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.
Hey there folks. Hope you’re having a nice week. I have Me Made May halfway point recap and navel gazing post for you today. Apologies to those of you who follow me on Instagram and have seen all of these photos before.
So, this month I have worn:
1st – nothing me made
And we’re off to a strong start. This was a decorating day, so I was in paint covered clothes for most of it.
2nd – jeans, blue and white striped tee with blue Blackwood
This was only put on briefly to pop to my mum’s house to collect her step ladder to do the cutting in portion of painting.
3rd – jeans, black scoop neck ballet tee
I properly left the house! I went to Ikea for some new sewing room bits and pieces. I’ve manged to drag out this sewing room refurb for far too long. I’m still not finished but I’ve only got the woodwork left to paint. I’d hoped to do in the evenings after work this week but it will probably get left until the weekend.
Anyway, I wore RTW jeans and a freshly sewn t-shirt (I have a sewing station set up on the dining table). I made it using my t-shirt pattern hacked from the Dixie DIY Ballet dress pattern. (Very simply, by tracing the shoulders and armhole and then pivoting the bodice out slightly to give a bit more room at the bust but to still be fairly fitted and then flaring the side seams out below the bust and over the hips.) But while I was cutting the t’shirt out I overlaid the Southport dress bodice and copied the scoop neck from it onto the t-shirt.
I think I made the neckline a smidge too wide and I probably should have made the neckband a tiny bit shorter to keep things a bit more snug but I still really like the t-shirt. It’s still unhemmed in the photo because I was still sewing it while my mum was on her way to pick me up. Well, and my cover stitch is trapped in the spare room behind the contents of my sewing room.
4th-7th – Nothing Me Made
I was living my best #hermitlife so I spent a fair bit of time in my favourite oversized men’s* jogging bottoms (the best PJs). I also got my first period in over a year (I have PCOS), so I spent a couple of days on the sofa with a hot water bottle feeling sorry for myself. Particularly as one of those days was the hottest day of the year. I found myself reaching for a RTW oversized flannel shirt I have on those days for some reason. I have a flannel Archer already cut out because I already knew I love a flannel shirt.
While I was in my self-pity sofa nest I bingewatched the two seasons of Project Runway that are on Netflix and fell in love with it. Does anyone know if there’s anywhere I can watch the rest?
*Should that have an apostrophe and have I put it in the right place??
8th – Ballet tee dress and grey blackwood cardigan
My first working day of Me Made May. Yaay…. I went for a comfy outfit to ease myself back into work. I love this dress. It’s just a t-shirt dress but the metallic flowers on the fabric make it feel that little bit fancier.
9th – Ogden cami, jeans and navy cardigan
I work from home on Wednesdays so don’t usually get properly dressed but we went to the cinema in the evening so I had to. I love my two Ogden camis and have plans for several more. This one was from the leftover fabric from a Sew Over It Penny dress and I may cut one out of the leftovers from my first Penny dress too.
10th – Winslow culottes, cream lace top and pink Blackwood
Today was a Helen’s Closet lovefest with both Winslow culottes and a Blackwood cardigan. The top is RTW and it is past it’s best so I’d quite like to make something similar to replace it. I find lace really tricky to buy though as I’d like to feel it first and I don’t really go many real life fabric shops.
11th – Jeans, Ogden cami and Blackwood cardi
My other Ogden cami and my most worn Blackwood cardigan. I love these two together.
12th & 13th – Nowt
I did technically go out as I went for a run but I don’t count that because I have plenty of activewear that fits me fine so I don’t need to try to make any. Plus, I don’t have expensive tastes with exercise clothes so it would be waaaay more expensive for me to make it than it is to buy it. I did buy the Avery leggings pattern though but more with regular clothes leggings in mind.
14th – SOI Penny dress and cropped Blackwood cardigan
The weather at the beginning of the week was beautiful here so out came the summery clothes. I really love this cardi with this dress
15th – Bibi skirt and Ballet tee
And yesterday I wore my Bibi skirt from Tilly and the Button’s latest book and my first Ballet tee. The skirt is another thing that’s still unhemmed. Though it is fused in place with Heat n Bond Soft Stretch hemming tape that I bought after seeing people rave about it on Instagram. It seems to work really well and still has plenty of stretch. I’m looking forward to seeing if it makes the coverstitching easier.
