Saturday, May 31, 2014

mmm'14 update #4


May 20th - My new SBCC Lemon Drop Top
May 21st - Traveling up to a fishing cabin on Moosehead Lake, so I whipped myself up a pair of easy Elle Pants in heathered grey sweatshirt fabric from my stash. Will be blogged soon!
May 22nd - What to wear at a fishing camp? A fishy top! Then I went down to my parents house... and this is their new kitten, Tuukka! 
May 23rd -  New Look 6216 again... this time with pink!
May 24th - This is actually my first time wearing this super simple maxiskirt made from McCalls 6567. I just never quite figured out how to style it without it looking frumpy. I guess a black t-shirt is always a good choice!
May 25th - Traveling to Philadelphia to see my sister! 2 hours on a bus followed by 6.5 hours on a train = comfy clothing needed! This purple lace knit skirt totally fits the bill. I made it at the beginning on my sewing/blogging journey, and it's starting to show it's age. The lace is pilling and pulling, so not good for work but perfect for a long trip!
May 26th - Sunny and in the 80's in Philadelphia! I wore a favorite me-made top out and about with my sister, including a visit to the very cool Eastern State Penitentiary MuseumTotally got a sunburn. :(
May 27th - Finally wore my silk copy-cat maxi-dress and it was another beautiful day in Philly. We visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a big Macy's in a beautiful, old building! (...and this photo was taken in the Macy's dressing room.) This silk/cotton fabric is sooo nice to wear, even on a hot day in the city! You can also see my me-made pleather purse that I use every day, so really I've been wearing 2 me-mades per day all this month!
May 28th - This month I pattern tested the Ella Tank by Liola Patterns.... how cool is that?!  I love the shape  of this tank pattern and the fabric print, but this one is just a little bit too big for me so I left it with my sister (damn you and your extra 7" of height!). I plan on making myself another one in a size smaller. You can learn more about this pattern here, and I also will be posting my pattern testing experience soon!
May 29th - Home on the train (which ran really late) so comfy jeans and New Look 6216 again. I snapped this picture once I was home and changed into my Christmas PJs. This month this top has been my go-to me-made for days I'm craving just a t-shirt and jeans. 
May 30th - I love this teal denim skirt made from Simplicity 2258! I made it way at the beginning of my sewing/blogging journey, even before the purple knit skirt, and not only is the fit and styling good, but I also did a really nice job with the construction and it's held up nicely to wear and washing. I'm very sad that it has the faintest of stains on the front, so I couldn't wear it to my last job without looking like a scrub... but now it's back into regular rotation! I must remember to make more of this pattern.
May 31st - Yard work today, and these same Elle sweggings (Oh yeah, I said it... sweatpant-leggings!) from May 21st are perfect. I am super pleased with how these came out, fitted but not too tight and soooo comfy! 

Well that finishes up Me Made May 2014! I'll post soon with all my outfits worn this month and overall thoughts of this year's MMM. How did you do with your MMM14 pledge?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

thank you, sew short nissa and reves mecanique!

I've recently written a couple of times how blessed I feel to be a part of this amazing, online sewing blogger community, and today is another reason to do so! Sew Short Nissa and Reves Mecanique (two awesome sewing bloggers you should check out!) have both nominated me for a Liebster award! I get to answers some questions about myself given by person(s), then nominate some other amazing blogs with under 200 followers for you to check out! I received one last year as well, but a lot can change in a year and I think you'll find both different questions and answers than from before:

1. Why did you start blogging? Why did I start blogging? I knew I wanted to get back into sewing my own cloths, and just prior to that I had gotten a lot of inspiration reading other sewing bloggers so I thought "why not document my journey as well?" I'm so glad I did! And I hope others have gotten even a tenth out of reading it, as I have writing it and corresponding with other bloggers. 

2. How do you get yourself out of a sewing funk? Reading other sewing blogs every day is often inspiring. I also might allow myself to do something sewing related, that isn't sewing, like clean up my sewing space, or thumb through my patterns for inspiration, check out, sketch out ideas. I also usually cut out my fabric on a day before I'm going to sew, maybe in front of the TV in the evening, so that it's ready to go!

