Saturday, 31 May 2014

Me Made May 2014 Roundup

This was my second year participating in Me Made May organised by the wonderful Zoe and my original pledge was:

I, Jenna (Justsewjenna on Flickr and Twitter), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear something made or refashioned by me six days a week for the duration of May 2014. I am also going to use the opportunity to concentrate on sewing for myself, not in a panic induced way but because I don't normally make the time.

I actually didn't miss a day!  So that part was spot on.  I did have a lot of repeats but I am not bothered about having lots of clothes to wear (I don't have enough storage space for one!) but I would like to have the right clothes to wear in the right situations and/or weather conditions and I really feel like I'm getting there.  I could do with a few more bits and pieces and there are things that I would like to make but overall I am happy.

During April I did start sewing seriously for myself having only made myself two tops in the year since last May.  I find it is so much easier to sew something for Élodie than myself as it is quicker and takes up less space so if I am sewing I find myself reaching for child garments.  Also, her need is usually greater as she needs a complete new set of clothes every season.  I wanted to use Me Made May as a big incentive to actually sew selfishly and I really think it worked.  In the run up I made 3 Cocos, one Mathilde and a New Look 6808 in grey chambray.

New Look 6808
I also had a big sort out of my clothes (ditching the size 10s I was optimistically holding onto for 10 years!) and I refashioned a few bits and pieces.  I felt this exercise was very helpful.  I don't have that many clothes anyway but more than half of my wardrobe was being taken up with things I don't wear.  I now have more space and extra coat hangers!  

During May I made a dress, a skirt, a top for me, a top for Mum and some shorts for Élodie.  I also went to the meet up at the V&A, met some really amazing people, spent far toooo long looking at photos in the Flickr group (not really, I love the feeling of community and looking at everyone's clothes),  and just generally had a blast.  I am really going to miss May!  

I hope that by having a blog now and being generally addicted to Instagram will keep that momentum going and I will carry on making for me as well as the child.  So thank you Zoe for organising such a wonderful event!

So without further ado, here is my month:

1. Day 1, 2. Day 2: Tilly and the Buttons Coco with a mum made hat and a glass of prosecco! #mmmay14 #sewingcoco, 3. Day 3: stripy Renfrew with a jersey maxi skirt (no pattern). Such a comfortable outfit! #mmmay14 #sewing, 4. Day 4: Newlook 6003 skirt in stretch brocade and "the prettiest collar" jumper from a stitch in time (tights to match the carpet in the Natural History Museum!) #mmmay14, 5. #mmmay14 day 5: Tilly and the Buttons Coco number 1 (rtw shorts). #sewingcoco #sewing, 6. #mmmay14 day 6: back to work (boo) wearing my Elk Grove Knits Renfrew made with Zoe at The Village Haberdashery in September., 7. #mmmay14 day 7 jersey maxi skirt (no pattern), liberty top newlook 6808 (made using fabric won during last me made may) and Mum knitted cardi #sewing, 8. #mmmay14 day 8: Coco in knitted mercerised cotton and Brigitte scarf in Elk Grove Knits #sewingcoco #loveatfirststitch @tillybuttons happy book launch! Congrats!, 9. #mmmay14 day 9: theme Friday! Simplicity 2451 in navy corduroy and blue liberty sorbetto (with a mum knit cardi), 10. #mmmay14 day 10: Colette Sorbetto in Liberty lifestyle. Photo courtesy of my 4 year old!, 11. Day 11, 12. #mmmay14 day 12 stripy Renfrew and Jersey maxi, 13. #mmmay14 day 13: jersey maxi and broderie sorbetto (rtw cardi), 14. Day 14, 15. #mmmay14 day 15: wearing my @tillybuttons Mathilde blouse, 16. #mmmay14 day 16 theme Friday! Refashioned skirt (it was white) and newlook 6808 top in chambray #sewing, 17. #mmmay14 day 17: just back from #nylon2014 in my new #emerydress made from old fabric from a Swiss warehouse, 18. #mmmay14 day 18: #sewaholicpatterns crescent skirt and #colettepatterns sorbetto top in eyelet cotton, 19. #mmmay14 day 19: same #sewaholicpatterns crescent skirt as yesterday and same newlook 6808 blouse as Friday but it's sunny so I'm going to wear them while I can!, 20. #mmmay14 day 20: skirt made from stretch brocade and #sewaholicpatterns Renfrew in stripy jersey (3rd outing this month). Really need to find my sunglasses and stop squinting!, 21. #mmmay14 day twentyish: liberty top, punched denim skirt, mum made cardi, me made scowl...end of a long day, nearly wine o'clock!, 22. #mmmay14 day 22: Jersey maxi, Liberty Lifestyle sorbetto and 2nd hand cardi. Coordinating with my office today!, 23. MMMay 14 Day 23, 24. #mmmay14 day 24: my favourite coco and me made headband #sewingcoco, 25. #mmmay14 day 25: punched denim Simplicity 2452, navy polka dot Colette Sorbetto and mum made cardi. Exactly the same as 1st May., 26. #mmmay14 day 26: Colette Sorbetto in cream eyelet and jersey maxi skirt, 27. #mmmay14 day 27: the prettiest collar jumper from A Stitch in Time and Brigitte scarf, 28. MMMay 14 day 28, 29. #mmmay14 day 29: back view of my @tillybuttons Mathilde blouse, 30. #mmmay14 day 30: green spotty skater dress and I found my sunglasses!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Sunny Day Shorts

Oliver + S have just released a new free pattern:  the Sunny Day Shorts.  As part of my mission to make Élodie some new summer clothes I thought I would give it a try.

