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Monday, 30 May 2016

Reflections on my first Me Made May

This year I took part in my first ever Me Made May (a sewing challenge all about wearing handmade clothes every day during May).  As I haven't been sewing as long as some of the incredibly talented people taking part, my pledge was to wear at least one me made item each day in May. 

So the stats are in:
31 days (and 31 different photos, thanks to my long-suffering photographer!)
7 items worn twice
3 baby dresses
2 matching outfits 
1 pair of boy's shorts
1 hand knitted tie
1 sister made item
3 mum made items

I'm not sure if it is considered cheating to wear items made by others but I figured it would be OK, as the main thing is that they are handmade and individual. 

Taking part has been great fun, and I have loved seeing what other people are wearing on Instagram. I've now got tons of new patterns to add to my 'to do' list! Some people have worn 100% homemade every day, including underwear and shoes - that is truly impressive!  I've also enjoyed the discipline of planning what I'm going to wear, and stopping myself from wearing the same few things day in day out. You realise just how many clothes you own when you are trying to wear different items every day. Taking part has also made me think about what I need to make more of and what I need to stop making. I'm a sucker for pretty patterned fabrics, but I've realised I need to make more plain, 'staple' items - hence my latest make was a plain black blouse!

Over and above what I have learned from a sewing perspective, I have found the challenge to be really good for my wellbeing. I know that sounds weird, but it has helped me to have something fun to focus on. I've been going through a stressful time at work, and this has been something which has really taken my mind off that. 

It goes without saying that I'll be taking part again next year (sorry Gareth - that means more early morning photo shoots!).  As I will have more handmade clothes by then, I'm hoping I can get through it without any repeat wears. 

Here is my outfit for today (31st May):

Monday, 23 May 2016

Matching outfits (again!)

It's cheesy, but I've got a bit of a thing for matching parent and child outfits. I'm making the most of dressing the kids in outfits to match ours before they start refusing to wear them! I've previously made Polly a pair of Summer trousers and a Christmas party dress to match my own trousers and dress, and the boys had matching pyjamas for Christmas last year. For Polly's first birthday last week, I wanted to make an extra special dress for her, with a matching top for myself. I chose New Look 6217 for my top and the Flo Dress from Love Sewing magazine for her dress. I had been looking for a project to use some butterfly print grey cotton bought from Fabrics Galore at the Handmade Fair last September, and I thought it would be perfect for both of these. 

The top was a super-quick sew - only two pattern pieces. I used a button from my stash for the back neck fastening and some leftover bias binding for the neckline.  I made it a size larger than usual as the measurements indicated I should. I will make it in my usual size next time as it does feel a bit big. The neck is also far too wide for me, so I will need to adjust that too. I really like the length and the curved hem, plus it's a great versatile top that goes with jeans or tucked into a pencil skirt. 

The Flo Dress for Polly used quite a lot of fabric as the skirt is very gathered - I like this as it makes it feel like a special occasion dress. The bodice is fully lined, which is great as it is designed to be worn without a vest underneath. It was pretty quick to make (because baby clothes always are!), and I absolutely love this pattern. I finished it with a royal blue ribbon to tie in with my Ultimate Pencil Skirt (I had planned to wear this as the butterflies have the same colour blue in them, but it ended up being too cold and I wore jeans instead). The pattern has lots of sizes and I will definitely be making it again in future. 

Here we are on her first birthday:

My Mum had also made Polly a couple of dresses for her birthday and made me a Susie blouse to match one of them, so we got to be matching girls again:

Here we are at Christmas in our matching party outfits:

And those matching Summer trousers:

She'll be so embarrassed when she's older.....

Monday, 9 May 2016

Sorbetto on the razz!

I very rarely have a need for 'going out' clothes nowadays, as most of my nights out consist of a glass of wine or g&t sat on the sofa watching telly, usually wearing (homemade) pjs. However, I had a couple of work nights out last month, so thought it would be a good opportunity to make a new top. I had a smallish piece of green crepe burning a hole in my stash which I was keen to use. My Mum bought it for me as a remnant from Sew Over It at the Handmade Fair in Manchester back in November for the princely sum of £3. There wasn't much of it, so I decided to make a Sorbetto (freebie pattern from Collette Patterns).  I have made a couple of Sorbettos before and they are a great stash-buster. 

The crepe was actually easier to work with than I thought. Sorbetto has a wide pleat down the front, and I thought it might be tricky to get a neat finish, as I have only made it in cotton before. The crepe is pretty thick which gave the pleat some stability. The main problem I had making this was the bias binding which is used around the neckline and armholes. I had several attempts at making my own binding using the crepe, with no success whatsoever. I couldn't iron the creases in, and knew I wouldn't be able to get a neat finish. In the end, I used a length of black bias binding I had leftover from another project and just hemmed the armholes.  I'm actually quite pleased with the end result, the black trim brings it all together when worn with black jeans.  

I wore the Sorbetto for both nights out, and it's great to wash and iron. The only downside is how hot it is to wear on a warm evening! Here is the finished result:

Not bad for £3!

I'm now 10 days into my first ever Me Made May, and I'm absolutely loving it!its made me realise how many me made clothes I have now. I've also enjoyed the opportunity to stop falling into the rut of wearing the same old things all the time. I'll be posting a summary of my thoughts and learnings at the end of the month. In the meantime, you can see my daily outfits on Instagram @adventuresinfabric