Sunday, 19 June 2011

Me-Made-June Days 15, 16, 17 and 18

This post goes backwards from day 18 to 15 I'm afraid - for some reason no amount of coaxing will make the photos move!

Day 18

Grey linen shorts (as posted about yesterday) with a bought black vest top, red cardigan and red butterfly shoes.

Day 17

This dress I have already worn this month but this time it was teamed with converse rather than heels.

Day 16

Hmmm, one of the skirts also posted about yesterday. I tried it with a cream vest top at first but then decided that the darker option was better so this is a bought black vest top and to spice up the outfit (and to take attention away from the gathers at my hips that I really do not like!) my yellow flower wedges.

Day 15

Wednesday was hot, hot here so out came the black and white spot shorts (posted about here) with the broderie anglaise top worn on day one of Me-Made June.

As I said though Wednesday was hot so after lunch I changed into a cream me-made vest top that I had rustled up in the morning.

And, yes, the bump is growing.

After wearing the cream vest for the afternoon I decided that it was a little boring as it was so I added a small ruffle at the neckline.

The vest was made using this book:

I followed the instructions in the book to adapt the T-shirt pattern to make a vest top - but increased the length by 10cm. I feel another few jersey tops in the pipeline - I love that they are so quick to make (with the overlocker) and there is lots of scope for variation. Watch this space!!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Shorts, glorious shorts

You may have remarked the fairly sudden appearance of shorts into my me-made wardrobe. After a couple of days of the me-made challenge I decided that I was badly in need of some me-made garments that cover the bottom half of my body if the challenge was going to go any further than wearing a me-made top every day for the month of June (with ready to wear bottom garments too of course!).

I have a couple of paris of me made trousers (shown here and here - see day 9) but decided something additional was needed. I could make a couple more pairs of trousers but it is starting to be hot here and I wanted something that would be cooler.

In addition, although I need some clothes to clad myself in for the summer it is not my plan to stay this shape forever and therefore I am loathe to make too many items of clothes that are purely maternity.

 Granted the two pairs of trousers that I linked to above were made before the bump but I doubt that the blue pair will see too many more outings before they have to be put away until a more normal waistline reappears and there is a limit to how many pairs of drawstring waisted trousers a woman needs (I suspect I will give in to making at least one more pair before the end of the summer but that will be for another post!).

My first instinct, therefore, was to rustle up a couple of skirts but I have to admit that I am struggling with skirts at the moment. When I scour the websites for inspiration there are lots that I like and even many that I would love to make but the one defining feature of nearly all of them is a nice neatly defined waistline and that is something that for the next 3 and a half months or so (thinking extremely positively) I am highly unlikely to have. 

You can see from the images below (all taken from my 'style board' at pinterest) that I am currently attracted to a kind of '50's style gathered dirndl skirt - exactly the kind of thing that will not work for maternity skirts.





I therefore widened the inspiration net to see if I could find something that would more suitably and easily flatter a bump (or at least work underneath it or over it). You will see that the images below are more streamlined which I thought would be more flattering with a growing tummy.

Image from (via Pinterest)

Image from Burdastyle

Image from (via Pinterest)
I then set to and made a couple of attempts to emulate the kind of skirt I like but with room for the bump but, to be honest,  I am not really that happy with either attempt.

This blue and white spot skirt is an attempt at a bump friendly high waisted pencil skirt. I self drafted the pattern and made the waistband narrower at the front to fit under the bump (thus sort of defeating the high waisted bit no?).

It sort of works with heels but for some reason I am not overly comfortable in it   - it's not physically uncomfortable - I just don't feel that great in it (maybe it is the length - too school-mamish?).

Secondly, I decided to try a more gathered, flouncy option thinking that maybe I could make a '50's gathered vibe work.

It's not that I don't like this skirt - I do - it's just that I'm not sure about a blossoming bump and gathers - personally on me I think that the bump requires a more streamlined approach down below to avoid the sort of barrell look.

Step up plan B. The shorts. Partly inspired by some great shorts I have seen whilst scouring the net (again, all images from pinterest)





and partly by the fact that this blue pair I had actually started last summer. I had it all cut out but then the summer came and went without me getting round to sewing them up and they were duly put away in a cupboard whilst I worked on more autumnal and winter projects.

