Happy new year, folks! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas if you celebrate and a good break if you got to have one. My Christmas was lovely and betwixtmas was blissfully relaxed and lazy.
I had planned to do a bit of sewing to try to finish off some of my WIPs but I ate Christmas food and watched telly instead. We’d saved series 3 of Ultimate Beastmaster for Christmas, which I very much enjoyed but would have liked a little bit more Honeybadger (the male Australian host).
But anyway, I lured you in with talk of graphs. I enjoyed last year’s graph attack so much that I’m back with another one this year.
What I made
I made 27 garments this year, 24 for me and 3 for other people. They were all sewn as I didn’t do much knitting.
As seems to be usual for me they were mostly all tops and dresses but I did also sew quite a few skirts this year.
Knit vs Woven
It seems I am a straight down the middle girl on the knits vs wovens question as this is the second year in a row when there was only one garment in it.
It was a fairly even split between knit and woven for most garment types but knits took the lead on tops and wovens on dresses.
I had intended to try a few more Big 4 1 patterns this year as I have a sizeable collection of them now from magazines and from shopping sprees when they’re on sale. Ooh, maybe I should pick out some of them and do Ella’s#sewsix with just Big Pattern patterns.
I also “self-drafted” a couple of patterns this year. Not that there was any real drafting involved in either of them. One is a knit pencil skirt pattern that I’ve used twice. The other was a dress made of rectangles of fabric shirred at the top. So nothing fancy.
There was no romp away winner in the sewing pattern company category this year. The bars in the graph below shows how many garments I made from each pattern company and the line chart on it shows the number of different patterns from each company.
I’m surprised by how few patterns I resewed this year. The patterns I did sew again were:
True Bias Lander pants
True Bias Ogden cami
Dixie DIY Ballet dress t-shirt hack
Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan
My self drafted knit pencil skirt
The skirt from Simplicity 1418
New Look 6217 top in a knit (this was a fail)
Looking at it in a list it doesn’t seem as bad. There’s nothing wrong with sewing new patterns I suppose. I was just a bit surprised by it.
No surprises that viscose is still my most used fabric as it is my one true love fibre. The percentage of cotton I used has nearly doubled from it’s 15% last year and polyester dropped from 29%.
This year I bought 25 pieces of fabric totalling 41.1 metres, which is less than half the amount of fabric I bought last year! (Last year was 107.4 metres)
Though, my output was lower and I’ve cut out 48.75 metres (38 fabrics) and most of those things have become garments. Last year I’d cut out just under 69 metres of fabric but a lot of those things were sat waiting to be made into garments, which probably shouldn’t count.
So the stash DECREASED by 7.65 metres. Wooot! It’s not quite the 1 in: 2 out ratio I’d hoped for but I’m still really happy to have actually decreased it for the first time.
I also tracked how much I spent on fabric this year and it was £368, which is a little over £30 a month. I’m pretty happy with that, it’s not excessive and I can’t see myself managing to get it much lower. It’s an average cost per metre of £8.95, from a mixture of some really cheap fabric and a couple of pricier bits.
It’s a bit of strange thing to say but I think I’d like to get my average slightly higher next year. I’d like to buy fewer, higher quality fabrics. Though as I mostly shop online it can be hard to know what fabric is better quality and what is just more expensive.
I didn’t specifically track patterns but I went back over my Bits n Bobbins posts for the year and counted up the patterns I bought. I bought 31 patterns plus 2 pattern books containing 5 and 6 patterns respectively. So in total that’s 42 new patterns.
And I have sewn 5 of them…
That’s not a great conversion rate, so that’s probably something I should look at this year. If I’m not going to make the pattern straight away there’s no need to buy it straight away.
I think I’ll track pattern purchases and cost this year too because I can’t keep buying more and more patterns I never make.
I had a tough year at work and my mental health has continued to suffer so I tried not to put any pressure on myself to sew if I wasn’t feeling it. We also did a fair bit of decorating and I prioritised other hobbies like running. So I didn’t feel like I’d actually done much sewing. But 27 finished garments is the same as in 2016 and only 5 less than in 2017 so it’s fairly average for me.
I’d like to be a little more productive this year and work my way through my stash a bit. I’m really pleased with myself for decreasing my stash last year and I’m hopeful I can continue that trend.
If you’ve got this far I hope I haven’t bored you to tears with my nerdy sewing stat nonsense. If you like the nerdy stuff, is there anything else you think I should track? Or that you’d be interested in reading more about?
After me saying in my Flint trousers post that I don’t think I would ever get on board the cropped wide leg trouser train I only blummin’ went and made a pair!
Of course I’ve never actually worn them…
I went to Green Man Festival in August and the weather forecast was a little bit shonky so I got myself in a tizz about what I’d wear. So I made these. My thinking was that they’d be long enough to keep me warm but short enough that they didn’t drag on wet grass/mud.
Well it turned out that we had pretty glorious weather and they stayed in my backpack the whole weekend. Oh well.
I have no idea how to wear them. All of my shoes feel wrong and all my tops look wrong – unless they’re tucked in, which I don’t really feel comfortable with as it makes me feel all belly.
I made this pair a bit tighter than my shorts version. I haven’t blogged about them but you can see them in this post.
