Handmade Wardrobe, Journal, Sewing

Me Made May 2019

2019, was the 10th year anniversary for Me Made May, an initiative set up by Sozo to encourage makers to wear items in their handmade wardrobe. On Sozo blog, Zoe speaks about how all clothes are handmade by someone in a factory normally, so she prefers the term me-made to describe clothes that you’ve made yourself. This was my first time taking part. I am far from having a 100% ‘Me Made’ Wardrobe, but I do have 14 items in my spring capsule wardrobe, that I’ve made myself.

  • Tilly and the Buttons Stella Joggers
  • True Bias Ogden Cami blue
  • True Bias Ogden Cami linen
  • Thread Theory T-shirt white
  • Sew Over It Molly Top blue and white stripe
  • Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top yellow
  • Sew Over It Molly Dress blue stripe
  • Sew Over It Alex Shirt Dress denim
  • Simplicity hack jumpsuit chambray
  • Sew Over It Eve Dress colbalt blue
  • Tilly and the Buttons Joni dress black and white stripe
  • Sew Over It Mia Jeans
  • Sew Over It Erin Skirt
  • Wool and the Gang Hotline Sweater

With just under half the number of items for the optimum capsule wardrobe, I thought I’d pledge to wear one piece of me made everyday, in a hope of understanding what I reach to wear everyday, discover what I’m missing and most importantly celebrate one year of making my own clothes. So here it goes…

 

 

Well, I did it, and I loved it, so here’s what I learnt.

Getting dressed matters

I heard Helen and Caroline on the Love To Sew Podcast, discuss the science and satisfaction behind making your own bed in the morning, it gives a sense of accomplishment before the day has even begun. They likened this to getting dressed in the morning and wearing clothes you’ve made yourself, as a double dose of accomplishment. I have to agree. I learnt that getting dressed matters, I’m unemployed at the moment for health reasons, so it could be tempting to stay in my pyjamas all day on the sofa. But I go to yoga everyday at lunch time as part of a physiotherapy programme, so it’s tempting to wake up, put on active wear in preparation for yoga and walking the dog. Soon enough by the time I get home from yoga and make lunch, half the day is gone and I end up staying in leggings and cosy hoodies ALL DAY, EVERY DAY.

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[The pin is from Joy from PinkCoat Club, which I picked up at Sew Creative]

This signposts to a need to make my own sportswear, but importantly MeMadeMay forced me to get up and get dressed for the day, and just swiftly change into yoga gear when the time came. I noticed a shift in mindset, I’d plan my outfit the night before, (just like I did when I was working in an office) and it put a spring in my step, knowing that, yes, I may be the best dressed dog walker, and my self-appointed title contained more gravitas, because, I’d made my clothes myself. So I’m all for supporting and continuing the #diyootd because getting dressed matters, to firstly make sure I showcase my wardrobe, but also to celebrate accomplishments everyday, however small.

Jumpsuits everyday, all day

By far, my most worn item during May was the Simplicity Hack Chambray Jumpsuit. I have grown to LOVE it, the fitted bodice creates a sillhouette,  but the relaxed fit trousers make them comfortable to wear. I paired it with a RTW, but second hand, stripe top and trainers. Putting it politely, the weather has been changeable, so with a t-shirt underneath this was a great choice for unpredictable climates. The main reason I hadn’t been wearing it was because I needed to hand stitch the lining, so MeMadeMay gave me the little nudge I needed.

JumpsuitBut I have grown to love jumpsuits, they are comfortable to wear, easy to put on and suit my lifestyle. The Sew Together for Summer challenge this year is jumpsuits.  I’m going to start a jumpsuit sewing marathon, firstly with the Deer and Doe Sirrocco with both short sleeves and long sleeved hack in cotton jersey. Then a Tilly and the Buttons Marigold and Bettine mashup, inspired by Emily from Self Assembly Required, then I’d like to try the Fibre Mood Carmella Boilersuit for autumn.

Mending over making new & upcyle from your own wardrobe 

MeMadeMay forced me to handstitch linings & finish hems, reminding me to finish one project fully before moving on to the next project. I unpicked and upcycled, my Sew Over It Molly Top, which is made from Navy and White Breton Ponte Roma, the fabric I love, but I find the sillhouette drowns me. Although I was reaching for stripe tops most days, Molly remained unloved, so I decided to transform it into a 3/4 sleeve coco top instead to maximise fabric in my wardrobe, so it taught me to upcycle and mend from my wardrobe, first before upcycling from second hand shops. Next year, one of my pledges will definitely be to finish projects before starting anything new.

