A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Me-Made-May Week 4+

May is over!  I had such a good time with it this year.  I felt a little sheepish by about the mid-point, asking my kids to take photos of me every day and saturating my IG feed with my clumsy poses.  But seeing my outfits in photo really helped clarify what I like about my wardrobe (and what I don't, which, happily, isn't much at the moment).  It also helped me out of the rut of t-shirt-and-skirt or t-shirt-and-jeans, and inspired me to start sewing woven tops again.  So here's what I wore the last week+ of May:

Day 22: I was bleary-eyed and cranky because I had been up the previous night cleaning toddler vomit out of a crib.  I wore one of my Fjara tanks and a pair of Ginger jeans to meet a cruddy day.  Incidentally, this was also said toddler's second birthday; we didn't manage to celebrate until a full week later.

Day 23: Rainy and cool, so I wore the same Gingers as the day before with one of my new v-neck Renfrew tees with a Lisbon cardigan.

Day 24: I wore my pull-on super-stretchy Gingers with a new, unblogged, somewhat disappointing, Kirsten Kimono Tee and my linen Bonn shirt worn open over the top like a cardigan.

Day 25: Same Bonn shirt, don't care because I loooooooooove it so, with my yellow linen/rayon Simplicity 1887 and rtw leggings.

Day 26: I wore my anchor-print denim pencil skirt and a voile Simplicity 1377 blouse.  I was reminded how much I love the fit of this skirt, and that I should really make more instead of cooking up new versions of the Alberta Street Skirt, which I don't like as much.  This top is just meh, though, - it was an early version of my hacked 1377 pattern and the neckline is too wide while the hips are too narrow.  I should really retire it but for some reason I hung it back up in my closet.

Day 27: We went to the Strawberry Festival.  I was too busy mom-ing to obtain any photos of myself while we were in the mountains with beautiful scenery, so instead I had to pose in front of my front door when we got home.  I wore my yellow Simplicity 1887 skirt again, with another, more successful version of the Simplicity 1377 hack, and a Blackwood Cardigan.

Day 28: Church.  I wore one an Appleton dress.  This one doesn't get much wear anymore for what is probably a silly reason.  One of my sisters told me she did not think it was flattering because it makes me look top-heavy.  That by itself wouldn't have made me stop wearing it, but I was already a little self-conscious about how tight the back is - I feel like it really illuminates the back flab.  Although I was wearing it to church relatively frequently, I did already feel a bit uncomfortable in it.  And after my sister's comment, and it hung rather sadly in the closet, unloved, for a few months.  My husband was happy to see me in it on this day, though, and I think I'd like to revisit the pattern this fall, perhaps cutting a larger size for the back.

Day 29: Memorial Day, and the day we actually celebrated Niko's birthday, poor thing.  I don't even have a single photo of him from the day he actually turned two.  I wore my denim Alberta Street Skirt (which I still haven't shortened as I resolved to), a new, unblogged v-neck Renfrew tee and a Blackwood Cardigan.  This right here is a classic default outfit for me.

Day 30: It was dreary and spitting rain, and I would have been upset but it was actually the perfect weather for my brand-new Bonn shirt (blog post coming soon), which I paired with my zip-fly Gingers.

Day 31: Finally a warm, sunny day! I took the kids to the park and ran errands in my linen Simplicity 1887 shorts and my favorite hacked Simplicity 1377 top.  I love this top so much, and wearing it today made me realize that I need a white button-down shirt in my wardrobe.  No shocker which pattern I'll be using to make that one ... I just need to find the right fabric.

And, that's it.  Moving forward, I will try to vary my outfits as much as I did this month, instead of wearing the same 10 things over and over again.  I have enough clothes to do it, so there's really no excuse.  I had gotten so used to not thinking about what I was wearing that I don't think I realized how much variety I actually have in my wardrobe.  (Though I don't apologize for wearing the yellow skirt and the linen Bonn so much - I imagine those will continue to be on heavy rotation.  They're definitely winners!)

On to summer!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Seersucker Bonn Shirt

I made another Bonn Shirt (affiliate link)! This one is in cotton seersucker from Fabric Mart, purchased about a year ago.  Like my last Bonn, this one is a 10DD graded to a 12 waist and a 14 hip.  I also shortened the darts by 1" and moved them down 1", and fixed the botched forward shoulder adjustment I had made on my first Bonn.  I left the cuffs off the short sleeves because that is an area on my body that needs no extra bulk.