As they were already started I decided to sew them up and see what I thought. They are based on the Ruby pattern from burdastyle. As they had been cut out last summer I was concerned that they would be, at best, on the tight side so as the shorts are made out of a blue cotton fabric (with almost no give) I decided to make the front waistband out of blue jersey to hopefully enable me to get into them.

The other modifications I made were to sew one side up as a normal seam and just put the button fastening on one side. I included the little pocket on the front but didn't add the patch pockets to the back.

And here they are. 

the front pocket and jersey waistband

the side buttons

the turn up

After deciding that the blue shorts were a success I decided to make a couple more pairs.

The black and white spot pair. I splashed out on the fabric for this pair and used a more expebsive cotton that also has some stretch. This makes these shorts super comfy to wear and meant that I could use the same fabric for the waistband. This time I omitted all the pockets and, rather than including the turn up I hemmed them normally using an invisible hem stitch. Again I only put buttons on one side.

the side buttons

the invisible hem

Finally, I decided I would go for one more pair. This grey linen pair is made from the left over fabric from these trousers and again is really comfy to wear. I went back to the turn up detail for this pair and also added a side seam pocket as I felt that a proper pocket was the only thing missing form the other pairs - there is something comforting about having somewhere to put your hand from time to time. Instead of a fixed waistband this time I added a casing and a tie so that they can expand with me over the summer!

the turn up

the pocket

the buttons and ribbon that ties in the casing
As I am concerned that the above photo doesn't show you enough detail of my shoes today - I leave you with a picture of my red plastic butterfly shoes - teamed beautifully, I'm sure you will agree, with my sky blue nail varnish!!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

30 Day PHOTOGRAPHY CHALLENGE and Photo Fun- June 12

I appreciate I'm a couple of days behind in bringing you the photos for the challenges. The photos were duly taken on the correct days but I just haven't had the time to upload them, edit them and then create the posts........

On the upside though, the reason I haven't had the time is because our new kitchen is nearly finished - the cupboards and work surfaces are all in place, the plumbers have connected the dish washer and sink, the electrician is, whilst I write, connecting the electrics and tomorrow morning the gas will be connected! I feel as though I have spent the last week up to my elbows in bleach and we have made more trips to the tip than the rest of the village put together. There is something very cathartic about clearing stuff out!

Anyway, back to the topic in hand. Sunsets and sun flare. I combined the two topics this time to create a mini series of photos showing the sunset on June 12 from our garden. You can see the sun flare (the coloured spots where the sun flare on the lens) in all of the photos.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Me-Made-June Days 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14

I have quite a lot of catching up to do - particularly on the photo challenge front - but here is the Me-Made June catch up - it will be short and sweet as I need to get out of the door but at least it will show you what I have been wearing - and yes, it has ALL been me-made!!!

Day 10

The sun was out and so out came a dress. Blue me-made dress as posted about in the sewing update yesterday.

Blue dress
In the evening we went to the theatre so I changed into the wide legged blue linen trousers and Liberty blouse.

Day 11

Same style, different colour. The Liberty floral dress also posted about yesterday.

Day 12

First outing for these blue shorts - based on the Ruby pattern from Burdastyle (more to come on the shorts). Teamed here with the Liberty blouse.

Day 13

Blue shorts again but this time with a Me-Made stripy tshirt.

Day 14

And, finally for this instalment, a newly made sundress - based loosely on the same pattern as the other two dresses shown earlier in this post - more details will come in the weekly round up.

 That's all for now folks!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Weekly Sewing News

As promised here is the first of my sewing updates.

As I had a few months off blogging there are various garments that I made that I haven't yet blogged about - these I will pick up over the course of this month when they are worn for the Me-Made-June challenge.

These weekly (or so) updates will focus instead just on what I have been up to over the last week (or so), sewing wise. That, of course, means that sometimes they will be packed with photos, information and new projects. Other times the content will be fairly light. Now that I have that disclaimer out of the way let us proceed!

I have already posted about the Sobretto tops I made last weekend (click here if you haven't already seen them) but you may also remember the summer dress hanging in the photo with the tops.

This is one of a number of dresses I have made with the same pattern (albeit with a couple of tweaks here and there).

First I made the Blue dress, shown here on day 11 of the Me-Made-Challenge.

