Me-Made-May 2017: Week 2 recap

I’ve survived TWO Weeks of Me-Made-May which is¬†so exciting! So far I’ve identified several holes in my handmade wardrobe (basic t’s, cardigans, work out clothes…). I have patterns already for the missing areas, but have yet to sew them. Finishing a dress for work is about a bajillion times more fabulous than sewing loungewear.

Check out Week 1’s recap here!

Day 8: my Popover Poncho

Plus, a pair of corduroys from Loft that had a gaping waistband until I tacked it – so does that count too? ūüėČ

 

Day 9: Out and About Shirt

This might be my very-first-EVER [wearable] handmade garment. I was working on an Out and About Dress & had butchered a few already {word to the wise: don’t begin your adventures of garment sewing with knit…or maybe that’s the best part about being a beginner: You have no fear or knowledge of what you “should” fear. Whatever, just go for it}. I was feeling defeated until I was able to squeeze a shirt out of the leftover fabric. I’ll never forget the sense of accomplishment I felt afterward.

It took me a few months to recover from the experience, but I LOVED the Out and About Dress I finally [successfully]¬†made {see it in this post}. I loved how it fit. I loved the fabric. I loved how I felt wearing it. I was hooked…

  • Pattern: Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline¬†{affiliate link} –¬†modified by¬†lengthening the bodice (but I’m not sure by how much. This was light years ago. I barely knew how to turn on my sewing machine) & omitting the skirt.
  • Fabric: some kind of knit. I think I found it at my local Hancock Fabrics.
  • Blogged: of course not.

 

Day 10: Peachy Fen Dress

Have you ever tried to take a photo with your dog? Geez, Louise.

Charlotte dog really couldn’t care less that we were wearing matching “outfits” which is really unfortunate because Mother/Daughter outfits are the coolest.

 

Day 11: Upcycled Montlake Tee

May 11th would’ve been my grandpa’s 82nd birthday. It was our first celebrating without him. My grandmother let me browse his closet a few weeks ago and I knew I wanted to refashion a piece of clothing to wear in his honor.

I transformed one of his shirts into my first Montlake tee. This refashion was so fun…and very therapeutic! Ironing clothing really brings out the scent. I love upcycling family member’s clothes because the scent fills my sewing room and brings a flood of special memories. I’ll blog all about this one day, but for now, here ya go:

  • Pattern: Montlake Tee by Straight Stitch Designs
  • Fabric: entirely from my grandfather’s old shirt (it had little stretch like jersey but the feel of a ponte knit).
  • Blogged: not yet!

 

Day 12: my Parkside Skirt

  • Pattern: Parkside Skirt by Sew Caroline¬†{affiliate link}
  • Fabric: mystery fabric that was donated to me from someone’s attic…I think it might have been a tablecloth at one point ūüėČ
  • Blogged: mentioned in this post, but you can find a full review of the shorts from the pattern here!

 

Day 13: my Parkside Shorts

The Hubs & I got to spend Saturday with my sister and nephew which was wonderful! He’s now 2.5 months old and learning to smile which melts my heart {see a little grin in this picture}.

  • Pattern: Parkside Shorts by Sew Caroline¬†{affiliate link}
  • Fabric: it was donated to my stash from someone’s attic, but it’s a lightweight denim & vintage floral scraps for the pocket accents.
  • Blogged: here!

 

Day 14: Tammy’s Tulip Shorts

I’ve been keeping these shorts a secret after testing the pattern a few weeks ago. They are a total favorite!! I wore them walking all around town on Sunday with complete comfort (to all my thigh-touching-sistas: there was no awkward riding up which means these are a total win). I made mine with self-made bias tape, but you can use lace or decorate trim for a little extra flair.

The BEST part about this pattern is that 1) it is one SALE – 25% off through midnight on 5/21¬†{shop here!}, and 2) you can buy the girls pattern too to make a matching set with your mini-me! In Sew Caroline’s collaboration with Simple Life Patterns, they released SIX ladies+girls matching patterns for Mommy-and-Me outfits which included these shorts. Shop the collection.