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A summer coat is a staple

Most days, I was reaching for my denim jacket, or a light midi length coat, it was May, but some days it definitely felt like March. So it spurred me on to make The Named Isla Trench Coat, I have on my Make Nine List for 2019.  Inspired and motivated by all the makes I was seeing this month, as well as the rain, I finally cut the fabric and it’s soon to be finished, which will be set to be a well worn staple.

Denim Jacket

My love for coat making continues, mainly because I know I am guaranteed to get a lot of wear from them and I love all the tailoring involved, so I’m tempted to make a Closet Case Kelly Anorak with a fur lined hood for walking the dog when the weather calls for strong protection against the elements after seeing Becky’s version here on Note from The Sewing Room.

Relaxed fit trousers

I realised how much I love a relaxed fit pair of trousers, I have two RTW pairs, one in a crepe, I bought for going to Morrocco a few years ago but since have worn them at home. Paired with an Ogden Cami, the relaxed fit, make them easy to wear, great for sewing days, when I’m crawling on the floor playing pattern tetris.

Relaxed Trousers

The Sew Over It Carrie Trousers are a similar fit and style, I have the pattern, but I’m looking for a great patterned crepe to make them, or maybe I should hang fire until I have some of my own surface patttern designs ready to print on to crepe.

Jeans

I have three pairs of jeans in my wardrobe, one I’ve made myself and two ready to wear pairs, one which is too snug and another which I like the cut of, but I don’t really like the wash. So jeans need to be a priorty for my making.

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I have the Ginger Jeans on my Make Nine, but I really want to nail the fit on them. I want to tackle the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers first, then draft a pattern for trousers based on the recent body scan I had Manchester University so I have a real understanding of the adjustments I need to do to make the perfect fit for my body shape.

It was eye opening how I have three pairs of jeans in my wardrobe, that I’m indifferent about. Spending time and energy to make a great fit on one pair is more important to me than having three mediocre pairs that don’t make me feel good. I’m sure there are thousands of unloved pairs of jeans in womens’ wardrobes across the world, because well no two bottoms are the same, so finding RTW jeans can seem like an impossible task.

A massive thank you to Zoe from SoZo blog for having such a bright idea 10 years ago to set up MeMadeMay. Hopefully by sharing photos of home sewn clothes it will encourage more people to start making their own wardrobe. It was seeing other peoples’ photos in which they were wearing their homemade clothes on Instagram last year that got me inspired to start garment making. So to celebrate my one year anniversary I’ve made a page with a gallery of my 2018-2019 makes. Finally a big thanks to Rob, who painfully and patiently took photos throughout May, yep, there’s a shirt coming your way to say thank you. May, will certainly become a creative highlight of the year and here’s to MeMadeMay 2020.

Claire

XO

 

 

 

 

 

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Dressmaking, Handmade Wardrobe, Sewing

Sew Over It Kitty Dress

So I’m soooo pleased to announce I have been selected out of over 600 applicants (wahhtttt!) to be a Pattern Insider for Sew Over It. Lisa Comfort and the team have developed a huge range of patterns, for a stylish, modern wardrobe, drawing inspiration from vintage silhouettes. It’s fair to say, I am a big Sew Over It fan, I have made many of their patterns in the past, EveCoco, Chloe and The City Break Capsuale Wardrobe, so this is a great opportunity for me to work with a brand that I already love. The role of a Pattern Insider, is simply to make up the pattern ahead of the release and to share photos of your make, so the sewing community can see the pattern made up on a range of ages, races and body shapes. Honestly, I was blown away when I got introduced to other ladies in the group who are all making from all across the globe. This is the first project I took on, The Kitty Dress.

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The Kitty Dress comes with two views, a princess seam bodice, with a panelled skirt (this is the version I went for) or a short sleeve bodice with a gathered skirt. Of course, there is also the option to mix and match. To me, this dress is timeless, perfect for a day at Wimbledon or swanning around on the French Riveira..! I wish! Or just great for a summer’s day and smart enough for an office with the buttons. It really reminds me of the 50’s fashion in the film Brooklyn, which I loved and honestly where I wear it, I definitely feel like Ellis Lacey when she returns to rural Ireland, feeling very glam.

