Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Last Days of MMJ

So, today was the last day of Me Made June. I have to say, my outfit-fatigue is way less than after Me Made March. Probably partly due to the more summery weather, which makes me happier to get dressed, but also partly due to me having to go outside almost every day and the fact that at least now, by the end of the month, I have way more weather appropriate clothes. Even though I was pretty busy with uni and social life, I managed to make/finish/refashion nine garments (3 new tops, 2 dresses, and 4 bottoms: 1 skirt, 1 pair of trousers 1 pair of (under-)shorts and 1 pair of leggins) during the month of June, which I think must be some kind of record for me. :) We'll see how well I can keep that up for the rest of the Summer Essentials Sew Along...

While I am getting fed up with taking daily pictures, I do love my me-made summer clothes, and I have enjoyed the oportunity of wearing them daily and showing them off. And while I didn't manage to go all me-made every day, I feel that my outfits were way less boring than during the last two challenges. That's something that makes me happy, too. :)

So, before I show you the rest of my outfits for this month, let me tell you about the idea I'm shamelessly stealing from "Cat und Kascha", one of the very few German sewing blogs I read. She has been doing Me-Made Mittwochs (=Wednesdays) since March after doing a Me-Made February, and I think the idea is great! I'm still deciding between joining the group (although they are on summer break in July and August) or, for alliteration's sake, start my own, personal Me-Made Monday. I think I'd like doing one outfit post a week. I can show off whatever I'm making, or old favorites or whatever, and also do at least one totally me-made outfit a week, while combining me-mades with RTW for the rest of the time. Seems like the perfect compromise to me. :)

So, after all this rambling, on with the game!

MMJ Day 25: me-made Elvis skirt, leggins and teal knit top

MMJ Day 26: Me-made linen trousers, lacy black tank top and refashioned cardi

MMJ Day 27: Me-made stripey tee and polka dot skirt

MMJ Day 28: see last post (me-made linen trousers & Sorbetto top)

MMJ Day 29: me-made polka dot Sorbetto, refashioned red skirt & (unseen) lacy shorts

MMJ Day 30: me-made linen trousers & teal knit top (plus favorite green RTW summer coat and windy/humid hair... ;)

I thought I would be able to end MMJ with a bang (or at least some more summery clothing) but the weather had other plans. Apparently, it's wintery Perth temperatures (~18°C after about 28°C yesterday) and I was feeling pretty cold even with the coat. At least it was green... :) I also had the best class of the whole semester today (music therapy, I got to play a hand-carved harp, it was great plus the teacher gave us apple tart!), so it was a very satisfying day, whatever the weather...

I hope you have a nice weekend! I'll have to clean and tidy my little apartment in preparation for my birthday party next Wednesday, and there's also my birthday dress that I still have to make. I got some nice black Satin for that! I'd also really like to make/draft a shirt dress with the blue plaid fabric I got at IKEA today, together with some fabric for a purse/tote bag or two and/or a skirt (there was a gift card involved...). Also, there's revision... *g*

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ice-cream or Sorbetto?

After writing down that title, I first had to go and get a popsicle - we're just having a couple of nice, hot& sunny days in Berlin!

I'm sure you've seen the free Sorbetto Top pattern download over at Colette Patterns, since it has been out for a month already. I think it's great that Colette has such cute patterns as actual free downloads! Anyway, when I first saw it, I was sure that it wouldn't be very flattering for my figure, since it's only shaped by a pair of small-ish bust darts. After seeing Karen's cute flowery version and the 3 (three!) lovely blouses that Miss P made (one of them striped and another with polka dots, so pretty!), I decided to reconsider.

This was my first home-printed pattern, but the assembling happily went without problems. The pattern instructions were wonderful, as I've come to expect from Colette, and the actual sewing was rather quick, with the most time taken up by pinning and sewing on the bias trim. The fit wasn't wonderful on me, as I expected, but after a few tweaks I'm really happy with the blouse!