The back view looks a smidge like my bum is eating the trousers so I could probably do with scooping out the back crotch curve slightly. There’s also a little horizontal fold of fabric just under the waistband so I need to shorten the rise slightly at centre back. I’m not sure what I need to do about all those diagonal lines/folds/droops either. I’m not sure if it’s a bum issue or a knock knee issue. Or something else entirely.
Oh, these don’t have any pockets on them. They were a last minute thing the day before Green Man so I decided to leave them off to save time, with a view to going back and adding the back pockets later.
I can’t quite believe how quickly this year is whizzing away. It seems like only yesterday I was writing the first one of these round-up posts and now it’s nearly Christmas… (I know it’s not really but this year I seem to have mentally skipped spooky season and jumped straight to full on festive mode.)
So what have I been up to this quarter?
Can you tell I like blue? The red Ogden sticks out like a sore thumb!
I’ve nearly completed my Deer and Doe Reglisse dress. All I need to do is level the hem and hem it. So obviously it’s been sat on Doris the dressform for a fortnight. I’ve tried it on and I didn’t love it as much as I was hoping I would, which is probably what’s stalled the progress.
I also started work on my Chi-town chinos that have been cut out for a year. I’ve sewn the pockets and started the fly front but that’s as far as I got.
Fabric in (this quarter): 9 m Fabric out (this quarter): 11.8 m Stashbusted (this quarter): -2.8 m
I was doing really well this quarter and bought hardly any fabric and then I went to a sewing meet up with lots of other Welsh sewers and bought 3.5 metres of fabric. Oops. Oh well, I still got rid of more than I bought this quarter.
Fabric in (year to date): 29.1 m Fabric out (year to date): 34.5 m Stashbusted (year to date): -5.4 m
The stash is slowly shrinking so I’m happy. Goodness knows how much I’d added by this point last year so I’m proud to have gotten my buying under control by even this little.
I was actually been fairly restrained this quarter and only bought:
I’ve already bought a bunch this new quarter (oops) but that’s for the next post.
Sewing related things I’ve liked
I bought a button sewing foot for my machine and I’m in love. Sewing buttons on is one of my most hated tasks. I’ve never been very good at it and I just don’t trust any button I’ve sewn on to stay on.
The foot makes it so easy. You have to drop the feed dogs and make sure you’ve got the stitch settings right – my machine has a button sewing stitch but I think just a zigzag will do the trick – but once you’re set up it’s easy peasy to whizz through.
I’ve since seen an Instagram post saying you can do it without a special foot so if you don’t have a (sewing machine) foot fetish like I do then I’d definitely recommend having a look into that.
There was also a great TV show on the BBC called Back in Time for the Factory where they recreated a clothing factory as it would have been in the 60s, 70s and 80s. A big group of Welsh women then went to work on the production line. It’s about much more than sewing and I did get a bit weepy at some of the parts about going on strike for equal pay. If you didn’t watch it then I’d really recommend watching it on iPlayer if it’s available where you live.
#walessews meet up at TrixieLixie in Cardiff
I was lucky enough to take part in two sewing meet-ups over the last quarter. In August I met the lovely Ella (aka @sewistella) in Swansea for a mooch around Lee Mills and a coffee. Then at the end of September the fabulous Sara @saraknitsandsews organised a #walessews meet up in Cardiff.
It was brilliant getting to meet so many other sewers. I’m quite shy and a bit awkward when I meet people for the first time but the beauty of meeting other people who sew is that you already have something in common and things to talk about. It was a lovely day and I’m really looking forward to the next time. There’s talk of us having a Frocktails kinda thing.
As always I have far too many plans and far too little time/energy. I really want some autumnal tops but I also need to sew a dress for Halloween out of my Alexander Henry zombie pinups (officially called Beauties and Brains) fabric so it doesn’t sit in my stash for another year.
I also need to start work on my dress for the Sewcialite Soiree in Bristol next month. I’ve bought a pattern (the Dorothy dress from Sew La Di Da Vintage) and it’s going to feature the shimmery green mesh from stash rainbow photo above.
I’d quite like to sew a coat over the next few months too. I put the Grainline Cascade duffle coat on my Make Nine list but I think I’m going to bump it for something else.
This shirt has been a long time in the making (I started it in March) and I made ALL the mistakes during sewing it so the finished product is rather shonky. Luckily, shonkiness doesn’t stop me wearing things I’ve made – though I do have a tendency to point out the flaws to people who wouldn’t even notice.
So, what went wrong?
It was all going quite well until I got to the sleeves. I’d sewn the sleeve placket binding thingies and was pinning the sleeves to the armholes when I realised that I had pressed one of the bindings wrong. Instead of pressing them both to the inside I’d pressed one to the outside because the right and wrong side are really difficult to tell apart. There’s a little bit of stitching on the top of the binding on the inside to keep it in place so I put the shirt aside to unpick and redo that. Then it got warm so the shirt waited.
I picked it up again as the warm weather started to die down, fixed the placket and cracked on with setting the sleeves. I pinned the sleeves in place to sew and then realised* that I’d pinned them wrong side to right side. So I unpinned, repinned, sewed them both, overlocked them both and topstitched them both. Only then did I notice that my sleeve seams were on the outside.
*I now think that I hadn’t pinned them wrong the first time at all and just got myself mixed up because the side with the undercollar is actually the right side of the shirt.
