Update; Me-Made-May-Lite, Ruby Shorts & Trench coats

Me-Made-May is ending soon, thank goodness. I have been keeping up with the Lite pledge, even after my slip up last week. My outfits are dreadfully the same, so I'm not even going to bother posting about them anymore. Suffice it to say that the McCall's striped tank and my pillowcase skirt get the most wear, by far.

My Ruby Shorts are suppose to be done today, it I don't think I'm going to make that deadline. I spent a day making a muslin and fitting them. Nothing too bad, I just took in a tad at the waist and made the booty-darts more severe to fit my rear. My polysomething is slowing the process down, too, as it does NOT press and is impossible to pin accurately. If I get my way, I'll have the back pockets sewn on and all of the machine-sewing done by tonight. Hopefully I can do some of the hand sewing (buttonholes & buttons) while I babysit tomorrow morning. Thats the plan, at least.

I joined another sew-along! The Trench Sew-Along is hosted by Elizabeth of Sew A Beginner. We are not limited to trenches - she has opened up the blogroll for anyone who wants to sew a jacket/coat/outerwear type of garment. I'm thinking Vogue 8623 for my peacoat, but I will of course look at other patterns and read some reviews before I decide.

After my ruby shorts I'll finish McCall's 6121. I cut it out earlier this week and it's really only a few stitches, a nice evening project. I purchased a "few" patterns today at JoAnn's memorial day sale (Simplicity patterns 5 for $5 - uh, yeah, I was so there!) and have fabric for most of them, so I'll post about those later and let you guys pick my next project!



Me-Made-May-Lite update: I'm a cheater! I'm sorry, I'm sorry, but I'm going to come clean. I had to take advantage of my cheater backup plan from this post that said if I wore 2 Me-Made accessories it would count as 1 me-made garment.

Vanity came crawling in and I got tired of wearing the same 3 or 4 outfits. Plus, this is the last week of school and I didn't want people remembering me as boring when in fact I usually have a very diverse range of outfits. I'm not proud of it, but I did resort to my backup plan.

May 21st - The McCall's 6070 top with jeans and a cropped, lightweight black jacket over it

May 22nd - McCall's 5853 striped tank with a gray denim miniskirt and red converse

May 23rd - Sunday Sweats! McCall's 6070 dress. The fabric has faded really quickly with only a few washings, and in addition to being all crazy baggy after an hour or two of wear, I'm really just not in love with this dress anymore. I really wanted to be because the fabric is organic cotton, a little pricey too, but this fabric and I just weren't meant to be friends.

May 24th - McCall's 5853 striped tank again. Originally I tried tucking it into a black high waisted skirt, but it looked a little awkward, so I wore it with jeans and red pumps instead.

May 25th - I cheated. I'm bad. My outfit was entirely RTW. The only me-made items were my purple hair scarf and me-made undies...

The pattern is free "Cheeky Panties" by ParaNoire/Emily Kate on BurdaStyle. The original size 38 pattern was by Emily Kate, but I downloaded the graded version by ParaNoire, even though I ended up making a 38 anyway.

I actually took the time to trace the pattern in my size onto new paper, to preserve the other sizes. I figure cute booty short underwear is an easy, silly gift for friends and whatnot and I'll probably want a nice version of this pattern.

The underroos are really only one main pattern piece with 2 seams, then a gusset for comfort/cleanliness and a waistband that I left off. The waistband is suppose to be stretched into the top part to keep them up, but I didn't need this because my fabric was very stretchy. It's a cheapy polyester from the red-tag area at Joanns that I bought for muslining. These were intended to be a muslin, hence why the legholes aren't finished, but I put them on the next morning in attempt to salvage my Me-Made pledge. 

They were super easy and I'm totally going to buy some lingerie elastic and keep this pattern ready for any leftover knit fabrics I have. They are a nice, classic booty short shape and perfect to wear under skirts and dresses for a little bit more modesty than briefs or thongs. 

