Me-Made-May ’12

MMM 31 MMM ’12 is finished with a big thank you to Zoe – graffiti style on the side of my house – for organizing this challenge.  This is the third me-made challenge I’ve participated in (you can see the others listed on the right under What I Wore), and so far, I think, my most successful.  The weather cooperated, which was a HUGE part of being able to make this work, and I’ve managed to sew a few more very wearable items over the last year or 18 months that have made it into regular rotation in my wardrobe.  I am quite surprised at how many days I wanted to reach for capris, but didn’t have enough me-mades to choose from.  I hope to rectify this over the next little while.

If you’d like to see what I wore this past month, I’m stealing this wonderful idea from Amy of SewWell and giving you a linkable screen shot of my Flickr set so you can read about each day, if you’d like.  I gave up writing a really long post with all the respective blog links for each outfit like Claudine did.  I suspect she was really smart, though, and worked on her compilation post all through May, because it was in my reader first thing this morning! If you do decide to click through to Flickr, be sure to browse on through to the group Flickr pool.  Hope to see you all there next year!

MMM12

Are you tired of this pattern yet?

I’m running out of casual me-mades for this MMM challenge.  So I sewed my most-sewn top – again – this morning so I’d have something me-made to wear with this favourite RTW skirt of mine.

Obligatory back view.  The fabric is a wonderful 14oz rayon-lycra jersey from EmmaOneSock (originally intended for Vogue 1259, then changed to the McCardell dress, that never happened due to a layout error) which has been languishing in my stash since last fall.  I tried to use the smaller bits of the fabric, and ended up with a CB seam (not in the original design).

I wonder how many more I’ll make before all’s said and done.  🙂

Burda 09/2011 #106: My favourite top

In honour of Me-Made-May’s weekly challenge, I whipped up this new top just this morning!  It’s green day today, and I wanted to have a green top.  I have lots of green in my closet, but didn’t want to wear any of it.  This fabric is a lovely lightweight jersey from EmmaOneSock that I bought last year, I think.  It’s got a wonderful swirly pattern in the entire range of green that exists, from dark forest to a very yellowy chartreuse.IMG_1450It’s so easy to whip up a new one that I find myself turning to it again and again.  Today I made up a new short-sleeved version, although I did not do the lined sleeve as per Burda’s instructions.  I simply cut the larger sleeve, gathered the top and ran a length of elastic through the sleeve hem.  I like it with sleeves!IMG_1452Here is another sleeveless version of it.  You’ve seen my original version here.  It’s another top in regular rotation these days.  The fabric below wasn’t the perfect choice for this pattern.  It’s a stretch woven polyester with metallic and was in the “roll ends” section of EmmaOneSock. It probably would have been better as a skirt – it’s got amazing recovery, but I really couldn’t see myself wearing a skirt out of a weird coloured fabric.  It reminded me of something vintage – it’s such an odd plasticky-peachy-silly-putty colour – but I’m not sure what in my memory jogged that connection.b ss2011 421 contrast bindingI used the reverse for the neck and armhole bindings, and no, I’m not grinning at someone just before I put them out of their earthly misery with my cast-iron skillet. This photo is actually from the Me-Made-May first Friday challenge “food”.  I’m wearing my Burda breezy skirt with the top.mmm5 cooking

I also made this top from silk jersey remnants, but because I was working with bits of fabric instead of complete yardage, the pattern didn’t work out so well.  I wore it twice, and this is the only evidence, as it left my house for the thrift shop.  Yes, it looked that bad!7170843688_9409a9cc6f_b

I’m in love: Vogue 2578

IMG_1195

I’ve made up these pants three times over the years.  The first was a pair of brown linen; the second pair were in a wool/viscose tweed and this is the most recent version.

I do not have the first two pairs.  I seem to avoid muslins in favour of making up, wearing and tossing, but that’s another blog post altogether.