When I finished the shirt, the expanse of hot-pink gingham seemed to cry out for some breaking up.  So I cut out a patch pocket on the bias.  I considered cutting two pockets but thought it would make the shirt look campier than I wanted.  I'm still pondering adding the second pocket, though.  I did a 1.5" full bicep adjustment on the short sleeve piece (since I had had to do on the long-sleeve piece), and the sleeves ended up way too big at the opening.  I didn't feel like ripping and recutting a sleeve, so for this casual shirt, I made a 1" pleat on each sleeve hem, topstitched the pleat down and called it good.  It looks fine, but it actually restricts my movement - when I raise my arms the whole shirt comes up.  I should have taken out the excess under the arm, and actually, I can still do that pretty easily since I pleated the sleeves after I had already hemmed them.

I can get this shirt on just fine with the front done up, so I skipped buttonholes and sewed my buttons right on.  I also didn't sew a button at the top.  This allows the top to open up a slight bit but still keeps me covered up.  I think I'm going to try deepening the v just a little bit on my next version.

There is no shaping on the back of this shirt - no yoke or darts.  I could see putting fisheye darts into the back in a more refined fabric, but in this seersucker, the loose fit back there will make for a very cool top for our sweaty summers.

When I finished this top, I tried it on with all my skirts and shorts and was disappointed because it just didn't seem to work with any of them.  It's a bit long and voluminous for all but my most fitted pencil skirts, and the color just doesn't quite work with most of my shorts.  But I do like it a lot with skinny jeans, and now that I've seen these photos, I like it even more.  I think it would be really cute with pedal pushers for a vintage vibe, though that's not usually my thing.

I'll definitely be packing it on vacation!  Do you have any favorite vacation me-mades?

 Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Me-Made May Week 3

Only 10 days left of Me-Made May! I've had such fun with this challenge this year.  I did not make any pledge to avoid repeating items; only to avoid repeating outfits.  Even so, I've tried not to repeat items too often.  This forced me to reach for less-worn things in my closet and is helping me evaluate my wardrobe.  Happily, there isn't much that I'm planning to part with!

Day 15: I wore my red linen/rayon Simplicity 1887 skirt again.  I really love this skirt (and its yellow sister), and am considering making a third one out of some teal linen I bought last year with this pattern in mind.  How many is too many?  I paired it with my new linen Bonn shirt, which I also really love.  And I wore the shirt tucked in the whole day.  I'm usually not a tucker, because I always feel like I am having to adjust the tuck and it feels too high-maintenance.  But this shirt is long enough for a fuss-free tuck and I very much like how it looks with the skirt.

Day 16: I wore a new v-neck Renfrew tee (blog post coming soon) with my green bamboo Lisbon cardigan and my denim Alberta Street skirt.  I usually wear this skirt a lot (like two or three times a week) even though it's not the most flattering one I own.   It's relatively high-waisted so it sucks me in and I feel secure in it, if that makes any sense.  I am still meaning to raise the hem a touch and maybe peg the side seams a bit.  The cardigan is getting pilly, but I have enough of this fabric left to remake it, so I might do that at some point too.

Day 17: I wore one of my Kirsten Kimono tees and my McCalls 3341 skirt.  Sadly, I think I am going to have to retire both of these.  Both items are kind of stretched out and I felt really frumpy wearing this to our homeschool enrichment program.  The fabric on the top was listed as a cotton/lycra jersey but it seems to have no lycra in it at all and is starting to bag out beyond repair.  The skirt has also stretched out considerably around the waist.  I washed and dried it in the dryer after wearing it to see if it would shrink up a bit, but it doesn't seem to have helped much.  I do have another cut of animal-print stretch twill in my stash that will make a good replacement skirt.  But I'll need to buy fabric for a new black t-shirt.

Day 18: I wore my rayon/lycra Kirsten Kimono dress.  I actually don't wear this all that often because I had got it into my head that the elastic around the middle was uncomfortable.  I wore it the whole day, though, and it really wasn't.  I feel like I should make another one of these. 

