Celebrating TnT patterns

This month is very much a month for celebrating our TnT patterns – that’s Tried ‘n’ True, if you’ve never heard it before. It’s the Sewcialist theme this month but the end of the month (25th November – 1st December) is also One Week, One Pattern – or OWOP if you will – hosted by the lovely Sheona from Sewisfaction. And as I don’t have any finished items to share due to lack of oomph to get photos I thought I’d break my blogging silence with a little post about my TnT patterns and plans.

My TnT Patterns

Dixie DIY Ballet dress

This is one of my favourite patterns and I’m a bit surprised that I’ve only made 3 dresses from it. I’ve also hacked a t-shirt from it and used bits of it a few different hacks – with more planned (and talked about later on in this post).

Ballet dress // One with a more flared skirt // One with a gathered skirt

 

Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan


This is my most made pattern and it only came out this year! I’ve made 5 of them – one long, two hip length and two cropped ones. I need to have a bumper photoshoot and actually write a post about them! It’s my ideal cardigan and I want one in every colour.

True Bias Southport dress

Southport // Southport-ish // Another Southport ish

I’ve used the Southport dress loads. I’ve only made the dress as is once, but I’ve also made two simplified versions, a tank top and used the skirt with other tops to make pattern lovechildren.

Southport tank // Newport dress // Simple Sew Lottie/Southport dress lovechild

Grainline Scout tee

Original Scout  // Latest Scout // Middle Scout // Scout hack

I wouldn’t say that I’ve got the fit down on the Scout yet but it’s one of my most made patterns so I thought it deserved a mention. I’ve made three standard versions and two hacked off-the-shoulder versions (only one of which I have a photo of). A Scoutport mashup with the Southport dress is probably on the cards at some point too. If only because I like the name.

New Look 6217


I love my New Look 6217s but I don’t think I’ve got the fit right yet. They’ve all seen better days so it’ll soon be time to revisit the pattern.

 

One Week One Pattern

I actually recently made a video sort of related to TnT patterns. When the Love to Sew podcast ladies asked for questions for their Q&A episode @shar_bozz asked them if they could only make three patterns for a year what would they choose and how would they change them to make them unique, seasonal, etc. I thought it was a really interesting question and I put my thinking cap on to choose three patterns.

So when I saw that OWOP was going to happen again this year I thought that I should probably put my money where my mouth, use one of the patterns I chose and do some of the hacks I talked about in my video. The patterns I chose were:

Dixie DIY Ballet dress

This was the most obvious choice for me. I just really like the way it fits me across the shoulders, which is no mean feat as that’s my tricky spot.

It’s such a simple dress it has the power to look entirely different with just a few tweaks. It’s basically a knit block/sloper. You can change the neckline, add a different skirt and even just changing the fabric will make it look different. A scuba will give you a totally different dress to a drapey viscose jersey.

The t-shirt I’ve made from it is one of the first things I reach for from the clean washing. and I’ve started work on some more garments using it. I’ve cut out a sort of swing dress and I’m hoping to make two of them if possible. I want to make a long sleeved t-shirt and a boat necked dress with a pleated skirt. Overambitious aims as always. I fancy trying to make a cardigan from it at some point too. And it was on my Make Nine plans to make the Seamwork Neenah dress as a top but I’ve been thinking that I might just pinch the collar piece and neckline shape and hack the ballet dress instead as I know I like how it fits.

Sew Over It Ultimate Shift dress

I hadn’t actually made this one when I picked it, I just chose it based on its versatility and hackability. I have made one now – out of flame print quilting cotton. There’s some fitting work to do before it becomes a TnT pattern for me but I’m fairly pleased with it. I had to add a dart from the armhole to the bust after it was sewn up but it’s quite well hidden in the busy print.

Even without any hacking you can make lots of different variations. I made a sleeveless dress but want to make some sleeved tops. I quite like the idea of adding some shirring to the waist of a viscose version too. Lisa Comfort’s pregnancy hack where she added a seam, pleat and tie is lovely too. I’ve thought about giving that a go myself, even though I’m not pregnant. You get the tutorial of how to make it included with the pattern now and I think that you can email them to ask for it if you already have the pattern.

