Thursday, 26 May 2016

Getting demob happy!

It's half-term next week, we are off on holiday and I am getting ridiculously excited!

I wore my new dress again today - working in a different office so no-one had seen it before, hurrah! I do really love it...and it got admired and praised which was lovely!

No idea what I'm going to wear tomorrow, we'll see in the morning.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Day 25!

Well, almost at the end of Me-Made May already!  I have just put the cover on my machine and shut the cabinet for the next few days - my mum arrives tomorrow and I need to get the spare bed out, and then we are off on holiday on Saturday so there won't be any sewing till June.

I thought and thought about the side ties on my Dottie Angel dress, and decided to move them after all.  I moved them back up to where they should be but a bit lower than the actual pattern marking because, bust.  And I am SO glad I did!  It suddenly looks like the pattern packet, the shape is much more defined, the skirt flares better, overall effect is greatly improved.  It wasn't designed as a waisted pattern so moving them too far down did affect the look and I thought the pocket placement was a bit bunchy and hip-heavy.

I'm glad I conquered my inherent laziness!
Today's actual wear was the scuba Lady Skater from last Thursday.  I love it so much!

I definitely need some more tops though, and really need to get to grips with doing FBAs and moving darts and stuff.  I'm going to do it when I get back from holiday!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

4 days later...

I can't remember what I wore on Saturday, it was me-made, possibly the Love Notions Laundry Day Tee...

Sunday was a pyjama day, while I was sewing up my next thing, Monday was my cherries sleeveless top.

Today!  Today I wore my new dress!

This is Simplicity 1080, the Dottie Angel dress.  You might have seen it around, I first spotted it in a magazine a few months ago and really loved it, but held off buying it for ages.  I finally stumped up for it a month or so ago, and bought the green fabric at the time.  You can't really tell, but the pattern is little diamond shapes of red purple and yellow dots.

Then I got the purple, which is a linen, a couple of weeks after that, it was only £3.95 a metre, and the pockets were from a fat quarter in my stash which by total fluke just fell right for the colour and pattern.

I traced it and made a muslin in some old sheeting to see if I needed a bust adjustment, and it seemed that I didn't so I cut the pieces on Saturday and started sewing on Sunday.

Now, I don't know whether you've read any reviews of this pattern, but they are a bit of a mixed bunch!  The pattern itself is lovely, but the instructions are completely faffy and madly inconsistent.

For about half of it you're being told to cover all the seams with bias tape and then all of a sudden you're chucked into french seam world.  And I have NO idea why it's like that, or why the pash for bias covered seams.  Essentially it's a simple construction tricked out to be quite labour intensive.  Which is great if you've got like a YEAR to make it.  Or fancy showing off your seams*.  But if, like me, you've got a couple of hours for 2 or 3 evenings, Nope, nopity nope.  No bias covering for me.

So I mostly ignored the bias stuff and did my own thing.

Ok.  So I joined the contrast panel with a regular seam and then pressed it downwards and top-stitched to catch it all.

The shoulders and sides are french seams, which I'm really glad I did because the fabrics turned out to have some serious fray-tendencies.  I made my own bias tapes for the pockets, neck and arm-holes.

And I hand did the hem - I was going to twin-needle it but the linen is one of those that ONLY CREASES WHEN YOU SIT ON IT!  Pressing it is largely ineffective so it needed pins in horizontally and a lot of stopping and hand-folding.  Again.  And again.  And again.

I also hand-finished the neck binding.

The side ties were a bit high so I moved them down.  I might put them back up again a little bit, if I can be bothered. (Clue: I probably can't be bothered).

However, it was worth all the faff, I absolutely LOVE the colour combination - SUFFRAGETTES! - and I really love the length.

I wore it to work today and felt great.

Also, POCKETS!  I love a dress with pockets.

Anyway, if you're thinking about making this pattern and being put off by the reviews or the instructions, pah, JUST DO IT!  But ignore the bias seam covering crazy-pants, unless that's totally your bag, in which case, y'know, knock yourself out!

