Mid way through MMMay18

I wasn't going to do a progress update on my Me Made May efforts, but I've found myself referring to last year's regularly for inspiration when I've been feeling a bit stuck. Whilst a lot of my clothes are different this May due to my measurements changing, something that is also noticeable in comparison with last year are the changes in how I'm choosing to dress. I feel like I might really be homing in on a solid sense of personal style! Here's what I've worn so far (blog post linked where item has been blogged):

Week 1
1st - True Bias Lander Pants, Papercut Patterns Kyoto Tee (without the ruffle) over a Closet Case Patterns Nettie Top, Kylie & the Machine Ida Clutch
2nd - Closet Case Patterns Nettie Dress
3rd - M7661 Trousers, Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck hack
4th - B6178 Culottes, Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck
5th - Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress hack, Ready to Sew Juliette skirt
6th - M7661 trousers, Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress hack (faux jumpsuit-ing) Kylie & the Machine Ida Clutch
7th - Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck hack, Ready to Sew Juliette Skirt, Kylie & the Machine Ida Clutch

I started the month out in Berlin and had the whole week off, so whilst I was busy with social plans, I could have a fairly relaxed approach to putting my outfits together. Days 5-7 are a bit same-y, but mark my 'travelling light' capsule wardrobe for covering 3 different cities in 3 days with just a tote bag in tow - friends, festivals, fun!

Most proud of...

Saving old me-mades! Photo by and backdrop courtesy of Emma (potyertitsawayluv)
Day 6 might have been my favourite outfit of the week (more on that in a future #sewingleftovers post), but day 4 is defintiely one worth pointing out. I'd resigned myself to the fact that these B6178 culottes were too big and heading for the recycling, but the strong pull to wear them for Me Made May and some elastic in the waistband has rescued them! I'm thrilled as they're my favourite pair of culottes, and whilst I'll make future versions of this pattern in a smaller size, I could totally get used to the snug-with-some-elastic-ease fit at the waist. I'm hoping to salvage a few more pairs of trousers in a similar way throughout the month.

Week 2
8th - Sew DIY Nita Wrap Skirt hack, Papercut Patterns Kyoto Tee (without the ruffle)
9th - Trend Patterns Frilled Hem Top, GBSB Casual Trouser hack
10th - True Bias Lander Pant, Closet Case Patterns Nettie Top, Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress hack
11th - Named Clothing Isla Trench Coat, M7661 trousers, Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck hack
12th - True Bias Nikko Dress, Radiant Home Studio Retro Rucksack
13th - B6178 Culottes, Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress hack
14th - Ready to Sew Jazz Jumpsuit, Closet Case Patterns Nettie Top

Back at work for week 2, and the weather was surprisingly warm by UK standards. We're luckily on the casual side of smart-casual,  but I did have a mild panic about having to look 'smart' for work on day 11. I threw some posher shoes on and it sort of worked, but that's a definite wardrobe gap identified.

The one I wish I'd got a better picture of...

Latest make and current fave!
My Me Made May is turning into the 'how do I wear this shirt nearly every day, without people noticing I wear it nearly every day?' challenge. True to form, my latest make is my favourite make and this experimental-for-me outfit incorporating the Reeta Shirt Dress hack is one of the best things to come out of my MMMay-ing so far! I'd wear the same all month if I could/if it wasn't exposed via the daily selfies. From June onwards, it's all about repeat wear, don't care!

To be continued on June 1st!

Stay in touch!

Rag Rich: Ready to Sew Jazz Jumpsuit on holiday

I can't believe this fabric could have ever been considered a 'rag'. Perhaps it wasn't quite to the seller's taste? Whatever the reason, I'm thankful that it made it's way to the Spring Hebden Bridge Rag Market, and that no one else swiped it up before me, as it's made for the perfect Ready to Sew Jazz Jumpsuit!

