to, I think I was a bit rash…but the selfie stick was a fun toy to play with & I expect to use it more now. I love that it looks like I am doing something other than posing for a photo as I have to use two hands – makes me see how I would look water skiing …..

Have you enjoyed celebrating your me mades in May?

Feature

Simplicity star sewist contest- Hawaiian purple haze 

This is a journey through time and space……well, about 6 weeks and two 360 mile round trips, and the trouble is I’ve got to squeeze it all in to one blog post.

Let’s start this blog post in the same way that I got in the mood for the photo shoot – a breakfast of fresh pineapple, with a healthy & very robust  white orchid in view on the window sill (not mine- I do not have a way with orchids) as I looked out at the lush green garden – it was full of vitality. The sky (unusually for this May) was a deep blue and the sun was warming, coaxing us to venture out to the beach.

Hawaiian dress

And we did. We nipped out to catch some sand & some surf in order to bring my latest make to life. I am evoking mother surf, or trying to, I mean this is the UK, I have made it to the closest we come to Hawaii-Five-O – Fistral beach, Newquay. This is my entry for the Simplicity Star Sewist, the dressmaking category using New Look 6145 which is a pattern for a simple shift dress with various sleeve lengths & a collar option.  In other words a great basic- this is what my Hawaiian two-piece is made from with a little bit of pattern cutting.

People, it’s going to be a long one, this, so if you are curious enough to read on, grab a cuppa & maybe some energy bars…

Rewind to the beginning. I happened upon the Simplicity Star Sewist contest through Twitter- an initiative for the Simplicity Blogger Circle & I was excited enough to request the pattern straight up (every entrant gets a free copy – yay!)

“Simplicity

 

Taken from the blog, Simplicity Star Sewist had three categories with different patterns for each and I chose …

“Best dressmaking project

The pattern in question for this category is the NewLook shift dress 6145, showcased in the Simplicity catalogue in chic check print.
This simple interpretation offers bloggers the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild, through their choice of fabric, trimmings or styling, with the dress able to be adapted to various sleeve lengths and necklines.”

And what about the rules?

Hawaiian dress

Again, from the blog,

“THE CHALLENGE

Your challenge is to use the above patterns as a basis for your own bespoke creation. The only rule is that there are no rules!
Using the pattern as your foundation, go wild with fabric, colour, nips here, tucks there and feel free to accessorise to the hilt! Whether fabric is your forte or your signature style is more haute couture, simply show us what you’re made of and stamp your very own style on these pattern.”

This is about my entry.   I had plenty of time, the deadline being the end of May (yes, tomorrow).

Hawaiian

What’s great about a challenge is when you feel like you’ve extended yourself,  for me a challenge is supposed to be a challenge, at whatever level that might be for you. I have different types and the one I guess I succumb to the most is the ‘ make it as quickly as possible for wearing at a certain occasion’. That is my weakness. I totally love the speed-sewing-by-the-seat-of-my-pants challenge. I positively relish it. And I tend to perform well in that sewing environment.  (I would get an A from teacher & a shake of the head from my Mum who hates leaving anything until the last minute).

Hawaiian

So to take part in the Simplicity Star Sewist challenge, to feel challenged, I needed to make it about something else. I decided to go to town on design. This is a shift dress pattern, and I love shift dresses. But to play around with the design, the possible nips and tucks and embellishments? I consulted my 1970s Japanese pattern cutting books for inspiration. I was going retro. (Yes this means I can also count this towards my Vintage Pledge!)

I started this thinking that I would find some cool collar/ pocket combination to add. Maybe that would give me some colour blocking options- I was imagining tab pockets, colour blocked bibs…get my drift? But through perusal of my source of inspiration I kept returning to this design- a two piece dress that would accommodate the shift dress (New Look 6145 in this case) as the starter.

The one in the middle!

The one in the middle!

This two piece dress has a side front opening top, (asymmetric) with a skirt that has a knife pleat in alignment with the side front opening (again asymmetric) .

1970s two piece dress (2)

All the adjustments to the basic pattern are shown alongside the design. I just had to implement them.

But what this design also suggested to me was my fabric choice. The drawing shows the model wearing the two piece made out of a border print with the big florals growing up from the skirt hem, through the skirt and the hem of the blouse, but the print disappears the further away from the hem that you come.  I needed to find the right border print in a cotton ( or suitable woven) and that my friends was not as easy you think. I wanted colour, scale and type of fabric to be right.

