Monday, 12 June 2017

Me Made May reflections and future sewing plans

It's almost the middle of June so it's time for my traditionally late Me Made May reflections .  I'd like to say a big thanks to Zoe for organising Me Made May again, it's such a brilliant concept and a wonderful community to be a part of. It was great seeing everyone's makes, and I enjoyed taking part even though I hardly took any photos.

My aims were to wear something I've made every day, catalogue my garment fabric and make a summer dress.  So how did I do? Well I wore something me-made every day except one, catalogued most of my garment fabric but didn't manage to make a summer dress.

Wearing something I've made every day wasn't really a challenge as I pretty much do that anyway, except I realised I've a bit of a gap in dresses, in that I haven't sewn any in a long time!  So I'd like to remedy that with a few work appropriate dresses that will also be suitable for winter, as well as hopefully making a summer dress.  Of course every year I say I'm going to make trousers and this year is no exception. Well except even I was fed up with my procrastinating and just went out and bought two pairs from H&M which I now wear loads so the pressure is off!


Marilla Walker Maya top with H&M bright orange trousers
There are lots of repeats in what I wore during May, both in me-mades and shop-bought clothes and I have to say I'm pleased with that - it shows that I make things I like to wear. However I do still have quite a lot of things I don't wear much/at all so maybe I need to think about a bit of a clear out of them.  my most worn me-mades were my 3 Deer & Doe plantain tops/dress and my 3 Megan Nielsen Brumby skirts which I could quite honestly wear all summer!  I also wore my Marilla Walker Maya top 3 times so I think it's time to make a second version of this as I can see the navy is getting a bit faded sadly.

By Hand London Victoria Blazer with H&M dress (for a job interview)

Sherbet Grainline Scout tee with H&M trousers and Hobbs cardigan

Pink Megan Nielsen Brumby with H&M t-shirt & Hobbs cardigan

Pink Megan Neilsen Brumby with H&M top.

Cataloguing my fabric. How have I done? So far I've catalogued almost all my garment sewing fabric, woven & knits, but not my quilting fabrics. For garment sewing then I have 54 pieces of fabric, totalling 80metres, yes that's right 80metres of fabric! It seems a bit obscene to me really so it's definitely helped me resist buying any more fabric. A quick look at Cora when I have an idea for something to sew and I can tell myself that I have quite enough fabric to choose from without buying more.



Now - on with the summer dress! I have a wedding in August and I'm hoping to get one made in time for that.  I've also just cut out another Vogue 1247 skirt in bright pink, have the fabric and a pattern for some wide-legged trousers, and plans for a few more plantains to replace some very worn looking t-shirts.  Did you take part in Me Made May this year, how did you get on?  What are your sewing plans for the next few months?

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Me-Made-May 2017 plans

How did it get to be May so quickly?!  In the sewing blogger/instagram world May means the return of Me Made May - a challenge established by Zoe of Sozowhatdoyouknow 'designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to wear and love them more.'
I tend to wear things I've made pretty much every day now so I wasn't sure about taking part this year as I always find it hard to get photos each day. However the photos aren't the main point (though they are a great source of inspiration!) so I decided I could still benefit from taking part if I set myself a new challenge.

Beginnings of my fabric record on Cora


So this is my challenge
I, Kathryn of kathrynsbusytown.blogspot.co.uk(kathryn_mhairi on instagram) sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavor to wear at least one me-made garment every day. I also endeavor to catalogue all the garment fabric I have in an attempt to sew with fabric I already own rather than buying more. I will also make myself a new summer dress without buying any new fabric to do so.
 
The first challenge I decided on is a bit of a busman's holiday really as I'm an archivist by trade but sadly my sewing materials, books, digital files etc are not nearly as organized as I am in work!  I remembered reading Helen's review of the Cora app for fabric management ages ago so I decided to check it out using the free version first.  Asides a glitch on the price section - due to me having my phone set to the wrong region - I really enjoyed using it.  Hélène, the developer of the app, was brilliant at helping me sort out why I couldn't get the £ sign in the price section and responded so quickly to my query that I decided to go ahead and purchase the full version.  You can add in as much or little information as you like including:
  • Photo
  • Category (knit, woven, other)
  • Weight (light, medium, heavy)
  • Content
  • Design
  • Colours
  • Length of fabric
  • Width of fabric
  • Cost
  • Source
  • and a notes section.
You can see below how many fabrics I've put in already and I love that you can organise them by price, length, fabric type, colour etc. I like the tool that allows you to export a PDF of all your fabrics which includes the photos and all the information you have inputted. There is also a great section called 'Fabric summary' which tells you how much fabric you have overall. Shockingly even just these 14 pieces of fabric is 26 metres worth.  I really hope having this tool will help me sew from my stash as it seems so wasteful to buy more fabric when I have so much already.

Does anyone else use Cora? Or have other ways of managing their fabric?

In relation to the second challenge to make a summer dress I've also recently discovered the joy of Instagram Collections and have started a sewing inspiration collection which, coupled with my newly catalogued fabric stash, should help me decide what to make. You can see part of my Sewing Inspiration collection below.  Has anyone else been using the collections in this way? Any tips?


