Thursday, 25 April 2013

First Banksia and Me-Made-May 2013

This was my first time working with a Megan Nielson pattern and what a treat it was.  The pattern instructions were great, the top fitted me without any adjustments, and the sew-along was so comprehensive I didn’t get stuck once! I cut this out one afternoon and then made the whole thing up in one day - a record for me!  The placket is false (I was determined to make this in one day) and I covered the buttons myself to match.  I'm pleased with the top stitching I've done as I think it looks quite neat and I'm also pretty pleased with my collar.  Next time though I'll definitely reduce the collar size slightly as it's just a wee bit too big for my liking.

Close-up of my me-made Megan Nielson Banksia

Close-up of my me-made Megan Nielson Banksia

Costs:  pattern £15 including postage (I got it when Megan was offering a discount for the sew-along), material – organic cotton from Ray Stitch, this was a remnant I think about £8 for just over a metre, buttons, thread, bias tape etc. – once again I didn’t keep a note of these costs so all in probably an extra £5. So all in £28 roughly.  A bit more than I’d pay for a top but I will definitely get loads of use out of this. 

Problems/instructions: As I already mentioned I didn’t have any problems with this, the pattern instructions and sew-along were so easy to follow.  My only problem is that I chose white fabric, what was I thinking! After one day at work I had pen marks and food stains and then proceeded to add to this by cleaning the oven when I get home. So lesson learned – no more white clothes, or start wearing a bib/apron depending on situation!

I’ve already got jersey for my next version and after that I’d like to try two dress versions – one in jersey using the drop-waist tutorial by Holly, and another using an encased elastic waist like in this gorgeous dress Hazel made.
Photo of me wearing my new me-made Megan Nielson Banksia
I promise to try and improve my photos for Me-Made-May, and not take any more in the bathroom

Coming up – I still have another version of V1247 to post about, a jersey tunic top that only needs the second sleeve sewn on to be finished, and I’ve just done a toile for my first Colette Meringue.  I’d like to get these all finished as soon as possible as I’ll need them in order to take part in Me-Made-May 2013.
The past two years I’ve watched from the side-lines and loved seeing everyone’s creations, how they combine items, and basically getting so much inspiration from all these creative ladies.  So… 

'I, Kathryn Hannan 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 included jewellery here as well, partly because I’m pretty sure I don’t have enough for every day otherwise, but also to try and encourage me to start making some jewellery again.

I do wear some of my me-made items regularly but then I don’t have that many items.  My challenge is going to be trying to keep up my sudden increased sewing productivity and to think carefully about what I make so that I only make things I know I will love.  Of course I know there will be mistakes, plenty of them probably, but I want to think more about fabric choice, and not be afraid to adapt or mix patterns to try and make exactly what I’m looking for.  Another challenge for me will be trying to photograph myself wearing my me-mades.  I really don't like taking my photo and my camera still has a big greasy mark on it so I may be limited to the iphone at first.  I'll probably stick to posting my progress on my Flickr account with maybe weekly updates on my blog. I'm so excited for it to start now!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Winter Ginger

This Colette Ginger A-line skirt was started way back at the start of March.  The reason it’s taken me so long isn’t anything to do with the pattern, it’s just me being a slow sewer and an even slower photographer! I finished this the week before last and did actually wear it to work one day – though I forgot to take any photos. Although I hardly ever wear black (asides from one black ASOS dress I think this is the only item of clothing I have with black in it) I really love this fabric and am so pleased with how it looks as an A-line skirt. However I’ve decided that, with a weekend of sunshine just behind us, I am packing up my winter clothes and bringing out the spring/summer wardrobe. For me this fabric is definitely autumn/winter-wear so sadly, after only one outing, this skirt is being relegated to a suitcase until the autumn.

Photo of my new me-made Colette Patterns Ginger skirt
Sorry for the over-exposed photos but there was so much sun this morning - not that I'm complaining!

Close-up of waistband on my new me-made Colette Patterns Ginger skirt
Waistband detail

The reason it took me ages to make this was due to self-created problems rather than the pattern.  The pattern was as well-explained and easy to follow as the only other Colette pattern I’ve used up till now, the Sorbetto. My main issue was due to my decision to completely ignore the instructions to cut two front pieces - I didn’t want to break up the pattern so I cut the front piece on the fold - so I then had to tweak the sides a bit. I also had to grade this up two sizes from the waist through to the hips. This took time but thanks to Sunni’s tutorial for grading the Ginger it was a breeze! The thing I had problems with was attaching the lining to the skirt but in the end it all looks pretty neat and I’m so glad I lined it as it’s a baby cord fabric and would stick to tights horrifically without the lining.

