Sewing Leftovers: Reeta Shirts

I have a trio of totally game changing shirts to show you today, all made and worn aplenty during (Me Made) May - if you caught my round up posts then you'll have already seen them pop up a number of times. As ever, I realised my desperate lack of tops early on in the month, so whipped up my first cropped hack of the Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress with some #sewingleftovers. Then came another, also in leftovers, and finally a third version in fabric bought from Stoff & Stil on a recent trip to Berlin. It's a really easy, quick and versatile hack, and a new-to-me wardrobe staple.
Reeta Shirt in white crepe
Reeta Shirt in leftover suiting fabric from a recent project

Fabric: The white one is made of a leftover crepe/poly mix that's been in my stash for years and the black pinstripe version is a cheap suiting poly/viscose

Original garment made: The white fabric is leftover from a failed attempt at making something for someone else, and the pinstripe is leftover from my absolute fave M7661 trousers (I was given lots extra as it has a few faults to it)!

Leftover fabric amount: Just over 1m in both fabrics (this hack takes about 1m)

Sewing Leftovers make: Named Clothing Reeta Midi Shirt Dress, hacked into a cropped shirt

Leftovers-wise what did I learn?: Skip details to save on fabric - I left out the pockets and turn up on the sleeves. The back yoke can be cut as 2 separate pieces rather than on the fold if you're restricted by the length of your leftovers (I actually did this by accident for one of mine and it turned out fine)! I also learnt the great joy that having matching separates can bring to your life/wardrobe (scroll down for more on that)!

About the make:

White crepe Reeta with corduroy Landers
Funnily enough, I don't like my Reeta Shirt Dress and I hardly ever wear it. It's a combination of the length, sleeves and waist gathering that just don't sit quite right with me, which is pretty disappointing as it seems to look great on everyone else! After seeing a Reeta Shirt hack by @craftwerking, I was inspired to make more use of the pattern, and I'm really pleased that I've finally found a way to make the Reeta work for me!

My pattern was already cut out at a size 42 so I stuck with this. I could have downsized, but I opted to keep it bigger for a sort of boxy, oversized fit. To make it shirt length, I cut the pattern 3" below the waistline (marked out for the waist casing/gathering on the dress). Once hemmed, this is a pretty good length for me - let's say a 'gentle crop' - which can be worn loose or tucked in without too much bulk, depending on the mood/outfit. 

Back view of the white crepe version
Losing the length was obviously the big fabric saver for these shirts, but simplifying the sleeves also helped. I really dislike the longish turn up sleeves on my Reeta Dress - so much so that I recently cut them off to try and make it more wearable. The turn up is quite bulky when made in anything other than lightweight fabric, so it wouldn't have really worked with my mid-weight leftovers either. I cut the sleeves as long as I could, and hemmed them much shorter after trying on the nearly finished garment. I now know that I prefer the sleeves pretty short, so this should help to minimise waste at the point of cutting for future versions!

The original version worn over a Nettie top, with Landers and Doc sandals
Finally, I skipped the pockets as they're just too fussy for me, particularly on a boxy cropped shirt. Each finished shirt took around 1 metre of fabric, and could probably do it in slightly less with some thoughtful pattern tetris.

*I got a tripod, hence the funny angles of these pics!
If I find a pattern that I really like, I'll make repeat versions of it quite quickly. Perhaps this is down to the pattern being fresh in memory when I'm out fabric shopping. I've tried to limit my fabric shopping and concentrate more on my stash and leftovers recently, but as these two Reeta Shirts worked out so well (in cheap leftovers), I decided it was fine to treat myself to this beautiful Stoff & Stil wiggle print cotton for version 3.

Version 3, in wiggle print cotton
Worn with a particularly bold pair of B6178 culottes
And finally, I wanted to show you my favourite way of wearing my original Reeta Shirt hack - and the real reason that I made this shirt in leftovers. I've always wanted matching separates, but never had either the right length of fabric or motivation to make it happen. I'm over the moon that I've finally managed it with my matching Reeta Shirt and M7661 trousers. I guess I'm biased, but I think they make THE BEST faux jumpsuit around!

Reeta/M7661 faux jumpsuit
Reeta/M7661 faux jumpsuit
The cropped hack of the Named Clothing Reeta goes with pretty much everything. Though each shirt carries a slightly different quality - the white version is a bit more boxy as the fabric is thicker, the wiggle one is lighter and more summer-y - they all serve the purpose of filling a huge wardrobe gap. I couldn't recommend this simple hack more, particularly if you can squeeze it out of your #sewingleftovers.

Which version is your favourite?

Check out #sewingleftovers on Instagram for loads more inspiration!

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Sewing Leftovers: Community Inspiration!

Hi all! I'm seeing a real shift in makers working towards being more sustainable, and #sewingleftovers is just one small initiative amongst the many, so thanks to anyone who has shown interest and to those of you who have taken the time to join in! Speaking of those of you who've joined in, the response has been phenomenal with over 400 posts using #sewingleftovers shared on Instagram in the small amount of time it's been out in the world! I thought it was definitely time to do a round up based on some of the fantastic shares and suggestions offered up by the community, so here we go...

Links to all patterns and original posts can be found below
Of course, the patterns we choose for our leftovers can be limited or determined by the amount of fabric we have - leftovers can be anything from tiny scraps to huge chunks - but here are some of my favourite makes from patterns that work with limited lengths.