The pattern is from the Sewing in No-Man's Land blog (the Bottom Mellow Dress Pattern) and features a yoke made up of a back piece and two front pieces that meet at the centre with gathered short sleeves. The bottom part of the dress is just a front and back piece stitched up the sides and attached to the yoke. There are no fastenings as the dress is easy to slide on and off. The pattern provides for small facings for the front central yoke pieces but for this Blue dress I made proper front and back facings. I also added a button at the centre bottom of the front yoke and rather than gathering the hem of the sleeves I made a small pleat on each sleeve and again added a button.

The yoke and sleeves are made from a retro cotton fabric with  a small blue and red pattern and the bottom part of the dress is navy blue jersey fabric.

I cut the bottom pieces of the dress slightly wider than the pattern suggested and made an inverted box pleat in the centre at the front and a pleat on each side to accomodate a blooming waistline (obviously the jersey fabric also helps). I did, however, end up taking it in by a couple of centimetres on each side so the added width was probably not necessary.

Once finished this Blue dress just left me with scraps of the blue jersey - not really enough to do anything with - except, the yoke of another dress just the same!

Again I used a complete front and back facing to add structure to the yoke but this time I used the same fabric as I used for the skirt section for the sleeves - a Liberty of London floral print in blue, orange and yellow.

Rather than pleat the front and back skirt sections I gathered them - with the front gathers going right across the front. As I cut the back skirt piece slightly less wide than the front section the gathers at the back are just in the centre.

The third and final dress using the same pattern is altogether more summery. Rose print cotton for the yoke and white eyelet for the skirt section.

For this dress I went back to the pleat detail when attaching the skirt section to the yoke and I also used the same fabric for the yoke and sleeves.

So after three Sobretto tops and three simple dresses I was on a roll of quick and easy projects. 

This time last year I was waiting for my youngest niece to be born and so now her first birthday is fast approaching. As she is coming here for three weeks in the summer I thought she is probably in need of some cool summer dresses so out came the pile of pink and other girly fabric and here is what I came up with:

The pattern is another free downloadable pattern this time from Oliver & S. The pattern actually starts at age 2 but I just downgraded the sizing a little. The first dress is in pink cotton gingham and the trim at the yoke is white cotton lace. 

The second dress is in a cotton floral fabric with white ric rac trimming the yoke. 

For both dresses I made matching bloomers - using the pattern from here.

Just as I was finishing up I happened to peruse and saw the free pattern for the Rae blouse (see here). Sundresses are all well and good but a girl needs a little cover up to protect from the burning sun or at the end of a hard day at the pool doesn't she so I used the remains of the white eyelet fabric to make this

A three quarter length sleeve blouse in white eyelet with pleats at the front and a button back. I used some of the pink gingham for pockets. The pattern calls for the neckline to be bound in bias binding but instead, to keep the clean line of the white eyelet fabric I drafted a facing for the front and back necklines.

The next photo shows the pleats and the square neckline

The gingham contrasting pockets

I was going to cover buttons for the back using the scraps of the pink gingham but then when fabric shopping on Tuesday I saw these and so saved myself a job!

Needless to say, I also made matching bloomers - this time with bias binding round the leg holes and waist and with a ruffle on the bum!

Finally - yes it really has been an exceptional week, sewing wise, I made myself the Liberty blouse seen on day 9 of Me-Made-June.

The pattern for this blouse came from the Japanese pattern book Les Couleurs Francaises- and is the top part of the shirt dress pattern that I used last year to make this dress (posted about here).

This time though I made it blouse length, cutting it off just under where the buttons stop, I added the sleeves - short gathered sleeves, also with gathering on the sleeve hem and added elastic in the hem to stop the bottom billowing out in a nasty tent style way.

Given that with the dress I only ever undo the top button and slip it on and off over my head I also sewed up the last few buttons on the blouse using a contrasting red thread as a sort of design detail and for the top two buttons I used red spot buttons. I used another Liberty bias to bind the hem of the sleeves.

Bias bound sleeve hems

Red spot buttons

Sewn down buttonholes

I like the detail of this blouse - the gathering at the bottom of the yoke on the back and the gathering on the hem of the sleeves and I might well make another - maybe making the next one a little bit longer so it could be worn as a tunic.

Gathering at back yoke

Elastic in hem

Well, that is all for this week. But I will leave you with a peak at what is on my cutting table for next week....