Me Made May 16: I did. Did you?

Hello (sheepish whisper). It’s been quite a while. i honestly didn’t know if I’d come back to writing this blog. Which is a shame. It was an absolute lifeline when I was at home in London with two very small children. Being in touch with the sewing community kept me on the right side of sane. Just. A year into life in Malaysia and with a full-time job, I have a lot less desire to spend my evenings in front of a computer screen, but I am still sewing and I do stay in touch with my favourite bloggers even if it tends to be on Instagram!

I answered the call to Me Made May with a pledge to wear something handmade every day, which I more or less do most of the time these days. I got to the end of the month with no repeat outfits and learned a couple of things to boot.

Although I wear my handmade clothes almost every day, I really missed my favourite Muji linen dresses. They are so comfy and loose-fitting but after this week’s new Inari Tee Dress even they may become obsolete. FYI: I think this just may be the most versatile and flattering dress ever!

Over the course of this year I have been consciously making clothes in solid dark colours and in jersey to redress the balance of my wardrobe and to reflect my fashion preferences. MMM was reminder that my early handmade clothes were often inspired by my love of colour and print. As I reached for my favourite black Moneta, I realised I wanted to look more sleek and elegant than ‘colourful art teacher’ chic. We all had one, didn’t we?! There’s still a fair bit of colour in these photos, but some solids too.

The month also revealed my pattern company loyalties. When I like something, I want it in every colour and texture. Chances are I will buy all of your patterns. Witness my numerous Colette Patterns outfits (Wren, Moneta, Laurel), and multiple Tilly and the Buttons numbers (Mathilde, Agnes, Bettine), not to mention ALL the Grainline Studio patterns! There was a profusion of indie patterns, and according to these photos, only a couple of big pattern companies (the floral scuba McCalls M6886, Simplicity 2444, and the Big Purple One – Simplicity 2406).

Being ‘coerced’ into wearing all the handmade clothes I could lay my hands on meant that I rediscovered a few gems that have been languishing at the back of the wardrobe. I kicked off Day 1 with my first ever Tilly Mathilde (not pictured here). It was like a reunion with a dear friend. Why was I not wearing this every week like I used to? Is there such a thing as too many handmade clothes??

The daily selfie-taking did me in eventually. The light in the tropics is unforgiving and harsh. If I didn’t get my photo taken pre-school run it wasn’t possible. Lord knows there’s enough pressure in my life getting myself and two small people out of the house by 7.45am without a blog-worthy photo shoot thrown into the mix. My five year old did me proud and snapped a few of these – clever girl. The downside is that her school photo came this week. There she is with hand on hip and giving good ‘right leg’ while the other kids stand up straight. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…!

I’ll sign off (for another 3 months!) with one of my two new garments from May – a black Colette Wren (the other was the Grainline Alder at the top of this post). It’s a winner and ticks all the boxes for dark, solid colours in a flattering, work-friendly jersey dress. It’s been lovely to catch up. Take care all. x

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An Ode to Stripy Tops (or the Grainline Appreciation Post)

A while ago I realised that I had a wardrobe full of colourful handmade dresses, but nowhere near enough casual tops. I knew that I wanted to wear more handmade while off-duty too, so I’ve been on the look-out for good quality cotton jersey that would indulge my love of stripes. I’d had my eye on the Grainline Studio Linden sweatshirt since it was launched last year, but it had fallen down my to-sew list. As a warm-up I decided to sew up the free Hemlock Tee first so I could work out the sizing.  The Hemlock is free to Grainline subscribers, and I know it’s been hugely popular. The most recent contender for Hemlock I most want to steal was this beauty by Birgitte of Indigo Orchid. Birgitte did warn me that once I’d made one Hemlock I’d be addicted. She was right!

So here she is: the latest addition to my usual off-duty wardrobe of skinnies, flats and stripy tops. My other handmade favourite stripes have been my Tilly Coco and Bluegingerdoll Bonnie. A new stripy top was long-overdue. I love the dropped shoulders and casual but modern fit. I think it looks just a little bit more chic than a pyjama top, but that’s how it feels to wear. I shortened the bodice by several inches.

I am so happy with it that I can’t bear to take it off. The only improvement I would make next time would be to reduce the neckline a little. I had to cut a longer piece of binding for this top, resulting in quite a wide neck (although a cracking binding, if I do say so myself!). Next time I will cut two back bodices to create a boat neck as this one is on the verge of being too wide.

So after a happy experience with the Hemlock, I launched right into the Linden. I especially loved the casual raglan sleeves on this pattern, and used a grey striped French terry to enhance the raglan style. Again, it came out the right side of slouchy.

 Check out my raglan stripe-matching! I constructed both tops on the overlocker, using my new walking foot to topstitch the neckline bands down.  I wondered about the fit as the Grainline promotional photos always look quite baggy, but I am over the moon with both, just as I was with my Grainline Archer shirt. Grainline patterns seem to be perfectly proportioned to be modern and classic.  I had thought a sweatshirt was unnecessary in this climate, but the tyrants of air conditioning keep me permanently chilly indoors. Just like the Hemlock, I can quite bear to take this off to wash it!

I’m back on the balcony for this post. The quest for better blog photos in confined spaces continues. My photographer-husband has a new strategy: muttering insults at me and my modelling technique under his breath never fails to make me laugh!