This has hands down been my most popular outfit on Instagram. Which is funny because it’s the one I’ve felt least comfortable in.
How’s it going?
Slightly better than expected. Because I’ve gained weight loads of my me made clothes don’t really fit me anymore. I think I’m going to have to do more repeats this year than last but that’s okay. I’ll try to style things differently if I can but the point of Me Made May for me is to reflect my actual wardrobe so I don’t mind a few repeats.
Spotted any gaps?
I have a pair of knit shorts I’ve had since 2004 that are my favourite thing to bimble around the house and garden in when it’s warm. I cant think what you’d call them, they’re just a loose fitting jersey short with an elasticated waist and contrast binding. Any sort of loose or flowy knit shorts would probably fill the gap. I also used to have a pair of jersey culotte* style shorts that I love for warm weather but I outgrew them. (*To me, culottes means shorts that look like a skirt. Not wide legged cropped pants.)
The main other thing I’ve noticed is that I could do with more solid coloured makes. I’d like some white or cream tops to go with my patterned bottoms. I have a few metres of white viscose in the stash that I’d like to make a couple of tops from. I’ve also got a couple of black knit tops in progress that I was batch sewing with the scoop necked ballet tee.
Other than that it’s just trousers and jeans. Which I keep saying I’m going to make and never do. Fitting is hard.
Learned anything else?
It wasn’t part of my pledge but I wanted to try to think more about the me mades I don’t wear this month and see if there’s anything I can do to fix that. I have a couple of dresses that I don’t really wear because they’re a bit too short so I’m thinking of cutting them into tops and rehemming them. I have a pair of Winslow culottes (palazzo pants version) that are too small that I thought about using Helen’s elastic back hack on. The neckline of my pineapple Scout has also frayed and I think the fabric is too delicate for a binding really so I’m thinking of chopping the shoulders off and making it into an off the shoulder top. I still have leftover fabric so I thought I could sew on a shirred band as I’ve seen a few RTW tops like that recently.
I haven’t had any epiphanies yet but there’s still time.
Right, that’s enough waffle from me. I hope you’re all having a great Me Made May if you’re taking part.
Well April has sneaked away and tomorrow is the start of Me Made May. How did that happen? Last year’s Me Made May feels like it was only just here!
If you’ve not heard of Me Made May, it is a challenge devised by Zoe from So, Zo… what do you know? to get people who make their own clothes to wear and love them more. There are as many ways to take part in Me Made May as there are people who take part. The sign-up post on Zoe’s blog has loads of different ideas.
The pledge I made last year of wearing at least one handmade item every time I left the house worked quite well for me. Like I said back then I have no desire to make loungewear so it’d be hard for me to manage an every day pledge. So this year’s challenge is to choose a pledge that is just that little bit harder.
This is what I’ve come up with:
I, Leigh aka @cluelessleigh of Clueless Seamstress, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’18. I will endeavour to wear at least 1 handmade item every day I leave the house for the duration of May 2018 with at least 50% of my outfits being completely handmade – bar shoes and underwear and that.
Aiming for at least half of my outfits being completely me made seems like a good challenge. My dresses and cardigans will be a help, but it’s my lack of trousers etc that could let me down. We’ll just have to see how it goes.
I’m off work this week but I’m planning to spend most of it inside, finishing off decorating my sewing room and generally pottering about. The only outside activity I have planned is a trip to Ikea. (Strange hermit person for lyfe) So my outfit posts might be sparse at the beginning of the month. I’ll be sharing photos on Instagram and a couple of round up posts on here. Then of course there will be a big nerdy graph post after May.
Anyway, that’s my pledge. Good luck fellow Me Made May-ers.
Happy Wednesday folks. Hope you’re all having a nice week. I have one of those rare beasts for you today: a finished garment post! Not a proper one though as I still can’t find the mojo to take photos of myself these days. I don’t know how I’m going to cope with Me Made May! I realised I didn’t share any photos of the things I made for Christmas presents last year, which is daft as I made a point of taking a few snaps before wrapping things.