3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? I love Portland, ME, but it would be so cool to live a year in Europe or Asia, or even Canada! I visited friends teaching in South Korea and absolutely loved being in a foreign place, and the lives they got to live there. Mr. Sew Rachel and I have also talked about living on the west coast sometime, like the San Francisco/Portland, OR area.

4. Sewing for other people: love it or loathe it? I don't often love it when other people ask me to make them things... but I love making people things when it's my idea. :) Selfish seamstress maybe? 

5. What is your best feature? Hmm? My body has changed a lot the last couple years, and somedays it's harder to love those changes than others. I have to say, my daily photo pledge for Me-Made-May 2014 has been really positive in that regard. Even on days I'm not feeling so pretty I need to produce a flattering photo, which not only requires a degree of self-love but also presents myself back to me in a beautiful way... and for 31 days in a row. 

6. What is your favorite fabric shop? My new favorite fabric shop is one I just discovered a month or so ago when visiting Boston: Grey's Fabric and Notions. I also stumbled into (and quite literally... plantar fasciitis is painful!) Gather Here in Cambridge, MA. Bother shops have beautiful patterns and fabrics, and are staffed by very cool helpful people. It might be a tie.

7. What is your biggest sewing sin? Not taking the time to make a muslin, or time and time again not properly shortening a pattern when I know it's designed for someone a half-foot taller!

8. If you could make any sewing process disappear, what would it be? While I used to hate hemming, I've been learning some new techniques and tools to make that process less painful. I would make disappear when you finish are this close to finishing a garment only to find out it doesn't fit right or it doesn't look good on you. I hate that. Sure... some of that could be taken care of by making a proper muslin first, but sometimes you just cant tell until you have the whole thing together. 

9. Which other crafts, if any, do you do? I'm also a painter and printmaker (, and working toward that being my profession. Besides that I just plain old enjoy making things. I love decorating Easter eggs! I dabble in knitting. I like to cook (but not do the dishes....), and every year get a little more successful at gardening (and I DO NOT come by that naturally!).

10. Cats or dogs? Cats.... and house rabbits :)

My baby bunny boy, Filbert. (He's actually more like 6 y.o.)
So now I'm nominating these 6 blogs of less than 200 followers (based stats from I read for you to check out. This is just a small sample of the 144 amazing bloggers I follow who inspire me daily.

Lady Sewalot ( - This girl is only like 17, and makes very cool outfits with great personal style!
Fabric Tragic ( - I would wear everything she makes.
One Small Stitch ( - Her last knitted project was amazing!
Seams Right to Me ( - I just discovered this blog. She's made some really nice indie pattern creations.
Sew Unravelled ( - I want her clothes :)
Gloria & Me ( - Just finished a series on the Colette Wardrobe Architect Project. Always has something thoughtful to say.

So ladies, are you up for the challenge? Will you post a little about yourselves then pass the Liebster award along to other amazing sewing bloggers?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

a new lemon drop top

A finished piece to show you! This time it's the Lemon Drop Top by Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick. This pattern company specializes in patterns for petites, which is awesome for me! I'd been hesitant to try them, in part because their product photographs don't do much for me... I want to see what it looks like on real person, but for Sewing Indie Month I decided to give them a try. Plus I was looking for some easy basics to sew for my wardrobe.

The fabric is some silky, synthetic from Joann Fabrics, that actually sewed up well and feels nice on. I had bought it originally for some silky pajamas, and I think I still have enough for a set! And check out the proportions! I don't look like I'm swimming in it, or like a kid playing dress-up in their mother's clothes! The shoulders are not too wide, and the neckline not too big!

I like a bound neckline, even if this one doesn't lay perfectly. I sew bias strips to the front first on the machine, then hand stitch it on the underside.

I attempted a machine-rolled hem again. It came out a little uneven, in part because I had to cut off my first attempt, but for a casual top I'm not bothered.  I'll also need to snip off some shaggy bits that stick out from the tiny hem. I'm getting better at it every time, and still prefer it to traditional hemming with a fabric like this!

I will for sure try more SBCC patterns in the future! Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be too many SBCC makes around the blog-o-sphere to check out. Have you ever made one of their patterns?

