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I’ve been Me Made Maying

on instagram. Not here.

Ive worn everything I’ve made, most of them twice now. And it’s made me realise that I need to:

1) make more clothes

2) get better at fitting my clothes

so I’ve started making a new short sleeve topwith a FULL BUST ADJUSTMENT. This is PROPER FITTING STUFF, folks. Normally I just make things too big then shove in a dart or sew side seams narrower until it fits. But no more! I want my clothes to fit, not just be “not too big”.

anyway. Ill blog the top when it’s done. But I have no photos of my Me Made May journey so far because I delete them as soon a ive put them on instagram. You should be pleased not to see them though. You see, most people doing this thing either get someone else to take the photos, use a proper camera with a clicker thing or a proper sized mirror. I’ve just been taking photos in the grubby (since cleaned) mirror in the bedroom in the eighteen seconds I have spare in the morning. Lately, the photos have featured tired eyes, WTF eyebrows and a general air of “i will brush my hair when I’m good and ready”. Instagram can keep those photos, as far as I’m concerned.

aaaanyhoo. Must go. Toddler is awake and I’ve promised him chocolate buttons in return for not touching my sewing things. We both accept that I am the naive one in this arrangement…

Finally! I made my Renfrew!

about two years ago, my sister gave me a fabric+pattern Sewaholic Renfrew kit. It was either for Christmas or my birthday, so long ago I cannot remember. And it has sat in my sewing stash ever since.  Occasionally I would pull out the fabric or have a look at the pattern, but I always folded it away again because i was a bit reluctant to cock up the nice fabric and was concerned I’d end up with something unwearable.

then I made my cloud top last week. I love it. And it gave me the confidence to just cut the damn fabric. In the space of a week, I cut out the pieces, sewed it together and I’m wearing it right now.

IMG_0509(Maybe I should have brushed my hair after all… never mind. Hello!)

now, there are a few things I’m a bit unsure about. What does “finish the seams” mean? Because when I finish my seams, that’s pretty much me looking at the seam I’ve stitched and then muttering “that’s that done then” and moving on. I will assume this is the case for everyone.

another is the sizing on the packet. Do i go with my measurements – this was a 14 on this pattern – or by the “finished garment” measurements? Because I’ve ended up with a top that is at least one size too big. I’m not too worried about that (my superior clothes washing abilities will get it shrunk in no time) but it’s a bit unclear which one I should follow. If I go for the finished garment size I could end up with something too small…

anyway.

i like it. The fabric itself is a lovely heavy jersey, just right for the inbetweeny snow/sun weather we have these days (often the same day) in nearly highland Scotland. I like the way the neck is finished (“there, that’s done now“)

IMG_0508Although I have got a tiny pick up on the front neck, I don’t care. Because I MADE THIS AND I AM WEARING IT AND ISNT THAT BRILLIANT?!

i like the cuffs and waistband insertion too

IMG_0507I didn’t top stitch around the seam here because I was worried about over stretching the cuffs. Because of the over sized nature of this (next time I’ll size down), the sleeves are quite loose already. But as I said, my wonder washing techniques will sort that no problem.

here it is, in all it’s glory

IMG_0506I love it.

and what I love most of all is that I actually did it. Fandabbydozi.

next item on the books is a cloud to for my daughter. Her expectations are worryingly high…

Top of cloudy wonder

hello people! I am back from hibernation. And I’ve made myself a cracker of a top. I have literally just finished stitching it and already I love it. My top of cloudy wonder.

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Woah, massive poor quality selfie there. Sorry. But still, I love the top.

I’ve wanted a quirky raglan sleeve top for ages but couldn’t find one in the shops didn’t look that hard to be honest as I hate shopping and decided to do a bit of browsing on http://myfabrics.co.uk and found some lovely navy stretch jersey and some even lovelier bashful cloud jersey. Order made, I got the fabric delivered and as is now traditional, left it for about 4 months before I was brace enough to cut into it.

the pattern is…MY OWN. Yeah, amazeballs, right? It’s the same one I’ve used to make a few short sleeve tops and I cobbled the body and short sleeves together with sleeves from a GBSB pattern, just made narrower. I also narrowed the body pattern pieces as they were too wide, and raised the neck as the tops I’ve made are lower cut and suitable for tops but not for this jumper type thing I was hoping to make.

pattern cut, fabric cut, I then left the pieces for another traditional rest. Just a month this time.  After the rest, I tacked the sleeves and body pieces together to check the fit, and it was great so I didn’t need to tailor it or cut it any further. I’ve resisted tacking and trying on in the past as I thought it was a bit of a waste of time in the past, but it really helped knowing the top would fit before I sewed it up as I hate having to unstitch and restitch and YAWN.

