Tag Archives: Me-Made June

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.


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.


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.


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



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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My (almost) sewing room

From this...

From this... (MMJ 8)

On Saturday, the last day of his visit, my brother and I braved the rain and Canadian Tire in springtime to procure me a shelving unit and a stacky-plastic-see-through-drawer-kinda-thing (like my technical terminology?), in the hopes of helping to transform my basement catacomb into something more closely resembling a functional sewing room. I won’t say I couldn’t’ve procured said items myself—I could have—but it’s nice to have a partner in crime for once. (Also Hubbykins recently made some less-than-well-considered bike-related purchases so I’m feeling psychologically if not actually fiscally justified in my splurge.)

... to this. (MMJ 11)

As a result, I spent the bulk of Sunday getting the mess under control.

This was done mostly in fifteen-minute bursts, as that was about all I could manage before being overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the disaster nearly two years of neglect had wrought in the room.

To my surprise, however, only about three grocery bags of actual garbage came out of the room. Everything else was either fabric-scrap or actually usable in some way.

My stash, which looked pretty overwhelming on in the top photo, all fit neatly on the shelf, although I would’ve liked to have a bit more shelf-space for sorting purposes. The only shelf that is really approaching capacity is the one holding the coating fabrics. Go figure. The patterns are now all tucked in the bottom drawers of my rolly thingy, while the notions are filing (and overfilling—I really need more room for them) the upper drawers. I hadn’t quite realized how much space zippers and bias tape can take up. The buttons and snaps are still fairly out of control.

The view from the doors. The bags under the table are all fabric scraps.

But anyway. Although I haven’t actually sewn a stitch in it yet (or even plugged the machines in), the floor has been found, the scraps wrangled into bags (I am saving them to stuff cloth chairs for the kids. Hush, I’ll get around to it.), and the non-sewing crud mostly confined to one end of the room. There may even have been vacuuming*  There were a disturbing number of loose pattern pieces lying around on the floor in various piles, which I still have to sort out and decide what’s worth saving and what will be consigned to the rubbish.

Above is the view from the doors. Yes, my sewing room has French doors. Unfortunately, rather than opening into some lush and elegant European garden, they open onto the rest of the basement, which principally functions as a play room for my children. Sweet, but not terribly scenic, especially when Hurricane Syo has been at work.

To the right of the door

As you can see, I have failed at keeping my “cutting table” clear through the tidying process. Also the ironing board. I maintain I am allergic to horizontal surfaces… they make me break out in clutter. That being said, this is eighty million times better than the view a couple of days ago, so shut up. With any luck I’ll be sewing in it tonight!

To the left of the door

All right, this is not the room’s best angle. There’s a fair schwack of boxes of old journals**, fine china*** and wrapping supplies. Not to mention a bit of stash overflow (for sorting, not space purposes). But I am not one of those people who can’t work with a bit of clutter about. My husband would be much happier if I were, I promise.

Anyway, I think my first few tasks will be some little bits of mending and hemming, but I promise I’ll get to a real project soon. I’m thinking 70s Week won’t be complete without making up one of those blouses I posted a while back…

*A whole ‘nother adventure, I admit… I’m a firm believer that children should vacuum their own mess, but occasionally have cause to regret this, like when I spend twenty minutes trying to dislodge entire paper towels that are thoroughly blocking the vacuum hose, resorting to hot-dog-roasting-sticks and eventually my husband’s computer-repair grabby tool to get it out.

**Scientific, not personal. I’m not quite that prolific in my navel-gazing. Quite.

*** Yes, I do have a porcelain set. Yes, it’s been in a box for almost four years now.


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The weird and wonderful world

Assorted notions

Of vintage sewing knickknacks.

Top: Black "Kashmir Jacketing", centre: polkadot voile; bottom: red and black coating

I mentioned previously that after a bit of a hiatus, my most recent Value Village trip was, ah, fruitful. The fabrics shown to the left are all substantial chunks: 2m of the black, four of the voile, and three of the red/black coating. My husband has attempted to claim the black for his frock coat, although there’s only 2m so I’m doubtful it’ll be enough. The voile has me thinking of retro sundresses (gee, bit surprise), inspired perhaps by this Burdastyle pattern.