Monday, May 19, 2014

mmm'14 update #3

I promise to show some new makes very soon (I have a couple pieces nearly finished)! But in the meantime, here is a MMM'14 update:

May 13th - A light, flow-y, floral maxi-skirt, shown here after I changed to mow the lawn.
May 14th - My new Hemlock Tee
May 15th - A repeat from May 5th: a fishy, cotton Eucalypt Tank, skinny jeans and a black cardi. I love this look!
May 16th - We were delivered 20 cubic yards of dirt the day before, so I needed an outfit for gardening and housework. I screen-printed this t-shirt for the Running with Scissors Kickstarter, so it totally counts as me-made.
May 17th - Two me-altered outfits today. The dress was recently bought at a thrift store but way too big, so I took out the side zip (it was so big that I tried it on, bought it and had it home before I even noticed there was a zipper!) and took in at both sides, the waist and the sleeves. Underneath is a half-slip that the elastic had worn out of, so I sewed in some new lingerie elastic. Now if fits even better than when it was new from the store.
May 18th - A Sunday working at the art studio. My Hemlock Tee is going to become a studio staple.
May 19th - At the studio again. This time working in my grey, jersey maxi-skirt, a favorite black tank and raspberry cardigan. It was my most worn item last year, and is starting to show it. Another great studio piece now! (But not a great picture... oh well!)

Monday, May 12, 2014

mmm'14 update #2

May 6th - A jersey maxi-skirt, that it looks like I never blogged. I made it in early August last year when we were living at my grandparent's house since our lease was up on our apartment, but we hadn't closed yet on our new house, so that could explain why you may not have seen it here. The fabric print is fabulous, but it pilled like crazy after even one wash, so it's perfect for a fay working in the art studio. Pretty, comfortable, but looking kind shabby.
May 7th - Another unblogged piece! I made this a very long time ago and love the fit, but the seams had started to come apart so I stopped wearing it. I was able to mend it for MMM'14 and now it's a great piece back in the wardrobe! It's made with Butterick 5826. (And the picture is with my friend Casey at Trivia night at a local Mexican restaurant. We came in second after 3 tie-breaker questions. Not too bad!)
May 8th - My Moss Mini with a lightweight cream sweater. I had taken in a little at the center back waist and yoke, and it's much more comfortable.
May 9th - An outfit repeat from May 6th. I actually started out wearing a fold-over waistband ruffle skirt that I wore a ton last Me-Made-May, by the waistband is just too loose and was driving me nuts! My style has changed in a year, since my waistline certainly isn't smaller! These photos were taken in the hotel on a weekend away in Boston.
May 10th - My new Cambie Dress! This was so comfortable to wear around town and to the aquarium with a friend. I am very pleased with this dress and I suspect it'll get a lot of wear!
May 11th - Butterick 5885.

And today is a lazy day in, wearing my slouchy, grey New Look 6216 while working on the computer writing you this update:

How's your Me-Made-May 2014 going?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

finished silk copy-cat maxi-dress

Here it is! My copy-cat maxi-dress inspired by Reves Mecanique! What do you think?

You may remember that I decided to alter  Very Easy Vogue V8870 from my pattern stash from a hi-lo skirt to maxi-length. The alterations came out fairly well. The front bodice fits nicely, although the side and back I think could be taken in a little at either the waist seam or at the side seams under the bustline. I think is would be just that much more flattering if it were a tiny bit less blouse-y in the back and sides. Unlike the Sewaholic Saltspring pattern I was inspired by, this bodice has a facing at the neckline instead of being fully lined. With this fabric that worked just fine. I used lightwieght fusible interfacing on the facing and sergered the raw edge. The side seams on the bodice are finished with a french seam, and I inteneded to do the same with the skirt... but made a in a moment of absentminededness I sewed the piece right-sides together, and trimmed the seam allowed to 1/8 inch before realizing my mistake! (For french seams I should have sew wrong-sides together, trimmed seam allowence, then stitched the seam again right sides together for a beautiful encloused seam.) So I eneded up having to finish my skirt seams with the serger instead. A neat enough finish, but not as nice as french seams would have been with this lovely fabric.

The back also has elastic on the top, too, and I like how it holds the bodice in place. This pattern calls for two, narrow straps on each shoulder. I had to fiddle a fair amount to get them to lay even on the shoulders, and even still one strap likes to slip down.

The fabric is a silk/cotton blend from Grey's Fabric and Notions in Boston, MA. It sewed up very nicely. I used just a regualar size 9 needle. The fabric slipped only a tiny bit along the skirt side seams, which is barely noticible after a good pressing. Speaking of pressing... I can not seem to get the original fabric fold line out of the center back, even after a pre-wash and good pressing! Maybe it'll work itself out with wear.