Ready to Sew Jazz
I've made up the jumpsuit version of the Jazz (it can also be made as a dress or playsuit) a couple of times, first as a tester with a similar cotton-mix fabric and the second time in a slightly more luxurious crepe - essentially anything with a nice drape works well! When I saw that the weather was going to be nice in Berlin the week before we went, it called for a bit of emergency summer sewing. I was between making the Jazz and the In the Folds Peppermint Jumpsuit in this fabric, but I was sort of lazy in going with the TNT pattern in the end. (I'd love to hear people's thoughts on the Peppermint Jumpsuit though! What are those bust darts like for those of you who are a bit fuller chested)?

On holiday in a much sunnier Berlin
I'm not really a fan of holiday panic-sewing, but the Jazz is a fun and fairly quick to make project, and based on the others in my wardrobe, I knew I'd get good wear out of it through the summer. I haven't got much to say about the construction that I didn't already say the first time around. I always have a great experience sewing up Ready to Sew patterns and the Jazz is no exception.

Back view, with a slightly closer fit
The only change I made this time was in my sizing. Whilst the Jazz isn't particularly fitted, my previous two look just a bit too oversized now, so I dropped a couple of sizes to a 38. The fit is still comfortable and roomy, but without as much excess fabric, particularly in the bodice and around the waist, which I like to wear belted in anyway.


I'm glad I managed to make use of this amazing fabric straight away rather than it languishing in the stash forever. The print and colour of it make this Jazz a little bit bolder than I'd usually go, but in a good way (I think?) and it was definitely the stand-out piece in my holiday wardrobe! I had the added 'pressure' of beginning Me Made May from on holiday this year, but it wasn't too difficult as the only RTW thing packed was the yellow shirt in the picture below.

A mostly handmade holiday wardrobe!
We had a lovely break filled with nice (mostly vegan) food, drinks and a big street party to celebrate May Day. Of course I had to Google 'fabric shops in Berlin' and was pleasantly surprised with how many popped up on the map - making an even better destination for a sewer on a city break! I dragged us to a Stoff & Stil, which was pretty exciting as I've only ever bought from them online before. I was actually overwhelmed with choice, so only came away with one piece of double gauze (which is cut and ready to become a shirt very soon), but it was great to see their fabric quality is as good as the designs across the board! It definitely gives me more confidence in ordering online with them in future.

We'll definitely be going back to Berlin - probably with a Jazz jumpsuit in tow should the weather permit! Are there any other fabric shopping spots I should look out for next time?

Stay in touch!


Sewing Leftovers: Ida Clutch Bag

Thanks to everyone who's embraced Sewing Leftovers so far! The inspiration pool is growing rapidly and as a result, I think I have more ideas than leftovers at the minute (if only I had more time)! My personal leftover sewing has been coming along very slowly, but mindfully, making only the things I need, slotted in between other projects. My last few big projects didn't even generate any leftovers and part of me wonders if I'm making a subconscious transition into the world of buying the correct yardage... we'll see how that goes.

Ida Clutch
In the first in a series of inspiration posts, I looked at some ideas for using leftover pleather, particularly with bag making in mind. I always say I'm not much of a bag maker, but I have made a fair few Retro Rucksacks and I have a box full of hardware from a slightly too enthusiastic leap into leather work - an ambition/dream that I never quite fulfilled - so it makes sense to incorporate these bits into sewing projects where possible.

Minimal fabric requirements for the Ida

Fabric: Deep red textured faux-leather from Samuel Taylors, Leeds (though this in 'wine' from Minerva looks v similar), plus leftover printed cotton for the lining.

Original garment made: Ready to Sew Juliette Skirt

Leftover fabric amount: Not lots, but a decent chunk actually, considering the Juliette Skirt can be made from just 1m (a fine Leftovers project in itself)!

Sewing Leftovers make: A slightly modified Ida Clutch (FREE pattern by Kylie and the Machine)

Leftovers-wise what did I learn? You can get away with some weird and wonderful pattern placement on most pleathers. I could have definitely scaled up the pattern with the amount of fabric I had and might even be able to squeeze another Ida out of my leftovers' leftovers, or failing that, at least a micro version. I'm going to have a play with the printer scaling...