It got put aside again for a bit because I was too frustrated to even attempt to fix it. I eventually decided on an – imperfect – fix and got to work unpicking. I removed the topstitching then sewed a line of stitching 1/4″ away from the original seam line to use as the first pass of a french seam. I unpicked the bits of overlocking that were on the wrong side of that stitching and then trimmed the seam down, unpicked the original seam and sewed a french seam.
This did mean that my sleeves are wrong side out (and I had to twizzle my sleeve plackets – again) but I don’t care. I don’t think it’s noticeable and this was only supposed to be a wearable toile anyway.
Now I’ve shared my woes I suppose I should go back to the beginning. I find the shoulder on Grainline patterns really wide so I measured the shoulder on the Archer before cutting it out and compared it to my favourite oversized shirts from H&M. It was a full inch wider so I did a stonking big narrow shoulder shoulder adjustment.
I cut everything out on a single layer and I can honestly say I HATE cutting out plaid/check/tartan/whatever. I cut a bunch of pieces on the bias because I like the way it looks (and it avoids having to pattern match).
I’m holding the hem out like that because it seems to get all hitched up on my bum really easily. I thought there was more ease at the hip than this or I would have graded out. I’ve just checked the finished measurements and there are 2.5″ ease, which explains it a bit.
The sleeves and cuffs are both bigger than I like in a shirt. I actually moved the cuff button over by quite a bit because in the right place the cuff is way too big – it would probably fit around my, not insubstantial, upper arm. It’s a bit too wide for my preferences too. I looked at my RTW shirts and they’re a good 1/2″ or more narrower.
The buttons are recycled from an old shirt of the manfriend’s and I sewed them on BY MACHINE! Yes that needed to be shouted. I’d seen people rave about sewing buttons on by machine and I never trust my handsewn buttons – it’s not my strength – so I invested in a button sewing foot. I’m never looking back. It’s excellent. A bit nerve wracking at first, making sure that you’ve got the stitch width right. But I just used the handwheel until I was certain everything was lined up right.
I’ve sewn things with collars before but this was my first proper collar, with a collar stand. It went okay but I definitely need more practice. One side of the collar stand is a much better shape than the other…
How many pages: 46 (that’s for two views so it would be less if you wanted to figure out which pages to print for the view you wanted to make. I couldn’t be bothered and just printed the lot.)
Easy to put together?
I don’t know if I did something wrong when I was printing but it didn’t have a border and I’m sure previous Grainline patterns I’ve sewn have had a border box. I found it made it really difficult when trimming the pages and to know if I was lining things up correctly when assembling.
A0 file included?
Yes. (2 pages)
Measurements: Bust 39″ – Waist: 31″ – Hips 41″
Size made: 12
Narrowed the shoulder by 1″
Shortened the sleeve by 2″
Sewed an inverted box pleat on the back instead of a box pleat – I just prefer the way they look
Left the pockets off – but I may still add one
Fabric used: 1.75m cotton cranleigh tartan flannel from Plush Addict.
Yes, I think so.
Any changes next time?
Quite a few. I’ll pinch the tower placket from another pattern (Deer and Doe Melilot or Sewaholic Granville) and use that instead of the bound placket. I’ll slim the sleeves down, probably by as much as 2″. I’m also going to shorten and narrow the cuff .
The fit is possibly a little too boxy for what I wanted so I might add some curve at the waist. Though I’ll be adding some more room at the hip so maybe I’ll just add that first and see if that visually balances things out a bit. I can always take the waist in during sewing if I think it needs it.
I’m basically trying to recreate my favourite H&M shirts so I’m going to have a look at them and see what changes I need to make it more like them.
I think I’ll do a bias bound hem next time too. Oh and the interfacing I used was too heavy so I’ll use a much lighter one next time. If I interface at all as I don’t think the H&M shirts are interfaced.
Listing all the changes I want to make does make me think about whether I should just use a different pattern. Manju shared her Simpicity 8104 shirts recently and I really like the look of the fit on her so I might think about giving that a try.
I used pritt stick for sticking the inner collar stand down while I sewed it. It washes out and I didn’t find it gummed up my needle or anything. I’d tried fabric glue before and didn’t find it very sticky so when I saw Kelli from True Bias saying that she uses a normal washable glue stick I thought that was a great idea.
There are also some great tips in this post on Sarah’s blog – I saw this post after I’d already sewn the collar or I definitely would have used the tip about making a collar stand template (tip #8).
I’m really pleased that I’ve made myself a shirt and I’ll definitely wear this a lot even though it seems like all I’ve done is moan in this post.
I’ve been wearing my simplified maxi True Bias Southport dress a lot during this lovely weather we’ve had* this summer and it occurred to me that I never blogged it despite taking photos last year. A few snaps of it have made the odd appearance whenever I’ve mentioned my love of the Southport but I’ve never shared any details.
*Had being the operative word – at least in my little bit of the world. Me and the manfriend are going to Green Man festival next weekend so I’m hoping the sunshine comes back for that.
But anyway, back to my Southport dress.