I want to make a slightly more flared version, a bit like the Grainline Farrow dress, and I have thought about copying the pockets from the Farrow dress too. I did think that you could add a seam at the waist for an elastic channel and then slash and spread just the skirt part too. If you’re a flounce fan it’s a great pattern to jazz up with a flounce or a frill.

One of my friends has a really nice collarless coat that I think would be totally copiable using the shift dress as a base. It would just need to be sized up, seam allowance (the inspiration coat has an exposed zip) or overlap (for buttons) added to the centre front. The back also has a pleat that’s sewn down for a few inches so I’d cut it on the fold with a couple of inches added to the centre back. You could also use it to make a 60s style coat if you did buttons, added a peter pan collar and made it a bit more swingy – by rotating the dart out maybe.

Jeans

I don’t actually have a jeans TnT pattern yet so I cheated with this one and didn’t specify what pattern. I really want to work on finding a TnT jeans pattern though. If I didn’t have lots of other things to get done this month I should work my way through the six jeans patterns I now own. I have:

The Simplicity ones are probably the most promising because they have different pieces for different body types but I keep putting off tracing the pattern as I hate doing it so much. I would far rather tape a PDF sewing pattern together so I might go for one of the other patterns first.

There’s not much pattern hackery that I could think of for skinny jeans but jeans are something I’d struggle to live without. And they can look completely different in different fabrics. I did think that you could alter the pockets and give them more of a chino styling in a stretch twill. Once you’ve got the fit right in the hip/bum area I’m sure you could fiddle with the leg shape too for different looks. Turning them into flares by slashing and spreading the pattern at the knee is a nice easy one.

So there you have it. Those are my TnT patterns and patterns that I’d like to become TnT patterns. I’ll be back later on in the month to show you my Blackwood cardi collection after I’ve taken photos and I’ll report back on how OWOP goes. You can follow along on Instagram too.

Are you planning to join in with #sewcialiststnt or #OWOP? Are you a TnT pattern kinda person or more of a pattern butterfly?

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?

#2017MakeNine

If you’re on Instagram you’ve probably seen quite a few of these little grids of nine popping up since the end of last year. #2017MakeNine is something Rochelle of Lucky Lucille came up with last year but this is my first time trying it. It’s exactly what it sounds like really, you just pick 9 patterns that you’re going to make this year and I thought I’d share my plans here too.

They’re not in any particularly meaningful order, just what I thought looked the most balanced – which I spent waaay too long faffing about with. They are all patterns I already have and I’m going to use fabric from my stash for all of them too.

1. Knit pencil skirt from McCalls 7331 – Black and white striped ponte

Jen from Gingerella mentioned this pattern to me when I asked for cardigan pattern recommendations and not long after I spotted it as the free pattern with Dressmaker magazine so I snapped it up. Spookily that’s happened to me twice now, I decide I want a pattern and then spot it as a magazine freebie (the second was Butterick 6285).

I’m going to use this striped black and white ponte that I bought on my one trip to the fabric shops of Goldhawk Road back in 2015 – trying to make good on that stashbusting goal. I can see myself either shortening or tapering the skirt in a bit as I want a slightly more fitted skirt than this looks on the pattern envelope but I’ll make the decision when I’m sewing it probably.

2. Deer and Doe Plantain tee – mustard jersey, maybe

This is a pattern that I’ve had for a couple of years but haven’t got round to making yet. It’s a free PDF pattern and it’s even been printed, assembled AND traced for probably 2 years. This is its year!

The fabric may change or there may just be multiple versions. I’ve got some green jersey that’s also on the table and some cream. I’ve sort of got it in my mind that I want these nine garments to work together so cream might be the better bet for that. But saying that, all of the bottoms are fairly neutral so mustard or green would still go with them.