IMG_1188I know I don’t look like I’m squealing like a little happy piggy in this photo, but I am internally grinning like a Cheshire cat about these trousers.  This pair is a keeper.  I wore these trousers a couple of days ago, and was very disappointed.  Actually, the proper word would be disheartened.  After wearing them all morning, they had stretched out and hung horribly in every possible way they could even if I did underline them.  But I am so in love with this linen that I just couldn’t part with them.  So I studied all the photos I took on Wednesday for the MMM12 challenge and made my adjustments. (You can see the only picture I saved of them from that original wearing here). IMG_1198I took in the waist a couple of inches and tapered the excess down to my hip level (about 9 inches below my waist) at the side seams. I still could adjust the front crotch curve and length, but in true mezzo style, I’ll do that adjustment on the next pair.IMG_1199And can I just say that I really love my new linen pants?  I am so thrilled that I have finally made this pattern fit properly that I want to make up another 16 pairs!  IMG_1200After much thought about lining vs. underlining, I decided I’d underline these ones.  I’ve never underlined a pair of pants.  I must confess I have always been afraid of the underlining shrinking or pulling away or making them hang weirdly after wear and tear, but I decided I’d give it a go with this pair.  Actually, this discussion thread and this thread really swayed me in favour of the underlining this time.IMG_1202I used a pre-shrunk cotton voile and underlined only to the knee.  I overlocked all the seams and bound the bottom of the waistband.  I have to say I really am pleased with this entire project.  I may never line linen pants again.  The voile (not an underlining first choice – organza is always touted as being the premier underlining fabric) really makes a difference about how these pants hang and feel.  Lesson learned!  🙂IMG_1209And can I just say how I love this pattern?  It has all the thinking done for me in the instructions for a fly zipper with an underlay.  Every time I’ve made them, the zipper turns out perfectly, and all I have to do is follow the pattern instructions. IMG_1208 I love to sew, but sometimes I hate the problem-solving that goes into project.  It’s nice to have a good set of pattern pieces and proper instructions for a wonderful result all pre-packaged and ready for you!  This pattern also has separate pieces for lining the pants, complete with instructions on how to line the fly shield.  Gotta love Vogue designer patterns!  You learn so much!

An ugly place

In Me-Made-May ’12, mini-challenges are presented for each Friday, and today’s challenge is ugly places.  I would encourage those of you who haven’t taken a peek yet, to look through the MMM12 Flickr Group to see just how amazing all the outfits are that people have sewn.  I was scrolling through all the pics yesterday and was struck at how normal all the me-made clothing looks.  It was wonderful to see, and to think that I may meet anyone walking down the street and they could be wearing something me-made and no one would know because nothing screams, “HOMEMADE!!!”

And just for a lark, I thought I’d share my ugly place photo today with you.

IMG_1231 This is my cantina, which is supposed to be a cold room, but because it resides in the space between earth and sky underneath my veranda, it’s freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer.  It’s also my DH’s storage area for all the random things that he may need in the next 60 years of his DIY home ownership saga.  Ah, the joys of being married to someone in the construction industry!  In good news, the lovely rust capris are me-made.

Unusual. Definitely unusual.

IMG_1046 Well, it’s done!  Donna Karan’s unusual top courtesy Vogue 1039 and the accompanying pants, unveiled yesterday.  I’m not wearing this outfit today, but since I was futzing with the pants yesterday, I thought I’d throw on the top (which has been hanging in my closet for a couple of weeks) and take pictures of it.IMG_1095