*Disclaimer: I do like showing off my seams when I've done an especially nice one.  A french seam is thing of beauty.  Do those and show them off.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Thursday and Friday

I started my new secondment yesterday.  There's a bit of a parking issue at the new office - too many cars, not enough spaces - so I decided to walk.  It's only a mile and a quarter. I wore TOTALLY THE WRONG SHOES!  Being only just over a mile I wore the heeled shoes I had in mind for the day and although they weren't madly uncomfortable they were definitely the wrong choice...

I wore the cherry top and black trousers from earlier in the month.  It's a surprise how well it goes with plain trousers, I will definitely be adding it to the regular repertoire.

Today I sensibly put my old running shoes on and carried my work shoes in my bag.  And cut 10 minutes off my walking time!

Today I wore yet another of my Kitschy Coo Lady Skater dresses.  And one of my colleagues admired it not knowing it was made by me, so that was a really nice moment.  The picture is not from today, but it is of the same dress!

The fabric is a thick-ish scuba knit which I really love - it's so easy to sew.  I didn't hem it because it didn't really need it.  It's such an easy dress to wear, I would definitely use scuba again for this pattern.

Onto the weekend, what to wear, what to wear...!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

When will it be sunny again?

Another day of tights...

Today I wore a Cashmerette Appleton wrap dress.  It's great to have patterns designed by someone who understands the various fit issues of a fuller figure and wonderful not to have to make a full bust adjustments as Jenny's patterns are designed for a big range of cup and back sizes.

But...and I'm so sorry that there is a but...

I've never really got on with wrap dresses, they always make me look like a sack of spuds tied with twine, and although I had high hopes of this dress because of the design and the reviews, and I really love Jenny's makes on her blog, this hasn't changed my mind really.

I think it could in part be due to the fabric, it's not a matt jersey, it's quite slippery which wasn't great to sew, and I had a few problems making it.  The sleeves were massive at the wrist so I had to make them smaller, the length was waaaaaaaaaay too long so I had to take it up, and despite a promise not to gap at inappropriate moments - no-one wants to flash their boss! - I do find it slips and I generally need to re-tie it about 4 or 5 times during the day.

So, I don't love it.  I really wanted to, and I'm sad that I don't.  I wear it every now and then, but it's not a favourite and it hasn't convinced me that wrap dresses are 'my' dress.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

No work today...

I went to a conference today, just locally, so no madly early train dash to the metropolis, thankfully.

And as it's still not as warm as I would like I went with some footless tights and the first Fancy Tiger Fen dress.  Unfortunately I can't get my pictures to load...but it's got a rounded neck, sleeves, is a bit shorter and is a lovely Liberty-ish print that came from the market.

It was a good day, some interesting speakers and lots of familiar faces, and some rather delicious cheese straw things for morning break, YUM!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Just another manic Monday

This morning I started back on full-time hours after almost 3 years part-time.  It's only for a few months but it's going to take some getting used to for all of us I think.

To avoid the daily agonising over what to wear I just settled for another of my Kitschy Coo Lady Skaters.  I forgot to take a picture this morning, and I got changed almost as soon as I got home.  But it's my joint favourite - a black and green paisley-ish jersey.  I always feel good in it, it fits nicely, it's the right length and I just LOVE it!

I got a bit of sewing time this weekend, and made a travel wallet in preparation for our holiday in a couple of weeks.  It's a lovely pattern from So Sew Easy and was a good scrap-buster.  I really don't like making my own bias though, it's hard to get a good sharp crease without starch or something and I didn't have any starch so it's a bit shonky.  But it does exactly the job I wanted so I'm happy.

I really MUST get on with tracing my next pattern and doing the adjustments, I've got some gorgeous fabric and I really want to get on with sewing it up!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Chilly saturday

It was pretty cold on Saturday - nice in the sunshine but windy and cold out of it.  And despite it being May I decided in the end to wear tights.  I am very glad I did!