3. Closet Case Files Ginger jeans – blue denim

The photo here isn’t my actual denim. I didn’t have a photo when I was making these collages so I just got one from the internet. I think it looks like this but I might be wrong. Anyway, it is time to revisit jeans making. I had planned to do it this month but I am distinctly plump after an incredibly overindulgent Christmas (and December… And January…) and don’t really want to stay this size. So it seems a bit foolish to battle fitting, just to need to do it again after I get my eating under control.

4. Seamwork Neenah poloneck top – black jersey

This one isn’t my actual fabric either. My fabric called itself crepe jersey (or it might have been jersey crepe) and is ever so slinky but not so slinky it’s hard to work with. It’s the same fabric I used for the off the shoulder Mesa dress top I’m wearing in the photo in this post.

I’ve seen a lot of people sewing polonecks lately and it reminded me how much I used to wear a black RTW that is languishing in the back of my wardrobe (too snug). So I thought I’d make a top version of the Neenah dress from Seamwork magazine to save buying a new pattern.

5. Sew Over It Alex shirt dress (from City Break eBook) – purple viscose

The Alex shirt and shirt dress is probably my favourite pattern from the City Break eBook. It seems like a nice pattern to start the introduction to shirt making as there’s no collar stand or cuff but I’ll still be learning something new with the yoke.

I’ve had this pretty plum coloured viscose in my stash for a long time. I originally bought it with the plan to make another maxi By Hand London Anna dress thinking I would wear it in autumn as it’s such pretty autumnal colours. But then I realised that I wouldn’t wear a maxi dress in autumn – what shoes do people wear with maxi dresses when it’s not sunny? – so it’s sat in the stash ever since. But soon it will fulfil its garmenty destiny.

6. Deer and Doe Pavot coat (discontinued) – royal blue gabardine

This has been planned for sooooo long. I’ve traced the pattern, bought calico for a toile and done a butt load of research on drafting a lining. It’s time to just crack on with it really.

7. Deer and Doe Safran jeans – black denim

Another one that’s not my actual fabric and I think my denim is blacker than that. We’re not technically allowed to wear jeans to work (except Fridays) but I’m hoping to wear these as stealth jeans.

8. Deer and Doe Mélilot shirt  – white crepe

Everyone needs a white shirt don’t they? The fabric is a white crepe that I bought on Goldhawk Road. I originally intended to make a Sewaholic Belcarra blouse out of it but I think it’ll make a lovely Mélilot.

9. Style Arc Simone cardigan – grey sweater knit

I am worried this one might end up looking a bit school cardigan like but I think the grey will make for a nice versatile layering piece.

So that’s my #2017MakeNine plans. Of course I haven’t actually been near my sewing machine since before Christmas and don’t seem to have any sew-jo whatsoever. I’ve even got three projects cut out that I can’t seem to get up the oomph to actually sew. (Muse Jenna cardigan, Seamwork Mesa fit-n-flare hack and Helen’s Closet Winslow culottes.) I think I need to give my sewing room a good tidy so it’s a more appealing room to be in. It’s so so messy at the moment.

Anyway, hope you’ve all had a nice weekend. Take care and I’ll speak to you again soon, hopefully with some finished projects to show you. I think I’m up to about 10 unblogged makes now. Ooops!

Me Made May 16

So it’s over. My very first Me Made May! Despite my very modest pledge of just 3 items a week I’m still proud of myself as I managed it. I really enjoyed seeing everyone’s photos on Instagram and finding new sewing people to follow. I’m going to miss it a bit.

I’ll show you my round-up of photos and then I’ll talk a bit about what I think I’ve learned.

Week 1

Me Made May 16 - Week 1
Coco dress // New Look 6217 // Sea Siren Skirt

Week 2

Me Made May - Week 2
Dixe DIY Ballet dress // New Look 6217 again // Sewaholic Gabriola skirt

Week 3

Me Made May Week 3
New Look 6217 // Dinosaur Ballet dress // Green Grainline Scout

Week 4

Me Made May 16 Week 4
New Look 6217 again // Deer and Doe Datura blouse // Dixie DIY Ballet dress

Last few days

mmmay16-week5
Deer and Doe Datura blouse // Dixie DIY Ballet dress // Sea Sirens Skirt

This is cheating a bit as I wore all of these on the same day, because I was taking photos of them. I started off in the Datura, was only briefly in the Ballet dress and then ended up in the skirt. Although not for too long because my mum was making me climb around her shed so I pinched some of her shorts. Shorts I really like and plan to keep.