Friday, 24 March 2017

Sewing small things

I've made a few small things recently but I'd say these 2 Batman capes have been the most appreciated! Somehow we managed to lose a Batman cape Harris had been given so I knew I had to replace it.  While I was at it I wanted to make one for one of his best pals. I bought the black and yellow satiny fabrics from the Man Outside Sainsbury's and the black and yellow felt from Hobby Craft.  I drew out the pattern onto newspaper roughly following the guidelines from this tutorial.  Inittially I was just going to use the black but then decided it would be nicer to line them.  I'm so glad I did as they fly up brilliantly in the wind now as we found out on the first scooter test the night after I made them! I wasn't sure how the scallops would work so only tried it on one, I wish I'd done it on both now as they look really good.  Disaster struck as I was ironing though and I managed to burn through the black on the non-scalloped one, just a little bit up on the neck piece. However it determined that the scalloped one was the one being gifted and the one with the wee hole was kept. Harris hasn't even noticed the hole yet but I'll darn it before he does.  I had sticky-backed velcro in my stash which i think must have been my mum's as I don't remember buying it.  I'd love to make some more capes with different themes, though I do find sewing with slippery fabric like this very frustrating!


Months ago, in the autumn I think, I cut out another See Kate Sew raglan tee and a short sleeved tee from Ottobre but never sewed them up.  I finally got round to this in January and they've both had lots of wear already - thankfully, as they're not going to be long enough for much longer. That'll teach me for procrastinating so long on sewing them up - I can't do that when sewing for a growing boy!






The gorgeous flamingo print is a Charley Harper fabric I got from Billow Fabrics and it's a lovely quality thick jersey which for once was really easy to top-stitch.  It's such a great happy fabric and I think I may have enough for a short sleeved tshirt for him for the summer out of it, fingers crossed. I think the pink ribbing was from Kitschy Coo.  As I saw this was the See Kate Sew raglan tee again - I've certainly got my money worth from this pattern, I've used it so much and love it!

perfect underarm seam matching - this makes me ridiculously happy!
The other tee-shirt is an old t-shirt of my husbands that he couldn't bear to part with even though it had holes in it. So, I used it for a mini tee.  I managed to keep the hem so I only had to top stitch the sleeves - a nice and quick make.  I did take the time with both these makes to overlock all the seams as they'll see a lot of washing so need to be hard wearing.  Harris loves this tshirt and it also makes him happy it was his dad's before him, which of course makes us happy too!







Soon it'll be time to start on his shorts and summer tshirt sewing, and a few more sun hats too - I'm looking forward to it. Roll on spring eh?!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

All that glitters... Toaster Sweater 1

I am not usually one for buying sewing patterns as soon as they're released, well not anymore! In fact it's been a long time since I've bought a sewing pattern full stop.  But when Sew House Seven released the Toaster Sweater #1 & #2 patterns I just couldn't resist!  I really fancied the style of #1 and to be honest didn't notice at first I could have just bought that one so I bought both.  I wasn't sure what fabric to buy for it, that is until I walked past the Man Outside Sainsbury's and spotted this gorgeous gold ribbed knit fabric. I didn't buy it the first time I saw it but kept thinking about it so went back a week later and bought a metre.






1 metre - plenty for a sweater, or so I thought.  My only experiences of making jumpers are my two raglan sweaters which are both very close fitting and fitted easily into 1 metre.  I didn't think to check the pattern before buying the fabric or before cutting into the fabric - big mistake!  I cut out the front and back piece then realised I was running out of fabric and would struggle to get 2 arms, the roll neck, cuffs and waistband.  In the end I got one full sleeve, then had to piece two bits together for the other sleeve. Hopefully it's not too noticeable.  I reduced the cuff width by 1" and had to piece both cuffs though managed to hide the joins on the inside of the cuffs as they are folded over.  Amazingly just squeezed the neck piece and hem band in without losing any width.


doing some patchwork to fit my pattern pieces out 1 metre.

1 cuff, 5 scraps of fabric.
This sewed up really quickly. I used the 5/8" seam allowances given in the instructions and ..shhh... don't tell anyone, I didn't finish the seams at all! The fabric doesn't fray and it's really thick so I just left it.  I have worn this sooo much, I absolutely love it!! I've already got plans for a second one, though once again I only bought a metre of fabric argh!!


Details - Pattern: Toaster Sweater #1 by Sew House Seven
Size: Sewed a size S. The only alterations I made were reductions as specified above, due to fabric restrictions.
Fabric & notions: Gold ribbed knit, £5 for 1 metre from the Man Outside Sainsbury's (Walthamstow, London). Cream thread from stash.
Were the instructions clear?:  Yes very clear, definitely a good pattern for a beginner.
Any changes I'd make next time: No, except I might interface the neck piece on the next one I have planned as my fabric isn't as stiff as this gold rib was so it might flop down too much otherwise.
Total cost: £5!

All that was left - tiny scraps.