This was one of my last minute makes before we went to Cyprus last year – I think I hemmed it the morning we were due to drive to Gatwick. It’s another Southport dress with all of the interesting Southport bits taken off. So I omitted the button band and cut the bodice on the fold, I left off the skirt slit and swapped the drawstring for an elastic waist. It’s a slightly more flared skirt too. I need to alter the skirt pattern piece really, I just swizzled the pattern pieces out while I was cutting out.
The fabric is a really nice feeling viscose I bought from Oh Sew Crafty. It’s a good quality viscose considering it’s super cheap – £4.20/m. It’s just that little bit more stable and nicer to work with than some of the other cheap viscose I’ve used. This colourway is sold out but they still have a tan version. I met up with the lovely @sewistella last weekend for coffee and a browse in Lee Mill Fabrics. They had a light background colourway of this fabric there and I was quite tempted but managed to resist. My willpower must have been particularly strong as I resisted loads of tempting fabric and only actually bought a pair of tassels to turn into earrings and some knicker elastic.
I didn’t have time for french seams so the seams are all overlocked, which made this a really quick sew. I did everything up to the hem in one evening session and then levelled the skirt hem and hemmed it the next day. The neckline and armholes are bound with self bias tape. I used my favourite binding method, which I think is called a french binding – what is it with me and french finishes? It’s the method where you fold the bias strip in half lengthways, sew both raw edges to the right side of your garment and then turn it all to the inside and stitch it down. Here’s a tutorial from Made by Rae.
Measurements: At time of photos, Bust 39″ – Waist 32″ – Hips 41.5″ – Height 5’2″
Size made: 6, which is massively sized down. The finished bust measurement for the 6 is actually 38″ so I’m not entirely sure how I fit into the dress…
The same fit alterations I made to the bodice for my first version: I moved the shoulder seam forward by 2cm, raised the front neckline by about 1.5cm and shortened the skirt about 4″.
On this version did a small makeshift swayback adjustment as I was cutting the dress out by pivoting the bodice back pattern piece. I also tweaked the front shoulder seam to fix some neckline weirdness – I just cut a smidge off the front shoulder at the neckline, tapering to nothing at the shoulder point. I think this is a hollow chest adjustment.
In terms of style alterations:
I cut the bodice on the fold to omit the button band,
Made an elastic channel out of the waist seam instead of the drawstring channel, and
used a slit-less slashed and spread version of the skirt.
Fabric used: I think I used nearly 3m of 140cm wide viscose but I’ve got some quite big scraps leftover that I’m hoping to get a top out of.
It wouldn’t be a shock. I think I might make a “Scoutport” next though, using the Grainline Scout tee for the top and the Southport skirt.
Any changes next time?
Maybe but I’m not sure what yet. Hopefully I’ll have lost some weight by then (I’ve been running 3-4 times a week) and I won’t need to make any fit changes. If I haven’t then I should probably add a bit of ease.
This is my, “Mum, enough!” face as she gets a bit carried away with the continuous shooting mode on my camera.
Ooh, in Southport related news, Kelli has now released it as a paper pattern, which should be good news for any PDF haters who fancied the pattern.
I think that’s it from me for today. I’m probably going to disappear into my sewing room now and spend some time working on my Chi-town chino trousers. How about you, what’s on your sewing table at the moment? Are you still sewing summer clothes or have you started thinking about autumn yet?
Hey there folks. How are you doing? Well I hope. I have one of those rarely seen beasts for you today – a finished garment post! I’m skipping my most recently made garment straight to the top of the blogging pile because I love them a little bit and have worn them nearly every day this week. I took these photos after a full day at work, which is why they’re so wrinkled.
Though looking at these photos is making me realise that my waistband fluff up is more noticeable than I thought. I switched the buttonholes and buttons around so that my buttons were hidden but I didn’t put them in the right place and the end of the waistband flaps about a bit. I do plan to sew a snap on the end but I haven’t done it yet.
There, flaw pointed out. Let’s get back to business. As the title says, they’re Megan Nielsen Flint trousers (I can’t bring myself to call them pants, sorry). I don’t think I’m ever going to get on board with the cropped trouser trend so I lengthened these to full length. I’m a shorty so I didn’t have to add much – I added 3″ and sewed a 2″ hem, not 2.5″ as in the pattern. I possibly could have added a smidge more length/taken a smaller hem to make them a bit more feet hidey but I was worried about them dragging on the floor.
They’re made with a lightweight chambray I bought from Oh Sew Crafty, which has led to me referring to them as my “Summer jeans”. I feel like they just go with everything. I had lots of compliments on them at work and got told I looked like I should be strolling about on the French Riviera in them. I’ll take that.
They look a bit like my bum is eating them in this back view but they don’t feel like they give me a wedgie at all. I may scoop the back crotch a little on my next version though, just to check.
In terms of the sewing everything went fine. I mostly followed the instructions but I did the waistband slightly differently. The instructions have you sew the waistband on (to the right side side) and then you have to press the inner seam allowance up before topstitching from the front to secure it. Instead I pressed the seam allowance up first (1/2″ instead of the 5/8″ in the pattern) without realising that it mattered which edge I pressed because of the notches being asymmetrical. So to make my notches match I had to sew the waist band to the wrong side, which I think I actually prefer because you know that you’re catching it all when you topstitch. I always have iffy bits when I stitch from the right side and hope that none of the seam allowance has escaped on the wrong side.