...And if you're wondering about the photo from the top of this post, that is Auggie (named after Augusten Burroughs) and the as of yet unnamed Singer Genie that arrived late last week. The genie got a thorough cleaning this weekend. For some strange reason, Auggie really likes the Genie. He's been napping next to it ever since I set it up. Weird, right? I just thought that picture was kinda funny. 

Ruby shorts pattern is printed and still needs to be assembled, which I guess means I'm a day behind, but I don't have the kahones to attempt a welt pocket, so I have a free day there to make up for it, yay!


A tour of SAS Fabrics & Saturday Haul

Zipper bin, assorted styles, colors and sizes. All 25 cents or less each. It takes some digging, but they have good metal zippers in there.

This is just one of at least seven or eight rows of trim. Factor in that every outside wall of the building is covered in trims, too, before you wow. Prices range from 5-99 cents per yard. Most are about 10 cents per yard. They have a lot of off-brand trims. For example, I saw rack of "Guess" trim, but the font was just the slightest bit different from the real brand's logo. 

This is the Cotton/Poly knit table, all $1.99/yard. There are rarely bolts in this store. Instead, the fabrics are found in various states of bunches and balls of mess. They measure them at the front counter. The rule is, you may cut as much as you want from it but you have to be able to leave 2 yards on the cut, otherwise you have to buy it all. More often than not, you just buy it all. 

Notice the white and blue stripes towards the bottom left? Wallah.

I have a feeling that SAS gets some of fabric.com's remnants. Familiar? I've even seen fabric.com tags on some cuts. 

This is the "Fancy Button" bin. 25 cents each or $2.99 a bag. The bag is a better value by a huge margin.  I had a lot of fun digging through this bin and deciding on buttons for the Ruby Shorts Sew along

SAS is a great store for trims, buttons, embellishments and knits; especially for dancewear and costuming. However, they severely lack anything else. Their selection of wovens is scarce and almost exclusively synthetic. 

I had a lot of luck with knits today. The white cotton knit on the left is striped transparency. I bought it for the Peachy Beachy Coverup from fabric.com & hotpatterns, but not I'm thinking McCall's 6121 might also be a good use of it.

The greyish blob, center, is a polyester-something knit with a snake skin print. This will likely become a tank top for my friend Payton, and then maybe myself. I have over 3 yards of it. 

The light blue floral chiffon in the top right corner is actually from my last trip to SAS, but I haven't shown it too you yet. I really love this fabric and have a very specific RTW top I'm going to recreate with it. 

The turquoise scaley print on the bottom is mostly cotton, next to two of my zipper conquests. I don't have a specific project in mind for it either, but I really like the colors. They're fun and kind of girly. 

You're wondering how I could have forgotten about fabric for my Ruby shorts. I got it!

I settled for choose a navy polyester with a loose weave. it's drapey but thick enough to have some stability. I'm hoping these won't be too much of a pain to iron, but thats what I'm seeing. 

The buttons are from the Fancy Button bun and I adore them. I couldn't get a decent photo of them, but they are a cool guilded design. Not quite nautical yet very retro. 

Ops, I may have grabbed these too. The large nautical buttons are all the same color, I just have terrible photography skills. I love the painted ones, too. The metal ones in the top left corner are for my Ruby Shorts.


MMML Days 18, 19 & 20 AND a sew-along!

No photos for the past few days. My outfits have just been repeats.

May 18th - White tank, New Look 6178 border print wrap skirt, gross hair and stinky old flip flops

May 19th - Plain black T shirt, pillow case skirt, gross hair and fancy earrings. Gotta try to compensate, you know?

May 20th - Ok, I was out of clean clothes. After some quick dryer-fluffing and an iron, I threw on McCall's 5853 tank and some jeans...

Unfortunately, I had to break my Me-Made pledge for about 2 hours this afternoon. The Scottsdale Sister Cities Jr. Board's last meeting of the year was this afternoon and it didn't occur to me to sew something specifically for it. I couldn't find anything that would fit into business attire. I'm so sorry, I had to do it, but I wore a RTW blue collared button up and black slacks.

