Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Me-made May - It's Half-time!

Whew, May is already half over and it seems like spring is well onto its way of segueing into summer. Meanwhile it seems like my weekly to-do list is ever growing. Which means sewing has fallen a bit to the wayside. Those two woven dresses cut out in April? (Plus two jersey dresses, one cut out in March?) Still lying on their little project heaps. At least I've almost finished my taxes... (being a grown-up is rather lame sometimes...)

Not to say I haven't been sewing at all - theres a couple of little projects for everyday that came off my sewing machine.
A bike seat cover, to protect my bum from the rain (the pretty waterproof fabric is from IKEA).
One of those simple drawstring backpacks that are all the rage in Berlin. I swear, everyone has one. Are they cool anywhere else, too? Those bags remind me of being little, the last one I had was in kindergarten, for PE, one that my mom sewed herself. It was blue and had little triangles all over it... :-)

Anyway, me-made May. I've been faithfully taking pictures and posting them on Instragram, though I missed one day (which I spent sick in bed in my me-made jammies).
bottom: day 1-4, top: day 5-9 (day 7 missing)
The most challenging thing about me-made May this year is actually deciding each morning if I will need that particular outfit another day later in the month. I'm trying not to double any outfits, so I've actually been grabbing my lesser worn clothes first, to kinda "keep" my favs. Sounds a bit silly, doesn't it? It's mostly true for the dresses, anyway, since I think I have enough mix&match separates to keep me going for a pretty long while without doubling up (oh the beauty of maths... ;-).
top: day 10-12, bottom: day 13-16
It also seems that my colour palette is pretty consistent. Navy, green and the shades inbetween, red, and a bit of black&white. I hope that will help me plan a few more short-sleeved tops to accompany the skirts I've been sewing during spring. BTW, do you have any recommendation for pretty jersey top patterns for spring/summer (so, short-sleeved or sleeveless and not your run-of-the-mill t-shirt)?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

It's time again for Me Made May!

Hey everyone! Are you having a good spring? The weather in my parts is still pretty cold and changable - hailstorm one second, sunshine the next. But everything is in bloom, so pretty! I'm definitely looking forward to warmer days, though. Sooo frustrating to have to still wear thick tights when it's almost May already!

I didn't accomplish much sewing this month. Sometimes, other hobbies take precedence and spring seems to be the time for singing. Both my choir and the vocal ensemble that I'm participating in are gearing up for concerts. The first one was last weekend and there are three more between now and the end of June, so there's a flurry of rehersals!

The one thing I did sew in April was a dress for my choir concert. We have assigned colours and I got switched from red to green, so I drafted a quick, sleeveless modification of Onion 2022 with a half-circle skirt, and a bit of black lace overlay. I love how it turned out and may need another one for regular wear at some point...
I'm the one in the front row, in the green dress, obvsly...
Apart from that, I cut out several projects: two woven dresses that have been on my to-sew-list for years, and a couple of jersey dresses. I may get around to sewing those up, one of these days.

Meanwhile, my spring/summer sewing plans are reaching epic proportions. Apart from a pair of black skinny trousers (for that other concert) and another pair of jeans, I have plans for two Sewaholic Minoru jackets (one for spring/autumn and a waterproof rain jacket), a pair of white linen trousers for work when it's hot, and a possibly ridiculous number of dresses from stash fabric... But I guess that deseves a post of its own, soon.

For now, and while it's still (barely) April, here is my pledge for Me Made May 2016!
I, Alessa of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '16. I endeavour to wear entirely me-made outfits (apart from bras/socks/tights, exercise clothes, shoes and jackets) each day for the duration of May 2016, furthermore I will try to wear as many of my me-made clothes as possible.

I usually wear mostly me-mades anyway, but I'm incredibly lazy in the mornings, and always reach for the same clothes, so in a regular month I wear maybe... five or six different outfits on average? No more than ten, certainly. So here's to mixing it up a bit!
I don't know yet if I will have the time and patience to participate in the flickr group, but I will document my outfits on Instagram and do a few round-up posts here. 

Is anyone else taking part in Me-made May? What's your pledge this year?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bread&Butter Project - final part

It's now the beginning of April, so the Bread&Butter project has concluded. I'm really happy with all the additions to my wardrobe, and it was fun to be methodical for once, instead of getting distracted by a pretty fabric or pattern. ;-) I didn't get everything done, and I've already planned some more spring sewing, but that's going to be another post...