As I was between sizes, I decided to err on the side of caution and cut out a size 10. I probably should have chosen the smaller size, especially since my cotton fabric had a bit of an elasthane content. I had to make the bust darts a wee bit bigger and also added underbust darts that, in the end, went straight all the way down to the hem. It looks a bit princess-seamed now, but I think that maybe next time, I can just make the bust dart even bigger and take in the side seams? (The tutorial on "Pivoting a Dart" I read over at Gertie's some time ago seems to suggest that it might work, but I don't have enough experience to know if it'll add drag lines...)

Since the back is entirely unshaped and looked very blousy and boxy on me, I decided to add a little channel with some elastic on the inside, and I like how the ruffles add a little interest to the backside and shape my waist a bit more. It's still a bit blousy (blousier than my ubiquitous knit tops, anyway) but it works well with my denim skirt and I think it'll look really nice with a pair of white jeans, once it's a wee bit cooler (and no longer Me-Made June).

I actually went all couture-y on the inside: French seams everywhere and I threaded the thread-ends of my darts into the dart, as explained by Miss P. I feel quite accomplished now... :D

This is, by the way, also my outfit for today, MMJ Day 28: me-made polka dot Sorbetto, refashioned denim skirt and (unseen) black lacy shorts. Also, top no. 3 in the Summer Essentials Sew-along!

I'm thinking of adapting the pattern into one I can use as a bodice block, and then maybe make a blouse similar to Ali's super-cute black peter pan-collared blouse. Then again, there are still lots of other tops, skirts and dresses on my to-sew list for summer. Hmmm...

Talking of Ali, there is currently a pretty awesome giveaway going on at The Wardrobe, Reimagined! She's giving away one of two very cute Collarettes by rococonouveau, so head over to her blog and comment, the giveaway is still good until July 4th!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blue Sailor Linen Trousers

As you have seen on MMJ Day 24, I actually finished my blue linen trousers. That probably doesn't mean as much to you as it does to me, but these trousers have been the longest standing UFO in my sewing history, planned last July for the first Summer Essential Sewalong and finished yesterday - a whole year in between. So I thought I might tell you their story.

I had planned them last July, because linen pants are a wonderful staple for summer, good for all kinds of weather. I had just bought the pattern making book by Cal Patch and seen both Ali's and the Sewing Princess's self drafted trousers and in my youthful innocence, I thought I'd do that, draft the pattern myself. Not caring that the most complicated thing I had ever sewn was a simple Burda wriggle dress that had contained 4 pieces including facings, and that I had never even thought about the construction of trousers. Ah well.

I didn't really start pattern-drafting until September, and while I was pretty motivated, I wasn't very organised. It might have been a good idea to not only draft up the pant legs and pockets, but also the waistband and think about closure (apart from "I want side buttons") - but I didn't. I started cutting and stitching, going as far as trying to add slash pockets, until I realized I'd added them to the backside. With French seams.

Pockets on the backside...

That put a bit of a dent into my motivation. I meant to finish them anyway before going on my trip around the world in October - everybody needs linen pants, right? - but time was too short and I was otherwise occupied.

Let's skip to last March and the Colette Spring Palette Challenge. I was thinking of starting a new pair of trousers with some nice twill/denim, but I hate to waste lots of work and fabric, so I took my linen trousers out again. Lots of seam ripping, measuring and some French seams later, and I had pocket shaped patches - it's not a mistake, it's a design feature, right? ;)

Patches where pockets used to be. I guess it's not too bad...

I also stitched up the side seams and added little button placket thingies - interfaced and all - for buttons and button holes on the left side. Only a waistband to draft and attach! I even started drafting it! Which is when motivation left me, again.

