5 Sewcialists Who Inspire Me

Have you guys seen that the Sewcialists blog is back up and running? The aim of the Sewcialists (sewing + social media = sewcialist) is to create a community where everyone feels included. Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow and the creator of the Sewcialists wrote a lovely post on her blog about the aim of the Sewcialists blog. I think it’s a fab idea and I’m really excited to see it take off again, find lots of new sewcialists to follow and to take part in the theme months. I’m hoping they do Scraptember again because I could really use some inspiration for what to do with my scraps!

But I’m getting ahead of myself, this month is Tribute August, where the challenge is to make something inspired by another sewer you admire. To quote the blog:

“The “rules” are wide open, so interpret the challenge in your own way. You could:

  • Copy a project exactly
  • Try a pattern or technique someone else used
  • Imagine what your favourite Sewcialist would do with a piece of fabric
  • Push yourself out of your style comfort zone or make some awesome basics to fill in wardrobe gaps”

Throughout July people have been sharing who inspires them on the Sewcialists blog so I wanted to join in. I could easily have listed 20 people so it was really hard to narrow it down to just 5 (and I might sneak a tiny list of some more at the bottom of this post). Okay, lets go.

Gillian – Crafting a Rainbow@gilliancrafts

It may seem a little like I’m sucking up and gushing but Gillian is hands down one of my favourite sewing bloggers. If I see a post of hers in my Feedly I always read it first. Her blog is so helpful and inspiring, she has a great mix of finished make posts, tutorials and helpful series’ like the Better Pictures Project. I love her bright, colourful style. She sews almost exclusively with knits and always looks gorgeous, proving that comfy can be chic.

I’m always really inspired seeing how she hacks her TnT patterns and I’m trying to do that more these days. A couple of recent hacks I’ve made but not blogged yet are a cropped Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan and a Dixie DIY Ballet dress swing tee. You can see them both in my most recent YouTube video.

Rachel – @shesewsvintagestyle

I’ve only followed Rachel on Instagram since this year’s Me Made May – always a great time for finding new sewing peeps to follow. But I immediately fell in love with her style, which is vintage without being costume-y. I particularly love this gorgeous outfit:

She’s wearing Nina Lee Portabello trousers and a Sew Over It Silk Cami. As soon as I saw this outfit I started planning my own pink tank top – I planned to use my Southport dress hack – and wide legged navy trousers. I was originally planning Winslow culottes but I’ve wanted a pair of empire waist wide legged trousers since an episode of Agent Carter where Peggy wears a pair with a red blouse and her and Jarvis climb through a vent into a morgue.

The internet is stubbornly refusing to show me the trousers.

I toyed with the Decades of Style 1940s empire waist trousers, which would obviously be the most suitable choice but I’m contrary so in the end I bought the Deer and Doe Chataigne shorts because I like the pockets and the yoke and I’m going to lengthen them into trousers. I think I’ve bought completely unsuitable fabric but I’m doing to try it anyway. It’s probably a bit too drapey so I’m going to interface the yoke and the yoke lining and hope for the best. For the pink tank top I’m still going to use my Southport tank hack but after seeing Helen’s knit Southport dress I’m planning to make it in some fuchsia jersey I’ve got.T

Anya – Anna Zoe@anna.zoe.sewing

I think I’ve saved more of Anya’s Instagram posts to remember the pattern than any other sewcialist. She always looks absolutely stunning in whatever she wears. Her Me Made May posts were brilliant and I really enjoyed reading her little stories each day as well as seeing what she was wearing. Her blog and Instagram are really helpful and she’s done some great tutorials – a mini bra sewing tutorial on Instagram made me buy a bra sewing pattern! Granted I’ve not even printed it let alone started sourcing materials but the thought is there.

I also bought the Kommatia patterns skinny jeans pattern after seeing her fab version (below) and I’m hoping to make them at some point soon. I’ve built up quite a stack of jeans patterns and I still haven’t finished my Ginger jeans. I don’t think they’re going to fit very well but I’m determined to make myself finish them, I can’t abandon yet another pair of trousers at the fitting stage. I also love the shirt she’s wearing in this photo with the Kommatia jeans.

Hila – Saturday Night Stitch@saturdaynightstitch

I love Hila’s style. I love the colours she uses and the silhouettes she chooses. I particularly like her Sewaholic Hollyburn skirts and Granville shirts – I bought the Granville shirt pattern because of seeing hers and I should really buy the Hollyburn pattern too. Another thing that massively inspires me about Hila is her shoes – check out those silver brogues! She wrote about shoe choice in her post about her thoughts on last year’s Me Made May and I keep meaning to expand my shoe collection but I still live in the same tan pumps during the summer and tatty ankle boots in the winter. Which is definitely something I want to work on.

I just love everything Hila wears, her style is so varied but it all works together and everything looks great on her. The Anna dress above is amazing! For my make inspired by Hila I’m going to get brave and cast on an the Andi Satterlund Chuck sweater I’ve had the yarn for for over a year. Not sewing I know but it’ll mean when I finally finish it and sew myself a Hollyburn and Granville combo I can copy this gorgeous outfit:

Hattie – @hattie_van_der_krohn

The beautiful Hattie always looks so gorgeous and well put together. She looked more glamorous at 9 months pregnant than I will ever look. She’s made so many beautiful dresses that I would outright copy. A royal blue SOI Alex shirt dress might have to happen and I definitely fancy a funnel necked Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress now, preferably in houndstooth.

I was super inspired by her collection of Sew Over It Eve dresses and bought the pattern even though I’ve always been afraid of wrap dresses. I’ve bought some beautiful navy and pink floral viscose and I plan to make it this month.

