Me-Made-May 2014: Week 4


Almost at the end of the month…holy cow, I am so over looking at my mug. The camera has been propped permanently on the tripod, and I’ve been taking snaps first thing in the morning every day, which accounts for why I resemble the undead so often.


And perhaps because I’ve been so ashen, I’ve felt the need to dial up the color factor this past week. I’ve also felt the need to make something for myself for a change. Over the last couple of days I found pockets of time to pump out this Simplicity 1463. I will always have a soft spot for dolman sleeves, and this looked like a painless pattern to keep my sewing appetite whetted. And hey, it’s part of my summer sewing plans (I’ll be updating that post with specific pattern info soon, by the way)!


This magenta/purple/amaranthine/claret/berry smoothie color is not my usual palette, but this was meant to be a muslin so I wasn’t too fussy about the vibrant hue or what to call it apparently. My mom gave me this jersey knit, and you can see that she skews toward bold colors. I’m planning on using a dreamy aqua linen knit (I know!!!! Linen knit), but I wanted to make sure this pattern would look okay on me. I’d also love to make this in a striped knit like the envelope version, but I’m all out of thin-striped knits. I’m thinking my fabric fast may be coming to an end very soon.


I added two inches to both the front and back of the hi-lo hem to accommodate my extensive torso, and I cut a size small but used 3/8-inch seam allowance instead of 5/8. I think the fit is pretty perfect as far as loose stretchy tops go.


I tried the outfit with the ankle boots for most of the photos, but in the end, I wore my sandals and a scarf to carry out my day. If you look closely, you can see my lazy white-thread-serged seams of yet another pair of skinnified jeans. I washed my other skinnified jeans, and wouldn’t you know it, I can’t fit in them anymore. This newly slimmed down pair is on the roomy side around the waist, and it’s super comfortable.

Here’s the round-up for MMMay Week 4 (aka the week of t-shirts):


Day 22: Coral Raglan Tee

Day 23: Striped Color-Block Tee

Day 24: Aqua Tunic

Day 25: Brown Polka Dot Washi

Day 26: Scoop Top

Day 27: Blue Floral Washi

Day 28: Magenta Dolman Top


Me-Made-May 2014: Week 3


Final art for the book is due next week, so I’m devoting every available nanosecond to painting for the next 8 days, which means that I punted all sewing for the interim. Unless my stress level reaches explosive proportions, in which case I will have to engage in some sewing therapy. I know that I was on my soapbox about how productive I’ve become with Evernote yesterday, but all I was able to do for today was to re-serge the bottom hem of what you see above (the threads have a tendency to snap and get unraveled). Oh well.

I find that one of the hardest things for me every day is deciding which shoes look the best with my handmade clothes. It’s a good thing I don’t wear any accessories, because the indecision would just force me to stay in pajamas every day.

Day 21 turned out to be slightly chilly in the morning, so I busted out my District 12 dress, and I tried 7 pairs of shoes and liked these three the best. Ultimately, I ended up with the boots on the left because they’re the most comfortable. By the end of the day, I was “glistening” and overheating in my tights, boots and long-sleeved knit dress.


As usual, my photography assistant couldn’t stand not being in front of the camera. And look how well she’s trained now; she instinctively covers her face. Of course, it looks like she’s saying “Ew Mommy, you stink,” but I appreciate her attempts.

I’m going strong with Me-Made-May and haven’t repeated a single garment (if you don’t count my jeans, which aren’t handmade so it doesn’t matter)! Here’s the recap from this past week — some of my absolute faves are in the bunch:


Day 15: Concert Tee

Day 16: Pink Stripey Knit Top

Day 17: Grey Tova

Day 18: Weekend Getaway Dress

Day 19: Yellow Silk Tunic

Day 20: Blue and Silver Tova

Day 21: District 12 Dress

Me-Made-May 2014: Week 2


Half way there! It was significantly easier to reach for my handmade clothes this past week for Me-Made-May, though my choices are starting to dwindle (laundry is my achilles’ heel). Through this exercise I’m experiencing a lot of revelations — both good and bad — and I plan on ruminating about them at the end of the month, but for today, I have a quick and dirty update to what I started calling my ham hock dress.


Mutton chop arms are not my look of choice, so early yesterday morning, I took my scissors to the sleeves and hacked off most of the length. I also remembered that I didn’t like the neckline, so I widened that too. Luckily I had enough of the fabric left to make a new bias tape. As I worked on this while K and her friend slumbered (I take the neighbor girl to school with K sometimes and she comes over early), I was reminded of a college friend. She told me once that she wakes up every morning at 5 to sew something for herself. At the time, I had no interest in sewing so it struck me as a little odd that she would forsake precious sleep just to make something to wear, but now I totally get it.

And did you notice? I’m wearing the dress backwards! One of my astute readers suggested trying that, and I really like it. I scooped out the neckline a little for a boatneck vibe, and the gathers seem to hit at the right spot.


I also wore it the “right” way, and I like this too! I’m patting myself on the back for chopping the sleeves — I LOVE the dress now, and not a ham hock arm to be seen. And being able to wear it both ways just makes it all the more lovable. Big win!

Here’s the round-up from this past week. Temperatures have been rising here, and it already feels like summer, which is very unusual for May in Seattle.


