Last year, I participated in my first Me-Made-May. It was a really great exercise in wearing the clothes I've knit and sewn for myself. I surprised myself. I had to get a little bit creative, but I was able to make it through the entire month! This year, Zoe and Jennifer Lauren are hosting another month of Me-Made fun, and I'm eager to join!
Each participant is able to design the specific details of her/his own challenge, so there are endless possibilities and ways to participate. This year, I want to concentrate on wardrobe building with a pinch of spring cleaning. I pledge the following:
I, Michelle, of tresbienensemble.com pledge to wear at least one Me-Made garment each day during the Month of May. Additionally, I will start the month with all of my clothing on one side of my closet and move items to the opposite side as I wear them. By the end of the month, I hope to have a better understanding of which wardrobe pieces I need to make more of and which items can, and should, be donated to clear space in my closet. Further, I will photo document my outfits daily to learn more about the types of garments that suit me.
I'm hoping to let go of a lot of the things I no longer wear at the end of the month. Also, I want to look at the things I am wearing and make more of them! I'm allowing RTW clothes in my monthly challenge to see which types of clothing I'm using as a crutch. And, I hope, as a side effect, I'll force myself to wear a clothes with a little more variety than I do typically. If you want to participate, hop on over to SO, Zo and make a pledge, you won't regret it!
It's been a while since I knit for one of my little friends. I'm sure I owe several of them projects. I've been very distracted lately. This particular sweater was a special request. As you well know, I don't typically do requests, but this wasn't a tall order. In fact, it hopped on and off my needles quickly. (see what I did there ;-D)
The yarn and pattern were provided by the requester, so I'm not entirely sure where the pattern came from. I think it may be from Lion Brand?? It's a really simple stockinette sweater with a nice little button-up convertible neckline, perfect for accommodating oversized noggins.
The bunny face is duplicate stitched on after knitting. Nothing too tricky. I thought it was a great way to avoid having to do any sort of intarsia. Props to the pattern writer for keeping things simple!
The pattern indicates that this is the face of a rabbit. Hallie and Mike both immediately thought it was a cat and gave me some serious side-eye and raised eyebrows. I guess it could go either way. To clarify, no, I haven't reached the level of cat-sweater-knitting-person. And, even if it was a cat, which it is not, it's for a baby. And, I'm pretty sure babies get a free-pass on the whole wearing of cat-sweater thing.
That's about all I have to say about that.
Straight skirt number two.
Most of what I have to say about this skirt is repeat information from the first, leopard print, version. I'll spare the redundancy and jump directly to the things that set this skirt apart from the first.
I bought this piece of fabric from an interior decorator. She was having a warehouse sale and trying to clear out remnant fabrics she had accumulated during the course of working on customer projects. There were nearly three yards of this ikat-like print remaining on the bolt, and I bought the piece for $12. The fabric is a cotton upholstery weight and heavier than what I'm used to working with. It's noticeably thicker than the leopard skirt, so I lined it with muslin to keep it from becoming heavy. I think this fabric makes a great bottom weight and am excited to have enough remaining to make another garment from it.
Due to the weight of the fabric, I was concerned that a folded hem might look bulky. To avoid having to fuss with it, I encased the hemline in narrow, double fold bias tape. I decided to incorporate the bias tape into the waistband similar to the way I had used it previously.
I raised the hemline of this version by two inches; otherwise, I did not make any changes or modifications from the my first skirt during construction. I think this skirt is more casual than the leopard skirt, but I can see pairing it with a dressier blouse to turn it up.
I wore this skirt to meet some lovely Chicagoland sewers for a fabric shopping extravaganza at LZ followed by lunch. There was a lot of fabric envy at the cutting table, plenty of enabling, and also some really great conversation about patterns, trends, and sewing to suit our personal style and body type.
Getting to know people who share my same interests and hobbies is a really wonderful fringe benefit of blogging. We have a pretty fantastic community!
I surprised myself with the print I chose for my first spring version of Simplicity 9267. It's a little... outside my comfort zone. Perhaps the influence of Jungle January triggered my inner animal. Clearly, I've been suppressing my animal print instincts; I've been sending myself subliminal messages on Pinterest (1,2,3) in an apparent S.O.S.
I figured, why not? There was nothing to lose. I had this piece of cotton leopard print in my stash from an estate sale score last year. It was a sign, no?
I didn't do anything tricky on this version. No embellishment. No details. Just a good plain skirt. I did try to be aware of my pattern placement. There's a vertical stripe incorporated into the print. It likely wouldn't have mattered where it ended up, but I tried to center the stripe in the front and make sure that the stripes at the back were evenly spaced.
The true testament to the success of this skirt is that I put it work and wore it to my mom's Surprise 50th birthday party.
I was busy playing hostess, so I didn't get any shots of the skirt 'in the wild', but we did stop to take photos and play on the park equipment outside the venue. Scout's honor, it performed well all day long in terms of comfort and wearability.
The 'up the skirt' shot below is the only picture we managed to take showing the lining of the skirt. I used a solid black poplin to line. It's got a nice weight to it. Even though the outside fabric is opaque, I think the lining helps the skirt hold its shape and gives structures to an otherwise flimsy garment.
The darker colors incorporatd into this print make it very versatile. I would feel comfortable stretching it into three seasons, weather permitting. This skirt is ready to enter rotation in my closet, effective immediately!
