Saturday, 31 May 2014

Me-Made-May week five or Green Week

Strange how you suddenly fall in love with a colour all over again (or is this just me?). Beautiful bright emerald green swooped me of my feet this week (quite lietrally too because it turns out that I have torn some soft tissue in my knee then broke my little toe - on the same leg!).
So my green love-in started with my Gap cardigan and went from there...

The final week of Me-Made-May saw my first repeat items in the form of the Colette Sorbetto and Grainline Scout Woven tee. It would be a great idea to make some more of these and branch out into more fluid / drapier fabrics.

Overall I have really enjoyed taking part in Me-Made-May for the first time and will definitely take part next year. My most worn items were as I mentioned basic tops and skirts (I have more of these to choose from). Additions to my wardrobe in May were:
  • Total Pollocks tee
  • Colette Ginger chevron skirt
  • Red polka dot Grainline Scout Woven tee (not yet blogged)
  • Black and white plaid shift dress Simplicity 9620 (not yet blogged)
  • Colourful ikat shift dress Simplicity 9620 (not yet blogged)
  • Green vintage dress repair (not yet blogged)
I still have a red jumbo polka dot Colette Sorbetto cut out ready to sew which I never got around to completing and as you know I am part-way through making a green and blue Tulip skirt at Sew Over It.

Here is what my Me-Made-May looked like:

The full list of my me-mades / me-modified / me-mended:

  • Black and white plaid shift dress Simplicity 9620
  • Ikat shift dress Simplicity 9620
  • Green vintage dress repair
  • 60's vintage dress repair (blue vintage dress)
  • Me-made Tatty Devine bunting necklace
As you can see trousers and dresses are not really featured as heavily as skirts and tops which means I have a little bit of sewing to do in the next couple of months to address this inbalance! Yesterday when I visited Ray Stitch in Islington I 'invested' in a few patterns (BHL Flora dress, Deer and Doe Belladone, Colette Montana and Colette Mabel) which will keep me out of mischief for a quite a bit.

I have also recently purchased the PDF versions of Grainline's Maritime Shorts and the Moss Mini which I need to stick together, so yeah, lot's of sewing projects in the pipeline!

How did you find Me-Made-May?

What sewing projects do you have on at the moment?

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Sew Over Tulips

I had already made a conscious decision earlier in the year to take part in Me-Made May and realised the limitations of my me-made wardrobe so I booked myself onto a two-part Tulip Skirt workshop at Sew Over It.

Because of quite extensive house renovations at the moment I haven't really got anywhere that is a) dust free or b) any available space to plug in my sewing machine.
After a hard day pulling down a wall and generally being as dusty as anything I was so glad to venture into Sew Over It a delightful crafty mecca of awesome proportions.

We were skillfuly guided by our tutor Julie, who was an experienced sewer who has worked in theatrical costume. She was an absolute superstar. There were three other lovely ladies taking part in the workshop, Carla from NZ, Jo from Cumbria (a fellow blogger) and another lady whose name escapes me (will have to find out next week). The atmoshpere was great and Julie provided us with regular tea and cake - always good in my book!

I am really looking forward to part two of the workshop next week. Here is a sneak peak of the Tulip skirt in progress. I decided that if I was going to spend the time making one skirt I may as well buy some more fabric and cut out a second colour version as well!

We have homework for next week which is to sew up the lining, bond the interfacing onto the waistband and attach the waistband! Something I will need to squeeze in this weekend ; )

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Me-Made-May week four

There was slighty schzophrenic weather this week with glorious sunshine and crazy rainstorms this next so it made it difficult to decide what to wear - I plumped for positive weather combinations with a selection of skirts / trousers and tees with a back-up cardigan in the bag just in case!

Day 19
  • Colette Ginger skirt in multi-coloured striped cotton
  • Black American Apparel tee
  • Gold Clarks sandals
It was my first outing in this skirt having finished it the day before. It was lovely and cool to wear which was perfect because the temperatures shot up in London.

