Friday, May 31, 2013

Me Made May 2013 - Week Five, and Some Final Thoughts...

'Tis done, 'tis finished, 'tis finished, 'tis done! My first Me Made May is complete, and I've loved it. First things first; here's the week's round up:

Day 25:

Winter Trails Beanie.
Everything else: RTW.
This felt like a bit of a cop out, but it is an item and it is made by me. So it does fit my pledge :) Plus, I was trying to wear some as yet unworn makes this week. And my head was roasty toasty warm all day...

Day 26:

Cold. Out comes the Beatnik!
Everything else: RTW.
I think I just adhered to the mid-way no-repeat outfits pledge here, but it's pretty much Day 20's outfit. In real life the mauve top brought out the purplish tones of the wool, but the photo doesn't really show that. Think I prefer a white top underneath, in any case.

Day 27:

Colette Ginger skirt
Everything else: RTW.
Very happy day, this! Spent it fabric shopping with a dear friend in Melbourne. New projects in the pipeline...

Day 28:

Refashioned jacket, made from thrifted A-line skirt.
Everything else: RTW.
Another as-yet-unworn item :)  I really want to love this, but it doesn't quite do it for me. There's nothing really wrong with it, I think I'm just not friendly enough with pink. Mind you, the necklace, which I'd forgotten I had, was a perfect colour match - brought out the tweedy tones nicely.  Burda 7494 was the starting point.

Day 29:

Dress: Very much modified version of Burda 7494. Also not previously worn :)
Everything else: RTW.
This is really a summer dress, but the broderie anglais is fairly heavy, and it's lined. (It can actually be a bit too warm for an Australian summer.) So with a few layers it transitions to winter wear pretty well. Wouldn't have discovered that without MMM!
It probably wasn't an ideal outfit to wear to the pool however...

Day 30:

Colette Ginger skirt. Same as Day 13.
Everything else: RTW.
It's been interesting to see how the daily photos pick up different colours/tones in clothes. This fabric is a navy, scarlet, yellow and white stripe. The scarf is the exact red of the fabric, but because the yellow and red stripes blend together, the coral top is a better match with the skirt. Funny how you can see what you expect to see sometimes, rather than what's actually there...

Day 31:

Style Arc ponte leggings. Love, love, love!
Shirt: secondhand.
Everything else: RTW.
I really thought the scarf was a better match than that. Hopefully it's just the camera!

So there we are! 31 days of me made goodness, and no outfit repeats - pretty happy with that. And I did complete four queued projects, just not the ones I was planning. I just realised I still have a top, skirt and a dress that didn't get worn too (should have taken advantage of the pseudo-summer weather early on in the month!).

And what have we learned from MMM?

1. I definitely need to make more comfy, casual stuff. The weekends were actually the hardest days to pull off. Judging by how often the Beatnik jumper was pulled on (many, many evenings!) I must knit a few things before MMM14.

2.  Making sewing plans during May, I noticed I was starting to think more about how a garment would fit into my existing wardrobe, rather than just sewing up a pattern or fabric I loved. There's nothing wrong with doing that of course, but I just think I need to be a lot more considered about how I use my sewing time.

3.  I think I've finally gotten over outfit self-consciousness! (Giant leap forward in personal growth) It was really satisfying wearing my own makes, and going back over the photos, I'm happy with how they all look. I think I've lost that "vulnerable" feeling I used to have when I wore something I made myself - and that feels great!

4.  The online sewing community is wonderful! I knew this before, but there was something so uplifting about knowing there were were hundreds of women (were there any men??) all in this challenge together, cheering one another on. And the creative talent out there is astounding.

5. MMM has got me thinking about "enough"; specifically, how big does my wardrobe need to be? I started this year of no RTW for lots of reasons, but a significant one was to slow down my consumption, and my frenetic, unconsidered buying of stuff. I do love clothes and the whole process of making them, but I don't want to just swap one type of consumption for another. There's always another pattern, or bolt of fabric, or blog post to inspire, and that's wonderful, but I guess I'm just wondering, when is enough enough - and how can you tell?

I don't have the answers; these are just questions that MMM has raised for me. Is anyone else wrestling with this? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for a wonderful MMM13!