  • Pattern: Ladies Tammy’s Tulip Shorts by Sew Caroline¬†{affiliate link}
  • Fabric: more donated fabric from someone’s attic + self-made bias tape for trim.
  • Blogged: not yet!

 

Me-Made-May/Sewing-related resources I’m lovin’ this week:

1. Repair inspiration

Found a hole in a beloved sweater and not sure how to repair it? Check out how Fiona used tone-on-tone embroidery for mend her sweater! This may motivate me to spruce up my embroidery skills.

2. Pipe-cleaners [yes, those fuzzy wiry things we all played with as kids]

Less of a resource, more of a tip: Keeping a pipe-cleaner in my machine’s “drawer” (is that what the little case under your machine¬†is called?!) is my new favorite thing. A sweet lady gave a wonderful demo at my last quilting guild meeting on how to clean your machine. I took mine apart a few weeks ago {proof here} and was surprised at the dust I pulled off. I’ve been using the pipe-cleaner for dusting each time I’ve used my machine since.

3.¬†Allie J’s me-made wedding dress

It’s PINK!! If I’d had a wedding {read more about that decision here}, I would’ve definitely wanted a pink wedding dress.

I heard Allie talking about her dress on the latest Maker Style podcast episode and had go to searching for a photo. It sounded lovely Рand it is.

4. Wardrobe Edit – this is a great post from¬†Becoming Minimalist with 4 easy-to-follow tips on editing your wardrobe. Not only is this handy in paring down your handmade wardrobe to give you a good idea of styles/fabrics you most enjoy wearing {aka: what patterns & fabrics are worth your¬†time & financial investment}, it’s also useful for non-sewists – anyone who wears clothes & is interested in¬†enjoying what they’re wearing!

#mmmay17 posts I’m¬†lovin’ this week

Week 2 Reflections

While my ready-to-wear [store bought] dresses are banned this month, I have been reflecting on those I miss most. My RTW clothes are very neutral – lots of black. While I love a good floral print or bold design, I really want to incorporate more neutrals into my handmade garments. I have been admiring the look of loose-fitting linen dresses lately. Linen can be quite an investment so I’m keeping my eyes peeled for oversized thrift store dresses that I can cut up and use ūüėČ

I also have a maxi dress that I particularly love. It has an elastic waist, an overlay with¬†full lining and no closures. It’s also the perfect length for me (I can even wear it with flat sandals). It’s one of the most comfortable dresses I own that still¬†looks fancy. Being that I know how to sew which affords me the opportunity to make a dress¬†any length, I should really consider a maxi!

Are you participating in Me-Made-May? What have you learned/discovered about your wardrobe?

Me-Made-May 2017: Week 1 recap

It’s my first year participating in Me-Made-May and if I’m being completely honest, I started stress sewing¬†on¬†the last day of April¬†because I was already worried I was going to run out of clothes.

THEN I remembered this post from Heidi Parkes (a hand-quilter / creative mender / yoga teacher I discovered through QuiltCon & admire very much). Clothes are meant to be¬†WORN. They’re meant to be loved and repaired. Repeating outfits just means I love my clothes enough to wear them again and again ūüėČ

This reminds me of the quote “all my secrets are hidden in my seam allowances” ūüėČ {source}

All that said, you’ll definitely see some repeats this month…

For those of you not following along on Instagram [and also for those who want to know more about the outfits posted], I’m going to try to share a recap of my Me-Made-May posts each week on the blog so stay tuned!

My #MMMay17 pledge:

I, Jordan Slice-Metcalfe, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavor to wear, use, or accessorize with at least one thing I’ve made with my own two hands each day for the duration of May 2017.

