Me Made May 25th - 31st and a Knitting Disappointment

Wow, we're finally on the last day of May (although it feels more like February here, the weather's been so cold!) so here's my final update on what I've been wearing.

25th May - 2 Me Made items worn, my white lace kimono tee, and my Afternoon Cardi.

28th May - Ditsy floral New Look 6000 top.   I also wore my Tempt cardigan for much of the day.

29th May - The white lace kimono tee again!

30th May - 2 Me Made items - my Sailor Stripes top and my Simplicity Amazing Fit trousers.

31st May - My last minute holiday spotty top.

I'm planning on doing a proper analysis (with charts and everything!) of my Me Made May experiences, but I do feel slightly disappointed in what I've worn.  It seems like it's been quite a boring month clotheswise.  I think there are 2 reasons for this.  The first is that I've been working from home quite a bit, so haven't needed to wear my smarter clothes.  The second is that its been so blooming cold and wet that I've resorted to warmth over style.  I'd normally have worn loads more dresses than I have this month. 

I had planned to debut a new item today as a kind of finale to Me Made May, but it's not turned out anywhere near as well as I'd hoped. 

I'd been knitting a Watershed cardigan from Indigirl.    I first knitted this pattern about 3 years ago, and the resulting garment was worn loads and got thrown away only recently as it had seen much better days.

I had plans for this one to make it longer and with elbow length sleeves.   Here's the result.  Can you spot what's wrong with it?

The eagle eyed among you might spot that the lace patterns down the fronts aren't exactly the same.  They are SUPPOSED to be the same, and I'm sure they were on my first one. 

Here's a close up:

The pattern on the left is correct.  Those 2 rows of vertical holes either side of the diagonal ones are made up of a yarn over followed by a purl 2 together.  On the right front we have purl 2 together, then yarn over.  I've obviously done something wrong with the way I've worked the right front, but I'm not sure what.

The annoying thing is I didn't even notice until I'd finished knitting, sewn in all the ends and blocked it.  Now of course it stands out like a sore thumb.

The cardigan is knitted in one piece from the bottom up, so the only solution is to unravel (or frog) the whole thing.   Very disappointing! 

I think I'll put  it to one side for a while before I do anything drastic.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Well, actually I measured about 10 times, then eventually told myself to just get on and cut!

Why the hesitancy?

It was finally time for me to cut into that very expensive embroidered silk dupion for my friends wedding outfit.

I now have a "sewing room", so I was able to lay the fabric completely out on the floor and pin all my pattern pieces to it before I started cutting.  I'd taken the time to trace the back so it was a complete back piece, not the normal half, and 2 fronts, so that I could see exactly what I was dealing with.  And luckily I could see the fabric pattern through the pattern pieces, so I could measure and rearrange to my hearts content.

I even went as far as to line the 2 front pieces up with my long ruler to make sure I'd got everything right.

In the end I checked and checked and checked again, then just told myself to get on and cut!

The time I spent making sure the pattern was evenly placed definitely paid off, once the lining is attached, I think these fronts are going to match perfectly.

I centred the main flower pattern down the front and back, and made sure that there wasn't a huge flower directly over the boob area!    On the back, the main flowers fall between the back darts.

It looks quite strange on Rosie, the fabric is so stiff it almost stands by itself.  Hopefully it will look much better with a real body inside it.

The dress is virtually finished, apart from hemming, which I'm going to wait and do at the same time as the jacket.  Jenny tried the dress on just before I went on holiday.  It fits perfectly and she loves it.

I'm particularly pleased with the piped edges to the neckline and armholes.

My next job is to make enough piping to go around the jacket neckline and down both fronts, then attach the lining to the main part. 

I'm then going to make a matching clutch bag and hopefully a fabric covered coat hanger.

Then I can get on with MY jacket for the same wedding!

Me Made May - 14th to 24th

Hi all! 

Hubby and I have been away on our holidays this week, so things have been a little quiet around here.  I'd planned to have a few posts scheduled for while I was away, then ran out of time and only managed one (my last post).

I've also been a bit lax about documenting my Me Made May progress.  I've already identified I need more Me Made casual clothes, and although I made a couple of new tops to take with me it was too cold to wear one of them.  (We went to Northumberland on the North East coast of England, and while it was lovely, it wasn't what you'd call warm!).