Sneaky honourable mentions

Some of the other sewers I find inspiring:

I could go on and on but I’ll stop now.


Are you planning a make for Tribute Month? If you do take part remember to tag it #tributemonthsewing on Instagram to be included in a roundup post on the sewcialist blog. I’m hoping to get the Eve dress, Chataigne trousers and Southport tank top made but haven’t actually started any of them yet… Eeek!

#TwentySevenJean Begins

A couple of weekends ago I finally strapped on my big girl pants and waded back into jeans fitting. This time armed with my big ass book on fitting and a more easy going attitude to what’s good enough I was confident that I will actually get a wearable pair of jeans at the end.

I spent pretty much the whole weekend doing flat pattern alterations and then sewing up a rough toile, making tweaks and then altering my flat pattern again. In the end I reached what I tend to call the Eff It Point (though obviously I say the real word), most often seen with DIY but it does occur in other areas too. Where I’ve just had enough and decide that perfectionism can do one. I pranced around in my toile in front of the manfriend asking, “this is good enough, right?”

I cut out my jeans last weekend and finally got round to starting sewing them this weekend. After sewing the pockets, I basted them together and then tried them on. To be met with… WEIRD CROTCH WRINKLES OF DOOM

I have no clue how to fix this. Most things I’ve read say that frown lines from the crotch may mean that your crotch is too long but trying to pinch out the excess didn’t seem to do anything so I’m not sure that’s the problem. I wondered if I maybe needed to let the side seams out in that general area in case it’s just stress wrinkles but the jeans don’t feel too tight at all.

I had a sort of bubble crotch thing going on in my toile, which was helped by straightening out the front curve – the flat pubis adjustment in this post. But now I’m second guessing whether that was the right thing to do.

I bought a Craftsy class on fitting jeans called The Perfect Jeans: Fitting Techniques for Every Body by Jennifer Stern-Hasemann and Jennifer is really, really helpful if you ask questions. If you upload a photo of your problem and your pattern she will draw on the pattern suggestions of how to fix your problem. So I’ve just uploaded my photos and asked for help. Because I’m lost on my own.

I thought I’d share my progress here because I always find people’s posts about fitting really interesting. And if I eventually fix the problem it might be useful if you get the same problem. Plus, you might be able to give me some advice. 

Here’s the back view too:

This is view B of the Closet Case Ginger jeans shortened to a more mid rise jean by the way – using this tutorial. I shortened them by 3cm. Though looking at this photo I think I possibly shouldn’t have shortened them quite so much. And while I like a snug fit on the bum maybe a little bit more room wouldn’t go amiss.

Hopefully I’ll be able to improve the fit of this pair. But even if I can’t I’m still going to finish them and wear them. I’ll report back if they get any better.

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend with less frowning at yourself in the mirror than me.

Alina Sewing + Design Co Chi-town Chino Shorts

I very nearly didn’t blog these shorts as I hate the photos but I feel like my blog should be a full reflection of my sewing and if that means I have to share some unflattering photos so be it. They also really could have done with a go over with the iron, which doesn’t exactly help. But oh well.

I originally bought this green sateen from Fabric Godmother with the plan to make Grainline Maritime shorts as I loved Josie’s pair. But then I saw a few Chi-town chinos popping up on my Instagram feed and I really like the trouser version from expansion pack 2 so I thought I would buy that instead.

I really enjoyed making these shorts. The instructions are so thorough and well thought through I think they’re a perfect first shorts/trousers pattern. You are talked through absolutely everything, from how to choose your size, to how to make a muslin/toile, how to sew French seams on your pockets and even how you can customise the pattern.

The instructions start by getting you to do all of your prep first, which I really liked. You apply all your interfacing, sew the belt loops, fly shield, back pockets and finish some seams. It means everything is ready for you when you get to that stage.

I’ve only sewn two fly zips, these and the one on my abandoned Ginger jeans and the instructions were very similar. I’ve seen a lot of people rave about the Ginger jeans zip instructions but I thought these were possibly even better. On the Gingers you have to mark your pivot point and stitching line for the front crotch but on the Chi-town chinos the fly extension interfacing is shaped so that the edge of it is your stitching line. A simple thing to be impressed by and others might not care but I thought that was such a good idea.

I’ve got quite a lot of excess fabric bunching on the front and they’re a little bigger than I’d like them to fit, except on my bum so I think for my next version I’ll size down but do a full seat adjustment. Though lowering the rise a smidge might help too. Mine are a little shorter than as drafted because I did a turned up cuff instead of hemming them, I thought it looked better on me.

I made these over a few days just before going on holiday and I really enjoyed the whole process. I love making trousers/shorts, it’s just the fitting I hate. They’re a great project to work on in small chunks of time because of all the little steps, which I really like. You also get to feel like a sewing ninja when you’re done even though it’s pretty easy sewing, just with a few more steps.

My topstitching is pretty wobbly and the zip bartacks didn’t go particularly well. I tried to use it to cover up some of my iffy stitching and it didn’t really work. I installed my first jeans button – probably not quite in the right place if this photo is anything to go but but I’m still pleased.

This is a dreadful photo but I thought I should show the back as well. I don’t think they’d look this awful if I’d ironed them. You can see where I had a bit of wobble when I was topstitching the waistband facing. I did find that part a bit of a struggle, without having a seam allowance marking to follow. I stuck a bit of washi tape to my machine but it’s not the same. The pockets are perhaps a smidge too wide set and a bit too high. I also didn’t finish all the belt loops.