So, what did I sew in the end?

1. everyday clothes / 2. weekend clothes

I think I could actually do with another long-sleeved Lola (or two), or barring that, another kind of long-sleeved sweater or jersey dress - and maybe a couple of three-quarter sleeved ones for when it gets a little warmer. I already have some fabric that I planned for a Jasper dress. I think a Bruyère over leggings would also be nice for everyday wear, as soon as we're back to more sping-like temps. Maybe I'll even fix the sleeve cuffs of the one I already made. I could also do with another couple of leggings, and was wondering if maybe a knit skirt or two could round out my wardrobe (although I do prefer the ease of just reaching for a dress on an early workday morning).I also think that a couple of cardigans to throw on over the shorter-sleeved dresses would be nice. For now, I have one me-made Miette and a couple of basic RTW cardis in neutral colours. They're all v-necked, with a button closure, which for some reason prevents me from layering them over dresses. I imagine that a longer, waterfall-type cardigan without a front closure, and sleeves lose enough for layering, might work out better for me. I've had my eye on the Oslo cardigan from the Colette Seamwork magazine.

I planned another Lola or something similar - check. I didn't get to my denim Bruyère, but managed a plaid, refashioned version (though it turned out so-so and hasn't been worn yet). I did fix the cuffs on my very first Bruyère and wore it a couple of times. A couple more leggings are still on my to-do list.
And a resounding yes on the cardigan front! I made three Oslo cardigans!
I also made two contrast jersey dresses, two jersey mini skirts (using the back pattern piece of the Paprikapatterns Jade skirt) and two long-sleeved tops.

3. lounge clothes
For lounge wear, I'd also like to try the True Bias Hudson pants, which have been in my pattern library for what feels like forever. For PJs, I was thinking some kind of elastic-waist woven shorts and colour-coordinated t-shirts, which is exactly what I'm wearing most of the time.
That's a nope for the Hudson pants, I didn't even manage to cut out and tape the PDF pattern. I did make two pairs of PJs (see above), and also made a Paprikapatterns Jasper pullover. That one was a bit of an exercise in frustration, since my contrast stripe matching left much to be desired, and it turned out much too big and had to be taken in on the sleeves and princess seams, which threw the stripe matching further off. I also had to piece the hem band... But it does make for fine lounge wear, a cozy sweater to throw on over leggings.
4. extras
Last but not least, I really need a new handbag. I have a pleather one (from Tchibo) that's good enough for my everyday needs, as it fits my tea mug (or a small bottle of water), wallet, emergency brolly, ebook reader, keys and those other little odds and ends. I haven't had a decent larger handbag or tote (that fits a bottle of wine to bring to a party, or my knitting and a good book when on a trip) in what feels like forever, though. The Betty Bowler has been on my to-sew shortlist for ages, I think I've bought three separate fabrics for that specific pattern. I still need the bits and bobs - so that's going to be my bonus project!
As you can see above, that one also got made! It also survived its first trip, as I took it to the UK as hand luggage. It really is a bit too big for a regular handbag, at least in my opinion, besides the usual odds and ends (including keys, wallet, e-reader, waterbottle, brolly etc.) it not only fits a couple of books and my knitting, but also some magazines, a cardi and a couple of changes of clothing... and it's a bit too unwieldy to actually tote it around town for a whole day. So, more of an overnight bag, really, not that that's a bad thing. But I'm still on my quest for the perfect handbag, and I already have a couple of patterns in mind...

So, that was it for my Bread&Butter sewing, but I think I'm going to continue in this vein. Spring sewing plans coming up soon!

Find the other participants in the link-up here!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Little Holiday - London & Glasgow

So! I'm supposed to write my last Bread&Butter sewing post, but I haven't actually taken pictures of all my makes yet, so that'll have to wait a couple of days. Instead I'd like to tell you about the little vacation I took during the Easter week! The first half was spent with all of my family in London, a 60th birthday present for my stepdad, who we took on a Gin Journey. The second half was spent with my love in Glasgow.

Even though the weather wasn't the best, I had a lot of fun, visited quite a few fabric shops, charity shops, vintage shops, pubs, tearooms, had lots of tea and ale and gin... oh yes, I felt very British! I even tried some (fried) Haggis (nibbles) in Glasgow and liked them!