Day 19: It got really hot!  I pulled out one of my pairs of linen/rayon Simplicity 1887 shorts and a brand new v-neck Renfrew.  I felt quite a bit more casual than I normally dress, though that isn't necessarily a bad thing.  These shorts, and the others I made last summer, are very comfortable but the pleats aren't the most flattering thing around.  I think I might want to try to make a pair of elastic-waist flat-front shorts; maybe the Parkside Shorts?  I am not sure.  

Day 20: It cooled off.  We had brunch at a friend's house and I wore my new seersucker Bonn shirt (blog post coming soon) and my pull-on Gingers, rolled up.  Then Niko got sick in the afternoon and threw up all over me.  I changed into a new me-made outfit - a skirt, new t-shirt and cardigan - and proceeded to splatter chicken grease on the brand-new tee.  I should have worn an apron.

Day 21:  Niko was still sick so I took the other three kids to church by myself.  It was only in the 60s today.  I wore my new Alberta Street Pencil Skirt, my white v-neck Renfrew tee, and my green Lisbon cardigan again.

I think the most valuable part of Me-Made May so far has been the pressure to not repeat an outfit.  I definitely am guilty of wearing the same easy things over and over again, and I don't really need to do that anymore, because I have a pretty sizeable and varied wardrobe now, almost all of which is me-made.  Aside from that one long-sleeved tee from two weeks ago, I haven't even considered reaching for any of the remaining RTW items in my closet.  I like the stuff I have made better, mostly because it fits properly.  And that is really satisfying.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Bonn Shirt

I made a shirt.  I've been eyeing the Bonn Shirt pattern (affiliate link) since it came out, and I finally bought the PDF a couple of weeks ago.  I love everything about this pattern - the shape of the open neckline, the mandarin collar, and the shirt-tail hem.

A detailed review of the Bonn Shirt pattern by Itch to Stitch.

Based on my current 41-35-44 measurements and knowing that my shoulder size is always a bit smaller than my bust size, I chose a size 10DD graded to a 12 waist and a 14 hip.

A detailed review of the Bonn Shirt pattern by Itch to Stitch.

I didn't muslin this one.  I pinned the dart closed on the pattern piece, pinned the shoulder seams together, and laid it over my body.  It seemed as though the dart would be in the right place (or at least close enough), and that I was definitely going to need a forward shoulder adjustment.  I eye-balled it the forward shoulder adjustment at 5/8", but when I was done sewing I realized that I only drew the line on my front pattern piece, and forgot to actually remove the resulting triangle.  As a result, the front shoulder is too long and it still migrates backwards a bit.

Obviously, I should have made a muslin.

A detailed review of the Bonn Shirt pattern by Itch to Stitch.

I also knew that I was going to have to do a full bicep adjustment on the sleeve (something I've never successfully done before), so I measured my arm and the pattern piece and used this tutorial to figure out the rest.  I ended up doing a 1.5" adjustment to the size 10 sleeve.

A detailed review of the Bonn Shirt pattern by Itch to Stitch.

I am 5'8", so I lengthened the top 1.5".  I did end up shortening the shirt in front before I hemmed it (but this was probably also because of the way I messed up the shoulder adjustment).  I'm really quite happy with the fit, aside from the shoulder issue, though you can see in this photo that the dart isn't quite in the right place - the dart point is right on top of my bust apex, and the dart needs to be moved down about an inch.  I've made adjustments on my pattern piece to fix this for next time.

A detailed review of the Bonn Shirt pattern by Itch to Stitch.

The fabric is a gorgeous linen I bought from Fabric Mart three years ago.  Those of you who know Fabric Mart know that, if you wait a few days, whatever you have your eye on will go on sale.  This is a rare fabric that I bought at full price because I was afraid it was going to sell out before the next sale.  I used some of it to make a dress for Z last year, and this shirt took out the rest of the cut.  And I feel completely satisfied with that - it's like the fabric met its perfect destiny in this pattern.

A detailed review of the Bonn Shirt pattern by Itch to Stitch.

I think this shirt will get a workout with my skinny jeans, but I also wore it yesterday with a skirt, and I like it with shorts as well.  I don't know why I waited so long to buy this pattern, but I know I'll be using it again and again.  As with the other Itch to Stitch patterns I have tried, the drafting and instructions are very good.

