Saturday, 25 May 2013

Stormy May Day

On Thursday I went over to St Albans to meet an old friend I hadn't seen for ages, and I wore a refashioned denim dress.  Not a great photo, but I covered the yoke with a piece of vintage-y floral fabric, and replaced the original denim pockets with patch pockets in the same floral cotton.
Friday, instead of knitting, I met up with Pam and Val at Art Van Go to heckle Gina, who was one of five artists working in the studio, demonstrating their various textile art techniques and chatting to visitors.  
As I am running out of outfits, and of days left in May, come to that, I pushed the boat out and wore a refahioned skirt.  I bought it last year, where it was the last one on the sale rail.  Unfortunately, it was a Size 8 - and as I haven't been a Size 8 since I was Age 8 - I didn't think I'd ever wear it, but it was only £6 and I loved the fabric so much I thought I could do something with it.  Anyway, once I got it home and thought about it, I realised that it was so gathered, I could unpick the waistband and gathers and re-gather it (only less so) so that it fitted.  
And I'm jolly glad that yet again I wore thick tights and boots and took a brolly - it was was freezing cold and absolutely threw it down with rain almost as soon as I left home. Some summer this is turning out to be.

Today we had a meeting of the Young Embroiderers, so I wore one of the summer dresses that has been hanging up in anticipation of a bit of sunshine.  I've given up waiting for it now though, so I wore it with a long sleeve top underneath, thick tights and boots and a cardie.
I'll try NOT to mention the weather anymore, but it does make it easier to find song titles for the posts.

Stormy May Day - ACDC

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

It May Be Spring But I Still Need a Coat

On Monday I wore this skirt again, 
with a plain black top, and red shoes, but forgot to take a photo.  
On Tuesday I went to see a man about a job, and I thought perhaps I should dress a LITTLE bit like a grown up, so I wore the ancient black pinafore over a L/S grey top with little birds on it.
And today I went to meet a friend in Great Dunmow for a catch up, combined with a potter around the charity shops, followed by tea and cake, so I wore the  pink spotty frock.  I have, however, chopped 10cm off the hem, which, together with the 're-styling'  has made it a bit less mumsy and bit more me.
Although I still look a bit of a porker in it. And that was BEFORE we had cake.  Oh, and don't let the photo fool you - although I appear to be warm enough in just a cardie, I have only whipped my coat off for the photo and I put it on immediately afterwards.  Will it ever be warm again???

It May Be Spring But I Still Need A Coat - The Webb Sisters

Sunday, 19 May 2013

In The Pink

Today I finished another Jalie crossover top - it wasn't really the right fabric - a cotton jersey but not enough stretch, resulting in a few puckers as I couldn't stretch the neckband sufficiently to fit the bodice pieces.  Never mind, you live and learn and at least it didn't take long to make. In fact,  I should think it took me longer mucking about photographing it, than it did to make.  
And after all that, not one decent picture, so settled for a collage.  I just love my shiny red Hush Puppies.
In The Pink - The Young Knives

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Half Way There

Well, we're over half way through MeMadeMay and so far, so good.  And, although I haven't  got photographic evidence for every day, I promise I've worn at least one thing I've made everyday - usually at least two, if you include jewellery.  Anyway, this was Thursday -

the MeMade garment being the skirt I made from upholstery fabric samples that someone gave me ages ago.  It was never meant to be a REAL skirt, it was just to check the fit of the self-drafted pattern, but I liked it, so now its a skirt.
I wore it to my first meeting of the Creative Club at the Creative Sanctuary .  It was a great way to spend an afternoon, hosted by the lovely Angela in her beautiful shop.  There must have been 20-odd women (perhaps I'd better re-word that as 20+ women to avoid giving unintended offence!), all busy knitting and stitching and crocheting, drinking tea and eating homemade cake.  At this particular meeting, there was the added bonus of a really interesting and inspirational talk from Erica Knight, the knitwear designer and author of dozens of knitting and crochet books.  
She showed her new collection of yarns, and as hard as I tried to resist (as you know I'm not meant to be buying anymore stuff until I've used what I've got) I was compelled to buy some pink furry wool to make a luxurious fur collar.  
Oh, and I was even more pleased with my skirt when Erica said she loved my skirt and when I thanked her and mentioned that I'd made it, she said that she'd intended to ask me where I bought it!  How's that for a compliment?
While I was there, I started on a crochet project for a cover for the round wooden stool in my kitchen
from the Granny Squares book by Susan Pinner.  Hopefully, it will look a bit like the picture in the book  ...
although I'm not sure my colours are quite so soft and subtle.  Quelle Surprise!
My other self-stitched item that day was my project bag - if Ann Summers made knitting bags, they'd surely look like this -
On Friday I wore a refashioned charity shop skirt - when I bought it, it had a weird flappy bit at the back hem, and some nasty pink net underneath, attached to the lining, but I soon got rid of that and shortened it and now it looks like this ....
And finally, as Mum and Dad were visiting, and I remembered the whole photograph thing, I got Mum to take a photo of me in my garden, wearing the black and white spotty corduroy skirt.  A bit far away, but it gives me the opportunity to flash a bit of my garden.
I just wish it would warm up a bit - I've got all these summer dresses lined up for an airing but they don't look quite the same with a long sleeved thermal vest underneath.
Half Way There - Inspiral Carpets

