Me-Made-May 2015 Week 3 Roundup

There’s not long left of Me-Made-May! Where does the time go?
Soon it’ll be Indie Pattern Month on the Monthly Stitch, and there’s Jump into June too… ahh so many challenges at the moment!

But MMM is going well. This post may be quite boring if you have seen my other two posts earlier this week. Three days make up those tops! [Does that make sense?!]

Monday 18 May

I kicked off the week in my first new top, the Shell Top from the Great British Sewing Bee Fashion with Fabric book. Obviously with a cardigan on top because summer isn’t here yet!

GBSB Shell Top (MMM15)

Tuesday 19 May

I wore my newest top, the Simple Sleeveless Top from Lauren Guthrie’s book, Learn to Sew with Lauren. Of course again with a RTW cardigan because it was coooooold (although I took it off for the photo as I was also using them for the blog post!)

Lauren Guthrie Simple Sleeveless Top #MMM15

Wednesday 20 May

Out came my flippy skirt that I refashioned from a Primark dress. I do like this skirt; it’s easy to wear.

Flippy skirt (MMM15)

Thursday 21 May

I wore the same top twice this week… I wore it with my new Morris Blazer because the colours match lovely – but forgot to take a photo! Sorry – you can see it soon! It is a dusky pink in case you’re wondering.

Lauren Guthrie Simple Sleeveless Top #MMM15

Friday 22 May

I wore my second Sorbetto top, which I realise went unblogged. For no particular reason; I do like it!

Sorbetto Top

The black is a plain jersey fabric – used partly because I didn’t have a lot of the floral!

Sorbetto Top

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that I wore five me-mades this week, beating my target of four. Go me!

It seems I have enough tops for the time being!

Beth x

A “Simple” Sleeveless Top

Here’s my second (and last) polka dot top of late; the ‘simple sleeveless top’ from Lauren Guthrie’s Learn to Sew with Lauren book. My first make out of the book! I’ve had it since February – why has it taken me until now to use it?!

Anyway here she is…

Lauren Guthrie Simple Sleeveless Top

For this pattern I did a Small Bust Adjustment. I’m glad I did because it fits nicely in that area.

Lauren Guthrie Simple Sleeveless Top 1

No sewing project is a project without a little mistake, though – is it? I didn’t think about the fact that a SBA shortens the front piece a little. So I should have mirrored that on the back. All I had to do was chop off the excess but, really, I shouldn’t have had to do that!

SBA error in length!

The only problem I have with this top is the neckline. It’s too big. It’s not the bias binding; it was gaping when I tried it on before binding it. The odd thing is that the neckline measures practically the same as my GBSB top I showed you a few days ago.

GBSB Shell Top & Lauren Guthrie Top

It’s the same front and back. I’m thinking that it’s because the straps don’t stay where they should be on me. Why that is though – I don’t know!

Lauren Guthrie Simple Sleeveless Top (Neckline)

I guess it’ll be a quick fix for next time; just take chunks out of the pattern pieces. Thinking about it now, I suppose I could have added some darts or something into this one. Oh well. It’s not too bad really; I can live with it. I have worn it twice this week so that says a lot!

For the most part, this was a quick and simple sew. However I faffed about with a lot of bias binding – I bound the seam allowances as well as the neckline and armholes. The binding on the seams is sewn with the wiggliest sewing ever. But who cares?

Lauren Guthrie Simple Sleeveless Top

I also spent a bit more time on the hem; I used the blind hem foot on my machine for the first time ever! It came with my machine so I’ve had it, what… six years… and have never used it. Turns out it’s pretty good! You can still see tiny stitches – it’s not as blind as doing it by hand. But it’s better than a line of stitching as in a regular hem. It’s quite a skill to ensure that the needles hits the fabric right on the fold every time – I missed a couple of times! But the hem still holds up so all’s fine.

Lauren Guthrie Simple Sleeveless Top (Blind hem)

Now I’m done with tops for the time-being; it’s time to make a dress I think! :D

Beth x

GBSB Shell Top (more polka dots!)

I had enough fabric left over from my spotty Ruby Dress to make the Shell Top from the latest Great British Sewing Bee book – Fashion with Fabric.

GBSB Shell Top

I’m not sure whether I like it or not, though. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it.

My reasons are: The fit isn’t great – it’s snug around my hips but a loose elsewhere. I think I could deal with the looseness if it wasn’t snug at the hem. I look pregnant from front on in the photo below! (I am NOT pregnant!) Also I’m not sure what my expression is saying – at least it’s not a selfie!

GBSB Shell Top

I have worn it for Me-Made-May and had to take it off at 5pm as it was uncomfortable around the armholes . It looks like it fits OK, so it’s a bit odd really. I think the fabric may be a tad heavy to be comfortable, what with the facing as well.

