Monday, May 31, 2010

Me-Made-May and Budding Fashionistas

1. Me-Made-May:
As you remember, I loved the idea of Me-Made-May (Lite) when I first saw it. Although I managed to follow through from beginning to end, wearing at least one me-made garment every day, I'm a bit sad I didn't have the time or energy this month to sew more new garments (still working on that first SWALP blouse) - build more diverse outfits - accessorize better. Then again, this isn't a fashion show but a sewing blog. Sew I did (if not much), and I wore my stuff, too. Success!
Here's the last six days in me-made:
Me-Made, top left to bottom right: skirt, shirt, shirt, shirt, jacket, skirt.
What I gained from MMM: I think I need to cull my me-made garments. If something didn't get worn this month despite the small selection and "having" to choose me-made 31 times, maybe it needs to go.

2. Budding Fashionistas

Our daughter is four years old, and very opinionated. She tells me often, and emphatically, which colors she likes (pink, violet, gold) and which she doesn't like (gray, black, brown, denim being "gray"). She needs more pants, and I decided to humor her and get some soft purple linen mix fabric. It would go well with a colorful poplin print from last year's fabric market.

(I had to put in a blue checked piece so the violet looked true to color.)

Today, I showed her the fabric. "Would you like some pants from this fabric?" - "No, I want a dress!" - "But you have about ten dresses. You need pants!" - "But I don't have a purple dress!!"
Flawless logic. Who needs pants when you don't have a purple dress yet.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Me-Made-May and Cap "Coconut" Ottobre 3/2010/39

MMM Days 20-25:

The first four days. I realize I'm missing day here, but I wore my lounging pants and didn't feel like taking a picture (lazy day).

Me-Made: Tangerine top, gray skirt, red and white dress.

Today and yesterday (my picture software didn't want to change the pictures).

Me-Made: Today's outfit is all me-made, a first this May! (Top and skirt.) The skirt is my official pentecost fair skirt; I finished it just before going to the fair last year, and wore it again this year.

What I gained from MMM these days: Stamina?! Halfway through I didn't think I'd make it through May. Now reaching for me-made has almost become second nature!

The cap:

I made the cap as a last-minute birthday present for a two year old boy. (Actually, I made the cap because we had a lot of social activities going on last week, and I really needed a creative time-out. Shhh. Don't tell!)

It went together fast and easy, and looks really cute on. DD said, "Oh, it's a riding cap!", and it does have that shape. For materials, I recycled DS's pants that were cut off his leg after he'd broken it. Brand-new jeans (RTW, grandma bought them), what a shame! Now they found a good home.

I lined the hat with the quilting fabric you see on the car appliqué. The other appliquè was what happened after a mistake, umm, design challenge.

Summer has arrived here, which has been nice but not so good for sewing. I know. I shouldn't complain.

That's it! Happy sewing!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Me-Made-May: Days 17-19

Tissue anyone? (In case I'm boring you to tears.)

I have a new favorite skirt! (As if you couldn't tell.) It's SO comfy, warm (wool stretch), allows for long strides, and combines well with just about everything else in my closet!

Me-made: Skirt, skirt and jacket.
What I gained from MMM today: I'm still reaping the benefits of finally finishing the skirt!

A couple of notes on the skirt I forgot last time: I drafted a lining. (The only skirt I like without a lining is a very casual warm-weather skirt.) I don't quite understand why Burda has you make this skirt without a lining. Maybe they didn't feel like adding two more pattern parts. I drafted the lining like this (highly unscientifically!): taped the upper skirt patterns together, and used this for the upper part of the lining (minus the facings) down to the hips. Below that I just drew on a basic A-shape. This worked just fine!

I also made my, cough, first machine-sewn blind hem. Not as delicate as a hand-sewn hem which I usually make, but perfectly acceptable.

I somehow feel I should show more diversity in my Me-Made-May outfits. But it is a fact of my life that I repeat my favorite outfits again and again. This made me think of a highly unlikely variation on Me-Made-May: Sewing a SWAP wardrobe and wearing (only) this for a month. Do you think it would be possible?

Have you ever sewn a SWAP? How often do you/did you wear those garments?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Me-Made-May and Skirt BWOF 8/2007/116

This was my 14th M-M-M outfit:

Me-made: Tangerine tank top.

