Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Jersey offcut necklace (plus Me-Made June: Day 24)

I made this necklace a couple of months ago (with offcuts from this top), but haven't ever got round to blogging it. I also had managed to lose it in my sewing room the last few weeks, which gives you some idea how messy it was... (sort of tidied now, thanks to the incentive of people coming to stay!)

I like how jersey curls on its cut edges (well, except when I'm trying to cut it out), so I thought I'd make use of this quality in some jewellery, in order to use up offcuts from the top. The strips are cut crosswise (I think I chose that way simply because of the shape of my offcut), and I threaded each end onto a small bead. After checking the strands were all roughly the same length (very roughly as it turned out!), I twisted them together and stitched them onto some grosgrain. I think if I made something similar again, I would use more strands, beads with bigger holes, and twist them more, but I'm pretty happy with it as it is.

Day 24: And here it is in an outfit! The mini-challenge for the Flickr group this Friday was a photo with an animal, so I went the easy route with my two cats (I was hoping for something more interesting or tangential, but the opportunity didn't arise during the day). I know this photo is appalling, but it was taken at two thirty in the morning, and I may or may not have been a little tipsy.

Necklace: Me-Made / Dress & cardie: H&M / Leggings: Uniqlo / Sandals: Office

Me-Made-June round-up: Days 19-23

Day 19: I wore exactly the same as on June 12 (minus the passport), so it didn't really seem to merit a picture.

Skirt: Me-Made / Necklace: Me-Made / Top: Uniqlo

Day 20: A lovely sunny day, so I did some gardening...

Dress: Me-Made / Apron: Me-Made / Leggings: Uniqlo

Day 21: By this point in the Me-Made challenge I'm starting to get a bit desperate - I've certainly identified some large holes in my Me-Made wardrobe that need filling soon. As the outfit is near enough a repeat (the same dress as 4 June), I thought I'd put some variety in the photos.

Dress: Me-Refashioned from a long dress / Leggings: Uniqlo / Blue belt (not seen): eBay

Day 22: A low point, and also really hot and humid - I wore the same dress as 1 June, but without any accessories or even a belt, so it definitely didn't merit a picture.

Dress: Me-Made

Day 23: I felt a bit better about my Me-Made clothes by the next morning (helped that it was significantly cooler after some late afternoon thunderstorms the previous day). As it was a little cooler, I took the opportunity to wear my high-waisted BWOF skirt (it was still on the verge of being a little sweaty by the afternoon). I need to make some belt loops on this skirt as the belt gets a little free-floating. I plan to make them from thread chains as I don't want them too bumpy if I wear an untucked top over it (which is actually how I seem to wear it most often, as I feel a little self-conscious with a top tucked in). I actually changed out of the shoes shown below into sandals after I took the photos. This outfit was probably a little overdressed for my activities this day (going to the garden centre!), but hey, it's always better to be overdressed than underdressed...

Skirt: Me-Made / Necklace: Me-Made / Cardie: H&M / Top and belt: Primark / Shoes: M&S

Me-Made-June round-up: Days 16-18

Day 16: This evening was my husband's work summer garden party, at the boss's super swanky house by the lake. Unfortunately it rained like a monsoon nearly all evening, so we were huddled in the marquee. I also forgot to take a photo of my outfit there (I blame the vast quantities of champagne consumed), so this picture is a reconstruction from the following day (minus the vast quantities of champagne). I'm really pleased with this dress, I love it so much!

Dress: Me-Made / Jacket: Me-Made / Belt: eBay / Shoes: M&S / Earrings: Accessorise

Day 17: The mini-challenge on the Flickr group was a photo with a loved one. Mine was a slightly lateral take on the theme - a photo with my sewing machine! I do truly love it and all the happiness it's brought me - it's a Brother PS53 that was a Christmas present from my mum about 7 years ago.