I made myself a promise after getting myself stressed and miserable the previous year that I wouldn’t make any Christmas presents in December. I didn’t really stick to my promise but I did get everything finished by mid December, which is progress.
Helen’s Closet Suki Kimono
I don’t really wear a dressing gown apart from a ratty old towelling one that I put on when I get out of the shower but the Helen’s Closet fan girl in me still wanted to make a Suki kimono. So my nan got one for Christmas.
It’s another fab pattern, with great instructions and lovely touches. I particularly like the hanging loop and the fact that the ties are sewn on so you can’t lose them. There are two sets of instructions for certain parts – the neckband and the cuffs – depending on whether or not you want your seams enclosed. I chose to enclose them and I used French seams for a nice finish.
A couple of years ago I made my cousin’s little boy a dinosaur tail for Christmas. So when I found out that their little girl likes dinosaurs too (I don’t think big brother gives her much choice) I thought it’d be nice to make her a little tail too. I was sent a lovely photo of the two of them in their tails and apparently she’s been accepted into Clan dinosaur.
And this hoody is for my cousin’s little boy to go with the dinosaur tail I made him previously. I cut it out the Christmas before last but ran out of time to sew it so I don’t know if it actually fits. I think my mum said she’s seen a photo of him in it but I haven’t. Hopefully he can least hang it from his head as a cape.
Sew Over It Alex shirt dress
Not the best photo and the dress doesn’t actually look that good on her here. I’m sure it looks nicer in real life but she looks a bit swamped in fabric around the shoulders and arms here. I’ll get more photos eventually and I might need to offer to take it in a bit. It is supposed to have a dropped shoulder but they look like they’re hanging a good 2-3″ off Mum’s shoulder.
Every year I make my mum and nan a Christmas cake each and I curse myself so much for making a rod for my own back every time. My royal icing skills aren’t the best and these looked way better in my head but I’m still pretty pleased with them.
And that’s the lot. I tried not to go too nuts with the plans this time. I think I’m going to try to phase out the handmade gifts from now on though. It’s a lot of unnecessary pressure to put on myself at one of the most stressful time of the year. Maybe I need a “only make things I can’t buy” rule. How about you, do you make handmade gifts? Do you plan 23 different gifts and then only end up making 8?
After writing about the reasons I like PDF sewing patterns last week, Melody asked in the comments what my favourite PDF only patterns are. So I put my thinking cap on, had a look at which of the patterns I’ve enjoyed are PDF only and here we are.
Size range: Bust 31″-48″ Waist 24″-40″ Hip 33″-50″ Price: $14 (USD) No variations: 2
This is one of my most made patterns to date and I still have lots more planned. It’s one of my favourite patterns ever, let alone just PDF ones. I wear my long grey version all the time as it’s just so versatile. It’s the perfect cardigan pattern for me as I always wear my cardies open.
Size range: Waist 24″-38″ Hip 34″-48″ Price: $14 (USD) No variations: 4 different lengths
Another Helen’s Closet pattern because I’m a fangurrl. I love my Winslow culottes/palazzo pants, they’re just the perfect spring trouser. As I was getting the information for this post I saw that Helen is doing a Winslow hack series and the pattern has 15% off until the end of May with the code “hackwinslow”. So far she’s shared a hack for an elastic waist and I’m looking forward to seeing what else she does. I should probably branch out and sew a shorter version at some point but I love me a maxi.
Size range: Bust 32″-44.4″ Waist 26″-38.5″ Hip 34″-46.5″ Price: $12 (USD) No variations: 2
I’m surprised that Kelli hasn’t released this one in a paper version yet as it’s a great pattern. But then maybe other people aren’t as obsessed with maxi things as I am. There are always some really nice touches in True Bias patterns and they all seem to be really well drafted. There’s a nice bit of construction on the neckline that gives a really clean finish to the bias binding. I love the shape of the neckline and the amount of blousiness in the bodice. I’ve used the Southport dress as a base for loads of hacks and mash-ups. A Scoutport is next on my list, with a Grainline Scout tee as the top half and my more flared, knee length version of the Southport for the skirt.
