Friday, 11 October 2013

A bird-watching Kimono t-shirt

I'm happy to say I've had my sewing machine back in use after over two months without any sewing.  The move has been a lot more involved than we initially thought so the sewing round these parts has been non-existent since.  However I am now into my second week of maternity leave and I couldn't wait any longer - I set up the sewing machine on the dining table in the living room. My sewing space in the hall is even further from completion than it was when we moved in - electrical work, plastering, floor-sanding, you name it, it still has to be done! In the meantime though at least I can use the dining table and just tidy everything away after each use.

It was like returning to an old friend, the process of threading up like an important ritual.  I wanted to start back with an easy project so chose a repeat pattern - Maria Denmark's Kirsten Kimono t-shirt.  I get so much wear out of my pink and white striped version and, due to the generous length, it is still covering my bump even at this late stage of pregnancy (38 weeks tomorrow!). 

I just couldn't resist this bird fabric on the Truro website!  Not much to say about this make really as it is such a straightforward pattern to follow.  The only deviation was to make the neckline binding between 25%-30% shorter than the neck hole measurement.  This seems to have stopped the slight gaping which happened with my other version.  The jersey was £19.99 a metre so I suppose it is quite expensive for a t-shirt really but I know I'll get so much wear out of it and the viscose jersey seems very good quality so I thought it was worth it.  As the pattern is free and I already had white thread there were no other costs involved.  Thank you Maria, I love this pattern!

I've already got a Megan Nielson perfect maternity top toile cut out & ready to sew up next! I also bought some gorgeous fabric from M is for Make for curtains for the nursery so once I buy lining that will be the next project - which I'm very excited about! 

I've just noticed that the birds down the bottom look pretty well-fed due to the size of my bump!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Quick update

Well hello there, it's been a while! I've been really enjoying keeping up with what everyone has been making, even though I've had no time or space to sew for a while.

We are now all moved in to our new home and enjoying the chance to decorate as we wish - well, that's the royal 'we' I'm using there as I'm now a bit too big to be of much help with painting and furniture moving! So far Oliver has painted all the rooms and they all look really great! We still need some furniture - specifically a wardrobe and chest of drawers but I'll be hitting up eBay and our local charity furniture shop once I'm on maternity leave to try and find these.  We've got a lovely long hallway that is going to house my sewing space - once we get a plasterer in to do the walls and someone in to lift the floor and sand the original floor boards.  With just under two months until the baby is due we're pretty hopeful to get done by then.   I'll share some photos once everything is a bit more settled and ready.  In the meantime all my sewing stuff is still packed away so no sewing for me for a while. 

I was recently back up in Scotland visiting family and finally got round to sorting out all my stuff in my Dad's garage (a task I'd been meaning to do for the past few years!).  In amongst the boxes I found this photo album of my mum and her family during holidays in 1958 and 1959.  It was such a nice surprise to find this and get a glimpse of my mum's family life.  The captions let me know that this album was put together by my mum, I wonder if she did it when they came back from these holidays or is she put it together years later, maybe rediscovering the photos herself and wanting to do something with them.  I'm really going to enjoy sharing these photos, along with my own memories of my mum, with our baby.  For now however I'll share with you if you don't mind?! Is anyone else this good at putting photos in albums? or are you like me and buy the albums but never actually get round to putting the photos in them?

My mum is on the left in the top photo, Sheena was one of her friends from school. The other photo shows my Aunt on the left with my mum in the striped shirt

I love both my mum and my Grandma's outfit's here - that yellow dress is such gorgeous fabric!

close-up of my mum. I love the whole look - the cropped trousers, the gingham top, and she looks so happy, and young! She would have been 15 years old here.

Love my mum's stripey top in that top left photo, and my Aunt's bikini in that centre photo is just gorgeous!

I never met my Grandfather but he was a keen amateur photographer and we have quite a few of his prints up in our house.  That's why he doesn't appear in more of these photos - as he would have been taking them!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The 'not such a disaster after all' maxi dress

This dress is such a lovely surprise! My plan was for a maxi dress which would be comfy to wear to work (so many of my skirts don't fit me any more and I still have 4 months to go!).  Instead of buying another pattern I thought I would use the Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank pattern.  I raised the neckline slightly (next time I'll raise it more) and then just extended down from the waist in an A shape making a front and back pattern piece, each 38cm wide at the bottom (the only reason for this figure was that this was the maximum width of the fabric).   The problems started when I left the cut fabric sitting over a chair for weeks before I got round to sewing it up - it had stretched quite a lot!  I really thought that was it, game over, and left the dress for a week annoyed at myself for messing it up. 