Day 20
  • Me-modified white American Apparel tee this is what happens when you channel Jackson Pollock with fabric paints onto an un-suspecting t-shirt!
  • Gap khakis
  • Black Gap cardigan
  • Gold Clarks sandals
Super comfy out-fit today and a very fitting t-shirt for an Art teacher!

Day 21
  • By Hand London Polly Top in cotton from Samuel Taylors and a section from the Designers Guild Ikat collection
  • Burgeundy Gap trousers
  • Black Gap cardigan
  • Gold Clarks sandals
I wasn't 100% comfortable with the fit of the BHL Polly top becuae it hangs a little low at the front and gapes open a bit so if I make another one will need to think about altering the neckline slightly.

Day 22
  • Self-drafted bustle skirt in a blue tweed suiting fabric with red zip and orange ribbon detailing
  • Blue and white striped Gap shirt
  • Gold Clarks sandals
I don't really wear this skirt anymore - I made a couple of them years ago and I think I've moved on... not sure whether to get rid of them though because lots of people commented on my outfit with positivity. What do you think? Should I re-use the fabric to re-fashion them into something new?

Day 23
  • Self-drafted 'Hirst skirt' in multi-colored polka dot Ikea fabric 
  • Blue American Apparel tee
  • Green Gap cardign
  • Gold Clarks sandals
I love this skirt that I drafted from an old 1990's skater skirt. I need to create a pattern for myself so I can make more variations. It works really well because it has pockets (although they could be deeper) and the fabric is one of my all-time favourites.

Overall a great week and NO ME-MADE REPEATS YET!!

Things will change next week - I have only a few more me-made items left that I haven't worn - and there's a good reason because they are either badly made or they are not really my style anymore! I have half-term holiday which means I will be doing a lot of house renovations; so I'm not sure if I will get to wear many me-made outfits next week ; ( I will endevour to do my me-made best!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Total Pollocks tee tutorial

Jackson Pollock - Autumn Rhythmn, 1950
I've always loved the work of Jackson Pollock, so when I saw these rather fab t-shirts in Uniqlo who are doing a Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) NYC collaboration I was inspired.

The Pollock t-shirt design I liked the best was in the men's collection and having tried the smallest size (way too big) figured I would have to make my own version instead.

It's much more fun this way!
Uniqlo MOMA Jackson Pollock Men's t-shirt £12.50
What do you need?

  • Cotton / cotton blend t-shirt
  • Fabric paint
  • Newspaper
  • large plastic bag / sheeting
  • Paintbrushes / toothbrush
  • Iron

I used a range of brushes to create the effects you see on my finished t-shirt. The smaller brushes create a more even splatter; whereas the large brushes can carry a decent amount of paint and you can get the more heavy splash effects with them.

Depending on the consistency of the fabric paint you use, I found the best effect was achieved by making a quite fluid paint by adding water to achieve a 50/50 solution. I used berol fabric paint. 

To vary the types of paint texture I used a small paint brush for the medium splatts, a toothbrush brushed against a scrap of plastic / card to create the very tiny spray and the large paintbrush for the heavy splats. I also used the small paint brush to free-style the larger blocks of paint - which had the added benefit of using up some of the large blobs of fabric paint.

I left the t-shirt out in the sun to dry and then ironed it as per the fabric paint instructions to fix the dye into the t-shirt. So, there you have it - the Pollock tee.

Give it a go - it is liberating!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Chevron Ginger

I wore my new Colette Ginger skirt this Monday after completing it on Sunday afternoon. I'm pretty happy with it overall. I used this pretty coloured striped cotton that I bought from Samuel Taylors in Leeds last month.

This has been in my WIP pile for a week or two after doing the heavy-lifting of cutting out the tedious stripe matching for the chevron effect.

Laying out the pattern on the bias to create the chevron effect
After getting the chevron down the centre line pretty darn close I realised because of the many coloured stripes of the pattern it would be almost impossible to match at the side seams. I aimed to match the black stripes which worked well in the end.

The hidden zip went in OK with the chevron stripe quite close to perfect. A nice decision to make was to consider whether the waistband stripes should go vertically or horizontally! I opted for the horizontal stripes as a constrast to the chevron and sewed the waistband facing in vertical stripes.
I thought the horizontal striped waistband worked better. What do you think?
Overall I am really happy with my second Colette Ginger skirt (my first is blogged about here) and I'm thinking of making another one - perhaps in that lovely Lucienne Day print cotton from John Lewis?

