Category Archives: Me-made May

Countdown to #MMM14

It’s now April, which means one month until Me-made May! I’m really excited to properly take part this year, as I was only just getting going with sewing this time last year so didn’t have a very big me-made wardrobe yet. These days it’s rarer I’m not wearing a me-made or two of a day, which is pretty awesome, but I think I still have a few wardrobe gaps to fill that it would be great to nail before MMM rolls around. So here’s what I’d really like to get made this month. I’ll be a busy girl…

trousers

Trousers: I wear a lot of trousers day to day (either those or dresses; not really a big skirt wearer) so would like a few more options. I’d love another pair of stretch skinny jeans, a pair of looser peg-leg trousers and another pair of drapey jersey knit pants.

tops

Tops: I need a few more basic plain knit tees, but zzz find them so boring to make. But I wear the heck out of tops like my blocked raglan and Hemlock, so I should probably step it up.

dresses

Dresses: with any luck the weather will be a little warmer by May, so I’d like to try a few summer dress patterns old and new: Named Leini, Pattern Runway sundress, Tessuti Pia, Victory Ava, and another Simplicity 1601.

jackets

Jackets: I want to finish my current wip, a sweatshirt-knit biker jacket, and also perhaps make a kimono style jacket and a draped knit cardigan.

bag

I really want to make a bag too, making use of some scraps of wool and pleather. Bags totally count as a wearable, right?

Sources for all pictures on my Pinterest.

mmm

Anyone else looking forward to Me-made May? Are you planning any makes before it kicks off?

I nearly forgot my pledge!

I, Katie of whatkatiesews.net, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear one or more me-made each day for the duration of May 2014.

Recent sews and The Shop

Tania culottes

Here are the final things I made during the end of Me-made May. First, a pair of jazzy culottes! I love culottes: the practicality of breeze-resistant shorts with the cuteness of a little flippy skirt is a winner to me. The pattern is the new Megan Nielsen Tania culottes, bought from M is for Make.

Tania culottes

The pattern was really fun to put together – it felt almost like magical origami creating the pleats and crotch with simple folds and lines of stitching. The only thing I mucked up is the waistband with some wobbly topstitching – I might unpick and redo it neater. I also haven’t properly finished the bottom edge yet because I’m terrible at hemming, so it’s just overlocked for now.

Vintage fabric

The fabric is a vintage piece of 70s polyester with a gorgeous Scandinavian-looking mountain print. I love how the patten drape makes the peaks point up and outwards, a little reminiscent of fireworks. Just don’t make the mistake I did of ironing interfacing onto polyester with a hot iron – I burnt a clean plastic-scented hole through my first waistband piece, and luckily had just enough fabric to cut another. I’ll definitely be using this pattern again; in fact I’ve just bought some jersey that I think will make a great no-zip-required version.

Feather tee
Vintage fabric

(Excuse my face, I appear to have the dead eyes of someone who’s been worrying for three weeks straight..) This is another Scout, although radically different from my last one. The front is made from a vintage silk scarf, which was happily just the right size for the pattern piece. The sleeves and back are the same grey jersey as my ballet dress. Very pleased that this turned out just how I imagined it. The Scout tee is such an amazing pattern: so simple but hangs so well despite having no darts or shaping, and the possibilities for creative variations are vast.

Vintage fabric

Finally, a fail. I tried to take photos but they looked too awful to share! It was supposed to be a Sureau dress by Deer & Doe, made from a super soft piece of vintage cotton with an abstract tulip print, above. It seems in sewing that lots of small mistakes can add up to a big mess of a garment, which sadly I think happened here. I chose a size too big so the fit isn’t quite right. The neckline was gaping so I attempted a shoulder-line fix, then added a half collar which sits wonkily. The sleeve caps billow at the back. The skirt twists annoyingly to the side. I’m not sure if I’ll try and fix it some more, or cut it down into a skirt maybe. It would be a shame to waste the pretty fabric completely. Perhaps I should start making toiles before cutting the real fabric.

theshop1

All of the fabrics came from The Shop on Cheshire St, which I visited with Jen one lunchtime (check out Jen’s blog for some much better photos and info, this unprepared blogger didn’t have her camera). It is indeed the treasure trove that countless bloggers promised: walls lined with shelves of vintage fabric, with even more stuffed into drawers and baskets underneath which you’re encouraged to rummage through. There’s everything from recycled curtains to half-finished handmade skirt pieces, plus loads of large pieces of 2-4 metre long cottons and polys, perfect for skirt or dress projects.