As I warned in my first #mmmay17 post, get ready for an abundance of work-bathroom selfies this month! Somehow the new YMCA does not have any full length mirrors in the women’s locker room [can you even believe it?!] and I’m too awkward to ask fellow gym-goers or coworkers to assist…and I’m too impatient to wait until I get home for the day in hopes the Hubs could assist {because let me be honest, my PJ’s come on ASAP once I’m through the door from work so evening pictures would not be a great plan anyhow}. So, forgive me for these unprofessional documentations ūüėČ

Day 1: My 1st Tank Dress

Day 2: My 1st Fen Dress

Day 3: Refashioned Housedress

  • Pattern: none – This is an altered housedress I found at a thrift store.
  • Fabric: It’s a cotton-almost-seersucker fabric
  • Blogged: here – read all about the alterations I made to this housedress (so easy!). Also on¬†My most worn garments of 2016¬†list!

Day 4: My 2nd Tank Dress

  • Pattern:¬†The Tank Dress with optional elastic casing in the back (moved up a few inches to better match my natural waist) from Sew Caroline¬†{affiliate link}
  • Fabric: quilting cotton from my local JoAnn’s
  • Blogged: On¬†My most worn garments of 2016¬†list

Day 5: My long-sleeved Out and About Dress

Day 6: My London Backpack

I KNOW what you’re thinking. I’m already cheating by posting bags I’ve made instead of outfits. BUT I was totally honest in my pledge ūüėČ – I¬†USE my bags [and accessorize with them] daily! Plus, I LOVE this bag. It’s one of my most used – especially for traveling or walking around town on the weekends.

PS: This photo was taken in front of the new Indah Coffee shop. If you’re local, go visit! Their coffee is great {also served at the Soda City market} & the shop looks like a delightful place to hang out [we were only there briefly before heading to the market but we’ll be back!]

  • Pattern: The London Backpack by LBG Studio
  • Fabric: Mostly scrap upholstery from my stash along with this Cath Kidston fabric I picked up when we went to England in 2014
  • Blogged: I’m embarrassed to admit that I have almost an entire post drafted but for some reason I haven’t shared it. Le sigh. I’ll add that to my list of things to eventually do (so stay tuned ūüėČ )

Day 7: my Day Tripper Top

How cute is this mug?! My sisters-in-law got it for me for Christmas & it’s a definite favorite.

  • Pattern: Day Tripper Top¬†{short sleeved without shoulder tabs & bottom band} by Shwin Designs
  • Fabric: floral knit from my local Hancock Fabric before they closed. I wish I had a thousand yards of it – it’s so soft & beautiful!
  • Blogged: here!

Me-Made-May/Sewing-related resources I’m lovin’ this week:

1. These tips for custom fitting a pattern / handmade garment

Straight Stitch Designs mentioned this post in her recent newsletter about Me-Made-May and highlighted the same quote that jumped out at me:

Ego has no place in a well fitting garment.

I have been doing a lot of reflecting on making more advanced fitting alterations to garments I’m making. After viewing¬†most of¬†this Intro to Fitting video from the Blank Slate Patterns team, I realized there are many more fit options out there that may be applicable in helping me love my handmade wardrobe even more.

2. The Reggie wrap dress pattern just released by Seamwork Magazine

I’ve already used a credit to claim it. My¬†Spring/Summer to-sew list¬†just grew by one very cute, loose-fitting wrap dress…those sleeves make the 90’s child in me so happy!

3. The Self-Created Podcast with Jernell & Shanika

One of my favorite things to do while sewing is to listen to podcasts. My favorite right now is the Self-Created Podcast. My creative bestie (Shanika) is a co-host and I could listen to these gals talk forever. They discuss some really interesting topics. Browse their episodes and find one that speaks to you – I think you’ll love it. {PS: I got multiple shout-outs in the last episode so it gets my recommendation ūüėČ }

Week 1 Reflections

I’m really enjoying participating in Me-Made-May. It’s giving me a whole new outlook on my handmade wardrobe¬†and forcing me to take a second look at some of my less-worn handmade garments to think about how I can incorporate them back in or alter them to be a favorite (or cut them up for a new project ūüėČ ).

