Me Made May 2019 - the mid way point

'I, Shauni of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2019. I endeavour to wear full me made outfits (minus underwear and shoes!) for the duration of May 2019, and aim to 'dress the way I want to feel' throughout the month (i.e. confident, cool, bold, fun) rather than reaching for the same old safe choices.'

Week One - garments linked below if blogged!
1st - Fibre Mood Carmella, Named Reeta Shirt Dress and B6178 culotte jumpsuit hack
2nd - Trend Patterns TPC10 Wide Leg Flares, sleeveless Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck and Named Reeta Shirt hack
3rd- Papercut Patterns Fall Turtleneck and self drafted side split skirt
4th - Fibre Mood Carmella Jumpsuit and sleeveless Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck 
5th - Vintage Prima Magazine pattern trousers, True Bias Nikko Top, Ready to Sew Julien Jacket 

Week Two - garments linked below if blogged
8th - Trend Patterns TPC10 Wide Leg Flares, Papercut Patterns Fall Turtleneck, Papercut Patterns Waver Jacket
9th - True Bias Lander Pants, Pretty Mercerie Sayan Blouse, Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck
10th - Named Reeta Shirt hack, M7661 Trousers, Closet Case Patterns Nettie t-shirt
11th - Ralph Pink Sahara Shirt
12th - Ready to Sew Jazz/B6178 jumpsuit hack, Papercut Patterns Fall Turtleneck
13th - B6178 Culottes, True Bias Nikko Top
14th - Named Reeta Shirt hack, DP Studio Le 411 Skirt

Just a little belated look at the first two weeks of Me Made May, rather than saving it all up for one monster post at the end of the month... I've been pretty pleased with the variety in my outfits so far, though I did have a small crisis of confidence on the 11th/12th, owing to it being the weekend and having too much time time to chose what to wear! Other than that, the sun is shining, I've had a haircut, and Paris Sewcial is on the cards for week three!

Stay in touch!

Fibre Mood Wallys Wrap Blouse

When I said I didn't think I could resist this fabric I was obviously weak-willed and entirely right. It's a silk/cotton mix from Fabric Godmother in the very same snakeskin print as the cotton drill I used for my recent Julien Jacket. The opportunity to sew it up into something lovely arose when I was asked if I'd like to preview the patterns from Fibre Mood's latest Pattern Book (number 4, which is available now)! Having had success with their Carmella Jumpsuit and Tara Jumper, I was very much taken by and happy to try the new Wally's wrap blouse.

Wallys wrap blouse - worn not quite as intended
The Wallys is a long and fairly voluminous sleeved wrap around blouse that ties at the smallest point of the waist. I've been wearing my Sayan Blouse quite often, so I thought this would make for a similar, but slightly more relaxed and collarless alternative. What I didn't realise whilst making Wallys is just how versatile it might be to wear. It's worth pointing out that in most of these pictures I've twisted both sides together at the front and looped the ties round the back where they're knotted in a bow - probably my favourite way to wear it. Scroll down for pictures of it worn as intended!

Wallys line drawings
The pattern is available in PDF format, as well as being included in the pattern inserts in the back of the physical magazine - you can also view the instructions for free online before making it by logging into Fibre Mood. I was pleased to see that Fibre Mood layer their PDFs, meaning you can just select and print the size(s) that you want. The only thing that's a bit of a pain is having to add seam allowances, though it didn't take too long overall. I made up a size 40 (UK 12) based on my measurements, but in hindsight, would downsize to a 10 as the wrap style is quite easy-going in terms of fit.

I only bought 1.5m of this fabric as it was quite pricey, and miraculously managed to squeeze all of my pattern pieces out of it - the fabric requirements are given for each individual size: 185cm is the recommended amount for the size 40. I shortened my waist ties by about 25cm to fit them out of the fabric, but they're still plenty long enough!