There is a lot of chatter this year in the sewing community with regard to creating wearable wardrobe pieces and crafting a closet full of custom clothing. The ladies at the Coletterie have been running a wardrobe architect series to help focus on the concepts of building a solid wardrobe with a lot of good advice and direction if you're interested and looking for a good starting point. This is a subject I've spent a lot of time thinking about. It's the reason I started sewing in the first place. At the beginning of last year, I tried to make a list of the pieces I thought would constitute my ideal wardrobe. I really tried to take my day to day dress into consideration when I wrote the list. Five days a week, I'm in an office. When I'm at home, I like to be comfortable. When I venture out, I like to have outing specific attire. I prefer tailored clothes that fit well. I don't wear a lot of oversized or excessively drapey garments, and I'm not comfortable in tight, clingy clothes. I like clothing that helps to accentuate my waistline and take focus away from my hips. I like natural fabrics. I prefer lined garments. I like garments that look well made and high-end.
I made progress sewing garments that I wanted to wear during 2013. But, I still didn't feel I had found my style identity through sewing. Also, importantly, I didn't produce nearly enough garments to cover my daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal clothing needs.
The projects from my 2013 sewing I am most pleased with are the skirts I made. I like the way I look in skirts. Also, I feel really comfortable in them. In January, Gail conducted a little sewing experiment that completely resonated with me. She tweaked a skirt pattern to fit her body exactly the way she wanted, and she made three versions of that skirt. boom. boom. boom. A lot of sewers would refer to a pattern of this type as a TNT (tried and true) pattern. A pattern that fits. A pattern that you turn to repeatedly, because you know exactly what to expect from it. A pattern that produces a garment you love to wear.
I don't have any. I've only sewn the same pattern on one previous occasion to make skirts last year. I'm not sure what benefit I associated with using a different pattern for each project, but for some reason, that's exactly what I've done.
Comically, when I look through inspiration pictures I've collected, like the ones above, I find that I'm not drawn to a huge variety of different styles. My taste is very vanilla. All of the skirts I've pinned over the last two years fall into one of three categories: Straight, Skater, Maxi. The variety I'm seeking isn't in pattern variation, it's in fabric choice.
I am able to make the same sorts of groupings with pants, blouses, and jackets. The good news is, I know what I like. The bad new is, I haven't been sewing those things. I think it's time to try something new and do a little bit of production/assembly line sewing. Instead of looking at my wardrobe as a whole, I've got my sights set on spring. I've started by making a handful of straight skirts. If I can keep up the momentum, I would like to approach the other garments on my wishlist in the same way.
There's going to be a lot of the same around here while I work on this project. I'll do what I can to keep it interesting. I'm starting with Simplicity 9267, the same pattern I used to make the wool chevron skirt I sewed in March. I dove into my fabric stash and easily found half a dozen pieces of fabric to get me started.
When I was growing up, my mom bought all of my dad's clothes. I can't remember an occasion when he came to the store to pick-out his own attire. The man has never, in my lifetime expressed any opinions regarding his wardrobe or personal style. In fact, an inquiry last Christmas would suggest he's not familiar with his current clothing sizes. He very happily wears whatever we outfit we choose for him. It's great. Easy. Low maintenance.
When I married Mike, I knew that he had a little more to say with regard to his clothing. We mostly agree that he knows how to dress himself and choose clothes that suit him. He's receptive to suggestions, usually, unless he's able to customize his garment, as was the case with these shorts.
Suddenly, he's an expert. He knows exactly how the shorts ought to be constructed. He's got preferences with regard to the width of leg openings. He wants the shorts to respond specifically and accordingly with certain body movements. He's working to convince me he knows more about ease than I do. He's bargaining hem lengths and arguing about... everything.
Neither he nor I expected these shorts to meet his standards. But, somehow, I managed to surprise us both. I do believe his smile in these photos is genuine. He has been wearing his new shorts all evening, and I'm chuffed.
One of the biggest battles we had was over the length. He's tall, I get it, really, I do. Still, there is almost an extra inch of length folded into the hem, because Mike was certain I didn't understand how long his shorts needed to be in order to keep him from exposing too much thigh when he sits. Fortunately, he agrees that they are acceptable as are.
As we discussed his measurements vs. clothing size, I learned that Mike purposely buys his pants with a waist a size larger than he needs in order to make sure that he has enough room elsewhere. I accommodated his specification, but I think we could do better the next time. Ironically, Mike and I have the same fit issue when it comes to waist/hip discrepancy. We've both got a lot more booty than average. I think Mike could have a better fit with the addition of either a deeper dart or a second set of darts at the rear. Now that he understands I'm not trying to make him wear shorts that are too small, I think he might be alright with the tweak. In the meantime, those belt loops are a big help.
I struggled with my welt pocket. It's there. It's functional, but it's a little tortured. Thanks to some tutorials, I think I'm ready to tackle another. I'm pretty sure I was cutting too near the edge of the welt and not leaving enough triangle to fold over the edge. If you have insight, I'm happy to have help.
My front pockets compensate for the precision I lack on my welt. I'm incredibly pleased with how nicely they align from the front, over the pocket facing, and through the side seam. And, I'm thrilled with how beautifully all my horizontal lines match across seams and through the center line of the fly.
Does this fabric seem familiar? You might recall that I used this same fabric last year in my plaid dress and my Fall for Cotton Blouse. I cut these shorts around the same time I finished those garments and they made their way to the new house in the box of UFO projects I've been slowly. chipping. away at completing. Yes. There are sewing projects in there too. Mike helped motivate me to get this pair sewn by bribing me with more fabric. More shorts fabric, that is. Yes, there will be more shorts. Mike's a tough customer, but he's also a pretty cute and a very grateful one. How could I say no to a man who buys fabric (and yarn)?