Friday, April 28, 2017

All the solids

I'm so excited for Me-Made-May! Last year was my first time participating, but I really had so little that fit me, and I was over-ambitious and tried to wear too much me-made for what was in my closet. I crashed and burned after about day 9 because it just wasn't fun to try to mush together outfits out of my decidedly non-coordinating closet.  It did rev me up to start sewing for myself, and since last May, I have selfishly sewn nearly 50 articles of clothing.

By the numbers, I have made:

3 pairs of pants (including two pairs of jeans)
7 skirts
3 dresses
5 cardigans
5 long-sleeved knit tops
1 woven long-sleeved shirt
5 short-sleeved knit tees
5 short-sleeved woven tees
2 tank tops
4 pairs of shorts
6 pairs of underwear

And though I've actually gained a solid 10 pounds in the last six months (I wish I was one of those people who stopped eating when stressed out),  I actually feel better getting dressed in the morning than I did a year ago.  And that is 100 percent due to the fact that I now have a closet full of clothes that (mostly still) fit.

The coordination aspect is a new development for me.  I was sewing so furiously last summer that I had amassed a good number of pieces before I realized that I still didn't have a lot of outfits that really looked put-together.  Part of the problem was that I felt compelled to sew from my ever-growing stash, which was print-heavy. I much prefer to wear solids and stripes, but guilt forced me to sew my prints up into a bunch of tops that really didn't look great with much of anything.

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I had made a spring sewing plan designed to address this issue.  Pictured in this post are two of the t-shirts I had planned to make, and a bonus pencil skirt that landed on the list when I found this fabulous double-knit fabric on the $2.97 table at G Street Fabrics last weekend.  

It's a good thing that store is 40 minutes away, that's all I'm saying.

The fabric had a scrap of paper on it identifying it as Ralph Lauren double-knit.  The paper did not specify fabric content but I'm guessing by feel that it is mostly cotton, a little poly and includes a generous dose of lycra.  It's a beautiful natural/gray marl color, and is satisfyingly substantial.  I decided while still at the store that it would become a pencil skirt.  I resurrected the paneled pencil skirt pattern I had drafted last year (the original, which coordinated with precisely nothing, has long been donated).  Since I have gained a bit of weight since I drafted it, it's a bit tight in the back, but with a longish cardigan I feel good wearing it.  I topstitched all the panel seams with my coverstitch but my thread choice blends so well you can't even tell!

When I finished sewing it the other night I tried it on with half the tops I own and it seriously goes with everything.  That was $2.97 well spent, I tell you what!  In these photos I am wearing it, of course, with my striped Blackwood cardigan.  I love how I feel instantly put together when I throw that thing on.  In fact, I wore it last week on a date night with my husband, with my yellow linen skirt and a belt and my husband remarked that I "really looked put together."  Guess that isn't a look I have been rocking much lately!  And I currently have two cuts of knits on my sewing table waiting to be turned into more Blackwoods.

I love how this skirt totally looks work-appropriate when styled "up," (I actually wore it for work the day after I made it), but that it also works in a relaxed mom style, like so:

In the above photo I am wearing one of the two Kirsten Kimono tees I sewed recently, using my hacked TNT pattern (lowered neckline, side seams swung out).  I had a major brain fart while cutting this one. As I was cutting, I convinced myself that I hadn't properly trued the seams when I hacked the pattern.  Because I don't get enough sleep and had probably had six cups of coffee that day, I started cutting pieces off the sleeve portion of the pattern willy-nilly.  I have no idea what I was thinking, but I undid my forward shoulder adjustment and my sleeves came out way too tight.  

Happily, it's not too uncomfortable to wear, and the fabric is lovely.  It's a 10 oz cotton/lycra jersey I ordered from Sy Fabrics (new to me, found on eBay) and it is substantial and has great recovery. It's very similar to Kaufman Laguna, but is $5 per yard.  I will definitely be ordering more of this jersey from them. 

Sadly, I cannot say the same about the orange jersey (bought from the same company, $4/yard, 7 oz cotton/lycra jersey with just so-so recovery).  I adore the color but it bags out a bit and feels frumpy.  The difference in fit could also have to do with the fact that I had to redraft the pattern from scratch before I cut this one out.  I used a newly printed pattern and one of the many Kirsten Kimonos already in my t-shirt drawer, as a guide, but I don't think I got it quite right.  

I'm just a bit mad at myself right now.

Note to self: NEVER cut a previously used pattern.  TRACE first!  

Even though the orange color isn't really "neutral" or "basic," it actually pairs with most of my bottoms.  I'm thrilled with the functionality of my wardrobe compared to this time last year, and I'm really pumped to sew up the remaining items in my spring sewing plan.  

I'm also excited to participate in MMM.  I am challenging myself to wear two me-made items per day  (this should actually be a breeze since I made all that underwear, though I won't be taking photos of it) and to try not to repeat outfits more than twice during the month.  I think I am probably going to do daily Instagram pics with possible weekly blog round-ups.  

Happy spring!


  1. I love this outfit-- the orange t-shirt and belt look so good with your Blackwood cardi and skirt! I have loved doing Me Made May the last few years. It's really helped me find wardrobe gaps and plan my sewing better. I am excited to follow along and see your outfits!

  2. Great outfit! Looking forward to your Me-Made-May looks! I think I am in the same boat as you; I've been trying much harder in the past year to make more solids (or solid-ish) things that really round-out my wardrobe.

    1. It's kind of amazing how much more function you can get when you add a couple solid pieces!

  3. Exciting!! I'm lining up my Makes and will look forward to seeing yours!

  4. You are my selfish sewing hero! This outfit looks fantastic on you and the orange is a great colour to go with your neutrals, even if the fabric isn't what you'd hoped for :)

  5. That skirt is great, you do look very pulled together.

  6. The first out fit looks fab! Love the pop of colour against the stripes. Such a great skirt too, it will go with so much.

  7. As always, I LOVE your blog! You constantly amaze me with your talents. Fantastic work, as always.

  8. I love these outfits that you've pulled together. The orange shirt looks great under the striped cardi! And I love the skirt. It's so flattering on you.

  9. This outfit is the bomb. I would wear this every day. It's super flattering, comfy but put together, work appropriate, ALL THE GOOD THINGS. You have been killing it with your selfish sewing lately, Masha!

  10. Love this outfit!!!! My stash is similar- a bunch of non coordinating prints. Guess I better make dresses so it doesn't matter that it doesn't coordinate. Or make jeans.


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