So, without further ado, these are my Me Made wearings from 14th to 24th May.

14th May - I wore my Folded sweater with jeans, and somehow forgot to photograph the outfit.  I've dug out a photo I took when I completed the sweater, which shows an almost identical outfit!

15th May - My Tempted cardigan and floral NL6000 top, worn with jeans.  Freezing cold weather!

16th May - I wore my Simplicity Amazing Fit trousers, with a purchased top and cardigan.

18th May - one of my newly completed tops (more about this below) worn with my Afternoon Cardi and jeans for travelling up to Northumberland.

19th May - Sailor Stripes top and jeans (sometimes with the Afternoon cardi over it!)

21st May - My new spotty top with denim leggings.

24th May - still unblogged white longsleeved t-shirt with denim leggings and a cardigan as it is FREEZING today.

Although I've still managed to achieve my goal of 3 Me Made items a week, I don't feel these outfits have been that great!  I knew I'd struggle while I was on holiday as I don't have much in the way of casual Me Made clothing, particularly for cooler weather.  I need to rectify that.

The navy and white (it also has some pale peach spots, which don't photograph well) spotty top was a last minute "I need more things to take on holiday" item that I made the day before we went away.  I'd bought the fabric for next to nothing on Ebay for a top of some sort, but I wasn't sure what exactly. 

In the end I used Butterick 5246, which is a dress pattern, and shortened it to tunic length.

I made it as a dress a long time ago and love the way it fits.  The top has turned out equally well, I promise I'll post a modelled photo of it soon.   Until then, here it is in all it's spotty glory.

An update on my goals

At the beginning of the year I set myself some sewing and knitting goals.  I thought it was about time I checked in and let you know how I'm getting on with them.

My sewing goals were:

Make a pair of trousers that fit me.  Yes, I can quite happily say I've succeeded in this one.  I made Simplicity 2562 Amazing Fit trousers, and the fit is very good.  I've worn them several times since I completed them.  I've also got plans for another pair of trousers in some rather loud black and white paint brush effect fabric I bought this week.  They'll be a narrower leg, so might have more fitting issues, I'm not sure!

Make at least one pattern from an independent designer.  Another success!  My Colette Patterns Lovely Linen Laurel dress fits the bill here!  I'd definitely like to try more independent patterns, and I actually won a Hot Patterns pattern in So Zo's recent giveaway, so that will probably be next.

Complete the Craftsy Couture Dress course.  Nope, no success here yet!  I'm put off because I don't like the dress so don't want to make it, but I should really watch the classes and learn something anyway. 

Make things I will wear regularly. Yes, I seem to be doing OK here.  As of the end of last month Simplicity 8498 has had several wears; NL6000  has been worn twice, my Burdastyle Pocket skirt has been worn several times, as has my Lovely Linen Laurel.

Make at least one item a month. Yes, I'm achieving this one pretty well!
January - my vintage Simplicity 8498 ;
February - New Look 6000 ;
March - Burdastyle Pocket Skirt ;
April - 2 New Look 6000 tops and my Laurel
May - Sailor Stripes top, and 2 other jersey tops that I haven't blogged yet.  I'm also working on an outfit for a friend to wear to her son's wedding.  

Participate in at least one sew-along. Achieved Feb and April 2013. Participated in Scruffy Badgers NL6000 Polka Dot Frock Fest (Feb) and Faye's Sewing Adventures Essential Top Sewalong (April).

So, the sewing goals appear to be going pretty well.  I MUST get started that Craftsy course soon though.

Now for the knitting goals.  I only had 2, which were:

Make the knitting patterns I already own my first stop when choosing a new pattern to make.  I'm not doing so well at this so far.   I am currently working on a Watershed cardi which is a pattern I've owned for about 3 years, but other than that I seem to have bought a new pattern every time I want to knit something.  I have recently bought Kim Hargreaves new book though, and there are several things I want to knit from that, so hopefully I can do a couple before I buy any new patterns.

Knit things I want to wear and that will go with my existing wardrobe or fill a gap.  Yes, I seem to be able to better identify what I need and what works for me.  Me Made May is also helping me to work out what I need in my wardrobe in the way of knitwear.  I've also realised I need to knit with yarns that are reasonably easy to care for. 

Did you set yourself any goals this year for your sewing/knitting/other crafting?  If you did, I'd love to know how you're doing with them.