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Keep On Your Dress

Continuing on with MeMadeMay .....
On Thursday I went along to the private view of the North Herts and Beds Embroiderers Guild, where I have a couple of pieces of work exhibited.

Incidentally, the exhibition looks really good, with a wide variety of work from some very talented stitchers, so if you are in the area I recommend you try to see it.  But then I guess I would say that.
Anyway, for the Private View I wore this (and that's not bare belly, heaven forbid, but the top had rolled up when I put my hands in my pockets in an attempt to look nonchalant.
A Me Made top, with a skirt that I bought years ago, but is still one of my favourites.  In fact, it got a bit washed out and faded so I re-dyed it black in the washing machine and it came out like new.
The top is the first one I made from Jalie pattern 2804 ....
It must have been from a link I saw on someone else's blog ages ago, as I'd never heard of the company before, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and I have since made another one.  Goodness know what I had originally bought stretchy orange fabric for - it must have been cheap - and I expected it to be a nightmare to sew as it's that slinky kind of stretch fabric (not cotton jersey) but it was fine.  I made it on the sewing machine, but I've since made a second one (in a more subtle dark purple) on the overlocker.  I've got three more cut out and ready to sew too.

Friday was knitting day at Baroosh, and I wore this
I have to say this is probably one of the oldest things in my self-stitched wardrobe.  Its a really simple shift dress, usually worn as a pinafore.  Not sure what the fabric is, but it's got a kind of suede-y feel to it.
Having got all of my patterns out, sorting through them, putting them back and rebuilding my sewing room, I've decided it must have been self drafted about 20 years ago when I was doing a bit of pattern cutting.  No idea what I did with the original pattern, so this week I've cut a pattern from it, and refitted it to change the neckline and the armholes a bit, and made a muslin which looks ok, even though it's made from yellow fabric intended for curtains.  I really must pull myself together.

On Saturday I was back at the exhibition in Letchworth to 'meet and greet the public' so I wore a dress I made a couple of months ago which I hadn't had the bottle to wear before - it's a bit bold
Why do I buy these loud fabrics, when I know that all I wear in real life is black and grey? 
I mentioned here that it was inspired by a Ted Baker dress, and I used New Look 6068
I made the version with the three quarter sleeves, and athough I liked the pattern, the sleeves were a bit too much and it was also a bit TOO tent-like, so I've since chopped the sleeves off and taken it in a bit on the sides.  I think my favourite bit is the Peter Pan collar, and I'm not sure how often this dress will be worn.  Although porobably more times than the 200 quid Ted Baker version would have been.

I think the most difficult bit of this MMM challenge is having to keep posing for photos, so although I've stuck to the whole wearing homemade thing, there have definitely been a few days without pictures.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