(Note the 90-ish necklace: hand-crocheted by DS. He's trying to learn to crochet, has dabbled in hand-embroidery and created a "pattern" for a bag he wants to sew. Be still my heart.)
As to yesterday: I have to admit I just threw on the same outfit again. Anyone else doing this? Sometimes dressing has to happen in not under 5 minutes, but 5 seconds. I'm sure you understand.
Last night (as in ten o'clock and the rest of the world was asleep) I got this bug into my head I wanted to finish a skirt I'd started on our winter vacation. Just a couple of details to take care of. Sure.
At 10.30 this morning I could finally get dressed because I had - sort of - finished the skirt:
(Find the difference!)
I was unable to decide how far up to sew the front folds closed. The only mark I found on the pattern sheet was about 2/3 down. At first (left above) I opened the folds parallel to the lower corner of the side "triangles". Side and back detail:
After I thought I saw some pulling across the front, I opened the seams some more. I like it a bit better in real life, although the folds open up pretty much. Seeing the pictures I'm not sure.
Since this skirt is still a work in progess (wearable work-in-progress, how is that?) due to a bubbling side zipper (and a badly needed pressing), I may change the folds again. What do you think?
What I gained from MMM today: If unsure what to wear tomorrow, dig for an UFO. If still UFO the day after, wear it anyway!
This is a well loved Burda issue. I made the blouse no 114., the jacket no. 115, and this skirt no. 116 so far. Do you have a favorite Burda issue? I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Me-Made-May and Randomness

Here's Days 10, 11 and 12:

(Me-Made: blouse, top and top)

You can see the difference the light makes to my pictures. It's been terribly dark lately (cold as well). The cold is my friend as it allowed me to wear this woollen dress today:

The children insisted on being in the picture, which made it impossible to hold the camera still. I'll make up for it with better pictures. Someday. (You can also see why I usually cut off my feet in the pictures. I take most pictures in the bedroom. No street shoes allowed in there.)

What I gained from MMM today: I'm in a bit of a rut (isn't anyone who tries to get dressed in less than 5 minutes in the morning?), part of which is that dresses are usually reserved for special occasions or high summer. Why? The dress was perfect (and cozy) for today.

I spent today trying to get a non-sewing friend into crafting with me. She had to cut out fabric, and I sewed. Although I wish it had been my next blouse or pants we'd been working on (both traced off, ready to cut), we made doll carriers for our children. I forgot to take a pic when she and her daughter took off with the one we managed to finish. I'm beat after an afternoon of talking (and explaining my self-drafted pattern to a non-sewer!) and sewing with nothing to show for it (here)!

If you are at all interested in beautiful, classic blouses and pants, and perfect workmanship, take a good long look at Karen's SWAP for her daughter. Great sewing inspiration! (I also chose one of "her" patterns for my next blouse.)

Happy sewing and May-ing!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Me-Made-May: Days 8, 9 and Top Knipmode

Or: 50 ways to wear a wool skirt. Here, for your viewing pleasure, with outerwear for a change.

The energy I didn't expend thinking up a new outfit I spent on sewing up this little knit top:
The pattern is from Knipmode Special Spring/Summer 2010 no. 101. It's tunic (or dress) length; I sewed it as suggested and then shortened it to a length I like, about 5'' (12 cm) shorter.
As I understand it, the Knipmode Special is part of a regular Knipmode issue, only that this special issue gets translated to German and sold separately. It contains nine patterns sewed up in different lengths and fabrics and combined to form four trendy mini wardrobes. I love this reduced form that could take all the guesswork out of what to sew next; only that I could never stop buying... and considering... Burda, Ottobre and all the rest. Schizophrenic, right?
Me-made: Teal skirt, brown knit top.
What I gained from MMM yesterday and today: Just do it. Need a knit top? Done.
For anyone wondering whatever became of my blue SWALP: I'll get to it. I think.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Me-Made-May: Day 7

Thank you for following my lengthy and, as of today, repetitive Me-Made-May challenge, and for all your nice comments! Some random comment answers first:

New commentator Marie-Christine raised a couple of interesting issues. On my resolve to sew more basic patterns she remarked that it can be harder to sew a basic pattern because fit becomes more important, and the material takes center stage. On the fit issue I hope to get lucky because while my figure may not be totally average it is close enough that I get an acceptable fit quite easily. I'd love to hear opinions on this, though: Do you find basic patterns easier or harder to sew (including fit etc.)?

Marie-Christine also remarked on my blouse finishing techniques. Well, I may still be in jacket mode, and I agree that all that finishing (french seams throughout and fully bound armhole seams) might not be necessary. I don't, however, have a serger, and I'm not sure that pinked seams would withstand the washing machine over time. I usually zigzag my seam allowances, and in the interest of speed may return to this.

On the fitting issues, yes, I have measured several times over the last year and that strange bust-waist-discrepancy remains. I have two possible explanations: One, I may measure too "honestly", i.e. with a relaxed midsection. Maybe Burda counts on some "sucking it in" in their measurements tables? Also, I read somewhere that the amount of ease needed also relates to the "firmness" or "softness" of the body. Maybe I need less ease in the waist because I'm, um, not rock-hard there anymore?