I also decided to buy some stretch needles as I thought I probably should. Never used them before, I wasn’t really convinced there would be much difference in the stitching. Well HOW WRONG COULD I BE? This stitched like a DREAM with the proper stretch material needles. Who knew.

Ahem.

so, it came about easily enough. I used navy for the cuffs and body and the clouds for the sleeves and collar.  I only had one minor WTF moment when I pinned the hem cuff to the wrong side and had to unpin and repin. It was a 20 minute waste of time but I pushed on through and out it all back together the right way eventually.

IMG_0503I top stitched the cuffs because I like it

IMG_0504Not that you can see it. But it’s there and neat. Ah, look a top those bashful clouds. Lovely. And I did a double line of stitching along the collar. Not quite as neatly as I wanted but it’s good enough*

IMG_0505And that was that.

It is really comfortable and flattering to wear. My cloudy top of loveliness.

 

* good enough is, I’ve finally realised, actually good enough. I don’t need to see things perfectly in order to wear them. I mean, it’s not like clothes I buy are perfect. So why expect ridiculously high standards from myself when I don’t expect it from ready to wear clothes? Good enough is good enough.

Tote bags a go-go

too much to do, so little time! I totally lost my sewing mojo. Then had no time to sew. Then I made my own pattern for a top and I’ve refund the mojo. Hoorah. Another blog post will follow once I have washed and made presentable the tops on the self drafted pattern. And I will also blog about the Christmas bunting I made to try and feel a bit more festive.

this post? This is all about the tote bags.

I had (have) NO idea what to get my mum for Christmas. Zero idea. Zilch. When asked, she said she wanted a “surprise” for Christmas. THANKS FOR THAT. I decided I could either make her something or just give her an empty box. Or a puppy. Something surprising. Nah, bag it was.

I stashed a fair amount of spotty sage green fabric a while ago. It is a good solid canvas type material and perfect for a shopping tote bag. There are approximately 8 gazillion tutorials online for tote bags. So I chose around three and followed them all. They all pretty much say the same thing:

width: x inches

height: y inches

long pieces to fold into straps: z size.

choose your own dimensions in a rectangular shape. Done.

I decided to French seam the seams because I have never done that before and I love the finish. I also thought it might make them sturdier if the bag is going to be used and not languish somewhere. Aaaaaanyway. I pinned the handle straps in place (tucking the edges under the top seam) and added a little pouch as an inside pocket. Then sewed round the top, twice. Whizz bang done.

imageI also cut the corners off because a tutorial said it would make it s box bottomed bag. I have a sneaking suspicion that I did it wrong. But it looks nice. And that’s the main thing.

imageInside the bag, you can see the incide pocket.

so. I liked this bag for my mum. And I decided to make another for a secret Santa I signed up to.

imageThis is the second one, pretty much the same as the first. But hang on! Who is that sneaking in at the side there?

imageA mini version (corners intact) for my neighbour’s daughter who is turning 3 this week. I used the fabric I bought 5 years ago to cover some canvas on my daughter’s wall. Super cute doll, going to waste in the stash.

imageTote bagarama.

the first one took me around three hours to make from figuring out the pattern, cutting it out to sewing it all together. The second one took me about an hour to cut and sew, another hour to reinforce the handles. And the third one took me just under an hour. These are SUPER easy to make now I know how. So from now on, EVERYONE is getting one for Christmas. And their birthdays. Everyone.

Drafting my own pattern

i decided that I need to start using up my fabric stash by actually making some clothes. I can’t keep pawing the nice fabric and googling interesting patterns forever, I need to just bite the bullet and, you know, SEW THE DAMN THINGS.

but what do I want to sew? That stumped me. I want to make some dresses and another pencil skirt, but in a different pattern to the last one. And I want some t-shirts that look well-made-not-made-by-accident. I do wear a couple of the tops I made earlier, but I’m not completely happy with the fit or the neck line.