Danielle oxo

Friday, May 24, 2013

Me Made May 2013 - Week Four

Hello again! Time for another round up. It's been a week of repeats, but I've noticed haven't actually repeated an outfit so far this month, so I'm quite pleased with myself about that. I think, as a kind of mid-way pledge, I'll see if I can carry that through to the end. We'll see!

Day 18:

Avian Ginger skirt.
Everything else: RTW.
I'm becoming better friends with this skirt every time I wear it. And I've had some lovely Flickr comments on it - funny how sometimes you just need your own opinion bolstered up a bit!

Day 19:

Style Arc ponte leggings #2.
Everything else: RTW.
Another day I almost forgot to take the photo. I'm not overly happy with this, even though the scarf is actually a much better match in real life. (promise!) There's nothing really dire about it; I think I often feel like this when I wear a lot of black. Plus, I really, really just wanted to be wearing jeans and a comfy top today, neither of which I've made....

Day 20:

This is more like it! My Beatnik jumper.
Everything else: RTW.
I may make an exception to the mid-way pledge for this outfit. Love it. As far as I'm concerned, MMM would have been worth it just to discover this combination! I would live in this if I could.

Day 21:

Refashioned shirt dress.
Everything else: RTW.
Once again, trying to winterfy warm weather clothes. Thank goodness for cardis, tights and boots! I'd forgotten I had this belt, too. Bonus :)

Day 22:

 Refashioned dress.
Cardi: secondhand.
Everything else: RTW.
I hadn't ever put these together before, but I quite like the combination. The boots I could take or leave. Or maybe it's the boots and cardi together I don't love. In future I'll probably go with one or the other.

Day 23:

Style Arc ponte leggings.
Everything else: RTW:
I'm not sure what I would have done without these! I've pulled them on almost every night after work. I realise it's not a spectacular outfit, but since it was a rare day to myself, with a trip to the pool and then snugging up by the fire in the afternoon, I had no intention of wearing anything fancy. I must, must, MUST make some trackies. Or perhaps Sewaholic's new lounge pants??

 Day 24:

Refashioned shirt, same as Days 5 & 11. (I think...) Here worn tucked in and with bow. Wore a similar outfit two weeks ago (Day 11 in evening) but looking at the photo here it's less successful. I look a bit swamped by the long cardi. Something to bear in mind next time, I guess.

You know what's funny? You know the old saying that most of us wear 20% of our wardrobes 80% of the time? Looking back over my MMM photos I've realised I've started to do this with my own makes. I just went through my wardrobe and  found three more items I haven't worn at all yet (and three is a significant percentage at this stage of my sewing-for-me journey...). Maybe instead of the no repeat outfits pledge, I'll plan to wear these during the last week.

I also pledged to finish four queued projects this month. Three of those are complete (above shirt, 2 x ponte leggings.); actually four if you count the pair of trousers I made early on. These are still officially classified as a fail, but I'm not without hope of a possible salvage. (Especially since I have some fabric I LOVE for a second pair ready and waiting.) Another goal for this week, maybe!

Have a wonderful week :)

Danielle oxo

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Me Made May 2013 - Week Three

Well, it's the end of another Me Made week, and it's been a little more challenging this time. We seem to have bypassed autumn completely in this corner of the world, as you'll see from the round up here. So it's been a case of trying to make summery clothes work for winter - some more successfully than others!

Here 'tis:

Day 11:

Refashioned shirt. Same as Day 5. but worn open necked and without bow. This may be the most versatile thing I've made/refashioned! During the day it was great for visiting playgrounds and the waterfront with the boys, and for the evening (seeing the last performance of The King & I) I buttoned it up, used the bow and wore it tucked into a black skirt with tights, heels and cardi. Oh, how I love multitaskers!
Everything else: RTW.
Today was the last of the summer weather...

Day 12:

More Style Arc ponte pants! I loved the last pair so much I couldn't help making one more. The colour's not great in the photo, but these are a dark pinkish burgundy. Who knew it was possible to have a garment as comfy as PJs that you can wear in public?!
Cardigan: secondhand.
Everything else: RTW

Day 13:

My third Ginger skirt. (not yet blogged). Hard to tell here (very late afternoon photo), but the fabric's a navy, red and yellow stripe. Worn with jacket and scarf most of the day.
Everything else: RTW.