One very stretched maxi dress
However a while later I started thinking of how I could fix it so tried it on again inside out, pinned it in quite substantially at the waist and hips, and marked a new hemline.  Voila - a maxi dress that fitted! Then I followed the advice I got on the Kimono t-shirt from The Toile and Trouble and cut the neckline band 30% shorter than the neckline and stretched it into place.  I didn't stretch it quite enough at the start so ended up really having to stretch at the end which resulted in some wonky tops stitching.  The neckline sits so much better than on my Kimono t-shirt so I do think cutting the neckband piece shorter worked.  I used a twin needle on the neckline, arm holes (which I just folded under), and hem and used a zigzag stitch with a jersey needle for the rest.

A success!

Pattern - Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank - already bought and well used so no cost for this make.  The alterations were really straightforward to do, just lengthening it and widening it out to the bottom width of 76cm.
Fabric - £3 a metre from Saeeds fabric shop in Walthamstow and I only needed 2 metres for this (with some left over).
Thread - in stash
All in this cost me £6!  I'll definitely be making this again but raising the neckline slightly to make it more work suitable. It's so comfy and perfect for my expanding tum!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Sailing, I am sailing - Scout Tee

I don't know about you but every time I hear that Rod Stewart song it brings a wee tear to my eye!  I am all about the Grainline patterns at the moment - this is my second Scout Tee and I have a Tiny Pocket Tank maxi-dress I need to blog about too.

Me wearing my Grainline Scout Tee

So this is another Scout for the Scout sewalong over at Kollabora.  This is one of those items of clothing that the first time I wore it out I just felt so me, do you know what I mean? It's really comfy and easy to wear and teamed with grey trousers, my favourite summer jacket (£5 from Primark about 6 years ago and still going strong!), and my blue clogs this was a really simple but smart outfit for work.  This time I used a lovely Japanese double gauze I bought from M is for Make.  It was £16 a metre but I had a 15% discount so it was £13.60.  It was my first time using double gauze and it's lovely and soft  though it does fray easily as well. I already had the fabric but I had to buy thread, say £2, so all in this only cost me about £16 and I know I'll get lots of wear out of it. I'd be hard pushed to say which version I prefer out of the 2 I've made so far as I love them both!

Grainline Scout Tee

Not much to say about the construction of this except I made the same adjustment under the arm and lowered it a cm or so.  I used Jen's tutorial for the French seams again - though stupidly forgot to use it for attaching the arms so ended up using the overlock stitch on my machine afterwards. This really is such a satisfying make, and I love the shape of the top.  Next time I'm going to try Jen's full back tutorial to give me a bit more leeway as my pregnancy progresses (thanks to Amanda for the tutorial link)

Me wearing my Grainline Scout Tee

Friday, 5 July 2013

Some blog Liebster love!

A huge big thank you to the lovely Fiona at Diary of Chain Stitcher for nominating me for a Liebster blog award! I think I discovered Fiona's blog through Me Made May 2013 and she's got such a great sense of style and eye for fabrics.  If you need some proof check out her gorgeous Charlotte skirt or her polka dot Elisalex.

I couldn't find out much about Liebster online, asides from on other blogs, but the idea is that you nominate 11 blogs you love that have less than 100 followers.  The aim is to show some blogging love, and raise the profile of the blogs.  The rules seem to change but I'm going to go with the most common ones I've seen - answer the 11 questions set to you, give 11 random facts about yourself, then nominate 11 blogs and ask them 11 questions. Simple, right?!

So, to start with - the questions Fiona asked me:
1. What is your favourite film of all time and why?
I’d love to say something really deep and cultured but for favourite film of all time I have to go with something I watch over and over again – Bladerunner. I just love it, every time I watch it I notice something different and don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it.
2. What kind of holidays do you like? Beach, city break, raving in Ibiza?! 
A mix of beach and city break would be my ideal holiday so if someone could just arrange for a last-minute holiday for me to Barcelona before I get too big to travel then that would be ideal, thank you kindly!
3. I spend a lot of time commuting, if you had a spare hour on the train what would you do? 

