Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Me-Made-May'15: Days 21 - 27

Here's the penultimate round up of my Me-Made-May'15 documentation pics. Expect navy, expect red, expect mustard, expect stripes. 

Day 21

(Double picture FAIL!)
Day 22 (daytime)

Day 23 

Day 24

Day 25
Day 26

Day 27

Thoughts this week:
  • I'm thoroughly confused about when I'm 'allowed' to wear trouser or jeans now. 
  • I no longer know what I want to look like when I get dressed up to go out in the evening. I went out this week with some mama crew and felt like I was dressed up in fancy dress, the theme being 'Me a few years ago'. Something to ponder.... Not that it's an occurrence regular enough to be of any concern!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Where's Wally? Dolores Batwing Top

I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Spain at the beginning of this month. The warm weather reminded me that I do, in fact, have arms. Normally my arms are covered in multiple layers of fabric so I often forget that they are there. Here in the UK, spring has also been giving hints that there will be, just maybe, a summer coming along at some point. I currently own only two short-sleeved knit tops/t-shirts, and both of them are looking pretty ratty. Since I first caught sight of Jenna's short-sleeved top version of my Dolores batwing pattern, I knew an homage (read: copy!) would have to happen at some point to help close that gap in my warm-weather clothing selection. 


Umm, what can I say? I used my self-drafted Dolores batwing pattern (available here) using the short-sleeved and top length options. The only changes I made was to ignore the grainlines on the neck binding and cuff pieces so those parts would be stripy. I also made my friend Harriet (of former Poetry & Clothing project fame) a tunic length version at the same time. This pattern is a very quick make (if you are comfortable using knits, and probably a pleasant pace if you're not), slowed down only because I wanted to get a good stripe match on the side seams and shoulder seams. 


I used to have an abundant (massive) jersey/knit section in my fabric stash, but I am slowly and deliberately 'releasing its potential'! This wide red and white striped jersey is light/medium weight and feels insanely nice and slinky: perfect for this pattern. There's a hefty elastane/lycra/spandex/whatever-you-call-it content which makes it very comfortable and gives weight for that drape. These two tops pretty much busted this length of fabric right out, although there are a few very small bits left which may be frankensteined (or 'blocked') with something similar to make a garment for Dolores at some point.


I'm wearing this top as I type, and my thoughts are very positive. The fit is great (I cut the size 12), but I accept I probably sound hella biased! It's a super fun and bold top because of the Where's Wally? (AKA Waldo) wide stripes. I'm in two minds about whether the neck binding and cuff pieces should have been cut with the grainlines running the 'official' way. If I had done that, the neck bindings and cuffs would have been blocks of colour instead of stripy, and I'm not sure if the way I've done it spills over from 'fun' into 'crazy'. But anyways, I'm very happy with my top (I don't think Harriet has received hers yet) and I can't wait for some warmer weather so I can wear mine without a cardi over the top!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Me-Made-May'15: Tilly and the Buttons Giveaway

Well my friends, here's the last Me-Made-May'15 celebration giveaway. Let's go out with a bang with lovely one from Tilly and the Buttons. Tilly is kindly offering one paper pattern to be chosen from her lovely range, PLUS an awesome DIY Dressmaker tote bag!

So what to choose?! Maybe you've had your eye on one of Tilly's patterns (like the Mathilde blouse pattern, pictured above) for agesssss. Well now could be your chance to finally snag a copy. Or perhaps the new Arielle skirt pattern (pictured below)
has caught your eye?

The DIY Dressmaker bag (pictured below) is a lovely quality, strong, sturdy and spacious bag, made from 100% cotton canvas, with long webbing handles that won't cut into your shoulders. The clever gusset and landscape style of the bag make it super roomy, easy to carry, and perfect for fabric shopping or taking to a class. The bag is made from a sustainable crop in a Fair Trade registered factory in India and screen printed in the UK using water-based ink. I am lucky enough to own one of these and I can vouch for the fact that it really is excellent quality, more than a cut above your average tote!

This giveaway is open to participants of Me-Made-May only. Go and have a look at her selection of sewing patterns, and let us know which you'd choose and what you'd make it up in (fabric/trims/any embellishment/etc.)!

To enter, simply leave your comment on this post which includes your email address, unless I can access your email address within two clicks of my mouse. No email address, no way to contact you about your prize. If you aren't positive that it can be accessed within two clicks, then leave it in the comment itself. Your email address will not be used for any purpose other than contacting you if you are the winner. Every time I host a giveaway some people comment without any way to contact them, and it sucks to be them coz often those peops get picked by the random number generator and I have to re-draw. Don't let that be you! Leave your comment by midnight GMT Friday 29th May 2015. I will pick a winner by random number generator the following day.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Me-Made-May'15: Days 14 - 20

Umm, how are we two thirds the way through Me-Made-May'15?! Every year this month seems to race but at an unnecessary speed! I guess with all the extra blogging, photographing and social media interaction, it's like there's no time to come up for air until the month is over. Thanks goodness there's the Me-Made-May'15 Flickr group and Pinterest board to go back to in case we miss any gems during the craziness. Anyways, let's talk about clothes.