The pattern includes a really useful waist extension at the centre back seam to give you some fitting wiggle room, which I thought was a nice idea. As part of the sewing process Alina also has you baste the shorts together and pin the centre back so you know if you need the extension or not.

The details

Pattern: Alina Sewing + Design Co Chi-town Chino Shorts (also a skirt included)

PDF or Printed: PDF

How many pages: 31

A0 file included? No, only US copyshop

Measurements: Waist 31.5″ – Hips 41″

Size made: 12

Alterations: None, except the cuff.

Fabric used: 0.9m Green Stretch Sateen

Another version?

I’ve definitely got a pair of the trousers planned. I’ve bought some beige gaberchino from Minerva for a wearable toile but ultimately I want a navy pair.

Any changes next time?

Yes, I’ll size down and do a full seat adjustment. I may lower the bum slightly too and I might change the front crotch shape. We’ll see. I’m working on some Ginger jeans at the moment and I’ve been learning a lot about fit that I will probably apply to all my future bottom half makes.

Final Thoughts

Overall this is just a great, thoughtful pattern, with loads of lovely little touches throughout the instructions and I’m looking forward to making the trouser version and getting the fit right.

True Bias Southport(ish) Dress and Seamwork Wembley Cardigan

Morning lovelies, hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was nice and relaxed. Just pootling around the house, getting some laundry done and a bit of reading. We also watched series 8 of Archer, which was fantastic but too short. Anyone else an Archer fan? I really enjoyed the Dreamland thing and would quite like them to do the same for the next season but in a 70s or 80s style. Anyway, you’re here for the sewing, not for my views on a cartoon. I’ve got a two for the price of one post for you today with a dress and cardigan combo.

Southport dress

This is the first of two new Southport dresses I made for my holiday. I say Southport dresses but I took all of the interesting Southport bits off them. I cut the bodice on the fold to omit the button placket, swapped the drawstring for an elasticated waist and the skirt is slashed, spread and cut on the fold.

True Bias Southport dress

These photos were taken on the morning of our last day before we got turfed out of the villa. I wore it to travel home in because it was great for the warm, Cyprus leg but just needed a pair of leggings and a cardigan for the chilly plane part. I wore it again when we had our five day summer last week and it was perfect, it’s so cool and floaty.

The fabric is a lightweight viscose from Adam Ross Fabrics but I bought it on eBay, not directly. They marked it as B grade and I’d say that’s fair. It’s perfectly usable but a bit lightweight and easily pulled off grain. I would still buy it again.

Southport dress

It was a nice quick and simple sew, though I used French seams, which does make it a bit slower. I also ended up having to level the hem twice as my dressform – who I had been calling Doris but I feel like I may have stolen that name from someone so I’m going to rename her Susan – had gone a bit wonky and I didn’t notice. So it’s perhaps a smidge shorter than intended. I finally got round to padding out Susan’s bum so my hems are much more level on me now, which is nice.

The neckline is a wee bit gapey but I tweaked my next version and I think I’ve solved that now. It was already cut out so I just cut a bit off the front shoulder on the neckline side, tapering to nothing on the shoulder side and it seemed to work well so I’ll update my pattern piece to match.

True Bias Southport dress

The details

Pattern: True Bias Southport dress

PDF or Printed: PDF

How many pages: 51

A0 file included? No, only US copyshop

Measurements: Bust 39″ – Waist 32″ – Hips 41.5″ – Height 5’2″

Size made: 6

Alterations:

The same fit alterations I made to the bodice for my first version.

In terms of style alterations:

  • I cut the bodice on the fold to omit the button band,
  • Made an elastic channel out of the waist seam instead of the drawstring channel, and
  • used a slit-less slashed and spread version of the skirt.

Fabric used: 2m of viscose from Adam Ross Fabrics

Another version? Yep – I made another maxi version straight after this one.

Any changes next time?

After cutting this one out I remembered I wanted to do a swayback adjustment so I did a makeshift one of those by wiggling my pattern piece when I was cutting out my next version. I tweaked the front shoulder seam to fix some neckline weirdness.

Final Thoughts

I’m really happy with this dress. It’s a perfect, floaty and cool dress for warmer weather.


And on to the cardigan.

Seamwork Wembley cardigan

I bought this jersey a really long time ago with a view to making a t’shirt, thinking the burnout pattern would make it a bit more interesting than a plain white tee. But as you can see it’s rather sheer and there’s no way I could have made a t’shirt out of it without showing the world everything I’ve got. So it sat in my stash for ages until I thought of turning it into a little cardigan for chucking over dresses in the summer.

Wembley cardigan
Terrible photo but it was the only vaguely decent one of the cardigan open

I’m really not sure if I like it but I can’t put my finger on what it is that I don’t like. I have been wearing it and it was good for those really hot days we had as it’s so thin. My issue might be that it’s cut sort of like a waterfall style cardigan but having the bands on to finish the raw edges means that it doesn’t really drape like a waterfall cardigan. I prefer it tied at the front to just hanging loose.

Seamwork magazine wembley cardigan

The details

Pattern: Seamwork Wembley cardigan

PDF or Printed: PDF

How many pages: 25

A0 file included? Possibly. It wasn’t when I downloaded it but they do offer them now so they might have gone back and added A0 versions to the older patterns too. I just made my own A0 version by printing the US copyshop version to a PDF and selecting A0 as the paper size under page setup.

Measurements: Bust 39″ – Waist 32″ – Hips 41.5″ – Height 5’2″

Size made: M but I tapered the sleeves to a S

Alterations: Nothing but the sleeve grading

Fabric used: Just over a metre of burnout jersey from Minerva Crafts

Another version?