I got the A0 file printed so I can’t comment on how easy the tiled version is to assemble. The A0 version was fine but one whole page is taken up with un-nested waistbands for all sizes. If I was printing it again I think I’d be temped to skip that page and figure out which pages of the tiled version I needed to print for my size.
Measurements: Waist: 32″ Hips: 42″ Height: 5’2″
Size made: Large
Lengthened by 3″ to make full length trousers
Shortened the back rise by about an inch at the centre back, tapering to nothing at the side seams.
I also took the side seams and centre back in but I think that was because the waist had stretched out when I tried them on as the waistband still matched up in all the right places so I won’t adjust my pattern.
I swapped the buttons and buttonholes around (badly…)
Yes. I’ll try a curved waistband instead of the straight one. I’m also toying with putting a fly front on them. That would kind of take away one of the selling points of the trousers but I actually enjoy sewing a fly zip.
Any tips or advice
Watch out for the waist stretching out. And if you do hidden buttons do a better job than I did.
I love my Flint pants (gag) and I think they’ve given me a bit of trouser sewing confidence. No crotch weirdness! That’s probably because of the fairly loose fit but it did make me wonder if I should give Megan Nielsen’s Ash jeans a go. Maybe this will be the year that I crack trousers!
Hey peeps, I hope you all had a lovely weekend and Monday has been gentle with you. Somehow another three months have whizzed by and it’s time for another quarterly round-up thingy. I’ve spent the whole three months trying to come up with a name for it and had nothing but The Stitch Rep (like sit-rep), which is a bit rubbish. So I put the Manfriend on the case and he just came up with bits and bobbins, which tickled me so I’ve gone with it.
I’ve been a wee bit more productive than last time so I’ve split this part into the months.
Just a Tilly and the Buttons Bibi skirt this month.
Scoop neck ballet tee – this has already become a firm favourite
Knit New Look 6217 tee – this was a bit of a wadder. I added a bit of ease as I was cutting it out and it turned out huge. It’s fine for bumming around the house but I’ll never wear it outside.
Striped pencil skirt – another new favourite. I think I need to alter the pattern slightly (shortening it between waist and hips) before making more but I’m still really happy with it.
Hey June Union St tee – I made a right pig’s ear of the v-neck but I don’t think non-sewers would notice.
Tilly and the Buttons Joni top – I don’t like this. I have a slight issue with Tilly and the Buttons patterns as I think because their target market is beginners certain things are done in the easiest way, rather than the best way. I don’t like the way the neckline is finished in this pattern and I know if I wear it I’d constantly be adjusting the twist as one side likes to try to turn under and the other side flips out. I’m going to see if my mum wants it as it’s purple, which she loves and her bigger boobs might pull the fabric more taught and stop some of these issues.
Sew Over It Eve wrap top(/toile) – This isn’t technically finished yet as I still need to add a waist tie but I’m still counting it. I made it with fabric leftover from this dress and I think it’ll look good with my striped pencil skirt.
Sew Over It Eve dress – I made this to wear to a wedding and for #sewtogetherforsummer and I love it.
Projects in waiting
It’s mostly the same ones as last time. These are the ones I hope to sew soon though.
Grainline Archer shirt – in progress, just sleeves, side seams, cuffs and buttonholes/buttons to go. So loads. Part of me wants to leave it until the autumn now as it’s flannel so I won’t get to wear it but I also want to check the fit so I can make a chambray version as I think that’ll make a great cover up for cooler summer evenings.
Red Ogden cami – I really want to get a wiggle on with this one because I made some fit adjustments and I need to know if they worked before I can make any more Ogdens (and I have a lot of Ogden sized scraps).
Named Kielo wrap dress – I’m making it out of this floral viscose jersey and I probably should have made my first one out of something I like less but the fabric I was going to use for a wearable toile turned out to be directional.
Chi-town chinos – I cut these out last year and still haven’t gotten round to sewing them yet.
Deer and Doe Reglisse dress – This has been in progress since last summer. I messed up the collar and put it on hold until I could face unpicking and redoing it. Then summer disappeared and I haven’t got back round to it yet.
Fabric in (this quarter): 9.1 m Fabric out (this quarter): 9.2 m Stashbusted (this quarter): -0.1 m
I just squeaked in under the wire here when I cut my Kielo out on Wednesday. I hoped to get it sewn up as well to wear on Friday but I didn’t get time on Thursday night.
Fabric in (year to date): 20.1 m Fabric out (year to date): 22.7 m Stashbusted (year to date): -2.6 m
I may not have gotten rid of a lot of the stash but I’m really pleased with how little fabric I’ve bought so far this year. I’ve been making much more sensible purchases and I haven’t been swept away by pretties I have no immediate need for.
I fell foul (afoul?) of the sales and bought a load of New Look and McCall’s patterns. The list is in the order I bought them.
McCall’s 7320 evening dress – as a potential pattern for my Make Nine big nonsense gown.
McCall’s 7745 wrap dresses – sadly I’ve since seen a few people say the bodice on this is not good.
McCall’s 7683 knit dresses – I nearly made the off the shoulder version for the wedding I went to put it had some seriously odd construction that put me off. Instead of just sewing elastic into the waist seam, it has you sew the waist seam and then sew the seam allowances together and thread elastic through it.