We made a quick dash to the fabric shop in the early afternoon - my daughter saw a skirt last week but it was too small and there was only one so I said I'd make something for her.  And that meant a bit of fabric shopping.  I love my home city, it has a few good places to buy pretty things and this trip called for wide choice.  So we went to the biggest shop of all.  It's so big that they have a completely separate shop for furnishings and another one for teaching classes.

The main shop has a rather marvellous sale rail of roll ends and sample pieces, I get quite a lot from there - the bright flowery Alexander Henry was one I stalked for MONTHS!  And it was no different yesterday, there was a piece of striped jersey that I've been eyeing up since last year, it's 2.3m so hopefully enough for a dress.

The rail also has a 3 for 2 offer on at the moment.  So I got the striped jersey, and my daughter chose a dark brown jersey with gold spots and a bright pink and silver stretch fabric with spandex.

Later in the day we went to a special evening thing at the museum which had lots of activities and things to look at, ending in some fire-eating and then we went to a very late performance in the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.  By then I was really glad I was wearing tights and not bare-legged!

This dress was the first dress I ever made.  It's a Kitschy Coo Lady Skater and I have 4 of them now.  I don't have an overlocker so it is zig-zag all the way apart from the hem.  I did end up taking the skirt off and shortening the bodice a little, and my later versions all had a shorter bodice.  I've also made one for my mum.  She loves it too!

I love the dragonfly print of this jersey, but it is a tiny bit clingy so I haven't worn it as much as the others.

But it's very comfortable to wear, the pattern is really easy and it's a quick make.

Shoes - Hush Puppies

Friday, 13 May 2016


I looked out of thw window this morning, it was bright, sunny and clear.

So I put on a skirt and a top, little cardi, bare legs.  And off I went to walk my daughter to school.

MAN, it was cold outside!  I added a jacket before I went to work, but when I got home this afternoon I had to change into something a bit warmer.

So, this is my outfit for the first half of the day!

It's a jersey half circle with a yoga-ish waistband.  Very comfy and easy to wear.  I didn't even hem it - can you tell?!
Cami - Can't remember, possibly Matalan
Cardi - Fat Face
Shoes - LK Bennett

Thursday, 12 May 2016

3 for 2, not a bogoff.

Catching up with the week, today I didn't wear a made-by-me.  The first day in May that I didn't wear something in whcih I'd had some involvement, but there's this dress I bought last summer that I really love and I chose that today.

Up until today it's been me-made all the way!

I made this top last summer.  It matches a full circle skirt I made and together they look like a dress - which was my aim because I thought making a dress was hard!

Anyway, I can't remember what the pattern is, but it was a round neck.  Which I had to change because it felt a bit strangly and uncomfortable.  so I sliced the front and tuned the edged in and made a v-neck.  And then I put a zip in the back.

Essentially it needs a bit more boob-room so an FBA would have been an idea, but I haven't got to them.  Yet!  It's quite snug in the hips too, I am standing V-E-R-Y still here to make it not ride up!

But actually, after a year of thinking it was a bit 'hmmm' I think it looks ok!  I'm going to bias-bind the neckline though, the flappy excess fabric annoys me!

And this is a Colette Aster.  I love this, but again, it needs an FBA.  As a wearable garment though I really love the cuffs and the button placket, I did a good job on those.  And some flukey pattern-flow/matching across the front too.

I'm really enjoying this challenge!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Crazy skirt

Today I wore the very bright Alexander Henry print skirt.  I LOVE it, it's so colourful and bonkers!

It is also very slightly the wrong length for my work chair.  Work chair is that slightly rough industrial fabric so by the end of my working day I did feel as though the backs of my legs had been scrubbed.  Repeatedly.  I may need to take a cushion or a cover or something!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Party till you drop!

Yesterday was a friend's 50th birthday get-together.  Our daughter went to stay with one of her besties (Thanks Katie, you diamond!) and the husband and I went out.