Day 14:

The first pair of ponte pants making a reappearance. It simply doesn't get any more "cake" than this!
Everything else: RTW.
Nearly forgot photo today...

Day 15:

A bit experimental this, and I wasn't entirely sure about it - my sari dress, with many additional layers! I think I can just get away with this because the colour's quite autumnal. Being such a light silk though, it tends to catch every hint of breeze, and so I spent most of the day guarding against sudden gusts of wind. Not so fun.
Everything else: RTW.
(Oh, and if you look closely you can just see the kangaroo that was grazing out the back - right hand side, about the level of my elbow.)

Day 16: (and a wet, cold, miserable one at that)

My first Ginger skirt. I think this is a more successful outfit. It didn't need constant adjusting throughout the day, anyhow!
Everything else: RTW

Day 17:

Style Arc (yes, again!) Leah trousers.
Everything else: RTW.
Nearly forgot photo again...

Just past the halfway point of MMM, and I think scarves and long boots are my saving graces at the moment! Really need to make some cold weather clothing. Plus, I think I need to rearrange my queue of projects. And I'm really feeling the lack of comfy at-home wear. I must make friends with knits immediately.

How goes it for you? Has MMM changed your sewing plans at all?

Have a wonderful week,

Danielle oxo

Friday, May 10, 2013

Me Made May 2013 - Week Two

Hello again! Time for another MMM round up. We're still in the early stages so it hasn't been too hard to find things to wear yet. Plus the weather has been very kind this week given that most of me Me Mades are summery. And only one panic sew so far! Not too shabby :) Here 'tis:

Day 4:

My much-loved Beatnik! It was slightly too warm a day, but it's about the only comfy, around-the-house item I've made so far. Obviously this needs to be addressed....
Everything else: RTW.

Day 5:

Refashioned blouse. (This was the panic sew the night before.) I'll blog this soon, but will say here that this is a new favourite! I needed something that would go from church to wandering through the waterfront markets  (I took flats with me...) to an art exhibition/fundraiser. That was a tricky call even for my regular wardrobe! Warranted the panic sew, I felt... And, it's the first of the four queued projects I pledged to do during MMM, hurrah!
Everything else: RTW.

Day 6:

 My refashioned Go-To Dress, worn here as a shirt.
Belt: secondhand
Everything else: RTW. I haven't tried this outfit before, but I like it actually. I don't wear the skirt (stretchy knit fabric) much, because it's a bit clingier around the rear than I really like, but having extra fabric tucked in underneath seemed to help. It's an outfit discovery I wouldn't have made without MMM prompting!

Day 7:

Ponte leggings (not yet blogged) - the second of the four MMM projects. Not very exciting in photographic terms, but I LOVE THEM! Cakiest of cake garments :) They're Style Arc's Wallis pattern.
Shirt: secondhand.
Everything else: RTW.  Nearly forgot to take a photo today - hence the sunset sky in the background!

Day 8:

First repeat: refashioned blouse. Happily, the weather's having one last attempt to pretend it's summer.
Everything else: RTW.

Day 9:

Refashioned Sari Dress. Yup, very summery today! It's actually really hard to photograph this dress outside, because it's so light it catches every hint of breeze. (There were some very odd looking photos in this lot ;) )

Day 10:

I made this short jacket a few years ago, after I saw and loved a similar one in a shop, but didn't have a spare $179 (!). I found the same fabric, a Missoni knit, in the very upmarket and frankly intimidating local shop that I rarely go into, and I modified an old pattern of my mum's. I found out later it was the pattern she used for her honeymoon going away outfit, which I just love.

I'm happy with this week overall. A couple of new projects completed, a new outfit discovered, and a great deal of satisfaction in wearing my own makes. The most pressing need (apart from rain to make outfit green up again) is definitely for comfortable home wear, which I need to address soon. Otherwise you're going to be seeing an awful lot of my Beatnik jumper on the weekends and non-work days!

How is your MMM travelling? Any new outfit combinations discovered? Or panic sewing??

Have a wonderful week :)

Danielle oxo

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The King....& I!

(Sorry, I know that's a bit lame, but I couldn't resist....) Yes, the show has opened and is doing brilliantly! I thought I might take a wee break from Me Made May, and talk about the costumes I did instead. (For any new readers, my husband is playing the title role in a local production and I got to make his costumes. My daughter's also involved, playing one of the royal children, so it's been an exciting - if exhausting - kind of week!)