I also got to meet Katie from What Katie Sews while I was in London, and we spent a fun couple of hours at Ray Stitch and went for a pint afterwards and Katie showed me a bit around Islington, which was lovely! In my excitement, I managed to take exactly zero photos of that, so you'll have to believe me...

So, first things first, right? Ray Stitch had a very pretty fabric selection, lots of nice jerseys and wovens and some very nice haberdashery. The best thing about it, I think, was the selection of indie patterns. They had a lot of Colette and Named, Papercut, Tilly&The Buttons, By Hand London, Sew Over It... And some lovely sewing books! I actually was a bit overwhelmed with it all and conscious of my one suitcase that I shared with my love, so I only got some Merchant&Mills glass head pins and a little Package of Liberty scraps, to be used for little details like fabric-covered buttons or plackets and stuff like that.
The next day, I went to visit Cloth House in Soho, which Katie had recommended to me. Honestly, it's maybe the most beautiful fabric shop I've ever been to. I could have stayed there for hours and bought almost everything...

In the end, I went away with a length of selvedge strech denim (look at that pretty selvedge!), for a new pair of Ginger jeans, and some thicker non-strech striped cotton fabric (twill?) for a bag/purse.
I also had to visit Liberty of London, mostly just to have a look around. I love-love-love touching that wonderful Liberty tana lawn, but I really can't imagine wearing a whole blouse or dress made from it.

 Oh well. But I bought the possibly prettiest tape-measure on earth!
(As well as some tea from Fortnum&Mason, some more tea and lemon curd and a fascinator from M&S and some very yummy as well as prettily bottled gin from the Maltby Street Market. Btw, does anyone else love checking out grocery stores in other countries? I could spend hours doing that, no kidding...)

One other stop that I definitely wanted to make was Sew Over It. I've had my eye on the Joan dress for quite a while (I have the perfect black double knit with flocked polka dots for it!) and one of the branches is in Clapham, only two tube stops from where we were staying. They also had a lovely fabric selection, mostly an incredible amount of pretty woven blouse and dress fabrics...
I almost bought some of the mint polka-dot fabric on the left above picture, but the colour was a bit too pastelly to really go with my skin tone. But so pretty! I the end, three patterns (the Joan Dress, Betty Dress and Vintage Shirt Dress - and a Sew Over It tote bag!) went home with me.
Yes, I know, I hardly ever wear woven dresses anymore - but the two I do wear are in style pretty similar to the Betty dress, and I've been dreaming about the perfect shirt dress pretty much forever...

That of course I had to buy the perfect fabrics for those two patterns while I was in Glasgow. :-)
The one on the left is a cotton lawn fabric, which I bought it at Remnant Kings in Glasgow. Navy and polka-dots and roses! Remnant Kings has a smallish but nice selection of dressmaking fabrics amongst a lot of home decor fabric. I also saw some very pretty royal blue linen, but knowing that I also wanted to visit Mandor's Fabric Store, I refrained from buying anything else. 
At Mandor's, I found the navy polka-dot rayon fabric. So soft and silky! It reminded me of a shirt dress that I tried on years ago at a market in Sydney, which sadly didn't fit right, so I guess I really had to buy it. :-) Mandor's is also a really amazing place, they stock pretty much every fabric you can dream of. I was fascinated by all the bridal laces, so pretty! And woolens, tartans, jersey fabrics, cottons... 
Although there are surely a dozen more fabric and sewing shops in London and Glasgow, that was it for me. I had to leave something for the next visit, I guess, and I didn't want to stretch my family's patience too f ar. As it was, I may have visited one or two charity shops too many (without buying more than a bangle and a dress, both in the very first shop), and got several rolled eyes for it. ;-)

Overall, though, I think we managed to indulge most everyone's whims, found a nice balance between the obvious sights and the less obvious, fun places.


