Tag Archives: Me-Made June

Happy Birthday to Syo!

Syo's dress, by Tyo.

Technically, I guess today she should become Eyo (the Eight-Year-Old). But for the sake of continuity, not to mention because Tyo will become the Eleven-Year-Old in another month, I’m going to stick with the nicknames as is.

Relatively little has been cleaned up from the birthdays (to my husband’s dismay), but sewing has happened! Tyo put the final touches on Syo’s present and we wrapped it up.

The kids have also been stitching madly away at these:

Pouches!

They are almost done. Whew! It would’ve been so much simpler to do them all on my own. But that would be defeating the point, etc. etc. Syo decided she wanted the blue and pink flannel fabric (top left) for the outside of hers; it’s lining the others.

What, Syo modelling her dress? Well, if you insist!

A well-dressed child

The fringe along the bottom is a length that appeared in one of the Value Village baggies. I stitched it on for Tyo… it was just less of a headache that way.

I am disappointed to report that she is less than thrilled with the dress. The reason? “It’s not tight enough. Tight is cute.”

Ah, yes. I had forgotten that.

Erm, she may have picked up that perception from me. Ooops.

Anyway, I think the dress is adorable.

In Me-Made June news:

June 27

Yup. Still lounging amid the remnants of the kids’ birthday party on the weekend.

I was (perhaps overly) excited about the weather forecast today and dressed for SUMMER. Of course, I spent most of the day in the chilly indoors freezing my legs off. My bad.

70s Tunic
Lekala sailor shorts Which you can’t actually see, but I promise you they’re there.

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I am tired (and other reminiscences)

Still breathing! (MMJ 26)

But victorious. Children arrived, milled around, played, ran, jumped on the trampoline, scraped elbows and knees, bumped each other jumping, got splinters, roasted hot-dogs, opened presents, lined up (!) for ice-cream cake, and  eventually were reclaimed by their parents (even the ones who slept over and were claimed this morning). I am SO thankful for the two friends who stuck by me through it all, and as a bonus the hubbykins was able to get off work a bit early so arrived in time to oversee the present-opening and cake-eating. The sun was warm although the air was cooler (high of 18C); water-balloons were tossed around but I managed to fend off the suggestion that the sprinkler should be put on under the trampoline.  Oh, and Tyo got a hedgehog.

Forgive the poor scan and indifferent photoshopping.

Tomorrow is Syo’s actual birthday. Which means that the photo above was taken eight years ago today. I was having teeny-tiny contractions at ten-minute intervals all through the photo-shoot, and remember wondering if that meant real labour was imminent or if it would just go away on its own. It was still a good ten days before my due-date, but that’s longer than I was pregnant with Tyo. I made the purple choli (cropped shirt) I am wearing and the belt, although you can’t see much of that but the tassles. One very artistic friend drew the designs on my belly in eyeliner and lip pencil.

Purple choli (back view)

My sewing back then was what I’d call “costume grade”—functional, occasionally fancy, but largely devoid of seam-finishes and other fine-touches.

Unfinished seams, showing sideseam including underarm gusset. I did a decent job on the bottom ties/binding, though.

The pattern I used for this was essentially an early version of the one now available from Folkwear, although my A/B cup version lacks the bottom triangles, relying on the magic of bias stretch to fit around the bust. In more recent iterations I adapted it into a full princess-seam in the front, but this version has a straight  over-bust seam. This wasn’t the first choli I made, but it might be the second or third; I had learned (the hard way) to be careful of the bias-stretch on the front neckline and to double-fold my hems at neck and sleeve. I think the fabric was left over from a project I helped my cousin make; the rest of the remnants had become a self-drafted jumper-dress for Tyo, which included a facing (I had never done a facing before).

Earrings

I thought I’d show you a better photo of the earrings I wore the last couple of days, as they’re hand- made (by my mother, granted, not me). The little man is an antique ivory figurine my mother had kicking around forever (I wonder if he originally had something decorative in his navel… the hole in his belly-button is quite deep, but doesn’t go all the way through.) Then in the late eighties or early nineties some family friends returned from Zaire and gave my mom the malachite elephant. This was around the time when everyone was making beaded jewelry (I’ve commented on my mom’s serial crafting before),  so it seemed only natural to hunt down a couple of other beads and create our African earrings. I remember discussing with my mother how the long bone and the round malachite bead echoed the  respective shapes of the two pendants. I miss bouncing design ideas around with her—we used to do it about everything, from clothing to jewelry to the arrangement of furniture in the house. I hope I can have those kinds of conversations with my own daughters soon enough.

