Sewing

Me-Made May – 1/2 way mark! (Beware: cringe-making photos ahead!)

Here we are, half way through the month and at the half-way point of Me-Made May 2016. I had great intentions to document more regularly – such as each week. However, week one came and went, with me busy with this and that, so now I am doing a 2-week update. As it’s now fourteen days’ worth of the project, I won’t bore you with 14 different photos. (Yawn!) Just a quick update – I have been really pleased with myself this year – it’s gone much better than last year! I have managed every single day wearing something that in some way has come about at the hands of ME!

There have been a couple of days when the me-makes have been accessories or bags, or on one day, an altered garment, but otherwise I have managed pretty much to wear an outfit I have made myself. Me. (Hence the “Me-Made” in the title!) Oh, just remembered – pyjamas too (no way am I showing you shots of me first thing in the morning, though. Nobody deserves that!)

So here is a little montage of some of the outfits! You will have to feel very honoured that I am sharing them with you – I HATE photos of myself, and some of these are totally goofy (blame my photographer!)

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L-R: Stripey Coco dress (awful selfie, as aforementioned photographer had already left for work!), appliqued Delphine skirt, green lined wool skirt with flounce, Dottie Angel frock.

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Ladybird spot Coco dress, wool felt corsage (on a day I wore a store-bought dress!)

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What I call my Minnie Mouse dress! Worm for a friend’s 50th – I love this petticoat! I also made matching earrings (can you see them?) Apologies for coats and schoolbags in the background!

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My Spider-Man dress! My son got new Star Wars curtains for Christmas, so said I could have his old Spider-Man ones! He has now asked for PJs with the other curtain once he saw my dress. Think I need a Wonder Woman one next!!!

So, will try to continue to do the Me-Made thing for the next 2 weeks! (This will include a camping trip – the pjyamas might get another outing!)

 

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Sewing

Me-Made-May 2016

Last year, I signed up for Me-Made-May. This is hosted by Zoe from So, Zo, What Do You Know?  I tried but it didn’t go so well as I found I didn’t really have an awful lot of stuff I’d made!

So this year I am trying again. More to show myself what I need to make to fill the gaps in my wardrobe! But it’s a bit of fun, so here goes…this is my Me Made May pledge!‘I, Lucy, of luckybearnorfolk (www.luckybearnorfolk.com), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear something I have made, altered or refashioned each day for the duration of May 2016’. 

   

This will include accessories as well as clothes. I will post some photos on at least a weekly basis to show you what I’m wearing! Yesterday I started it off with a Coco dress I made last month. It’s quite a thick jersey but the British spring weather is so changeable that I’m sure I’ll be wearing it more than once in May! I totally forgot, however, to take a photo until husband was out at a gig and son was in bed, so have had to take some pretty poor selfies that only show bits of it. Must do better from now on!

Sewing

My Dottie Angel frock

Half term. Family time but also a little bit of time for sewing! Yes, I need to make stock for the Etsy shop and upload it – and for the bricks & mortar shop (Norwich Gift Emporium). But I also wanted to indulge in a bit of me-sewing. I have a few garment patterns now (for “few”, read “far too many but still probably not enough”!) and I have been thinking about what to make next for a while. So I decided on some selfish sewing to boost my me-made wardrobe.

So I got out my collection and had a rummage through. Should I go indie or big-name pattern house? I initially decided to make a quick and simple “Sewing time: 1 hour” A-line skirt (it’s NEVER 1 hour, believe me!) but to my dismay, the lovely piece of fabric I’d had in mind was too small, as the print only runs one way (will have to save it for something else!) So I put that away and instead got out the Dottie Angel frock pattern (Simplicity 1080) that I bought on impulse a few weeks ago. I have many Pinterest pins of this dress and thought it looked really cute and simple to make. I kinda like the quirky Dottie Angel look and thought I’d have a go. A quick, fun sewing project, thought I!

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How mistaken I was! This was probably one of my most-hated of sewing projects to date. I can’t say what went wrong, as it does seem to be quite a simple pattern. I thought I had measured faithfully and I chose the slightly larger size according to one of my measurements (having been stung by another dress earlier in the week being a tad too small – more of that another time!) and yanked a couple of batik prints out of my stash. One of them was surely intended to be a tablecloth! A bit of a mish-mash, but I thought “quirky in the style of Dottie Angel!”