Read, read, read! Although I know I’m very lucky at the moment that my commute to work is on bus and not on the tube I can’t read on the bus as I get travel sick but I can read on the train or the tube. Though I don’t envy anyone a 1 hour or more commute!
4. What is the best sewing book you have read? 

I love my Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing as a reference tool however I have to say I’ve definitely learnt the most from sewing blogs, and from asking friends.
5. Knits or wovens? 

Knits right now as I’m pregnant so wovens are currently proving a bit of a nightmare haha!
6. What is your favourite blog? 

Too difficult, I’m afraid I’m going to opt out of this one as there are so many blogs I love to read.
7. What other crafts do you do and which is your favourite?   

I do like to bake if I can count that as a craft? Though I haven’t been baking so much recently – sewing kind of takes over! I also occasionally take a wee notion for making jewellery but again, it’s been kind of side-lined for sewing.
8. What is your karaoke song?  
The thought of karaoke makes me so nervous – the only times I’ve done it I’ve been really drunk, and even then only sang as part of a group – said alcohol means I can’t really remember what I sung, oops!
9. Sweet or savoury?
Ooh another difficult one as right now I’m loving all food, and lots of it! I’d have to say sweet though, I can never resist a chocolate, or cake,  or spoonful of nutella yum!
10. What is your favourite accessory? 
Bags! My husband just doesn’t get how I can never leave the house with just one bag. I always like to have a handbag and a tote – it cuts down on plastic bags and I just feel more prepared somehow when I have both, probably a bit silly really!
11. If I gave you £50 to spend on fabrics, patterns or craft supplies what would you make from it? 
I would love to get the Megan Nielson maternity survival pack of 4 patterns – they all look like they’d be real wardrobe staples.  That would only come to about £32 so I’d use the rest to get myself lots of nice bright jersey solids to make them up in. 

11 random facts about me
1. My middle name's spelled Mhairi but 'mh' is pronounced as 'v' so it isn't 'ma hary' as some people have pronounced it - though that pronounciation still makes me laugh!
2. Following on from above, all the way through primary school I couldn't remember how to spell my middle name and always hoped we'd never get asked in class
3. I got married in Las Vegas in March 2010 and we sent postcards to our friends to share our news
4. Following on from the above, we had a big party back in Glasgow with famiyl and friends at the end of that summer so we kind of have two wedding anniversaries, almost.
5. My first musical love was heavy metal and I still love AC/DC, Guns'n'Roses and Bon Jovi though haven't listened to Alice Cooper, Poison or the Quireboys in years!
6. I'm originally from Glasgow but we've lived in London for 3 years now and absolutely love it
7.I've had 3 dogs and 3 cats as pets and I still miss them all and dream about them sometimes, is that weird?!
8. My blog name is from one of my favourite series of books when I was wee - Richard Scarry's 'Busy Town' though I didn't think it through properly and get a lot of weird hits as the name is pretttty close to 'busty town' - maybe time for a blog name change!
9. I've been toting my mum's guitar around with me for the past 5 years but unlike her sewing machine I've never learned to use it
10. I studied art history for the first 2 years of my degree and always wish I'd kept it up
11. One day I'd love to go back to study and do a PhD in something related to film and archives

So, on to the most important part, passing on the blog love! This was difficult as there are so many blogs I love to read, and now there are so many ways to follow it's sometimes difficult to see who has less than 100 followers, so apologies if any of you here have more than that.
Amanda at Blanca Pate
Jen & Elena at Tea for Two
Solvi at Delfinelise
Anneke at Annette Tirette
BlueSewn Cat
A Good Talking To
Helen at Grosgrain Green
Kacie at Thimble and Cork
Kim at PunkMik
Milena at I made this dress
and just yesterday I discovered Katie at the creative counsellor

I love reading all these ladies' blog posts and get so much sewing inspiration from them and other sewing blogs.