I started the day in the first of my Fancy Tiger Fen dresses but changed because I do think it's a tiny bit too short.

So I changed into some cut-downs and a tunic-y t-shirt.

The cut-downs were an alteration - I bought a pair of jeans from a charity shop (PACT, they do two items for £1) for the sole purpose of cutting them down.  They were also too big so I ran a seam up the sides to take the waist in.  They feel so nicely fitted, I was genuinely sad to put them away last autumn and really glad to get them out again last week.

The top is a Laundry Day Tee from Love Notions.  I love the stripy fabric, but it was a remnant and had a bit of a hole and a stitched up tear so having to work round that was interesting!  I had to re-cut the neckband as the first one was too short.  And I forgot to use zig-zag so it is already coming undone in places - I'll probably go over the seams again.

The top needs a bit of a bust adjustment and the sleeves are a wee bit small - but the pattern has been re-drafted by the pattern maker to take account of the sleeve and armscye fitting issues.  Originally I thought I wouldn't wear it, but it's one of those things I keep reaching for, despite its faults.

I would make it again, but would do an FBA on the top and make the v a bit lower.

It's the perfect length, is easy to wear and did very nicely for a night out in the pub.  God, I'd forgotten how much fun that could be, we had a great time.

Today I am in the cut-downs again with a different top, but I'm not planning anything other than some reading and an early night.

Shoes - Asda

Also, my daughter's bedroom is finally tidy.

Friday, 6 May 2016

A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll

Today we had a bit of english country dancing at my daughter's school. So we all sat in the sunshine watching the children, the PTA sold cakes and ice-creams and I decided I should wear a 50s-ish circle skirt for the occasion.

This was the first skirt I ever made for myself and I completely love it!  I love the style, the spots, the wide waistband...everything.  It kickstarted a mild 50s obsession that has me looking at vintage fabrics and styles and wanting to hang out in diners and soda shops.

I think the spots are a very dark navy but they look black.

I'd maybe cut it a little shorter next time and I know I could re-hem it to shorten it, but I probably won't!

I drafted the pattern myself using the circle skirt calculator from Patty Brower of 3SnugBugs.  I looked at By Hand London but they don't really cater for the fuller figure so I found this one instead.  I've used it for my daughter as well as myself and it works every time.

I feel very cool and breezy and summery today!

Top - Primark
Cardi - Fat Face
Shoes - Asda

Thursday, 5 May 2016


It's been so beautifully sunny in East Anglia in the last couple of days.  So I wore a dress and got my legs out!

This dress is one of most recent makes, and it's one of my absolute favourites.  The fabric is a lovely cotton that I bought from John Lewis in January - it was in the sale.  It sews beautifully, doesn't crease much and is so comfortable.

The pattern is Fancy Tiger Fen and this is the second one I've made.  I made an alteration to the pattern in lengthening the bodice by a couple of inches as I feel my first one came up a little short.

The pattern says you need 3 yards (that's 2.7m).  I could have got my first one from 2m of 140cm wide by piecing the back bodice if I hadn't forgotten to flip the pattern *rolls eyes*  Rookie error!  But you can definitely get it out of 2.5m, if you use pre-made bias binding, or make it from a contrast colour. It's nice to use self-made same fabric bias, but it's a massive fabric eater to make and I prefer the contrast of a different fabric or block colour.

The hem is double folded and twin-stitched.

Aside from that, the cutting is easy, and sewing took about 3 hours.

Also, POCKETS!  I do love a good pocket and these are just great for size and depth.

I absolutely love this dress, it's easy to wear, it's easy to make, it looks nice.  I will be wearing this dress a lot this summer.

I might make another one, perhaps with a hem variation.  But definitely with the v-neck, I prefer it, though I need to improve my binding technique...

Cardi - Braintree
Shoes - LK Bennett
Legs - Johnson's Holiday skin!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Dust and boxes

I moved offices today.  Lots of boxes, lots of trips in the lift, lots of throwing away bits of old paper...