Day 8: Moss Green Jacket (I’m also wearing my skinnified jeans)

Day 9: Kimono Top + Clover Pants

Day 10: Weekend Getaway Blouse

Day 11: White Skirt

Day 12: Buffalo Check Washi

Day 13: Waffle Maxi

Day 14: Altered Khaki Linen Dress

And you can see last week’s roundup here!

Me-Made-May 2014: Week 1


Well, I’m thrilled to say that I wore something handmade every day for the first week of May. Initially I had this grandiose scheme of sewing something new every week with each Me-Made-May recap, and then I came to my senses. What with deadlines galore, I had to aim significantly lower. Especially since I didn’t anticipate how much time taking and editing daily photos of myself (ugh) would require.


So here’s what I’m shooting for this month: small alterations to ready-to-wear garments I already own or fixing me-made garments that don’t fit right or have something “off” about them. I started this week by skinnifying one of my jeans that I rarely wear. They are, in fact, a little too snug for me. But these are designer jeans that I got on ridiculous sale a few years ago (like 70% off sale), so I chose to disregard the too-small size. I seem to do that a lot: become blinded by a good deal.


But skinny jeans are supposed to be snug, no? This took literally twenty minutes to accomplish and I didn’t even have to hack too much off the outer sides. Truth: I cut off a little too much, so the fabric is practically heaving to contain my mighty calves — the seams are near-bursting. Thank goodness for stretch denim, though this isn’t the stretchiest denim I’ve encountered.


It’s funny, because of my weird self-consciousness about my legs, I swore I would never wear skinny jeans when they first came out, but now I live in them because they pair so well with the loose, flowy tunic-style tops that I adore so much. My favorite pair has rips and tears all over from constant wear, including a big one on the right knee. I had no idea that my left shoe was unzipped at the back until I saw this photo.


Anyway, I love love love the jeans now and will be wearing them often. What a difference a few inches can make! However, I might have to up the ante with my workouts since I currently have to do awkward squats and contort myself into all sorts of unnatural positions to pull them on (if anyone knows calf-slimming moves, I’m all ears). In the eighties, when tight jeans were all the rage, I remember lying on the floor, desperately trying to pull on a pair with ankle zippers that surely cut off my circulation and could not have been good for me.

So here’s a visual recap of my week. Brace yourselves, because I know that the sheer variety and bright colors will blind you and send you into a tailspin (kidding). I’m a jeans + top girl through and through, and it was a week filled with navy and blue. We also had a crazy range of weather conditions from sweltering to torrential freezing rain this past week, which was a good challenge since I was happily surprised that I had clothes to accommodate different temps.


Day 1: Chevron Knit Dress

Day 2: Lace + Geometric Knit Tank

Day 3: Khaki Linen Tunic

Day 4: Navy Plaid Dress (aka Sister-wife-on-the-compound Dress)

Day 5: Stripey Batwing Top (the gorgeous scarf was a handmade gift from my lovely friend Ute)

Day 6: Black Simplicity Tunic

Day 6: Oversized Color-blocked Knit Tunic




Me-Made-May 2014


I started sewing clothes for myself on a fairly regular basis last May. It’s been almost a full year, and I’ve made loads of clothes. Back then, I held a secret aspiration to participate in Me-Made-May in a year’s time, and now that event is starting tomorrow! I think I’m ready, and I just signed up. So excited. I’ve been wanting to participate for years.

I’ve noticed that on many sewing blogs, folks often talk about how they constantly make these beautiful clothes that just never get worn because they’re just not everyday appropriate or don’t actually mesh with their style or they don’t work with other items in the closet. When I first dabbled in stitching my own clothes back in 2008 or so, I found myself making fancy dress after fancy dress even though I hated wearing dresses (I now love them, but you know what I mean). I stopped sewing for myself when I went back to work shortly before 2009 and didn’t pick it up again until last year. This time around, I was determined to sew practical clothes. Funnily enough, even though I think I’ve been pretty good about staying true to my own personal style and focusing on “wearable” items, I still bypass a vast majority of the clothes that I make when morning rolls around. It’s perplexing.

When I posted the jacket that I adore so much earlier this week, I realized that I don’t feel that deep love for too many of the clothes I make. And because I can just power up my sewing machine and make something shiny and new and crow about the skills I’ve developed or the stash-busing I’m accomplishing, I haven’t been really thinking too deeply about how best to build a collection of clothing that truly works for my body, my lifestyle, and my aesthetics. Addressing these types of issues that often crop up with creating your own clothes, the always instructional and insightful Coletterie put forth the Wardrobe Architect series.

I have a feeling that the Wardrobe Architect brilliance combined with the practice of wearing my handmade clothes daily through Me-Made-May will help me focus and allow me to better navigate the still foggy terrain of creating a wardrobe that I love.  To get a better sense of all the clothes I’ve slaved over in the last year, I painted each item, and whoa, I made 46 in total (not counting the infinity scarf). I obviously can’t seem to stay away from the colors blue and grey, which isn’t really a problem for me, but seeing them all together like this makes me want to explore a broader range of colors…

I have more thoughts on this as I’ve been mulling over this for a while, but for now I promise not to bombard you with photos of myself in my handmade wardrobe day in and day out this upcoming month.