Super Spirit

Those of you who've been following my blog for a while will probably know that I love Kim Hargreaves knitting patterns.

I've got several of her books, and yesterday received her new one ~ Spirit ~ in the post.

It's totally gorgeous, by far the nicest out of those I own.  I want to make about half the items at least!

I think I'd like to start with Edgy

I have some lilac Katia Pima cotton in my stash that would work, but I'm hankering for a mustard yellow instead. 

I'd also like to make Beat, Cheeky and Clear, to name but three more!

Oh, and I'm also desperate now for a pair of bright yellow trousers, after seeing the gorgeous cover photo!

Me Made May Week 2

I did pretty well last week on my first few days of Me Made May 2013 and I think I've done even better this week - in fact I know I have!

Although there are only 5 outfits pictured below, I've managed to wear at least one Me Made item every day this last week.

7th May - Burdastyle Danielle dress, which was one of the very first things I blogged about last June.   I got a compliment from the lady on the checkout in Sainsbury's who told me I looked gorgeous!

8th May - My spotty Sorbetto with sleeves, again a very early Me Made item, I think it's actually pre-blog.  Excuse the trousers - they always look wrinkly when I'm standing still!

9th May - the weather started cooling a bit and I was working from home so I wore my recently completed Ramona sweater with jeans.  I really love this sweater, the yarn is so soft and silky and it's incredibly light, but quite warm.

10th May - 2 Me Made items - my gorgeous New Look 6000 70's floral top and my Simplicity 2562 Amazing Fit trousers.   I normally wear a tighter fitting top with these trousers, but I do quite like this outfit.  Sadly I was either at home alone, or had my coat on when I was out, so hardly anyone saw it!

11th May - Again 2 Me Made items, both yet to be blogged.  A lace kimono tee drafted using Miss P's tutorial, and a very recently completed cardigan.  The pattern is Blue Sky Alpaca's Afternoon Cardi, and it's lovely (even if I do say so myself!).

12th May (not pictured).  I wore the Afternoon Cardi again, this time with my Sailor Stripes top underneath.  Had my coat on most of the day, so no one saw them!

13th May (not pictured).  Working from home today, and it's cold!  I'm wearing a not yet blogged long sleeved t-shirt with my yoga trousers and slippers.  I'm quite glad no one's seen this outfit, but at least part of it is Me Made!

And very excitingly - and Me Made May related - I have won a pattern in So Zo's  MMM'13 giveaway in conjunction with Sewbox.   I chose the Hot Patterns Riviera Boulevard Cardigan-Jacket and to my surprise it arrived this morning! 

I just wish I had time to make one before I go on holiday this weekend. 

Thank you so much to Zoe for organising the giveaway and Sewbox for my lovely prize.  I'll be searching for suitable fabric while I'm away.

Made by Me: Sailor Stripes Top

Recently I was lucky enough to receive some lovely red, white and navy striped cotton jersey fabric from Rosy of Sewingadicta, as part of House of Pinheiro's Nautical Swap.

I love jersey tops, so it was the perfect gift.  However I didn't start cutting straight away, as I knew I wanted to do something special with it, not just make a plain t-shirt. 

Then a couple of weeks ago I was browsing through a magazine and saw this dress.

I immediately knew I wanted to do something similar with my striped jersey!

I decided on a top rather than a dress as I was a bit worried about having red, white and navy stripes all over the lower half of my body.

First I made myself a pattern.  I used a well fitting jersey top I already own as the basis, and set about working out the shapes I'd need to cut.

I ended up with a bit of a jigsaw, as you can see!

The next step was obviously trying to match those stripes as I cut each individual piece out.  I think I did pretty well!

I made the back plain:

I don't have an overlocker so I was a bit worried about the seams going horribly wobbly as I sewed them.  After a bit of thought I decided to stabilise one side of each seam with a very thin strip of fusible interfacing.  You might just be able to see it in this photo.

The interfacing I used had a bit of give in one direction, so I made sure I took advantage of that.  I then spent quite a bit of time making sure I'd got all the necessary stripes lined up and tacked each seam before I sewed it.

It was definitely worth spending the time on these steps as it made the actual sewing much easier.

Because the stripes on the front went here, there and everywhere I didn't even try and match them with the back, but I did manage to get some of the body/sleeve stripes matching.  They're good enough for me anyway!

