Sunday, 21 May 2017

Me-Made-May '17: Week 3

"I, Cathy of Cathy Makes, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavour to wear something me-made each day for the duration of May 2017"

I also pledge to take a daily #OOTD photo and post it on Instagram.


Monday, 15 May 2017
WearingBlack Karen Dress (2016)
Weather: rainy
Activity: work
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 70%. I should pull this out for work more often and not save it for "best".

Tuesday, 16 May 2017
Wearing: Yellow Spot Shirt (2015)
Weather: nice
Activity: work
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 0%. I always wear this as a casual top, but I am running out of me-made workwear. I love the way the yellow collar looks with a navy jacket: Summer colours at the office! Especially because the weather is not yet good enough to get out my print dresses.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017
Wearing: Navy Pin Dot Peony Dress (2015)
Weather: humid
Activity: work
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 0%. I struggle with this dress, but today seemed like the right weather: warm, rainy, overcast. It was pouring this afternoon, so I didn't get a picture. Snapped on Thursday instead.

Thursday, 18 May 2017
WearingVogue Floral Coat (2016)
Weather: sunny
Activity: work
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 30%. I'm tired of me mades for work, so I threw on RTW with this coat over the top.


Friday, 19 May 2017
WearingMiette II Cardigan (2014), Rainbow Scarf (2016), Stride Socks (2016)
Weather: sunny
Activity: mooching around the house with a cold (a.k.a. man flu)
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 60%. I would likely have worn the cardigan and the socks. The scarf is because my husband swears by keeping your neck warm when you have a cold. This one is a bit scratchy, but I liked the cheerful colour. In the photo, I am not wearing the socks, but they helped out by being my Instagram post. I don't like getting made up for no other reason than to take a photo for social media, and yet I also don't like posting a photo without hair and makeup!

Saturday, 20 May 2017
WearingMiette Cardigan (2014), Stride Socks (2016)
Weather: ok
Activity: still sick
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 65%. It was a good day to get this cardigan out. The length is to short and the neckline too wide, but I love the yarn, and I wear it quite often in Spring.

Sunday, 21 May 2017
WearingMolly Top (2017)
Weather: v. nice
Activity: Regent's Park, Mexican dinner
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 0%. This top is falling apart. I only saved it to wear this month. The fabric is too loud too. I love the shape though, so I'm on the lookout for the right fabric for another one.

Thoughts
It's getting a bit tiresome now. Week 3 is not a good week: so far in that I've worn all my good options, and so far from the end that I'm not excited about the final push. I didn't get photos on two of the days. The weather was pouring and I didn't feel like doing nasty photos inside. Truthfully, I wasn't that excited about my outfit. But I photographed one of them this weekend instead and it wasn't as bad as I thought it was. Can you spot which one?

I'm also noticing that I'm not really wearing any of my early makes. Am I only interested in new clothes, or have I got better at making more of what I want to wear..?

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Me-Made-May '17: Week 2

"I, Cathy of Cathy Makes, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavour to wear something me-made each day for the duration of May 2017"

I also pledge to take a daily #OOTD photo and post it on Instagram.


Monday, 8 May 2017
Wearing: Vogue Floral Coat (2016), Bamboo Knit Scarf (2015)
Weather: cold, windy
Activity: work
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 70%. I love this coat, it is perfect for Spring, and I purposely underlined it with flannel so that it would be warm for our very cold Spring days. I also wear the scarf often. I love the colour and sheen and it goes with lots of my clothes.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017
Wearing: Karen Jersey Dress (2016), Bamboo Knit Scarf (2015)
Weather: cool
Activity: work
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 85%. Twice in two weeks.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Wearing: Silk Poppy Top (2017), Bamboo Knit Scarf (2015)
Weather: airconditioned
Activity: work meetings
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 72%. I don't often wear suits, but I'm pleased with how well this top co-ordinates as a separate.

Thursday, 11 May 2017 
Wearing: Red Bow Dress (2015)
Weather: mild
Activity: work
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 2%. This is quite dressy for a normal work day, but it is good to get out of my usual uniform.