I really enjoyed wearing it at work on Monday because the sun was out; even if that meant I inflicted my lily white oh-so-pale-I'm-almost-see-through legs on a very unsuspecting public!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Me-Made-May 2014 week three and NYLon14

Wow, week three has been crazy! Firstly the sun has been out so it has opened up more wardrobe options, which is great... and secondly I got through to the interview stage (on Thursday) for a new job I applied for on Monday - is it weird that some of my first thoughts about the interview was "What me-made things can I wear?"

Onto the me-made round-up where I managed to wear me-mades for six out of the seven days.

Day 12
  • Colette Sorbetto in white polka dot cotton. I modified the pattern by adding pin-tucks.
  • Gap black trousers
  • Gap green cardigan
  • Me-made Tatty Devine bunting necklace
  • Paul Smith purple Dante brogues
My old faithful Gap trousers let me down on Monday because during the morning I felt a little extra waft of air around my derriere and realised to my horror that the back of my trousers had literally worn away and ripped. 
Luckily, I have a sewing machine at work so I fashioned a wrap style skirt out of a big scrap of fabric and quickly sewed a patch on the hole! I never thought I would be adding to my me-made wardrobe with some on-the-spot mending!

Day 13
  • Simplicity 2154 in red twill. Such a lovely fit on this - I definitely need to make another one!
  • Gap white and navy polka dot shirt
  • Paul Smith blue Miller brogues

Day 14
  • Grainline Scout Tee in black and white polka dot cotton - I need to take some of the excess fabric out of the back by running a centre seam through it. I felt slightly uncomfortable in this the whole day.
  • Blue Gap trousers
  • Uniqlo scarf Celia Bertwell collection
  • Paul Smith grey Dante brogues

Day 15 - Job interview day
  • Me-made Tatty Devine bunting necklace
  • Gap black and white polka top blouse
  • United Colours of Bennetton charcoal grey suit (bought in the sale for £45 three years ago)
  • Gap charcoal grey tights
  • Paul Smith red Miller brogues
Bit of a tricky one here because I felt a lot of my me-made clothes would not be suitable for a job interview. Needless to say I managed to sneak in my me-made Tatty Devine necklace into to mix. In case you are wondering, I GOT THE JOB! Yipeeeeee

Day 16 - Too Pretty for Pants
  • 1960's Vintage dress - me-mended (fixed a hole, re-covered the butti=ons and did some minor fittings adjustments)
  • Warehouse black leggings
  • Clarks gold sandals 
I wasn't sure what the Friday theme was all about, but I guessed it was about not wearing pants (which in a UK sense could get you arrested in some parts of the country - but from a US perspective it means NO trousers... I assume?)

Day 17 - NYLon14 - Sewing bloggers meet up at the V&A
  • Simplicity 9620 - in a lovely soft medium weight cotton with some stretch bought from Samuel Taylors in Leeds
  • Top Shop black belt (not in this photo)
  • Clarks gold sandals (not in this photo)
Yesterday was such a gloriously sunny day for NYLon 2014 - it was my first ever attendance to a sewing bloggers meet-up and I wasn't sure what to expect. I did know that I wanted to walk to the V&A because the weather was so lovely so I set off at 09.30 and got there with plenty of time to spare.

After signing up to attend the event via Rachel's blog over at houseofpinheiro I knew I would wear my yet to be blogged about SImplicity 9620 because its such a lovely fabric and its a comfortable dress to wear (after wearing my other black and white plaid version on the first day of Me-Made-May). It was the perfect choice due to the weather turning out soooo lovely and warm the simple shift dress was not too clingy and the bright coloured print was nice and cheerful for such a fab morning.

Here is a great shot of all the sewing blogers and their fabulous hand-made garments. Check out the gorgeous colours, prints and styles - such amazing ladies!!