My 11 questions:
1. I love the film question so I'm going to ask that too - what is your favourite film and why?
2. When and why did you start sewing?
3. What is your favourite make? This could be for you or something you've made for someone else
4. Do you have a favourite type of fabric to work with, or favourite type of garment to make?
5. Do you have a favourite fabric shop, online or actual real life physical shop?
6. What's the best book you've read recently? (this is a bit of a selfish one as I'm always on the look out for good book recommendations!)
7. Do you have a favourite artist, or art work?
8. Cats or dogs?
9. Sweet or savoury?
10. If you could have 3 dinner guests, alive/dead, real/fictitious characters, who would they be and why?
11. If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow where would you go and why?

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sherbet Scout Woven Tee

My first Grainline Scout tee and, like the Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank, definitely the first of many! I love this pattern and it's perfect for my expanding pregnancy tum.  I'm now five months pregnant and all of a sudden most of my skirts, jeans and dresses (eh that'll be most of my clothes then) are just that wee bit too tight.  So why I'm sewing tops when most of my tops still fit ok?  Well I just couldn't resist another Grainline pattern, and the chance of a sew-along with Nettie!  The Scout sew-along is on the Kollabora website - an online sewing community.  I remember reading about it a while ago but I hadn't signed up until this sew-along.  It looks like a great website though, with some really useful video tutorials, and lots of inspiration from fellow sewers.

Nettie's instructions for checking the fit using another top that fits well was such a good idea and really helped.  From using a really old and comfy shop-bought short sleeved shirt I was quickly able to see that the arm scythe was going to be too tight.  I'm not sure if there's a 'proper' way to fix this but I just drew a new lower line under the arm and cut it.  This has resulted in the sleeve fitting perfectly without any gathering which is a bonus as I do find easing the sleeves in quite difficult (luckily I quite like puffed sleeves haha!). I had to put a seam down the middle of the back and managed to line the pattern up really well - yay! I used french seams throughout and really love this method now.  Check out Jen's tutorial for this as it's so clear.  This fits perfectly now but still has plenty of room in the front for my growing bump!

The fabric I used for this one came from a very flouncy dress I bought at a market stall in Brighton because I just couldn't resist the colours and pattern.    The colours remind me of sherbet, you know like those flying saucers you used to get for a penny from the local shop?  It's difficult to see but in the photo below you can just make out the vertical lines of cut-out dots which give the fabric a really light and airy feel. This is a perfect summer top and I know it'll get so much wear - in fact I'm almost finished my second one as I write this (I'm just off to finish the sleeves and do the hem now).

If you need any more convincing on how great this pattern is then just check out the gallery of completed Scouts - how could you not be inspired by these!?!

Following a sew-along is just such a nice feeling - knowing that all over the world there are other sewers making the same pattern or alterations on the same pattern, and knowing there's a whole community of people you can compare notes with, ask questions too, and share tips. If you've never taken part in a sew-along, or are new to sewing, I'd really recommend it! So thanks Nettie, and thanks Kollabora!

This also counts as part of Indie Pattern Month

Saturday, 29 June 2013

London sewing meet-up (or, are all sewing blogger's this friendly?)

It's been a full week since my mini-blogger meet-up with Roisin, Solvi and Anneke and I still can't believe what a lovely day I had - it really felt like we'd all known each other for ages! I'm sitting at home filled with the cold right now on a hot day so remembering last Saturday's fun is really cheering me up!  One down side of how much fun we were all having though - nobody remembered to take many photos.  You can see Roisin's or Anneke's post for a few more photos if you'd like - they're also much better than my terrible attempts at candid camera below.

Anneke in the vintage fabric shop, Cheshire St
Solvi and Roisin in the vintage fabric shop, Cheshire St

We started off with brunch at Bills, where we were joined by Roisin's boyfriend Nick.  The chat started straight away and didn't stop all day.  We were soon joined by Anneke's boyfriend Dimitri and while we girls all headed off to Liberty, Nick and Dimitri went to a comic shop in Soho.  After Liberty we got on the tube and headed east to explore Kathryn's recommendation of the Vintage Shop on Cheshire St.  If you're in London and haven't been, you should really check it out.  It was amazing - shelves and drawers just bursting with fabric!  After a good wander round Brick Lane we headed to the Carpenter's Arms on Cheshire St for some much needed refreshments.  Solvi's boyfriend Anders then joined us and we all headed back towards Soho to meet up with Zoe.  Zoe's was one of the first sewing blogs I started reading so I was really excited to meet her and she was as lovely as you'd imagine - and looking absolutely glowing in her pregnancy too! We went to Brasserie Zedel for some food and more drinks and had such a great evening.  I know I said it already but I still can't believe I'd never met any of these people before that day - we all got on so well it was like we were old friends.  I'm so hoping I'll be able to make the big August meet-up in London, who else is going?!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Kirsten Kimono Tee