I followed the pattern instructions to the letter but found it not really very pleasurable to make. At all. And because it only comes together at the last two seams, it was impossible to fit as I went along, unlike other dresses I’ve made. So at the end, I was faced with lots of adjustings because it was absolutely enormous and made me look like a sack of potatoes. Meh. It also calls for lots of bias binding to bind the pockets, neckline, armholes, etc. I’m not keen on bound armholes!IMG_0005

I redid the side seams five times – yes FIVE! – in order to get it down to something passable. I have hacked away about 3cm off each side to try to fit it, which is quite a lot! And I hated the long-ness of it. Yes, length is in right now, the midi is a bit of a fashion thing, but I personally don’t like wearing things that long. So I whipped off about 15cm from the length too, because I prefer things ‘bove the knee. So now it’s a roomy, slouchy kinda house-dress/tunic-thing, with ties that pull it back (which to my tastes are waaaay too long), and it’ll probably look better layered, I guess. I think it’s something you might wear down the allotment. With your wellies and some chunky hand-knitted boot socks. And maybe a more earth-mothery kind of girl might suit it better. But is it really my sort of thing? I am not even really sure I will wear it (I’ll let you know if I do!) I think I’m maybe more of a fitted dress or shift kinda gal! I have put a couple of pictures to show you (front and back views) – which look ok I suppose. But I’m just not totally sold on it at the moment. And it doesn’t fit me as well as the ones fit those lovely models on the pattern pack! #storyofmylife

Do you chaps ever have things that you make and once they’re made, you’re like “Oh. Underwhelming.”? Or have you had any disasters? I am still learning how to “do” clothes, rather than bags, and I suppose this was a good learning tool. I do learn something new every time I make a new garment. Not sure whether to have another go in the smaller size, with fabrics that I love more, to try to get a better fit, or just to forget it! Or to make the shorter tunic version (which is almost what this turned out to be, as I chopped so much off the bottom!) Would love to know if anyone else has made this pattern, and how you got on with it.

***PRE-PUBLICATION UPDATE***  Wore it today. Mostly because it was Sunday and I knew I wasn’t going anywhere where anyone could see me, so thought “What the hell!” I wore it with opaque green tights and a slouchy navy cardi, and a chunky ethnic-type ceramic pendant. It’s really comfy, and I think I might actually like it a bit! It is growing on me!  Just not really an enjoyable make. Maybe the second time might be easier, now I know what I’m doing…

 

Sewing

Me Made May Update (a bit late!)

My “Me Made May” so far –

Wow! Half way through May already! Have been rather poor at documenting the challenge, and actually within the first few days it became very evident that I have massive gaps in my handmade wardrobe! Well, I’ve only been making clothes since the summer, so I am still learning! Have also had to make lots of bags and things to restock both the Etsy shop and the Norwich one! But here’s the story so far…

The first few days of the Me Made May challenge saw me camping. A bit of a challenge for wearing things I’ve made, because I’ve mostly made dresses and skirts (not great for pitching the tent!)

But I did my best!  May 1st, I had an informal interview for some supply work. I wore my red spotty Coco, which I love. Then we went off to Lincolnshire for camping. I wore my hand-knitted Noro yarn cardigan – turns out I needed lots of fleeces as well! What a cold night that was – took about an hour to get warm inside the sleeping bag, then had to get up in the middle of the night to visit the loo. When I came back, I saw that there was ice on the tent! Brrrrr!

May 2nd – again, cold, so needed to layer up, but I wore the pistachio knickers I made on my knicker-making workshop. No photos here, guys!

May 3rd – Raining. And when I say rain, I mean something more akin to the deluge that Noah might have experienced! Not in a great mood to start the day because we discovered that our tent had tiny gaps in the seams that didn’t quite hold up to 8 hours of solid rain! Wet towels, jeans and sleeping bags, plus the inability to use the gas stove and make a morning cup of tea means a grumpy Lucy! But it cleared up into a beautiful day and we had a great time with our friends in Lincoln at the castle.