The make was a breeze and the instructions are easy to follow. I free-styled the ties a little as the pattern wasn't quite clear, but I got in touch with Fibre Mood to check and I've since been informed that it's been updated - I love a responsive and helpful pattern company! Essentially you insert the two ties in between the front blouse and facing on each side.

Back view
Sleeve details and vintage buttons
I always dread cuffs and sleeve slits for no real reason, but these were really straightforward to construct. You'll notice a fair few tucks in the sleeves, which gives them quite a bit more 'puff' than I'm used to. Even though the fabric is soft and light, it holds the shape and volume of the sleeves really well. I never really caught onto the big sleeve trend, but maybe this is the garment that will help me embrace it?

Wrapped as intended!
Whilst it was a lovely make and is a really beautiful blouse on the hanger, there's something I can't quite put my finger on about this look as a whole. I'm wearing the Wallys with my DP Studio Le411 skirt in these pictures, but it's definitely going to take a bit more thought to style it and balance out the volume for day-to-day wear. The sudden burst of warm weather and my aversion to summer dressing might also be coming into play here - maybe I just need a bit of time (and more sun!) to get used to it...  What do you think?

Ways of wearing Wallys
Here are the ways of wearing Wallys that I've explored so far - definitely more options than I bargained for! I'm actually quite into it as a little throw-over summer layer like the middle picture, though I think I might need a summer holiday to make the most of this style! 

If you fancy making your own version of the Wallys blouse, or a whole collection of stylish/on trend garments (the Vienna Dress is on my list!) then I'd recommend picking up a Fibre Mood Pattern Book (you can do a digital browse of them here). I have numbers 1 and 2 and they're great value for money, as well as an aesthetic treat!

See some of the other patterns from the latest edition, made up and shared by makers as a part of Link Party #8

Stay in touch!

Happy half-decade blog!

As of today, I've been keeping this corner of the internet alive for half a decade - happy birthday blog! I wanted to mark this not-quite-momentous occasion with a small post, but the inspiration hasn't really struck me. What I can say is how proud I am that sewing has gone from my small-time hobby to a full blown lifestyle choice, and I'm glad I've stuck to writing about it for so long. I'm so very thankful to the people, pattern companies fellow sewists and sewing businesses who've supported this small personal venture of mine. The encouragement, advice and friendship I've been fortunate enough to receive over the years is more than I could have ever dreamed of when I started writing in 2014.

Pondering blogging, sewing, life...
Whilst blogs were rumoured to be on the out while mine was on the in, I still have the hope and stubborn belief that The Magnificent Thread will live on beyond and outside of scroll city and the Instagram algorithm/like circus. I still like reading long format reviews and I hope you do too! And audience aside, my own reviews have proven to be useful reference points for charting my evolving style, growing skill set, previous pattern iterations and notes for next time. This blog and my clothes have been my rather public diary for the past 5 years and long may it continue.

I've been pondering some of these things over the weekend wearing my latest make: the Vogue V9218 robe in View B. It's been nice to take a step back and invest my sewing time in something that's not for my wardrobe or any particular 'look', but entirely for me - a piece that almost no one would have ever seen until I went and put it on the internet (of course)! I'd definitely recommend a similar make if you need to press pause on your sewing plans and regroup.

I'll wind up this little stream of consciousness now by saying thank you again for taking the time to stop by my blog, whether that's been in the past, the present or maybe even in the future. If you're a fellow blog-advocate, I'd be grateful if you could let me know some of your favourites (and yours!) below so I can keep following and supporting as many as possible.

Lots of love,

Ready to Sew Julien Jacket

It's been a while, but I always love the opportunity to pattern test for Ready to Sew, and the Julien might be one of my favourites yet! The weather is just making a change for the better over here and the Julien Chore Jacket is the perfect spring layer to throw on with just about anything, apart from animal print in my case, as let's just say I went a bit... wild with my fabric choice!