Pattern: Colette Ginger Cost: pattern £12 , fabric – about £10 from a fabric shop in Copenhagen, lining - £2 from Walthamstow market, interfacing – had already, thread and zip – I never remember how much this costs me, about £4? So all in about £28. Not bad! I’ll definitely get lots of wear out of this next autumn/winter as it’s very warm in the cord fabric.

Any problems: only self-created problems due to careless disregard of pattern instructions.

Will I make this again: yes for sure! I already have plans for a chambray version with orange piping.

Since finishing this I've made another Vogue 1247 and my first Megan Nielson Banksia so maybe my sewing productivity is increasing! I'm considering taking part in me-made-may as an encouragement to myself to keep up this burst of productivity.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I never really got used to Google Reader and have stuck with my blogger dashboard up till now so haven't been lamenting the passing of Google Reader like so many others.  However I'm going to give Bloglovin a try so I thought I'd claim my own blog as well.  If you'd like to follow me there then I'd be very happy to see you!  

Monday, 15 April 2013

Spring-time Elisalex

My first Elisalex is a complete success - I love it! I wore it on Saturday night but wasn't happy with any of the photos so bright and early Sunday morning I had another go in my living room sans tights - so apologies for the pasty legs.  I'm wearing it here with one of my favourite pairs of summer shoes my Lotta from Stockholm clogs.  And yes, that is a big greasy stain on my camera lens - eew! I've been meaning to take it in to a camera shop for ooh well over a year now to see if it's fixable.  I really should do it soon, especially as I want to take part in Me Made May this year.

Photograph of me wearing new me-made By Hand London Elisalex dress in Liberty fabric

Photograph of me wearing new me-made By Hand London Elisalex dress in Liberty fabric
Trying to show off the flattering v-neck back

Instructions - to be honest I only referred to them a few times as the sew-along was so good that I didn't need them.  Though when I did use them they seemed very clear and easy to follow.  The By Hand London girls were extremely helpful and approachable and if all sew-alongs are as good as this then count me in for some more!

Originally I'd planned a reversalex but I couldn't find a reversible zip I liked, plus I felt the pink fabric was heavy enough on its own that lining it would have made it too bulky.  So it's only me (and you now) that know there's a moss green lining to the bodice, and a very neat one at that!

Close-up of fabric and lining of new me-made By Hand London Elisalex dress in Liberty fabric
Bodice and lining all cut out & ready to go
Issues - the bodice is every so slightly too short but it looks fine with this busy print.  When I do it again I'll lengthen the bodice pieces slightly.  I took quite a lot off the length on this one because I wanted a party dress rather than a work dress but even as a work dress I think I'd still lose quite a bit of the length specified on the pattern - 3 metres was definitely not required.

Cost - well the pattern cost me £12, main fabric £13.50 a metre (I bought 3), lining fabric £2.50 a metre, plus a zip and thread so all in about £63 which seems quite expensive.  However I still have about a metre left of each fabric so I was thinking a skirt out the pink and a top out the green lining.  And I will definitely be using this pattern again so all in all more than worth the cash!

Have you seen all the amazing versions popping up all over the place?! Just today I saw Miss Crayola Creepy's amazing Megan Draper inspired number - it's gorgeous! And Roisin AKA Dolly Clacket's sailing boat number with the gathered skirt.  I think my next version will be with a gathered skirt like that, although there's also inspiration from Kathryn over at Yes I like that with her lovely ponte knit version with a half-circle skirt.  And that's only a few of the amazing versions out there - so my only problem now is, which version next and what fabric?! A big big thanks to Elisalex and Charlotte for hosting the sew-along!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


Last weekend I had the best Sunday - I finished my Elisalex!  Yes, it has changed from a Reversalex to an Elisalex. The main reason being I couldn't find a reversible zip that I liked that matched the fabric but I also felt that the pink fabric was so thick that lining the skirt would have made it too bulky.

Photo of new me-made By Hand London Elisalex dress in Liberty fabric

I'll do a full post about it when I get some better photos - I'm hoping to wear it at the weekend - but I couldn't resist posting a photo now as I'm so proud of it! Definitely the best fitting, neatest and prettiest item of clothing I've made yet!  Thank you By Hand London - the sew-along was so much fun!