This is my first make since Me Made May - a MariaDenmark Kirsten kimono t-shirt.  I often name my makes after whatever I've been listening to most when cutting it out/sewing it up, however this make came together so quickly, quite late on on a Sunday night that I don't think I even had the radio on so I'm afraid there's no fancy name.  Can I just say how great this pattern is! I was a bit worried at first as it doesn't include seam allowances but I'd read a few reviews where folk had said they didn't bother to add a seam allowance and it worked out.  This sounded good to me so I just went with it, cut out a size small and it worked out fine. Well, as you can see from my smug face below I think it worked out more than fine, I'm really happy with it! 

I should have taken a better photo from the side but you can kind of see I've made a not-bad job of matching up the stripes at the side - not perfect but almost there.  I love this stripey fabric, it feels really good quality and, unlike my jersey Banksia, the stripes aren't just painted on.  The fit under the arms is perfect, an area I'm realising I have problems with, and the length is pretty spot on.  Niggles? My neckband - I don't think I really understood the instructions properly for this stage and am not sure I attached it properly, plus I've managed to stretch it out a bit when sewing it on, as you can see below.  However I do like the effect of the stripes going in the opposite direction.

I quite like when other bloggers break down the cost of the make, any problems/issues, etc so I think I'll try and do that more regularly.
Pattern: Maria Denmark Kirsten kimono t-shirt - Free!!
Fabric: striped jersey from John Lewis, £14 a metre. Only 1 metre needed (still have a wee bit left over)
Notions: I already had white thread, a twin needle and a jersey needle so I didn't need anything extra for this, except the greaseproof paper I used to trace off the pattern.
Problems/Issues: Does anyone have any tips for keeping the neckline steady and stopping it from stretching out? I was also being very lazy to begin with and left my pins in when sewing the should seams - you can see what happened in the photo below, it's resulted in slipped stitches with the zigzag stitch.  Nothing major though and apart from that and the neckband no problems at all.  The instructions are very clear and I had no problems printing this PDF off to scale.
Total cost: £14
Will I make this again: For sure! I'd also like to try extending this and making a kimono style dress as I think it would be so comfy for work. I might try and branch out from stripes though as I have so many stripey clothes! However stripes are always so tempting, especially Lula Louise's great idea for making a striped cap sleeve dress, I think this tee shirt pattern would be the perfect base for that.

This also counts as part of Indie Pattern Month

Monday, 17 June 2013

Fabric give-away winner and Indie pattern month

I was really excited to host my first give-away.  Thanks to everyone who took part! There was only one commenter interested in the Bernina Zip foot so congratulations to Jennifer57!
For the fabric I numbered all the comments from the 1st through to the last (there were 12 entries in total) and used the random number generator on  As you can see the winner was number 5 which makes the winner Amy from Sew Amy Sew - congratulations Amy!
I'll be in touch with both winners tonight.

Also I mentioned in my last post that I was trying to decide what sew-alongs to take part in - well I decided to start with the Kollabora sew-along hosted by Nettie from Sown Brooklyn.  I've also got a new make to share with you tomorrow which is part of my participation in Indie Pattern Month, as of course the Grainline Scout tee's will be. Have you heard about Indie Pattern Month? It's a great idea from Kat of Modern Vintage Cupcakes to showcase and highlight all the fantastic independent pattern designers.  You just leave a comment with a note of what indie patterns you're working on through the month of June, and you can add the side button if you like too (I'm not quite sure why mine is showing up so large?!)