1. Marilla Walker Maya Top by @heritageninja
2. Workroom Social Tate Top  (FREE pattern!) by @ofchemists
3. Grainline Studio Willow Tank by @sixyardsunder
4. True Bias Lander Shorts by @craftwerking
5. Kitschy Coo Barrie Briefs by @susanna_and_katyarose
6. Named Clothing Inari Tee by @projekt.kleiderschrank
7. République du Chiffon Juliette Shirt by @mariasyrgrejer

Links to all patterns/original posts can be found below
I looked at uses of pleather in my last plans/inspiration post, mainly with bags in mind, so here are some more bags and accessories suited to different kinds of leftovers. Thanks to Sam and Natasha for recommending the perfect patterns to remedy my need for a circle bag - question is, which one do I try first?!

1. Circle handbag from Love Sewing Magazine issue 48 (recommended by Sam)
2. Noodlehead Wool and Wax Tote by @michelleofatime
3. Sarah Kirsten Fennel Fanny Pack by @wellfibre (and suggested by Craftwerk)
4. Kylie and the Machine Ida Clutch by me! (A shameless plug but I love it so much and it's getting so much use - you can see my blog post about it here)
5. Carolyn Friedlander Nest Egg Tote (recommended by Natasha)
6. Headband and tutorial to make your own by @thegirlwhomakes

Mix and match
Links to all patterns and original posts can be found below
Because we can't always have the perfect big chunk of fabric left at the end of each project! Here's some inspiration for trying to incorporate those smaller leftovers into a new make, and a bunch of patchwork patterns that will do the work for you!

1. Papercut Patterns Kyoto Tee hack by @sewuthinkucan
2. Ready to Sew Juliette Skirt by @io_e_carlotta
3. Pretty panelled top by @lejditea
4. Style Arc Quinn Woven Top by @cookinandcraftin - Meg wrote a great blog post on this make here
5. Melissa Watson for Palmer/Pletsch M7132 Patchwork Kimono Jacket Pattern
6 & 7. Blueprints for Sewing Geodesic Pullover and A Frame Skirt (recommneded by Barbara)

And if you needed any more inspiration:

Listen to Love to Sew Episode 42, 'Sustainability and Sewing Part 2' - #sewingleftovers gets a mention alongside tonnes of other community-sourced bits of wisdom, projects and inspiration! Thanks Helen and Caroline!

Watch Craftwerk explore sustainability in sewing practice and question 'who made my fabric?' and offer some great stash busting suggestions in her vlogs.

Check out these incredible patchwork jeans by @mariasyrgrejer. She beat me to making my own pair which I talked about in the last #sewingleftovers inspiration post and now I'm feeling truly inspired to crack on with mine!

Browse #sewingleftovers on Instagram for loads more inspiration!

Stay in touch!

Me Made May 2018 Round Up!

WE MADE IT (and I mean that in all senses)! I've been really dedicated with the daily photographs this Me Made May and I'm pleased to have a lasting record which shows not only what I wore and how I wore it, but also reflects upon such a full and exciting month. I've spent time in Berlin, Sheffield, Manchester, London and my home town of Leeds; made it to 2 music festivals, seen friends, family, and squeezed in work on the days in between (which has included everything from office days to interviewing, and school workshop delivery)! I'm exhausted, but so incredibly proud to see that my humble handmade wardrobe stands up to the test of my varied and busy lifestyle. Here's what I wore for the second half of May (the first half is here):

Week 3
15th  - Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress Hack, self drafted split-side skirt
16th - Ready to Sew Juliette Skirt, True Bias Nikko Top
17th - M7661 Trousers, Papercut Patterns Kyoto Tee
18th - True Bias Lander Pants, Closet Case Patterns Nettie Top, wrap top from vintage magazine pattern
19th - Papercut Patterns Kyoto Tee (without the ruffle), self drafted skirt
20th - Afternoon Fern Shorts, Named Clothing Reera Shirt Dress Hack
21st - Newly adjusted trousers from vintage magazine pattern, Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck, Just Patterns Linda Wrap Dress (worn as jacket)

Week 4
22nd - NEW Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress hack, True Bias Lander Pants
23rd - B6178 Culottes, Papercut Patterns Kyoto Tee (without the ruffle)
24th - Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress hack, M7661 Trousers
25th - Papercut Patterns Waver Jacket, Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck, New Look 6459 Trousers
26th - NEW True Bias Lander Pants, Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress hack
27th - True Bias Lander Pants, Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress hack, Kylie & the Machine Ida Clutch
28th - Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress

And, the final few days...
29th - Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress hack, True Bias Lander Pants
30th - Named Clothing Inari Tee Dress hack, Closet Case Patterns Nettie Top
31st - Adjusted trousers from vintage magazine pattern, Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck

I introduced a few new items in the second half of May that are yet to be blogged, but already in good rotation, filling some of the gaps I noticed in the first half of the month. The Reeta Shirt Dress hacked tops and my newly fitting Lander Pants, along with my M7661 Trousers,  have been my absolute staples this month. I had feared that everything was becoming a bit repetitive in the second half of the May, but someone kindly told me to consider this a 'signature style' rather than call out my outfit choices as 'same-y'. Thanks for such wisdom - the future of my wardrobe looks bright and coherent!

And the real win to come out of my 'same-y' outfit crisis, is the nudge it gave me to address some much needed adjusting/fixing/salvaging. I adjusted and got wear our of two pairs of trousers and hacked my Reeta Shirt Dress into a silhouette that feels much more wearable for me!

Whilst I'm ready to break from the daily selfies and social media scrolling (I'm sure my boyfriend and friends will welcome this too), I have no burning desire to jump back into any RTW. It's handmade all the way, and I can see a fair bit of thought going into how I might step up my pledge for 2019... Thanks Zoe for organising a wonderful community event once again! S!ee you next year Me Made May-ers!

Stay in touch!

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!

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