I scoured the internet.  All my favorites, searching for “border print”.  I searched eBAY which had a few border prints, quite a few were jersey.  But to get the right border print for this?  Tough.  I mean I had to like it as well as it being in the right colours for me & as well as it looking like it would work with this design.  and I came across Lazy Island, a specialist in Hawaiian fabric, some of which are border print.  I can’t link exactly to the one that I chose, but you can find it on that link  (& it looks as if it has been reduced since I ordered it too).  Anyway this is it.

Hawaiian border printI love purple & green.  I love the Hawaiian hibiscus flowers, and the palms & is that a cheese plant?  Anyway, this seemed to be the best shot.  The fabric arrived very promptly & is a poly cotton, with a hand that reminds me of bowling shirts – the slightest sheen & crispness  to hold a crease.

So this is the outcome of my very definite “creative/ design” phase – plenty of thinking time.  That was about 6 weeks ago.  About four or so weeks ago I started the making of this project.  First things first was to prepare my pattern, taking the pieces from New Look 6145 and then performing all sorts of incredibly satisfying measurements & line drawing to replicate the pattern adjustments described in the Japanese pattern book.

New Look 6145

You can see the original pattern & how I added to it. Yes, I have cut it to make the bodice & before that traced to make the skirt pattern pieces. Am I shocker to say that I cut my patterns? – whether it is to make the short sleeved version, the shorter length, whatever. I make sure I keep the pieces I cut off because they can always be stuck back on again. And I do. I have a very healthy relationship with my scotch tape 😉

So, what I had to do to the simple shift bodice was to create not just a front opening – but an asymmetric one. And take away the  seam allowances for the  back opening. I kept the same shaping at side seams as the shift dress, I kept the same darts & eventually the same sleeves. All I had to do differently was to add extra to the centre front for the right front, with a narrower left front all with facings. I did make a toile, actually I made two, before settling on the amount of overlap at the left front that felt & looked right.

The skirt is also based on the dress- the lower part of it. According to the Japanese pattern there is an asymmetric knife pleat that falls in line with the right front edge – a key part of the charm of this ensemble. I needed to add front & back darts to the skirt pieces & felt a side zip would work well. The off-centre pleat needed about 10cm adding to the width of the skirt front – & the pleat actually covers the left dart. No changes to the skirt back, except to move the zip from the back to the side. I made a toile for the skirt too & tried both toiles on together to check on the bodice overlap & the skirt’s pleat. The skirt & blouse also had to work together – the blouse could not be too tight & had to allow the skirt to be its A line self – which meant that the blouse would not be figure hugging.

I was incredibly fortunate to be sewing this whilst staying with my parents. (No it was not planned that way, but it’s just how it worked out!) Not only was it a lovely project to chat to my sewing-guru Mum about- initially (ie in my design phase) I showed her the 1970s books for us to enjoy styles & my Mum’s sewing memories, but last week I benefitted from a second pair of hands and an experienced eye to hep with the fitting – Oh my word- as someone who always struggles in front of the mirror, a mouthful of pins, desperately trying to see the back (& adjust the back) whilst holding a reasonably normal posture – for attempts one, two & three…Yes, if you can ever enlist the help of someone to help with fit & pinning adjustments it is indescribably pleasurable rather than a cause of stress & frustration!

Toile with skirt, checking side seams against skirt

Toile with skirt, checking side seams against skirt

So once the toiles were at a point – it was time to progress. It was time to cut!!! I have to admit I was rather scared. I had bought 3m of fabric & it seemed heaps! I would have loads left over to make coordinating tops, shorts etc etc! But first I made the skirt. Once I had made the skirt, I could then decide about pattern placement for the blouse. The skirt was easy for me – I wanted the big flowers, the hibiscus & cheese plant leaves to be growing up from the hem. The tops of “pointy” tropical flowers might be obscured by the blouse when wearing both together, but that was OK. I could have had the “pointy “ tropical flowers as the focus in the skirt- but the hibiscus won that particular battle with me. I made sure that the pattern on the back was balanced too – it is off centre, but balanced. That’s by design, I didn’t want it too symmetrical.

Excuse creasing, it's survived being worn whilst driving

Excuse creasing, it’s survived being worn whilst driving

So I made the skirt up ( you can see it is a simple skirt – darts, side seams with an invisible zip). I did not attach the waistband until much later. The setting of the pleat would be a step I took after the blouse was finished, so that I could make sure the final position of the pleat was exactly in line with the blouse front- matching the asymmetricals.

Inside showing the dart and the pleat

Inside showing the dart and the pleat

So cutting out the blouse. I had to play around with the fabric & the pattern on the skirt to get the best effect together. If I was making the blouse on its own out of this fabric I would have kept it predominantly purple, but had the pattern growing up from the hem. However, that looked absolutely pants with the full-on hibiscus action that was going on with the skirt. Too much. The effect of the “two-piece dress” would be lost. So the pattern needed to come down from the shoulders. Fronds of palms & this time, the “pointy” flowers were the feature.

