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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Speckled Colette Anise

Hi everyone! Since the weather matches my blogging schedule (sporadic) I thought I’d share a long overdue finished jacket. As some of you will know from my social media posts I have around 40 unblogged makes. Thankfully five of them have been photographed but I still need to find some blogging time which is proving difficult. Let’s crack on then shall we!

almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

If you’ve considered making a jacket as a step into tailoring I heartedly recommend the Colette Patterns Anise Jacket. It has enough new techniques for someone wanting to learn outerwear but not too many that you can get overwhelmed. I in fact made my first version when I was very much an adventurous beginner, in 2013! I copied my favourite blue coat and was pretty chuffed with the results… see my fabulously grainy photo below if you don’t have time to click through. I thought given all those years of experience I’ve managed to accumulate it would be interesting to see how I found the pattern four years later (yep this jacket is a year old people).

almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

Let’s start by saying the sewalong for this jacket is superb. The welt pockets and bound button hole tutorials are excellent and work on many other garments. Probably doesn’t need to be said but welt pockets are super lovely to make but not great for putting your hands in on a bitter English day. The way the back seams curve to match the sleeve seams at the armhole is also my sign of a superior coat. It drives me crazy when they’re close but intentionally not aligned! Also having made several coats since this I realise how special it is to have a separate pattern piece for interfacing the the roll line. The collar is kind of a pain in that it refuses to neatly meet at the centre front due to the way the buttons strain and move. It still comes together pretty nicely and the clean finish you get by hand sewing everything closed at the armholes and hem is very neat inside.

almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

Finding the right interfacing is a mission though and I’m less happy with the boucle version compared to my melton. I was trying to find something that would keep the boucle weave secure but offer the right support and I think I went too stiff. It’s most noticeable to me at the collar where I can feel it sitting slightly unhappily but I think it looks fine. There’s not a lot of help out there for picking interfacing (no magic unicorn saying you must buy this specific weight and brand) because it all depends on your chosen fabric. The only tip I can offer here is that you’re looking to support not harden the fabric or add too much weight. And remember cheap fusible interfacing isn’t built to last and will bubble and unstick itself over time, so if you’re keen to keep your jacket or coat around, invest in the branded stuff!

almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

Let me share two bits of wisdom I learnt from making both coats. Number one – don’t use covered buttons, no matter how confident you are that the wool is safely enclosed inside. Years later, your buttons will pop apart from the strain and embarrass you in front of your peers. Not pretty. Number two – If you’re not a delicate dresser, use a lining with a tiny amount of stretch. I’m not talking a super spandex mix fabric, but just something with a little give. I always pop the armhole seams on my lining by wrestling myself in and out of my jackets without care. The jackets were I’ve used stretch satin have faired much better. Last tidbit – ALWAYS ADD A HANGING LOOP.

almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

My wool was picked up at an excellent open day at Beyond Measure. Grace had sourced small remnants from a Lancashire mill; Offcuts and end bolts, plus colour coordinated bundles. I succumbed to this smooth soft and almost glossy boucle wool with flecks of bright yellow and blue running through. It was £30 for a 1.6m piece, enough for the jacket with nothing to spare! The lining was chosen to match the yellow flecks as good old B&M Fabrics on Kirkgate outside the market. Every time I see it the super flash of gold makes me giddy. Last but not least those fancy polished metal buttons were from Totally Buttons, an excellent online shop.

almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

It’s a great little jacket and fun pattern to follow. I’m also super grateful past-Amy taped together the PDF and worked out all the fit kinks so I could just crack on and sew the new version!! I’m pleased I finally got to share it with you. I’ll try not to wait so long to post again, but while I’m gone maybe have a read of these lovely Anise jackets.

I love Nicole’s choice of wool, removable faux fur collar anyone?, and let’s swoon at some minty perfection. Visit the sewalong pinterest board for more inspiration!

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Swan print True Bias Sutton top

I love novelty prints. Especially when they’re on a crepe or polyester-mix, something I don’t have to iron. This swan print polyester crepe de chine was from Fabricland’s online shop. They had it in navy as well but red has to be one of my favourite colours.

Almond rock swan print true bias Sutton blouse

I used to wear red shoes everyday when I was a young girl and I wear red converse, red ballet pumps or red loafers most days. I used to have the most beautiful pair of red Carvela heels but they are sooooo worn in now that they’re a danger to wear in case the sole splits in half. I’m most commonly found with red nail varnish on my fingers and as you may have guessed, my car is red. So why don’t I have more red clothes?

Almond rock swan print true bias Sutton blouse

I got the True Bias Sutton top as part of the Sew Indie Month pattern bundle but wasn’t sure the boxy style would suit me. It’s a great top with fun features like the yoke that rolls over into a dropped front shoulder seam, high low hem and nice v neckline so I thought I’d give it a go… and it’s a top, not a blouse, let’s not fall out over this.