This slip up is going to be referred to as a "learning experience" because I've come to realize that I need to sew a more diverse range of garments, and/or more versatile ones. Then again, I haven't been sewing long so maybe it's just natural that I haven't made my way to more structured garments yet.

In other news, I'm participating in a Sew-Along! Lisette of Vintage or Bust! is hosting a sew-along of the BurdaStyle Ruby shorts. We're to cut Tuesday and start sewing Wednesday. I haven't even decided on fabric!

BurdaStyle member nuiwida23's recycled version. So retro and cute!

I have an orange corduroy that would be really cool with colorful buttons, but I'm thinking the fabric is too heavy for shorts.  Maybe I'll use some lightweight quilting cotton a friend's mom gave me, in tannish tones? I want to sew shorts I'll wear. I absolutely hate shorts as is and basically never wear or buy them, mostly because I think they're unflattering on my legs. That is a huge reason why I'm participating, however, because hopefully I'll be able to alter them to fit in whatever ways I need and end up with shorts that I'm more comfortable in than RTW.

Earlier today I printed, cut and tapped the new fabric.com free pattern - Hot Patterns Peachy Beachy Coverup. I went to cut into a lightweight purple cotton, and discovered that I had significantly less of the fabric than I thought.

I really need to develop a bit of a stash. I'm reluctant to buy much online though, because I'm sure I'll come home from Europe with some treasures. I mean, there is bound to be a fabric store somewhere in London, right?


Inspiration Series #1 - Switzerland

My lovely Aunt Deb and her Swiss husband Aloise are graciously hosting me for 7 whole weeks this summer in Zurich. Their flat is just outside the city and gorgeous - It's covered in greenery. Albert Einstein lived there! Pretty cool, right?

I spent two weeks in Switzerland this October as an exchange student. I stayed with a family in Interlaken, meaning "a city between two lakes." The Borters are a great family, I really enjoyed my time there. My only regret from this trip was that everywhere I went, I was rushed. I didn't see anything thoroughly, or leisurely for that matter. 
I'll be venturing outside of Switzerland this summer to see Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the UK. I'm really hoping that, in addition to seeing history and experiencing new cultures, I get to do some fabric shopping in the World's biggest fashion capitals. 

I've been thinking so much about all of the garments I'll want to sew when I come home with a head full of European style and know-how, that for a time I had forgotten completely about sewing for my trip. I'm going to spend the majority of the summer away from my sewing machine afterall, one could only hope I'll manage something pretty before I leave. (Which is June 10th, by the way). 
The photo above is of graffiti in Bern. You'd never know that was graffiti, right? It's artistic and lovely, precisely why I'm going to take inspiration from it as I plan my garments pre-Zurich. 

I feel the same about all of those European pastry cases. I was inspired by these last October - inspired to eat them, at least. I spent the summer of '09 at the gym to loose 15lbs only to eat my way back into 10 of them. (Still haven't lost that weight, darn). This time, I want to channel the pretty pastels into a Summery top for Europe. 
After reading this post on MPB, I checked out Polyvore.com. Um, SUPERCOOL! I didn't spend much time putting together my actual set, but I did flip through the categories enough to fall in love with the site. Hey Peter, I'm Polyvorous!

This is my "Zurich" set. Essentially I'm in love with the black dress. I really love the light layers over embellishment, and the cut out bodice. It's similar to this dress's lines, made by Lily of Sew Retro. I think the striped navy& black top would go really well from afternoon to evening with the right accessories.

The purses are very similar but from different designers. I really need a new bag. All of my purses are terrible.

I watched "An Education" last night. On top of being a fabulous movie with a relevant story line and great acting, the costumes are fantastic! I'm in love with all of the cute sheaths and cropped three-quarter length-sleeve jackets. And don't even start me on the wrist-length gloves and girly collars. The hairstyles are really cute too. More on hair in another post, though.