As to the weather: I find that as long as I get outside and some exposure to daylight and external temperatures, I'm okay with almost any weather. Of course, loving my woolens helps! (Today, for anyone outside Germany, is a fine February day - again.) Here's proof, my seventh MMM outfit:

Me-made: Ottobre skirt, written up here.
What I gained from MMM today: The motivation to start another garment (knit top) for me! Usually, after a somewhat involved project for myself, I'd sew something for the kids, if only to jump right in and worry more about cuteness than accuracy. But I resolved to sew more for myself, so yay for (Me-Made) May!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Me-Made-May: Day 6

This must be the worst MMM picture ever. The camera just didn't want to photograph dark colors in natural light without a flash. Well, it was dark and rainy. Which also meant I could dig out another woolen garment, yay!

Me-made: Gray herringbone tweed jacket.

What I gained from MMM today: Relief that I made it through day 6. Apprehension about day 7.

See you!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Me-Made-May: Day 5 and Blouse BWOF 8/2007 no. 114

I finished my first blouse! Hooray! Really, after plodding through all those button holes (on top of collar construction... on top of seam binding...) I wasn't so sure this was much less work than a jacket. But it's wearable, it fits my style, and I'm thinking of making this pattern into a TNT/blouse sloper.
Two reasons: First, this was one of the few garments I made exactly according to the pattern measurements (usually I just eyeball the seam allowances...), so I can make equally exact changes. Second, I changed a couple of things right during construction (squared off the shoulder line, tightened the neck hole/collar, lengthened by half an inch) and can see fairly well what other changes I need.
(Excuse the rumpled appearance. I'd been wearing this half a day already. I really need to brush up on my fashion photography!)
One of those necessary changes I can see but don't understand (at all!): according to my measurements I should be a size bigger in my waist than in the bust. Well, I cut this as a straight size 36 according to my bust measurements, and the bust is a bit tight, but there's lots of room in the waist. ???
Me-made: Green gingham blouse.
What I gained from MMM today: Sewing blouses is so useful. Keep it up!
I'm in a bit of a panic as to what's next. Unless the weather turns and it's 15 degrees warmer tomorrow. Must go dig in the closet. 'Bye.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Me-Made-May: Days 3 and 4

First of all, thank you for all the nice comments on my first MMM outfit! I realize I shouldn't leave the "lounging" outfit from Day 2 on top of the page for too long... So here's Days 3 and 4.

I was in a bit of a funk yesterday, because the weather turned cold, I had to run DS to the hospital, I still hadn't finished my blouse... So I threw on a long-sleeved top (hardly visible in the picture, sorry) I loved once but not anymore - but hadn't thrown out yet, thankfully! (Unlike my only "proper" me-made pants that I'm crying over right now... They would have made MMM so much easier!)

Today it came to me: the weather turning cold means I can pull out wool stuff I hadn't even considered for MMM! In this case, the skirt that keeps me unbelievably toasty right now - really, nothing beats a lined wool skirt for warmth! Worn with my favorite "uniform" at the moment, a sweater over a woven shirt. Now if I only got my woven blouse finished! (Only buttonholes and buttons left.)

Me-made: Top and skirt.

What I gained from MMM yesterday and today:
Sewing the top took what? An evening? So, sew another one already! (Instead of always looking for the pattern with the most seams.)
Same with basic skirts: My MMM wardrobe could be twice its size if I could just get my head around sewing a simple, basic garment from time to time. I thought I should sew more basics regarding color and style. Well, I ought to sew more basic patterns as well.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Me-Made-May: Day 2

Today's outfit is for knocking around the house, a.k.a. hoping to get some sewing done. No makeup, no styling, as befits the day's intent.

Me-made: A pair of elastic waist drawstring pants, sewn more than ten years ago. I don't remember the exact year, but I remember handsewing the seams in a little car on our way to Tuscany. The pattern was from "Brigitte Mode zum Selbermachen". Anyone remember those?

What I gained from MMM today: The realization (again): I really ought to sew more basics. I might wear them still ten years from now.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Me-Made-May: Day 1

The week leading up to MMM (-Lite) was a bit disheartening. First, the flu (mine), then a broken leg (DS's). Needless to say, the last-minute sewing didn't get done, the laundry piled up, and I didn't have a chance to think up or prepare a smashing MMM starter outfit. I considered giving up, but then I pulled out a me-made tangerine top and threw some RTW on top. And why not? I could get a whole month of MMM-Lite out of this top! (I won't, I promise.)

Me-made: The top, sewn last summer without a pattern

What I gained from MMM today: Wearing this top, that I made last minute before last summer's vacation, but hardly ever wore. (Why?) Some badly needed cheer due to tangerine color shot.

Happy May sewing!


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