About the make:

I made 4 Ida Clutch bags for gifts at Christmas, but still hadn't got around to making one for myself. The pattern really is a quick and hugely satisfying make. The instructions are all online and heavy with photographs to guide you through each step, which helps the maker to feel super comfortable with bag sewing - even if it's not really their 'bag'.

Strap hack
I made a slightly hacked version so my Ida could be converted to a super wearable cross-body bag, and I'm really pleased with the outcome. I skipped the press stud fastening and basted tabs with small D rings to my outer (positioning shown on the picture above) before sewing the whole clutch together. I had some offcut strips of suede that were the perfect width and weight for a bag strap, so I riveted these to bag clips to make my detachable handle.

Strap/rivet detail
I left a little extra room for seam allowance at the top and bottom of the zip, meaning it was easier for my machine foot to pass along side the zip when stitching the bag together. I'd definitely do this again as this version (and particularly the zip) has turned out to be my best yet!

What else does it go with?

Out in Berlin on May Day!
Can you believe my giant purse fits in it?!
Whilst this Ida obviously matches my Juliette Skirt, I think it goes with pretty much anything. It accompanied me on a trip to Berlin and round a festival last week, and is the perfect size for fitting all of my essentials (including my monster-size purse)! Also, I NEVER thought I'd say this, but after the trip to Berlin, I think I need a bum bag in my life - literally all the cool kids had one. The Fennel Fanny Pack is  high up on my #sewingleftovers radar.

Whenever I have the leftovers and hardware spare, I'll be making more Ida's - whether they're gifted or kept for myself is another question...!


Speaking of gifting! Have you seen that @cottonreelstudio and @jenlegg4 are running the #ogdenidaswap? The True Bias Ogden Cami and the Kylie and the Machine Ida Clutch are two perfectly suited patterns for #sewingleftovers and the exchange is a great way to try them both out whilst giving/receiving a beautiful gift at the same time! For full details, a discount code for the Ogden and to sign up, head here!

Happy #sewingleftovers everyone! Be sure to use and check the hashtag for inspiration!


Stay in touch!


M7661 Trousers

Having made a soft start at the Curated Closet process - i.e. I've only got as far as making a Pinterest board - I realised that I really only want to wear trousers, something that isn't quite reflected in my wardrobe. I finally got the Lander Pants to fit on my 4th attempt (more on these soon!) so I needed a bit of respite with a trouser pattern that was hopefully a little easier to fit. I chose the M7661 pattern as a prize for winning star make on The Fold Line, and the pair I've made have fast become my go-to bottoms!
New favourite trousers!!
The pattern offers 4 variations on the high-waisted, wide-legged culotte/trouser, with a concealed zip fastening at the back and a tie or belt at the waist. All versions have pockets and a generous amount of gathering around the front, which is surprisingly flattering and relaxed enough to accommodate a fair sized food baby. I cut View A with the leg length of View B, but I ended up hemming them at around A's length anyway.
McCall's M7661 pattern
Texture/detail of fabric up close
I used this stripe poly/viscose with a slight stretch to it. It's only a cheap suiting fabric, but I thought it would be good for testing out the pattern before committing to something more expensive. I was keen to make the most out of the contrasting side panel using the fabric I had, so I cut mine out on the cross grain to make the stripes horizontal (these panels would also be a good use of long, thin #sewingleftovers)! I'd say they've turned out part Pirates of the Caribbean/part Vivienne Westwood which I'm totally ok with! For future pairs, I'll be looking towards the Orageuse Patterns Bruges trousers for inspiration - the red stripe on their sample pair looks amazing.