I bought some Heat n Bond Soft Stretch fusible hemming tape after seeing people rave about it on Instagram and it really is great for hemming knits.
This blog post isn’t from the last three months but I just rediscovered it in my Feedly saved posts. It’sa great post by Charlie of This blog is not for you about making our hobbies stressful, which is definitely something I cab be guilty of.
I can’t really think of any other sewing related things I’ve liked. Me and my hangover very much enjoyed Set It Up on Netflix this weekend though. I’m not generally much of a romcom gal anymore but I thoroughly enjoyed it – and think I would even if I wasn’t so delicate.
That’s probably enough list bombardment for one evening. I hope to be back with a finished garment post or two soon.
Hey everyone. I hope you’re all having a nice week. I’m sitting in my sunny garden on my lunchbreak as I write this so everything feels pretty good at the moment. Nice weather makes such a difference doesn’t it?
Anyway, I’m here to get all navel gazey and introspective about Me Made May. Complete with graphs! God, I love a graph. Let’s just dive on in shall we?
How did I do?
I have mixed feelings about how I did this year. On the one hand I don’t really feel like I did that well. Because my pledge was only to wear me made when I left the house and I’m a strange hermit person I only participated on 19 days, which doesn’t feel like enough. But on the days where I did take part I wore a lot more Me Made than RTW. Excluding repeat wears I wore 21 different me made garments and 7 RTW garments.
I was just shy of my goal to wear completely me made for more than 50% of my outfits. I managed 9/19, which works out at 47.7%. So that’s not too bad really.
I do think that this year probably better reflects how I actually dress than last year. I didn’t repeat any outfits but I repeated more individual garments. If I hadn’t had a week off there probably would have been repeated outfits though. There were a couple of days where I wanted to put something on that I’d already worn but stopped myself. I must admit, I found thinking so much about what to wear quite draining and I was happy to just wear whatever I felt like on the 1st June.
What I wore
Graph time! Here’s what handmade clothes I wore by garment type. The blue is the number of times I wore that particular type of garment and the green column is the number of different garments.
I wore far fewer dresses this year and a lot more top. Knit tops was a gap I identified last year and I now have a couple of them, which got a fair bit of wear. I’ve also added two Ogden camis to my handmade wardrobe since last year and recently made some knit skirts (also identified as a gap last year) which seems to have given separates a boost over dresses. My handmade cardigan collection got a lot of wear too.
And the ready to wear graph:
The first thing that I see with this graph is how much less RTW I wore, which is good. I wear leggings quite a bit and I haven’t actually counted them in most of my stats but I put them on the graph. I don’t think I can be arsed to make leggings. Obviously, I have the Helen’s Closet Avery leggings as I’m a fangirl and if I ever stumble across suitable fabric I might make a pair but I don’t hate RTW leggings.
As with last year, the RTW trousers are jeans as I still haven’t made any. I just can’t seem to get anywhere with the fitting and I get so disheartened every time every time I try. I need to find some sort of real life jeans/trouser fitting course to go on I think, I just can’t seem to figure it out by myself.
I’ve had a little look at the colours I wore and I’ve made a pie chart of them.
That a lot of blue! No matter how hard I try to step away from the blue fabric and try other colours I just don’t seem to be able to do it. I just realised there should be a slither for red as well as I wore my red cardigan once.
Prints vs Solids
I counted up how many prints and solid coloured garments I wore and overall it was an exact 50-50 split with 14 of each (not including repeat wears). What I found more interesting was how differently solids and prints were split when between RTW and handmade.
As you can see, I wore faaar more handmade garments with prints than RTW garments with prints. That one print RTW garment is a striped t-shirt.
The split is more even with solids (43% RTW, 57% handmade). But if you look at RTW on it’s own 87% of the RTW garments I wore are solids. Which I think means that I have a wardrobe gap for handmade solid coloured garments.
Top 5 most worn garments
1. Wembley cardigan – 5 times
=2. Grey Blackwood cardigan, – 3 times
=2. Aqua Blackwood cardigan – 3 times
=2. Winslow palazzo pants – 3 times
=5. Geometric print Ogden cami – twice
=5. Ballet tee – twice
=5. Scoop necked ballet tee – twice
=5. Pink blackwood cardigan – twice
=5. Bibi skirt – twice
I don’t think I’ve done that leaderboard correctly but I wore too many things 2 or 3 times, making it a right pain. I was shocked by the Wembley cardigan being the winner as I don’t really like it that much. It is really handy for spring/summer though as it’s nice and lightweight and goes with everything. I’ve got some white viscose jersey that is too thin for the t-shirt I intended it for so I might use that for a cropped Blackwood cardigan to have another option.
My favourite outfit
I’m torn between my Winslow culottes and scoop necked ballet tee and my knit pencil skirt with New Look 6096.
Instagram’s favourite outfit
Tilly and the buttons Bibi skirt with my ballet tee.
Most versatile garment
I don’t think I had a wardrobe MVP this year. Last year my Alex shirt dress was the clear winner (and what made me add this category) but nothing stands out this time.
Things I learned/random thoughts
I don’t find Me Made May easy. I saw a lot of people say that they wear me made everyday anyway and it was just the photos they would find hard. I’m lucky to have somewhere I can leave my tripod set up all month so the photos aren’t particularly hard. (Apart from some body image issues I was battling at the beginning of the month.) I don’t wear handmade every day though so Me Made May isn’t a case of business as usual for me. It’s effort and thought.