Size range: Bust 34″-42″ Waist 24″-33″ Hip 36″-44″ Price: $8 (USD) No variations: 1
While I’m a big fan of the Ballet dress it’s very similar to the Kitschy Coo Lady Skater dress, which gets a lot more love in the blog world so you may prefer that as it has more variations and fuller instructions. The Ballet dress fits me really well across the shoulders though so I prefer it to the Lady Skater (I’ve tried both). The Ballet dress also runs quite large – I wear the small and I definitely shouldn’t be the small. So if you’re slim it will swamp you. But then I like negative ease in my knits, not everyone likes things to fit the same.
Size range: Bust 33″-45″ Waist 26″-38″ Hip 36″-48″ (though the hip is free and the bodice is oversized – the finished bust measurement of the largest size is 49.5″ – so if you’re a little bit outside the size range you may be okay) Price: £7.50 No variations: 1
The Penny dress is such a nice dress for when you want to look good but also be comfortable. I wouldn’t recommend it for complete beginners as I don’t think the instructions are the best that Sew Over It have to offer. It’s a great pattern if you have a bit of experience though. And I’ve just seen on Sew Over It’s Instagram account that they’re working on a blog post to help clarify the facing/placket bit of the instructions, which is great news. (Edit: It’s here)
Size range: Bust 33″-45″ Waist 26″-38″ Hip 36″-48″ (There is a LOT of ease in this pattern though – 8″ at the bust, 7″ at the waist and 10″ at the hip so if you’re outside the size range you’re probably still okay. I sized down 2 sizes for my version) Price: This only comes as part of an eBook, which is £20 but you do get 4 other patterns so if you work out an average it’s only £4 No variations: 2 for Alex but 9 in total
This pattern is the main reason I bought the Sew Over It City Break eBook. I love all of the samples, it seems to work in any fabric. I’ve only made myself one version so far but I keep meaning to make another as my first one is so versatile. I made my mum one for Christmas too and I want to get some photos and video of her in it for a sort of “one pattern, two body shapes” post or series. We actually have quite similar body shapes but she has bigger boobs and I have slightly more of a waist so I thought people might find it interesting to hear about how different patterns fit each of us.
Size range: Waist 24″-36.5″ Hip 34″-46.5″ Price: $15 No variations: 2 – shorts and a skirt – but there are expansion packs available with 2 additional versions
I think this is a great pattern to tackle as your first shorts(/trousers if you use the expansion pack) as the instructions are fantastic and the shorts aren’t supposed to be skin tight so the fitting isn’t as hard as with something like jeans. There are just loads of great features to the pattern and getting both a skirt and shorts is great value for money. I have a pair of the trousers cut out that I’m hoping to get made up soon too.
Size range: Waist 34″-42″ Price: Free when you subscribe to her newsletter No variations: 3
There’s nothing particularly fancy to this one, it’s just a circle skirt pattern but I’ve found it way easier to use than a circle skirt calculator. I used it on my Sewaholic Cambie dress and I used it for a tulle skirt for my work Christmas do last year. It comes with two different waistbands, huge patch pockets and you can use it for knits or wovens. Plus it’s free! So if you’re on the fence about PDF patterns this is a nice one to try. When I relax my fabric buying ban I fancy a scuba version.
So there you go, those are my favourite PDF only patterns. There are loads more PDF only patterns I like but these are the ones that I’ve used multiple times and I’m glad I have in my collection. To look at the other side, are there only printed only patterns that you think I should check out?
It seems like you’re either a lover or hater of PDF sewing patterns. Personally, I’m a big fan and here are some of my reasons why.
1. No tracing
This is the biggy for me because I HATE tracing. I dread it and put it off for ages. I’d far rather sit on the living room floor in front of the telly or listening to the radio and trim and stick a PDF pattern together. These days I use a paper cutter (I have this one) to trim the sheets and Pritt stick (generic glue sticks don’t stick at all in my experience) rather than tape to stick them together. I find using a glue stick much quicker and it gives you a bit of repositioning wiggle room that you don’t have when you’re using tape.