Really not sure, maybe I should make one in a different sort of fabric to see if that’s the problem. Or not waste my time and just work on a cropped Helen’s Closet Blackwood as I know I definitely like that.

Any changes next time? 

In terms of fit it seems fine. I do constantly push the sleeves up to 3/4 though so I probably might as well make a 3/4 length sleeve version instead.

Final Thoughts

I feel a bit meh about this one. It’ll probably make a useful addition to my summer wardrobe but I’m not going to rush to make more.

Pineapple Grainline Scout tee

Morning lovelies! Hope you’re all having a splendid weekend. It’s mega sunny here in the UK, so I’ve been trying to eek out every second of outside time I can. I’m typing this on my decking while the Manfriend cooks us bacon on the barbecue and it’s already warm (10ish).

I’ve got another of my photographed on holiday makes to show you today. It’s a Grainline Scout tee, which I’ve made twice before so there’s not really much to say. Especially as it’s just a simple woven t-shirt.

I narrowed the shoulder by 1/2″ for this version and they’re still quite wide on me. The t’shirt has gone a bit lopsided in the photo below but you can see that the right (as you look at it) shoulder is still hanging way down from where my actual shoulder ends. The left side seams about right though so I think I only need a little adjustment. But then again I don’t want to overfit. This feels perfectly fine to wear.

I did the dart adjustment that I said I would do in my post about my last Scout (basically take a dart and rotate it out) and it has helped the lines from bust to hip a bit but hasn’t gotten ridden of them entirely. I’m happy enough though.

The fabric I used is a viscose voile, which I hadn’t come across before. It’s very light and drapey but wasn’t as hard to work with as I expected. It’s very cool to wear in warm weather. It was great for being a bit covered up but not sweltering.

There were orange and lemon trees growing just in front of our villa so I couldn’t resist a taking some photos pretending to pick one. I look very pleased with myself.

I used French seams throughout as it’s my preferred finishing method with viscose – just because I think they look nicest and I don’t really trust the overlocker on something so lightweight. Though I do use it on some of the beefier viscose fabrics. I need to watch how aggressively I trim my seams though as some of my French seamed tops seem to be fraying a bit now.

That’s about all I can think of to say about this tee and the sun is edging closer to the decking so I probably won’t be able to see the laptop soon. Here are the deets:

The details

Pattern: Grainline Scout tee

PDF or Printed: PDF

How many pages: 18

A0 file included? No, only US copyshop file

Measurements: Bust 38.5″ – Waist 31.5″ – High hip 40″ / Low hip 41″

Size made: The same as my last one, a US 8 at the shoulders and bust grading out to a 10 at the hips (current measurements could possibly do with a little more room at the bust) 

Alterations: 

1/2″ narrow shoulder adjustment and took a tiny bust dart and rotated it out.

Fabric used: Just a bit less than 1m of 139cm wide viscose voile from the Textile Centre (the navy is long sold out as I bought it last year but they still have some in peach)

Another version? Undoubtedly

Any changes next time? The shoulders are still too wide on me but instead of narrowing them again I might fiddle with narrowing the whole upper chest area. I think I might lengthen it slightly too.

Final Thoughts

I’m really happy with this t’shirt and it’ll make a great addition to my wardbrobe.

Have a lovely sunny day peeps.

Sew Over It Doris Dress

Ooh, what could this be? A finished garment post? Stay very still or we’ll scare it away. This is probably going to be quite a vague and photo heavy post as I made this Sew Over It Doris dress in August last year so some of the details are a little hazy. It’s actually the project that I took to the Sewing Weekender and I wore the finished dress out for dinner on my friend’s 30th birthday so it has lots of nice memories attached to it.

Sew over it doris dress
And holiday ones

I made Version 1, the longer version with the tie back, but I shortened the skirt pieces by 2″ – at the hem when I was tracing the pattern, not at the lengthen/shorten line. It hits just above/on my knee and that’s spot on for the length I wanted. I made a toile of the bodice and it had fit fairly well but I made a small forward shoulder/head adjustment* and took a wedge out of the neckline.

*I don’t know what the adjustment’s actually called but I remove some length from the front shoulder and add it onto the back. In a proper forward shoulder adjustment I think you pivot the shoulder side of the seam and leave the neck bit where it is but because my head sits forward, I move the whole seam. I hope that makes sense.

The length of the bodice was fine on my toile but is a little too short on my finished dress and I think it may be because I lined the bodice with cotton voile instead of using the facings – not a fan of facings. Cotton is so much more stable than viscose I think that the toile had probably stretched out but the lining stops the final dress doing the same. The lining didn’t really work anyway so next time I’ll just use the facings. Or maybe try a half lining/all in one facing kinda thing.

I’ve only actually worn the dress twice because I saw it as a dressy dress so had only worn it on my friend’s birthday night out and out to dinner on holiday – when I took these photos. Because I wore it with flat shoes on holiday and it didn’t look stupid (don’t tell me if you think it does look stupid) I’ve now decided that I can wear it to work. I may even lift my zip embargo and make more for wearing to work as well. Maybe a black and white polka dot one with red buttons.

I made a bit of a boo-boo by not leaving the dress to hang and levelling the hem. As you can probably see in these photos, it’s a little wonky as the panels have dropped a little bit at the edges. As is my usual way I’d left it until the last minute and was still finishing off the dress the day we were going out (handsewing the hem on the train and at my desk in my lunch break).

Check that flare

I love all the colours in this fabric (and it’s still available on Minerva Crafts if you do too) though I probably should have paid a little more attention to print placement as I’ve got a few clusters of mainly pink flowers and I was disappointed with the two blue flowers at the neckline. I thought it looked like I had tried and failed to pattern match but when I said that in the YouTube video where I showed the dress people commented that it looked like a deliberate little posy so I’m happy with that.

