Friday, 24 June 2016

Me Made May 2016 late reflections



I had promised myself I'd post about Me Made May more promptly this year but, well you can see that didn't happen! It seems kind of wrong today to be writing about clothes and sewing today as I'm still reeling with disbelief, sadness, and some anger, that the outcome of the referendum in Britain today was to leave the EU.  I had managed to convince myself that the scaremongering, scapegoating and out & out racism of the leave campaign would be enough to persuade enough people to vote to Remain but it wasn't to be. I don't know what else to say about it except that it has made me even more determined that we need to do something about it, answer back with positivity and action rather than hopelessness.


So, back to the sewing. As usual I really enjoyed taking part in Me Made May (thanks Zoe!!) and I loved seeing everyone else's photos on Instagram.  However I felt I missed out on some of the social aspect of it this year as my Instagram is private (not a moan obviously as it is my decision to keep it private).  In previous years I got so much out of the Flickr group, chatting to folk, sometimes taking part in the Friday themes, and seeing everyone's makes through this.  The Flickr app was driving me crazy this year though, I found it really clunky and difficult to use when trying to upload photos and I couldn't find an app that let me comment and interact in the same way as on the desktop version. Not having a working laptop/computer this year meant I just had to give Flickr a miss which was a real shame.  Enough of the moaning (maybe the sadness of today's result is seeping in to my perspective here!) and on to the good stuff.  As I said I get so much inspiration from seeing what everyone else is making/wearing and it was really nice to chat to sewing folk every day on Instagram (I do this anyway but not as much as during May). 


(L & R) Sew U Home Stretch raglan sweatshirts

(L) Marilla Walker Maya top (R) Deer & Doe Plantain red tee & refashioned b/w jersey skirt


I didn't manage to take a photo every day but think I managed a photo of every item of clothing I wore, just not all the combinations. I've just included a few of my favourites here, sorry there are no links as I want to post this today but most of these items are blogged. It might seem quite narcissistic all this photo taking but I found it really helped me think about what I wear and what I should sew.  One of my conclusions from last year was that I should really try and make some trousers, and guess what, that is still one of my conclusions this year. Maybe this year I'll actually get round to it?!


(L) Self-drafted jersey skirt (R) Megan Nielsen Banksia top & Colette Meringue skirt

(L) Green plantain dress (R) Pink Sorbetto


Other conclusions? I get more wear out of solid colour clothing, I don't wear nearly as many fitted dresses as I used to (they're not quite as practical for playing with a toddler!), I wear a lot of jersey, and... I have enough fabric to be getting on with, I really don't need any more right now.


The weather in May in London was so changeable so my most worn garments include summer and colder weather clothes. My purple self-drafted jersey pencil skirt, red plantain tee (previously a plantain dress you can see here) and navy Maya top (never blogged, will do some day as I love this pattern!) got worn a lot, along with two of my newest makes, my raglan sweatshirts. Harris also wore quite a lot of clothes I've made and I love that when I ask him what he wants to wear he often picks out things I've made, particularly his car jumper!


(L) See Kate Sew Raglan tee (R) Made by Rae Flashback skinny tee

(L & R) Ottobre magazine raglan sweatshirt


I've got lots of sewing plans for the summer, and some new makes to share but I'll stop for now or I'll never get this posted! I've loved reading everyone's MMMay roundups so I hope you enjoy this one!

Friday, 3 June 2016

'One each' - raglan sweatshirts

'One each' was what my son said with a big smile on his face when he realised we were wearing matching sweatshirts.  I had wondered if maybe matching clothes was a step too far but decided to go for it anyway with a gorgeous sweatshirt knit fabric from Faberwood.  Seriously if you haven't checked out Fiona's fabrics yet go have a look. I had been given some birthday money from my mother-in-law so decided to treat myself to some fabrics as I hadn't bought myself any in ages that weren't for quilt making.  This sweatshirt knit fabric is made by a Finnish company Paapii Design, and is made in Europe from organic cotton. It's £9.99 a half-metre which to be honest is a bit more than I normally pay for fabric, but I figured that if I was buying ready-to-wear then £20 is about what I used to spend on a sweatshirt so it makes sense to spend that on quality fabric and spend the time making it myself. Especially sweatshirts - I've realised that I really enjoy making sweatshirts, whether for me or for Harris. There's something so satisfying about the way they come together with the cuffs and hem bands, so neat!

Out for lunch all matchy matchy

I bought 1 metre of fabric knowing it would be enough for a top for me but not imagining I would have enough left for anything else. The pattern for mine is the same as last time, the Raglan sweatshirt for Sew U Home Stretch.  Due to the wide hem band, cuffs and the neckline ribbing it doesn't use as much fabric as I would have thought. As I've already sewn this before it didn't take me long to cut out or sew up. I pre-washed the fabric at 40degrees and ironed it, then had a sudden panic that I might have smudged the triangles. I'm not sure how they're printed but they didn't come off under the iron, though I'll iron on the reverse in future just in case!  This is a really unusual make for me as I hardly ever wear black but I just couldn't resist this design and it goes with every colour too so it will get lots of wear. I pressed all the seams and overlocked using the overlock stitch on my Bernina sewing machine so it looks nice & neat on the inside too.