Anyway, I should now return to cleaning my house, so that Syo and I can make biscuits (scones for the British readers) and maybe even get started on the teachers’ presents. My kids have between them five teachers who need presents. They’re all wonderful ladies, but it still seems a bit excessive to me. It’s not like they’re middle-schoolers with a teacher for every subject.

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Honest, Officer!

Fabricland Sale Scores (a small part of the total)

That  fabric just threw itself in front of me!

It’s been a bad week on the fabric front. Or a good one, depending on your perspective. Fabricland had their Canada Day sale early, so almost everything in the store was 50% off. Cue time to stock up on lining, interfacing, and other basics. And there was a whole rack of stretch denim in various bright, springy colours—and I went with cream. Boring, I know, but these are totally becoming some awesome capris as soon as I have time to sit down to sew without my head spinning round. There will be piping*. And of course some more black coating for the jacket the hubby wants, which I’ll get to some day. Gawd.

Thrift Store Scores

Then, after dropping Tyo’s birthday treat off to her classroom yesterday (it HAD to be ice-cream bars. Which of course she couldn’t just take on the school bust with her, they’d be melted long before she got to school), I stopped by my Value Village. I wasn’t expecting much (having been just a few days ago) but it’s on the way home.

Apparently after my last visit (when there was no fabric worth mentioning) they busted out the good stuff. I walked out with 3m of sturdy black non-stretch denim (I may have to break down and make my hubby a pair), a similar amount of something that feels like a very lightweight wool, and about a kajillion metres of white starched cotton with this interesting bit of lacework (that only barely shows in the photo) on the one end. That may in fact be hand-worked lace, although I don’t know enough about such things to be sure. And some nifty notions, including tracing paper and a bunch of heavy-duty snaps and rivets.

Kid-Mades in progress

A bit of the kid-sewing has gotten done. Tyo’s almost finished Syo’s present (the white), although since the party is today I’m not 100% sure the last bits will get done. I opted to have her make it underlined, so I serged the voile to the gauze along the major edges and had her do the seams.  This also pre-finished the edges and took care of her rather, ah, ragged cutting job. Syo did a bit of  work on the dresses for the nieces, meaning we got them cut out, managing to remember that we really need all the fairies with their heads pointing up (bloody directional prints). Cutting two different sizes of the same dress at the same time is actually useful for fabric conservation, though, as you can put the front of the smaller size beside the back of the larger size and vice versa and get a little lest waste. Which is good since I only had about 1m of this stuff.

Don’t tell Tyo I said it, but Syo’s a bit better at this sewing thing. She pays more attention to things like sewing her seams straight and keeping her seam-allowances accurate.

In Me-Made June news:

June 24

June 24

Hmm, this is a Me-Made record: four items. Only because I’m wearing two toppers, but anyway.

Cropped Jean Jacket
Vintage Shrug
Boring yet incredibly useful tank-top
Gored knit skirt

I don’t wear this skirt much, partly because I really only have the one shirt (the tank top) that I think it really works with. Not quite sure why that is. The jean jacket colour-scheme is a bit out of place with this outfit, but my other jackets were all too warm, while I wasn’t quite ready to leave the house just with the shrug.
I’m happy to report that the shrug, which has been getting a LOT of use, survived its first machine washing unscathed, even with the large snag in the back I had to clip. I should make about three more of these, seriously.

June 25

June 25

Today, I will be wrangling 23 children for five hours (a double-decker end-of-school-year birthday party). Fortunately I think I’ve bribed at least a couple of other mothers to hang out with me (the hubby’s at work), but it’s still going to be insane. Wish me well. I was tempted to dress fancy, but I’m thinking comfort and ease of movement are the way to go. Especially as there’s a reasonable chance I’ll have to dodge water-balloons this afternoon.

Winged Cardi
JJ blouse (my first me-made everyday wearable! A little over a year old now, it’s holding up well despite its unfinished seams.
Bell-bottoms

And now, I’d better get cleaning before the hordes descend…

*inspired by details on some of my kids’ jeans. Seriously, kids’ jeans have the BEST details. Grown-up ones are so boring by comparison…

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Who wears short shorts?

Shorts! ...ulp.

Um, I do. For a very long time a 1″ inseam was my standard. And while I’ve gotten considerably more shy about my midriff over the past decade, my legs have stood the test of time up much better. They remain one of my favourite physical features. (Not to toot my own horn)

Of course, the last few years I haven’t had much opportunity to wear shorts, period. The summers here are, well, chilly by my standards (blame elevation or proximity to the mountains or just a run of bad luck); it only broke 30C once last summer. Add that to spending my days in an air-conditioned lab and, well, shorts just kinda got left for weekends and visits home. (The two or possibly three people reading this from my home town can protest all you like that your summers have been beastly the last couple of years. They were still better than the summers here.)