Friday, 12 May 2017 
WearingCoco Liberty Sweatshirt (2016)
Weather: pleasant
Activity: coffee, dentist, moving furniture, hanging decorations
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 2%. The weather was grey and windy this morning, but it was actually quite mild and humid. Time to put this away until Autumn.

Saturday, 13 May 2017 
Wearing: Dhalia Dress (2015), Miette II Cardigan (2014)
Weather: mild
Activity: school event
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 2%. I found it easy to repeat this outfit from last Saturday.

Saturday, 13 May 2017, outfit #2
WearingYellow Circle Skirt (2017)
Weather: night time
Activity: Eurovision Party!
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 100%. I made it specially for today.

Sunday, 14 May 2017, outfit #2
WearingMustard t-shirt & cardigan (2014)
Weather: lovely
Activity: washing up
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 0%. I wanted to wear a summer outfit to enjoy the sunshine, then I changed into jogging clothes to do stage one of a Couch to 5k. I didn't bother to change back, so no photo today.

Thoughts
I got some things out that I wouldn't have otherwise, which made a nice change. My outfit of the week was my new circle skirt!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Yellow Circle Skirt - aka Ukraine Flag - aka Eurovision Costume!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Me-Made-May '17: Week 1

"I, Cathy of Cathy Makes, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavour to wear something me-made each day for the duration of May 2017"

I also pledge to take a daily #OOTD photo and post it on Instagram.



Day 1: Monday 1 May
Wearing: Silk Poppy Top (2017), Bamboo Oslo Cardigan (2016)
Weather: overcast, chilly
Activity: friends for lunch
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 50% The top is a bit too smart and summery for a day at home, but it was finished the day before, so I would have been quite likely to wear it. Weather was a bit cold for this, but it was nice to wear.

Day 2: Tuesday 2 May
Wearing: Tilly Delphine Cashmere Skirt (2016)
Weather: sunny, cool
Activity: work
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 5%. I don't like wearing black tights in the Spring. I am wearing this at the beginning of the month so that I can put it away with my Winter things.

Day 3: Wednesday 3 May
Wearing: Wine Wool Pinstripe Pencil Skirt (2014)
Weather: cold
Activity: work
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 10%. I wear this skirt 1-2 times a year. I need to alter it, but I'm procrastinating because pegging six seams and re-doing the lining around the two vents is not my idea of a good time.

Day 4: Thursday 4 May
Wearing: Megan Dress (2015)
Weather: cool
Activity: work
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 90%. I wear this dress often, it is a great work dress. But it has recently shrunk, and I am eating too much sugar, so I am not as keen on this dress as I used to be.



Day 5: Friday 5 May
Wearing: Geo Karen Dress (2017)
Weather: pleasant
Activity: train to Bath
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 100%. I love this dress!

Day 6: Saturday 6 May
Wearing: Colette Dahlia Dress (2015), Cream Miette Cardigan (2014)
Weather: windy
Activity: city break in Bath
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 2%. I don't really like this dress, but it is comfy and looks fine if I wear the cardigan over.

Day 6, outfit 2
Wearing: Black Karen Dress (2016)
Weather: evening
Activity: dinner
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 100%. I might never make a different dress pattern again.

Day 7: Sunday 7 May
Wearing: Zig Zag Dress (2013)
Weather: pleasant
Activity: brunch and train home to see the kiddies
Chances I would have worn this if it were not MMM: 20%. This is the professed favourite dress of my little one, so I wore it for the journey home. Packing list for weekend away: 4 stretchy dresses, one pair of boots, one pair of heels, one cardigan, one jacket.

I also woke up in my Feather PJ Top (2017) every day, wore my Floral Vogue Coat (2016) on Wednesday and Thursday, my brown cashmere jumper (2013) in the evenings, and my 70s floral beach dress (2013) to the pool at the hotel.