Dress: Me-Made

Day 18: Lunch in Manor before doing a food shop (never a good idea to do the food shop when you're hungry...). The blue top is my second attempt at this pattern, and I'm still not entirely happy with it - the pleats saved the gaping neckline, but means it pulls funny at that shoulder. I think part of the gaping problem was caused by the clear elastic sitting weirdly, I don't think I'll use that next time... The twin stitching at one of the sleeve hems has also gone a bit weird after a couple of washes, and I've noticed a couple of small holes by it too. Next time I sew with this rayon slub jersey (I have some in several colours) I'm definitely going to stabilise more, use a smaller size needle, and maybe even try a stretch needle, rather than just a jersey ballpoint one.

Jacket: Me-Made / Top: Me-Made / Vest top: H&M / Jeans: Uniqlo / Shoes: Office / Necklace: La Mollla by Tiziana Redavid

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Me-Made-June, holiday edition: Days 12-15

So, Barcelona was fantastic (if far too brief a visit!). I went with my husband for our second wedding anniversary - we'd actually visited 9 or 10 years ago for our first holiday together, and we loved it. I'm pleased to say it was even better this time. I love how laid back but also how buzzy and young feeling the city is. However, I did discover I had forgotten nearly all the Spanish I used to know, and kept trying to speak to people in a random mixture of French and Italian...

Day 12: Off on holiday! Looking happy queuing to get on the plane at the departure gate. It's a great approach to Barcelona as you fly in - the flight path follows the coast down so you get to see a beautiful panorama of the entire city, beaches and port. That first evening we wandered out for some tapas then ended up in a jazz bar listening to a blues band (with an amazing harmonica player).

Skirt (not seen in photo): Me-Made / Necklace: Me-Made / Top: Uniqlo

Day 13: I love this dress, it's so comfy and pretty. I must make more like this. Today was our actual anniversary, and we had a very lazy and lovely relaxing day. Had a lie in, followed by a long lunch of tapas and sangria by the sea and an afternoon on the beach. Bliss. We also stumbled across lots of street parties with bands and dancers. We still don't know what they were celebrating, but figured it must be something to do with Pentecost...

Dress: Me-Made / Belt: Primark / Flowers: Accessorise / Beach towel: From a cheapy supermercat on the way, we forgot to pack ours

Day 14: A sightseeing day... Sagrada Familia in the morning, Fundació Joan Miró and the teleferic up Montjuïc in the afternoon, and dinner in a veggie restaurant in the evening. It was amazing revisiting Sagrada Familia after a decade and seeing how much the building had progressed. When we visited last, the glory facade was still a building site and that end of the nave was roofless and floorless. Now it is a proper consecrated building, and it is breathtaking. It's like being in a huge stone forest. There was a fascinating little exhibition in one of the side rooms about Gaudi's architectural use of natural and mathematical figures.

Day outfit. Dress: Me-Made / Scarf: Accessorise / Shoes: Bata

Evening outfit. Dress: Me-Made / Bracelet: Georg Jensen / Earrings: eBay

Day 15: Well the morning outfit was actually my swimsuit, as it was back on the beach for a couple of hours sunbathing before the flight back. Then a quick shower and stuff everything in the suitcase for the flight back to Geneva. This was the first time I've actually worn this shirt, and it does have a slightly annoying habit of the top part flapping closed, whereas I want it to keep open and wide at the neckline as it's much more flattering. I think some judicious steaming and pressing will have to be done.

Blouse: Me-Made / Jeans skirt: Me-Made / Shoes: Office / Wine: rosé

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Pattern review - mock wrap dress

Pattern description

Simplicity 2369. I made view A: Misses' dress with wrap-look front and raglan cap sleeves, with the long ties from views A/C.

Pattern sizing

Sizes 8-24. I cut the 18.

Fabric used

A slightly odd and springy cotton jersey with elastane that I bought online many years ago. It wasn't quite what I was expecting (much thicker and spongier than I thought!) and I wasn't particularly in love with it, but I wanted to make a test garment with this pattern, so used this stuff as it wouldn't be a loss if it was a wadder!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope when you were done?

Yep, pretty much.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yep, fairly straightforward although I did need to read them carefully for the attachment of the two fronts and the ties (I'd had it in my mind that the right front was attached at the left side, but it's not, rather it's closed with the tie slightly in front of the left side seam).

