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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Me Made May: Part II

For this second Me Made May roundup, I did catch a few photos of myself in my outfits! Though I did have the entire week off work, so my outfits were much more casual than usual. I went with the theme of tops that I've made for myself. Actually, I didn't really have a theme, so much as a "these are my comfortable clothes" kind of week ;)

Here are the tops I wore in this week of all kinds of weather -- mostly clear but a couple of clear and chilly days, still!
Vogue 8495 OOP

Maria Denmark Kristen Kimono Tee
"Vintage" Butterick 5716
My standard: Kwik Sew 3559
A cooler day & an (unblogged) version of KS 3559
Vogue 8514 - which I always wear "backwards" now

New Look 6217, 2nd version
Simplicity 3790
Unblogged Sorbetto - just realized
I wore the exact same outfit last MMM!

There are a few more shirts that I've made that I could have worn this week as well -- it's so astonishing to me to see so many things I've made myself in my closet. Much more than I'd first thought.

I have also finished a new dress so will be wearing that this week and blogging about it shortly, too!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Simplicity 1356: Double Duty!

Simplicity Misses' Jiffy® Reversible Wrap Dress 1356I have been working my way through a few dresses over the last few weeks. This one -- Simplicity 1356 -- was not on The List to make soon, but I got out some pink fabric to cut a lining for the skirt of another dress I'm working on (with fabric that was much too see-through for my comfort) and suddenly I was struck by inspiration.

I had tons of the pink fabric...in fact, it was a king-size Ikea cotton sheet that I picked up at the Goodwill recently. So I thought that it would great to trial this pattern.

This really was a Jiffy pattern; I was able to cut and sew it over the course of a couple of evenings. I was going to use a bright white sheet that had blue and pink stylized flowers for the other side, but my husband looked at it and suggested another one instead, that was a gentler contrast.

The second side (the floral one) was a surprise to me. I used it, thinking I would mostly wear it with the pink side anyhow. But when it was done, I loved the look of the floral side, and have worn it that side out far more often thus far. And strangers stop me to tell me what a pretty, spring-like dress I'm wearing ;)

It's funny how that happens -- when I bought the floral sheet originally, I thought it was a pretty retro look but a fabric I'd probably use for linings. I really like it in this dress though, even though I rarely wear things with a white/off-white base.

The first time I wore this new dress, I was at work. I wore the pink side out, and half-way through the day I nipped into the bathroom and flipped it to floral side out. Then I waited for people to notice. Small things, I tell you!



Anyhow, sewing details. It was very straightforward. I cut a size 16 on the top and added a bit of extra at the hip and below, which as it turned out was completely unnecessary and in fact means that there's a bit too much fabric in the area at which it's tied. A little too bulky. If I make it again I'm cutting a straight 16. Because there is too much fabric going around, the bottom fold over edges are also lower than the centre piece. It looks okay when I'm wearing it but next go around I'll try to eliminate the excess to make it nice and even.

The only other alteration I made was to add some extra width to the sleeve, trying to turn it into a cap sleeve, as I really don't like plain straps like the original. I was semi-successful. I curved the line from my shoulder extension a little too far back into the armhole, so my sleeve looks a little peaked. Again, next time I'll make the extension a little smoother so the sleeve is less angular.


But over all I really like this dress a lot more than I'd expected, having started it as an experiment. It feels cute and fun to wear. One thing to note is that when you walk, the skirt flaps do flow out a bit so the other side is clearly seen. So if you do make it, choose two fabrics that complement one another well, because you're going to be seeing both, no matter which side you're wearing facing out. I'd also suggest choosing lightweight fabrics, as the double layer could get heavy quickly if your fabric is too sturdy.

This dress is a bit of an outlier for me, seeing as I'm not a frequent wearer of hot pink or pale florals. But I like it. It is always fun to change things up a little, and this dress is a quick effort that gives a satisfying result.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Me Made May 2015: Part 1

I've been playing along with MeMadeMay this year in a low-key way. I've been sorting my closet, looking at what I have, and don't have, and trying to wear some of the things that don't get as much airing.