A word of warning: any historical costumiers or cultural purists may want to look away at this point - because these cheerfully flout any kind of rules!

The Wardrobe Coordinator gave me the fabric, trims and stills from the 1956 movie to go by (and how wonderful, incidentally, is Yul Brynner?!), but gave me a surprising amount of leeway to interpret those, given she hadn't seen any of my work before. I've been trying to copy some Google images of those stills, but my computer's having a hissy fit, so no go, I'm afraid. Here are my pics, anyway (with some suitably "kingly" poses from my very obliging man) :

Outfit 1:

I was given the blue sparkly velour and narrow gold trim to make a fitted, quite severe top for the king's first scene, but it looked a bit bland on its own. So I added in the buttons and chain, as per the movie version, which also had what was either beading or embroidery all over it. I found these tiny gold spacer beads on ebay and sewed them on at 1" intervals all over. It took about three weeks of evening sewing (or, three series of Spooks and one of Miranda).

I was very much hoping it didn't look a bit insignificant on stage (the beads are only about 3mm) but it worked beautifully! They really gleamed, rather than sparkled as sequins do, and the whole effect was of impressive richness, but intimidating severity, which is exactly the impression the king is supposed to give in that first scene. (This is what I love about costuming - it's not just making fun stuff, but making fun stuff that helps to tell the story!)

Outfit 2:

. This was for the scene in which the king sings "A Puzzlement", where the audience gets to see past the imposing facade to the doubts he's wrestling with underneath. Therefore the jacket is much less sleek and structured (and much more revealing!). The coat was already made, but it was long, voluminous and had a mandarin collar. I really didn't want all his costumes to look like different colour versions of the same basic outfit, so I removed the collar and cut a new one. The (sublime!) movie version is I think made of an amazing embroidered silk, because it's cut almost as a swing coat, but drapes quite softly. I tried, (oh, how I tried!) but that cut simply wasn't possible with this polyester brocade. So I shortened it to hip height (that much I could emulate) and slimmed it down and shaped it a bit. The ribbon looked a bit "cheap" on its own, so I sewed rice beads on to it. Progress shot below!

Once they were all on, the beads gave it a fantastic texture; on stage that jacket looked encrusted with gold embroidery. And it was quick to do - two evenings only! This was the outfit that was used for the promotional photos for the show.

Outfit 3:

I have to confess I went way off the brief for this one!  The jacket was premade, but long, with gold lame shaped fused on all over it. Took a while to scrape those off, I can tell you! So, I did the alterations as necessary - length, shaping - then sewed the ribbon on to cuffs, collar and hem. And it looked a dull version of the blue one above. I wanted a bit more drama to this one, because this is worn in the scene that is the climax of Act One. I found this black, red and gold oriental brocade and appliqued it onto the sleeves and "yoke", then sewed soutache braid over the edge to neaten it.

 I was going to leave it at that, but when I'd taken the blue costume in to the coordinator, (she loved it!) she told someone standing nearby how my husband had talked about the "Swarovski crystals" I'd sewn over other costumes. (Note: as previously mentioned, they were gold beads. Not nearly as impressive sounding!) She was so excited, I didn't like to (i.e. was too embarrassed to) put her straight. I didn't want the rest of the costumes to seem anti-climactic, so I immediately called a jewellery making-friend, and.....

Yay! Swarovski crystals!! And man, do they sparkle under stage lights!

Outfit 4:

And this is my favourite: the banquet scene costume!

Now this could well be my favourite refashion ever too, because this was a quilt cover and sheet. It's a burgundy-based gold damask. The only thing was, the damask part must have been sewed in panels originally because when I got it it was in three pieces each about 2m long and 50cm wide. Since it was a directional pattern, this meant a fair bit of problem-solving to get it to make a jacket. (And this is why there's a "belt" section!) I had neither the time, budget or, let's face it, skills to do the utterly sumptuous embroidery of the movie version (look it up - it's so perfect it made me weepy...), so I compromised with a kind of glittery abstract lace or mesh. I sketched some designs and then cut them out of this lace/mesh and sewed them onto the jacket with gold metallic thread. They actually looked like embroidery! Then to give it texture and sparkle I sewed on topaz Swarovskis and outlined the designs in gold bugle beads.