I'd had a look at the Pattern Review opinions on this, and there were many that said that there was a printing error in the instructions with one of the pieces reversed, but this seems to have been corrected. I also used (a modified version of) Trena's instructions for attaching the tie to the right front piece in order to enclose the seam allowances.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I like the half-wrap front, I think the pleats in the front piece into the ties is very flattering, not least because it covers a "tummy" very effectively. I also think the raglan sleeves are very cute, but I'm not convinced they suit me.

I have some issues with the sizing of this pattern, as usual for many "Big 4" patterns it had rather a lot of ease, especially as it's sized for knits. This wasn't a huge problem for me as I prefer looser fitting jersey clothes, but I will adjust for this if I make it again. The main front piece also seemed weirdly wide at the right hand side (I had to take it in by over 2"). I also thought the cap version of the sleeves were too big (i.e. too wide on the lower edge) - this might have been less of an issue with a softer, more drapey fabric, but with my fabric they were very sticky-uppy (wow, my vocabulary is not working today). You also need to extend the grainline on the cap sleeve pattern piece, as the printed on ends about an inch after the cutting line.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

I wanted the tie to extend around my back to keep my waist defined, so cut the long tie piece plus the back waist measurement, and caught it in the right side seam instead of the left one. I omitted the neck facing and just turned the edge and topstitched it with a twin needle. Ideally I would have added clear elastic, but I'm currently not on speaking terms with my clear elastic, so I added a snap at centre front to keep it from gaping.

I needed to take in the sides of the bodice by about 1cm on each piece (i.e. to the size smaller!) and could have taken in the waist even more. I took width out the sleeves at the underarm seam, tapering from 1cm (both back and front) at the underarm (to match the side seam) to about 2cm at the sleeve hem. This stopped the sleeves looking too ridiculous. The main front piece was also insanely wide, I took out 2.5-3" of width at the neckline edge/waist by simply taking a tuck next to the side seam - I didn't particularly fancy unpicking the serged seams, and figured it wouldn't particularly show as it's under the other side piece. One thing that's good is that I don't seem to need an FBA - I made this up as a test garment in part to see if this was needed. This is quite fortunate as I didn't really know how to add this to these pattern pieces!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I might sew this again, although a different view, either the tunic length view C, or another dress but with the longer sleeves from view C. I would recommend it to others, but with the caveats above.


I'm not entirely sure raglan sleeves suit me - because of the seamline, they tend to narrow my shoulders and make them appear less straight, which then can make my larger bottom half look slightly out of balance. I might experiment with some colour blocking and see how that looks. Having said that, I do like this dress, as a house dress and occasional summer casual dress.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Me-Made-June round-up: Days 8-11

Just a quick round-up for these days, as they're not terribly exciting outfits - I was saving my good stuff for holiday...

Day 8: Hanging around the house and running a couple of errands. I know the photo's a bit blurry, but I liked it, so I sort of vintaged it a bit to make it look like it was meant to be like that...

Skirt: Me-Made / Necklace: Me-Made / Top: H&M / Jacket: H&M / Shoes: M&S / Bag: Primark / Cat: Furry

Friday, 17 June 2011

Pattern review - Cowl neck jersey dress (plus a bit of Me-Made-June action)

Dress: Me-Made (reviewed below) / Belt: eBay / Earrings: Accessorise / Shoes: M&S / Jacket (also worn that evening, but not seen in this picture): Me-Made

I'm going to catch up on my Me-Made-June outfits with a couple of review posts - unless it's something new, then daily outfits aren't terribly interesting! However, this is actually the Me-Made outfit for 16 June, that I wore last night to my husband's work summer party - I unfortunately forgot to get a photo taken so had to recreate it this morning (well, actually this afternoon - it was a very good party).

Pattern description

Self-drafted casual dress, a modified version of a previous dress. Loose fitting with cowl neckline, elastic waist and side seam pockets.