Lekala 5465 Sailor Shorts, pattern here.

Anyway, my shorts history aside, this seemed like a good way to tackle the fit of the Lekala pants block without sacrificing a huge amount of fabric (obviously I was not thinking in terms of topstitching- and machine-rethreading-time). I may also have been feeling kid-project-ed-out. Or possibly crack smoking was involved*. Anyway. For whatever reason (reason really played no role in this decision), the other day I found myself printing out the pattern (only nine pages!) and laying out the pieces on the denim remnant left over from my bellbottoms.

One bonus to this particular set of pants is that the directions on the Lekala website have, in fact, been translated to English. Now, I think translating sewing directions has to be one of the hardest things in the world, as the technical terms are both a) highly specialized and b) unique to each language (translating scientific stuff, on the other hand, is much easier, since most of the important words come from Latin anyway. I don’t speak a word of German but can still often pull the major details I need out of a German research paper. Not so a German issue of Burda.) All that being said, I made it to about halfway through step 6 before my brain blew out. I had no idea what they were trying to get me to do.

What exactly are you telling me to do?

So I stood there with my pieces, laying one on top of the other, this way up, that way up, trying to figure out what to do.

There was a slit involved. I knew that much.

In the end I didn’t do it exactly right—the piece which they call the “Fly Panel Facing” (this would’ve been more helpful if the names of the pieces on the pattern hadn’t still been written in Cyrillic) is supposed to lap out and make a little overlap on the front, which I didn’t get. I’m still not sure how you would make the bottom of that neat, by the way, without adding a crapload of bulk, anyway). But I did manage to get the fly panel and the four “inner front parts” together. I am too lazy to actually put together a tutorial for how I did it—if you really feel the need to make this pattern, I can do one, but I’d really recommend you make the 5742 pants into shorts instead. Or use this tutorial for creating a sailor-button look with a continuous lap placket. Or even pay for the Hot Patterns pattern (which I haven’t used but have seen some very nice pairs made up). Or, y’know, email me and I’ll do my best.

WTF?

What it basically came down to, though, is that you end up with a slash down the middle of each front piece, with the “Fly Panel Facing” making a facing for the inner side of the pants and the “Inner front parts” sandwiching the edge of the slit, some frighteningly narrow seam allowances (I had to re-stitch several of mine), and nothing but a bit of fusible interfacing reinforcing the bottom of the slit. And I’m not convinced there’s anything at all you can do about this with this kind of pattern, unless you incorporate a front seam (as they did in the 5742 pants) or add a seam from the bottom of the slash over to the side, maybe with a pocket in it. Maybe I’ll try something like that next time.

So that’s my issue with the pattern itself. On to my own failings.

Crappy topstitching AND buttonholing!

Partly because I was really unhappy with the slit feature, and partly because I was trying to slug away at the piece and get it done before I had to reathread the machine for a kajllion kids’ projects, I sorta gave up trying hard. My topstitching around the inner part of the front fly panel isn’t symmetrical. I didn’t place my buttonholes properly, AT ALL (at least the topstitching I can fix if I come to my senses). My machine really doesn’t like zig-zagging with the top-stitching thread, so the buttonholes themselves are pretty dodgy as well (I tried buttonholer attachment, machine’s proper attachment, and manual—it just really doesn’t like to zig-zag with heavy thread). I added patch pockets to the rear, mostly on the principle that my butt needs as much decoration as it can get. Those are actually all right, although I forgot to do any topstitching designs before I sewed them on, so they look a little plain.

So those are my issues, purely self-inflicted. I should’ve taken more time, been more careful, not expected to bang out a pair of jean-shorts in a couple of hours. One thing the instructions do emphasize is topstitching carefully and evenly.

On me: front

And in the end, I don’t really like the shorts at all, for a reason that has nothing to do with the design features, the construction quality, or the instructions.

I don’t like the rise.

Now, the pattern illustration shows a moderately low rise. It’s hard to gauge things like this from illustrations (or even other peoples’ bodies, rise being a fairly individual thing). And I like low rise. The problem is, I like low rise.

These are more like mid-rise. They fall just below my navel. This is at least an inch or two above where I like my waistbands to fall, as it hits right in the middle of my jubbly bits. I’d rather have my waistband lower, where my hip gets bony. I realize that this isn’t most people’s preference, but it works for me, with my particular narrow-hipped, short-waisted body.