Posting pictures of myself day-after-day is pretty awkward. I’ve really appreciated all of the positive feedback and encouragement¬†on Instagram. I’ve also¬†loved seeing everyone else’s photos and browsing the #mmmay17 hashtag.

My most worn handmade garments

If you set a resolution for 2017 to build/expand your handmade wardrobe, this list is for you!

With almost 3 years (!!) of sewing garments under my belt, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my most-worn, most-loved patterns. I have learned a lot along this journey. While some garments were fun to construct [or maybe not so fun], they may not have turned out to be as loved in a day-to-day way.

My goal with this list is to provide you a few pattern recommendations that will surely be worth your time!

handmade-wardrobe

Disclaimer: The list is purely subjective and recalled from memory; not from actual daily tallies of use [but wouldn’t that be a fun experiment?!].

Being that I have avoided adding closures of any kind to a garment thus far {no zippers, no buttons, no problem!}, I would say that all of these patterns are beginner-friendly.

beautiful-things

Along this journey to build my handmade wardrobe, I have discovered “my style.” It’s eclectic {code word for: comfortably weird}.

My style moves on a continuum between dressing like a tween to dressing like a 90-year-old. To be honest: it’s not much a continuum – I mostly cling to one end or the other without much that fits in between. But I think that’s the beauty of sewing your own clothes: You have the freedom to choose¬†exactly how you want your garment¬†to look. You want a dress to match your dachshund? Girl Charlee’s got you covered. Need bright green leggings to make spin class more appealing? Imagine Gnats has you covered.

You’ll see both extremes of my style throughout the list below. I can’t promise¬†my style is¬†in style, but it’s¬†mine. And I’m embracing it ūüôā

iris-apfel

Handmade Garments I wore most in 2016

TRANSITION PIECES

Below are pieces that easily transitioned from season to season [aka: just-add-leggings]. 

Sew Caroline’s Out and About Dress | pattern

out-and-about-dress

The 3 Out & About Dresses I’ve made so far – from L to R: version 3, 1, and 2.

This was the very first pattern I sewed {first dress ever} and it has remained my very favorite! I even turned it into a shirt once.

The dress transitions perfectly to fall with a few layers – just add leggings, boots, a sweater and your favorite scarf!

out-and-about-dress-2

During the cooler weather, I wear my long-sleeved version almost every week.

I just ordered some dark gray ponte de roma fabric from imagine gnats that I’m hoping to turn into my 4th Out & About Dress – stay tuned!

{Read all about version 1 & 2 here and version 3 here.}

Sew Caroline’s Tank Dress | pattern

tank-dress-2

When this pattern was first released, I didn’t think I’d jump on that bandwagon. I thought the hemline was “too trendy” {I’ve already confessed my inner 90-year-old}, BUT I love it. It’s actually¬†really easy to construct since it can be made with a woven [non-stretchy] fabric.

My second version [pictured here] is my most-worn¬†because: I raised the elastic casing on the back of the dress about 2 inches [I think]. I’m petite which often requires altering (usually raising the waistline in dresses works for me). In my first version {mentioned in this post}, I was having some bunching in the back above the elastic because it was sliding up to my waist. It was such a simple alteration that completely changed the comfort and fit of the dress for me.

I wear this dress to work with a simple black cardigan and platforms in the summer and transition to fall/winter by adding leggings and boots. I love the versatility of the dress – easy to layer from season to season.

Fancy Tiger Craft’s Fen Dress

fen-dress

My first version of the Fen Dress [pictured here] is my favorite.

{Read all about both of my Fen Dresses in this post and see my 1st Fen Dress in action in this post.}

Shwin Designs’ Day Tripper Top¬†| pattern

day-tripper-top

I got this pattern¬†a long time ago as part of the Pattern Anthology “Just Add Jeans” collection. Embarrassingly, it’s the only pattern I’ve sewn from the collection so far.