I mis-understood about the NYLon name tag swap - this had been organised by Rachel a month or two ago where she had paired up bloggers to make name tags for each other (which I didn't realise and made my own tag). I started it on Friday night and then got up early on Saturday to finish off; the advantage of making your own is that it co-ordinated with my outfit!

The following ladies and I had a good old chat about sewing, patterns, seams and pretty much any other sewing related stuff at NYLon and I am going to add them to my blogroll. It was really great to meet you all:

Friday, 9 May 2014

Me-Made-May 2014 week two

Well I managed to wear four days worth of me-made clothes this week (I already had to discount Monday due to the Bank Holiday and DIY chores).

Here are my outfits:

I needed to have a more practical pocket orientated wardrobe this week; so my collection is mainly me-made tops and RTW trousers for week two.

I have joined the Flickr group so you can see my full outfits on there too.

Day Six
  • Colette Sorbetto in a Liberty-esque cotton lawn
  • Gap turquoise trousers
  • Paul Smith purple Dante brogues
Day Seven
  • Colette Sorbetto this was my first ever Sorbetto and the bust darts are too high really which is a shame because I love the stripy fabric and the leopard print bias-binding
  • Gap black trousers
  • Paul Smith red Miller brogues
Day Eight
  • Black 'Gap' inspired skirt a self-drafted version of one of my favourite skirts from Gap that is in white
  • David David silk t-shirt
  • Warehouse black leggings
  • Paul Smith red Miller brogues
Day Nine - Blue Friday
  • Tilly and the Buttons Mathilde blouse
  • Gap black trousers
  • Paul Smith blue Miller brogues

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Me-Made-May 2014 week one

So I have slightly veered off my original pledge already!
My intention was to wear me-made-makes from Monday to Friday every week and then at the weekend wear my delightful DIY gear (Do-It-Yourself in the demolition / house renovation sense rather than the lovely sewing-blogesque stuff).

I totally forgot that this weekend is a Bank Holiday and me and my other half had already planned some house renovation for Monday - i.e. I will be wearing my DIY gear rather than a lovely me-made-mash-up. So whilst I was out and about today I made sure I wore a me-made outfit to cancel out my non-me-made tomorrow!... hope that makes sense?

I have joined the Flickr group so you can see my full outfits on there. Here is the breakdown of me-mades:

Day One
  • Simplicity 9620 black and white plaid shift dress (will blog about this later in the week)
  • Warehouse black leggings 
  • Paul Smith red dip-dyed Miller brogues
Day Two
  • Clothkits Trellick Tower skirt kit (People will always need plates collaboration)
  • Gap black long sleeved t
  • American Apparel black leggings
  • Black vans
Day Three
  • Colette Ginger skirt in cerise pink cotton (version 3, fully lined and cut on the bias)
  • Uniqlo t-shirt (Jonathan Adler collaboration)
  • Warehouse black leggings
  • Paul Smith purple Dante brogues
  • Marimekko necklace
Well as you can see straight away I seem to have favoured black, white and cerise pink for my first three me-made outfits - which I only really noticed when compiling the images for Flickr and this post. It wasn't intentional, honest?!

Tomorrow I will be wearing this delightfully decorated outfit for some fun activities including, re-routing central heating pipes, plumbing in a shower and fixing down plywood onto floor joists....

John Lewis 150 Years

This may be a strange thing to blog about (and before I go any further, NO I am not sponsored by John Lewis - I wish) but John Lewis the famous British department store is celebrating 150 years over the next month. I only know this because I spotted this article in last week's Grazia magazine (don't judge me, a girl needs some vices!)

Grazia magazine's John Lewis 150 years article
The reason I was drawn to the article was the news about a line of collections celebrating John Lewis' work with many famous designers - namely one of my all time favourite textile designers, Lucienne Day. I love her work soooo much,here are some examples of her prints:

Lucienne Day prints ranging from 1950 - 1960
I drooled over the simple 1950's style pattern in the new John Lewis collection and thought it bore a striking resemblance to my Tilly and the Button's Mathilde blouse I made last year (blogged about here)

My Tilly & the Buttons Mathilde blouse from last last summer - an uncanny resemblance in my fabric choice!!
CJ Made vs Lucienne Day at John Lewis
I investigated further because I wanted to look at the whole collection to see what items of clothing they had and look at any alternative colour-ways.
Here is what they are offering in the John Lewis-Lucienne Day 150 Year celebration collection:

It's at this point of the research I started thinking; wow, that's quite expensive, and I bet I could make one of those.....