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I deliberated over the fabric choice for a while, initially I thought of the Lisa Comfort ElderPress Cotton Lawn in Navy Blue, in the end I opted for this white linen and viscose blend with black dots on, from The Fabric Rooms so it would be timeless.

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The bodice comes with the option to self line, or to use facings. Honestly, I hate facings and much prefer a finished garment when it has been lined, so it is always worth the extra work. I was a bit worried that the fabric would be sheer, I lined the bodice in the same fabric and thankfully the unlined skirt is fine. The pattern calls for a lot of fabric, 3M, of course you can choose to line in another fabric. I paired the linen with wooden buttons from my local haberdashery.

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The bodice is fitted with a princess seam, the first time I made something with a princess seam I was a bit intimidated by the term, but my advice is just to pin, pin, pin as you ease the fabric on the curve. I didn’t stripe match, that would require some dedicated pattern placement and cutting. There is a lot of ease and room around the armhole, which you can see in this picture. If were to do it again, I would maybe take some off, but the ease around the armholes makes it comfortable to wear and it’s not too fitted around the bust.

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I cut and made a straight size 14 based on my measurements. I’m smaller on top, than the bottom, so I could have got away with grading between 12/14 but I wanted a relaxed fit to match the linen.  The waistband came up a bit short, so my advice would be to cut a larger size, then trim off the excess when folding and constructing the waistband.

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The waistband construction took a bit of head scratching, it’s similiar to that of the Camille jumpsuit, but it creates a really neat finish inside, so persevere with it. The skirt has eight panels, so keep your pattern pieces attached to the cut out fabric as you want to ensure you match the right seam. As I was piecing it together I laid out the skirt in a circle to help me keep track. The skirt hangs and moves beautifully, it feels very elegant.

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Oh and did I mention it has pockets.

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I love this dress, it’s definatley doing to be a classic in my summer wardrobe, worn with my cropped RTW denim jacket throughout spring.  I’m looking forward to taking on more projects over the coming months so eyes peeled for more Sew Over It pattern releases.

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All from me,

Claire & Co

XO

 

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Dressmaking, Handmade Wardrobe, Sewing

Minerva Crafts Blog: A Chambray Jumpsuit

For my Minerva Crafts Blog Project this month, I decided to make a Jumpsuit,  and used this Indigo Chambray. It’s the first jumpsuit I’ve made that feels like my style and look forward to making more jumpsuits in the future.  It has these huge pockets in the front, which make it functional, but you just put it on that’s your whole outfit done. It was my first time working with Chambray and it’s easy to work with and feels great to wear.

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Pattern: Simplicity K8610
Fabric: Indigo Chambray
Notions: Invisible zip.
Modifications: Heaps, I added a turn up cuff on the trousers, ditched the detachable straps, I tapered the trousers and left out the bodice band.
Fit: Requires a lot of fitting so make a toile
Difficulty: Relatively straight forward, the gathered trousers don’t require much fitting at the waist
Watch out for: Size, I used the garment measurements to decide what pattern to cut and still needed to take a lot in
Make Again?: Probably not, but definitely want to make more jumpsuits in the future.

Head to the Minerva Blog for the full review.

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links

Claire

XO

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Dressmaking, Handmade Wardrobe, Sewing

Sew Over It. City Break E Book. My Capsule Wardrobe.

It’s all well and good making posh frocks, I am guilty of this, Etta and Eve dresses hang proudly in my wardrobe. Sadly my lifestyle calls for these to be worn only on the odd occasion, and considering the investment per wear, I set about making an everyday, wearable wardrobe. My starting point was The Sew Over It City Break Capsule Wardrobe E-book, which included five patterns with multiple variations. As the title suggests, it is designed to dress you for all occasions during a city break. All the pieces are designed to go together, and crucially are practical, designed for everyday and transcend all seasons. What drew me to the capsule collection is that it would challenge my beginner skills  with a button down shirt, a pair of jeans and the requirement to use jersey for the first time.

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Molly Top and Dress

I started with the Molly Top, a simple jersey top, with dropped shoulder sleeves, a neck band and a curved hem. Using jersey for the first time, I opted for a stable Ponte Di Roma in navy and white, as modelled in the photos of the book. The stripes created a new challenge of stripe matching and I used advice from Tilly and the Buttons. A lot of beginners, myself included, are put off from using jersey fabric because there is a misconception that jersey can only be sewn on an overlocker. However, this is not true and I made this top entirely on my sewing machine with a zig zag stitch. I struggled putting the neck band in and there are a few puckers. I used the zig zag stitch to top stitch the neckband in place, which did the job fine, but I prefer the finish of a twin-needle and since then I have invested in a jersey twin needle .