GBSB Shell Top

That said, I do like some things about it. The neckline (both front and back) fits nice and smoothly. I French seamed the side seams – which is becoming a standard in my sewing now! I liked the construction – the all-in-one armhole/neckline facing step was good and one I have done before on my Simplicity 1609 dresses (1 and 2); I like how neat it is.

GBSB Shell Top

And although the little button at the back isn’t necessary fastening-wise, I do think it’s pretty cute.

GBSB Shell Top

And I like how the hem is lower at the back because I do like longer tops; this is primarily what drew me to the pattern in the first place. However here lies the problem. The top is too snug around my hips. After seeing a few of them in blogland I learnt that it comes up quite short – so I lengthened the pattern a few inches before I cut mine. I should have considered the fact that I was lengthening it over my hips so should have added more width. Dammit. You can see below that I added quite a chunk to the waist. Oh, I’m so smart in hindsight.

GBSB Shell Top

GBSB Shell Top

I’m considering perhaps cutting into the side seams, creating ‘V’ slits to give more ease. What do you think? Is it worth a try?

I made another spotty top too, last week – I will blog it in a couple of days! It’s from Lauren Guthrie’s book – the simple sleeveless top. Yes, I am polka dot crazy!

Beth x

MMM15 Week Two Roundup

I’m back with another quick review of my week. I achieved my target of four me-made or refashioned items a week – hooray!

Monday 11 May

Fifty Shades of Blue. A bit much perhaps but I only went to the supermarket!
This is my blue Clemence skirt – the one made with a tablecloth.

Clemence Skirt

Tuesday 12 May

I wore the dress that I made with a men’s shirt and vest top. I realised I have barely worn this! Unfortunately most of the day was cold so I actually wore a jumper over the top – but the thought was there. You could see the shirt/skirt poking out at the bottom!

Refashioned shirt dress

Wednesday 13 May

The sun came out for one whole day and I wore my much-loved refashioned grey dress. This dress is so comfy; I wear it a lot.

Refashioned dress

Thursday 14 May

If you’ve been paying attention you will be able to guess what I wore today…

If you guess correctly you will get a…. like! :P

coco shoulder

Friday through Sunday were RTW (Ready To Wear) days – let’s not get too carried away, right?

So, what have I learned this week? Well, wearing handmade certainly makes me wear dresses and skirts a lot more than I used to. I used to live in jeans!
And I need to wear that refashioned shirt dress more often because it’s comfy – the top is too loose and low-cut for me but with another vest top underneath it’s fine!
Oh, and I must make more long-sleeved garments… I am always cold… hence I wear my Coco a lot. Must make more!!

I hope you’re well and have had a nice week.

Beth x

A New Sewing Machine & Buttons the Teddy

Look what I bought for my 6-year-old!


How cute?! It’s a John Lewis Mini Sewing Machine. Snapped up in the sale for £35. To say she loves it would be an understatement. It’s ideal for her age – it’s as good as a ‘proper’ machine in many ways but just scaled down. The foot pedal is small; it’s adorable. She can’t reach the floor so we rested it on her bathroom stool, which works a treat! There’s a kind of guard on the presser foot, so it’s not so dangerous – but not the kind of guard you have to remove with a screwdriver every time the thread escapes from the needle! (We also have a kids Lalaloopsie chainstitch one which is nothing but a pain in the bum.) It is a bit more fiddly to thread than a regular machine, as the guards stand up in the way, butit came with a standard needle threader, which makes it much easier – so you really can’t complain.

So for S’s first quick practice she sewed two lines down the first scrap I grabbed – and made some sort of pouch!

First creation!

Bless her, she loved it and has definitely caught the bug.

Check out the thread she’s using. Only the best for my daughter!

Silko - only the best!

We had another play at the weekend; this time we tried a proper project. She found the idea of a stuffed teddy in this book:

my first craft book

Annoyingly, this book is one of those ones where you have to enlarge the templates. Who has a photocopier at home? So instead of teaching her to trace, I drew her a teddy shape – and then she took over, choosing the fabric and cutting the shape out. She did so quite accurately; she’s always been good at cutting.

She then had to sew on some buttons for the eyes and down the front. This was a first, and she did really well. Until she got to the last one and gave up because it was taking too long and she was desperate to get on the machine!

So I finished that last button off for her, then she could hop on the machine. She sewed around the entire shape with only a bit of guidance from me around those curvy ears! She learned how to reverse, and how to insert the needle before pulling up the presser foot to turn a corner. She learns so fast.

Sewing Buttons

Oh, the concentration in her face. The machine doesn’t come with a light. But you may notice the funny bendy light attached to it above. That is a sewing machine lamp from The Daylight Co. And get this – I won it! But that’s not all… I also won a slimline LED table lamp. I won them last week through a competition in Sew magazine. I was over the moon! They’re worth £155! They’re easily the best things I have ever won! So my advice to you all is to enter competitions as you might actually win!! :D

Anyway, back to the task at hand…  here’s the teddy all sewn up (wrong sides together made life easier).