Bodice pieces

I used the toile as pattern pieces

Again, paying attention to how the back looked – how balanced it was- was important. At this point I began to see that there was not going to be a lot left over for shorts! The fabric was getting eaten up! Mainly the pattern – there was still enough plain purple for the facings & the waistband. And luckily there was enough pattern to plop a hibiscus on each of the sleeves. So the blouse looks as if the plants are growing over the top half, before there is a big expanse of the purple before your eyes get to the flower power skirt.

Bodice pieces

Thread tracing showing where the right front ends

Sewing it up felt like the culmination of all of my plotting, my designing & my chats about process with my Mum. All the ground work had been captured by the toile process. I tried it on again just to tweak the front edge, then drew generous facings from the toile. At this point I realised that the left front needed to become slightly narrower to make sure that the position of the buttons would be supported by the facing underneath, for strength.  My original drafting had not really taken anything off the left front, and the overlap between the right & left was huge.  This was easy but necessary to remedy.

Rouleau loops

The longest part by far of the blouse construction was the facing-rouleau loops & button covering stage. I made sure to measure every placement & every length of loop to ensure they were equal (I have been know to eyeball such things in the past ). And now –  fastening & unfastening rouleau loops to wear seems to take just as long 😉

The only thing I am less happy with is the interfacing which I bought locally from a craft shop – they only had one variety which I think is medium & hasn’t fused as nicely as a softer one would have.  But hey ho.

As I mentioned, once the blouse was finished I could set the skirt’s pleat & then add the waistband. The hem was stitched using an invisible hem by machine. Popping a purple button on it was the final touch.

Invisible zip

I have lots of amusing thoughts about this “two-piece dress”. First of all, at some point in my adult life I have owned three out of the four plants showcased in big scale – our Cheese plant was called Derek – I think he got rather straggly & didn’t make it. I still have parlour palms in my house but they really don’t like the conservatory, even if I like them in the conservatory. I thought a hibiscus (tropical plant, right?) would enjoy living in my conservatory. I was wrong. So out of the three, only one still survives.

Hawaiian dress

Other amusing thoughts – now I have never been to Hawaii so I might be really far off the mark here – however as a two piece this could be the kind of “uniform” worn by someone in the hospitality industry? OR someone in beauty – a manicurist or masseur? I think it is the asymmetric front & tunic effect!  If anyone would like to satisfy my ignorance  I’ve always wanted to visit & would love to see for myself 😉

But what other thoughts do I have now I have finished it?

I’ve got a unique outfit – actually I have three unique outfit possibilities – as a dress it is one of a kind. Is it too much? I am not sure.

Hawaiian top

As a blouse it feels almost like a bowling shirt worn with jeans.

The fit has enough room for movement – ?bowling too!

Hawaiian skirt

The skirt is a classic beach skirt when worn with a vest top, or here, with a halter top.

I can see it getting worn more as separates than as a two-piece but I always have that option. That’s what’s so great about two-pieces – they have- two- pieces!!

Hawaiian 3

But , it really was a challenge that I enjoyed. Yes, having a dabble with pattern cutting and for it to work is a clear winner for me. It makes me feel like I am learning & am able to push my limits. This is ‘design’ & with a basic pattern, it’s amazing what can come from it.

Hawaiian

I also loved having the chance to share my thinking & the fitting with my Mum. We live 180 miles apart & so don’t get the chance to do any more than chat about sewing when we get together. This time I was staying for longer & brought my overlocker (for seam finishing) & used my Mum’s machine- which is the same as mine. Involving my Mum in this project was great. And that I used one of her pattern books from the early 1970s was even more special. Looking through the book brought back all her sewing memories, the things she had made from it!

So, it’s been a project of many elements. I have no idea whether it is too far away from the intention of the Star Sewist competition, to revisit:

  • Using the pattern as your foundation (check)
  • Go wild with fabric, colour (check!)
  • Nips here, tucks there (er, yes if more than nips & a very big pleat count!)
  • and feel free to accessorise to the hilt (I’ve accessorised with the surf 😉  )
  • Simply show us what you’re made of and stamp your very own style on these pattern….
Hawaiian dress

How I love the sea ….

So thank you Simplicity for hosting this challenge, I’ve loved it for all the reasons above & am going to have some real fun wearing it too.