A detailed review of the Bonn Shirt pattern by Itch to Stitch.

See you next time!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Me Made May Week 2

Me Made May is halfway over, and I'm really enjoying it since I actually have enough me-mades to make it fun this year.  This year I wore quite a few things that I don't like that much.  I haven't made any decisions to let anything go, but I think that is coming.

Day 8: I wore my pull-on Ginger jeans and a RTW long tee.  I thought about forcing my two-items-a-day rule but I really just wanted to wear a longer shirt and I don't have any that I've made.  On this day, I made a mental note to sew a few longer tops.

Day 9: Same skinny Ginger jeans, a Plantain/Renfrew mash-up tee and a Blackwood cardigan.  This outfit is just "meh." I made the tee out of a remnant bin find that had been sitting in my stash, but it just doesn't really go with anything in my closet.

Day 10: I actually wore two outfits on this day because it was 50 degrees when I left the house and 70 in the afternoon.  This is the second outfit - my mustard linen/rayon Simplicity 1887 and a Kirsten Kimono Tee.

Day 11 was a rainy, rainy day during which we had an outdoor field trip.  I started the day off wearing some Ginger jeans but they got soaked so I changed into RTW jeans.  The top is a Sewaholic Renfrew that I don't wear that much because I forgot to stabilize the shoulder seams, and they stretch out.  I think sewing some elastic to the seam allowance would fix it, but I haven't done it yet.

Day 12: It was overcast and chilly.  I was looking for another cowl-neck Renfrew that I made last fall, but which seems to have been lost in the move.  As I couldn't find it, I wore this Traveler shirt hack with my skinny Gingers.  Though this top fits well and is comfortable, I don't wear it often.  The print was one of those "love it to look at but not to wear" purchases.

Day 13: I wore my newest ponte pencil skirt along with a hacked Kirsten Kimono tee that I made for my 20-year high school reunion and never blogged.  The shoulders aren't stabilized on this one either, mostly because I wasn't sure how to do it since the shoulder and sleeve are one long seam.  The neckline stretches out with wear and shows my bra strap, so although I love how the top looks when I put it on, I never wear it for an entire day.  I wonder whether sewing clear elastic to the shoulder seam for five or six inches would do the trick?

Day 14: I let N pick out my outfit today (I gave her two choices).  She chose my new Kirsten Kimono t-shirt dress (not yet blogged) and my striped Blackwood cardigan.  I got a lot of compliments on the dress today, which is kind of funny because without the cardigan and belt it is totally a sack.  But the color is nice.

May is really a great month to do this challenge because of how variable the weather is.  With the cold snap this week, I realized I had lost one of my go-to cool-weather tops.  I also was longing for some more button-downs, so I bought the Itch to Stitch Bonn Shirt pattern and sewed one up (post coming soon).  I'd like to sew up two or three more long-sleeved knit tops and two or three more long-sleeved button-downs for next fall/winter.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Houndstooth Alberta Street Skirt

I have completed my spring sewing list.  This is the first time I have made a real sewing plan, and I almost didn't finish.  This skirt was the last thing on the list (I have a couple of somewhat disappointing knit items that I haven't shown yet), and I almost didn't sew it because I've already started jotting notes for a summer list.  I forced myself to make this skirt though, mostly because I really wanted to use up this stashed fabric. I am so glad I pushed myself to follow through, because it is by far the most successful of the six items on my list, and is destined to be my go-to summer church and work skirt.

This is the Alberta Street Pencil Skirt, which I've sewn twice before.  I sewed a size 16, but I lengthened the back darts by 1", and I took in the skirt significantly from the widest part of my hip on down.  I basically just kept trying it on, pinning, and sewing, until I had it the way I wanted it.  I also shortened it about 1".  I think this looks pretty much the way it looks on the pattern model.  As drafted, though, the skirt is straight, not really a pencil, on me.  (Edited to add: A year later, after being annoyed at the looseness of the waistband and where it sat on my body, I finally took in the sides 1/2" starting at the top of the waistband, tapering to nothing about where the hip notch is.  If I make this one again I also need to curve the front waistband a bit, taking out maybe a 1/2" wedge at center front.)