The Ready to Sew Julien
Julien is a simple boxy jacket, inspired by vintage French workwear, with a few neat bits of detailing to keep things interesting, along with French seams and (my favourite) plenty of topstitching! It's not too dissimilar from the RTW styles you might see at Everlane, Toast or even Topshop at the minute. The sizing runs from 32-52 (it's the second Ready to Sew pattern available in an extended size range) and the pattern offers half sizes, along with links to extra tutorials on grading between sizes, lengthening or shortening, enlarging the sleeves and doing an FBA. 

Julien line drawings
My finished Julien!
My measurements set me between a 38 at the hips, 39 at the waist and a 40 at the bust, so not a huge difference on the sizing scale. I always love that Ready to Sew PDFs are layered, allowing you to just print the pattern lines for the size(s) you want to make. This would've made it really easy to grade if I wanted to, but I decided to go with a straight size 39, which has turned out to be a great fit.

There's a whole range of fabrics that would be suitable for Julien - everything from linen for a lighter more shirt-like look, to quite heavy denims for a more durable finish - but I think this might just be my defining moment in fabric selection. I'd planned to go for an on-trend khaki, until I came across this incredible snakeskin print cotton drill from Fabric Godmother and the make turned fully 'on safari'. (It's still available here and I can't tell you how tempted I am by the matching cotton and silk mix too)!
Yes - you may notice that I did change my tights halfway through picture taking!
I used just under 1.6m for the size 39 with a bit of shuffling to the cutting layout (the recommended fabric requirements are 1.85m for sizes 32-44 and 2.4m for sizes 45-52). I bought a 2m length of my fabric so I should have some enough left for some excellent #sewingleftovers - I think it's finally time to make that Fennel Fanny Pack!

The pattern is intermediate level, but I'd definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a challenge too. I found it really easy and enjoyable to make, particularly as it employs a simple approach to the construction of some ordinarily quite challenging elements of a jacket/shirt.

Back view
The back vent is constructed using a clever bit of folding, rather than being made up of multiple pattern pieces. The button placket and sleeve openings are also really simple to construct, and nowhere near as challenging as a regular shirt, yet still have every bit a professional finish, inside and out. The sleeve opening equally saves on pattern pieces, as you just use the seam allowances to create it, and it looks great!

Sleeve/cuff detailing
Pocket detail!
The jacket is unlined, but the inside finish is well considered too, with French seams employed for most edges. A lot of the seams are also topstitched, partly as a design feature, but also for extra durability. The only thing that's a shame about this particular fabric is that it's glowing white on the underside - I wish it was snakeskin print all the way through!

Neat inside and out!

The only thing I changed with mine was to interface the upper collar piece and the cuffs. The instructions don't suggest doing so (the interfacing is just for the button placket), and with a lot of heavier fabrics it's probably not needed, but I thought it would improve the structure of my jacket. Other than that, its spot on and I'd make it exactly the same next time.

Lovely Julien!
I can't recommend the Julien enough, and whilst it might take me a while to get round to it (I've had the Ready to Sew Joe Blazer queued up for about a year!) I'd definitely like to make another, probably in a plain block colour. Thanks to Raph for letting me test yet another fantastic pattern :)

For more inspiration check out #julienreadytosew
The Julien pattern is available now from here

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Fibre Mood Carmella Jumpsuit

I can be guilty of shying away from intricacies of shirt making, but when I go for it, I definitely don't do things by halves! I combined the opportunity to test some lovely fabric with putting my shirt sewing skills (and more) to the test for my first post as a part of the Minerva Crafts Maker Team!
Finished Fibre Mood Carmella Jumpsuit
You can read all about my experience sewing the Fibre Mood Carmella Jumpsuit over on the Minerva blog now! Check it out here.

Hope you like the finished thing as much as I do! Thanks Minerva Crafts for providing the fabric for this project.

Stay in touch!