Can I be a little self-indulgent for a moment and say I was really happy with how this one looked on stage??
This costume was for the scene in which the magnificence of Siam, everything that is most inspiring and impressive about the country, is on display. Anything less than a "gasp" reaction to this costume would have undermined that. And it worked! It really did. :) He looked like shards of light were shooting out from him!

The one thing I'm not completely happy with (and I know they were inescapable, but still...) are the fabric joins in the sleeves and the upper back. I matched the pattern pretty well, and you can't tell on stage - I checked - but it still irritates me that they're there. C'est la vie, I guess...

So there you have it, the king and I! And all the visual proof of why I didn't finish any of the projects I planned to do before MMM kicked off. Never mind, I'm making up for it now. Amazing how being limited to own-makes motivates one to sew, huh??

How is MMM treating you? I've loved the first week, but I think I'm going to be stretched for choices pretty soon! How about you?

Danielle oxo

PS: One more little piece of self-indulgence to share: my man has been nominated for an award for his performance! And I'm so proud of him I can hardly stand it... :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Me Made May '13 - Week One

Well, how much fun is Me Made May?! I'm giving myself full licence to be enthusiastic now, because I imagine by about the midway point I'm going to be feeling just a touch desperate! Unless of course I get through what I strongly suspect is an overly optimistic to-sew pile of projects...

I've had a look at some other people's round ups and I think I'll go with a similar format for weekly round ups. So here 'tis!

Day 1:

Skirt: Avian Ginger
Cardigan: Thrifted (Cashmere! Woo hoo!)
Everything Else: RTW.
This looks like a pose, but it was actually distraction - making sure the boys were still getting ready for school! (too many other more appealing options...)

Day 2: (and about 10 degrees warmer! It's not just Melbourne that gets four seasons in a day...)

Blouse: Refashioned summery blouse.
Everything else: RTW (that cardi's been a friend for thirteen years now)

Day 3:

Dress: Refashioned, not blogged.
Everything else: RTW.

This dress is a favourite, in fact it's what got me into refashioning in the first place, about two years ago. It's a printed linen, very "folky", and it's the print I loved on sight. See?

(Mmmm.....folky....)The style however was a disaster on me: straight, shapeless bodice, high waist, and gathered skirt, with a tulle petticoat underneath. On some people this looks lovely: me, it just seems to strip of any shape. It's the 12 year old boy syndrome, and not in a supermodel-lack-of-curves-kind-of-way. Just in a.....12 year old boy kind of way.

So I separated the top from the skirt, and sewed darts in the front and back to give it some shaping. I got rid of the petticoat and ironed out the gathers. Then I made pleats in the front and back, matching them up with the bodice darts, and sewed it all back together. The 'sleeves' are cap, but as as extension of the bodice rather than separate pieces, and didn't need any adjusting.

It's been a really versatile wardrobe addition. It's short enough to wear over jeans (as here) or leggings, tunic-style, but not so short that it can't be worn as a dress with sandals in summer. (After my legs have seen a bit of sun, that is.). Gotta love the wardrobe multi-taskers!

So there we are. I'm quite enjoying the challenge of making my largely summery own-makes more Autumn-suitable. And I've discovered that cardigans and long boots are going to be my best friends in doing so! Just out of curiousity, does anyone else find the photo-taking the most intimidating part of the whole challenge?? I'm so much more comfortable behind the camera than in front. Tricky to be a sewing blogger without having pics of yourself, though... I guess it's just a case of telling myself to "suck it up, princess", as necessary!

I was a bit late in signing up to the Flickr group (ie: only remembered an hour ago), but will upload photos as soon as I'm able. My only experience of Flickr so far was with the Sew For Victory sewalong, and even then I only joined a day or two before the end. I'm planning to be a bit more "community minded" this time around, now that I've realised that's what it's actually about.

Now, off to find something me-made that works for a slobbing around the house kind of day. I think I've discovered a "wardrobe hole" right there! Must add some tracky dacks into the project pile...

How goes Me Made May for you so far? Have you discovered any new ways to wear your own makes yet?

Have a wonderful week :)

Danielle oxo