I wasn't planning to include the pockets on this one because I wanted it to be more streamlined.  As I expect to wear this to church regularly, and being that I find that I find it very handy to have pockets in church (to hold tissues for the kids' noses, etc), I decided to go ahead and add them.  I braced myself for what I thought would be a tedious and frustrating task, but actually it didn't take long and I am really pleased with the job I did.  

I also took care to pattern match across the back, and that worked pretty well too.

I'm happy with the fit on this one.  The waistband does feel loose when I am standing up, but my stomach fills it out when I am sitting.  If it was fitted while standing, it would be too tight while sitting.  The perils of the squishy tummy.  While I like how the skirt looks with this white blouse tucked in (Simplicity 1377 from last summer, still one of my favorites), more realistically, I will wear my tops untucked.  I just prefer having that area covered up.

I absolutely love how these two pieces pair together.  I had planned the t-shirts on my spring sewing list (navy, orange, and a yet-unblogged emerald green) to coordinate with it, but I will probably just always wear it with this blouse.

I want to blog about the finished capsule wardrobe and show how everything looks together, but this will require many photos and I am having trouble finding a good spot to take photos since we moved last month (we moved less than two miles, so nothing to say about that).  I can't figure out the lighting here - everything is either in total sun or total shade.  Late afternoon in the front driveway might work, but I just don't see myself taking blog photos in front of the neighbors ...

 Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Me Made May Week 1

The first week of Me Made May is over, and I managed to stick to my pledge, which was to wear two me-made items per day and not to repeat any outfits during the month (repeating items is ok as long as they're styled differently).

Here's what I wore, along with my thoughts on each item.

Day one: Sunny and warm.  I wore a Simplicity 1377 and an Alberta Street Pencil Skirt.  This has never been my favorite blouse, and I still have a lot of issues out it, particularly the way the double gauze stretched out in the neckline (also, I stupidly used linen for my bias neckline finish and it has frayed apart, so this make may not survive many more washes).  But I love the colors and I want to try it with my kelly green cardigan later this month.  The skirt is a wardrobe workhorse for me, but I have long thought that I'd like to shorten it about 3/4".

Day 2: Very warm.  I wore my new Kirsten Kimono Tee and a linen Simplicity 1887 skirt.  I love these two pieces together, but I think I'd also liked a striped tee to go with this skirt and the yellow one I made.  Putting that down for my summer sewing list!

Day 3: A little cooler.  I wore an unclogged Kirsten Kimono tee, a Lisbon Cardigan and my zip-fly Ginger Jeans.

Day 4: Cooler, and I had to work in the city.  I wore my Appleton Top and a self-drafted ponte skirt.  This skirt is another workhorse, and it has gotten a bit pilled since I first made it.  I'll probably have to replace it soonish.

Day 5: Rainy and chilly.  I wore my pull-on Ginger Jeans, a Kirsten Kimono, and a French terry Lisbon cardigan.

Day 6: We drove 13 hours roundtrip to visit my mother's grave this weekend.  On the drive there, I wore my zip-fly Gingers with another Kirsten Kimono (this is my go-to t-shirt pattern, so, yes, I have a lot of these; you'll see them all by the end of May), a brand-new Blackwood Cardigan that hasn't made the blog yet, and a brown lace wool scarf that I knitted a few years ago.  I remarked in my blog post about the orange tee that the fabric I used for it wasn't the best quality, and after this trip I don't know that I'll wear it again.  It somehow managed to both bag out AND shrink upwards WHILE I was wearing it.  Looks like I need to find some better-quality orange jersey to make another one with.

Day 7: I was exhausted this morning, as you can see.  I'm wearing a cotton long-sleeved cowl-necked Sewaholic Renfrew and the same Gingers as Day 6.  This top has no recovery and bags out when I wear it, but I still love it and wear it all the time.

Lessons: I need to make two more pairs of jeans.  In cooler weather I am always either in my boots or my Dansko clogs, and the clogs don't work so well with either pair of jeans.  So I want to make two bootcut pairs.  It's also really not worth my time sewing with cheap knits - not only did the orange shirt thoroughly annoy me, but the knit I used for the new Blackwood cardigan isn't the best either.  I'll talk more about that when I blog it next week.