Let me just say there is nothing like me-made challenges to make you understand what you should and shouldn’t wear for your body’s shape.  Take this top for instance.  I love this top.  I love everything about it:  the pleats, the fabric choice (same green silk as my Ruby camisole), the ruching down the side seams and the general weirdness of it all.  But I don’t think this top really likes me.  I made this up in my chest size – not my bust size – to get the fit through the shoulders.  This is my general rule of thumb, and then I usually proceed with an FBA.  The pattern describes this tunic as a loose-fitting.  Sure. It’s very loose fitting, but it is not loose fitting through the bust.  There is supposedly two inches of wearing ease through the bust point.  Unfortunately for me, the chest:bust ratio that I own negated that wearing ease.  I should have cut my bust size.  I just need to find an undergarment that FLATTENS instead of supports.  Then the darn thing will hang closer to my body.  But whatever! This top is so weird that I’ll probably wear it anyways just for the strange looks I’ll get! And there are a LOT pleats in the back.  Isn’t this cool?  What’s not to love about the 30 odd mini-pleats and the ruching?IMG_1037 And if it’s windy, or I turn suddenly, it billows out and adds about 100cm to my circumference.IMG_1099Well, there’s no one else in my social circle that owns such a top.  And that’s why I sew!IMG_1096

Skinny pants: Vogue 1039

OK.  Pretty pictures first.  Just keep in mind how slim, elegant and long-legged the pants on the model are in the picture above.   First, I’d love to say that I really had fun making up these pants.  Of course, mine look nothing at all like hers because I’m not elongated like she is, but the details are all the same!  First up, lookee here at the pocketses!

IMG_0855 IMG_0856And the detail at the centre back yoke.  Crappy topstitching job, but honestly, no one will notice or care once I’m wearing them.  And the little tab is truly sewn in straight – you just can’t tell from the angle at which the pants are laying!IMG_0853The inside.  I used gingham remnants for the binding and pocket liningIMG_0854 Let me just say that this pair of pants is designed a little on the large side.  I cut one full size smaller than what I usually cut for a Vogue, and this is what I ended up with.IMG_0897Not so skimming, huh?  The waist fits perfectly, after tapering down one size as per my usual adjustment.  But I had to take in a 2 full inches from the inseam and crotch.  And then I noticed that I could have should have taken in two inches at the centre front.  Too bad for this pair, because I’m not going to adjust them any more!IMG_0908Obviously I can still take in more across the back, but I’m settling for this particular pair.  The picture above was taken after wearing them for a few hours post adjustments and the fabric bagged.  I guess it’s missing the Lycra.  There’s still too much fabric in the back leg, too, which I shall fix for the next pair.

What’s that you say?  Yup.  I’ve decided these were so much fun (thank you, pockets!) that I’m going to make up a second pair and see if I can make them skinnier.  I may regret this yet….

Pattern Review: Burda Blouse 10-2010-118

IMG_0810 This blouse has been finished for ages, but I’ve not had any interest in taking photos of it or writing about it.  But since today is Me-Made-May Day 6, and this is what I wore, I kinda sorta had to take pictures and so I may as well write about it, don’t ya think? I picked this Burda blouse in my desire to sew through some of the blouse fabrics that have been waiting for the light of day.  I originally thought I’d use this weird fabric…IMG_0852… but it has a definite mind and body of its own that does NOT look good in something as shapeless as this blouse.  It’s a rayon crinkle with another layer of the same rayon as a backing.  It’s cool, but it so did not work with this pattern.  So I disassembled it and will use it for something else someday.

But I really wanted to make up this blouse.  Don’t you just love the bow?  So I went a-hunting through the stash and came up with the remnants from this dress.  I don’t have the dress anymore.  Surprised?  I seem to give away as many garments as I sew.  But I love love loved this silk chiffon, and it worked nicely with the shapeless design of the pattern.IMG_0812

Shapeless garments don’t really work on my figure, but the chiffon is light enough and I cut this shirt one size smaller than I normally would, so it works well.  My only complaint is the sleeves:  the hem is supposed to be turned up twice, but it won’t stay there and I don’t want to stitch them into place.  I cut the ties on the bias, but used the narrow width suggested for the shorter tie on version A with the length of version B.  Well, I cut as much length as I could out of the remnant.  I didn’t bother finishing the edges of the tie, since it’s cut on the bias.  The seams are French seams; the hems on the bottom and the sleeves are narrow hems. 

This was the blouse that asked for a Ruby, and got one.