What I've been terrible at is taking photos. So I'm going to catch up on two weeks of photos here, in a collage/montage of the Me Made items that have thus far made it out into the world. At least for the first 2 weeks of May!

First, the skirts -- for the first 5 days of May I wore skirts, only one of which I wear regularly. Here they are:



From left to right:

  • brown elastic waist skirt, never blogged - not really a pattern (made with thrifted fabric so see-through that I lined it and gave it an elastic waist for a quick make. There was just enough for a trapezoid shaped skirt)
  • Floral New Look 6977
  • Brown floral microfibre New Look 6843
  • Blue hand embroidered Simplicity 9825
  • Pencil skirt! (this New Look 6128 is the one that I wear a lot)


And the following days, I wore dresses. Many, many dresses.




Left to right:





Left to right:



Fortunately for the clothing rotation, we had a couple of really chilly days this month in which I was able to wear warmer clothes, including the red Vogue above, and this KS 4026 which I forgot to add to the photo as it is in the laundry room!

So the first 15 days were very dressy. Now with a couple of days off I've been wearing a few of my more casual outfits. More info later!

Some more sewing happening around these parts so a couple of newer makes will be showing up this May, and will shortly be blogged as well. One surprising thing I am finding is that I have many more handmade pieces than I'd realized. It's been a busy year!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Caved to the Cambie

Yes, I've done it. I have finally made myself a Sewaholic Cambie! I've always loved this pattern, and a month and a bit ago I finally caved and bought the pattern. A digital pattern, so I was a bit slow off the start, having to print and tape and trace...but the Cambie was worth it.

A summer dress for a summery day in MAY!
I used a recently purchased cotton print -- I am in love with black-based floral prints this year. I lined it with a lightweight black broadcloth. I probably should have gone all out and used voile but it was a tad expensive for my first go-round. Now that I know how much I freaking love this pattern, I will be willing to spend a lot more on really nice fabrics for the next try.


This dress took me a while to make, as I was hesitant at nearly every step. Lots new to me, but once I did each step, nothing was actually hard to do. I absolutely loved the technique to add the lining to the invisible zip first. It looks fantastic and is so much easier than hand stitching down the whole thing. I also really liked the little touches like the lovely pockets, and the inside waistband cut from fashion fabric instead of lining. It's so pretty ;)

Inner Waistband
Sewaholic patterns are drafted for the pear-shaped figure -- which I am, and boy, does it make a difference. I made Version A, with the A-line skirt, not the full one, and it is super comfortable and flattering. There were a few alterations that I made to the pattern. First, I took a half-inch tuck out of the back armhole of the right side. When I made a bodice muslin, the right side gaped quite a bit; another result of my wonky shoulder. I folded a tuck from 1/2" at the back armhole edge to nothing by about the middle of the right back bodice piece. Because there was no corresponding sleeve measurement to worry about this worked just fine. I ended up also tucking the sleeve/strap in by far more than the 5/8" seam allowance, at the final step. I think I tucked each in by just over an inch, but then I usually shorten between bust and shoulder so that makes sense. I absolutely love the way it fits.

I also broke out my blind hem foot for the first time on my new Janome. It took a few tries on scraps to get the feel for it, but I'm so glad I used it. I really didn't want a hem that was just folded under and straight stitched, as I felt it might affect the hang or look of the skirt. And since everything else about this dress is so nicely finished, I was going to hand sew the hem. But then took a chance on the blind hem and it worked really well.

Blind hem!

 I also used the correct invisible zip foot, new also, and it made ALL the difference. I can't believe this invisible zip.

My 1st invisible zip that is truly invisible

Next go I will also pinch out an inch at centre front; this time I took a tuck just beside each strap to reduce the front centre gape. My fabric is so busy you really can't tell. And, oh, of course -- the other alteration I made was to change the front neckline from a sweetheart line to a straight neckline. I just can't get behind the sweetheart shape on me.

Love this neckline!

Thankfully the Sewaholic Cambie sewalong posts had tons of extra info, like how to change the neckline, and how to attach the lining to the zip, both of which I read through a couple of times to get going. I found the pattern well made and easy to understand, and I simply love the full lining and all the really excellent details in this pattern. I'm quite proud of this finished dress, the first in my all-out attack on my stack of wished-for summer dresses!