 

IMG_3825

Easy peasey elastic waisted skirt

Another REALLY easy skirt was this elastic waisted skirt using John Kaldor fabric (I think it is called something like Pink Crush) from SewBox, a remnant, kindly given to me by Susan. I was dithering over which John Kaldor fabric to chose from SewBox, & when I plumped for this, Susan told me that there was less than a metre left….& that I could have it. I do love it & it’s like a brushed cotton & the colours are yummy. I am planning to repurpose/ remake a huge cashmere wrap cardigan I bought second hand just to go with this. It’ll look so cuddly together!!

John Kaldor skirt

My brain immediately whirred a bit in remnant mode. Might not be enough for a waistband, the fabric has lovely drape & therefore would suit gathers …..elastic could be my answer as long as I could find wide elastic that was hot pink. I might then be able to get away with it looking half way stylish rather than trying to hide the waist with a wide elastic waspi-belt.

I didn’t have much trouble finding the elastic on ebay. I then remembered Jane’s tutorial for an easy peasy elastic waisted skirt & dipped in, following along.

 

The only thing I did differently was to hem after sewing the whole skirt (as I didn’t know how long I wanted it) & to finish the top edge of my skirt before I attached it to the elastic. Jane was using a knit fabric in her tutorial that obviously doesn’t have the same tendencies to fray.

But it’s not bad for a simple & very quick skirt- great for a beginner. I am overcoming my  sew snobbery about elastic waists, (see my recent scuba circle skirt which also had an elastic waist) and when you can use the elastic so deliberately it becomes a feature that’s an even bigger bonus when it is so easy to make.  I think it shows the fabric off beautifully & this is a real spring/ autumn skirt with my tan boots.

John Kaldor skirt

And actually it’s pretty now too!

IMG_3727

Me Made May 2015- #2

Another ten day block of me made outfits. I’ve been off colour so haven’t been running :-( nor out & about that much, so my photos will reflect this.   But the acquisition of the selfie stick has been coming into its own…..

Away we go

May 11th

Behind me in the bright light is Bath’s oldest house, C14th  abode of Sally Lunn, now an olde worlde tea roome selling Sally’s famous Buns.  OO er.

A day in the office, trying to force Spring with my outfit:

11 May

Scalloped Colette Violet blouse

Love at First Stitch polka dot Clemence skirt

Suede jacket – Kwik Sew 3334

May 12th

Another day at the office, decided to go corporate today!  Taken in a quieter street that looks very much like many city centre streets & did not involve putting on too much of a performance with the selfie stick/ golf club.

12 May

Sew Over It Pussy Bow blouse

Capital Chic Champagne skirt

Sewaholic Robson trenchcoat

May 13th

Today was back to back events & meetings- I needed to stay cool, calm & collected. Posing by Bath Abbey in the late afternoon sun.

13 May

80% Betty dress

Suede jacket- Kwik Sew 3334

May 14th

Working at home (or so I thought) – I had to make a trip into the office to sort out some IT problems- in the driving rain…

Simplicity 1696 chino trousers

Seamwork striped Aberdeen top (yet to be blogged)

McCalls 6708 cardigan

and then I needed to snuggle in the evening. This is a confession. Yes I can sometime be found in my toddler suit/ custody suit when I don’t think anyone will see me.

 

Arctic Hudson trousers

Linden sweatshirt

Handknitted slippersocks

May 15th

Working at home- yeah!  

15 May

Sewbox John Kaldor skirt (to be blogged)

Grey Sewaholic Renfrew top

Muse Jenna cardigan

May16th

I took my selfie stick in my bag with me to Sainsbury’s- do you get that? That is soooo sad!! I stopped by the shrubbery  when I saw people coming, hiding my selfie stick down the side of my skirt, pretending to admire the effective use of planting….

16 May

Love at First Stitch Mimi blouse

Cake patterns Pavolva skirt in jersey ( I wear this such a lot when the temperatures are just a tad warmer …)

Muse patterns Jenna cardigan (not shown)

Rainbow beach bag

May 17th

I had to opt out of my run today – gutted as it’s usually my weekend highlight. So I cosied up & sewed:

17 May

Maria Denmark Edith blouse in linen

Sew Over It Ultimate trousers- floral party on my legs version

Burda cocoon cardigan

May 18th

Working at home- Bimble & Pimble called her Moneta/Violet dress ‘stealth Pjs’ & I so agree!

18 May

Colette Moneta dress in polka dots

Simplicity 2154 cardigan

Seamwork Manila ponte leggings (honest!)