I used my rolled hem foot again for the hem, and most of the hemline cam out really, really well! There were a few spots I had to go back over with hand stitches, but no one will even notice that way down by my feet! I think this will be a great tool.

Overall I am very pleased with this dress and expect to get a lot of wear out of it!

Monday, May 5, 2014

mmm'14 update and new tops

MMM'14 Selfie!

Thanks for all your kind comments on my last post! I'm glad me-made-pjs count when you are feeling cruddy. I'm feeling a lot better finally (and my house bunnies are starting to feel better, too!), and have actually put on real clothes the past few days.

May 2nd - One of my favorite makes from last year, McCalls 6751!
May 3rd - A brand new Grainline Hemlock Tee... which doesn't really go with the hat, but it was sunny out on the deck :)
May 4th - Here I'm wearing a favorite infinity scarf out to dinner with some friends. I was wearing my grey, knit maxi-skirt earlier... but sick bunnies meant I had to change before going out, and before I'd taken my MMM'14 photo.
May 5th - A new  Megan Nielsen Eucalypt Tank with gold sandals, skinny jeans and a cardigan.

I made the Grainline Hemlock Tee with a sheer, striped,  sweater-knit from I love the look, but it already started to snag after only one day of regular wear. Also, I constructed this on my serger, and the seams didn't come out great. I know a lot of folks like to sew knits on a serger, but I just don't have the hang of it yet. I do better constructing on my regular sewing machine with a zig-zag, and neatening up the seams afterwards on the serger. It's a wearable shirt that will be good on days I'm in the art studio, nothing I'll be upset over should I get it covered in ink. Still, I do really like the pattern and may make another version!

I made my  Eucalypt Tank from the same fish-print cotton that I used to line my me-made purse. I love this print! For this version I cut the fabric on the bias to allow a little more stretch and shape. Even with that, I think I will add some bust darts next time I use this pattern. I used french seams, a narrow curved hem, and homemade bias binding along the neck and armholes. I'm really, really pleased with the construction on this top.

I've also finished my black, silk, copy-cat maxidress! But that will deserve it's own post, so stayed tuned. :) 

In the first week of MMM'14 I've realized I need some khaki pants to go with a number of my me-made tops, so that's what I'm sewing currently. I found some nice twill (I think?) with a fair bit of stretch that had come from my mother's stash and have started a pair of Simplicity 1696 Amazing Fit Pants. It probably would have been way smarter to use the StyleARC Elle Pants pattern that I had success with before... but I guess I just want to make things difficult for me! Really, I wanted a more traditional pant look with front pockets and a lower rise waistband, and I found this amazing red version while searching pattern reviews that are seriously cool! I at least laid my StyleARC pattern pieces on top of the Simplicity pieces to (hopefully) confirm a similar fit... but more on that project later!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

happy me-made-may!

It's day one of MMM'14! I've realized I want to make an addition to my MMM '14 pledge, shown here in bold print:

'I, Rachel of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavor to wear and photograph at least one handmade item each day for the duration of May 2014'

Last year I usually just copied the photos from my previous blog posts when I wore an item during the month of May, which probably ended up being more work than if I just snapped a photo each day. Plus, MMM is not just about what I wear handmade, but also how I put my outfit together. So this year, I'm going to do my very best to remember to snap a photo (though I don't promise great photos!) of my handmade outfit every day. And so without further ado......

Yeah, I know. Not a terribly exciting or sophisticated outfit, and some may argue that me-made pajamas are cheating, but let me explain. I'm still coughing and feeling gross from my week+ long cold, both of my bunnies have been sick and need extra care, attention, medications and hand feeding (and are making sooooo much laundry!), and it's been cold and nasty and rainy today.... so I staying home with the handsome men that I slept with last night: my Alexander Henry Pajamas

Now I know that MMM can lead to a lot of blog posts to both write and read, I won't be posting my outfit updates daily but instead doing a round up of outfits worn once or twice a week. I also will be working on another Liebster Award post thanks to the awesome ladies who write Sew Short Nissa and Reves Mecanique! Lots to do and look forward to this month! Guess I better get to sewing!