Random shoe view :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Me Made May 2105


I can't believe it's May already! How did that happen? The last two weeks have simply zipped by. I've almost missed joining in on Me Made May! I participated last year for the first time and really enjoyed it. This year I'm not going to be taking daily pictures -- I didn't like that part so much, and since it is not a requirement I am dropping it :) But I am planning on doing this:


I, Melwyk of Magpie Makery, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear one me-made item each day for the duration of May 2015


I am also hoping to finish a couple more of my half-made outfits that are currently languishing in my sewing room and wear them before the end of May! We will see. It is fun to go through your own "me made" wardrobe and see what's there that you don't actually wear much, or find the places that you are lacking me mades! 

Happy May!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Vintage Workbasket gems

In the recent batch of embroidery patterns and suchlike sent to me by my Mom -- as she was clearing out her craft space by shifting it into mine ;) -- there were a couple of old Workbasket magazines from the late 60s, early 70s. I don't know if you remember these, but I was addicted to reading my Mom and Grandma's old issues when I was a kid. I loved all the craft ideas, even if they were out of date even then.


I never really noticed the sewing content when I was young, as I wasn't yet an active sewist like I am now. But it was super fun to look through the four issues that were in my parcel and remember all the crafts I'd made from them...even if we might now label them as crafts of the "Pinterest fail" kind! Great memories of non-perfectionist fun in my childhood.

Something I noticed this time around, though, was the hilarious advertisements lining the pages. The delicious recipes. And of course, the sewing. While there are craft instructions, recipes, and knitting patterns included in the magazine, the sewing element are just line drawings of the latest dresses with instructions on how to order. Sadly, it seems none of the women in my family ever ordered any. But they are lovely to look at for inspiration, nonetheless. Take a peek!

Knitting for a sporty look

Important concerns...

No mincing words here

Delicious jello molds!

Who knew accordions were such a hot item?

Dial yourself a dress!

One look at the sewing tips and options for fashion
(more to come...)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Simplicity 2560 : Divinely Purple


Since it's still cool here -- with variable temperatures, and icky freezing rain today -- it's still a great time to sew up some transition pieces. Something colourful to take away the grey winter/spring blahs, something comfortable to wear as a sweater on cold days or outside as a simple cardi on warmer days.

I also needed an easy make to recover from some more fiddly projects, and I found one: Simplicity 2560 made up in a very fine, very soft purple knit that I've been hoarding for a while, just waiting for the right project.



I"m wearing this with my favourite
 Maria DenmarkKristen Kimono tee,
 & some great purple tights
Fortunately it was sunny out, and warm enough at least one day, to sneak out to the back parking lot for some quick photos! Issues with taking pics into the sun though...



I cut this one pretty much as is, at size 16, except for shortening it by an inch (I am short). Once I had it laid out to sew, I thought that the sleeve might be a little close fitting to slip over other shirts, so I sewed the lower arm seam at 1/4" instead of 5/8", angling out to reach 5/8" at the point where I'd join the bottom parts on. It worked out perfectly.


I chose to make View B for its length and straight hem. I didn't like the poufy sleeve endings though, so was planning on simply hemming the sleeves instead of adding the pouf. When I tried on the finished garment, though, I thought the sleeves weren't long enough, and a basic hem wouldn't have looked quite right. So I cut the lining piece from the pouf, folded it in half and sewed it on as a sleeve band to finish. That was perfect -- right length, right weight on the sleeve, and it echoed the front band too. And I also love the way that the back and front sides are gathered.


I loved this pattern for its simplicity and flow. The front band which goes around the neckline and gathers as it falls is simply lovely -- my fabric is really lightweight and drapy -- in a heavier or stiffer fabric I might narrow it a little bit, as the gathers likely wouldn't fall as smoothly. I was so pleased that this pattern worked out without any fixes or massive alterations needed, and that it went together so quickly and easily. It feels wonderful to wear and the colour is divine. Or royal, if you prefer.

I love this cardigan! Definitely one I'd make again if I find another great fabric for it.