Fabric used

Smooth jersey, I think it's probably polyester.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope/sketch/idea when you were done?

Pretty much, I think I was wanting the cowl to drape a little lower, but I'm happy with it as a first attempt at drafting and making one.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Quick to sew, and I think the cowl neck is flattering.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

The skirt is exactly the same as the previous dress. I took the extra length out of the bodice, and apart from that, the back bodice is identical to the previous dress. For the front bodice, I kept the dart excess in the shoulder area, but put in pleats instead of gathers. I then slashed and spread the bodice along three curves from the shoulder area to the centre front just above the bust point until the top line was at right angles to the centre line, and added a cut-on facing. The facing is caught in the shoulder seam (but doesn't have pleats in order to reduce bulk), and in the top of the armscye.

Construction details

Construction was pretty much the same as the previous jersey dress. I used narrower elastic on the waist (about 6mm I think), and made sure I trimmed enough from the armscyes before applying the binding. When I tried it on the cowl wasn't sitting quite right. I think one of the reasons was that it's cut on the straight grain rather than the bias (as it's jersey), but I was expecting this. I think the other reason is that the fabric isn't quite heavy or drapey enough, so I decided to add some weight to the bottom of the facing. I wanted to add some proper lead weights or chain, but couldn't find any, so added three metal buttons, which works pretty well.

Would you sew it again?

Entirely likely, but I will almost certainly be adapting it again - well, definitely, as I'm currently working on a dress with a lace overlay based on this bodice.


I'm very pleased with this dress and have already worn it several times. The combination of this fabric and style has meant it's a little dressier than I intended, but that's actually ended up being a good thing, as it's a perfect summer party dress, and can be made more or less dressy with choice of shoes, accessories and hairdo!

Sunday, 12 June 2011


I'll catch up with my me-made outfits towards the end of next week - I'm off to Barcelona in an hour and a half, to celebrate our second wedding anniversary :)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Pattern review - Wrap/vest thing (plus Me-Made-June: Day 7)

Wrap thing: Me-Made (reviewed below) / Skirt: Me-Made / Top: Primark

So today was a do stuff at home day, so a pretty casual look. (It was also meant to be a run some errands day, but then the thunderstorms started.)

Pattern description

Top j, view 1 from Unique clothes any way you like by Natsuno Hiraiwa. A crazy reversible sort of waistcoat thing that you can also wear either way up.

Pattern sizing

One size.

Fabric used

Yellow cotton interlock. I had in my mind a cute sunny bright wrap...

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope when you were done?

Erm, well the shape did, I'm not sure I pulled off the effortless Japanese sophistication though...

Were the instructions easy to follow?

They are in Japanese... There is a big picture of how it is sewn together though - and to be honest it's really really simple to put together. Like, just two pieces.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I like how the garment is such an interesting shape, both on and off the body. The pattern pieces were a bit tricky to trace - think BWOF style pattern sheets, but all in one colour... Just needs a bit of concentration so you're sure which line you want to trace. Once that's done, it's super quick to sew up. (Assuming you don't need to change thread colours in your serger and then miss that one thread isn't through the tensioner properly and spend 20mins trying to work out why it's not sewing properly. Ahem.)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

I left off the turned over hem and binding on the centre part, and just serged the edges - I was aiming for a funky graphic look. Unfortunately, with the choice of fabric, I instead ended up wearing a giant duster...

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I am going to sew this again, but using a different fabric, so I get more of the cool and less of the cleaning products. I also think I'll trace off view 2, which is slightly larger/wider, to get more of the drapey effects and tying ability as in the photos from the book. I would recommend this to others, as long as they're happy to go by pictures alone (or speak Japanese).