This week wasn't difficult. I wear quite a few me-made things these days. I planned all my outfits on Trello, using my finished project cards. Divided into Work / Casual then Cool / Warm Weather. I've started with Work + Cool Weather so I can retire my Winter wardrobe. A city break was fun. This is the first trip we have taken alone together since we had children 10.5 years ago. My city break wardrobe consists entirely of stretchy dresses + boots. Easy to pack, comfortable and smart, and I have plenty of them.

I found the daily photo challenge to be quite fun too. My front steps have worked well as backdrop recently, so I carried on with that location. I feel a bit shy about posting photos, but it is useful to see how the clothes look on me, so I am posting daily photos of the whole outfit.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Watercolour silk Poppy top


Wow. I finally got this top made! I have been hoarding this fabric ever since I bought it. It is, by quite some order of magnitude, the most expensive fabric I have ever bought. I fell in love with it, in Vancouver, two summers ago and I had to have it. But only one metre.



In truth, I think I like having the fabric more than I like having the top. I love the colours and the paint swirls through it. I think it is gorgeous. But it doesn't really suit me when worn. The large scale of the pattern shows up all the colours together when flat, but when it is made up, this effect is lost. I got the print placement wrong too. The deeper colours, especially the small section of black suits me best and I didn't manage to get this near my face. Instead, I have this nothing section up near my face. The colours in it are absolutely beautiful, but they blend away when worn. I was quite limited with placement options after every placement ended in having one of those purple circles or pink flowers right in the middle of my stomach. Not pretty.

With only one metre, it was going to have to be a top. I decided on making a top by using the bodice from the Sew Over It Poppy Playsuit pattern. I got this from Simply Sewing magazine, back before I even really knew much about Sew Over It. Now, I am a big fan of Lisa's and think her patterns are really lovely. Still, I'm unlikely to ever make a playsuit for me to wear. The girls, maybe. But I kept the pattern anyway.

It won because it has so few seams, with none at all in the front. Not even darts. I knew I wouldn't be able to turn out a beautifully finished work, so I wanted to hide this as much as possible with no seams and all about the fabric. I skipped the turn up cuffs and the centre back seam. The neckline is open enough that I can pull it over my head fine. I made the 10/12 size and I didn't bother with the short waist or the sway back adjustment because I was making a loose, flowy top. If I was to make this again, I would go down a size, it is just a bit too loose for my taste.


I treated the whole cutting out very carefully. I traced the pattern out on to newspaper so that I could cut it flat. I added the hemline from the Sew Over It Molly Top. With the whole thing laid out flat, I felt much better about cutting out. I sacrificed the kitchen table to cut out without moving my cutting mat around underneath. Good thing we haven't upgraded it. It's pretty scuffed already, and it cost only about twice as much as the fabric. The peace of mind about moving the fabric around was worth it.


Once I had it cut out, it was pretty quick to sew up. I did French seams for the shoulder seams and side seams and rolled cuffs for the arms and hem. There is a facing around the neckline. I rolled the hem of the facing, but it was way to wavy, so I overlocked it in the end. It worked much better. I did topstitch the facing down to the neckline. I felt really, really bad topstitching silk. But it improved how the facing sat so it does look better. I had a 70 needle, so I used that. There are small puncture marks in the fabric, but no pulls. 

The finishes are not marvellous. There is a lot of pulling around the neckline and the hems are neither smooth, nor fluted. Just wonky. But it is wearable, and now that I have seen the photos, I like it better than this morning.



Costs
 Fabric: 1m (Fabricana) £27
 Pattern: Poppy Playsuit (Simply Sewing Mag) £1
 Notions: no new.
Total: £28

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Me-Made-May '17 Pledge


'I, Cathy of Cathy Makes, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavour to wear something me-made each day for the duration of May 2017'

This is my fourth Me-Made-May challenge, and I am so looking forward to it. My wardrobe has not increased exponentially, but the things I have made are much more wearable than my first efforts with quilting cotton.

