I Declare Me-Made-May a Success

Since it is now June, Me-Made-May is officially over and I can happily report that I completed my challenge successfully; I managed to wear at least one handmade item 3 days per week (not including loungewear/sleepwear of which some is also me-made). I actually ended up exceeding that slightly since May has one long weekend so I wore 4 days of me-made that week. As I’ve said before I have to wear “professional” attire during the week for work (except Friday which is casual Friday), and since I have no desire to make that type of clothing; I wear all RTW and Me-Made-May did not change my attitude there. During Me-Made-May I discovered that I really need to sew more cardigans (any pattern suggestions anyone?), more skirts, and more comfortably fitting dresses. I guess I will need to get to revising my to-sew list.

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Me Made May 2015

Well, last year I decided to pass on Me Made May since I certainly didn’t have enough wearable Me-Mades, and this year I was pretty undecided, but I think I am just going to do it. I think it will help me see more clearly what I wear that I have made and help steer me towards better pattern/fabric selections in the future.

So here goes, “I Megan of Smeebot Sews pledge to wear one handmade item 3 times per week during the month of May.”

Well I guess we’ll see how this goes.

The Not So Basic Delphine

Tada!

Tada!

Back not bad except for a bit of bunching/pooling when the waist sags

Back not bad except for a bit of bunching/pooling when the waist sags

Cookie!

Cookie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I recently said to myself that I should sew more basics as I frequently have a hard time picking outfits since everything I own is either a pattern or a bright color. I have to say that this sewing project is a major fail on that front. While the Delphine skirt from Love at First Stitch would make a great basic skirt, the fabric I chose is anything but basic. I saw this Kayo Horaguchi canvas fabric at the Sew LA birthday party and thought that it would make a cute Delphine. The first time I made this pattern I made a size 0, but it was a bit snug and had to take it out a little at the zipper seam. This time I made the size 2, but this time it was way too big in the waist. Poo. I ended up taking the skirt in 1/2″ on each side at the back seam. The fit turned out pretty good and the fabric is as amazingly crazy as I had anticipated. Now I just need something basic on top to wear with this skirt.

Front

Front

Back

Back

Hand stitched waist

Hand stitched waist

Hand stitched Hem

Hand stitched Hem

 

Copycat Out and About Dresses

Version # 1 – Sleeves
I downloaded the Out and About dress by Sew Caroline in the midst of my Moneta fitting troubles as I was curious to see if the top would fit me better because the XS has a smaller bust measurement. I decided to use some feather print jersey from Girl Charlee which is actually the same fabric the dress is shown in on the pattern except in a different colorway; call me a copycat, but after having issues with not enough stretch in the shoulders in my Moneta I figured couldn’t go wront using the same fabric the pattern maker used for the dress.I opted to make the half-sleeve knee length skirt version. I actually cut the dress out at the same time I cut out my gray horse Coppelia and Anima pants, but I just couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to sew up the dress (I think this feeling was coming how unhappy I was with my Moneta). Well this weekend the bf was out of town and since this was my last cut out project I figured I better sew it up so I could start cutting out new projects. The construction of the dress was pretty familiar now that I have sewn up a few t-shirts. I made no changes to the pattern except that I used clear elastic to stabilize the shoulder seems and I sewed a 1.5″ hem because I thought the dress was a bit long on me with the 1″ hem. I also decided to fold the cuff up all the way instead of .5″ because the sleeve was hitting me in a funny spot. The only trouble I had constructing the dress was sewing the gathered waist to the top neatly. My gathers ended up looking funny/smooshed on one side so I unpicked them and re-sewed only to realize I caught some extra fabric, so I took it out and did it again. My gathers still don’t look great, but I can live with it.  Overall I am pretty happy with the dress. It is a bit tight in the shoulders when I go to pull it off, but the fit of the top is so much better than my Moneta.

Out and about dress #1

Out and about dress #1

 

Out and about dress with sleeves

Out and about dress with sleeves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Version # 2- Sleeveless
I made a second Out and About dress, but this time opted to make the sleeveless version using the tutorial on Caroline’s blog. I used a jersey in the briar rose print by Heather Ross; so again I have copied Caroline, because this is the fabric used in the instructions for the Out and About dress. What can I say? I wanted to do the dress in a cute print for summer and I had enough of this fabric in my stash already.
The dress came together pretty easily, I sewed the dress in a day. This time I gathered the skirt panels on my serger. It was my first time using this technique and it was awesome! I also tried to attach some elastic at the waist to make the seam stretchier for when pulling the dress on and off, but I am not sure how well this worked. In order to make the dress sleeveless, I trimmed off 1/2″ from each side of the front and back bodice and used the arm bindings pattern pieces that Caroline has on her tutorial.The end result is pretty cute and comfy. I think I should have lowered the arm cycle because the sleeve cuts into my armpit, but oh well, next time I guess.

