Category Archives: Me Made May

A Sketch Journal: MMM Days 25–31

Wrapping up  Me Made May :

Me Made May Days 25 through 31

One of these things is not like the others…

  1. Vintage McCall’s 5079 – repeat.
  2. Pyjamas – made years ago as casual summer pants out of cotton gauze. Now faded and comfy, they only see the dark of night.
  3. This looks like a chair.
  4. There were two of them.
  5. Wrap skirt McCall’s 5430 – repeat.
  6. Another McCall’s 5430 – this one out of a rayon batik.
  7. Butterick 4461 – embroidered linen from hell.

Day 25: This color makes me happy.
Day 26: Comfy.
Days 27 and 28: My weekend warrior project was to reclaim these two old wooden chairs that were props for my husband’s latest play. I painted the raw wood a bright poppy red. Several coats. It took a long time—look at all those spindles! I could have worn this travesty to paint in, but it was hot, so I didn’t. I kept thinking eventually I’d finish and clean up and put on something cute and me-made, but that never happened. Fail. But look! Two pretty red chairs! I’m thinking they’ll be perfect in the sewing area I have yet to carve out of the house.
Day 29: This skirt just works.
Day 30: Another version of the same skirt. The rayon print is covered with irregular batik polka dots. Very fun.
Day 31: This skirt needs to be retired. I picked up the embroidered linen from the red tag clearance section of JoAnn’s a couple years ago. I prewashed, ironed, and then underlined it, but the fabric has still grown and distorted away from the underlining making it impossible to iron. There is about an inch of play in each direction, and the top layer (linen) is bubbly over the bottom layer (cotton batiste). Time to let go and move on. The pattern is fine for a simple, basic skirt, but the fabric is all wrong.

So there it is—my attempt at Me Made May. Thanks, Zoe, for the inspiration! I had fun trying to meet the challenge. I realized that I enjoy and wear many me-mades on a regular basis, but there are definite gaps in my wardrobe if I want to wear more pieces I’ve made myself. Fitting and fabric selection make a big difference in whether a garment is successful or not and gets worn frequently.

Speaking of which, does anyone have any suggestions for the type of garment embroidered linen is good for or how to work with it? I thought underlining it would have saved the day, but I was just wrong. I have several yards of a dark brown embroidered linen that I fell for, and now I don’t know what to do with it.


A Sketch Journal: MMM Days 16–24 and New Blouse

More  Me Made May :

Me Made May Days 16 through 24

  1. Wrap skirt McCall’s 5430 – made last summer out of blue linen from stash with dark denim waistband and ties.
  2. Vintage McCall’s 5079 – blouse made out of Kaffe Fassett shot cotton – just finished, details below!
  3. New Look 6385 – wearable muslin out of quilting cotton
  4. Colette Sorbetto (free download!) out of an Anna Maria Horner voile
  5. Simplicity 2404 – out of tan striped linen
  6. Simplicity 2404 – again out of a gray polka dot cotton
  7. Yeah, didn’t happen.
  8. Repeat of the Sorbetto!
  9. Repeat of NL 6385

Day 16: This is a great wrap skirt pattern. Inside waistband fastens with button and buttonhole.
Day 17: Love this fabric – so light and airy and the color is wonderful! Details on the pattern below.
Day 18: I’ve been wearing the wearable muslin for many years. I think this pattern is out of print as there’s a new pattern with this number now. The color of this fabric is not flattering on me at all. Time to make another version with the tweaks I want in better fabric.
Day 19: Nice and simple tank.
Day 20: Comfortable dress that always makes me feel great on casual days. It’s linen and wrinkly and simple.
Day 21: Same as above. I probably should’ve made another version of the pattern, but it’s really perfect for hot summer days. The only issue with both of these dresses is bra straps showing. Oy!
Day 22: I think I’m averaging 6 days out of 7 for Me-Made-May. And on the 7th day, she wore jeans and a t-shirt. I’ve had no desire to make either jeans or t-shirts yet. Jeans seem like too much work, and I’m assuming t-shirts will be too expensive and time-consuming for an item I’m so hard on. (I might cave on the t-shirts eventually— we’ll see.)
Day 23: I’m ready for some new variations of this!
Day 24: Wore again so I could assess the fit throughout the day and tweak the pattern for the next iteration.

McCall's 5079 blouse pattern

Oo la la: editor’s choice!

Vintage McCalls 5079

View of McCall's 5079 from the side, sorta

View from the side, sorta, and bonus weird face

McCalls 5079 view C
directing the photographer McCall's 5079 view C from the back

Finished: McCall’s 5079, from 1959. I made view C. I’d like to make the other views too!

After wearing this for a day, I decided to let out 2 of the 4 back tucks. Even though I altered the waist wider I’m not used to wearing clothes that fitted. I think I’ll add more buttonholes to the front of this – I spaced these a bit too far apart. Next version I should make the sleeves wider to accommodate my arms better. I thought the muslin fit fine through the sleeves, but after a day of wearing this, it’s obvious I need a little more room. *sigh* (I am working on tightening up the arms in the gym, but that seems to be a slow process.)