I don’t think I care about having a 100% handmade wardrobe. There are things I just don’t see the point in making and it was never my intention to make everything I wear. It’s not a practical goal for me as I’m not a prolific sewer and I’d rather concentrate on making things I can’t buy.
God, my wardrobe is dull. When you look at my MMMay outfits all at once, it’s just bland and dark. I wish it was brighter and more colourful. Alas, I just don’t think it ever really will be.
Why is there not more pretty viscose jersey available in the UK? You can get some awesome woven viscose fabric but you see very little exciting viscose jersey.
I really want some pink trousers. Not that I think I’d wear pink trousers but I saw loads of awesome ones on Instagram during Me Made May it made me think I want some. I even ordered pink linen swatches but I haven’t succumbed to ordering any. I may think about a pink linen skirt instead, it’s less of a fabric commitment.
Over the last few years I’ve very much gravitated towards the skinny jean/trouser with a loose top silhouette. I think it’s time for a change. My two favourite outfits this month are both a bit more fitted. The pencil skirt outfit more so but even though the top I’m wearing with the palazzo pants is floaty it looks more fitted in that outfit. Maybe I need to make some more fitted tops for tucking into things.
Gaps and conclusion
I don’t think I really identified any huge gaps. The only thing I’ve pushed to (near) the top of the sewing queue is another pair of Winslow culottes. Oh and I really need to replace my red waterfall cardigan. I’d like to make some more colourful things – that aren’t blue – but I also want to sew my stash so I’m limited there. I also want some white tops to wear with patterned and colourful bottoms. I’ve got a few metres of white viscose in the stash that I intend to turn into an Ogden cami, a tie waist SOI Penny dress hack and some other top I haven’t chosen yet.
I spent some time over the month thinking about the handmade clothes I have but don’t wear and why that might be. More importantly, what I could possibly do to fix it. I’m thinking of turning this BHL Anna maxi dress into a skirt, harvesting the skirt fabric from this BHL Flora for a top and I’m definitely cutting this New Look 6096 into a top.
All in all I think this was a successful Me Made May. I find it really interesting to look at what I wore and I’m thinking about doing it again in a cooler month.
WordPress told me it was my anniversary a couple of weeks ago but this is the date I published my first post so this is what I’m calling my blog anniversary. Or blogiversary if you prefer.
I started my blog not long after I started sewing so I thought it might be a nice way to celebrate four years of the blog by writing a little post about my sewing story.
Unlike a lot of people in the sewing community I didn’t grow up in a crafty household and I certainly didn’t learn to sew as a child. We were given a sewing machine once but none of us could thread it so I think it got given away. I’ve found out since I started sewing that my granddad sewed and made clothes for my nan and my aunties, which I think is just lovely.
He made those dresses
The women on that side of the family are also excellent knitters. I had some great jumpers that my mum’s Auntie Mabel knitted me and a knitted Worzel Gummidge, complete with a tiny mouse in his hat. Apparently my granddad’s mum also used to knit samples for knitting pattern covers.
But that’s an aside. All that craftiness just seemed to skip my mum. I tried to teach her to knit once and it was one of the most frustrating experiences. If I needed anything hemmed or a button replaced, that was always my dad’s job.
The most sewing I’d done before my 30s was sewing big triangles cut out from a t-shirt into the side seams of a pair of cords to turn them into big ass flares. I did it all by hand with a simple running stitch (I didn’t know there were other stitches) and I am still AMAZED they didn’t fall apart in the washing machine. I also once tacked black circles onto a red top to dress up as a ladybird for a fancy dress night out. Me and my friends did a lot of fancy dress nights out in my 20s so I could bore you with lots more grainy old photos like this but I generally used fabric glue and wonder web for my creations so I didn’t think I could count them. (You can see some on Instagram here)
I then got myself a boyfriend who could sew, which was ever so handy. He repaired things for me and he even made me a bedding set for my birthday. I had a thing for cow print back then and he made it out of cow print satin. I still have it even though it’s for a double bed and I’ve always had a king size so I’ve never actually used it. But still. It was a handmade gift and it would feel wrong to get rid of it even though it feels sort of weird to keep presents from an ex.
It was actually my friend reminding me how gutted I was to not have someone to do my sewing for me when he and I broke up that made me think about writing this post.
After that I thought about learning to sew a lot but I thought I’d be rubbish at it. The only time I’d used a sewing machine was in one technology lesson when I was about 12 and we used an unthreaded machine to punch holes in paper with different shaped lines printed on it. I’m also very faddy and have abandoned many, many hobbies in my time. I was worried that I’d buy a sewing machine for it to just gather dust.
So I just talked about how much I’d like to have a go for ages. Years. I nearly bought a sewing machine so many times. I once pleaded with my mum to buy me one from Lidl and I’d pay her back (I was buying a house and was trying to keep my bank accounts and credit looking good). She wouldn’t. She has seen the fads first hand…
I then stumbled upon sewing blogs. I can’t quite remember how but I think it started with Sarah of A Million dresses. Who is technically a lifestyle blogger but when I found her blog she’d just spent a day learning how to sew a dress. Which made me think dressmaking must be loads easier than I thought if you can learn how in a day. Then through Sarah’s blog I found Roisin aka Dolly Clackett and binge read most of her blog. Falling more and more in love with all of her beautiful dresses. That was exactly the sort of thing I wanted to make.
