Thoughts on neglected clothes

Hello June! And hello everyone else. We’re well into a new month and well past the end of Me Made May. If you participated I hope you enjoyed the challenge. Maybe you’re keeping the fun going with #memadeveryday a great way of documenting your outfits more regularly.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

If you weren’t aware, I started my blog with Me Made May way back when. I had only a handful of handmade garments but I wanted the kick to wear them out in public and share my thoughts online. This was several years ago so it’s always like a kind of anniversary for me when I take part now. I wear my handmade wardrobe everyday now so I have to get a bit more creative with the challenge aspect of the month.

This year I pledged to wear unloved or neglected makes to see whether they could be resurrected. You can see the highlights of this experiments at the top of my Instagram wall.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

The main reasons for neglect were:

  • I hate ironing
  • Too short/too big/too tight
  • Needs nude lingerie
  • Inexperience on early makes
  • Style mistakes

This list contains both easily avoidable issues and things that you need to accept as part of life!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

I really don’t need to pick fabrics that rely on ironing. That’s my own stupid mistake. I know my lifestyle and patience levels aren’t compatible with ironing. I’ve got better things to do and I don’t get any enjoyment out of it! And nude lingerie is easily available so that has been pure laziness on my part. It’s been brilliant to rediscover some of those light-coloured garments.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

Working out your style is a lifelong exploit. Anyone who doesn’t experiment can’t be having much fun with their wardrobe. You’ll create a few mistakes but you’ll get a clearer idea of what you like!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

While it was fun to try on some of those experimental garments again, I’m still not convinced they have a place in my wardrobe. Other than the maxi skirt… I really need to try that out a bit more!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

Chasing a great fit can be an endless obsession with fluctuating success. Our bodies are constantly changing with age, activity and diet.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

And interpreting wrinkles and drag lines on garments can be a black hole of fit iterations that you have to start again when you revisit the pattern after your body has changed or even just if you’re changing fabric!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

Lastly, I’m both fiercely proud and terribly embarrassed by my early makes. So I don’t think I’ll be ever able to get rid of them but they can stay out of heavy rotation.

I know I’m a little late with this round up but I hope you enjoyed stepping into the world of my neglected clothes. Sometimes I worry that it looks like everything goes dreamily for me but that’s not real life! Failure and mistakes are part of learning and succeeding.

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Think Pink Butterick 5926

Happy weekend! I’m currently in my sewing room whipping up a quick coat. Aka no tailoring, minimal hand stitching, maybe even no buttons… but welt pockets might make an appearance. Let’s wait and see.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

In other news I wanted to push my sewing with a garment that’s pretty different for me. I reviewed the Butterick 5926 jersey blazer pattern that comes free with Love Sewing 49 (out Thurs 25th Jan in the UK). You can also read my thoughts inside the issue but here are the essentials.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

Every time I reach for my jeans I agonise what to pair them with. I feel like I’m constantly chasing the ideal outfit that makes me look effortlessly put together; modest and tasteful but comfortable and easy. Generally I opt for a bright blouse and cardigan but it felt like time for a change.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

I don’t think I’ve worn a blazer for at least 10 years as I’m petite with slightly squeaky voice and always live in fear of resembling a schoolgirl. The thought of a casual knit blazer was appealing but I wanted to make sure it felt feminine. This pattern calls for stable knits like Ponte Roma but didn’t mention scuba, which seemed like a great fit in my mind. This gorgeous geometric pink was £4 per metre at The Knitting and Stitching Show Harrogate and I used 1.5m to make this jacket.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

I chose to make view B, the hip-length version with shorter bracelet length sleeves that I rolled up for a relaxed feel and omitted the button fastenings. The blazer comes together really easily but you’re asked to reinforce a lot of areas of the collar and facings with stay stitching before clipping close to but not through the stitching line (always a tense part of the process for me). Shortening your stitch length can help here and a universal needle helped me avoid any skipped stitches.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

The recommended hem finish, with stitching that finish along the front edges wasn’t to my taste so I decided to top-stitch everywhere, varying the distance from the edge as I worked my way around. With this approach I had to be careful that the collar still rolled neatly to the outside where the front facing turns out and used a few pins to get the turn point just right.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

I also used my trusty blind hem machine foot with an adjusted needle position to attach the pockets which were very bulky to sew in place. I should be on commission for the amount of times I mention that foot! It was also the last outing for my singer overlocker before it committed suicide by firing the blade into the moving parts! Not pretty.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

This is a versatile pattern that looks great in a big, bold prints as well as plain colours and feels as comfy as a cardigan. I really think notched collars are very flattering as they frame your face but more importantly they’re pretty fun to sew! Like I say the issue is out Thursday and actually comes with a second pattern, McCall’s 7357 and both are double stuffed with all the sizes inside e.g. 6-22. Winner winner quorn chicken dinner!!

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

For some other gorgeous takes on this pattern see Manju’s bold floral blazer, Allie’s comfortable cool version and cmtsews chartreuse wonder

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My wedding dress – inspiration

So as I alluded to in past posts I intend to sew myself a wedding dress! Some of you may think “she’s mad!?” And some might be giving me a double thumbs up. And basically I’m in the middle, thinking “bwahahah this is so surreal”.
I wanted to share the process on the blog so I always had it to look back on but was relieved to hear that many of you wanted to read about it too.