Mushy photo klaxon

The details

Pattern: Sew Over It Doris dress

PDF or Printed: I used the printed version but it does come in PDF too.

Measurements: They were quite a bit smaller when I made the dress but at the time of the photos they are: Bust 38.5″ – Waist 31.5″ – High hip 40″ / Low hip 41″ (*whisper* maybe even bigger, it’s been a while since I checked them…)

Size made: 12, though my current measurements are much closer to the 14 and it still just about fits.

Alterations: Forward head/shoulder adjustment and took a smidge out of the front neckline. Shortened the longer length by 2″ at the hem not the lengthen/shorten line.

Fabric used: 3m of 140cm wide floral viscose from Minerva Crafts

Another version? Yes

Any changes next time?

I think I need to make a hollow chest adjustment as there’s a little bit of gape between the dress and my chest. I’ll lengthen the front a bit too I think.

Non-clueless versions:

Final Thoughts

I love this dress. I’m a big fan of a kimono sleeve and I adore the shape of the skirt. I’m becoming more of a Sew Over It fangirl with every one of their patterns I sew to be honest. Anyone else a fangirl for certain pattern companies? It’s Sew Over It and Helen’s Closet for me and sort of Deer and Doe, though I haven’t sewn all of their patterns I’ve been compelled to buy.

Me Made May 17: Thoughts

So there’s this year’s Me Made May in all its glory. The first thing that strikes me is that I haven’t really moved away from the old blue, green and monochrome colour scheme that I had last year. There is definitely a bit more colour – a decent amount of red and a little bit of pink. I did a wee colour palette thingy, a la Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow, picking out colours from my photos.

The bigger ones are the neutrals, the greige (grey-beige) on the left came from my floral Scout and I think it’ll work better for me than a more yellow beige. I’ve put two different shades of navy in because that came up a lot as well as various other shades of blue. And well… It’s a bit bland isn’t it?

I feel and look better in the more colourful outfits. So I did another palette thingy with more colours. The colours are still picked out from my photos (except the second green, which I just made up because I know I like it) but they’re more supporting colours – they mostly came from the flowers on my Doris dress and the light, not quite coral pink was from the butterflies on my Nancy dress.

I think my Doris dress and my Sewaholic Cambie dress both encapsulate the colour palette I think looks best on me quite well. They both have a navy base, which I think is softer and better on me than black, and then between the two of them they’ve got all the other colours I’ve put in this palette.

Sew Over It Doris dress sewaholic cambie dress

So my plan is to try and incorporate more of those accent colours into my wardrobe. I will always be drawn most to blues and I don’t think you’ll ever catch me in head to toe pink but I think I look alright in a cool pink or dusky rose so maybe I should experiment a bit more with them.

What I wore

Moving on from colours to the graphs I promised/threatened. I kept a spreadsheet of the types of garments I wore and here are the results.

types of garment me made

I tracked the number of days I wore a particular type of garment as well as the number of different garments. So as you can see I wore a lot of dresses and only repeated a couple of them (Alex shirt dress and New Look 6096). Whereas with trousers and cardigans I repeated them a lot. The trousers were my Winslow culottes and I would definitely like another pair for the summer. I’m also planning a lengthened pair of Tania culottes.

I tracked the RTW I wore as well to help identify gaps and you can see straight away that I need more tops, cardigans and trousers, well specifically jeans as that’s the one pair of trousers that I repeated five times. I finally got round to washing some of the denim that was in my stash yesterday so I hope to get cracking on a pair of jeans soon. The tops were all knit so that’s very much an area of need. I need to work on some production line style t-shirt sewing I think.

Top 5 most worn items

  • Grey Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan – 5 times (including putting it on in the evenings on holiday)
  • Turquoise Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan – 4 times
  • Helen’s Closet Winslow culottes – 4 times
  • Sew Over It Alex shirtdress – 3 times
  • Floral Grainline Scout tee – 2 times

Most liked outfit

My shorter New Look 6096 and grey Blackwood cardigan got 170 likes on Instagram.

New Look 6096 & Helen's closet Blackwood cardigan

Most versatile garment

My Alex shirt dress definitely wins this one. I wore it three times, styled differently each time.

So I definitely want to sew some more of these. I think another solid version would probably be nice, as well as the purple version I put in my #2017MakeNine plans. Maybe a soft chambray if I can find one.

Things I learned

  • I really liked looking nice on the days I made a more of an effort and just because I’m anti-zip and pro-comfort doesn’t mean I can’t wear pretty dresses. There are lots of nice zipless dresses out there – Deer and Doe Aubépine and Réglisse dresses and Sew Over It Eve dress are some I have my eye on though I’m a bit unsure of how much I’ll like a wrap dress on me.
  • I would like some more knit skirts. Particularly pencil skirts as the outfit above with my Alex shirt dress and polka dot pencil skirt was one of my favourite of the month. I’m also thinking about making a knit Sewaholic Gabriola skirt a la the lovely Hila’s Moneta-Gabriola love child maxi dress.
  • A skinny belt can make a big difference to an outfit.
  • I am total Helen’s Closet fan girl and proud.
  • I have a lot more Me Made clothes than I thought I did. Though I think I was definitely helped out by the weather in May being so changeable – and going on holiday didn’t hurt. I would be buggered if it had been autumn or winter.
  • Me Made May has added like bajillion patterns to my wishlist. I desperately want a chambray Grainline Archer shirt now and I really fancy the Alder shirtdress as well.
  • I still have no real desire to make loungewear or PJs but some clothes to be dressed while bumming about the house might be nice. Just some knit tops really I think.
  • I’m sooo behind on blogging my finished makes.