May 19th

Changeable weather today, but still had to be wrapped up in:

19 May

Grey Sewaholic Renfrew top

Papercut Ooh lala Leggings

Tropical explosion scuba circle skirt (Cake Patterns Pavlova)

McCalls 6708 cardigan in grass green – now this doesn’t usually get worn as the neck is so low due to the mistake I made when making it, but it is so right colour-wise with this skirt, that maybe it’ll get a bit more use as from now …..

May 20th

Back in the office today, but still rather chilly.  Trousers it had to be.  Behind me another of Bath’s iconic landmarks, Pulteney Bridge.

20 May

 

Chambray pintucked grandad shirt

Navy Sew Over It Ultimate trousers

Simplicity 2154 cardigan

Suede jacket- Kwik Sew 3334

Phew, that’s another 10 days !  The last 10 days will be interesting- I’ll be away by the seaside for some of it.  And just what to pack?!?!?!  How are you getting on?

Cinco de Mayo dress

Cinco de Mayo! Flora-worth

So here is my Mexican dress for a crayzzeeeee Cinco de Mayo party (already previewed as part of my first May Made May round up).  Yep there were Margueritas, wraps, amazing veg enchiladas (made by me & they went down a storm 😉 ), Sol beer with wedges of lime (I know, it’s so 90s, but we love it) & of course a pinata. Folks came dressed with differing levels of commitment to fancy dress, but there was a fine array of sombreros, ponchos & oversized fake moustachios (& you should have seen the men hahahaha!).

I felt so bad: I finished the pinata off- I know that's the point but it meant no one else could have a go after me :-(

I felt so bad: I finished the pinata off- I know that’s the point but it meant no one else could have a go after me :-(

So I am glad that I made the effort therefore to make a dress that received compliments aplenty, even from the blokes. I think they were visioning the fabric made up as shirts for themselves. Or couldn’t believe how lucky I was to find a dress that was so appropriate. Well it’s because I sew, innit?

I was organised & made this up with a few weeks to spare. Funny for me, not my usual seat-of-the-pants sewing for an event, but with the marathon I somehow predicted the unexpected lack of time, or more true, lack of energy to spend sewing afterwards.

 Cinco de Mayo dress

The fabric was the starting point. I had a most pleasurable time surfing Fancy Moon (totally obvious choice for themed fabric- I did not need to look anywhere else. ) I had remembered some Frida Khalo fabric, but it was out of stock & also too day of the dead, which when I did my research was so far away from what Cinco de mayo was all about. Like Der. This might seem obvious to peeps living in much closer proximity &/or with much better world history & general knowledge than me, but I admit to blanding out & generalising. I am so sorry- I am truly ashamed to admit how ignorant I was. It always goes to show- do your research! Having done my research it was much clearer that I needed some fierce lady Mexican riders with cacti & even fiercer steeds! Giddy up! This ‘Charras Bright ‘ Folklorico Alexander Henry fabric shot the can right off the range.

Cinco de Mayo dress

But I was only able to stretch to 1.5m so had a challenge on my hands with choice of dress pattern. AND with such a large & bold print there was real danger of being drowned in senoritas & flaring nostrils. BUT (lots of emphasis here with the capitalisation- this is important!) – BUT – I also wanted a pattern that allowed the images on the print to show & not get lost in gathers or pleats. So where do I go for such a dress pattern – one that I have used before? Why the Hepworth dress by Sinbad & Sailor. However, due to the size of the print, I felt that I needed a different bodice, one that showed more flesh. Not knowing how low the neckline would be on me I went for the Flora dress – By Hand London.

And I moved the zip from the centre back to the side. What forethought, I am still pleased with myself on that one!

Matching the bodice to the skirt though was not without its trials. I lengthened the bodice when I cut it out first of all as I wanted it to hit at waist level. Then there was the trial & error exercise matching the bodice darts to the skirt darts. That took a few attempts & lots of line drawing on the skirt 😉

Dart matching

Dart matching

But got there in the end.

Cinco de Mayo

Once I had done that I could attach the skirt to the bodice & then try on. I did have to adjust the bodice length – I think I had been over generous, so once on I could mark where it needed to be & resew. But for all that, it wasn’t too much hard work & it came together relatively easily – even if it was over the course of a few stints rather than solid sewing.

Cinco de Mayo

So it went down very well at the party, especially with my suede jacket & cowboy boots. I am not sure if the strappy Flora neckline suits me particularly- it’s probably why I held out originally, but it’s different from usual & nice to wear. In fact I really like the neckline with the jacket on – just not so sure about the square straps. I won’t be making any changes though & love Mexican food, so think I will definitely use it as my no thought required outfit whenever we have Mexican! Hahahaha!!!