For my version, I accidentally omitted the shoulder tabs and waist band which shortened the top (perfect length for petite frame FYI).

{Read all about my Day Tripper Top in this post and see it in action here, here and here on Thanksgiving.}

 

SUMMER

Sew Caroline’s Magnolia Shorts | pattern

magnolia-shorts

These shorts got some serious wear this summer. In past summers I have¬†lived in my black Patagonia elastic waist shorts. The fabric is great for the heat (light and quick-drying/nearly-sweat-proof). While I¬†love them¬†so¬†much, they make me look like a soccer mom (but not the kind that dresses up to sit on the sidelines. I’m the soccer mom wearing big sunglasses trying to hide the fact that she’s napping in her bag¬†chair).

The Magnolia Shorts helped my summer wardrobe appear slightly more pulled together. I used a crepe fabric that had been donated to my stash from someone’s attic. The fabric was¬†perfect for the shorts – drapey and breezy. It made my version morph into a skirt visually {thus, taking my wardrobe up 10 notches}.

{Read all about my Magnolia shorts in this post and see them in action in this post and here on Instagram.}

*PS: If you’re looking for shorts with pockets, check out the Parkside Shorts {read all about mine here}! I made 2 pairs – you can see the second pair in action at the bottom of¬†this post.

My Refashioned Housedress

housedress_before after

This was one of the quickest, easiest projects so far. It was an easy-breezy hack-and-hem into the most comfortable dress ever saved from a landfill.

{Read all about the project¬†in this post. I’m feeling inspired for more refashions – hopefully I’ll find some fun ones for 2017!}

 

WINTER

Blank Slate Pattern’s Tulip Top | pattern

leopard tulip top

I found 2 versions of the Tulip Top particularly inspiring: Sewbon {I love the textured knit and really like how she lengthened it and omitted the sleeve cuffs & neckband for a whole new look} & Sew Charleston {I loved the short-sleeve hack – we’re both in the always-hot-state-of-SC so short-sleeves get a lot of wear}.¬†I actually copied Sew Charleston’s short-sleeved hack in¬†this version, but unfortunately this version hasn’t been worn as much as it should be.

Fun note about the Tulip Top – it was just re-released with a cross-over back option.

Also: I was recently shopping for my adorably preggo sister at Motherhood Maternity and saw a nursing top (similar) that made me think this pattern might be a fun modification for maternity (cross-over in the back) and nursing (cross-over in the front). I’d love to say I’m going to make one for my sister, but my sewing list is so long my nephew might be walking by then!

{Read more about my leopard print Tulip Top in this post.}

I hope this post has inspired you and given you fresh ideas to build your handmade wardrobe. I’d love to hear what’s on your “to make” list for 2017 – share in the comments below!

Fancy Tiger Crafts’ Fen Dress 1 and 2

I made the Fen Dress quite a while ago, but have been lazy about blogging it (so sorry!). It’s¬†quickly becoming a favorite go-to pattern. So far I’ve made two and have plans for a few more.

fen-dress

The Pattern

I picked up a printed copy of the pattern when we detoured to Finch Knitting & Sewing Studio in Leesburg, Virginia on the way home from our Boston road trip.

fen-dress-pattern

The pattern is really easy to follow. It was the first time I have followed a Fancy Tiger Crafts pattern and I really liked it!

You can order the printed pattern from Fancy Tiger Crafts here.

Version 1

I made View B (dress) with a round neckline in woven fabric. I chose the slight drop hem (ever-so-slightly longer in the rear). I skipped the optional sleeves, but may try those for a fall/winter version later.

fen-dress-1a

Favorite Features

The pockets are amazing! They are at the perfect height and really easy to access. I don’t typically use pockets to carry things (other than lip balm), but I¬†love using them for their original intention: to store my hands when they are wondering where to go in awkward social situations.

fen-dress-1e

See how the pockets fall exactly at my natural waist? Perfect!