But then, a couple of weeks ago, the weather turned from hot summer to cool and wet (and it's not even August!), and it was Me Made June, and I wanted pants. Trousers. Whatever. So I took out the tentative waistband draft and cut it including seam allowances, totally forgetting that I had already put them in but not marked them. Apart from stitching the front and back side together wrongly a couple of times (thinking helps while sewing, yes?), having to shorten it because of the aforementioned additional seam allowance, and managing to end up with a back dart totally off center, I did have a waistband a couple of hours later. One that was almost an inch too wide for my comfort and obstructed my belly button. Because of the additional seam allowance. Meh.

So, a couple of days ago, I cut off that inch, turned the seam allowances under and topstitched the seam. Not very pretty but it was a quick fix and I was getting very annoyed with that misbegotten pile of fabric. I had probably ripped out three times the amount of thread than ended up in the seams in the end. I had done lots of lazy topstitching, even though all my seams in the beginning had been French.

Lazy topstitching on the waistband. Also, polka dot interfacing, yay! :)

The last thing that almost did me in? My automatic buttonhole function wouldn't work on the placket, even though it worked on the linen scraps. I first thought that the fabric was sliding on the facing, and attached it with some stitches. Then I thought the French seams on the facing might be too thick, ripped them and finally just used iron-on interfacing instead. Nothing worked, and I had started on a buttonhole at least a dozen time, only to rip out the stitches because it would be too short.

Iron-on interfacing instead of a placket. Also, the placket with the buttons on the back. And pockets from the inside.

I really didn't know what to do, I was not going to spend hours doing hand-worked or bound buttonholes on a pair of trousers that I knew had pretty much endless flaws already. So in the end, I did free-hand machine-stitched buttonholes. They're not very pretty, nor are they very regular, but they did work.

Not-very-nice-but-servicable buttonholes. And button placket.

I stitched on eight golden buttons. Finally finished. Almost one year after I started drafting, I've got a me-made pair of trousers. It's far from perfect, but it's finished, and I made it. It took a whole lot of time, but I finished it. It's a very satisfying feeling... :)

Babydoll tutorial at Needle Pulling Thread

Oooh, something exciting happened! Mona from Needle Pulling Thread asked me to do a tutorial on my babydoll top, and it's now up at her blog!

Friday, June 24, 2011

More of MMJune

So. Another MMJ post! ;) But I am rather excited today, since I have some other things to write about, too. Well, not right now. But I'll get to it during the weekend. :)

MMJ Day 20: me-made (and now decorated with gold buttons) striped tee. I also found out that my cell phone camera has a self-timer. Awesome, isn't it? ;)

MMJ Day 21: no pics. Not even crappy self-timed cell phone ones?! But I wore my teal knit top. Promise.

MMJ Day 22: me-made green wrap dress, lacy tank and leggins. Also, it was pouring with rain, hence the really bad picture.

MMJ Day 23: me-made stripey tee - again! (I like it a lot) and refashioned denim skirt.

Actually, this was the third outfit of the day, though the first was just (non me-made) exercise clothes, as I went inline-skating with my friend. The second one - my comfy jersey combination of polka-dot skirt and teal top - got a rather rough treatment when I fell off my bike (dumb aquaplanning...) on the way home from uni. No holes, just lots of dirty puddle water... Aside from making my bike slide from under me, though, the puddles were a good thing and cushioned my fall, so I got away with a pretty blue but otherwise ok knee and no other scrapes. Compared to my recent other rainy bike-ride home from uni, wearing a bikini, this was way less fun, though... ;)

On a lighter note, guess what got finished today! (Well, aside from hemming...) You may not believe it - at least I'm having a hard time - but it's last year's Summer Essential, the blue linen trousers!

MMJ Day 24: me-made stripey tee and linen trousers
(excuse the blurry pic, my bf really doesn't like cameras...)

I actually didn't wear this outfit today, I just put it on when my bf left the house, so I could get the picture. Today was a lazy day and I really only wore my stripey longsleeve and yoga pants. Anyway, I'm excited for the trousers, there were so many hurdles to finishing them. But that's a story for another day...