On me: side view

The bright spot of light in this is that the fit itself is more-or-less perfect. I didn’t even have to make any kind of gaposis adjustment to the back, which I had to in both the Ellen pants and the Jalie 2908 jeans (granted I think the Jalie pattern is drafted to the flattest common denominator, possibly because they figured this was an easier adjustment to make than the flat-butt adjustment). The only alteration I made upon trying them on was to take in the outseam of the leg a little bit below the hip, so they are not quite so loose around the thigh.  Which is more of a style issue, again, than a fit issue. The illustration shows quite loose, slouchy shorts, rather than my sturdy denim version (and the fabric they call for is “sheer flax”, by which I assume they mean a lightweight linen. They use the word “linen” for fabric.)

I also used a smaller number of buttons than called for, because it “looked right” and I thought it would be okay on the denim. So there’s a bit of gaping that shouldn’t be there. Lesson learned.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the finished inseam wound up being about 2.5″.

Finished interior, with bonus threads. I'll snip those some time when I give a shit.

I don’t even know for sure that the rise will be an actual wearability problem, since I wouldn’t normally tuck a shirt into these anyway.

Oh, yeah… the pattern also calls for a zipper. I have no idea where this is supposed to go or why it would even be necessary.

In Me-Made June news, here’s yesterday’s outfit.

Me-Made June 23

This photo was taken in the glorious sunshine about five seconds before the clouds rolled in and the winds picked up. I was expecting one of our June thunderstorms, but it never quite materialized. Maybe today (if not tomorrow in the midst of the kids’ birthday party).

70s Tunic
Jalie 2908 CaprisHmm, tired of these yet? Obviously I need some other pairs… (and it just so happens I got some summery cream stretch twill at the Fabricland Canada Day sale yesterday…)

Oh, the earrings are a pair my mother and I put together back when we were making jewelry when I was in high-school. The bottom is a little malachine elephant a friend brought back from Zaire.
*Disclaimer: I do not now, nor have I at any point, smoked actual crack. Or been been in a room where crack was being smoked. Or seen crack, except on a movie. I didn’t even smoke pot in high school, which is practically a rite of passage.**

**largely because my friends all smoked pipes and I was too embarrassed to admit I didn’t know how to use a lighter. Yes, those cheap Bic lighters. It wasn’t until I had been married to a smoker for several years that I learned how to use one. Mostly by practicing when he wasn’t around.

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The littlest sweatshop, I mean, seamstress.

Dresses for nieces

The children have decided (however temporarily) that hanging out in the sewing room is their new favourite way to spend time with mom. This may just be because it’s easier to get me to pay attention to them when we’re making something together. We have all kinds of projects planned—dresses for my nieces, zippered pouches for their teachers—all of which need to be completed in the next week or so. I foresee evenings of toil and drudgeryI mean bonding and quality time.

Shh! It's a secret!

This would be work enough (especially since we have the massive birthday party from hell on Saturday: both kids’ parties at once, so roughly 20 kids aged 8-11 running around the house and yard for five hours while my husband is at work. Probably water-balloons and the lawn sprinkler will be involved at some point), but Tyo also wants to make Syo a dress for her birthday. That is a surprise. As in, it can only be worked on when Syo isn’t in the sewing room. See the first sentence as to why this is a problem. Out of the leftover fabric from my 70s tunic, which of course requires lining and nice seam finishes and stuff. I’m not 100% convinced she knows what she’s in for. For those of you to whom kid-related sewing is absolutely mind-numbing and irrelevant, I apologize. This may not be a good week for you.

Teacher-present fabrics

Also, the hunt for teacher-present-fabrics led to spending a dangerous amount of time in the quilting section, something I generally avoid like the plague. Apparently this is where they keep all the nice prints (I’m much more favourable about prints when I’m not trying to imagine myself wearing them, I guess). This is especially dangerous as I have twee-little-sundresses on the brain. For which quilting cottons could actually be appropriate.

So what did I do yesterday?

Lekala sailor shorts

I decided, on a whim, to take a stab at Lekala  5465, a set of sailor-buttoned shorts.

I haven’t tried making sailor shorts, so I can’t really compare various methods, but I really don’t like this one. It doesn’t help that I didn’t really do it right, but basically there’s a point of weakness at the bottom of the slash that I don’t think anything is really going to fix.

The shorts (in progress)

I tried to compensate with excessive bar-tacking.

Depending on how incompetent I feel when I finish these, I may go into the construction process and how I screwed up. Or I may just throw them in the wadder-bin. I did take a lot of in-progress photos, though.