Sleeveless out and about dress

Sleeveless out and about dress

Papercut Patters Coppelia Wrap – Take 2

Coppelia wrap #2

Coppelia wrap #2

I am determined to make this sweater fit, so after my cotton jersey version with no alterations, except for tightening the neckband, I tried on the sweater and pinched out some fabric under the arms and in the side. I then got out my traced pattern and adjusted the pattern to take out about an inch from each side of the underarm and an inch on each side. Additionally I lengthened my sleeves by an inch (I like long sleeves). For this version I choose a knit from Girl Charlee that is much more like a sweater knit (it has a looser weave to it?) and I figured it would have a much looser fit than the cotton jersey, so when I sewed the sleeves to the front and back pieces I used a 5/8″ seam allowance instead of the 1cm. When I pinned the sweater sides together it ended up looking a little roomy still so I also took in used a larger seam allowance at the underarm.  Then I took 3″ off each side of the neckband to get a tighter fit.

Hmm...maybe I should lengthen it a bit

Hmm…maybe I should lengthen it a bit

The results are still not perfect. I did get a tighter fit, but it is still too big in the bust area and I am getting some wrinkling at the top. It is also now noticeably large in the back, the fit of the back didn’t seam bad in the last one because it was so big overall. I think for next time I will try to adjust the front of the pattern using Madalynne’s instructions (http://www.madalynne.com/pattern-correction-raglan-seams) in addition to taking it in in the sides/underarm, and I think I will try taking the back in a bit. I swear i will make this pattern work for me!
The fit in the arms is much better now

The fit in the arms is much better now

Birds and Bees Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

During the summer I love wearing long flowy skirts and recently finished the Sewaholic Gabriola and thought that another skirt would be just the thing. I also personally find skirts so much easier to make because I don’t have the same fitting issues that I do when making a dress (because my bottom is actually a normal size that one might find on a pattern :P). I picked out the Cascade skirt by Megan Nielsen, because it looked like it would be perfect easy flowy summer skirt. After my disastrous issues with cutting rayon challis I figured I would give voile a try and ended up getting 3 yards of Tula Pink’s birds and the bees print in yellow.

Birds and the Bees Cascade skirt

Birds and the Bees Cascade skirt

I cut out an XS and I have to say that cutting out voile was a breeze, pretty much just as easy as quilting cotton. I did have an issue finding a space big enough to cut out all of those giant pattern pieces. I tried pinning on the floor then moving to my table…it was an interesting process. The pattern calls for french seams since the skirt is hi-low and you can see the back seams from the front. I had never done french seams before, but found them to be really easy. This was also my first time using a rolled hem foot. I looked up a bunch of tutorials and had trouble figuring out exactly how I was supposed to hold the fabric, but ended up watching a pretty good video on YouTube so I could actually see what was going on. I have to say that the rolled hem did not come out perfectly (not even close), but it doesn’t look too bad. I also used my machine to make a button hole for the first time! It was surprisingly easy; yay automatic buttonhole! I definitely should have made the buttonhole further away from the edge though as I need to pull too much of the skirt out the button hole in order to make the skirt fit tight, I guess I can just add another buttonhole.

From the back

From the back

Mullet skirt ... party in the front, business in back?

Mullet skirt … party in the front, business in back?

(Pardon the terrible pictures, I am terrible in front of the camera and my “photographer” never warns me when he is taking the picture).  My final thoughts on the skirt are that I will definitely need to add something to the skirt to keep it from flying open, because when the breeze was blowing the skirt did want to fly open (Megan gives directions on her blog for adding ties or elastic just for this purpose) and that I am not entirely happy with my fabric choice. I was so happy when this fabric arrived, loving the bright colors and fun print, but wearing the skirt I feel like the color palette is just not me. Oh well, I will still wear it and I think I may try the skirt again, but in another color.

Papercut Patterns Coppelia Cardigan

Coppelia Cardigan

Coppelia Cardigan

I saw this sweater on someone’s Instagram during Me Made May and fell in love instantly. I did ballet growing up and adored this ballet pink wrap sweater that I wore to class all the time, it was seriously the best fitting sweater I ever had and seeing the Coppelia brought back some nostalgic ballerina dreams. So when I stopped by the Fabric Store the other weekend and saw they had the Coppelia pattern I snatched it up along with some lovely forest green merino. I have been super excited to sew this up, but after seeing some reviews of the pattern I figured the pattern was not going to fit me very well (hello tiny chest) and decided to try a test version out of a cheaper cotton jersey.

I found the construction of the cardigan to be pretty easy and the directions were pretty clear, except for the step where you attach the neckband to the sweater, I didn’t realize you had to attach it all the way past the bottom of the sweater so then neckband would get caught in the waist tie, whoops. Also, putting on the cuffs last was a bit of a pain because it is hard to sew in such a small circle, but it does make for a nice clean finish.

 

Hmm...a bit large and bunchy....

Hmm…a bit large and bunchy….

Bat wings anyone?

Bat wings anyone?

Overall the fit isn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be especially since it is a wrap style and I can just pull it tighter. The neckband is definitely not tight enough, it sticks out a lot at the stop, the sleeves are really big at the top, the front is a bit large, and the sleeves could be a bit longer. I guess I need to make some tweaks for when I sew this up in my merino, but since I have never sewn a wrap style or raglan sleeves I am not 100% sure how I am supposed to adjust the fit. Any suggestions?