So I decided to wear something easy.  So I chose this top, which isn't actually that easy at all.  #contrary.

I made this top a year or so ago, and it perseveres even though it isn't really that successful.  This might be because I am low on me-made tops and none of them have been wildly successful so far.  I really need to get better at pattern alterations, especially the FBA.  I haven't got it right yet.

I love the fabric, it was a remnant from my local fabric shop. The pattern was a self-drafted thing from a sewing magazine, the shoulders are a bit too wide which heads into bra-strap world and falling off one shoulder (aaaaargh).  And the bias binding is a bit of a problem.  But you can't see any of that so it's fab and perfect ;)

I don't have an overlocker - I WANT one - so it was zig-zag on a regular machine, and I don't think I even knew I had to use a stretch needle.  As I recall it was a bit of a fiend to sew.  No surprise really!

I do love the swirly pattern and the colours and being jersey it is stretchy which is always a bonus.  So it comes out every now and then, even though it slightly irritates me!

I did wear shoes today.  At least, I'm fairly sure I did...

Grey jersey trousers - M&S
Cardi - Fat Face

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Day 3 in the Me Made May House

Ok, I don't have a geordie accent.  And no-one's being voted out, or having to visit the diary room...

Today I wore the same skirt as yesterday - the favourite one with the funny godets.  Different top and cardi though.

Tomorrow is harder because I'm moving offices and need something to bridge the gap between work-wear and moving-dusty-kit scruffs. I'm thinking about it...

Day 2 MMM 2016

I was soooooooooo looking forward to wearing this particular skirt.  It's one of my earliest makes from around a year ago, and one of my favourites.

The fabric was from a vintage shop and labelled as genuine 50s.  It certainly has that feel.  It's quite a peculiar texture, feels thick and almost like heavy j-cloth or something, but it washed well and ironed like a dream.  And it drapes really nicely.

I cut it late at night, and I made a MASSIVE cutting error and just ignored putting it on the fold first which totally screwed up my calculations, so I ended up having to put funny little godets in the bottom to cover up where there was a gap in my pattern piece - in the spirit of an IT developer I'm calling them a feature not a mistake!

If I'd known or thought about it at the time I would probably have made pockets too - I do love a good pocket!

It's easy to wear, comfortable and pretty much perfect length and will be a summer staple, starting now.

And The Girl made the necklace!  She also wore a home-made dress, but my husband seems curiously unenthusiastic in having a made-to-measure shirt.  I'll convince him, one day...

Cami - Primark
Cardi - Fat Face
Shoes - Sketchers

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Me Made May 2016...


Yes, I am rather a lax blogger at the best of times...but that's a bit ridiculous!

So, ahem, yes, Me Made May.  Starts today, and is aimed at encouraging sewing folk to wear the stuff they make.  But I do tend to wear the things I make, so I don't necessarily need the encouragement.


I'm going to take part anyway to see how I wear my makes, and what gets the most wear.

My personal pledge is to try and wear something made by me as often as I can.

Today I've worn two things of my own.

The first, an a-line skirt I finished yesterday.  It started off as an elasticated waist which looked AWFUL, so I undid the top, added a proper waistband and put in a zip.  And now it's much better.  Although it needs a bit more alteration as the waistband is too big and so the skirt droops rather than sitting on the waist.

The fabric is Alexander Henry 'Kleo', I got a remnant at my local fabric shop - I was eyeing it up for MONTHS before I bought it, and I always know it would be a skirt.  It's bonkers and bright and fabulous.

After I decided to re-do the waist I had to get changed so I put on my other weekend make which is a half-circle in a splendid green cotton with a camera print.

I drafted both patterns myself and I'm pretty pleased with the results.

Apart from that I've made a dress for my daughter this weekend which is all twirly and lovely so she is in a me-make today too!

Pink vest/cami & black top - Primark
Cardi - Braintree
Shoes - Brantano