In Me-Made June news,

June 22

Yesterday was easily the nicest day of the year yet. The high was 25C (that’s like almost 80 F!), which since we’re still inured to barely-double-digits felt like heaven (or hell, to hear Syo tell it… that child does not like being hot.) I took the opportunity to wear my lace T-shirt dress

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More patterns I don’t need

Thrift store patterns and fabric

I never used to buy patterns. In fact, I had a positive phobia of paying for patterns for a LONG time. But then, I never used to buy fabric, either. So I guess it’s just another example of how far I’ve come (or how the mighty have fallen, depending on your perspective, I guess).

Yesterday, I popped very briefly into my local Value Village. I was secretly hoping for more Japanese pattern magazines, but that’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime find. I did, however, walk out with two kids patterns (somehow I’m more susceptible to kids patterns, or maybe I’m just in a kids-sewing rut at the moment…) and this awesome cotton dragon-print curtain. The patterns are basic, but mindful of the raves Kwik Sew gets I decided to pick it up, and the Simplicity sleepwear set is cute and simple and totally uncut. The patterns are simple enough that the kids could probably stitch them up themselves, although convincing them that they’re interesting enough to try may take a bit more work.

I really love the curtain, too. It’s not a big curtain. I was thinking of turning it into an apron for me when I got it, but am also tempted to make it (with the addition of some coordinating fabric) into a sundress for Tyo, maybe. The print might be cool and tough enough to actually get her into a dress.

Young Image, My Image

Or not. She’s been in tomboy mode long enough now that I actually have a hard time picturing her in anything dressy. But the musing brings me to my next recent pattern acquisition, which includes some really cool kids sundresses. Yes, I jumped on yet another bandwagon and ordered two issues of My Image, the newest pattern magazine on the block. Or blog, as the case may be. What can I say? They emailed me with a 25% off coupon, which brought the price down to roughly what I’d pay for an issue of Burda Style, even with shipping from Europe. The envelope squeaked in right before the current postal strike escalated into a lockout and the dribbling mail delivery screeched to a complete halt. I miss my mail, especially as there were a couple of other goodies I was hoping to receive soon. /sigh.

My Image, winter 2010/2011

Anyway, I ordered the winter women’s version (which includes 11 womens’ patterns and five children’s patterns) and the summer kids-only version. So all in all it turned out to be a pretty big haul for the kids, pattern-wise. And while there are some nice patterns in the adult section, it’s really some of the kid ones that are making me squee. Like the empire-waisted coat third down on the right in the image above. And basically all of the sundresses in the summery kids issue, below:

Young Image, summer 2011

Plus some of the other pieces I can totally see Tyo in. I will admit I’m not super-enthused with their made up samples (which you can peruse in their entirety on the website linked above). They look great and are well-photographed, don’t get me wrong, and I like that they have multiple versions of each pattern. But the designers seem to lean heavily towards intense prints. Again, not a bad thing in and of itself, but it tends to obscure, rather than highlight, the really nifty seaming of some of these patterns. Some of these patterns are crying out for colour-blocking, too, to highlight those nifty panels.

Anyway. As if that weren’t enough potential-kid-sewing, the children have become enchanted with the idea of making some sundresses for their little cousins, whom they are going to visit in a few weeks. Last night I had quite the little sweatshop going on in the basement just before bed; Syo was tracing out patterns, Tyo was ironing the fabric. She’s much more industrious about that than I am, by the way.

In Me-Made June news, here’s a catchup that finally gets me up to date:

June 19

June 19

Posing with R2 at our local comic convention. I felt a little sad not to be dressed as Catwoman or Princess Leia, but I figured this outfit could, with a little massaging, pass as steampunk.

Apparently my husband really likes steampunk. This is odd to me because he pretty much hates anything antique.

I should really pick open the lining of this skirt and add some boning. I knew it probably should have it when I made it, but I didn’t have any on hand so tried to do the job with heavy interfacing. Silly me. I am happy to report that by the very end of the day I was actually a little too warm in my (beyond)high-waisted wool skirt.

Corset-Waist skirt
50s shrug (Free multisize pattern now available! 😉 )
Absolutely boring tank-top

June 20

MMJ 20

An almost summery day, interspersing warm sun with sudden thunderstorms. Which I guess is the definition of June. I think this is a pretty good almost-summer outfit, simple but cute.

50s Shrug again. I’ve been getting a LOT of use out of this version. It’s great for throwing on top of a plain tank or short-sleeve shirt to spice it up a little and add a tiny bit of warmth. Unfortunately my fancy knit got a major snag in the back and I’m not sure how long it will last before that turns into a big hole.
Very old tank One of my first knit projects from last summer.
Jalie Jean capris I’m very glad my best attempts to screw these up failed. They remain one of my favourite denim makes yet.