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

MMJ Day 15-19, new top & fabrics

Hi everybody, I hope you had a good weekend! Mine was so-so, I had to spend Friday in bed with fever and a cold, but Saturday was alright (drama group rehersal and coffee with my father's family and movies in bed afterwards) and today I'm actually fine again, I visited the Holland fabric market in Potsdam with my good friend Annika, who just finished her Bachelor's thesis (yay!) and is starting out on garment sewing as a celebration! We also had a pretty awesome choir rehersal for Tuesday's concert. We sing everything from Gospel to Lady Gaga, and that always gives me lots of energy for the coming week. :)

(Gingham fabric for another Crepe dress, polka-dot jersey for a top, cute ice-cream fabric and pink polka dots for a little sundress for my friend's one-year-old)

I feel a bit bad that it's mostly MMJ updates over here right now. I had been meaning to blog more about my sewing process and inspirations and do some tutorials and the like, but at the moment I'm a bit all over the place in my life. Lots to do for uni, with only three weeks to go until exam time (although I honestly haven't started revising yet...), choir and drama rehersals and the demands of my social life (I seem to be quite the social butterfly nowadays ;). It really is all fun and games, and it's not super-stressful, and I like having stuff to do loads more than having nothing to do at all, so yeah, this is not a complaint. More of a "I'm really sorry if you feel bored with my blogging". Which I actually hope you don't. Do you? Anyway, I guess I should stop babbling. Just about now. Right? Right. On with the show.

MMJ Day 15: refashioned jersey dress. I really like it, and it's more flattering without the shorts...

MMJ Day 16: First time wearing my Crepe this month! I think it's because I see it more as a "special" dress, not for every day. I'm also not sure if it withstands biking very well...

MMJ Day 17: Spent sick in bed all day. No pics, no me-mades.

MMJ Day 18: Me-made Elvis circle skirt. All matching tops were in the wash and the petticoat is loaned out, but I really like this outfit. :) Also, see how my hair curls when it's humid...

MMJ Day 19: Oh look, almost a MMMarch outfit! ;) Refashioned red skirt and newly made striped T-shirt.

I really do have a gap of me-made short-sleeved tops in my wardrobe, but there are some more T-shirts in planning. This one was finished today, it's almost exactly like its long-sleeved twin but I plan to embellish it with a couple of gold buttons. I guess it's my second Summer Essential in the "top" category. :) I also have some blouses on my to-sew list, but I'm in two minds about them. I almost never wear blouses - mostly, because they usually crincle and I'm too lazy to iron them. Also, jersey shirts are more comfy. Ane I don't have any patterns for fitted blouses. Although I should look through my handful of Burdastyle magazines...

I've also found a promising candidate for my 20s birthday party dress at the Vintage Pattern Wiki:

It's probably easy enough to do it with measurements instead of a real pattern, and I'm thinking of making it up as a separate top and skirt. I'm not very likely to wear a Flapper dress again, except for at another costume party, but a slinky black skirt with a cute top, or a tunic/top-thingy with leggins of skinny jeans sound like they could be wardrobe staples - or at least be worn occasionally. What do you think? I also bought a feather boa, and I'm still planning on doing a headband...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

MMJ Day 9-14

So, yes. This is (almost) entirely an outfit post. I know, they're not my favorite ones, either, but I have been rather busy in the past few days. I fit in a little bit of sewing (refashion!) on Friday but apart from that, it's been leisure stress. ;) Choir & drama group rehersals, frisbee, coffee and movie dates, Berlin's Carnival of Culture, going to a play with my BF and a "healthy eating" school project with my fellow med-students today. Boy I'm glad I still have 4 weeks to go 'til my end-of-year tests...