The red coating… I don’t know, but there’s 3m, how could I resist? It’s quite heavy and might even be wool(ish). I may have a slight “problem” with coating fabrics…

More patterns I don't need

I couldn’t quite walk out without these patterns, either, despite the fact that I’m pretty sure my pattern stash is nearing critical mass (or at least the point where I’m going to have to start organizing it on something other than the principal of superposition*. The kids’ pattern on the right is cute and summery, just the thing. I was a bit more hesitant about the Kwik Sew dancewear, but I’ve been wanting to make myself another pair of yoga pants forever, and I figure it can’t be too hard to reduce the rise, and everyone loves Kwik Sew patterns and says they’re not as awful as the illustrations, so I went for it. And the corsets… well, c’mon, who can resist a “genuine” (or at least passably historical) corset pattern?

some nifty books



I’m pretty sure I’ve heard recomendations of the book on the right… I’ll let you know once I’ve had a chance to peruse it. The book on the left… well, that kinda speaks for itself. I love Art Nouveau.

More fabric-coverable buttons

Coverable buttons. Apparently these ones don’t need a special setter/tool. And there’s a package of square ones! I’ve never seen square coverable buttons. I’m beginning to have rather a collection of these… I must actually try some sometime.

Weird needlepoint buttons

I think the oddest thing, this round, though, is these needlepoint buttons. Have these been on the fabric store shelves the whole time and I just haven’t noticed? I do tend to steer clear of the plastic canvas section. And yet, I’m oddly intrigued. I have a feeling that, if covered with a really nice yarn, they could be quite lovely, especially if you were a knitter and wanted buttons whose texture matched the knit… Or maybe they’re just irredeemably weird. I don’t knit, so I’m not likely to find out, I suppose… I have seen some vintage thread-wrapped buttons that are gorgeous, and perhaps you could get (with a LOT of patience) a similar look with these…)

In Me-Made June News


Today was a wee bit grueling, culminating in the assembly of a futon so that our impending guests won’t be condemned to the (ever-leaking) air mattress. It was also grey and sprinkly, although I managed not to get actually rained on, doubtless due to the protective properties of the umbrella I actually thought to pack.

My skinny cargoes and frankenshirt. The shirt remains one of my all-time favourite knit projects, despite the fact that the bodice wasn’t quite long enough (so I haven’t hemmed it) and the twin-needle topstitching on the wrists has broken from over-stretching. Also the fabric, another one of those rayon-doubleknit things, has pilled a bit. I still love it.

The skinny cargoes have held up quite well also, albeit not quite as long. The only real problem is that I forgot that the pocket lining I used (the same asian-inspirted remnant I used for the binding in the 70s jacket) hadn’t been pre-washed (don’t worry, I washed it before using it on the jacket). It has shrunk. Not catastrophically, but just enough that there’s a bit of slackness over the front thigh, even though they don’t feel loose. Pooh. These are great pants when I want to feel tough and competent and a little bit edgy. As in, they’re not at all in keeping with the soft-pretty-spring thing I’ve had going on in most of my sewing the last few months. Ah, well. They were just what I needed today.

*geology joke, don’t mind me…


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Syo’s Sewing

Syo's First Project

No sewing today—I am moving sewing spaces! Yes, the found table has been wrangled down the stairs (my poor walls) to the basement, and installed in my “sewing room”, so my excuse for keeping my machines on the computer desk in the kitchen—that I had no sewing-room furniture—has evaporated. My long-suffering neat-freak of a husband has issued an ultimatum—all sewing paraphernalia is to be removed from the kitchen before nightfall. The entire process is really highlighting just how MUCH sewing stuff there was crammed in the kitchen… I guess I really can’t blame him for wanting it out.


Ah, well. It’ll be all right for the summer. I may have to invest in another space heater come winter, though.

Strap, with rick-rack and topstitching

Anyway, with the absence of sewing on my part, I thought I’d show off Syo’s “first machine-sewn project”, made up last week. This isn’t her first sewing project—she’s been hand-sewing little cushions and things (although she was not very good at knots), and the shirt/dress/thing she’s wearing in the top photo is actually her own creation, too, although I did the actual (minimal) serging at her direction.

Lined interior

But this little purse was several steps up. We measured out the length and breadth of the strap. We used a pattern for the purse body (actually a sheet of standard paper). I helped with the pinning but she did all the cutting herself. She also chose the fabrics. The exterior is a cream cotton damask, a remnant from this pair of bellydance pantaloons I made a couple of years pre-blog. The interior is a remnant of cream synthetic something that I had at one point started making a shirt for the hubby out of  (the vastly inferior prototype to this shirt, frankly). It was a costume pattern, not full and blousy enough for the look it was trying for, the lace-up front placket instructions thoroughly defeated me at the time, and to put the icing on the cake, I melted the back of the neck ironing just as the shirt was almost finished. Anyway, I was a little hesitant when Syo selected it… while it’s not the worst to work with, it ain’t no cotton, shall we say. But it was the right colour and this project would pretty much take care of the last shreds of that painful memory, so I agreed.