What lessons have you learned from Me Made May? I love reading other people’s epiphanies so do let me know if you’ve written about your Me Made May.

Me Made May 17: Days 15-31

So that’s it. It’s over. We’re done. This is just going to be another round-up of the things I wore for the rest of the month and then I’ll do a separate post with my thoughts and things I’ve learned – I may even put a graph or two in.

Anyway, let’s crack on as this is going to be a slightly longer post because I went on holiday at the end of the month so a few days have multiple outfits.

Day 15 – Little Red Dress Project dress (Simple Sew Lottie – True Bias Southport lovechild)Red Simple Sew Lottie - True Bias Southport hybrid

The beautiful sunshine had disappeared, replaced by horrid, heavy rain so I thought went for sleeves today. We also had a man coming to the office to give a bit of training so I thought I’d make an effort to look presentable. I should probably make some more smart but comfortable dresses like this.

Day 16 – Dinosaur Ballet dress

Dinosaur ballet dress

This remains one of my favourite ever dresses and I think it always will be. I have some more of this dinosaur fabric in a different colourway that the lovely Victoria of Pockets for Sweets pointed me in the direction of. (Check out her Moneta made from it.)

Day 17 – Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress

Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress

My first Coco dress – which fits me much better now I’ve gained a little weight…

Day 18 – Floral Grainline Scout and Navy Deer and Doe Anemone skirt

And my first repeat (not including cardigans). I was quite impressed with myself to make it to day 18 before I had to repeat things. I dug my Anemone out of the depths of the wardrobe to be able to style my Scout differently.

Day 19 – PJs

No me made today as I had the day off to prep for my holiday – wax my legs, pack, finish sewing things to wear. As always I had overambitious plans for things to make but I did manage to make 2 dresses, 2 tops and a cardigan/cover-up so that’s something. In total that is, not all in that one day!

Day 20 – Jeans and Alex shirt dress worn as a shirt

We flew to Cyprus from Gatwick so we travelled up today and stayed in a hotel near the airport. I was struggling to find anything to wear and then I remembered that I’d seen people on Instagram tying shirt dresses to make them double as a top. So I gave it a go with my Alex and I was really pleased with how it looked.

Day 21

Morning – RTW dress and turquoise Blackwood

We left our hotel at 3:30am so I wasn’t really feeling a photo and as the majority of my outfit was RTW it didn’t seem worth it. I wanted to be comfortable when travelling so I wore a RTW black and white striped tent/sway dress I have that I really like. I want to make one myself but I’ve been torn over whether to buy a pattern (and if so, which one*) or to hack a t-shirt pattern.

*Closet Case Ebony, Made It Groove dress and Tessuti Frankie are my front runners but there are so many different patterns it’s hard to choose.

Afternoon – Denim shorts and a purple vest

I suppose this is technically my first fail as I left the house/villa and no part of it was Me Made but as it was one of three outfits this day and the other two had me made components I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

Evening – True Bias Southport dress

First night dinner outfit was my Southport dress and first night dinner was sheftalia. I love sheftalia.

Day 22

Day – Alina Design & Sewing Co Chi-town chinos, RTW tank top and grey Blackwood cardigan

Chi-town chinos

I don’t have a good photo of this outfit as it was really windy when I tried to take some and they all looked awful. This is a photo I took while I was on a lounger reading despite the wind and occasional spots of rain. I am so very British. Aled thought I was out there hiding from my mum and nan but I just genuinely didn’t want to waste any outside time. I’ll happily sit in a beer garden in my coat if there’s even a little bit of brightness masquerading as warmth.

Evening – Helen’s Closet Winslow culottes palazzo pants and RTW white off the shoulder top

I seem to like to wear an off the shoulder top with my Winslows. I really like this H&M top, the shoulder is exactly where I want it and it doesn’t ride up. In other off the shoulder tops I’ve bought and made, the shoulder likes to pop up and I keep having to pull them back down. Dinner tonight was prawn saganaki, which was blummin’ lovely and I just realised I should have bought a small bottle of ouzo to try to make it at home.

Day 23

No photos today. We didn’t go out in the day and stayed in the villa for a barbecue for dinner too. I wore my Winslow culottes again and the black and grey striped tank top from the other day but I didn’t look presentable enough to bother taking a photo.

Day 24 – Southport ish maxi dress

Bright floral southport dress

It was another villa day so there’s no daytime photo. Dinner outfit was one of my True Bias Southport ish dresses. I’ve basically taken all of the interesting Southport bits off. I cut the front bodice and skirt on the fold, getting rid of the buttons and slit, I gave it an elasticated waist instead of a drawstring and I slashed and spread the skirt for a bit more floof. I love it and I suspect I’ll live in it this summer. Dinner was a meze so I was very grateful for the elasticated waist. (It was about 20 dishes)

I’m an army brat and we lived in Cyprus for two years when I was a child, which is one of the reasons I’ve been on holiday there so much – it’s a really lovely place, the people are so warm and friendly, it’s beautiful and the food is fabulous. One of the men that worked with my dad when we lived there also owned a restaurant (Andy’s Place) and we used to go there for a meze quite often. I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent, all to say I facking love a Greek-Cypriot meze. The one we had was lovely but because it’s in quite a touristy place the service is quick so the last few dishes are a struggle as you’re already quite full, whereas if you’re somewhere a bit more traditional it’ll take hours.