Keep On Your Dress - The Pigeon Detectives

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Let's Make It Up

I spent most of last Saturday and Sunday gardening.  Sadly, when I'm gardening,  I don't look like the ladies in Country Living magazine - wandering around in a floral frock and a sun hat, snipping away at a little gentle dead-heading, and picking beautiful blooms for my immaculately styled eight bedroom cottage.  
No, I end up windblown, red faced and sweaty, and tend to get my hands, and everything else come to that, very grubby.  Hence, my 'Me Mades' were a refashioned Kiss T-shirt, followed by an old "Me Printed" one,  so no photos, you'll be glad to know.  
However, Bank Holiday Monday lunchtime, I went out to meet Viv and Kevin from Art Van Go at a local pub so I put on a new Me Made frock, a Tiramisu dress from Cake Patterns
The pattern went together beautifully, and it fits well, with the mock wrap bodice crossing at just the right level for me, and I will definitely make it again, but although I like it, I can't help thinking it's a bit "Mumsy" on me.  I'm not sure if it's the fabric  - which wasn't bought for this project, I just used it because it happened to be in my stash and I thought it would work as a try-out,  so I suppose this is more of a 'wearable muslin' - or maybe it's the length.  I did make it a few inches longer than the pattern said, but maybe it would be better if I hadn't.  Or maybe it's the styling.  I think I'd like it more with a denim jacket and boots.  It's probably suitable for a woman of my years, but it just doesn't feel like me - my motto is "Better mutton dressed as lamb, than mutton dressed as mutton".
Anyway, I will definitely make it again, maybe in black and with long sleeves.  And wear it with a biker jacket.  And tattoos.
Part of the trouble is, whenever I wear dresses and shoes, instead of jeans and boots,  I feel like I've been going through the dressing up box and I've gone out as somebody else.

Anyway, on Tuesday I went back to jeans, and a Me Made black gingham shirt. 
Not only did I make the shirt, but I also dyed the buttons myself - previously posted  here and I made my necklace.
Apologies for the blurry photos, I kept telling my mate Jane that she was zooming too close, but she wouldn't listen.
Yesterday was Spectrum textile group, and I wore a skirt that I made from free fabric that I've had for years
with a little felt flower brooch I made.  And, although I was in a skirt and shoes, I felt a bit more like me.  Oh, and I made cake too, which tasted, well just like cake - but I forgot to take a photo.

Let's Make It Up - Dave Stewart and Mick Jagger

Friday, 3 May 2013

Don't Go Back To Dalston

Day 3, and I'm still with the MeMadeMay thing.  I didn't go overboard yesterday, as my only outing was to walk into town to donate blood, which is not an occasion I tend to dress up for, just in case it ends up in carnage.   
So a self-drafted T-shirt, made up in some slightly tacky synthetic jersey fabric covered in what looks like little foreign advertising posters. Not to everyone's taste maybe, but I love it.  So much so, that's it's one of the few MeMade items that gets worn regularly - as does the knitted denim jacket, although that's not strictly Me Made.  It was mostly knitted by my friend Lucy, who didn't want to finish it as she knew she wouldn't wear it and didn't like the yarn anyway, so she offered it to me.  
I gratefully accepted, and all I had to do was knit two cuffs, and two pocket flaps and sew it together, and it was mine!  I ended up not sewing the pocket flaps on. They were a bit too..... flappy.  

Today, I'd arranged to meet a friend in Dalston, to take her to the Dalston Mill Fabric shop, so I decided to be a bit bolder in my choice of garment.  I finally wore a skirt I'd made well over a year, or maybe two years ago and have never worn - which is one of the reasons I'm doing this challenge in the first place.
I don't know why I've always got my hand on my hip in the photos.  I think maybe because I've seen Mrs Beckham do it and it makes her look skinny.  Doesn't seem to work so well for me.  Must be the camera.

Don't Go Back To Dalston - Razorlight

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


It's the first of May, and therefore the first day of Me-Made-May which is the inspiration of Zoe who wants stitchers to take up a personal challenge to wear stuff they've made.  (there's are literally hundreds of us!) 
I am intending to wear a self-made  stitched or knitted garment each day, (or if I get really stuck, maybe an item of jewellery) and take photos and blog about it whenever I get the chance.
I have to say, not having someone on hand to take the photos makes it a little tricky, but I've worked out how to take a self-timed photo on my camera, and I think I've managed to find a shelf at roughly the right height on which to balance the camera.  Of course, it means re-organising the furniture and tidying my lounge on a daily basis so not sure how long that will last.
Today I'm wearing a straight skirt from a pattern I self-drafted from my own block, made in black and white spotted corduroy, with a black T-shirt that I painted/printed myself with fabric paint.
Note - photo has been cropped to exclude the view through the open door to my untidy kitchen, but to include the picture I painted and the cushion I made.  
Sorry, no one likes a smarta**e.

Mayday - The Libertines