Well, I did actually just wear this out the house. With a coat over the top. I think this will be relegated to housewear though for the moment, until I can think of how I can salvage it. Maybe I might bind the edges or put some appliqués on it? I'm looking forward to sewing up a few other things from this book (and my other Japanese pattern books), although for some of them I'll need to do a bit of grading as the largest size given is about 2-3 dress sizes too small for me.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Yellow fabric necklace, plus Me-Made June: Day 6

So today I made a necklace, inspired by this tutorial. I wanted a few more Me-Made accessories, in case I can't keep up every day with the Me-Made clothes (like today...), so I made this necklace this afternoon - and I'm very pleased with it. It was pretty quick to make too. I used slightly bigger beads than in the tutorial so I needed to figure how much larger to make the pieces of fabric, but once that was done it took maybe an hour tops. I used quilting cotton to cover the beads, and it's strung on a black leather thong.

This Me-Made-June challenge is great for my productivity, I've been inspired to actually get going and make stuff rather than procrastinate, I'd like to say because I want to entertain the other MMJ-ers with lots of exciting clothes, but it's more that I get easily bored with clothes and don't want to wear virtually the same thing for most of the month!

I also have a couple of things happening this month that I want to have an appropriate wardrobe for - I'm going to Barcelona next week for a few days for my 2nd wedding anniversary (squee!) and the day we have back, my husband's work have their summer party. Basically, good excuses to sew dressy clothes :)

Necklace: Me-Made / Dress: Uniqlo / Belt: eBay (I think, it's old) / Shoes: Bata

I don't normally wear heels around the house! These are brand new and need breaking in, and as a bonus they went with this outfit.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Pattern review - Gardening apron (and Me-Made-June: Day 5)

Apron: Me-made / Top: H&M / Jeans: Uniqlo / Scarf: Accessorise / Courgettes: Migros

I've realised I need a few aprons for a while now after several messy episodes whilst cooking and gardening, but I refuse to buy them as they are so simple to make. So, at long last I've made one! This is (obviously) for gardening, I plan to make a full apron for cooking soon. This post is also Day 5 for Me-Made-June

Pattern description

Woman's Day, April 1951: "Ripply apron". Half-apron with contrast bias binding and triangular pocket. This is a free pattern.

Pattern sizing

One size.

Fabric used

Quilting cotton with a print of garden miscellanea by Robert Kaufmann. Bought a while back from eQuilter.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope when you were done?

Yep, pretty much, but in colour rather than black and white :)

Were the instructions easy to follow?

They're a little cryptic in places, but it's pretty straight forward to make up (although having said that, I was just looking at them again whilst getting the link to the pattern, and realised I think the waistband was meant to be sewn on the other way up...)

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

This is super quick to sew up - I drafted the pattern, cut and sewed it in less than an afternoon.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

As my bias binding wasn't terribly wide, I folded it in half and sewed that on, rather than actually binding the edges properly, so my mitred corners aren't perfect. As I mentioned above, I think I sewed on the waistband the wrong way up, but this made much more sense to me, as it adds length to the apron, which would otherwise be very short (although I guess it means it's a little less ripply at the centre).

If I did sew this again, I would definitely make the apron itself a bit larger, both widthwise and lengthwise - I forgot my waist doesn't quite equate to a 1950s waist measurement, so it doesn't wrap quite far enough at the sides of my waist (it's perfectly useable though!). I made it up with the pocket as designed, but I had my doubts about how practical this pocket would actually be. I tried it out with some gardening after I finished it, and I'm definitely going to take off this pocket and replace it with something deeper and a bit squarer.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I doubt I'll sew this particular pattern again, although maybe as a present. I would recommend it to others, but with the advice to widen the apron/waistband pieces at the centre, unless you are very slim.


A useful apron that's also a pretty fun shape - I will wear it whilst doing my gardening when I want to feel like a proper housewife! Ooh, and I've just remembered I need to go and sew one of my labels on this too.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Me-Made-June: Day 4

Not much to say about this outfit, was planning to wear a skirt I made years ago, but put it on and realised it desperately needed to be shortened about two inches (and adjusted at the waist), but wasn't in the mood to do any sewing, so changed!