I’ve also seen people cut off more of the edges off than they need to. I only cut the left edge off the top row pieces and then the top and left edges off all the subsequent pieces. Depending on how the pattern has been laid out you sometimes don’t even have to cut that many off.
PDF patterns are usually cheaper, though not always by much. And I’m sure once you add in paper and ink they’re not actually cheaper but I enjoy the feeling of false economy.
If I had all of my patterns as physical patterns I have no idea where I’d put the things. Of course the printed out PDF patterns take up space but as I trace my printed patterns they take up double space. I’ve gone through a few different storage methods with my patterns including plastic document wallets, a filling box thingy and poly pockets in ring binders. My current method is C4 envelopes. At the moment I’ve got them in a paper box but I’m going to get some magazine files when I next go to Ikea and divide them up into garment types.
In terms of digital storage I keep all of my patterns in a folder on my Google Drive called Patterns. Each pattern company then has a folder, where each pattern also gets a folder – even if the pattern is only one file.
This is a great aspect of PDF patterns that I wouldn’t have thought of. If there turns out to have been an error in a pattern you are usually given updated versions for free. It happened with the Megan Nielsen Tania culottes, where I gained an extra version. I also had an updated version of the Ginger jeans when Heather Lou added the pocket stay and made some other changes.
5. Thicker paper
Tissue paper freaks me out. I’m always convinced I’m going to rip it. I prefer the printed patterns that use thicker paper too like Tilly and the Buttons and Deer and Doe. I can see why you wouldn’t if you cut your patterns and like to tissue fit though. Because I cut using a rotary cutter and weights I like that the thicker paper keeps me a harder edge to follow.
Of course I’m not immune to pretty packaging. I love the look of Sew Over It patterns in particular and have a a few of them. The dream would be for pattern companies to offer a bundle. So you could choose to buy the printed one but for a little bit more money have a digital version too. Deer and Doe have been doing a cool thing with the patterns they’ve updated to have a PDF version. You can fill in a form to prove that you bought the printed pattern and they’ll send you a link to buy the PDF for €3.
Another benefit of PDF patterns is that they’re cheaper and less risky for pattern designers than printed patterns. That means we get to enjoy more patterns. Some of my favourite patterns have been PDF only and they would have been a huge risk for the designers to release in paper format so they just wouldn’t exist without PDF patterns being possible.
Hey there peeps. I hope you’re all having a good week and had a nice long weekend, if you were lucky enough to have one. Mine was quite peaceful and chilled out. I had planned to decorate my sewing room but I didn’t get round to it. Tidying and emptying the damn thing took up most of the weekend! It’s completely empty now and I’ve even pulled the carpet up as I’m thinking about sanding and painting the floorboards. Any tips on painting floorboards or paint recommendations are gratefully received.
In other life type news, my nan is still on the mend and walked with a quad-foot walking stick yesterday, which is really good as she hadn’t been doing much walking. Hopefully she should be able to come out of hospital soon.
Anyway, sewing. I follow a few people who do monthly round-up posts about what they’ve sewn, including Masha from The Itinerant Seamstress who has a section at the end tracking her fabric buying, which I think is a great idea. So I thought I’d copy and do little round-up posts. I’m not productive enough to do them monthly though so I’m going for quarterly.
In January I finished off my Jennifer Lauren Handmade Mayberry dress (and actually blogged about it!).
In February I had a little flurry of sewing for a holiday to Egypt with my mum to celebrate her 60th birthday. I made a pair of True Bias Lander shorts, a wrap skirt using the skirt part of the Sew Over It Eve dress and a maxi dress by shirring the top of two big rectangles of viscose.
I also finished off a knit dress I made last year. There wasn’t actually any sewing involved though, I just chopped a bit off the hem and decided I liked it unhemmed. It’s hack of my beloved Dixie DIY Ballet dress. I’d already made myself a swingy t-shirt from the pattern by tracing around the shoulder and armhole shape and then swinging the side seams out and lengthening into a tee. I made it into a dress pattern by just extending the side seam down.