June 21

MMJ 21---Happy Solstice!

Another simple, cute, summery outfit. I love that my ironing board matches my shoes.

Jalie 2908 capris
Crazy cowl topThis is one of my favourite knit tops at the moment. I really should make a jillion more, but I hacked up the pattern in my attempts to refine it, and wasn’t as satisfied with any of my changes as I was with this original. Joke’s on me!

Oh, yes, and happy Solstice! It actually feel summery here today (forecast high of 23C!… sad that I’m rejoicing over that, I know). I love the long days—light at 4, dark only well after 10. I like that they’ll now start getting shorter less, but am comforting myself that the hottest part of summer is still to come.

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70s Week

Last weekend, amid the trauma of saying goodbye to my brother, I decided to begin my self-imposed Me-Made 70s Week. Yes, for one week I would pull out the stops and wear every 70s and 70s-inspired garment I owned.

Now, I feel like I should insert a disclaimer here. Because while I may have found “my” vintage decade in the one that preceded my birth, I do not now and never will fully embrace the 70s. The fabric of choice, double-knit polyester, is abominable; the earth-toned colour scheme does nothing for me; and I have a limited tolerance for leisure suits. That being said, properly interpreted, the 70s has some of my favourite styles.

Cold calculation would make it obvious that at least some repetition would be involved. I had (until Saturday) really only six garments made from my various 70s patterns (sad, I know.) Even worse, the weather was not cooperative, so two of my dresses which are particularly summery went unworn. It was also not a great week for getting stuff like, oh, makeup on. So basically, not my best bash at making the 70s look good. Sorry. I’ll do better next time. Maybe in August, when we’re more likely to have something resembling summer.

Dress#1

Dress#2

70s Jacket

Bellbottoms

Dress #3 (unworn) (Style 41 34)

Dress #4 (unworn)

Day 1: June 12

June 12

70s Dress

The first day. With my houseguests gone I didn’t need to worry about frightening them with my outfits. (My brother’s used to me, but I don’t want to scare his girlfriend, or she might never come back.)

Day 2: June 13

June 13

This is an example of my early-morning outfit—that is, what I throw on over breakfast to get hubby and kids out the door in the morning. No makeup, no hair (hence the cap), but it is all me-made (except for the cap)

Winged Cardi
Ruffle-back top
Bellbottoms

Day 3: June 14

June 14

Another 70s dress. Headless due to unforgivably bad hair. My new sewing room is already getting nicely messy.

Day 4 and 5: June 15 & 16

June 15 and 16

This will pass for my outfit for both days, sadly. The only difference was the top. I really like this jacket with the skinnies (which I know is very un-70s), moreso than with other pants I own.

70s Jacket in corduroy
Skinny Jalie Jeans
Day 15 boring shirt
Day 16 boring shirt

Day 6: June 17

June 17

A really awful photo of me, but it was a looking-after-sick-hubby (who absolutely refused to be my photographed loved one) day. Ah, well, the kids out-cute me at the best of times. (I made both their shirts and the vest Syo is wearing, too). You saw the other photos from this series here.

The Bellbottoms
Evil JJ blouse

 

Although the JJ blouse is contemporary, I feel like it goes well stylistically with the 70s outfits: fitted body, puffed sleeves.

Day 7: June 18

June 18

My daughters have decided they want to be like their daddy and take about computer bits. My husband recently replaced the power supply for our desktop… and now my back deck is littered with the shreds of the old one. Also an impromptu fort made from a plastic picnic table and scrap wood. Aren’t my children ingenious?

70s week was rescued from early termination by a repeat of my day 1 dress, topped this time with the rather-over-the-top cowl-sleeved jacket. This is one of those outfits that pushes even my comfort zone for everyday wear, but I was expecting to go to the local Comic Con today (which got bumped to the 19th), by which standards I’m pretty sure I would be beyond prosaic.

I’m a little disappointed with the amount of recycling I had to do this 70s week. I’ll have to try it again when the weather is better and my wardrobe is a little more well rounded. I certainly have no shortage of appropriate patterns…

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Loved Ones and Little Things

MMJ 17.

Today’s Me-Made June Friday Challenge was a photo with loved ones. I hereby submit my paltry effort. I spent the day at home taking care of a sick hubby (which is considerably more onerous a chore than taking care of sick children, I’ll add), which leads to less than glamorous photo-taking. I am limping along with my self-imposed 70s week, although the weather has not been cooperating so I may have to call it off early without wearing my two remaining (very summery) 70s dresses. Poop. For what it’s worth, I’m wearing the bellbottoms (again) with one of the several JJ blouses. Although a contemporary pattern, I think the JJ fits stylistically quite well with the 70s patterns I’ve been collecting, with the ruffles and little puffed sleeves.