Now I have a bit of catching up to do, so tune back tomorrow if you are at all curious about my second Me Made May round up – the second ten days.  Ta ra!

shorts

Tropical reef runners! Jalie 3351

Good morning!  I was asked to take part in Dress Up Party that’s happening this month at Sewsweetness – check it out, there’s loads  of pattern reviews (like sometimes several in a day!) going on there!  For my part I contributed my first attempt (so far) of Jalie 3351.

I shall give you a summary here, but for more information head on over to find out more :-)

DressUpParty

I have made the Jalie running skort a few times & have been so impressed with it that I recently invested in Jalie 3351, described as ‘swim shorts’ as they have integral undies.  Having made them up I can see they would be excellent as swim shorts! But that was not why I bought the pattern. I was first intrigued when Dawn, from Two on Two Off, a prolific sewist, blogger & amazing runner shared her version that she made for running. I tucked this away, with interest, but no commitment at that point. And months later Maria from How Good is That made some swim shorts using the same pattern.

When I looked it up I found it was available as a pdf download & went for it. In the UK you can get Jalie patterns from Habithat & the turnaround is very speedy! Here’s the pattern if you are buying in UK.

shorts 1

Well I made them up using my remainder of tropical reef fabric from Funki Fabrics which would be totally suitable for using for swim shorts as well (in fact that’s what Maria used, above). But remember that this fabric is not however strictly speaking “ wicking or breathable” but I forsee it being less of a problem, even on warmer days, when so much of my legs are actually out. We shall of course see! No days warm enough here yet to try out. I made them without the integral undies – just shorts. They have a side panel constructed very much like the skort (2796) to create a side pocket & interesting shaped hem.

shorts 2

What was really odd to me was the way the waistband was sewn. I still can’t get my head around it to explain it in any way useful, but it looks really neat on the outside.

shorts3

I am not 100% sure that I got it right….it looks as if there is excess on the inside, but it is very comfy to wear. Dawn explains it much better than me & hers look like the facing is not baggy on the inside.  In fact I wished I’d gone back to Dawn’s post when I was making them, as I think I would have done it differently …

Now the wearing. They are SHORT! I have to confess that the public at large did not get to see this much of my spring legs wobbling around on my run- I wore inner lycra shorts underneath & felt more decent :-)

shorts 4

But it has to be said, I do really love running in shorts & these are no exception. I like the pattern. I love that I have fishes on them & that if I want, I can use them at the beach too….

scuba circle skirt feature

Tropical jungle explosion- scuba circle skirt!

I have already shown you this skirt… hanging on rather a run of the mill wooden coat hanger against a rather mundane white door.  But this, I think, is not a mundane skirt.  Absolutely not.

This wild scuba fabric  was a surprise gift from Josie at Fabric Godmother – she picked out something that she thought I would like.  Such great gift-picking- it is totally me!  It’s positively bursting with vibrant colours, lush tropical flowers with a very cheeky blend of leopard skin thown in!  I know of quite a few people who would be drawn to this fabric hahaha!

scuba circle skirt 1

So, this is scuba, and to be honest I had been a bit unsure of scuba.  What to use it for?  I did not really think I was a bodycon dress wearer.  Marie at A Stitching Odyssey made a scuba skater dress (in fabric that looks very similar too!)  But as it was coming into Spring, did I really want to make a dress out of something so “polyestery”?  And that’s where my imagination stopped.  Until that is I saw a post on the Fabric Godmother’s blog where she used black scuba to make a Hollyburn skirt.  That really opened my eyes – you mean scuba can be used for skirts….with pockets?  (I am wary of assuming  knits can handle pockets – side seam pockets & even the front pockets as on a Hollyburn- because I think you need a knit with some kind of a structure for the latter & am still uncertain about side seam pockets per se for most knits ….but that’s probably my own experience & not having cracked it yet).

scuba circle skirt 2

OK, sorry, back to scuba and skirts.  I googled ‘scuba skirt’ & then narrowed in on either a scuba circle skirt or a scuba skater skirts.  It became clear to me that I had enough fabric to make a circle skirt & that the scuba would give it structure, yet its weight should allow it to hang pretty well but with a sleek waist.  No more prevaricating.  The whole decision process possibly took longer than the making once I had decided.

scuba circle skirt 3

I used the Cake Pavlova skirt as I had previously made it in jersey (& linen here) & the jersey skirt has had a lot of wear & it is one of my faves.  It has two seams & a waistband.  The waistband is elasticated for the knit version.  I omitted the pocket this time as I thought it would mess up the already wild print  & would take extra time!  This skirt, people, took next to no time to make!  But this is just a circle skirt, people.  In a knit, perhaps one of the easiest skirts to make- seriously.  No fastenings.  Sew with a stretch stitch/ narrow zig zag or an overlocker & you’re away.