Does anyone know what the frown-y drag lines near the armscye mean? Does the armscye need to be shortened? Or would just a little more width/ease across the chest help? Another fitting question!

They aren’t showing up in the tucked in shots, but I had just tucked and hadn’t moved, so I don’t know how representative they are of a blouse on a moving body. Of course, comfort-wise, I prefer the blouse untucked, which looks sloppier.

I’d like to make another version, but would like to fine-tune the fit a bit first.

Any thoughts appreciated!

A Sketch Journal: MMM Day 15 and a Warning

 Me Made May confessions: I shouldn’t have done it. I wasn’t feeling skirt-y or dress-y today with the steady rain, and I didn’t have the brain power to find something else. I reached for an emotional pick for an early morning walk (which I hid under a fleece) and left it on for a few hours afterward until I felt the urge to change, quickly! I wasn’t painting chairs or cleaning gutters—I was working! A little dignity was called for, even if the Skype camera couldn’t catch the crime.

Me Made May Day 15

Just because you spent life energy making it, doesn’t mean it should be worn.

Simplicity 2696– View F in blue cotton gauze

Day 15: Work at home. I made this two years ago, and Hand Embroidered (capitalized so you can understand the Time Invested in such an endeavor) flowers and a design around the exposed facing. On one of its first public outings, I leaned up against a counter in a restroom to wash my hands and got the front wet. I didn’t think too much of it, but to my horror, as it dried the mystery liquid turned out to be bleached-based and ate away at the color on the front of my tunic. 

I don’t have the heart to toss it, but I could certainly wear it gardening or painting or giving the dog a bath—that kind of thing.

Other options I’ve considered and shot down: Altering to a crop top. I am not a crop top gal. Being short-waisted I’m already cropped. Crop tops are not kind to me.

Taking the facing off and making a new blouse: Oh god, no. I think there was much Cursing and Fist-Shaking during the initial endeavor. I need to be honest with myself—the embroidery isn’t that incredible.

Warning! Bleach ruining your clothes

A cautionary tale

But let this be a warning to you: Beware of modern bathroom cleaners! Beware of wet sink counters! I use baking soda and vinegar in my bathroom, personally, but out there in the world there’s a war of disinfection going on. Don’t let it catch your me-mades off guard.

A Sketch Journal: MMM Days 9–14

 Me Made May continues: Here’s the lineup from this past week.

Me Made May days 9 through 14

Marching along with good intentions

  1. Daisy Skirt – Butterick 5431, altered to have four panels with grainline running down the center of each panel as per Sandra Betzina/Power Sewing. Rayon challis with elastic waist and lining – very swooshy!
  2. Dark denim skirt – Butterick 4461
  3. Colette Meringue in black cotton twill
  4. Oops. I sew On Saturdays, but not for them, apparently. A new blouse to be unveiled soon though!
  5. Butterick 5678 again
  6. Simplicity 2696 – View E in black cotton gauze

Day 9: Work.
I love this skirt! I had a similarly made (but longer) skirt out of this fabric that eventually wore out. I went hunting through my stash and found I still had enough fabric to squeeze out a new, shorter version. It’s not the best quality fabric, and heck, it’s got an elastic waistband, but Daisies! and Swoosh!
Day 10: Work.
Basic plain dark denim skirt. Goes with everything.

Day 11: Business meeting. Worn with brown shell, white cardigan, and flats.I’m not sure about where this sits – it’s too big if it’s at my waist, and too low where it fits over my hips. Some tweaking is needed.
Day 12: I spent most of the day sewing and anticipated changing into something me-made later in the day, but never got around to it. Nice vintage blouse out of shot cotton to be revealed soon though!
Day 13: Mother’s Day. Went with the guys out to brunch and then for a hike. Worn with jeans, of course, like all the other moms out on the trail.
Day 14: Work. Worn with jeans and converse.

A Sketch Journal: MMM Days 4–8

Me Made May continues: Here are some sketches of what I’ve been wearing!

What I wore Me Made May Days 4 through 8

hmm. obviously a pretty random color scheme to my wardrobe!

  1. Colette Rooibos – details below
  2. Blue and Green Plaid Flannel Shirt
  3. Liberty hankie – details below
  4. Colette Ginger with Parfait pockets
  5. Butterick 5678 – 2nd version of this shirt, with 3/4 sleeves

Day 4: Work at home. Nice spring weather.
Worn with thrift store cardigan and gray converse sneakers. Thrift store cardigan refashioned/rescued in the most basic, simplest way: I cut off the too-tight cuffs.
Day 5: Weekend warrior. Cool weather.
Worn with jeans to work in the garden.
Day 6: Looks like a fail, but sometimes life is larger than blogland challenges. Woke up this morning to a family crisis and did what anyone would do in a similar situation: reached for jeans and a comfy t-shirt hanging over a chair and dealt with the weight of the issues at hand. Me Made May never flickered in my brain until late in the day when I realized I had, in fact, dabbed my eyes on a handmade hankie kept in my pocket.
Day 7: Back to work. Worn with sandals and a tee.
Day 8: Work. Rainy, dreary day, cool. Worn with jeans and loafers.