Syo's Vest (waistcoat, not tank-top)

In between making toast, iced tea, and “just being there” (because apparently me sitting in the living room while he sleeps on the couch half the afternoon is much better than him sleeping on the couch while I’m off doing something, oh, productive), some little bits of sewing has gotten done. The finishing handwork on my niece’s little coat, of course, but also a little vest for Syo from this nefarious pattern, made from the scraps from my niece’s coat. This pattern is one of those depressingly dumbed-down patterns, the kind that makes you feel embarrassed about being a home sewist. Although the instructions are to line the vest, there’s no lining pieces or even facings. So of course the lining is bound to peek out. Especially when it’s a knit and the shell is a woven. I cut the shell a bit bigger to attempt to give it some turn of cloth allowance, and topstitched after, but the fleece still peeks out a bit. Naturally I could’ve drafted a lining and facings, but that would’ve been work, as well as probably used up more scraps that I actually had. Anyway, Syo is very pleased with it, despite putting it on the first time and declaring: “It’s a bit loose.”

I have concluded this is Syonese for “It’s not skin-tight.”

She sewed the shoulder-seams herself, but chickened out on the other, highly curved seams. Also, grading seams makes a big difference when your fabrics are this bulky. I should do it more consistently.

Tyo's Bear

Tyo, on the other hand, finally got back to work on her teddy-bear, which has been languishing as isolated head and arms since well before my sewing-room migration, and we finished it. She did fairly well, considering the 1/4″ seam allowances and sharp curves. I had to do more than I really wanted to (including hand-stitching all the bits together), but less than I had feared, so I guess it’s all right. It’s stuffed with rice, so it can be microwaved to serve as a hot-pad. It’s cute, in a rather floppy way.

I think I’m starting to wrap my head around the idea of actually teaching my kids to sew. Not having been actively taught myself, it’s hard to figure out what to teach. What needs to be said, what they’ll figure out on their own through trial and error. But progress is being made, and I guess that’s what matters.

Oh, coincidentally the girls are both wearing shirts I made, neither of which have been blogged, due to generally shoddy half-ass construction and lack of interesting or meaningful detail. I’ve noticed that I tend to make some pretty half-ass things for my kids. Mostly when they’re picking something I don’t much want to make, or I’m getting annoyed with the fabric of their choice. Both shirts are getting worn a fair bit, though, despite their inferior construction. My children have not yet learnt the stigma of “home made”. Tyo gets more flack, apparently, for wearing her (very expensive) Harley Davidson jacket. Go figure.

70s blouse pattern

I did get started on a 70s blouse (well, more of a tunic, View C on the left) for me, out of some white cotton gauze. I hope to get it done this weekend,  if I can wrest control of the sewing machine away from my children long enough. Although probably not in time to save 70s week. I’m sad to say I think there’s probably more kids’ sewing in the immediate future, too. Tyo has fabric and pattern for a shirt picked out, and I got some really cute sundress patterns I’ll talk about another day…

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Real sewing!

Coat for Niece # 2

… in the new sewing room.

Albeit not of a terribly exciting kind. Looking at my massive stash of coating fabric, I decided to do some reduction and tackle my younger niece’s long-neglected coat. For those with a short memory, this is basically a one-size-smaller version of McCall’s 3374, with blue leopard print fleece lining instead of pink (my sister-in-law keeps her daughters colour-coordinated. Well, sorta. When you have two kids so close together in

Pattern envelope

age, I imagine it helps with keeping track of things they have doubles of). This has to easily be my most used thrift-store pattern, this being version 3. It’s such a classic shape, once you get over the explosion of fun-fur on the pattern envelope. Of course, the envelope version is unlined, whereas mine wound up with both lining and, in these last two, interlining (I added a layer of black flannel to keep the light fleece from showing through my rather-loosely-woven boiled wool coating.

Blue leopard print fleece lining!

I did a couple of things minutely differently this time. Since I didn’t have the front facing traced out for the size 3 (the first two versions were size 4), I traced off my own facing and front lining piece from the front piece, as I learned to do from Sherry’s sewalong. I should’ve reviewed a couple other bits of the sewalong, too, like notching out the front where the facing goes and stuff, but, well, I was lazy. I also didn’t alter the original pattern to a lining pattern. I figure the extra ease isn’t really required when your lining is a knit. And I’m lazy. And it’s a coat for a three-year-old.

Fleece lining seamed to interlining to finish hem; shell hem with bias hem-facing.