So I’m going to throw my hands up and confess I’m a terrible decision maker when it comes to big dressmaking projects. It often takes me a long time to settle on fabric and pattern pairings, often changing my mind right up to the last minute. This is amplified when I’m emotionally invested. Not very good for a project where you need a clear plan and a strict time frame!

We’re currently struggling to find a venue for next summer. Apparently we’ve missed the boat for a lot of places which majorly sucks. There is a slim chance we’ll get Sept but it’s touch and go. This means my wedding may be 2018 and I’ll have double the amount of time to pick a dress design! 

UPDATE:

I clearly jinxed myself and today we’ve lost our chance at getting married in 2017. Sadly now I doubt I’ll do anything towards my wedding dress until this time next year… sorry about that. I won’t delete this post though as it might still be nice reading!

First up let’s get something out of the way… I’m having a short dress. Below knee or tea length. And a big bad ass petticoat floofy skirt. Bodice is still tbc… I have to mull that over. So in the mean time I’ve been examining fabrics. Here are my thoughts:

SEQUINS

I’ve seen some beautiful sequin dresses. Light frothy cleverly pieced frocks and embellished designs. Recently I’ve been obsessing over the Jenny Packham Jolene dress which features sequinned (and beaded) star appliques on it. The completely wrong silhouette for me but wow at all the bling. Searching for star shaped appliques stole a day of my life.

LACE

I favour dense lace designs (Nottingham, guipure etc), but at the same time I love 3d constructions and beading. Where lace steps into embroidery really gets me excited. Blooms built up with subtle textiles and colours like this dress makes me stop and stare. I also ordered a swatch of some beautiful beaded lace from Bridal Fabrics but I need to go see it in person. I also need to level up my lace handling skills if I go down this route.

TULLE

There’s always something that pulls me back to tulle dresses. Probably because I know of several suppliers of stunning coloured or polka dot tulle. There’s so much drama you can achieve with tulle and mesh at the same time as looking light as a feather. It takes a lot of effort to look that light though but with stunning results. I want to test this vintage Butterick tulle pattern with tippet style shawl (thanks go to bridesmaid, talented seamstress and wedding dress designer extraordinaire Charlotte for explaining tippets to me).

Next steps

I have a few appointments to try on dresses to help me pin down the design. That seems crucial to me but not being able to take photos will surely prove problematic. I am working out a rough time line in my head for the construction but think starting the bridesmaid dress toiles may give me a little breathing room for my own decisions!

If you know any short wedding dress companies or vintage dress sources please do drop them in the comments so I can continue pinning my heart out. Thanks for reading and please cross your fingers for me on getting a date!!

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What happened to all the dresses?

hmmmm…

When I first started sewing I thought it would be the perfect way to indulge my addiction to dresses. Somewhere along the way I ended up making a lot of tops, a few dresses and not much else! So where did all the dresses go? And all the other plans I had?!

This revelation struck me as I was ironing my nice white fabric with red polka dots ready to make another top. Firstly, I stopped because it seemed the washing machine hadn’t gotten it very clean… hmm where are these dirty marks from?! And secondly, once I had stopped I did some thinking about skirts.

It’s nearly summer and I don’t have many skirts. Very few for work especially. So how about a polka dot skirt? I have a prima pattern for an A-line skirt saved up for the task and from what I hear they’re simple enough to make. So I’ve re-washed my fabric ready to start this very soon.

I also made a promise to myself to figure out why I have a lot of fabric, and a lot of dress patterns, but very few FINISHED dresses! “Finished” is the core issue as I have FOUR partially completed lying in my sewing corner and plenty more that I’ve plotted but not started.

One of my UFOs (Unfinished Objects) is a lovely pale green dress using a quilting fabric from The Skep – Knitting and Quilting shop in Farsley and a pattern from the book Famous Frocks by Sara Alm and Hannah McDevitt.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dress

I’m so close with this dress. I just need to power on. The pockets need refitting before I can sew the skirt to the top. Then I can wear it to work!

Anna Maria Horner, innocent crush voile in “Shattered”

Another is made from Anna Maria Horner fabric, the “Shattered” voile from the Innocent Crush line.

I bought the fabric very early on in my sewing career and immediately started sewing a Butterick 4443. WHY?! I should have held onto this fabric until I knew what I was doing and made something better than 4443 out of it?! Chuh. Now I look at it and think is there a way to turn this into a different dress?! I don’t think there is but I keep looking.

I should just finish it and hope I like the outcome.

The “why haven’t I finished you?” green striped dress

Third there is a green striped number which I finished poorly and it started to unravel before I’d even worn it! So I unpicked it to redo the waist seam using my overlocker. But then I never actually rebuilt it!

The reason is that it has an elastic waist casing and I doing HATE elastic casings even though they fit me great. I always make them about 1mm too small and work up a sweat trying to thread the stupid safety pin through. But I do love this fabric and the dress would be so easy to wear to work or during relaxing times so I should get my butt into gear and finish it!

Finally I have my Vogue 8723 Ikea dress to finish. It’s mocking me even now while pinned to my mannequin. But something is throwing me off. I can’t tell if the fit is off or is it the slightly too dark lining fabric or possibly the fact I didn’t understitch the seams properly? Well whatever it is I want to get back into this dress soon!!

All very shameful I know. I need to remedy this problem asap. I have so many other things I want to sew I’m getting so tormented about what to work on!! I need some organisation in my sewing life and to stop being seduced by new projects.

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