IMG_0814

I’ve got my work cut out for me

Well, not literally, yet!  After seeing Zoe’s Me-Made-May ’12 challenge the other day I was thrilled and hesitant at the same time. I have not participated in many of the me-made challenges because, quite frankly, I do not have me-mades enough to get me through 31 days.  The June and September challenges that I have participated in have been a little more challenging than I thought they would be as I tried to find me-mades in my closet that were weather/life appropriate.  And I am quite intimidated by the wardrobes and styling of most of the participants – like Claudine or Carolyn.  Which isn’t the point, I know, but when I see wardrobes of almost all me-mades and so beautifully styled, it makes me realize how much is lacking in my own closet.  Well, maybe not my own closet, but my styling ideas are woefully few.  Having said that, blogging about my me-mades has helped me in the area of what goes well together and what doesn’t go well together.  Nothing like a photo op to glaringly show up what works and what most definitely does not.  You see, I initially started sewing because my mother sewed and it looked like something fun to do.  Then I discovered Vogue magazines and read them religiously as a young teen and really really wanted to dress like that, every day, all day, regardless of the appropriateness of a Chanel-style suit in high school.

mmm12 So I started to sew up designer Vogue patterns as a 12 year old – particularly the old Individualist line they had years ago.  I guess my mom thought it kept me out of trouble and she liked to see her daughter dressed better than she was able to dress during her teens.  And my dad was quite happy because I saved him a lot of money.  I have one distinct memory of him telling me he was so happy that I sewed so well because he would never have been able to afford to dress me the way I dressed if I didn’t make my own clothes!  Needless to say, I stuck out like a sore thumb in high school, and by the time I hit university, I was totally “way out there somewhere”.  bridal shower

I mean, you can’t walk around university campus in stilettos, although you may be able to walk around a high school in them – like I did.  And I grew a bit sideways, too, when I moved out on my own, which meant that my entire overdressed wardrobe didn’t fit anymore.

So I quite sewing for myself except for the really pricey concert gowns or office attire that I couldn’t afford to buy.  It is still more economical to make a ball gown than to buy one.  In my size, anyways.  Sample sales are only good for ideas in my curvy world. grad gown

Then I discovered Pattern Review and the world of sewing fanatics like you all, dear readers, and was amazed!  There were other people with my crazy love of fabrics and sewing.  Although, I do confess, I was more discouraged than encouraged for a long time – you are all so very talented and it was quite disheartening to read and learn and read and learn more until I realized how little I actually knew about garment construction!  And let’s not even start talking about fitting….linen suit

It has never been my intent to sew all of my clothing.  I am quite happy to by RTW t-shirts or hunt eternally for that pair of jeans that finally fits, and I have found a couple of labels that fit relatively well straight off the rack, albeit at a pretty chunk of change.  I have made up a couple of casual items over the last couple of years, but they are the items that I wear the least and eventually end up giving away.  I feel more comfortable in a RTW tee than in one I’ve made myself, and I haven’t bothered to analyze why. 

And then there’s the reality of my lifestyle.  Believe me, I would love to be one of those SAHM’s that is glamourous all the time.  But it takes a lot of time and work, quite frankly, to try to look fabulous all the time.  Honestly, if I’m not out running errands or driving children to appointments, then I’m usually at home in old turtlenecks, yoga pants or jeans doing SAHM stuff that is most definitely not conducive to dressing up.  I mean, for goodness’ sake, do I really want to add a stack of silk dresses, wool pants or a ball skirt to my already overflowing laundry room?

silk print

I guess I’m a slow mover – I’ve needed to mull over just why I sew and what I’m happy sewing and then actually wearing – and I’ve come to the decision that I’d really like to work on sewing up my stashed fabrics and patterns in a leisurely and pleasurable way that results in garments I wear out because I like wearing them so much.  That said, I’d like to commit to Me-Made-May ‘12.  Hopefully I’ll add a few bottoms and a couple of shirts to my wardrobe before and during this challenge, since those two items are sorely missing in my me-made collection.

I, Tia Dia of Mezzo Couture, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’12. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item of clothing each day for the duration of May 2012.