As it happens yes, I CAN (and you can too) because they have also brought out these lovely prints as cotton fabric so you can buy as much metrage / colourway / design you want and make what-ever you fancy! I popped down to the John Lewis store on Oxford Street to investigate further.
On my way up to Haberdashery on the 4th floor
The window displays for John Lewis were gorgeous!
Right at the entrance of the haberdashery department was a fabulous Lucienne Day display with a 1950's style dress with lots of beautiful prints and colour-ways!
Lots of Lucienne Day prints.......mmmmmm...delicious
Agghhhh, I like them all!
The cost for a metre is £22.00, so they are pitching at the same price as a Liberty Print (i.e. expensive). The shop assistant says they will only be in stock for a limited time, so if you really like the look of these juicy designs you had better hot-foot it down to your nearest John Lewis store!
I am going to save up for a metre or two of some of the designs, although I keep changing my mind which one I like the best.....

Do you like 1950's prints? 
Which design would you buy?

Saturday, 3 May 2014


I have managed to successfully wear two items of me-made garments so far in the challenge and as I pledged for the Mon-Fri work-wear stuff today is a 'rest-day'!

It has been an interesting challenge already (only a few days in) and it has really made me think about what I do and don't wear from my me-made-makes. I have compiled them into images below and you can see the 'refined' selection I have to co-ordinate my outfits from.


  • The largest image (black and white striped Colette Sorbetto) I wear the most
  • Love the patterned and white pin-ticked Colette Sorbetto's next
  • I NEVER wear the red silk oriental top which I made to wear at my friends wedding in the mid 1990's (why I have still got it I don't know?)
  • I only just made the BHL Polly top so yet to wear her
  • The black and white spotty Grainline Scout Woven T gets quite a bit of wear but the back is a bit too big - so I need to adjust it
  • The blue patterned Tilly & the Buttons Mathilde blouse gets some wear but I think I made it with too thick a cotton so it feels a bit stiff

  • My polka dot 'Hirst skirt' was self-drafted from a skater skirt waaaaay back in the early 2000's - its made from some Ikea furnishing fabric and it has had A LOT of wear over the years
  • I wear the black self-drafted skirt quite a bit too ripping off a Gap skirt from around 2006
  • The blue and grey self-drafted bustle skirts don't really get that much wear - I have to be in the mood for these babies because they are a bit of a statement
  • Cerise pink Collete Ginger skirt gets quite a bit of wear
  • Red Simplicity 5154 pencil skirt gets lots of wear
  • I love the Clothkits Trellick Tower skirt but you can't wear it too regularly because its so distinctive!
  • Finally the bright pink polka dot mid-length circle skirt that I whipped up for a fancy dress event never gets worn - it also doesn't have a hem! Lazy me ; )


Despite loving dresses and wearing my RTW ones quite a bit for work I have only made a measly three dresses (and one of them is a vintage repair / re-fit)
  • I wear the 1960's vintage dress quite a bit because the fabric is gorgeous, the drape of the fabric is amazing and the fit is absolutely perfect!
  • The crazy-paisley self-drafted Top-Shop dress I haven't worn in public yet... and I made it about 6 years ago!
  • The black and white Simplicity 9620 shift dress has yet to be blogged about as I only finished it on Monday 

I haven't got any me-made trousers that are still in my wardrobe (previous attempts have been trashed) so it looks like an obvious area for developement - I am going to start with some PJ bottoms which I have been meaning to do for a while.

Well, it could be quite a repeatitive month clothes-wise if I don't finish these WIP's (works in progress):
  • Red large spotty Colette Sorbetto top
  • Chevon stripe bias Colette Ginger skirt
  • Red small spotty Grainline Scout T

How are you getting on with MMM?
Are you going to make any new things to fill some wardrobe gaps?
What do you think I should make next?