The other problem I have is patterns. I’ve got a few that are ok, but I really wanted some raglan sleeve tops like thatDress-turned-into-a-top I altered . But I don’t have a pattern for that.

i KNOW. I thought. I will MAKE MY OWN PATTERN. must be easy.

i started drafting it last weekend, rolled out the giant roll of drawing paper belonging to the children and traced out the first piece. And was then joined by a toddler who wanted to join in.

 

image

He traced a few lines then demanded that i trap round his hand a few times.

Anyway, I rolled the paper back up and left it for another day. Today!  I have now traced out the back piece and the sleeves.

image

All I have to do now is mark it out properly on squared paper to make the lines straight and transfer it on to fabric.

 

which is another story really. I have LOADS of 1 metre lengths. In my head, that should be plenty for a top. Going by the patterns I have, tops seem to need about 1.5 metres AT LEAST. Another part of drafting my own pattern was a determined/headstrong thought that SURELY I could do a top in s metre. Surely.

i will let you know…

One Day Hoodie

I’ve called this the One Day Hoodie because it only took me one day to make. And also because hopefully one day my daughter will like it…imageIt is another item from the Ottobre magazine I bought, with fabric chosen by the girl herself. It was meant to be completely in the star material but for some completely unknown reason I only bought half a metre of it so I had to improvise and use the cat jersey I’d bought (again half a metre of it. Why so little? Search me. Can’t remember why. Sleep deprivation or general all round madness resulting in reluctance to buy enough fabric.) for a skirt for her. I did check with her, made sure she was happy with this turn of events. She confirmed she was. And promised to wear the jumper.

Aaaaaaanyway, we all know how that works out.

back to the pattern. What I’ve learnt is that Ottobre magazine has some really lovely patterns. But boy, their instructions are on the light side.

imageThat bottom 1/3 of the page? That is the full set of instructions for the top. I figured out the cuffs no problem

imageAnd I I actually really love how neat they are.

but the hood? That took a bit of puzzling. I have to admit to doing a bit of deep thinking about attaching the hood while settling the boy when he grumbled a bit in the evening. Finally, I just decided to go with what seemed right and it worked out ok

imageThere’s a bit of…rusticness about the edging of the hood. But it looks fine to me. The jumper is in a lovely soft sweatshirt and it just kept curling at the edges. Not to worry, if I wanted perfect then I’d have bought something in the shop.

all in all, it’s a lovely pattern and was surprisingly quick and simple to put together. The difficult bit now will be getting her to wear it…

Small top for a small boy

I made a top in 24hrs for the boy. It’s a raglan sleeve jersey knit top, using an Ottobre Autumn 2016 magazine pattern and I love this. I decided that it was time the boy had some home seen clothes, seeing as his sister has so many skirts and dresses. And I spotted the Ottobre magazine in a paper shop a few weeks ago and that sewed the seed in my mind. However, I didn’t buy the magazine. ROOKIE ERROR. My head was full of the cute patterns and designs in the magazine, including a hoodie design I’d earmarked for the girl, but I didn’t have the magazine…

i bought jersey fabric from http://www.myfabrics.co.uk, a cute circus design and a knight design for the boy, purple star sweatshirt and grey cat jersey for the girl. All ready to make the patterns from Ottobre. BUT I DIDNT HAVE THE MAGAZINE.

i merrily went to the paper shop a fortnight ago to buy the magazine. But wait…THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE MAGAZINE?! Aaaargh!

Eventually, I managed to buy it from http://www.dotsnstripes.co.uk – ordered last weekend and received it on Thursday. Excellent service. And THE JOY, all the lovely patterns were there.

imageLast night I traced out the pattern, cut out the fabric (which I had already dutifully washed and dried, which is very unusual for me, I know) and today in between boy nap time and the odd twenty minutes here and there, I pinned the pieces together and sewed it up. I have to admit here that I didn’t follow the instructions. As in I didn’t follow the instructions AT ALL. They seemed pretty sparse to me and I just thought, meh, I’ll figure it out. Im sure the neck could have been neater. I’ve realised I pigging HATE bias binding. Especially jersey stretch bias binding. But I’m still completely thrilled with this top. Go me!

image

I love the raglan sleeves

image

And the cuffs were meant to be jersey rib or what have you, but I just thought that the same fabric would look nice. Remind me that it was my choice if it stretches…

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and the bonus is that the boy is too young to refuse to wear the top. So no refusing to put it on like his big sister. Win!