Showing off that side panel!
Pocket placement appreciation
The inseam pockets that sit along the front of the contrast strip are roomy and feel really perfectly placed, whilst the contrast panel is more visible from the back, which I think that makes the design of the trousers all the more interesting. The waist ties are sewn into the side seams of the waistband and are more decorative than anything, though I imagine they could easily be switched to a full belt depending on personal preference. I made the size 12 and the fit is just about perfect apart from a tiny bit of excess in the front waist, so the belt does help to pull this in, almost creating a paper-bag effect with the depth of the waistband.

Back view (excuse my extreme paleness)
The finished trousers feel both smart and relaxed to wear. The tiny bit of stretch in the fabric, paired with the deep and high-sitting waistband make them the ultimate comfort bottoms. I'll definitely be using this pattern again, and I think View C might become my new go-to culotte pattern (sorry Butterick 6178 - it's time to switch it up)!

Thanks Chris for photo-taking!
The fabric had some slight faults in it, so Lucky Fashions (in Dewsbury) cut me loads more than needed. I see some definite #sewingleftovers coming up! There's about 1.5m left, so I'm thinking a matching top for the faux-jumpsuit/mix and match separates look, but I'm not sure which pattern would be best. Something without too much volume that can be easily tucked in would work well - if you have any suggestions, please send them my way!!

Stay in touch!

Body confidence and 'braving' the Nikko Dress

As someone who's barely worn a t-shirt since being a teenager, I've been finding it difficult to judge what knits will sit well on the body and which ones are the best to work with for each project. I remember the horrors of clinging high street knits all too well, so I want to get it right as I amp up my sewing with stretch. After making the True Bias Nikko Top (in a slightly too stretchy rib knit - see here) and seeing the amazing fit Kate from The Fold Line achieved with hers in grey, I decided imitation (*cough* outright copying) was a sure fire way to get it right.

True Bias Nikko Dress
I used the exact grey marl viscose jersey from Fabrics Galore that Kate used for hers. If it hadn't been for the recommendation, I would have probably let it pass me by, thinking it was too lightweight for a project like this. When it arrived, I was still worried that the fabric was too light and also slightly see through when held up, but I went with it in the effort of honing my not-quite-there-yet jersey-judgement, and it worked!

In sunny Hebden Bridge-post Rag Market
The Nikko dress has a slightly more relaxed fit from the waist down, which I didn't think would be the most flattering fit for me, so I made some slight adjustments to get a closer fit at the waist. I cut a size 6 at the neckline and bust, grading down to a 2 at the waist and out to a 4 at the hips. I also took the split seams and hem up by 3" (I'm 5ft 6" for reference, so this is a long dress). Just like the top, it's a very quick and easy make and the instructions are easy to follow.


Whilst my Nikko Dress has turned out close fitting in the way I intended it to be, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little self conscious when wearing it. The fabric is spot on, if not a little clingy, and using plain grey has made for an unintentionally bold finish. From some angles I feel totally statuesque, and from others... more like the fifth (grey) teletubby. I definitely like the finished dress more than not though and really want to get wear out of it, so I guess I've got no option other than to try and own it.

Less into this angle...
Wearing it with a slip does reduce some of the cling and skims the underwear lines a bit. I also think I might feel a bit more comfortable by breaking the block colour up. I had a black leather jacket on before taking these pictures and felt great, so I think I might just need to wear something over the top, like a loose button up shirt (actually that's a good excuse to make one - I'm thinking khaki will fit in nicely with the rest of my wardrobe)!

Thanks Mum for patiently waiting for the walkers and cyclists to pass to take these
I'm not an un-body confident sort of person, but it is a dress that I feel like I need to 'brave' to an extent. It's quite difficult putting yourself/body out there in a silhouette you're not quite used to - even if the only person who really knows it or cares is you. It is a lovely pattern, so I am determined to integrate the Nikko into my wardrobe, to the point where I don't have to feel brave to put it on. Points if you spot me, head held high looking positively statuesque in my big grey Nikko!


Has anyone else had similar feelings about 'braving' wearing certain garments?

Stay in touch!


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