There are no closures – the dress has a loose fit so, despite being sewn in woven material, you can still slip it overhead – no scary zipper installation.

fen-dress-1b

Fabric

For my first Fen Dress, I used Robert Kaufman chambray¬†that I snagged from a friend’s destash on Instagram. Here is some similar fabric (perhaps the same?) in the Imagine Gnats shop.

I made this dress around the same time as¬†my Parkside Shorts and was definitely on an accent pocket kick.¬†I used some thin vintage cotton for the pocket linings (the fabric felt a bit like double gauze, but I’m not sure what it really is). I added an¬†extra layer of chambray behind to stabilize it – fusible interfacing probably would have been a better long-term solution, but so far it’s holding up just fine.

fen-dress-1d

fen-dress-1c

I also used this fabric for the neckline. I’m did not follow the instructions for the neckline correctly. As you can see in the photo below, I wrapped the neckline fabric around to the front to expose it. In my second version, I attached the neckline more similar to what I have done with knit patterns. The first method created the best fit for the neckline (not that my 2nd attempt was how it’s supposed to be done either…)

fen-dress-neckline

Fit

With a petite frame, I often have to make adjustments to patterns. Usually with a waistline like this, I would have to shorten the bodice. I’m excited to say – I did not have to make any adjustments to “petite-ify” this pattern!

However, I did grade between sizes based on my measurements which was actually very easy to do with this pattern.

Construction

The skirt piece is not overwhelmingly wide so the gathers are easy to install.

I used french seams throughout which took a little longer than usual, but it’s really my favorite method to use for seams when working with woven material. I did not alter the pattern pieces to accommodate since the pattern has a pretty generous seam allowance. I just shrunk the width of the seam I was sewing.

Here is a great tutorial from Craftsy on how to sew french seams.

Version 2

When I picked the pattern out at Finch, I fell in love with this beautiful peach print fabric that I knew would make the perfect Fen Dress.

fen-dress-pair

The fabric is called “Peaches in Bright Pink” from Melody Miller’s “Fruit Dots” collection for Cotton + Steel in Fall 2015. You can find it for sale¬†here from Hawthorne Threads.

fen-dress-2

After Version 1 proved that the fit was perfect, I whipped up Version 2 exactly the same. The only difference was the neckline. I flipped the neckband up after attaching and top-stitched like I have done with knit dresses in the past (again, pretty sure this was not correct).

fen-dress-2-neckline

This method caused the neckline to be much wider than I would’ve liked with a bit of gaping at the front center. I still wear the dress regularly because overall it is a great fit and I am too lazy to seam rip the neckband and start over ūüėČ

{Pretty sure you’re supposed to use bias binding for the neckline. Here is a tutorial that would’ve been helpful for me to follow if I had actually realized that…}

After finishing version 2, I had enough fabric left over to make my pup her own peach-themed scarf to match!

kimba

She loves it. #DivaDog

In case you’re wondering how to make your pup a matching scarf with your leftover material (it’s no-sew and ridiculously easy): grab your pinking shears (here are the ones I use) and cut a triangle. You want the longest edge (bottom edge if you are looking at it with the point at the top) to be the¬†circumference of your dog’s neck plus a few extra inches to spare for knotting. Tie around your pup leaving enough room so that it can slip over the pup’s head but not so loose it will fall off (you do not want it too tight!).

If you wanted to get really fancy, you could use a second fabric scrap to make it reversible and even add velcro (which, admittedly by this overprotective-former-vet-tech, would be much safer if you are planning to leave it on your pup unattended [aka: a quick release in case it gets caught on something…sorry for dragging you into the world of a¬†paranoid-fur-parent, but welcome!]).

Final Thoughts

This pattern is a definite favorite! It is the exact style that I love: cinched waist, pockets… perfection.

I would say this is definitely a pattern that is appropriate for a beginner. There are no closures (no zippers, no buttons), you can use woven material (no stretch=no stress for beginners!), and there are no set-in sleeves.

Have you made a Fen Dress? I’d love to see your version!