So hopefully see some of you in the Kollabora sew-along, or sewing up other indie patterns this month!
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Fabric give-away

Sorry, this give-away is now closed.
There are a number of reasons for this fabric give-away.  The selfish one is that we're moving house soon so I'm trying to de-stash as much as I can. But more importantly I wanted to give a little something back to the amazing online sewing community.  I really can't get over how wonderful the Me Made May Flickr group has been, or how great the online sewing community is in general.  You are all a real source of support and inspiration for me! So in the interests of giving something back I've gone through all my fabric and found two that I am sure could have a better home elsewhere. I'm giving both of these away to one lucky reader. I'm also giving away a Bernina zip foot.
Sorry, I forgot to say this give-away is open world-wide.

  1. Liberty tana lawn fabric Durie B (designed by children's illustrator Brian Wildsmith) - 2.3 metres x 1.4 metres.  This is a really gorgeous fabric and I'm pretty sure I only paid for 2 metres so think I got a good deal here! The colours are a bit more vibrant than they seem in this photo.
  2. Timeless Treasures 100% cotton - aprox 2.8metres (along the width of the design) by .6metres. This is a more awkward size but it would still be enough for a lovely tote bag, or children's clothes, or maybe even a wee top with some clever pattern piece placement.
  3. Zip foot No.4 for a Bernina.  This should fit Bernina models from 700 up to 1530 and a 1008.  When I was starting to learn to sew I thought I should order myself an invisible zip foot for my sewing machine. However instead I ordered a normal zip foot, exactly the same one I already had! As I don't really need two of the same foot I'd love to pass this on if there's anyone who doesn't have one.  I can't imagine there's that many folk needing this foot as I have a feeling it may come as standard with the machine but if there are more than one of you then I'll do a draw but obviously if there's only one then you get it!
Instructions and rules are below the photographs.

Liberty fabric Durie B
1. Liberty tana lawn, Durie B
2. Timeless Treasures 100% cotton
3. Bernina zip foot No.4
If you're interested in winning both these fabrics and/or the zip foot please leave a comment below. To restate, there will be two draws, using a random number generator.  One winner will receive both these fabrics, the other winner the zip foot.  You can enter both give-aways in one comment.   Please also leave your email address or some other method of getting in touch with you.
Of course if you are only interested in the zip foot then state that, but what sewist (sewer? never quite sure what sounds better/less weird!) wouldn't want these two lovely fabrics as well!
I'd also be really interested to know how you follow my blog (assuming of course that you do follow my blog!).

Thanks for reading!

For any family members that read this blog, this isn't open to you, sorry!

This competition is open from today, Saturday 8th June 2013.  The closing date is Sunday 16th June at 6pm GMT.  
I will notifiy winners within 28 days (I'll do it much sooner than that but this is the official rules from the CAP code) and if I don't hear back, I'll continue to try to contact the winners in an additional 28 days before redrawing.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Me Made May round-up

Well that's it finished - my first Me Made May experience! I really enjoyed it, and although I was very happy to stop taking photos of myself every day (and I'm sure my husband was glad when I stopped asking him to take them too!) I'm still a wee bit sad it's all finished. As I said on my Flickr it was wonderful to feel a part of such an amazing community and I'm so glad I took part.  Thanks so much to Zoe for organising it all.

Collage of Me Made May photos

Collage of Me Made May photos

Collage of Me Made May photos

One last time, my pledge was:

'I, Kathryn of Kathryn’s Busy Town, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear one me-made or re-fashioned item of clothing or jewellery each day for the duration of May 2013'

I surprised myself by managing handmade or re-fashioned clothing every day for the whole month, although there were quite a few repeats. The thing that got the most repeats was my Colette Meringue skirt so I can see that I need to make some more basic skirts in bright colours - maybe branch out a bit from pink! It's also quite clear that there are some favourite colours here - pink, blue and yellow.

What have I learned from the experience?
  • I wear more of my me-mades than I thought I did
  • I should have more confidence in wearing the things I make as nothing has fallen apart yet, event the things I made a few years ago when I was just starting out
  • Fellow sewers really are the most wonderful people - I can't exaggerate how much I enjoyed the support and comments of other sewers during MMM, and feel very lucky to have joined such a friendly and supportive community.
  • I love colour - my winter wardrobe this year was just not 'me' - way too much dark colours, so this year I need to remedy this with some winter sewing in bright colours so my me-made winter wardrobe makes me as happy as my spring/summer one
  • Sewing has really changed my attitude towards clothing and consumption - this was something I knew already but taking part in MMM has really confirmed for me my love of sewing and of taking a more active part in decisions regarding what I wear and how I consume
Next up? Trying to decide what sew-alongs to take part in. There are so many coming up in the next few months! Has anyone else signed up to any sew-alongs? What are you sewing next?
Thanks so much to everyone who commented on any of my photos on the Flickr group, or replied to posts here on my blog, I really appreciate it.  I'm so glad to have met lots of new friends through MMM and now have so many new blogs to add to my feed!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A quick fix!