All of these things were considered, and the following list, which I shall call my "I can only wish I'll get to make half of this before I leave for Zurich" list. I'm challenging myself to a SWAP.
-A followy collared top for daytime
-A lightweight jacket (Vogue 8623, maybe?)
-Something that utilizes transparency and neutrals
-A dress with tiers and an uneven hem
-A giant carry-all bag with a fabulous lining
-Something ecru

I suppose my list is a bit makeshift and unspecific. I also lack fabric for ANY of these projects and only have one real source for anything locally, which is largely hit and miss. I suppose the sewing gods will have to look upon me kindly.

I'd also really love to buy a vintage necklace, but then again that might be a purchase better suited for Europe.

As always, I'd love to hear/see any pattern/fabric/garment suggestions :)


McCall's 6070 top

After my first experience with McCall's 6070 as a maxi dress, I mentioned that I could see it as a top instead. I used a light cotton/lycra knit from SAS fabrics by the pound which was scored for $4 for two yards. Boo-yah!

I loved the wrap over front and back and the lightly gathered shoulders, but I wasn't so crazy about the empire shape. I'm not a very busty girl, so hitting right under my bust isn't the most flattering cut. For the top, I added an extra 2'' in length to the bottom of the top front and back piece so that the top would hit at my waist. I overlapped the pieces by an extra 1'' or so in both the front and back, to keep the neckline at a decent level and reduce the amount of bust gathers I would need. 

I wanted the top to be fitted, so I reduced the width of the midriff bands as well. I didn't actually use a pattern piece to cut these, just two rectangles adjusted to fit as I went. 

I didn't want to gather the skirt portion around the whole midriff band as in the original pattern because this didn't do anything stylistically for me. Instead, I cut the front and back skirt portions at 3/4ths the original width so I would have less excess fabric and gathered only in the very center front and center back. 

I really like this top. I haven't added any elastic at the waist, and I might not. The top is fairly fitted as is, but after a day of wearing I think it might need a tiny bit of elastic. If it rides up the front gapes open. I'd like to avoid a wardrobe malfunction, thank you very much. 

Overall, I love the top. I really, really despise my photos though. I'm using photobooth on my laptop to take them, and I can't for the life of me find a proper place or lighting to get a decent product. Hmph.

I'm a little bit stuck as to what my next project will be. I've got general ideas floating around - expect an inspiration post soon.

Me-Made-May 15, 16 & 17

May 15th - black maxi dress from McCall's 6070, quickly my new version of sweats. It's sacklike and huge now, I'm not a fan of walking out of the house in it. It is suitable when paired with wedges and attention-grabbing earings though.

May 16th - My Mom's Birthday! I didn't have any inspiring ideas and not much time to work with either, so I took her out to lunch instead. I wore my New Look 6873 purple skirt with a black T-shirt and black wedge heels. I felt cute.

May 17th - My new McCall's 6070 top and jeans. I know, I've been a bad blogger, I didn't tell the Internet about this project. It was a spur of the moment thing, I assure you. Blog post about it to come soon. I want to take decent photos this time.


Me-Made-May-Lite days 11, 12, 13 & 14 + McCall's 5853 tank

May 11th - Me-Made pillowcase skirt, Urban outfitters yoked front tank, BP heels

May 12th - Me-Made black McCall's 6070 maxi dress

May 13th - Border Print New Look 6178 skirt, white tank

May 14th - Me-Made McCall's 5853 tank, Ripped black jeans (thrifted a long time ago, rips were my fault), classic red converse

I finished the McCall's 5853 tank on Wednesday. I didn't use the applique pattern given, instead I cut strips of ruffles and just gathered those. I played with the positioning, but decided on 3 little strips on the right shoulder, together forming a single round.