Buttons 2

In went the stuffing and S sewed up the gap. She loved stuffing him, making him come to life. The look of pure pride and happiness on her face when she finished was priceless.

Buttons the Teddy 1

So we’ve only used it a couple of times but as it stands at the moment I think it’s a great little machine, ideal for kids, but it’s so lightweight that I will probably use it for little jobs :P

Enjoying sewing for the first time

Oh and she named her teddy Buttons, which I think is a very appropriate name!

Do you have any ideas for her next project?

Beth x

Me Made May ’15 – Week 1 Roundup

So Me Made May is well and truly underway, and blogland is going crazy with updates. Here’s mine!

If you remember, my first ever Me Made May pledge was to wear four garments made or refashioned by myself per week.

Seeing as the 1st of May was a Saturday which left only two days in the week, I only really started properly on the week commencing Monday 3rd.

I did kick the month off by wearing my blue Coco dress, though.

*Caution: This Post Will Contain Very Quickly Snapped Selfies!*

So, Saturday 1 May:

I wore my blue long-sleeved Coco dress. I have worn this a lot! It’s starting to bobble :(

Forgot to take a photo, haha – great start. This is it a couple of months ago, though:

Coco dress in blue ponte roma

Tuesday 4 May:

I wore my sleeveless viscose Lottie blouse. I wear this quite often, actually.

Lottie blouse (love sewing/simple sew)

Wednesday 5 May:

This evening I took my dressmaking course and I am trying to wear something me-made every week to it anyway – but this week I dressed up in my lovely Ruby dress. I need to make another of these.

Ruby dress (simple sew)

Thursday 6 May:

Today I wore my newest Clemence skirt. I wonder how many times I will wear this in May. Probably a few! It’s so easy to wear just with a plain top and tights.

Spotty Clemence

Friday, Saturday and Sunday have been RTW. I actually wanted to wear handmade, but figured if I wore something everyday the rest of May would be boring because it would all be repeats!

So I kind of cheated and counted Saturday as the same week. But from now on I will wear four items Monday-Sunday.

So what have I learnt? I like prints (particularly polka dots) and blue. Well I knew that already!

I hope you’re having a nice weekend wherever you are!

Beth x

A Spotty Clemence

I’m back again with yet another Clemence skirt! This is the make-your-own-pattern skirt from Tilly Walnes’s fantastic Love at First Stitch book.

One of my learners on the dressmaking course I’m running was interested to see my Clemences, but of course I had given my first one to my sister, and the second, blue one, I just thought was a bit bland and not the most inspiring skirt ever. So I made a new one, sprinkled with multi-coloured polka dots – now this one really is an “I want one” skirt! Check it out!

Tilly and the Buttons (Love at First Stitch) Polka Dot Clemence Skirt @AfterDarkSewing

[In case you’ve missed them, I have made version one in plain black, and version two in plain blue.]

The slipper boots finish the look off perfectly, don’t you think?

Tilly and the Buttons (Love at First Stitch) Polka Dot Clemence Skirt @AfterDarkSewing

The waistband fits so snugly, it’s really comfortable to wear. I do feel like it’s a little short, which is odd because I used the same pattern pieces as my other two – but it’s not too bad.

The teeny gathers are so adorable!

Tilly and the Buttons (Love at First Stitch) Polka Dot Clemence Skirt @AfterDarkSewing

I used a proper invisible foot for the first time to insert the zip (I’ve always previously inserted them with a regular zipper foot) and I have to admit it was dead easy and perfectly concealed. I may have been persuaded!

Tilly and the Buttons (Love at First Stitch) Polka Dot Clemence Skirt @AfterDarkSewing

I slipstitched the waistband lining to the interior instead of stitching in the ditch like I did with the other two. Just to mix things up a bit. Plus I much prefer the finish.

Tilly and the Buttons (Love at First Stitch) Polka Dot Clemence Skirt @AfterDarkSewing

But here’s the best thing – pockets! Oh, they’re amazing! Although with all the fullness of the skirt they’re quite hard to find!!

Tilly and the Buttons (Love at First Stitch) Polka Dot Clemence Skirt @AfterDarkSewing

Tilly and the Buttons (Love at First Stitch) Polka Dot Clemence Skirt @AfterDarkSewing

So, have I made enough Clemences now? Ummm no. I love this pattern! It’s just so pretty and easy to wear.

Tilly and the Buttons (Love at First Stitch) Polka Dot Clemence Skirt @AfterDarkSewing

If you haven’t yet made one – why not?!

Beth x