Do you ever feel like you really just need a quick fix?... of sewing that is!  I was feeling that way on Sunday, up early but a bit too tired to start a new sewing project.  So instead I decided to tick a few quick re-fashion jobs off my list. 

Me Made May 2013 - Day 28, new jersey pencil skirt
MMMay - Day 28, new pencil skirt
First up was changing a t-shirt dress into a pencil skirt.  As a dress this was just too short for me and knew that converting it to a pencil skirt would make it much more of a wardrobe staple.  All I had to do was cut across under the arms (I’ve kept this top bit as I thought it might be useful for jersey bands for other makes in the future), fold over and stitch a casing for the elastic, then thread the elastic in with a safety pin and sew it closed – easy!  I’d been meaning to do it for months but seeing Miss P’s post on converting a dress intoa maxi-skirt reminded me just how quick this would be to do. As you can see I’ve already worn it – this was Day 28 of Me Made May 2013.

My second quick fix is a new one for me.  I picked up this pure cashmere cardigan for £15 in a vintage shop.  I loved the colour of it and it looked in really good condition, except a patch on one elbow which had been stitched up with various shades of blue thread.  Remembering I had a lovely scrap of brown leather at home (bought in a leather shop in Copenhagen) I bought it anyway and took it home thinking that realistically it would take me ages to get round to making said leather elbow patches.  However I completely surprised myself by making a template, cutting and hand-stitching on the leather patches on Sunday evening. 

Re-fashioned cashmere cardigan with leather elbow patches
new cashmere cardigan with leather elbow patches

I’m so pleased with how it looks, even if the patches don’t sit quite on my elbows – I think the previous owner must have had shorter arms as the repair job I had to cover up is ever so slightly above my elbow.  No matter, I still love how it looks.  In fact I have it on today, for Day 29 of Me Made May 2013.   

Sometimes these quick repair/refashion jobs can be so satisfying!  Did you see Gillian’s recent post on getting back to making some jewellery? This is another quick fix I really enjoy! Does any else have any favourite ‘quick fixes’ or re-fashions they’d like to share?

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Me Made May 2013 - week four

So, week four of Me Made May 2013. To recap, my pledge was:

'I, Kathryn of Kathryn’s Busy Town, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear one me-made or re-fashioned item of clothing or jewellery each day for the duration of May 2013'

I've actually worn me-made clothes every day so far though there have been quite a few unphotographed days so you'll just need to take my word for it! I'm surprised by how many me-mades I've got, and how much I wear them. 

Me Made May 2013 - week four

Day 20 - Blue skies skirt Vogue 1247, blogged
Day 21 - Teal dress McCalls 2401, blogged
Day 22 - White cotton Megan Nielson Banksia (a terrible photo sorry!), blogged 
Day 23 - Forgot to take a photo but I wore Beige McCalls 2401, still not blogged, Flickr
Day 24 - Again I forgot to take a photo but I wore Green Liberty Sorbetto, blogged
Day 25 - Wildwood flower Colette Meringue skirt, blogged
Day 26 - Jersey Banksia, just finished, not blogged

Asides from two re-fashioned summer dresses, that's me worn all my me-mades so it will probably be repeats from now on, although I do have a few quick refashions I might try and get done tomorrow as it's a bank holiday here.

I forgot to take photos on the 23 and 24 as I had a friend visiting and we were out and about having so much fun that I forgot to take any photos! I'm not a natural photographer so I really need to remind myself to take pictures.  The only time I remember to take a lot of photos is if I'm away on holiday. Whilst my friend was visiting we went to a J Crew pop-up shop at Kings Cross.  I wasn't tempted to buy anything - £190 for a cashmere jumper with no indication of whether they have signed any ethical agreements over the farming and production of the cashmere, no thanks! However I was really inspired by some of the fabrics they had on display, and by the mix of different prints and colours.  I'll need to start thinking about trying to work with some different fabrics and textures, and mixing prints more.