It was an easy top, and I like it considering how little effort it took, but the fit could be better. The shoulders are very, very wide and the armholes gape a bit. I'm a very broad shouldered girl, I could imagine this problem being more pronounced on a more petite build. I took 1'' off the straps as well.  The hip/waist shaping is cut in, but not at all near where my waist and hips hit. It's very bagging all over and makes me look wide.

I can see myself trying this pattern again, but next time I'd take an inch off the center fold of the two main pattern pieces and altering the armholes so that they are smaller. Neither adjustment would take much time.


Me-Made-May-Lite Days 8, 9, & 10

May 8th - Me-Made purple New Look 6873 worn with an Old Navy gray wifebeater, purple head scarf and flip flops, and displayed in a terrible photobooth photo.

May 9th - Me-Made black McCall's 6070 Maxi dress, then later I changed into the purple New Look skirt (photo above, kinda) with a crisp white top and heels for Mother's Day Dinner.

May 10th -New! Me-Made McCall's 5853 top in blue and white stripe cotton/lycra jersey knit, with jeans and a lightweight black jacket. This top isn't finished, I was only able to get the neck and one armhole's binding on, so the jacket served to hide the unfinished armhole. I will post a review when I finish it, but so far I can say it was very quick and easy, but I think it's too roomy for my taste. I shortened the straps quite a lot, and the armholes just seem so weirdly big. I cut the smallest size.

My biggest reason for joining Me-Made-May was to motivate myself to sew more, more often. I knew that with APs finishing and school ending, I would (hopefully) have more free time than usual this month. After this week, my classes are basically over and it's 2 weeks of watching Simpson's reruns and graduation parties. I will probably show a few graduation cake photos, as I've promised 2 so far and will probably end up making a few more. For those of you that haven't seen my other blog, though I no longer post on it, I am a self-taught cake decorator and absolutely adore fondant.

Gosh, I can really go on a tangent. No wonder no one reads my blog.

My point somewhere in there was, I'm excited to see how many pieces I can sew during the month of May. So far I'm at like 1.8; the NL wrap skirt and now the McCall's tank. I want to sew another top before I move on to dresses or, god forbid, another skirt.

Regarding the mother's day lunch pail - I drafted the pattern, used a ton of stiff interfacing, and sewed everything up as planned. Nothing went awry! I still have a little bit of hand sewing to finish the very very last seam, but it's done for the most part so I gave it to my mom as is, and she liked it well enough. I'll post photos of that when it's done.


I got in a fight with my Kenmore, and this happened.

I've been lusting over vintage sewing machines a lot recently. Apparently older machines are just superior to modern machines in stitch quality, reliability, and my understanding is that they are usually less expensive to fix.

Well, I read this post on Male Pattern Boldness (which, by the way, is pretty much the most awesomely open and insightful blog you're going to find, with frequent projects and lovely vintage patterns)

... and decided I wanted a Genie. I researched them further and they just seem to have excellent reviews all around. So I eBay searched them, just out of curiosity. Oh, one in beautiful condition listed the ends in an hour? No, I don't need it. Thats an impulse purchase, I'm smarter than that.

And then I ignored my smart side.

I am so excited, and can't wait to find my Genie in the mail. My boring, modern, sub-par Kenmore is going to be totally jealous. Good.


Me-Made-May-Lite days 6 & 7 AND Mothers Day Sewing

May 6th - Black and white border print wrap skirt from New Look 6178 and a sky blue Tshirt.

May 7th - McCall's 6070 black maxi dress, with giant earrings and yucky hair.

I didn't bother taking pictures because I didn't wear either outfit in a way you haven't seen before. My outfit today, the 8th, is pretty cute though, so I'll take pictures later.

Mother's Day completely crept up on me. For Christmas, I made my mom a purse, so that avenue was out. My mom wouldn't be happy with anything I made for her to wear, mostly because she's not happy with her weight and hates clothes right now, even though she's beautiful. Another thing to consider is that her birthday is the weekend after Mother's Day, so I'd like to be able to make a two part gift.