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I prefer the Molly Dress and haven’t really taken it off since I made it. It’s comfortable, easy to wear, doesn’t require any ironing and still feels put together. I wore the navy and white version so much that I made it again in black and white ponte di roma. I’m looking for a bottle green and white ponte to make a third version for autumn, so it has since become a tried and tasted pattern. I like it in stripes, to accentuate the dropped shoulder and leave room to play with direction of the stripes on the contrast neck band.

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Alex Shirt Dress

Next, I made the Alex Shirt Dress. I love a shirt dress, because they can be worn for almost any occasion. The pattern is relatively easy, with a soft collar and without any cuffs. Inserting the yoke required a bit of head scratching, I used the Sew Over It Tutorial which helped me through it. The pattern calls for some drapey fabric, like viscose, but because I had been given some mid-wash, mid-weight denim I took a chance. The waist tie creates the silhouette and it sits on the knee. The sleeves are turned up, which suits me because thats how I usually wear shirt dresses. The fabric is a little structured, but it doesn’t cause too many problems. In the future I’d like to make a black tencel version for winter and a linen version for summer.

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Mia Jeans

The slim fitted, mid rise jeans, with back pockets are a great addition to this collection. They are a great beginner jeans pattern and I wrote a whole other post on learning to make jeans, but I did want to show how they work in the collection.

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Erin Skirt

Erin is a button down skirt with darts in the back and a waist band, and with the option of above or below the knee with a slit. I opted for above the knee, knowing I’d wear this mostly with tights. I was unsure about this pattern, I decided to go with a faux suede I bought from Fabric Land in a camel colour, so it would be classic. The fabric was a bit disappointing, but it was cheap and I was unsure if this style would suit me. I didn’t want to invest too much, so I see this as more of a wearable toile. In hindsight, this skirt calls for something with a bit more structure like, denim or corduroy. The Molly top looks great tucked in to this skirt, this variation is a little short on me, but I do like the button down style. Next time I’d make a bottle green version for autumn, but with a length to sit on the knee.

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The e-book comes with a Lola Coat, which is a waterfall style jacket. It’s really not my style and since I recently made the Chloe Coat,  my wardrobe didn’t need another coat. What I like about all these patterns are that they work with tights or bare legs and are very wearable wardrobe staples. A great collection of patterns, great to take confident beginners onto tackling more complicated garments. I know The Molly Dress and Alex Shirt dress will become tried and tested patterns for me.

All for now.

Claire & Co.

XO

 

 

 

 

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Dressmaking, Handmade Wardrobe

Minerva Crafts Blog: Lurex Coating Coco Jacket

I’m proud to say I’m working with Minerva Crafts and my makes will be found every month over on their Blog.  I’m an advocate of fabric shopping online, this might feel counterintuitive to some, but when I dream up a project I am quite set on what type, colour and weight of fabric I’m looking for (check my guide to choosing fabric to help translate the terminology) . With such strict parametres, it’s easier to search online rather then rummage in shops. Minerva Crafts have a huge, I mean really huge, range and choice of fabric so i’m looking forward to showing you some great projects over the coming months. The first project went live today and I wanted to give you a sneak peek.

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Being part of the Minerva Craft Blog Team has encouraged me to use new fabrics and this fabric made me step out of my comfort zone, but it fits in perfectly with my wardrobe. It has stripes, shades of blue, flecks of gold and is nothing like I’ve seen on the high street.

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Pattern: Sew Over It Coco Jacket
Fabric: Lurex Coating Fabric
Notions: Interfacing to match the weight of your fabric for the front two panels, more if you chose a light weight fabric.
Modifications: None. Cut straight from the pattern
Fit: About an inch too short on me, but I’m quite tall (5’7”)
Difficulty: Advanced beginner. Great choice for a first time jacket, there are no fastenings.
Watch out for: Turning the jacket inside out, I used the Sew Over It Chloe Coat Class as a refresher.
Make Again?: Definitely, in a Navy/ Black Wool for smarter occasions or a brilliant geometric jacquared fabric.

Read the full review here.

Happy making

Claire & Co.

XO

 

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links

 

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