Paper Theory Olya Shirt

Has it really been over a month since I last sat at the machine? Life (lots of the good bits and some of the not so good) just got in the way in February, so it was quite a challenge to get back to sewing, and the project I chose was a bit of a challenge in itself! Whilst I probably should've picked a make that would ease me back in, the Paper Theory Olya Shirt contains all the things that excite me about a pattern - precision, top stitching and insanely clever and unusual construction - and it was worth tackling!

Paper Theory Olya Shirt
Tara kindly sent me a PDF copy of the Olya after I posted Insta-musings of what I might make with this amazing fabric. It's rare that I buy a fabric without specific plans in mind, and maybe even rarer that I buy patterned fabric, but I was just so drawn to this very cheap (£2p/m) cotton/viscose/lurex woven mix when I saw it in Liverpool's Abakhan.

At first glance, the pattern could be mistaken for a fairly classic shirt, but inspect the line drawing more closely and you'll see some subtle quirks that make it quite the opposite - mainly the geometric cut of the front yoke and sleeve, and the fact that there's actually no front armhole! It's a crazy design that's quite hard to explain - I had to make it to understand it myself!

Olya Shirt and Shirt Dress line drawings

The construction notes are seriously thorough and quite refreshing in that they actually acknowledge the steps of the project that are challenging. This was a real reassurance when I did come into difficulty during the make, and I must stress that it was through no fault in instructions - this was just one of those projects where everything went wrong for me before it went right! There's also a super comprehensive online sewalong available here, which makes each step really clear.

Finished Olya!
The make throws you straight in at the first step with constructing the sleeve plackets. Despite accidentally sewing things the wrong way round, so my cuff opens the opposite way to what it's meant to, they're probably some of my finest plackets - they're just a little more awkward to fasten when wearing!

Backwards sleeve plackets

A full page of instructions is dedicated to producing the pockets that sit within the the seam joining the front yoke and body. I stupidly overlooked a step and sewed them in a funny way so I couldn't turn my pocket bags through properly. A quick bit of unpicking and a *proper* read of the instructions meant they were easy enough to fix!

Little flash of the very neat inside pocket
Topstitching the pockets down seemed to be more of a design feature so I opted not to as my fabric was already a bit fussy, but in hindsight, I think it would have been beneficial in holding everything neatly in place. I'm quite full busted so in this fairly fluid fabric, the pockets were destined to gape open over my boobs - not quite the 'eye-catching' look I intended! - so I've tacked them closed for now. I'm pretty confident they'll work out better in a plain and heavier fabric next time, with the addition of the topstitching and button closures.

Back view
The sleeve/yoke construction is really exciting to make. The pattern offers a full page of in-depth instructions on just creating the square corner that joins the front yoke/sleeve to the back body - something I was very grateful for because this is really some never-seen-before sewing stuff! The finished join creates a really cool silhouette and cleverly shapes the front - which I found to be quite accommodating for my bust.

Geometric seaming joining the back/arm/front yoke
Size wise, I sat in the middle of a 10 and a 12 for the bust and waist (smaller at the hips) but I opted for the size 10 based on the finished measurements and knowing that the style is a bit oversized. I like the fit of the 10 but think I think it would be equally great being slightly more oversized too.

I only spotted one thing to really watch out for... The shirt requires 11 buttons rather than the suggested 9 if you intend to use matching buttons for the pocket closures too! Luckily I didn't this time, but definitely something to be aware of for next!

It took a bit of effort to style the Olya in a way I felt comfortable with, and I now realise it's because I don't really have many (any?) proper shirts in my wardrobe - am I unconsciously identifying gaps now?! I think it has a real 70s vibe to it in these pictures (worn with Lander Pants), which I'm totally into, though I'm still undecided as to how I like it best, worn open as an extra layer, or buttoned closed... what do you think?