Here's a photo of me modelling it - the same one you saw earlier this week in my MMM post!

I'm keeping my jigsaw of pattern pieces, as I could see these diagonal waist stripes looking good on a plain dress, black and white on a black dress possibly?

I'll just add that to my ever growing list of ideas!

Me Made May - 1st to 6th May

So, my first Me Made May!

I pledged to wear Me Made items at least three times a week.  Let's see how I'm doing so far.

1st May - as yet unblogged self drafted striped jersey top.  Blog post on this coming soon, I promise!  Worn with jeans (not me made) as I was working from home.

2nd May - I wore my Coral Pebble cardigan, with a navy and cream striped maxi skirt and navy t-shirt (neither me made).  The photo I've used is an old one, as I forgot to photograph this.  Not good to forget on day 2, is it!?

3rd May - my recently completed Lovely Linen Laurel was worn, along with some gorgeous red wedges that I bought months ago.  This was their first outing!

4th May - during the day I wore my linen Laurel again, then in the evening I changed into my Lattice Topped Dress to go and watch a band at our local pub.  I added a pink belt to this outfit just before we went out - a big improvement!

5th - 6th May - no Me Made items worn!  However I've easily achieved my target of Me Made items at least 3 times a week.

I've already identified that I need to make more casual clothes though, particularly tops to go with jeans, and maybe a couple of casual jersey dresses. 

Wedding Sewing

After telling you about that very expensive fabric in my last post I thought you might like to see it, and what I'm going to do with it. 

On the left is the embroidered silk dupion at cost £85.00 a metre.  It has large flowers embroidered in a darker shade of lilac, surrounded by silver corded embroidery (which is actually quite hard to see in this photo, but shows up much better in real life). 

On the right is polyester satin backed crepe which I will be using to make a simple shift dress - the silk dupion is for a knee length jacket/coat.  I'll be using the matte side of the crepe as the right side.

Here's the pattern.

Both the dress and coat will be shortened to just below the knee.  This is actually the pattern that Jenny had her own wedding dress made from, so it's nice she's going to be wearing an outfit from the same pattern for her son's wedding.

I'll be making a start this evening, firstly with the linings for both dress and coat which will be used as muslins. 

You might remember that I'd planned on making my own outfit for this wedding as well.  When I last spoke about it I was having fitting problems with the jacket.  Although I haven't mentioned it since, I spent quite a bit of time taking in some seams and letting out others, and I did achieve a much better fit.  The trouble now is I really, really don't like it!

I know it's only at muslin stage, but the waterfall frill made my chest look enormous!  No modelled photo's I'm afraid, only one with Rosie wearing it.  And believe me, it looks better on her than it did on me.

The fabric I had planned on using is quite heavy, so I can just imagine what those ruffles would look like! 

I'm so disappointed, and also feel rather silly after whittering on so much about how it was the perfect jacket.  Turns out that it isn't - well not for me anyway! 

On further reflection, I also felt that the blue crepe I'd bought to go with the jacket fabric looked a bit "mumsy" for me.  Ugh!

Plan B revolved around some fabric I bought in London when Jenny bought her fabrics.  Don't worry, mine was a remnant and was only £15.00.

But I can't decide what to do with it!  I've got 2.5 metres, enough for a dress, or possibly a shift dress and cropped jacket.  But it's not doing it for me right now.

So, I'm now on plan C!  Plan C features a dress I've had for 4 years and only worn twice.  Not one I made, this is a Nicole Farhi dress I bought second hand to wear for my 40th birthday party.  It's gorgeous.

It came without a slip - when I've worn it before I wore a long black slip, but I'd prefer a nude one this time.   The lace you can see at the neckline is actually the camisole underneath, so you can see, it's rather low cut!  I will be adding a lace panel to the front to cover my cleavage you'll be pleased to know.

I'll need something to go over it though.  Although the wedding is at the end of June, this is the UK, so it's likely to be freezing cold!  (And I'm not joking!)

I was thinking of view 3 on this pattern, without the bow or collar.  What do you think?

And what colour?   I'm thinking a beige/coffee colour, but I'm open to suggestions.  What I'd really like is some metallic linen like Tasia used here on her Cordova jacket.   Looks like I need to go on another fabric buying trip!