On to some specifics: I finished this Colette Rooibos late last summer, just as the weather turned cool. I never got around to photographing it so here is its first debut.

Summer Rooibos dress

Cute, but not what I was expecting

I have to admit, I feel a little bit taken by the marketing for this pattern. The photos of the model wearing the navy version with cream piping had me thinking that this was more of a wiggle dress. Then the line drawing on the pattern, which we all scrutinize for Clues to the Truth, confirmed my hunch. What I sewed up, and what I ultimately saw others sew up as well, was definitely more of an A-line and floaty silhouette. I keep looking back at those original photos and wanting that dress. I know I shouldn’t be taken in by pretty photos, and I know I shouldn’t expect the movie at the theater to live up to the hype in the funny two-minute trailer, but I never thought the line drawing on the pattern would lie.

I have been to enough photo shoots as an art director to now realize that there must be big orange clips holding back part of that dress on the model. Unfortunately, I don’t have the nerve to walk around with big orange clips all day, and it sure would feel uncomfortable sitting in my office chair anyway.

Summer rooibos dress All right, now that that’s off my chest! The actual dress is cute—I made a few muslins of the bodice before cutting into fabric, and I’m glad I did. I needed an erect back alteration, narrowed and brought the shoulder straps in a bit, and lowered the neckline. The high neckline was not doing my middle-aged bustline any favors. The pockets are awesome, and the collar definitely needed tacking down. I wrestled with the piping around the collar and I’m sure I committed some sort of piping crime by cutting out the cord right at the points trying to make it work. I used some hearty weight cotton fabric which is probably meant for a child’s ottoman or nursery curtains. I thought it would be the right weight for a summer version, but I think it will look better in something heavier like a wool for fall. I sewed this up before I discovered the wonders of Fashion Sewing Supply’s interfacing, so I used some craft store cardboardy stuff that unfortunately makes the facing line show through the bodice.

So, next version: heavier fabric, lighter interfacing, and most likely a lining too. I may play with the silhouette to get closer to the Rooibos in my head!

Liberty handkerchief

Only the best for my nose.

The last project I’ll leave you with is one of a few Liberty handkerchiefs I’ve sewn up lately. Have you seen these? So often I find myself in a fabric store and am drawn like a magnet to the Liberty Tana Lawn without knowing it. As soon as I reach out to pet it, my heart sinks, and I know I’ve done it again. A look at the price on the end of the bolt confirms my suspicion. Liberty cotton is so exquisite, and priced that way. I would love to wrap myself up in a bolt of it, seriously. One of my treats on my recent trip to New York was stopping in at Purl Soho, and I picked up a 1/4 yard of two different Liberty prints for these hand-sewn rolled hem handkerchiefs. I looked for two prints whose wrong sides didn’t look too wrong, if you know what I mean. The hankie “recipe” calls for 12.5″ squares, but I was able to squeeze out 5 slightly smaller squares out of each 54″ cut. (They cut a generous 10″ width and there was a little shrinkage after washing.) I’m enjoying the handwork and have stitched up 3 so far. I feel quite luxurious having a beautiful handkerchief in my pocket or bag.

A Sketch Journal: MMM Days 1–3

Me Made May began rather gray and cold, allowing me to grab some wool to start off the month! Here are some sketches of the handmade or refashioned things I wore the past few days.

Me Made May days one through three

May 1st, 2nd and 3rd

    1. Butterick 5678 – long sleeve eggplant stretch cotton – (Mentioned at bottom of post here)
    2. Green cabled wool hat
    3. 22.5 Degree Scarf
    4. Ribbed wool socks – made for husband. Stolen out of husband’s drawer a year ago when they weren’t worn frequently enough
    5. Liberty hankie – tucked into pocket of jeans
    6. Colette Ginger – thrift store brown pinwale corduroy, with added patch pockets for dog treats!
    7. Cotton string market bag
    8. Schoolhouse Tunic
    9. Refashioned totebag – Took my favorite Strand bookstore bag apart and made it roomier by adding a flat bottom and side panels, and lined the whole thing

Day 1: Work at home. Chilly, rainy day.
Worn with jeans and clogs. Hat and scarf worn while walking the dog.
Day 2: Work at home. Warmer!
Worn with thrifted floral cardi, brown tights and loafers. Used bag for trip to the grocery store.
Day 3: Errands, work at home.
Worn with skinny jeans, bright green long-sleeve tee, and gray converse. Used tote to carry knitting project while son took driving test. (He passed!)