My Me Made May Thoughts

Well firstly I think you can very definitely see I have a colour palette. There’s nothing there that isn’t green, blue or monochrome. I don’t know whether that’s a problem or just something that’s me. I have got some slightly more colourful makes in the works but they’re not a huge step away. I like what I like.

I also learned that I need more tops. I ended up repeating both of my New Look 6217 tees so more of them or something similar would be good to have. I’ve got a couple of tops cut out and waiting to be sewn up already so I’m working on that and I’m planning a second Datura blouse.

I kept a list of all of the non me made things I wore during May as well to see what else I might need to make. The two things that jump out at me from my list are cardigans and trousers. I’ve been wearing the green skinny jean type things you can see in a couple of the photos above a lot lately. My Ginger jeans have sat in the corner since I had my fitting related strop and I will have to get back to them at some point. Once I’ve figured out the fit I’d love to make some colourful pairs.

All of my favourite cardigans are that lightweight knitted fabric that I think is called sweater knit but I’ve never seen it for sale. I do have knitting patterns for cardigans (and the yarn to knit a couple) but really that sort of cardigan isn’t the type of RTW one I choose. So I’m thinking I need to sew some cardigans. I was wondering about McCalls 6708 because it has different necklines and lengths (I like a v neck mainly). But I am open to suggestions if anyone knows of any great cardigan patterns.

So that’s tops, trousers, cardies and knit dresses (because I’d always like more) going on to the To Be Sewn list. How about you, what gaps did you identify? do you miss Me Made May or are you glad the selfies are over?

Me Made May 16: The Pledge

mmmay16final

I’m a bit late as May has already started but I’m signing up for Me Made May this year. If you don’t know what Me Made May is, its inventor Zoe, of So Zoe, 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 how often you pledge is up to you. A lot of people pledge to wear handmade every day but that’s just not doable for me as I don’t have enough handmade clothes. So my pledge is:

I, Leigh of Clueless Seamstress, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear 3 handmade items a week for the duration of May 2016.

I think it’s an achievable goal but will still challenge me and I know I need to finish some more garments so I don’t just end up wearing each of my ballet dresses once a week.

I’ll be posting my outifts on Instagram and a round-up or two here. Good luck fellow participants!

Me Making March: The finish line

memakingmarchI feel like a bit of a fraud even bothering to post about the second half of Me Making March as I was dismal at it but I thought I best had so here goes. I won’t bother listing the days I didn’t do anything because it’s most of them and that’d get really dull for you. I am rubbish.

Day 19

I started sewing my Mesa toile and then couldn’t find the neckband or second sleeve so spent at least nearly an hour hunting in the sewing room for where they’ve gone. I still haven’t found either bit so goodness knows what’s happened to them. I suspect there’s some sort of wormhole or portal beside my cutting table for them to have fallen into. (Edit: Found them! They had got folded up in some of the fabric I’d taken photos of for the prints day of #MIYMarch on Instagram)

I had hoped for a wearable toile but I don’t think I have enough fabric to cut out a second sleeve so I’m probably just going to finish sewing it with only one sleeve to roughly check the fit and then crack on with my proper version.

I’d been watching Parks and Rec while sewing and then while hunting but got fed up with my fruitless hunt and had ended up just sitting on the floor watching it so gave up sewing then and went downstairs to watch it on the telly.

My life is a constant disappointment that I'm not Ron Swanson
My life is now a constant disappointment that I’m not Ron Swanson

Day 20

I wasn’t particularly productive today either but I did get a teeny bit of sewing done on my Gingers. I cut out and applied the interfacing, prepped the back pockets and was going to start on the front ones but my overlocker had a bit of a strop and wouldn’t stitch right. So after rethreading it twice I had a strop right back at it and went downstairs to cook dinner and binge watch more Parks and Rec instead. I am more than a bit addicted. When the Manfriend went to bed he called it my crack. Totally is.