I decided to have a go at squeezing a Raglan sweater for Harris out of the remains.  I've just realised I never blogged the car sweater I made him (you can see it on my MMMay 16 instagram photos if you follow me, kathryn_mhairi) but he wears it all the time and it's a good fit so I decided just to use the same pattern, the Owl Raglan from Ottobre magazine Spring 1/2014. If you want to see another brilliant version of this pattern check out Zoe's!  It was a bit of a puzzle to fit the pattern pieces out of the scraps and I had to piece one of the sleeves in two parts bit I don't think the seam is very noticeable at all (it's on the right arm). I used the same ribbing and I overlocked all the edges so this is all nice & neat inside too, it will also protect it from all the washings it will get!









Summary for my sweatshirt -  
Pattern: Raglan sweater from Sew U Home Stretch Built by Wendy book, a Christmas present from my husband
Size: small 
Alterations: None
Fabric and notions: Sweatshirt knit from Faberwood £19.99, ribbing from Kitschycoo £5 for 1/3 of a metre, thread from stash
Any changes I'd make next time: No, though it might be a while before I make this again.
Total cost: £24.99


Summary for toddler sweatshirt  -
Pattern: Owl Totem Raglan from Ottobre magazine, Spring 1/2014, lent to me by Zoe
Size: 92cm
Alterations: None
Fabric and notions: Scraps from my sweatshirt, ribbing from Kitschycoo £5 for 1/3 of a metre thread from stash
Any changes I'd make next time: No, I think I can make this size for a bit longer as there's definitely still growing room.
Total cost: Nothing as made from scraps & counted cost of ribbing in my sweatshirt.



Close-up of the gorgeous fabric



Toddler sweatshirt, made from scraps

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Tried and true - plantain dress

There's a well known sewing acronym, a T&T pattern. This means a tried and true pattern, something you've made multiple times, used as a base for variations, and continually come back to. For me the free plantain tee from Deer & Doe patterns most definitely falls in this category. This is my sixth time using this pattern and I'm sure there are many more to come!  I had been looking for some Kelly green knit fabric for a t-shirt dress for a while and when I saw this ponte on Girl Charlee I just couldn't resist, especially with their 10%  off introductory offer!


The fabric was lovely to work with, not quite as thick as I thought ponte would be but it actually works perfectly for a summer dress.  It is such a brilliant vivid green and I'm sure there's enough left for a top which is a nice bonus! I'm so pleased with this and have worn it 3 times already this month and know this will get plenty of wear both summer and winter. I do love these quick makes that I know will get so much use! It's also very satisfying to re-use a pattern so much like this.

Summary -
Pattern: Deer & Doe Plantain t-shirt, free
Size: 38 graded to 40 at the waist, and 42 at the hip when I made the t-shirt version
Alterations: From the waist down I traced round an old H&M t-shirt dress to make this pattern
Fabric & notions: Fabric £21.90 from Girl Charlee including post & packaging, with 10% welcome discount, green thread £1.60
Total cost: £23.80







Saturday, 7 May 2016

Sew U Home Stretch - raglan sweater



Yes, I'm back with more pink. and with another make I'm really proud of.  This was a lot simpler than the wool skirt though!  This is the Raglan Sweater from the Sew U Home Stretch book. I  bought some beautiful knit fabric from Faberwood with birthday money earlier in the year which was earmarked for this pattern but I wanted to do a trial run first.  On my way to search the local fabric shops for sweatshirt fabric I stopped in one of my local charity shops and found a pink men's medium Reiss sweater with grey ribbed cuffs, waist and neck band. Too big to wear as it was and the grey ribbing looked very tired and worn but the pink fabric was really good quality. At £5.99 it was quite pricey, but then I was in the British Heart Foundation shop AKA the most expensive charity shop in Walthamstow. And really, it's easy to lose perspective when buying second hand - £6 for a jumper isn't much at all is it, especially given the alternative of buying new and adding to consumer waste/landfill, not to mention the working conditions of the garment makers. So I happily handed over £6 and the jumper went straight in the wash when I got home. The grey ribbing didn't look any better after the wash but luckily I had this lovely golden yellow/orange ribbing that I bought from Kitschycoo Fabrics a few months ago (along with some black and some red).



Although this was a relatively quick make I took a bit more time than I usually do with knits and pressede seams as I went along rather than just at the end. I think this made a difference with the bulkier material so I'll be doing this next time I make this sweater. I also used the overlock stitch ony Bernina to finish all the seams. I keep meaning to try the lightning stitch as I've read good things about it, has anyone else used this? I'll need to remember next time. 





Summary -
Pattern: Raglan sweater from Sew U Home Stretch Built by Wendy book, a Christmas present from my husband
Size: small 
Alterations: None
Fabric and notions: Pink sweatshirt from charity shop £6, ribbing from Kitschycoo £5 for 1/3 of a metre (I still have plenty left for toddler projects), thread from stash
Any changes I'd make next time: nope, none at all.
Total cost: £11

Has anyone else used this book? I can't wait to try some of the variations. A few of them look really dated but most of them are pretty classic. There's a plain T-shirt,  a Breton style top, and a hoody that all look great!

This has been worn a few times already and I'm sure you'll be seeing more of it during Me Made May if you follow me on Instagram! I hope everyone that's going MMMay this year is having as much fun as I am!