Day 25 – RTW denim shorts and pineapple scout

Pineapple grainline scout tee

Me and the Manfriend popped into Coral Bay for lunch and some shopping so I just popped my new pineapple Grainline Scout and RTW denim shorts on over my bikini. I had a lovely tuna salad for lunch and jumped in the pool as soon as we got back to the villa.

We had another barbecue in the evening to use up our charcoal and the rest of the food we bought so I just put on my Winslows yet again and a purple tank top.

Day 26 – Sew Over It Doris dress

Sew Over It Doris dress

Obnoxious couple photo alert! I don’t wear this dress enough. I think I saw it as evening wear but I’ve decided I like it too much for it to be worn so infrequently and I should start wearing it to work. We went into Paphos this night and had Chinese food, which feels a very wrong when there’s so much lovely Greek food to eat but it’s a really nice Chinese restaurant.

Day 27 – Sewaholic Gabriola skirt and RTW top

Sewaholic Gabriola skirt

The last night, sob! This is another thing that fits a bit better now I’ve gained some weight. My Gabriola sits on my natural waist now, which makes it a better length to wear with flats. Tonight I had spicy calamari, which was very nice, and a huuuge slab of baklava for dessert.

Day 28 – True Bias Southport (ish) dress

Blue floral southport dress

Travel home day. And it’s my other Southport ish dress. I had leggings and a blackwood cardigan in my hand luggage for if I got cold on the plane or when we landed. This was a mammoth day of travelling. My mum stayed at my nan’s an extra night and came home on the Monday but me and Aled drove home on the Sunday night to get a lie in and recuperation day on the Monday. I was so tired and spaced out by the time we got home that I nearly passed out. Luckily I wasn’t the one driving!

Day 29 – PJs

The aforementioned recuperation day meant I didn’t get dressed at all. I barely moved from the sofa in fact. It was lovely.

Day 30 – New Look 6096 maxi dress

New Look 6096 maxi dress

First day back in work, booo! It’s warm but overcast here at the moment so I didn’t really know what to wear. I grabbed this as it was clean and felt summery but okay if it got chilly. It’s my only outfit repeat so I kind of wish I’d found something else. But just one outfit repeat is way better than I’d expected.

Day 31 – Alex shirt dress and RTW knit pencil skirt

sew over it alex shirt dress

My Alex shirt dress has got to be one of my most versatile garments. I really like it all three ways I’ve worn it this month. This is a little bit smarter than I normally dress for work but I love this outfit so I think I need to start dressing a bit smarter. The skirt is knit so it’s still comfy but looks a bit more pulled together. I think I need to try to make a pattern from it. And I definitely need more Alex shirts and shirt dresses.

And that’s it. I’m going to miss seeing everyone’s outfits every day, I’ve been massively inspired and have a huge wishlist of new patterns. It’ll be nice not having to do a little photoshoot tomorrow morning though.

How was everyone else’s Me Made May? Did you learn things? Are you glad it’s over?

Me Made May 17: Days 1-14

So we’re two weeks in to Me Made May now, nearly half way through. How is everyone doing? Are you sick of the photos yet? So far I’ve added about a 32,000 patterns to my wishlist and 63,000 projects to my mental To Be Sewn list. Too much inspiration on Instagram! Anyway I’m going to do a quick run down of the things I’ve worn and some of the things I’ve learned over the first two weeks of my first “proper” Me Made May.

Day 1 – PJs

I was just bimbling about the house and sewing so I didn’t get dressed. Living my best life.

Day 2 – Sew Over It Nancy dress

Sew Over It Nancy dress

I wanted to start my Me Made May with a goodie and I really like this dress. It needs a bit of fitting work before I make it again but I definitely plan to make some more Nancy dresses. I’ve got some grey viscose with roses on that I’m planning to use but I’ll probably wait until the autumn now.

Day 3 – New Look 6096 and Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan

New Look 6096 & Helen's closet Blackwood cardigan

You’ll be seeing a lot of this Blackwood cardigan. I absolutely love this pattern. I’ve bought fabric to make two more and I don’t think I’ll stop there. In the spirit of trying to experiment more with style I put my belt on over the top of my cardigan, which is something I’ve seen other people do and I really like it. It pulls the outfit together. So I want more skinny belts.

Day 4 – Helen’s Closet Winslow culottes and a very old RTW shirt

Helen's Closet Winslow Culottes

I love these palazzo pants but I always wear the the same top with them – the off the shoulder Scout in my post about them. So I wanted to try to mix things up a bit. I prowled Pinterest for ages to see what people wear with culottes and palazzo pants and I didn’t have any of the things so I pulled this black shirt from the depths of my wardrobe instead. I experimented with tying the ends and I quite liked it but wasn’t brave enough to wear it outside as it flashed a bit of my tummy but I might give it a go before the month is out.

Day 5 – Floral viscose Grainline Scout tee with RTW jeans and cardigan

Grainline Scout tee in floral viscose

Friday! We’re only allowed to wear jeans on a Friday at work, which is a silly rule because we don’t have a smart dress code the rest of the time. Some people look smarter in their jeans than they do in the stuff they wear the rest of the week. A former colleague used to wear combats and trainers Mon-Thurs and really nice jeans on a Friday, almost to prove a point. Anyway, I digress. These RTW jeans very much need replacing – I need to get on with that Twenty SevenJean goal! The red cardi has definitely seen better days too so I’ve put colourful cardigans on my list of things to make. There was a tutorial for turning a top into a waterfall cardigan like this on the Grainline blog so I may give that a go at some point.