The pattern needs a few tweaks as the sides were a bit too long and it had a bit of a hanky hem shape, which I had to level. I really love this dress though and definitely plan a few more. There’s a lovely autumnal floral jersey in my stash that I’ve earmarked for a longer sleeved version.
I haven’t finished anything in March but I have made most of a Sew Over It Heather dress. I just have the neckband and the hems to go. This project finally kicked me into action to get my overlocker repaired. It had been broken since the beginning of January and because I hate making phone calls so much I kept putting off phoning the sewing machine repair man. But my sewing machine taking SIX MINUTES to sew one (admittedly, long) seam with a stretch stitch was the push I needed.
Projects in waiting
I’ve had a wee cutting spree and I’ve got 4 new projects cut out.
A True Bias Ogden cami I’d hoped to finish for my holiday but ran out of time
A self-drafted knit pencil skirt
A Tilly and the Buttons Bibi pencil skirt
A Grainline Archer shirt
Fabric in: 11m Fabric out: 13.5m
I’ve actually stashbusted! Only 2.5 metres but I’ll take it. I did get it down by 4.75m but then I bought 2 bits of fabric and some ribbing. Ironically it’s all intended to be used to stashbust some of my smaller pieces of stash fabric. I bought some white jersey to use for the body of a raglan t-shirt with the leftovers of the ballet swing dress above as the sleeves. And some lightweight black sweatshirt fabric to be the sleeves and yoke of a jumper with some sloth print sweatshirting I bought a 0.5m remnant of.
While I’ve been better for not buying fabric willy nilly, patterns are a different story. So I thought it might be nice to track that here too. I’ve bought:
Chalk and Notch Fringe dress and top
True Bias Lander Pants
Helen’s Closet Avery leggings
Nina Lee London Kew dress
Hey June Handmade Union St Tee
Megan Nielsen Flint shorts and pants
Sew Over It Ultimate culottes
The latest Sew Over It PDF club pattern (as I was writing this, which is what made me add this section)
Oh and Tilly and the Buttons’ new book, Stretch, which contains 6 patterns
So that’s quite a lot… I’ll try and curb it a bit over the next few months.
I’m sure I thought of another section to add but it has completely flown out of my mind. If there’s anything else you’d like to see included here then please let me know in the comments. I’ll try and work on a better name for these posts too.
Happy Monday peeps. I hope you all had a nice weekend. Mine hasn’t been the best. On Thursday night I had a phone call from my mum because my nan had fallen over while they were walking the dogs and she needed me to go and get them so she could go in the ambulance with my nan. I got there before the first responder, let alone an ambulance and when Mum called back to check how long they’d be they couldn’t give any indication so in the end we took her to A&E ourselves. It turned out she’d broken her wrist and then the next day we found out she’d fractured her hip too and on Saturday she had to have a partial hip replacement.
It all went well and she seems to be back to her old self already bar the pain and lack of mobility but it’s been a very worrying few days. We don’t always realise just how lucky we are that my nan is so independent and capable. She’s 90 years old and only gave up her job as a cleaner a couple of months ago. She was complaining about being on a ward with old people and we had to reassure her that she’s on the orthopaedic ward, not the geriatric ward and she tells every doctor or nurse who comments on her age that her mum got her date of birth wrong. So back to her normal self.
But anyway, I realised that I never blogged about my Make Nine plans for this year and I’ve been wanting to blog about something as it’s been ages so I figure it’s better late than never.
I was in two minds about whether to choose any Make Nine plans at all this year as I found last year that I did a lot of over-planning and put a lot of pressure on myself. When I mentioned that on Instagram loads of people told me that they hadn’t made all of their 2017 Make Nine selection and they were still making 2018 plans because they enjoy the planning so I did pick some after all and I’ll try not to beat myself up if I don’t make any of them.
I’ve already got these cut out that I planned to make last year but didn’t get round to. I wore my shorts version on my recent holiday and I really like them so I’m keen to get cracking with these as I think they’ll be a great trouser for spring. If it ever gets warm enough to stop wearing boots that is.
I’m making them out of a beige gaberchino for my first version and if I like them I want a navy pair too as I love the navy sample.