The garments I have added to my wardrobe since MMM'16 are:
Peony Dress totally appropriate for Spring in the UK.
Black Karen Drape Dress one of my favourite dresses.
Vogue Coat which will likely be worn to work every single day in May. And definitely if I am lucky enough to be invited back to the Chelsea Flower Show.
Silver Bamboo Cardigan which I am already wearing this season.
Hibiscus Mock Wrap Dress which needs fixing as the neckline has gaped. I'm hoping a run of elastic through the bias binding will solve.
Molly Top which is going in the bin on 1 June as the fabric is awful and has already started to fall apart.
Wool Jersey Karen Dress ...let me count the ways in which I love thee.

That's only 7 garments for me in the last 12 months. My Coco Dress makes it 8, but it is not suitable for the season. Makes me think that the 3 or so makes I have planned might not all come out before the end of May: pyjama top (totally counts!), Alex shirt and a t-shirt.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Train Cake


One of our favourite rituals is to look through the Woman's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book for birthday cake inspiration. I have two of them, the vintage and the modern. I love looking at how fashion has changed over time. The buttercream icing, natural colours and terrible photography has given way to pretty fondant icing, beautifully worked, and photographed on attractive backgrounds. The Vintage gets my vote, every time. They feature cakes that I have an outside shot at actually achieving, and being an under-achiever, I feel comforted by that.  With a train cake in each book, it was only a matter of time before a train cake was commissioned. I am only surprised that it took 10 years.
I fell back on my trusty formula of buying slab cakes, covering them in egg white icing and smothering them in sweets. Once a cake is covered with sweets, no-one looks at anything else.

Cake Bases

The engine is made up of two madeira cakes and one swiss roll. One madeira cake is sliced lengthwise as the base of the tank. The swiss roll goes on top of that. The second madeira cake is sliced in half widthwise. Cut sides go face down on the board to be the base of the driver's carriage. The first cake is then laid on top of that an trimmed down to be the roof of the driver's carriage.

The two carriages are just single slab cakes. Lemon drizzle, in this case. The funnel is a section of Cadbury Mini Roll and the wheels are Oreos.

Icing

I spent literally one and a half hours mixing up the red icing. One and a half hours! For just the engine! I read bloggers who say, "I whipped up these cookies in about an hour." The ones that are each decorated with piped icing, in 5 different colours, all piped and flooded and decorated in 5 different patterns. How? I can't even mix the icing in less than an hour, let alone mix batter, cut out cookies, bake cookies, make outline icing in 5 different colours, make filler icing in 5 different colours fill piping bags and pipe the 5 different designs. That's about 25 hours of work for me. But, back to the horrible red icing. There reason I say horrible is because of the quantity of food colouring in it. The base is egg white icing. I had paste colour called Scarlet, but was a pinkish red. Even with the entire jar of paste in there (gross), it was still only pink. So I had a rummage through my cupboards and turned up another bottle of food colouring in red. Expiry 2008.  A few drops made no difference so in went the whole bottle. (Eeew!) I decided I'd better not let the kids eat the red icing. But it was still pink. I found another bottle of red, from colouring easter eggs in about 2009. Use by 2010. (No problem!) 

Actually, there was a huge problem with putting so much colour in the icing. It went very runny. I've had this happen before, and it is the reason that I have switched to only buying paste colour. I could not get the red to set. The next day, I iced the cake and you could see every contour of the cakes underneath. I mixed up the rest of my egg white powder and put that in. Back to a pink shade. A few drops of yellow took the bubblegum sheen off the pink, but it was still pink. The texture was improved and at least I could get the cake covered. I spent the next few hours scraping icing off the board as it poured off the cake. I didn't dare decorate it yet.

Instead, I did the two carriages. They are fondant icing that my supermarket was selling pre-coloured. Hooray! I just rolled it out and laid it over the top of the two cakes. I was smarter with the green one, to tuck in the bottom so the raw edges weren't on show. I covered up the blue one with twists of red liquorice. 

Decorating

The red liquorice was used on the blue carriage to hold the smarties in place. The chocolate biscuits on the green one are just laid in place. Luckily, I had set aside some white icing which I used to stick the smarties on to the wheels. Otherwise we would never have got to the party!

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