I did have one flash of brilliance, where I decided to hem the lining by seaming it to the bottom of the interlining flannel and and reversing. If I’d been even more brilliant, I would’ve cut the flannel shorter so that the fuzzy lining folded up the other side of the hem more, but anyway. There’s enough extra drape in the fleece that it covers the bottom of the fold anyway.

Cute label, needs a ribbon hanging loop though.

I forgot to add the super-cute ribbon hanging-loop, although I did remember the Bookemon & Ebichu label. I probably should pick out the inner collar seam and add that—wouldn’t want my younger niece to get a jacket less cute than her sister’s.

Cuff (interior). Not finished (obvious).

I also added a piece of bias hem facing to the bottom as, ah, I may just accidentally have cut the bottom from and end where the under-side of the doubled fabric was a bit shorter than the visible part, if that makes any sense at all. Anyway. Next step is to finish the outer hem (which will be by hand), then the cuffs, and then I get to try to work the buttonholes! I will use my vintage buttonholer, of course, but I’m still not terribly accurate at placing the buttonholes with it. Ah, well, it can’t be worse than my manual buttonholes!

To continue with my Me-Made June catch up, we have:

June 10:

Transportation Friday

On a mode of transportation. The feminist in me is sad to report that I don’t drive it myself (hubby does). The chicken in me is happy it doesn’t have to control that much metal with nothing but my boots between me and the pavement. However, it was a very fun picture to take.

Springy Coat
Blue Lydia top
Jalie 2908 capris

June 11:

MMJ 11, the birth of a new sewing room!

Yes, you’ve seen this one on the blog before, but now it’s in context!

50s Shrug 2.0
Too-short tunic
Ellen pants

On June 12 I began my 70s week! So I think I’ll give that its own post…

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A Me-Made Week in Review

Ok, so last time I included my Me-Made June outfit in a post was on the 6th (aside from some of the sewing-room pics on the last post). Yikes! I have been getting them up over on Flickr, though.

Anyway, before I dig into that, a cute and teensy bit of mending I did over the weekend.

70s Peasant crop-top (Pre-re-elasticizing)

This is a “vintage” (my guess is 70s, it was kicking around in my dress-up clothes from the early 80s and I presume it wasn’t new then. Also it kinda screams 70s.) peasant-top that somehow I’ve never been able to pass on, although I doubt I’ve really worn it since I was fourteen or so. Maybe sixteen. Anyway, at some point in the last fifteen years the elastic has gone to that great sewing studio in the sky, or at least its springiness had, so the shirt has been kicking around in the mending for quite a while.

Me being about as good at mending as at cleaning. I’d say I was turning over a new leaf this week, but really, I can tell the energy won’t last. 😉

Anyway, it was a matter of moments to open up the elastic casings and pull out the old elastics, and only a few more minutes to thread in new elastics, hunt down Tyo to snug them to the right size (Syo’s expression when I asked if she wanted to try it on was, shall we say, unimpressed?), and sew them closed. Then I soaked in a bowl with some Oxy-Clean for a couple of hours in the hopes of brightening up the colour a bit, which I think was successful although it’s hard to tell in the photos.

Some drying later and, voila:

Tyo in the mending

I noticed a couple of interesting things about the construction of this RTW piece. First, observe, regular RTW tag, Made in Canada, even.

Tag!

Next, observe side seam. Completely unfinished. And remarkably unfrayed after more than 30 years of wear, too. Anyway, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen unfinished seams in old RTW garments, but I feel like it’s an interesting thing to point out…

Unfinished side-seam

Me-Made June Review:

I’m thinking I’ll do these three at at time until I’ve caught up. I’ve really enjoyed some of the longer reviews other people do (like with a whole week of outfits) but I don’t think I can stand hunting down that many links, sorry.

MMJ 7

June 7. I’m a ninja!

… or that’s how I felt in this outfit. Probably less stealthy, though.

Kimono Lady Grey
skinny cargoes again.

MMJ 8

June 8. Also the day this photo was taken. A comfy, practical, and thoroughly unremarkable outfit, although I do love getting to wear this coat.

Springy Coat
Raglan knit top
Skinny jeans

S

MMJ 9

June 9. The kids and I played hookie to take my brother and his girlfriend to the Tyrrell Museum of Natural History. Not the best picture ever, but somehow the only one of the hundred-some taken that day of me. 😛 Poopily, the “button cufflinks” I made for this jacket have popped off and/or broken. In any case, disappeared. Poopy.

Cropped Jean Jacket
Cowl top
Well-loved jeansWhew

Whew! Ok, that MMJ’s me out. Will catch up one of these days…

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