Not sure I'll be a lot more productive this week (there's my choir concert next Tuesday and somehow I've managed to acquire tickets for two more plays this week and my friend has a concert on Friday). Also, uni. Shouldn't forget about that... And I'm redeeming a birthday present from last year with my BF tomorrow: a wellness evening at a floatation pool! :)

Still, I have planned on a couple of tutorials (peasant blouse and box-pleated skirt, anyone?) and maybe a post about my experiences in sewing with knits? There's also a 25th b-day/25 follower giveaway in the plans (though it's still a few weeks till then). And I've managed to make my birthday a costume party with the motto "Golden 20s", so I'm thinking of making a 20s-inspired dress or at least some fitting accessoires, a headband and the like - not to forget my Summer Essential sewing plans. Meh. Why do I always have a to-do-list about 20ft long?

Anyway, excuse my rambling/ranting, here's the outfit pics:

MMJ Day 09: me-made jersey skirt and peasant blouse

I'm trying to be a bit more varied in my garment combinations. Wearing this blouse with a skirt instead of jeans worked out alright, even though it's not very shaped at the waist. It looks alright with the scarf as a belt, though...

I wasn't feeling well on Day 10 and didn't leave the house. I wore the polka dot jersey skirt and striped navy longsleeve for comfort, but no pics.

MMJ Day 11: me-made box-pleated skirt and teal knit top, also lacy shorts (unseen)

MMJ Day 12: newly refashioned (from an embroidered top) jersey dress & lacy shorts (unseen)

The dress was a very quick refashion (just a straight red interlock midriff band and an A-line skirt made of black jersey) from a top I've owned for about 8 years. It was one of those short, midriff-baring ones and I don't think I wore it very often even back then. I liked the embroidery, though, so I thought up a way to save and actually wear it. :) The unfortunate drag lines are caused by the jersey shorts I'm wearing - it looks much nicer without them.

MMJ Day 13: me-made leggins and babydoll top. I got compliments for it in real life, too! *happydance* :)

MMJ Day 14: same outfit as Day 6, jersey skirt and teal knit top.
Also: new shoes! with polka dots! :)

I hope I didn't bore you too much. Have a fun, summery, enjoyable rest of the week!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

MMJ Day 5-8 and knit garments

Do you know those days when you don't want to get up despite having had 8h of sleep, and you'd rather spend the whole day on the couch in your jammies, watching tv or reading a good book? When colleagues walking by stop after their "good morning" and ask if they can bring you a coffee? When even three cups later, you're still not quite sure if you're in the mood to deal with your day? My day began like that and even now, 9h later I'm still thinking of falling back into bed. Instead of jammies and a good book, I told lots of very loud pre-schoolers about healthy eating, then I had a class of "forensic medicine" - not my cup of tea even on a good day. But I'm not complaining. I'm just tired (as evidenced by my crazy look on today's outfit photo).

MMJ Day 08: me-made green wrap dress (now ironed and A-lined!), lacy tank and (unseen) shorts, also: me-made earrings

Accessorize me! :) new me-made fabric-covered button earrings

(Actually, I've had a nap just now and I'm feeling loads better. I guess some days just are like that...) If we're going by face, I must have been a bit tired yesterday, too...

MMJ Day 07: me-made boatneck top and refashioned denim skirt

In that photo you can see my first official Summer Essential, a teal knit top vaguely based on one of my favorite garments, a green boatnecked long-sleeve. The fabric is a little flimsy, but I like how it turned out. The neckline is just a folded-over strip of fabric that encompasses the seam allowances. The skirt is newly refashioned, the hem used to end a couple of inches below the knee but it seems I prefer my skirts shorter, recently. Instead of just hacking off the hem and making a new one (which always looks a bit suspicious with denim, I think), I saved the old one and attached it with a bit of crocheted lace.

The lace is topstitched onto the denim with white thread. It didn't turn out quite perfect, as the denim was a bit stretchy, but I like the look and I've already gotten a compliment for it. :)

In stark contrast to today, Monday was pretty awesome: it started out with Pilates class, followed by a dip in the lake, Pediatrics class (I adore children), problem-based learning group and an exhilerating half hour of cycling home through the warm summer rain/thunderstorm in just my bikini (well, I didn't have an umbrella with me, and I didn't particularly want to ruin my me-made clothes...). I love warm summer rain! :)

MMJ Day 06: me-made jersey skirt and boatneck top

This outfit, knit top and knit half-circle skirt, is incredibly comfy and I really wouldn't mind wearing it every day...