waistband

And guess what else saves time?  Following Josie’s example I have left the hem unsewn & unfinished.  [Gasp]  I let the skirt hang a few days before measuring up from the floor ….& I just cut the hem at the length I wanted.  It feels kind of naughty!

scuba circle skirt 4

Now wearing this skirt is like a breath of fresh air.  It really does hang beautifully & being a circle skirt is not too bulky around the waist.  I hate to say it but the elastic waist is also very comfortable (OMG I must be getting old!!!!! )  I would love to be wearing it as I am modelling it, wedges & bare legs- but I’ve had to layer up & stick leggings underneath it to stop the May chills.  In my view though this is one of those pieces that glams up causal wear! (even with leggings on!)  And being a circle skirt it is so much fun moving around in it, letting the wind catch it (encouraging the wind to catch it too!), swooping down the stairs.  Heaps of pleasure for those of us easily pleased :-)

Now I understand if this fabric isn’t quite to your everyday wear, but there are quite a few scuba fabrics at Fabric Godmother – some more prints as well as some gorgeous solid colours with embossed details in them (so not “plain” at all but very practical !).

I am no longer fearful of scuba!  Hurrah!  I get it!

Bluebells

Me Made May #1

How many days should I include as we are already half way through the month & I have quite a few pics as some days had multiple outfits….I shall play it by ear & will completely forgive any lack or losing of interest if this becomes too much or if Me Made May is not your thing.

May 1st

01 May 2015

 

This is a new fave for lounging – but for me brings a little controversy as it is a departure from my “style” – even from my usual casual style.  Expect some elaborating when I come to write about it!

May 2nd

02 May 2015

 

  • Blue long sleeved tshirt (unblogged)
  • Julia cardigan (mauled by cat claws after a desperately traumatic visit to the vet & is consequentially sporting a fair few holes on the right neck/ shoulder)
  • Miette skirt 
  • Anise jacket

I’d been to the hairdressers, whoop whoop.  I love this skirt & my jacket.  They must rank pretty highly in all time favorite things I’ve made.

May 3rd

Hahaha!  Enter the selfie stick!  I shall now look as if I am learning (badly) to play golf, or am fancying myself as a jedi….warning – shots will now have their own distinct “character” & I don’t have long enough arms to include my feet ….

For the run …

For the rest of the day pic I found a beautiful cherry tree to catch in the backdrop on my way home from visiting a friend

May 4th

04 May 2015

 

A trip to Stourhead for the bank holiday with a picnic!

May 5th

A day at the office:

Out with for a meal (a marathon celebration with running pals)

May 6th

06 May 2015

A full on day at work & I didn’t manage to get out to take a photograph :-(

May 7th

07 May 2015

 

Now it was election day & I was a poll station clerk, which was hugely interesting, but there are all sorts of rules about not leaving the building, clearly no photos & since I left the house at 6am & got home near 11pm – no proper photo.  The outfit above on a hanger looks completely ‘Golden Girls’ in my mind, but truly it was much better on!  And I needed the pashmina as it was blimmin freezing!  I even wished I’d worn thermal tights….

May 8th

08 May 2015

 

Another brilliant, but long day- I was involved in the count for the local elections.

May 9th

A day with a party !  So for the domestic part of my day at home & running errands:

For the Cinco de Mayo Party

May 10th

I foolishly entered a half marathon- it was very local to me & a route that I love running.  Only I was not really up for it physically & let’s just say I struggled!  So the rest of Sunday was kind of me being wasted ….

The race:

The recovery:

  • Grey dot leggings again (Unblogged as yet)
  • Grey knit skirt again (unblogged as yet)
  • Merino Coco top

I think we should call it a day there, with the end of the first installment of Me Made May.  How are you getting on?  if you are in the UK are you as frustrated as me at the weather?  I have suffered from over optimism in getting sandals out, but they are gathering dust and I am still wearing tights & had to bring my winter boots back out ….!!!  Oh the weather!!!!

Emerging from a very tired place with some sneak peeks

Hello all!  I think this is the longest break I have ever taken since I started my blog.  I have just been near exhaustion what with post marathon recovery & an exceptionally busy time at work that clearly had to be the priority for my energies.  But I am not one to harp on about things like that, but in case you were wondering about the silence….it is surprising how my creative energies get zapped & writing & social media is more vulnerable than sewing as I have managed to sew a few things before & after the marathon.

I have not taken photos / modelling shots of many of these though, so I thought, for a change I would give you a preview of what’s to come.  Hanger shots ahoy!