No way am I finished with this pattern just yet, especially now I've spotted a wardrobe gap to fill. I have a plain grey flannel lined up for version two, which I can definitely see becoming a layering staple - and a bit more in keeping with some of that Berlin style inspo I was gushing over last month. A block colour will be perfect for really showing off the cool style lines too. This time, let's see if I can get everything right...

Stay in touch!

I went to Berlin and all I got was more sewing inspiration...

A weekend in Berlin has left my head is spinning with ideas of the sewing variety - I knew it was only a matter of time before something threw off my seemingly good progress with my #2019makenine. The effortlessly cool style of the native Berlin crowd is truly something to be admired, whether out and about in the day, or enjoying the latest of late nightlife the city has to offer. Whilst making conscious plans to dress like a Berlin-er is the exact opposite of effortless and discounts all cool points, I can't help but want to draw inspiration from the city's style and impart it into my sewing.
Berlin style
So here are my Berlin basics. Loose ideas, some already in the works, some already there and some potential future sewing plans. Let's call it a 'thoughtful effortlessness' for those of us who it doesn't always come naturally to...

The trousers:
I never thought I'd wear flares again after the teenage discovery of skinny jeans, but now I'm talking about sewing a pair, who'd have thought it? After my success with the Trend Patterns Utility Trousers - which could also be pretty 'Berlin' in a more neutral fabric/colour - I'm encouraged to try out the TPC10 Wide Leg Flare. Other flares suggestions welcome!

Style notes: The coolest of casual looks paired black flares with DMs not too dissimilar to the ones below.
The trousers
To make: Trend Patterns Flares

The shoes:
Some things from the 90s should not have been resurrected in my opinion, including clompy Sketchers and Spice Girl shoes, but 'ugly trainers' are where it's at. I've never been a big trainer fan, but the shoe I definitely can do is also a Berlin staple: a solid Doc Marten Boot. I already have a pair like the ones below (the Jadon I think?) and always feel 10x cooler the minute I put them on.

Style notes: To wear with anything and everything (especially flares), day or night.

The shoes

The (bum) bag:
I'm torn by my interest in the bum bag - is it just too fashion?! Nevertheless, a modern-times version of the accessory of my childhood was on my #2019makenine in the form of the Fennel Fanny Pack, and across the body of every other young Berlin-er we saw.

Style notes: the bum bag is no longer just for bums or waists and should now be formally recognised in it's primary function as an 'under armpit bag'.

The bag
To make: Sarah Kirsten Fennel Fanny Pack

The coat:
Long, bold in silhouette, yet neutral in colour and design: the people of Berlin really do love an ankle-skimming, oversized jacket. Whilst I could always be tempted to make more jackets (I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to coat inspo) in this case, I think my Named Clothing Isla Trench is already pretty perfect. Now just to work on some toned down styling.

Style notes: to be worn open, and layered - Fall Turtlenecks and Paper Theory Olya Shirts could work!

The coat
To re-style: Isla Trench 

The shop (if I shopped):
My boyfriend said 'they're your kind of clothes' as we passed the window of the Corvera Vargas shop in Kreuzberg and he was absolutely right. I went in to admire them and spoke to one of the members of staff who told me that all garments were designed locally and produced in Poland using only production leftovers and remnants - my kind of brand! - with the aim of reducing waste from the fashion industry.

Corvera Vargas, Pflügerstraße 70, 12047 Berlin
I particularly liked their Tanger Jumpsuit, which I think draws some similarities to the Fibre Mood Carmella that I recently finished (coming soon to the Minerva Crafts Blog). There are definitely a few hacking opportunities to be had with this pattern in the future!

The Tanger Jumpsuit
So... fanny pack and flares... do you think it's a look?

We've been to Berlin before and will definitely go again - the fashion inspiration is just a fun aside to such a great city (which also has a Stoff & Stil if you needed any more encouragement)! But for now and before next time, it's back to sewing, with a few new plans. 

Stay in touch!

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