May 4th – our last day. I cheated a bit by counting my handbag as my made item (I did make it – and I did say that my pledge was for clothes and accessories!)

May 5th – I wore my red spotty Coco. Did I mention that I love, love, love Coco? I have two and they are the constant staples in my wardrobe! This challenge has shown me that I get them out to wear a lot, so maybe I need another?! I have seen some stripey jersey that I really like, but am a bit scared of matching stripes…eek!

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May 6th – The Other Coco – my helicopter one. Every time I wear it, I get compliments about it, and today was no different. I feel really chuffed when people like things I’ve made myself! It’s still tights and boots weather here, so am making the most of it and layering it up with a cardi too.IMG_5052

May 7th – Today I wore my Skater Dress in navy pinstripe wool. This is a Simple Sew pattern that I wished I’d done a toile for, as the waist is a couple of inches too high for my liking. However, I wore it with a wide elasticated belt to hide that, and it is ok. If I make it again (as with my Ruby – by the same pattern company), I will extend the waistline down a bit if I can figure out how to do it!

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May 8th – Went quite casual today in my Delphine skirt from Love at First Stitch by Tilly Warnes. Someone I know commented that this looked like a White Stuff skirt they’d seen (compliment!) – again, coloured tights & boots.The back

May 9th – Helicopter Coco again!

May 10th – No garments today, but wore a brooch I’d made (felt flower).IMG_6098

May 11th – Ladybird Coco. It’s good for teaching as you can just chuck it on and it’s smart-ish, but also comfy enough to get down with the kids (so to speak!) Didn’t wear it for long before I had to change into my PE kit!

May 12th – Again, no actual clothes but wore a wooden brooch that I made from a Mollie Makes kit. Went for a lovely afternoon tea with a friend.IMG_6103IMG_6106IMG_6100

May 13th – Helicopter Coco again! Am realising I need to make at least 2 or 3 more Cocos! They really are my go-to thing!

May 14th – Me-Made handbag, as I couldn’t wear Coco AGAIN. It’s getting ridiculous, and my other clothes are getting jealous!

May 15th – Maroon pants!

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May 16th – Pistachio pants!

May 17th – Margot pyjamas from Love at First Stitch.IMG_5814

So, that’s the end of the halfway-through update! Am already noticing that I need to make lots more clothes! Brilliant! Bring it on! Have chosen and cut the pattern for a new dress that I am about to make – maybe in time to wear it during this challenge! Also see the need for a jersey cardi or two! Plus some more pjs, and some dresses that aren’t Coco!

norfolk · Sewing

Norwich in the sunshine!

Hi guys,

Thought I would share a photo of my beautiful city with you. I snapped it this week on the way through town to meet a friend for coffee (and the hugest chocolate hazelnut brownie I’ve ever met!)

It was such a gorgeous day I thought I’d just show you what a fine city Norwich is! If you live here or have visited, you’ll know it’s a vibrant place full of interesting buildings and has a lovely, relaxed feel to it. It’s at its best on a fresh early spring day!

So here is a picture of Norwich marketplace, famous for its colourful striped roofs, with the castle in the background.The Castle Museum is one of our favourite haunts at weekends or in school holidays. Did you know that although a Norman castle, it was used as a prison in Victorian times? It now holds a fascinating array of permanent displays and visiting exhibitions and is suitable for the whole family. It also sells, in my opinion, some of the best cheese scones in town!

Norwich Castle and market

I also wanted to share my latest “I could make that!” (does anyone else walk round town muttering that?!) I saw this lovely Maxmara dress in the window of Jarrolds – Maxmara and the like is not usually my thing but I like the style. I do not like the jaw-droppingly huge price tag, but I do think it looks like something I could make! Pinning it here for future inspiration! The “weekend trousers” that are next to it look like pyjamas that someone’s whipped up from my Nana’s sixties bedlinen!

Maxmara dress - a snip at only £225...eeek!
Maxmara dress – a snip at only £225…eeek!

Has anyone else been out and about in the lovely spring sunshine?