So how has everyone else been enjoying Me Made May? What have you got out of it? I've found it interesting taking photos of my outfits, there have been a few last minute changes when I've realised what I'm wearing doesn't match  Although I said it last week I really can't get over how amazing the Flickr group is - it's been so inspirational! I've also love the sense of community from it - everyone is so nice and supportive of each other.  I'm also realising I could really do with making a few plain skirts for this changeable spring weather - a plain navy and a plain pink ideally.   Have you seen Margo's pink version, I'd love to make something like that!  Well, here's to the last week of Me Made May!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Me Made May 2013 - weeks 2 and 3 round-up

I can't believe it's week 3 of Me Made May already! My pledge was-

'I, Kathryn of Kathryn’s Busy Town, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear one me-made or re-fashioned item of clothing or jewellery each day for the duration of May 2013'

So far I've managed it though there have been a few repeats, and will be many more in the next two week, especially if the weather doesn't improve!

I feel like this has been a very valuable experience for me in thinking about what I should concentrate on making and how much wear I get out of the things I've made already. I'm really pleased that I do get so much wear out of a lot of the things I've made and am really surprised that in 19 days I've only had 2 repeats. I didn't realise I'd made that many things already.

Week 2

The image links through to my Me Made May Flickr set but I thought I'd include a quick description of the item here, along with a note on wearability. 

Day 6 - coral jersey maxi-skirt. Unblogged.  This is very fitted as I didn't realise about measuring both the waist and the hip - pretty important when your hips are waay bigger than your waist! As a result this is confined to a weekend skirt as it wouldn't be very practical for work, especially getting up and down ladders!
Day 7 - re-fashioned thrift store dress (I got it in LA so I can say thrift store here I think). Blogged.  In warm weather this gets worn loads, I love it.
Day 8 - Megan Nielson Banksia.  Blogged.  I love this and am sure I'll get lots of wear out it, though I've realised it only really looks good tucked in as it's quite boxy at the waist.
Day 9 - Circle skirt.  Blogged. Now that I've re-hemmed this it will definitely get more wear, though I've discovered circle skirts aren't so good on a windy day!
Day 10 - Elisalex dress.  Blogged.  I really love this dress and will definitely get a lot of wear from it.  However as I've made the hem quite short it is definitely a party dress rather than an everyday one.
Day 11 - Colette Meringue. Blogged.  Another very new make and definitely a new wardrobe staple.  I love this skirt and it's so comfy for sitting at a computer all day with the lower waist facing rather than a high waistband.
Day 12 - Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank. Unblogged.  Unfortunately although I was happy with the lace insert on the sleeves I've somehow managed to get the size of this one all wrong and it's way too tight under the arms. A learning experience then.

Week 3

Day 13 - re-fashioned denim skirt, previously a dress. Unblogged. Not much to say, this was a dress with shirring at the waist so I just chopped it off and sewed some new seams.  I'll definitely wear this much more now.
Day 14 - Colette Sorbetto.  Blogged.  This one gets a lot of wear. I should definitely make more of these as they're so versatile.
Day 15 - Sew Over It shift dress. Blogged.  I've worn this so much that the stitching is starting to look a bit worn and loose on the back seam, even though it was overlocked.  This may be down to the delicate bamboo cotton fabric. I need to use this pattern again - no zips!
Day 16 - Colette Meringue again.
Day 17 - Colette Sorbetto. Blogged.  My first successful make and I still love it, despite its many imperfections.
Day18 - McCalls 2401.  Unblogged.  I love this and really need to blog about it. I got a lot of help from a friend with getting the fit right on this and it shows. Definitely need to make more use of this pattern.
Day 19 - Tunic top, drafted by a friend.  Unblogged.  I love this and will need to ask my friend if I can trace off the pattern as I'd love to make more.  If I added just a bit more length this could be a lovely dress too.

So there we go, three weeks down and another 2 to go.  Seriously running out of clothes now so I apologise now for all the repeats that will undoubtedly come up!