Such a wonderful holiday! I could talk much more about it, but I had better stop here, since it's really already past my bedtime... What's your favorite place for a holiday? Have you ever been to Glasgow or London? Did you like it? Any important bits that I should definitely visit next time? (Oh and thanks for the recommendations for Glasgow on Instagram - we did visit the Kelvingrove Museum and the Willow Tea Rooms and had a lovely time!)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bread & Butter Sewing so far

It's half time at the Bread&Butter sewing challenge, so let's see how far I've got:
Apart from the three Oslo cardigans, I've made:

- two pairs of PJs (patterns used: a shortened Cake Patterns Espresso Leggings and my Ottobre raglan top)

- a long-sleeved Victory Lola with an added collar

- a yoke dress, losely based on my modification of the Colette Macaron pattern

- a very simple knit skirt with an elastic waist, based losely on the Paprika Patterns Jade skirt pattern

- the refashion of a men's shirt, based losely on the Deer&Doe Bruyère pattern

Yes, it does seem that I'm playing fast and lose with my pattern collection. It's fun!

I have planned on writing a bit more about some of those garments. I have another yoke dress cut out, another Bruyère planned (not to mention, I haven't blogged about the one I made last spring) - but maybe you don't need to hear much more about the Lola (already exhaustively covered) or the PJs (cute, but not that intersting). I've also a half-completed Paprika Patterns Jasper pullover in the works (which I need to take in, it's huge). And then there's that handbag!

Funny, how much faster "Sewing with a Plan" seems to be... ;-)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Oslo Cardigan - Bread & Butter sewing

February has been pretty kind to me, sewing time wise. :-) It may also be that, having an actual plan (instead of just piles of fabric), and a challenge to live up to, my sewing motivation has been higher than usual during the cold and dark season. And actually, it's not all that dark anymore! For the last couple of weeks, there have been a few hours of sunshine at least every couple of days, and it's been light on my way to work. Seems like spring is already around the corner!

All of this means that I have completed quite a few of the garments I have set myself for the Bread&Butter challenge. And I'm still on track for my stashbusting (two sewn up meters of fabric for every new one), even though I've bought four new pieces of fabric already! It would be good to keep up the pace for a few more weeks, since I'll be on a trip to London and Glasgow the week before Easter, and I'm already pretty sure that I'm going to find some fabric to bring home with me. (Incidentally, does anyone want to meet up for a cuppa while I'm there? It's a family trip, but I'm pretty sure I can sneak away for an hour or two... ;-)
This is the Seamwork Oslo cardigan. I wanted a cardi that I could wear over my dresses, without obscuring most of it, while still adding a layer of warmth. There are quite a few cute patterns around (including the Paprikapatterns Opal and the StyleArc Nina cardigan), but since I already have a Seamwork subscription, I went with the Oslo. Like advertised, it's a nice and simple pattern, easy to sew it up in two hours or less, even if you take taping the PDF into account. I may have glanced at the instructions the first time around, and they're quite in-depth, as usual with Colette patterns. 

 These are actually three different versions, which admittedly look pretty similar from afar. 

I must say that I'm not usually a big fan of the baggy, dropped-shoulder style. It's not bad, and reminds me a bit of the cardis my grandpa used to wear - it's just not the first style that I'd reach for. It is mighty comfy, though.
My first version was made from a very stable, textured wool mix, which has little circles knit into it. It's a little stiff but quite warm, and I like how the collar looks when I hold it closed. I think this one would profit from a button closure, but I've been too lazy yet to add one. Maybe next winter. ;-)
The next on the list is made from a very thin rayon-wool knit. Not stable at all, so I stabilized the shoulder seams with clear elastic. Had I been smart, I'd also done that for the back neckline, which is prone to stretch out. Because of fabric restraints, I cut the collar half as wide, same as the cuffs. Since I'm going to wear this one open anyway, it doesn't matter. It grows a bit in the wearing and is quite baggy in the back and sleeves, but that means that I can also wear it over long sleeves, so it's quite the versatile little cardi.  

Versatile enough that I decided I also need a navy version.
This most recent version is made from a lightweight rayon jersey that has a bit of a texture, kind of like silk, as if bits of the yarn are just a little thicker than the rest. It also feels pretty soft and slightly silky. :-) I took a bit away from the dropped shoulders (hightening the sleeve head correspondingly) and slightly slimmed the sleeves. I like the fit better this way, though it really doesn't make that much of a difference.

Looking at the pictures, I can hardly wait for the weather to warm up a little, so I can take my outfit photos outside again. I still have several already photographed in front of this very pretty radiator, though, which are going to appear in the next few weeks...