Day 14 (kind of cheating because this photo is actually from Day 5, but I wore exactly the same on Day 14 but failed to get a photo taken)

Day 15 (Today was the Flickr group's theme 'Something Old', so I unearthed this top which I haven't worn for over two years since before I became pregnant)
(worn with secondhand jeans)

Day 16 (Spent on trains, not an impressive number of me-mades being worn here, I'll admit. I'm not proud of myself. I always struggle with what to wear to travel in.)
(secondhand jeans and cardi)

Day 17 (spent in other people's kitchens)
Day 18 (Due to a packing FAIL I'm wearing the exact same outfit as Day 16)
(secondhand jeans and cardi)

Day 19 (Probably the most colourful person who was briefly in Eaglescliffe that day!)

Day 20
Leopard print Jenna cardi (not worn in picture)

Thoughts this week:

  • I failed to pack successfully for a little trip we made Up North. It was MUCH colder than I expected. I've ended up wearing trousers/jeans more than my allotted 'allowance' this week, so I have to wear a skirt or dress for an extra day next week. 
  • I'm using all this skirt and dress wearing as an opportunity to figure out which pairs of my tights I can bear to wear for more than 10 minutes and which I cannot. Those that are too uncomfortable or tight around my waist are being put in the textile recycling bin or being kept aside for potential refashioning like I did with these

Friday, 15 May 2015

Me-Made-May'15 Giveaway #3 (and review): My Image Magazine


Well, if there was ever any doubt, last week's Jennifer Lauren Vintage giveaway confirmed that you peops love sewing patterns! And you're hungry for more. Fancy winning a whole magazine full of them? 

If you live in Holland, Belgium or Germany you may well have heard of My Image magazine already. It's been going since 2010, but this magazine is produced by a tiny team: just two guys, Jet and Martijn, based in east Holland. With almost 20 years experience in the industry, they decided to go it alone and produce this independent pattern magazine after their former employers folded. They do everything themselves, from designing the patterns, to organising the photoshoots, to the marketing, to distribution. 

On top of producing this pattern magazine, they also produce children's wear pattern magazine, a range of paper 'envelope' sewing patterns and AND a line of PDF patterns, phew! Despite the only having two employees (what happens when they get sick?!), their product is pretty impressive and they are trying to reach a wider audience. Hence this review/giveaway. I was given one copy to use and review (see below), and one copy to send to a giveaway winner. 

So let's get on with the review part. First up, the magazine itself as a source of sewing inspiration is hella pretty. It's printed on lovely paper with great photos. I found the fabric choices and styling unobtrusive enough to be able to ascertain the potential in each pattern design. I think there's a good mix of simple/quick and more tricky/time consuming projects. The patterns could be used to make a nice little summer wardrobe and I think that most sewers would be drawn to at least a couple of the designs (all of which are pictured above). 

Of course I wanted to try a pattern to see what the magazine is like to actual use, as opposed to simply gazing at in bed before going to sleep. I really like one of the dress styles (pictured above), but in the end I chose this simple top/woven T-shirt pattern as I was strapped for time, plus I had suitable fabric already in my stash. The top is a bit like the Scout woven tee but with bust darts. I'd imagine this one might worn better for those with larger boobs, including those who generally need to do FBA's. My Image patterns are multi-sized and printed on separate pattern sheets, just like Burdastyle magazine. Unlike Burdastyle though, there are fewer patterns printed on each sheet so it wasn't such a pain in the arse to trace out. 

I often feel that simple garments are often the most difficult to draft and fit, because any flaws are going to be impossible to disguise. I found the fit of this top to be excellent, it really hits the sweet spot between fitted and loose and I found the sizing to be accurate. I made this top for my best mate Vic and she's a big fan of it. I made two small changes. Firstly, I ended up shortening to sleeves one stripes-worth after taking these pictures. Secondly, I repositioned the pocket lower because it's intended breast-pocket position wasn't sitting well with the obvious, wide stripes. The fabric I chose, BTW, was a slinky viscose that I scored in a fabric swap in Brighton a few years ago.  

Now for the negative: the instructions. They are sparse, plus in places the English translation isn't great. And like Burdastyle, there aren't any diagrams. When making this top, I really had to rely on my own judgement and past sewing experiences to complete the neckline. It kind of puts me off attempting the trousers/shorts pattern because I'm not very experienced in making fly fronts and I'd like my hand firmly held for that step. I guess it could be do-able with some googling and youtubing at the same time, however, if you don't own a good sewing manual (which sadly I don't).  