theshop2

There’s also a great line in vintage notions, and basket upon basket of vintage silk scarves at around a fiver a pop. At the back are curtains, cushions and clothing and there’s also plenty of knitted scarves and crochet blankets. Prices are eye-poppingly amazing, ranging from a few quid for the smaller bits to no more than £15 for larger pieces (my take-home stash that made everything in this post was only £18). You’d be hard pushed to find such a lovely variety of prints in new fabrics for those kinds of prices. Find The Shop at 3 Cheshire St just off the top of Brick Lane – I’ll be back to replenish my stash very soon.

Chambray Scout tee

Scout chambray tee

Not a week into the month and my first Me-Made May task is complete. And I’m calling it a success! Here’s my Marc-Jacobs-inspired woven chambray tee, made in just a day and happily worn already.

Scout chambray tee

It feels almost like I cheated since this make was such a breeze. The Scout tee pattern I used is so simple that the cutting and sewing took about four hours total. Of course I still managed to mess up a bit: I sewed on one of the sleeves inside out so there’s an exposed seam tucked under the arm. I coud fix it, but no one realistically will see it and I almost like keeping it there as an ‘I made this!’ Easter egg.

Scout chambray tee
Scout chambray tee

One of my favourite things about making my own clothes is adding the little details that make your garment totally unique – purposeful decisions as well as inside-out sleeves, I mean. Want longer turned-back cuffs, a curved hem, denim-style topstitched seams, a comedically large patch pocket? Do it! With such as simple pattern it’s a nice chance to go a bit mad with embellishments.

Scout chambray tee

Mistakes aside, this is definitely my most successful handmade garment so far. I did all of the seams on my overlocker which gives it a lovely finish on the inside as well as allaying my fear that it’ll fall apart in the wash. I’m really happy with the fabric choice too: the chambray is light and soft with good drape and a little comfy stretch. I went a size up for an oversized look and it’s much more forgiving in the fit department that way too. I’ll definitely be using the Scout pattern again: I have visions of one in this nutty cat print fabric.

Scout chambray tee

So that’s the first Me-Made May task down, keep ’em coming! Next? I’ve just ordered the Sew U book about stretch fabrics on Kathryn‘s recommendation to give me ideas for my jersey fabrics. As a brucey bonus, I have almost a yard of this chambray left which I might just be able to squeeze a little skater skirt out of too.

Pattern: Scout woven tee from Grainline
Pattern modifications: Lengthened sleeves and added turned-back cuff. Lengthened body. Curved hemline. Patch pocket.
Fabric: Pale blue Chambray from Minerva Crafts (bought 2yds, plenty left over)

memade

Me-made May

memade

I’ve signed up Me Made May! I heard about it via a lot of the sewing blogs I follow and it seemed a great way to encourage myself to continue with my fledging sewing hobby. The idea is to set yourself a handmade challenge and spend the month of May fulfilling it. It’s a fairly open brief and you can choose a challenge that suits you – whether it’s just mending some old items of clothing so you can use them again, pledging to wear something homemade every day, or using up your fabric stash. The premise is to get people thinking about the clothes they own, wear and make, which seems particularly pertinent given the sad news from Bangladesh last week, and ongoing issues with high street supply chains. Have a look at the full rundown here.

P5010375

What’s my challenge? I’ve bought these three lovely fabrics recently – a heavy grey jersey, a lighter pink-marl jersey and some cotton chambray – and I want to use them to make three everyday wearable pieces. I’m also going to try not to buy any new store-bought clothes all month and have a wardrobe clearout, too.

ScoutWovenTee

I already have plans: the chambray will become a Scout, but I plan to add a dipped hem, rolled-back sleeves and perhaps a chest pocket like this Marc Jacobs tee. Man, I can’t just leave a pattern alone.

topshop

With the jersey I want to try replicating a couple of my favourite pieces from my wardrobe that I wear to death: this Topshop jersey dress and slouchy dip-hem top. I’m not sure yet whether to use a pattern, or draft my own based on tracing the garments.

Head over here if you fancy taking the pledge yourself, and I’ll keep blogging my progress.