2. A knit pencil skirt
This is sort of carried forward from last year but I’d picked McCalls 7331 last year. The plan has always been to use a black and white striped ponte from my stash, which I realised won’t really work with McCalls 7331 as it has a curved yoke. So I’ve “drafted” my own from my hip and waist measurements and cut it out last week. I’m planning to copy the construction of my favourite knit pencil skirt and overlock some elastic to the top edge, turn it to the inside and stitch in the ditch at the side seams to keep the elastic turned under.
I’ve also got a Bibi skirt from Tilly and the Button’s new book Stretch cut out, which I could probably count too as I haven’t specified a pattern. I’ve pretty much copied one of the samples from the book and used some teal ponte scraps I had left over from the Manfriend’s first Paxson and some of the black and white striped ponte.
I suspect I may actually find the high neck on this a bit irritating but I love the way this top looks on other people and I think Jen’s block is a good match for me so I want to try it. I’ve also fallen for her latest pattern, the Ostara top and will be buying that at some point.
I’ve wanted to make the Eve dress since last year but I kept putting off tracing it. I’ve done that part now and I’m hoping it’ll make the perfect wedding guest dress for a wedding I’m going to in the Summer.
This year I’d quite like to have a go at making a big nonsense gown just for the pure hell of it. I haven’t really got a clue what sort of style I want, let alone chosen a pattern. I think I want godets, it’ll probably be off the shoulder and I’m leaning towards green or red.
I have a few oversized checked shirts from H&M that I really like so I wanted to have a go at making my own. I’ve cut out a wearable toile version using some checked flannel and I did not enjoy it at all. Some people thrive on that sort of perfectionist cutting, I do not. It just filled me with rage.
It’s done now though and ready to be sewn up when I get a chance. I’ve got some buffalo plaid to make my “proper” version out of.
I’ve realised that I only really wear my coats that have hoods so I’ve dumped my long planned Deer and Doe Pavot for a Grainline Cascade. I’m going to use the same royal blue gabardine that I was going to use for the Pavot but I might have to shorten the cascade slightly to get the coat out of my 2.5 metres of fabric.
I don’t really like patch pockets so I don’t know what I want to do about the pockets. I sort of want welt pockets but I don’t have a pattern that has welt pockets to steal the pieces. Maybe I could add a horizontal in-seam pocket to the seam at the hip on the longer version but I don’t know if that would be right either. I like pockets for hands so I sort of feel like they should be at an angle. I don’t know, I’ll have to think about it.
Normally, I quite like assembling PDF patterns but I couldn’t face the million pages Cascade would be so I got the A0 files printed with Netprinter. I’m sooo not tracing either, I can’t think of anything worse than having to trace all those pieces.
This is another one carried forward from last year. I still want my white crepe Melilot. I cut out what I’d hoped would be a wearable toile using the pattern pieces I’d traced yonks ago. Then realised that I’ve gained weight since then and the size I traced – helpfully, not written on the traced pattern pieces – will not fit these days.
Urgh, jeans sewing. Why is fitting trousers so hard? Other people seem to do it fine. Am I just being ridiculous and picky? I really don’t think I’m being too picky because I’m not obsessing over a couple of crotch wrinkles. It’s bizarre weirdness that I have never had in RTW trousers. I can go into a clothes shop and try on a pair of jeans and the crotch will just fit. Other areas might not fit how I want them but I’ve certainly never had the weird-ass poofiness and lines from my crotch to my thigh. This post about crotch curves from Cindy at Cation Designs was really interesting and makes sense as the Lander short have the straightest front crotch curve of any short/trouser pattern I’ve sewn and my crotch area is definitely the least weird in them. (This one is also really good.)
So those are this years Make Nine plans. A bunch of them are already underway and as soon as my overlocker comes back from sewing machine hospital (or I buy a new one if it’s kaput) I’m going to get on with them. I’ve got too many things started and half made, I need to finish a few.
Are you a one at a time maker? Or do you have a few projects on the go at once like me? Have you made Make Nine plans this year? Crumbs, some of you may have finished already!