So with the instructions in mind, I think this magazine would be most appropriate for 'intermediate' and more experienced sewers. Even though some styles, including this top, might be considered basic and therefore a good project for beginners, I think the experience would be disheartening for those without a number of completed garments already under their belt. 

Review over, on to the giveaway bit. This giveaway is open to participants of Me-Made-May only. To enter, simply leave your comment on this post which includes your email address, unless I can access your email address within two clicks of my mouse. No email address, no way to contact you to send you the magazine. If you aren't positive that it can be accessed within two clicks, then leave it in the comment itself. Your email address will not be used for any purpose other than contacting you if you are the winner. Every time I host a giveaway (last week's included) some people comment without any way to contact them, and it sucks to be them coz often those peops get picked by the random number generator and I have to re-draw. Don't let that be you! Leave your comment by midnight GMT Friday 22nd May 2015. I will pick a winner by random number generator the following day.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Me-Made-May'15: Days 7 - 13

Thanks everyone who commented on my last batch of documentation from my personal Me-Made-May'15 challenge. There's more where they came from:

Day 7 (photographed a few days later because this outfit got totally covered in toddler vomit before I could get a shot on the actual day, which is a shame because I was wearing it with mustard tights and cardi and I thought it looked pretty 'put together'!)
Long sleeved black knit top that is pretty boring but very useful

Day 8 (There was no one about to take my picture until it got too dark due to looking after a sickly toddler and therefore being in quarantine)

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12
Boring black long sleeved knit top

Day 13

Thoughts this week:

  • I'd prefer to have been more consistent with the photos documenting this challenge, for my own aesthetic pleasure if no one elses, but life happens so I'm not going to be annoyed with myself about a mixtures of approaches.
  • I almost forgot that I'm allowed to wear trousers sometimes! 
  • My nautical Cressida skirt is wayyyy more comfy than I expected. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Charity Shop Scores: Bexhill and Eastbourne

You know me, if I can't make an item of clothing (or can't be bothered to make it), then I try to get it second hand. That means I'm often found 'hunting' in charity shops with eyes a'peeled! Here's a recent haul that was acquired in two locations within a few days. This particular batch features a rare inclusion: stuff for Pat (Mr So Zo)! I often feel guilty about how little I focus on sewing or charity shopping for him these days now that we have a daughter. These two garments won't exactly redress the balance, but they have provided him with much-needed clothing for his new teacher's wardrobe. He even started a Pinterest board to work out what to wear! Can you guess which pin I added in there for a laugh whilst he wasn't looking?! 


Wool jumper, 50p
Spotty shirt, £4.45

Jojo Maman Bebe Breton top, £2.45
Fleece top, 99p

Back to my usual charity shop fodder: things for Dolores. I was chatting to the mum of a two-and-a-half-year old and she was saying how useful lots of tops can be for busy, messy little peops. I plan to make Dolores lots and lots of tops, of course, but a few nice second-hand additions may prevent me from being chained to the sewing machine following a growth spurt! Although I must admit, the challenge of having to make everything she wears does appeal to me, but would possibly break me in real life.

I particularly like these two pictured above because the breton top is excellent quality (and it's a breton top!), and the other is a sweet, cosy style that is quite different to anything I'd be likely to make myself. Also, I don't have any fleece in my stash and although I think it's a great fabric for children's wear, second hand fleece garments in charity shops (that I would buy as a source of fabric) often look a bit ropey. 

Anchor print jacket, 99p

That's a lot of anchors for less than a quid, isn't it?! This spring jacket is fleece lined and Dolores has  worn it heaps this week once the weather perked up. As a 'bonus', it instantly turns whatever else she is wearing into, what Pat and I call, a ''How old is he?' outfit'! I really don't care if people assume she's a boy upon first sight, and I imagine a lot of the assumptions come from the fact she has very little/short hair, but I find it interesting that even though her shoes or wellies, reins and bits of her pushchair are pink, it's always assumed she's a boy in this jacket.

Stripy tops, blue tracksuit & mint sweatshirt: between 50p - £1.25 each

This pile of crazy was all bought for the fabric, I promise. I don't plan to be rocking a size 22 cornflower blue tracksuit with embroidered roses any time soon. This Bexhill charity shop was having a massive sale on everything and the staff were more or less making up the prices when you brought stuff to the counter. When I found that out I got all squinty-eyed to try and block out what the actual garments on the rails looked like and rummaged through to find lovely quality fabric instead. 

Spotty vests/onesies, 99p each

Thanks to my previous subscription to Ottobre magazine, I do actually have patterns to make these things. But life is too damn short IMO, when you can swipe them from a charity shop for very little. 

How about you? Any decent charity/thrift/op-shop scores recently? Tell me tell me tell me...
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