I went through my sewing books and decided that a very stylish lunch pail would be a nice mother's day present, and for her birthday I can make her a makeup bag and/or wallet that matches. (She doesn't read my blog, so I'm not too worried about the secret leaking). I'm using a light blue and white damask print canvas from fabric.com that I never actually ordered. It came with a sticker saying "rayon jersey jute," which is what I had ordered, lol. They have awesome customer service though, and credited me for the cut I didn't receive and let me keep the canvas. It's actually really cute, so I'm happy to get to use it.

I'm drafting my own pattern, half from my brain and half from the book Quilted Bags and Purses by Mary Jo Hiney. The book was a present from my Grandma. I'm not really into quilting bags right now, but I like the shape of a lot of the projects.

Anywho, right now I'm trying to figure out how to give the pail short handles but also a fold over closure. I'm using a shape similar to the bag on the cover, with the width tapering towards the top. My bag is going to have side panels as well though. One option would be to sew the handles directly into the front and back top of the bag, but I don't think thats the best option stylistically. Does anyone else have suggestions?

Here is a very messy and confusing sketch, though I doubt anyone but me can understand my scribbles.


Me-Made-May-Lite, days 4 & 5

May 4th - Me-Made vintage pillow skirt, organic cotton Tshirt and earrings of unknown origin. The Tshirt is not quite as black as in the photo, but it's much darker than your traditional heather grey. I love this Tshirt, it's not tight fitting but not billowy either. I'd love to trace it one day to make a pattern...

May 5th - Me-Made A-line skirt in some Amy Butler print, mass-produced and environmentally unfriendly black Tshirt, giant grey cardigan from Goodwill. This was one of my first sewing projects, I didn't even know who Amy Butler was at the time. I made it in a class at The Fancy Tiger in Denver, CO while visiting my grandma last summer. The seams aren't finished, just zigzagged, yuck. The shoes are Nordstrom B.P. brand, and I wear them almost every day. They are about 4'' tall but only have a 2'' heel, and I love love love them. My hair was wet and icky, hence the headless shot. 


New Look Wrap Skirt & Me-Made-May-Lite days 2&3

I finished up New Look 6178 view E on Saturday and wore it May 3rd.

This is view E from a rayon challis border print from fabric.com. It went together really quickly, at least by my standards, and I'm very proud of how it turned out. This is probably my most RTW-like garmet, easy as it may be. The waistband is finished with black bias tape and I used a narrow hem all around, stiched very closely. This was also my first time sewing darts. I got one side without a "bubble," and one side with a slight one, but it's not noticeable at all and I'm happy.

I chose this pattern because it was suitable for border prints. I can't see myself making anything else from NL 6178, the square necklines are too 90s for my taste. But another wrap skirt is always a possibility. After making it once I'm sure the second would be a two hour project.

Overall, I wish the ties were longer. They are sufficient to tie the skirt snugly, but I think longer ties would add a nicer touch. On pattern review many said this skirt was way too big. I disagree, I cut a 14 and it fits my hips just about perfectly. I would take 2'' off the front overlap if I made it again though, because I don't like that the skirt ties exactly on the side. I'd prefer it to be more center front side, if that makes sense. This would not effect the fit, however.
The pattern review is here.

So this was my outfit for May 3rd of Me-Made-May-Lite. May 2nd was McCall's 6070 maxi dress. It felt strange to be wearing a dress on a Sunday, usually I bum around the library in sweats, but the dress is plenty comfy.


First day of Me-Made-May-Lite!

As always, my pictures are terrible. I'm wearing Simplicity 2863 with a pair of jeans from G by Guess and earrings of unknown origin. In the spirit of Me-Made-ness, I'd really like to purchase a pair of handmade earrings from Etsy. For the life of me I can't decide on anything. Look how cute these are.   Or these. Or these

In other news, the New Look 6178 wrap skirt is complete and I plan to wear it to school on Monday. Review and post about it will follow.