I won’t say I didn’t hover nervously. I also helped with some tugging where the layers required taut sewing (a walking foot would be great for a project like this). Syo has a particularly alarming habit of accidentally pressing down on the foot pedal while attempting to re-position or maneuver the fabric with the presser foot up. But she distinctly improved over the course of the project, and managed not to puncture either of our fingers.

1/4" Edge-Stitching Foot

Also, I think it was Marie-Christine who made the comment once that technology will trump skill in most cases. I must (again) concede th truth of this. This little fellow is a 1/4″ edge-stitching foot that I bought on a whim when I got my marvelous new zipper foot. It set me back a whole five dollars or so. I won’t say it’s revolutionized my topstitching—I’ve gotten halfway decent over the last year—but it certainly makes some things that took a bit of concentration before almost effortless. More importantly, it made it possible for Syo, who can barely sew a straight line, to do almost-perfect topstitching. She also did a really darn good job sewing down her rick-rack, even in the centre of the strap, so it’s not all the little gadget, but anyway. All in all I’m a pretty proud Mama, and Syo is excited to try many future projects…

In Me-Made June News…

My back yard. Oh, and my outfit for June 5

Here’s a slightly more panoramic shot of my back yard than usual, just because we finally mowed the jungle lawn, and the crab-apple trees are absolutely gorgeous right now. This is, of course, Simplicity  6023, the 70s dress pattern I won off MPB. Possibly I shouldn’t’ve worn such a nice dress on a day that included a fair bit of sweating and yard work (yay, heat!), but ah well. It’s washable.

Also, I was a little sad that I missed the twirling on Friday, so I decided to twirl today.


It’s supposed to be rainy and cool again tomorrow, but at least we had one truly glorious day! Now, back to the sewing-room-moving…


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The Grecian Goddess Dress

Grecian Goddess Dress

I will admit I considered various alternative titles for this dress. The KISS (keep it simple, stupid) Dress. The Shirring Saves (Almost) Everything Dress. I commented in my inspiration post that I could just use a rectangle. I probably should’ve. Instead, I painstakingly drafted a short kimono sleeve, then added fullness for gathering both top and bottom. Even that would’ve been all right, though, if I’d just had this top flow straight into the skirt. But no, I had to fool with an underbust seam. Which of course (because I didn’t muslin anything) was about two inches too low in the front, and not particularly even all around.

In desperation a flash of brilliance, I decided to shir. I stitched up the front and back openings a couple of inches, pulled out my elastic-thread-wound bobbin, and started shirring a long spiral around the dress, beginning at my approximate underbust and continuing down across the bloody “waist” seam.

Front view

This created a vast improvement—instead of a mumu I now had something much closer to the elegant, drapey concoction I had envisioned. By a miracle, the neckline didn’t gape OR fall off my shoulders, and the bra straps are completely covered both at shoulders and at the back.

Back view

But all the shirring in the world couldn’t save that lumpy, uneven waist seam from being lumpy and uneven. No worries, though, I had always envisioned this dress with a sash across the offending area. I had planned to do a self-sash, but found myself desperately short of fabric. My Japonais Mum to the rescue! I cut off a pair of narrow widths ( it was too narrow to do just one), joined them in the centre, and made a simple tube sash.

Because having a seam at one edge and not the other annoys me, I hit on the idea of rolling the seam to the centre of the back-side of the sash. Quite satisfied with how that turned out. Yay me.

Sash closeup

Obviously I need to shorten the dress a fair bit… it’s dragging even in the heels I’m wearing for these photos (and the odds of me actually wearing heels like that out and about in the summer are pretty minimal).

I might try the general idea again, without an underbust seam and with a bit less gathering at the shoulder.

In Me-Made June news,


This is an older ensemble, meaning everything in it was made last summer and fall. It’s not terribly glamorous and I have a few issues with the fit of the blouse that I didn’t notice when I first made it (too bad since I made like four different versions). Still, it’s warm and comfy on a rainy, chilly day. These remain my single favourite pair of me-made jeans, despite a number of material failures (the pockets have disintegrated and much of the topstitching is failing).

JJ blouse
Knit top formerly known as Lydia
Jalie 2908 Jeans


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