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Sixties dress – The Simplicity “Jiffy”

Free pattern from Sew Magazine
Free pattern from Sew Magazine

A few months ago, I was pinning things on Pinterest. I came across this pattern in a search for “Sixties Dress”. Lovely, isn’t it? So anyway, I kept meaning to buy it to give it a go. But then a few months ago, I spotted it as the free gift on the cover of Sew Magazine! Haven’t bought that mag for ages (as I’d become a Mollie Makes fan). Really glad I did – it got me back into the magazine big style! It also seemed to match perfectly to the fabric I’d bought in my favourite little vintage shop here in Norwich – Junk and Gems. I think I bought this fabric for £12 for over 2 metres, which is a bargain as I love it so much.

So, anyway, this was the next item in my ‘things to make for me’ list. The pattern is from Simplicity – Ref number K1609 – and is called the “Jiffy”.  It was a pretty quick and straightforward pattern even for a novice dressmaker like myself and I’d recommend it to newbie sewers looking for a simple sixties style dress. I chose the view with the bow – it’s the blue dress on the cover – and set to work. Since making this dress, I have started to keep notes in my scrapbook about each project I make – partly to share with you, dear reader, and partly for when I make it again. And I will – it is a really cute dress and I am going to enjoy wearing it.

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My sixties-stylee “Jiffy” dress, made indeed in a jiffy! I highly recommend this pattern – it’s lovely, doncha think?

Here it is: I’m quite pleased with myself! My notes in my scrapbook say next time, I would choose a fabric with a smaller print – although this is gorgeous, the way the pattern has you cut the front means that the print didn’t quite match up. A bit annoying, but a learning curve. I suppose had I followed traditional sewing advice and made a toile, I would have realised this, but I am not the most patient of people and actually for £12, I had nothing to lose really!

I’d love to know what you think of it! Maybe once I lose the few pounds gained from a summer with a 4 year old eating fish & chips and ice cream at the seaside, I will post a photo of me actually wearing it. I really fancy another one – perhaps in a block colour with a cute little collar like the green one on the pattern envelope!

Has anyone else tried the Jiffy pattern? Would love to see your photos!

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Now some things for me…

I do love making bags. Love it. But this summer (as well as keeping the bag-making going), I decided to give myself a new challenge and make some things for me to wear. Yup – actual clothes!

I have made a couple of simple A-line skirts before, and a pair of pj bottoms (I do love my pjs and think you can never have enough!) but what I love about bags is, they don’t have to FIT anyone. So you don’t need to be uber-precise with cutting, etc. So, I thought I would step outside my comfort zone and give it a go.

The first thing I did was purchase a pattern from Tilly & The Buttons: the Coco dress. I love Tilly’s blog and have been following her since she was on the Great British Sewing Bee back in 2013. Her blog posts are fun and helpful, full of good advice, but the best thing is that she explains everything really well for the novice dressmaker. If you want to try your hand at making clothes, you should get her book: Love At First Stitch. A lovely collection of patterns with great, detailed step-by-step instructions.

Anyway, I ordered the Coco dress from her shop and chose some fabric and it was actually really simple. Her instructions are so good and clear and there are plenty of photos to show you what yours should look like! I have never worked with jersey fabric before so was a bit nervous but it turned out well and I’m really pleased with it. I have worn it loads, and it’s had lots of positive comments. It’s a slip-on dress with no fitted elements and it’s really comfy. I’d like to try my hand at matching stripes next to make one in Breton stripes, a la Tilly!

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The Coco Pattern. You can buy it from Tilly’s shop.
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I fell in love with this quirky fabric. Chocolate & orange – one of my favourite combinations!
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The finished dress. I love it.

I then got the bug and decided the next thing should be a fitted dress! Having never ever made a dress before the Coco, this was a bold move on my part, to jump to something with shaping, darts and facings. It  was scary! Luckily I had bought a gorgeous piece of fabric, then I discovered the perfect pattern and decided to dive right on in…you can see the results in my next post!

Oh, but before I go, some exciting news to share. I have had one of my cosmetic pouches featured in an Etsy treasury this week – go have a look!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/treasury/NTY5NzEzMHwyNzI0MTAwMjc5/autumn-sunburst 

Have any of you tried Tilly’s patterns?