Dress: Me-refashioned (Primark) / Slip: M&S / Brooches: eBay & Accessorise / Earrings: Gift from friend

This started life as a maxi-dress, but it was a bit narrow at the bottom hem to comfortably walk in, so I cut off the bottom ruffle, and re-sewed it at a shorter length. The part of the skirt that was chopped off became the matching tie belt. Unfortunately I chopped off rather too much, so it's now insanely short, hence the slip. I plan at some point to make a half slip to wear with this in black with a ruffle round the bottom, so it looks a bit more planned and less like I just couldn't find the right length slip...

When I was ironing the dress this morning I realised it's actually really badly made - for instance the ruffles on each side of the bodice are slightly different distances from the neckline. I know Primark is never going to be high quality (I bought this at a time when I didn't have much cash so I was limited in choice), but it's definitely still nice to be able to look at something and think "I could make that waaaay better."

This was worn today for running some errands and generally lounging around the house. It was pretty warm and muggy today, so wasn't up for doing much more than that (it's currently thunderstorming so hopefully will be a bit more comfortable tomorrow). Planning on doing some sewing tomorrow to expand my me-made options for the next few weeks...

And here's a bonus kitty photo!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Me-Made-June: Day 3

It's a bit sunnier and warmer today, so I can wear a dress, woo!

Dress: Me-made (self-drafted) / Necklace: Alexander McQueen / Hairband: off-cuts from this top (so I suppose technically me-made too) / Flowers: Accessorise / Belt: Primark

Not much to say about this outfit, other than after a spot of shopping (of the household kind unfortunately), and maybe some gardening, it'll be worn to drink cocktails with friends on our balcony (mojitos and caipirinhas are planned...)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Me-Made-June: Day 2

Second day, and I'm out and about!

It's a bank holiday here in Suisse today, so my husband's off work. We wanted to get out of town, so popped along to Lausanne and met up with some friends for lunch. I like Lausanne, it always seems a bit more happening than Geneva (I think maybe because it has a fairly substantial student/academic population from EPFL). There's also a couple of fabric/haberdashery shops there that I want to check out at some point (couldn't today as everything is shut on bank holidays!). It's very good for getting fit too as it's insanely hilly. We walked down to Ouchy and had an ice cream by the lake, and had a meander through the Olympic park (as demonstrated by the photo above). Shame it wasn't a nicer day - it was really windy, and very grey (so you couldn't see the mountains the other side of the lake), but also quite muggy. I don't think I really needed my coat!

So, on to the outfit:

Skirt: me-made (self-drafted) / Top: Uniqlo / Cardie: Primark / Necklace: Accessorise / Tights: H&M / Shoes: Office / Bag: Ted Baker

I've got a lot of wear out of this skirt, and for one of the first things I've properly drafted for myself, I'm super pleased with it. I think I might have to do a refashion on the cardie though - I've realised how sad the ribbing is looking. It's a cheapy Primark purchase, so it's not surprising that it's sagging a bit. I really like the main fabric, so I might chop off the ribbing and replace it with something else. Hmm, I'll have a think.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Me-Made-June: Day 1

Right, let's get this started...

Dress: New Look 6748 / Cardie: H&M / Leggings: Uniqlo / Necklace: Accessorise (maybe?) / Belt (although you can't actually see it): Primark / Feet: bare as I'm in all day today

So here's the first outfit for the month! Woo! I had been planning on another outfit, but it's suddenly turned bloody freezing (12˚C today according to the thermometer on my balcony compared to 28˚C on Sunday), and I've realised I have a limited amount of warm clothes, so this is what the outfit ended up as. Although it's still not warm enough!

This is a dress I made about 3 years ago and has been folded up at the back of a shelf for the last year until I did my inventory a couple of days ago. I'm not super happy with it, although it's not as bad as I remember. I think many of the things I didn't like about it I now know how to fix, so I might do a few adjustments on this (not least shortening it by at least 2"), and remake this pattern in a better fabric (I ordered this over the internet and it wasn't quite what I was expecting, it's almost a sort of swimsuit feeling fabric. But I liked the print so I used it anyway :)

Oh, I was also experimenting with hairstyles - I haven't had my haircut, but currently have a mock-bob...

It's supposed to warm up again in the next couple of days, so I'm looking forward to wearing more summery stuff soon!