I used a pair of my Mum's old jeans which had just enough fabric in them to make the size 4.  I unpicked original waistband, cut off the ends and sewed it together at the back.  This meant I could keep the original belt loops too.

I added pockets to the shorts because pockets are always useful!  The pockets are lined with some Liberty scraps that no-one else will ever see but I know are there.

I am really happy with how these shorts have turned out and already have plans to make a 2nd and 3rd pair, and I am sure there will be many more to come.  Free pattern + free fabric = WIN!

She is wearing the shorts with another Oliver + S pattern, the Music Class Blouse, which I made last summer and still fits.  I have made this pattern up four times now and love every version of it.

 I love Oliver + S patterns, the instructions are great, the clothes look good and I have learnt a lot from sewing with them.  This free pattern is amazing and I can't wait to sew some more of them!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Finishing Things

I started making this dress at some point last year.  The pattern is Simplicity 1776 which I have used once before to make a spotty ponte dress.  I bought the fabric from Croft Mill, it is a British wool tweed and it was described as "Airforce Blue".  I was originally going to use it to make a skirt but I have a navy blue Gap corduroy dress which I wear at least once a week in the winter with tights and a long sleeve top underneath and I thought this dress could be a good replacement for it.  I spent ages making a muslin, putting in a side zip using a tutorial from Scruffy Badger, lining it and then just before hemming it I tried it on and it was too tight around the posterior it must have shrunk on the sewing machine!  So, in a fit of pique I threw it on the floor of my sewing room where it has resided ever since.

Until yesterday.  I had a funeral to go to today (I know it isn't black but it wasn't a "formal" funeral so I thought muted and plain would be fine) and I thought this dress might work for it so I tried it on and lo and behold it fitted!  So hems quickly sewn and I have a finished object!

After that I had some time to spare so I quickly made myself a Lady Skater.  My previous post amply demonstrates my love for the child's version of this pattern so  I thought it was about time I made it for myself.  I used the green spotted jersey I bought in Goldhawk Road on Saturday which was okay, but lighter than I would usually buy (but for £3 a metre who cares!).  I am really happy with the result and am going to make another using some Liberty jersey I bought from Shaukat a while ago but have been too daunted to use.

This dress also fulfils the Friday theme in the Me Made May Flickr Group which is "Polka Dot Parade" so as soon as I got back from the funeral I put this on.

Élodie and I have come to an agreement: one item for her then one for me.  Since I have two finished objects she is requesting the same for her so it looks like I have a busy weekend ahead of me!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Skater Dress Pattern

So far I have made 8 versions of Kitschy Coo's Little Girls' Skater Dress:

Little Red Riding Hood Dress
(Fabric from Kitschy Coo)

The favourite, Anchor Dress

A t-shirt using the Skater bodice with a hem band as I underestimated the length!
(Fabric from Kitschy Coo)

Another t-shirt, this time with the correct length
(Fabric from Kitschy Coo)

Penguin dress
(Fabric from Kitschy Coo)

Peplum tunic made using the tutorial from Kitschy Coo
(Fabric from Kitschy Coo)

Kwazii from the Octonauts Costume using a lengthened bodice with a hem band and self drafted trousers and a self drafted tail!

 Octonauts Birthday Dress made using sweat shirting from Kitschy Coo and flocking from here.

So what better pattern to turn to when I needed a quick make as Élodie is completely out of summer clothes:

I added the ruffles on the bodice by eyeballing rows of pleats and then sewing them down using a triple zigzag stitch.

I know there are better ways of doing this, but it worked for me and it was quick!

Lovely, satisfying Sunday afternoon sewing!

Sunday, 18 May 2014


What better way to start a new blog than on the back of a huge sewer meet up!   I went to the V&A Museum yesterday for the event organised by Rachel at House of Pinheiro.

I have to admit that I very nearly didn't go (I had a very worrying nightmare the night before where I was standing in front of everyone in my undies!) as I was a little apprehensive of meeting so many people but I am glad I did.  I met so many lovely, lovely people and had such a fantastic time.

I wore my brand new Christine Haynes Emery Dress (I have just noticed she has 30% off her shop at the moment) which I finished at about 11.00pm the night before.  I was in good company though, a lot of people had been finishing outfits at the last minute too.

The fabric for this dress came from a warehouse in Switzerland where my parents live.  They brought it back for me last year and I had been wondering what to do with it, I didn't initially think I would make myself a dress but now I have I love it!

In terms of fit, I more or less sewed up a straight size 10 with a couple of modifications (narrowing the neckline and shoulders slightly) and I am really happy with it.  I didn't have any issues with sewing it at all, and the instructions were perfect.  I will definitely make another.

After meeting at the V&A we went on to Goldhawk Road to go fabric shopping.  I didn't have anything particular in mind that I needed before going, other than some vague feelings about making children's summer clothes and in retrospect I am pleased I didn't have a plan.  I think if I had been looking for something in particular I may have been too overwhelmed to buy anything.  As it is I did go slightly over budget but not by a lot, and I am glad that I did because I am over the moon with my haul:

The green spot is a jersey which I got for £3 per metre and is destined to become a skater dress and possibly some shorts for Élodie.  The most expensive was the eyelet cotton at £8 per metre but the yellow is such a vibrant colour that I had to buy it.  I don't have any definite plans for any of it at the moment but I think a few bits may end up as things from Tilly and the Buttons book "Love at First Stitch".

The confetti spot fabric I bought 2 metres of and Marilla and I have agreed that we will have 1 metre each and see what we come up with.  It is (so Marilla assures me!) a silk/cotton blend and very light.

So, I had so much fun yesterday and I am really glad I went.  I really wish I took more photos but I think I spent so much time staring and beautiful outfits that I forgot!  Now to sew up some summer clothes for Élodie.