Or Lesley Knope
Or Lesley Knope

Day 21

I was tired after work so told myself that all I had to do was rethread the overlocker, which I did but it was still being really difficult about it and I have since resigned myself that I think it needs to go for a check-up.

Day 26

Today I jeaned. I sewed the entire front including my very first fly and pockets. *Mega proud face*

tom proud

Day 28

I basted the jeans together to check the fit and then stared at my crotch for ages trying to figure out what I needed to do to it. And I’ve pretty much ignored them since then. I have fiddled slightly with the crotch but I don’t know if I’ve made things better at all. I think it’s less bubbly than in this photo but I think I possibly need to change the shape of the front crotch, which I can’t do on this pair as I steamed on in and overlocked and topstitched it before I basted everything together. Jeans sewing expert Heather from The Pug and Needle was really helpful on Instagram and I think I know what I need to do. Or at least what to try first. I really enjoyed sewing these though and when I get the fit right I can see myself wanting to make a trillion pairs.

crotch

And then it was April. So I’ve been a bit rubbish at Me Making March and only got one thing actually finished (I will get photos soon) but I’m sort of hoping that all the Parks and Rec gifs will distract you from that. Has it worked?

april smart

Me Making March: The half way point

memakingmarchWe’re just over halfway through March so I thought I should probably report back on how my Me Making March is going. I had planned to post more frequently but I haven’t really had enough to say so just the two round-ups should be plenty.

Day 1

I hadn’t seen Meris’ post yet so I hadn’t started Me Making March and didn’t do anything.

Day 2

I didn’t do much but I did manage to hem the sleeves of my in progress ballet dress.

hemming sleeves

Day 3

I was tired and lazy.

Day 4

And again, oops.

Day 5

I didn’t do any sewing but I finally picked up the Andi Satterlund Miette cardigan that I’ve been knitting since March last year instead and knitted some of the first sleeve.

Day 6

No sewing today either but I did some more knitting and nearly finished the first sleeve.

Day 7

A more productive day today. I cut out the fabric for the toile of my Mesa dress hack, got the manfriend to measure my inside leg for me so I could shorten the leg pattern pieces for my Closet Case Files Gingers and cut out the traced pattern pieces. I also took in the waist of the ballet dress I’d sewn most of and straightened the skirt side seams because I’d been a bit of a dunderhead and used a sort of trapezoid shade for the skirt but with no curve to the waist or hem because my fabric had stripes but of course that meant the sides dipped down and looked silly.

sleeve

Day 8

I only got round to shortening the back leg piece yesterday so I altered the other one tonight. Then cut out my pocket lining pieces and one leg bit. Then I went to bed and cast off the first sleeve of my Miette cardi, once I figured out what stretchy bind off I should use.

Day 9

I cut out the rest of the leg pieces, the yoke, one pocket facing and one back pocket.

ginger front leg

Day 10

More cutting out today but not as much. I cut out the other pocket facing, the other back pocket and a waistband.

Day 11

Nothing today.

Day 12

I hemmed my ballet dress so I could wear it for a day trip to Cardiff with the Manfriend to bimble about and then go watch Mark Watson do stand up in the evening, which was very nice apart from the train home being full of awful drunk people and stopping in every tiny station on the way. I had an awful woman fall into my lap and have a mega domestic with her partner right next to me.

Day 13

I wasn’t feeling well all of Sunday and ended up sleeping for a lot of the day so no sewing was done.

Day 14

Nothing again.

Day 15

I wasn’t feeling well again and had to come home from work ill so there was no crafting done.

Day 16

Still not feeling right so nothing again.

So I’ve done something on about half of the days so far, which isn’t great but isn’t too bad either. I seem to have been full of bugs of late, since coming back from holiday really, which has let the Manfriend to blame the chipmunks we met on holiday. Their cute faces, hiding a fluffy menace.