I have made skirts.

floral

This is using some John Kaldor fabric from Sewbox – Susan kindly gave me a remnant – not enough to sell she said, but my beady eyes had clocked it previously as being something with potential. There is no more left unfortunately, but some other John Kaldor fabrics here.  It’s a brushed cotton- possibly not enough for a waistband I thought so I ordered some extra wide elastic….

meringue

Then there is this, a straight hemmed version of the Meringue skirt from the Colette Patterns Handbook using this fabric I bought from the Village Haberdashery which was in the sale earlier in the year, that has sadly sold out now.

scuba

But this one packs a punch!  This is a circle skirt using the pavlova pattern and some wild (& I mean rrrroooarr !) scuba from the Fabric Godmother.  What a treat!

I’ve made leggings, and a couple of tops, including a stripey v neck Aberdeen from Seamwork (being worn now, so not even a sneaky peek of that one today!)

dot leggings

Leggings for day wear in grey polka dots, from Tissu Fabrics

ponte

red ponte Manila  leggings by Seamwork and

snakeskin

leggings for running in this fabulous flashy pink/purple snakeskin also from Fabric Godmother – it has gold highlights!

cinquo

And rather a fun dress for a Mexican themed party- using this Alexander Henry fabric from Fancy Moon, but you will have to wait for more pattern details!

I’ve also made some pants using the new pattern from Kitschy Koo- the Barrie boy cut briefs!  But they are ALWAYS either in the wash or being worn & therefore are very elusive to photograph….a sign of success….

Now most of these, with the exception of the dress, were simple quick makes- just what I needed when feeling less than full battery powered.  The dress I made over several installments, as some of it was tricky & I’d get too tired to follow it through in one go.   It was good that I knew when to stop!

So I shall get photographing to show them all in 3D & as part of an outfit so that I can tell their individual stories, you know, like I usually do….

I have stacks (well more than 14) photos for Me Made May.  I’ll have to split them as that’s far too much for one blog post!  You see I have a lot of catching up to do ……so now I have made a start & got back on the blogging horse, keep watching, more to come.  And a big big thank you to everyone who was so kind about my marathon in the last post …. mwah xx

marathon

Checking in! Me Made May 2015 and the Marathon

Hello!  I am here, promise! Just a mini update today while I am still recouping my energy & creative juices.  I have been sewing simple things, and actually have quite a few things to photograph & blog about – when I get some energy together!  I am on leave for a few days now, so I am hoping that recharging will be complete after the long weekend.

First of all, the marathon.  It went amazingly!  I can report back that I have had the experience of a lifetime (which was always my goal- not the time).  I ran all the way to finish in 4:51 (beating Chris Evans – just).  I did not hit ‘the wall’ as we ran it to plan- keeping slow & steady.

marathon

I ran with my friend Jodie who had more in her legs & could easily have shaved a faster time, but she chose to stick with me.  As I silently internalised the mental effort to remain steadfast,  Jodie told me jokes!

Spotting 'Team Badger' at Mile 21

Spotting ‘Team Badger’ at Mile 21

If you are interested in reading more about my London Marathon experience, I’ve written about it on my other blog, here.  But a massive thank you to everyone who sent me words of support, tweets, comments, crowd shouts, good vibes, the lot!  I am incredibly wowed & am hugely thankful – it meant such a lot to me & still does.  I could not fail to be positive when so many of you were rooting for me.  I am sorry I did not reply individually to all the wonderful support on my last post – I have reread them many times in my recovery!  THANK YOU xxx

Me and Jodie, 5 miles ahead

Me and Jodie, 5 miles ahead

And squeaking in, skidding across the start line, I shall be taking part in Me Made May this year, of course!

‘I, Winnie of ‘Scruffy Badgertime , sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear only me-made garments for the duration of May 2015, including run-wear. Plus I will take off-site photos five days per week’.

me-made-may'14

 

I was in two minds about my approach for Me Made may this year – either try to limit my clothing to a “capsule” wardrobe – which is more of a challenge as I have so many me made clothes in my cupboard, but then, part of the fun is rediscovering other things I don’t usually grab as I get dressed in the morning, so I scrapped that idea.  The other thing I thought that was good a previous time I did it was taking pictures of the sights in and around Bath as why not?  People come here to look at them.  It is a challenge though as I am REALLY self conscious taking photos with any kind of audience.  Don’t laugh at me – I have ordered a selfie stick- at least I can blend into the crowds of tourists!!!

I looked at the original post for Me made may and there are 573 comments – one per participant + Zoe?  Are you doing it?  Right, it’s May 1st and I need to get out of my me made PJs….