Almond rock swan print true bias Sutton blouse

Just to add if I hadn’t found my favourite new jeans I’m not sure I would have been able to pull this look off. For me boxy tops need a streamlined lower half to stop things looking entirely box shaped.

Almond rock swan print true bias Sutton blouse

The centre front seam was a real bother for me so that went straight away, and I made the centre front the cut on the fold line. That changed how I finished the neckline a little but I did follow the instructions roughly. It sews up really quickly!

Almond rock swan print true bias Sutton blouse

Self made bias binding finished things off prettily inside but polyester cdc fights you with every press. I have tape makers in multiple sizes which is very useful but you can always use a pin attached to your ironing board and make a little channel to feed the fabric through. I’d kill for one of those mechanised tape makers but they stopped producing them.

Almond rock swan print true bias Sutton blouse

Above is my 90s tv star pose which shows off the hem step. I wish I could reduce the amount of polyester in my wardrobe but I do not have time for ironing. I barely have time to check I’ve put together a decent outfit in a morning and most days I get to work and discover my make up is all uneven. The perils of leaving the house in the dark.

Almond rock swan print true bias Sutton blouse

The crepe is floaty but stable and didn’t snag as I worked. It only gets a little static throughout the day but I wear a cotton vest underneath most days anyway. It makes me feel like I’m wearing a Hawaiian shirt somehow, which I LOVE. Just call me Magnum PI.

Almond rock swan print true bias Sutton blouse

For other gorgeous versions see this dreamy coral top, Shannon’s terrific trims and Katie’s chic silk version

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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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V9000 and The Big Vintage Sew-along

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Wow I can’t believe my turn on the Vintage Sew-along blogger tour has come around. I hope you like what I have to share. (Sadly I’m back to taking my own pictures. Sorry about that. And the weather was awful so I had to take the pics inside. Extra sorry about that.)

almond rock v9000 vintage sew-along sew essential

So I became very interested when I saw V9000. It made me think about my version of V1044, probably because of the kimono sleeves. It went on the shortlist (thinking, well surely I’ll be swayed into making one of the other patterns) but I kept coming back to that lovely flat collar and full panelled skirt.

almond rock V9000 Big Vintage Sew-along John Kaldor Sew Essential

In all honesty I don’t think fully buttoned shirts suit me. I have a very short neck and when I’ve tried them before I just feel claustrophobic. So I thought a high buttoned FLAT collar could be the answer.

almond rock V9000 Big Vintage Sew-along John Kaldor Sew Essential

As you can tell I rounded the pattern pieces using a French curve and trimmed some height of the rest of the collar (probably too much) to create something a little reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe’s outfit here. I wanted to go for classic black and white but resisted for a pop of colour.

The panelled skirt is great for narrow fabrics while still achieving that full skirted effect and comes together so easily.

almond rock v9000 vintage sew-along sew essential

In terms of sizing the bodice is a size 8 at the shoulders a 10 around the body and a 14 around the waist. I didn’t adjust the length of the bodice or skirt amazingly. As a shorty I normally reduce the length of skirts as a rule but I really like the length of this dress. It fits fantastically when I wear the right bra – aka not the one from these pics. Isn’t it amazing how much of a difference that makes!

almond rock V9000 Big Vintage Sew-along John Kaldor Sew Essential

This John Kaldor microfibre is medium weight, glossy and a bit stretchy (like cotton sateen) with the drape of polyester. This print is called Ursula in burgundy and the fabric is from Sew Essential, priced £10.56 per metre.

The fabric print is large and abstract enough to avoid print matching. I think it looks like a papercut in a way. Or a hamsa tattoo?

almond rock V9000 Big Vintage Sew-along John Kaldor Sew Essential

Then I used plain black polyester from my stash for the collar and the self covered buttons, with a red invisible zip and red thread (almost all of my habby supplies were from Sew Essential in fact). I used some bias binding from my stash to hem the skirt.

Is it just me that overlooked how many awesome John Kaldor prints they have? OMG – I’m going back for some of those other floral and painterly prints. And it’s nice to pick up everything you need for a project in one place.

almond rock v9000 big vintage sew-along sew essential john kaldor

SO would you make this dress? Or have any of the other patterns from the BVSA Edit caught your fancy? I’d love to know.

Please take a look at the Edit on the Vintage Sewalong site because a proportion of proceeds from the pattern sales are going to a fantastic charity, The Eve Appeal as the work they’re doing into gynaecological cancer detection, education and prevention will surely resonate with the predominantly female sewing community.

Keep looking out for Sew-along posts because there are a lot of talented bloggers still to come and I can’t wait to see their makes. Here’s my moody shot to finish hehehe.

almond rock V9000 Big Vintage Sew-along John Kaldor Sew Essential

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