Sunday was lovely, too and after taking the bodice part of this top in a little at the side seams, it actually fits perfectly. It is one of my favorites, because the fabric is so pretty and it was refashioned from a skirt one of my friends gave me, which belonged to her grandma. :)

MMJ Day 05: me-made leggins and babydoll top

Apart from the knit top, I also made a pair of black jersey shorts with lace trim yesterday. It's been pretty hot the last couple of days, and while I love to wear skirts and dresses, my thighs have a tendency to chafe... I made the shorts just long enough to prevent that, and just short enough to not be seen under my shorter skirts and dresses. They've had their first outings yesterday and today, and they've made skirt-wearing a real pleasure! :) Pics of my thighs in shorts possibly to come... maybe not. ;)

I hope you're having a good week! Happy summer sewing!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

MMJ Day 1-4 & first Summer Essentials

Ah, Me-made June, my first real summer month of wearing me-mades. I might have had a look at my closet before the month started, but I didn't, I thought I was reasonably well prepared. As it turns out, my me-made summer tops don't really coordinate with my me-made bottoms, since at the time I was doing summer sewing last year, I never even thought about wearing a whole me-made outfit! So I guess there will be a bit of closing-the-gap around here during Summer Essentials. :)

MMJ Day1: Me-made skirt and tank top, refashioned cardi

With that in mind, I did start my first Summer Essential - a teal knit top - on June 1, but I didn't get around to finishing it until tonight. I also finished my green wrap dress!

MMJ Day 2: New green wrap dress, me-made tank top
(it does look kinda flattering like that)

I do think I'm in love with the style (the tulip shaped skirt reminds me of the little pink ballerina skirt I got to wear for ballet class, back when I was about 6 or 7) although this version still has some problems (which is probably due to my prospensity to "wing it" and to franken-pattern garments without actual patterns, just vague ideas and a mix of similar shaped garments...) The knit is a bit too stiff for the style and doesn't drape well enough. I think that's the biggest problem, especially as the skirt is in essence a half-circle, which in this fabric doesn't swish, it just makes me feel like a bit of a square...

(not quite as flattering, no?)

I've been thinking about a solution and thought I might take the sides of the skirt in to form more of an A-line, to get a slightly slimmer shape. Do you think this would work, or would it interfere with the line of the dress? I'm also putting the waistline at least an inch higher in the next iteration, and maybe lengthen the skirt a litte. A black version would definitely be nice, and maybe one in teal, although my teal knit is a bit flimsy...

MMJ Day 03: Me-made strawberry skirt, leggins and tank top

I'm not sure if I said, but I also finished a pair of leggins, since mine usually don't hold up longer than one season. Stupid thigh seams... I made these without side seams, just inner leg and crotch seams, and it worked out pretty well. :) They still aren't hemmed though. My machine doesn't have a holder for a second thread spool, so it's difficult to do twin-needle hems...

MMJ Day 04: Me-made leggins (and my favorite non-me-made dress...)

Today's outfit wasn't very me-made, just the leggins. I have an excuse, though: we had drama group rehersal in a stiflingly hot room, which I knew I wanted to be comfy for, but I also had a date for Falafel with a friend. So I wanted to be comfy and good-looking. (And I love this dress!) I definitely need to make more summery knit dresses...

I also went by the fabric market and got two very cute cotton fabrics: some blue-on-white paisly and middle-blue polka-dots! Also, a metre of red jersey and a bit of crocheted lace I had in mind for a refashion... The Turkish youth who sold me the polka-dot fabric was a bit confused and gave me 4m instead of 2.5, which I only realized at home. :) Yay, more polka dots!

Have a lovely, summery Sunday, everyone!