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


A Festive Belcarra

Happy almost-Christmas, people! I did make a festive dress for myself from a lovely rich purple viscose. It was the Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 2406 pattern and should have been a cute little party dress. Instead it turned out like a cassock and henceforth shall be known as ‘The Big Purple One’ in honour of everyone’s favourite Quality Street! I don’t have a lot of luck with ‘special event’ dresses – for evidence of last year’s see my birthday Donna Karan number!   

So a quick and satisfying make was in order!  I had bought this glorious Japanese cotton lawn on a lunchtime visit toSpotlight, the Australian craft superstore. Irrespective of what’s on my shopping list, Spotlight always comes up with the goods.   

With such a bold print, I wanted a simple shape, so dug out my trusty Sewaholic Belcarra pattern. It’s got lovely raglan sleeves with cuffs, and a nice hourglass shape. I get a lot of wear out of my Liberty version. As with earlier versions I needed to grade the side seams down a couple of inches from the waist to the hem. Sewaholic produce patterns for pear-shaped ladies and there was a bit of excess I needed to remove. I’m really pleased with this version. It will get a lot of wear, particularly to work with my culottes.

 I’m determined to get the Big Purple One photographed, if only for my Top 5 Misses of 2015. It’s not that bad now it’s been altered, but still makes me feel like a choir boy! Happy Christmas. X


A Liberty print Belcarra

Belcarra in Liberty MitziGreetings, fellow fabric-fanciers! I’ve got a Liberty print treat in store for you today.

I’m shortly to embark on a more time consuming project, more news of which in my next post, so in true Blue Peter style here’s one I made earlier.

Imagine my surprise/delight when I received two metres of my all-time favourite Liberty Tana Lawn in Mitzi from Mr S-S-L in my Christmas stocking. I tucked it away for a rainy day, too precious was it to fritter away. I’m only used to hacking into £3 per metre bargains afterall, so I had to be sure I could do the good stuff justice!

BelcarraIt’s amazing how far two metres will go. I’d already made a Laurel shift dress by Colette Patterns to wear at a friend’s wedding (to be blogged soon) and had a little bit left over, which I knew would be perfect for a simple top. So I started looking around and, as if by magic, Sewaholic released the Belcarra. I knew that the simplicity of the pattern would really show off the gorgeous print.

They say the first cut is the deepest. No kidding! I was terrified when I began cutting out, but now I know why people rave about the quality of Liberty Tana Lawn. It is light and fine, yet it really holds its shape and is easy to handle.

This was my first Sewaholic pattern. I found the instructions really clear, yet I had problems attaching the cuffs to the sleeves on this top and the wearable toile (of course I had to practice first!). There’s obviously something I’m doing wrong with the assembly to have two pieces not fitting together neatly. I ended up with a lot of fabric on the sleeve to ease into the cuff. Thankfully it’s concealed under the arm, so no tears were shed.

The overall shape of the blouse is contoured to emphasise a curvy, feminine shape. In fact Sewaholic patterns are designed for those with a typical ‘pear-shape’. Whilst I’m not short of a curve or two, I did end up taking in the seams around the hips to slim it down a little.  I’m so happy with the final version: it’s such a flattering shape. And the options are endless. This won’t be the last one.

You might spot this fabric elsewhere on Sew South London;  I love it so much I’ve conserved every spare shred and fibre!

I’m just wondering what Father Christmas might bring this year……