Day 6 – Jeans and raglan tee

No Me Made today as I was just bumming around the house. I did get sort of dressed though, if jeans and a PJ top but no bra counts as getting dressed. It was the top I’m wearing in this video, which I loved but got food on when I was cooking so it got relegated to sleep wear. I’ve bought the Hey June Lane raglan pattern to try to recreate this top or I may try making a pattern from it. I’m definitely noticing a gap where knit tops should be.

Day 7 – RTW jeans and tee with new Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan

Helen's Closet Blackwood cardigan

A brand new make. Another Blackwood cardigan that was hot off the sewing machine before I went out. I think it took me about 1.5-2 hours to make, which is pretty speedy for me. I was just popping to my mums house so I’ve got no make-up on and I’m trying to avoid showing too much of my face to the camera.

Day 8 – Monochrome ballet dress and Blackwood cardigan

  

Another outing for my new cardigan. It doesn’t really work with this dress, the length is a bit wrong but the colour brightens it up. I did put my belt over the top instead during the day and I think that looked better. My waist is just a bit lost otherwise. I think I’m going to play about with a cropped version of the Blackwood. Though I do have the Muse patterns Jenna cardigan so I could use that but I like how the Blackwood is designed to be open.

Day 9 – New look 6069 maxi dress

New Look 6096

It was really sunny and warm here for a few days so I busted out the maxi dresses. This is an oldie but a goodie. I think it’s only the 4th thing I made. It’s looking a bit tatty inside but I still love it.

Day 10 – Newport dress

New Look 6217 lovechild with True Bias Southport dress

And another maxi dress. I just love swishing about in viscose maxis when it’s warm, there’s just something about the cool fabric floating around your legs.

Day 11 – Sew Over It Alex shirt dress

Sew Over It Alex shirt dressThis is my second outing for my Alex shirt dress. I wore it with a tan belt the first time and I think I prefer it that way but I thought I should try the self fabric tie as I’d made it. I definitely see more of these in my future – I still want to make the purple viscose one I said I was going to make in my #2017MakeNine plans, this was a wearable toile really.

Day 12 – Jeans, blue New look 6217 and grey Blackwood cardigan

New Look 6217  Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan

Another Friday, woot! My old fail safe combination of jeans, woven tee and cardigan.

Day 13 – Jeans, black and white New Look 6217 and turquoise Blackwood cardigan

New Look 6217 and Blackwood cardigan

And again, with exactly the same patterns. I added a new necklace that came in the post after I took this photo, I need to work more on accessorising better.

Day 14 – That PJ lyfe

And we’re through to today and it’s another one where I don’t plan to get dressed. As soon as I finish this blog post I’m planning to shut myself in the sewing room and get some last minute holiday sewing done. I have four projects cut out, with two of them in progress.

So that’s the first two weeks of Me Made May done. I think I’m probably going to start doing more repeats soon – cardigans don’t count. I’ve mentioned some of the things I’ve learned in my little blurbs about each day but here are a couple more:

  • Navy is a better neutral than black for me.
  • There are other colours than blue and I should use them.
  • I’ve only made woven skirts and I never wear them, maybe make some knit ones?
  • I only like zipless dresses (and I’ve added the tag “zipless dress” to my blog posts about dresses that don’t have zips in case you feel the same).
  • If you don’t get up on time, taking photos *will* make you late for work.
  • This will make you leave the house at the same time as people are dropping their kids off at the school at the end of the road and you will want to kill some people. Especially the person who parks across your back lane.

That’s it from me. Hope you’re all enjoying Me Made May and learning lots about your handmade wardrobe. Have a great day peeps and I’ll see you again at the finish line.

Me Made May 17: The Pledge

April seems to be sneaking away rather rapidly, which means it’s time to think about a Me Made May and my pledge for this year. If you don’t know what Me Made May is, its inventor Zoe, of So Zo, What Do You Know explains it best over in her sign-up post. But basically it’s a challenge to wear your handmade clothes more but what you actually pledge is entirely up to you. Zoe has some great examples of pledges you could make in the sign up post.

I took part last year with the fairly modest pledge of wearing handmade three times a week and it was a good fit for where I was with my handmade wardrobe at the time. I have more handmade clothes now but not so many for an every day goal to be easy so it’s been quite a struggle to settle on my pledge. But here it is:

I, Leigh (aka @cluelessleigh) of Clueless Seamstress, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I will endeavour to wear at least 1 handmade item every day I leave the house for the duration of May 2017.

(That little leave the house caveat is important because most weekends I’m a lazy recluse and don’t go anywhere or do anything. I don’t tend to get dressed if I’m just bimbling around the house and as I have no intention of making lounge wear I’d fail without the caveat.)

I’m definitely not going to limit repeats but I would like to work on trying to style things to look different. Elena from Randomly Happy and Suzanna from Sea Salt and Stitches both recently took part in a 10×10 capsule wardrobe challenge thingamajig – you have 10 items to create 10 outfits for 10 days – and I really enjoyed seeing how they mixed and matched them to create different outfits. So I want to try to be a bit more inventive with my wardrobe. Even though I’m not usually very good at that.

I’ll be sharing my outfits on instagram and in round-up posts here. I haven’t decided on whether I’ll do weekly or fortnightly posts yet. Do you have a preference?

Another challenging aspect is that I’m going on holiday at the end of the month. I had grand plans to make an entirely handmade holiday wardrobe but I’m running out of time. I’m still hoping to sew a couple of maxi dresses and light cardigans though. Fingers crossed. I know panic-sewing isn’t the aim of Me Made May but I’d be doing the holiday panic-sewing anyway.

Anyway, that’s my pledge, I’m waffling a bit now so I’ll shut up. Are you taking part in Me Made May? Are you as nervous of your pledge as I am?