From there it was a short jump to all the other “famous” sewing blogs, including Tilly and the Buttons. I spent hours reading all of Tilly’s beginner sewing guides and convinced myself I could do it. So in March 2014 I used some of my house deposit savings to buy myself a basic sewing machine. The rest as they say is history.
I made an envelope back cushion cover as my first project, which I still have.
Next came an elasticated waist skirt. I followed one of the may online tutorials and I was so proud of myself when I finished. It has cartoon raccoons on it and I’ve worn it approximately three times. Turns out, I hate elasticated waist skirts. I also still have that somewhere and I’ve thought about trying to refashion it into something I will actually wear.
From there I dived into sewing real patterns. I find the best way to learn how to do something is to have a go at doing it. I learned so much from my first few projects. Mostly that fitting is really hard.
The rest of my sewing journey is here on the blog and I love that I started it so early in my sewing. It means I can see just how much I’ve improved and learned over the years. And just how much my focus has changed. I don’t think at the start I’d even considered making anything other than woven fit and flare dresses. I can’t remember the last one of those I made. They’re just not something that I actually wear.
But anyway, that is how I got started sewing. I hope you haven’t been bored silly by this long, rambling post. Have a great weekend folks. And here’s to the next four years of blogging.
And just like that, it was over. I might manage to make it to work on time now… Spoiler: I won’t.
This post is just going to be another round-up of the things I wore for the second half of the month and then I’ll write up a Stat Attack post (with graphs, obvs).
Here come the outfit photos.
16th – Jeans and Ballet tee
It was a work from home day but I was expecting a parcel so I put clothes on. I didn’t take a photo though. The top was another Ballet dress tee but I managed to get a grease mark on it so I only really wear it around the house.
17th – Anemone skirt, Southport tank and Blackwood cardigan
I don’t think I’ve worn this skirt since last Me Made May. I like it but it fits a bit strangely. When I was thinner it would twist around and now I’m bigger it seems to lift up so I can’t seem to win. I may just not be a skirt person. Though, I wore a knit pencil skirt I really like today so maybe I am.
18th – Jeans, off the shoulder Scout tee and Blackwood cardigan
This top isn’t very comfortable. I think I cut the elastic too short so it pulls up and the sleeve sleeves dig into my armpits. I need to unpick and alter it but I’m rubbish for avoiding alterations.
19th – Winslow culottes, RTW tank and Wembley cardigan
A nice, breezy outfit for afternoon tea at the Manfriend’s parents’ house. I really love this top. It’s made an appearance every Me Made May I’ve taken part in.
20th – Nothing
I wore my favourite too casual for outside the house shorts for lounging in the garden.
21st – Bibi skirt, Ogden cami and Wembley cardigan
Two repeated garments but in a different combination. This is when I started trying to mix up my poses a bit. I was having a dance in this one..
22nd – Winslow culottes and scoop necked ballet tee
I really love this outfit. I really need to make myself a solid coloured pair of Winslow palazzo pants. Or shorter ones for warmer days. They’re the perfect thing to wear to avoid chub rub but still get to be cool.
23rd – Blue Southport dress and Wembley cardigan
This dress is a nice one to wear when it’s warm as it’s so light and floaty.
24th – RTW trousers, Ballet tee and Blackwood cardigan
The sun disappeared so I dressed drably to match the weather. I really like these RTW trousers. Well the whole outfit really even if it isn’t exactly exciting.
25th – Jeans, New Look 6217 and rtw cardigan
I really, really need to make a replacement for this cardigan. It has several holes in, paint on it and I still wear it.
26th-28th – Bimbling clothes
I had a super lazy long weekend so I was mainly in shorts or joggers. I tried to work my way through some of the crap on the Sky box (Aled was out) and did a bit of sewing – finished off a Union St tee and started work on an unseasonal flannel Archer shirt. Then I got sucked into his hangover sofa time the next day and we watched some dreadful stuff on Netlfix, it was fabulous.
29th – SOI Penny dress
I was trying to show just how fabulously swishy the Penny dress skirt is. Sew Over It shared my picture on their stories too, which was exciting.
30th – Loungewear
Work from home day so I spent it in yoga pants, a PJ vest top and that red cardigan I love but should bin.
31st – knit pencil skirt, New Look 6096 and Wembley cardi
And it’s the final day. My skirt is ponte and I drafted it myself, if you can call it that as there’s not proper drafting involved. I pretty much followed this method from Maria Denmark but I skipped the removing 4cm step and just didn’t add any seam allowance, which basically does the same thing.I also stitched in the ditch at the side seams to secure the elastic under instead of topstitching. My top is my New Look 6096 dress. I rarely wear it these days as it’s a bit too short so I’m going to cut it into a top as I really like how it looks here. A top version of it would probably be a good scrap buster too.
I was really getting into my stride with the photoshoots but I’m looking forward to not having to think so hard about what to wear tomorrow morning. If it’s clean and fits, it’ll do. Hope you all had an enjoyable Me Made May if you took part and learned things about your sewing and wardrobe.