Friday, 1 June 2018

Birds / Alex / Rayon / Navy Shirt

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this pattern, the Alex Shirt from Sew Over It's e-book, My Capsule Wardrobe City Break.

I love that it is a super easy shirt pattern, it's extremely quick, and it eliminates all the fiddly bits of shirt making. What I don't like is the very large sizing, and the casual dropped shoulder. I am wondering if I should put on my big girl pants and get a proper shirt pattern. But I don't wear a lot of shirts, so I don't feel like slaving away over making complex details in my sewing time.

That's why, when this rayon wanted to be a shirt, I reached for Alex once again. I got the fabric at Spotlight in Australia in April. It was on sale for just under $12 a metre, so I got 1.5m for a shirt. I also got 2.5m of a black with pink/green/silver florals.

Learning from my previous Alex Shirt,  I sized down from a 10 to an 8, leaving the collar and neckline as a 10 (this because the 8 was cut away in places when I cut the 10). I also added interfacing to the under collar. Next time I would interface the tips of the sleeve tabs too. The final change I made was to skip the pockets. They would have spoiled the drape and the pattern of the fabric.

I found the instructions for enclosing the yoke seams very confusing. It says to twist the edges, but doesn't say in which direction, or how many times. I used the "burrito method", detailed beautifully in Grainline's Archer sewalong. I'll be using that for all yokes from now on. In such a thin fabric as this, I didn't even have to roll it up, it just sat nicely inside the yoke, and it was fun to have it spill out afterwards.

This pattern doesn't work so well in a fabric that has an obvious wrong side. The lapels aren't faced, and the one piece collar means that the wrong side shows where the neckline opens. I fortunately/accidentally managed to have a bird at each point of the lapel, so the lighter colour saved the look of the neckline, but if it had been the navy background, it would have showed the wrong side badly.

The rolled up sleeves also need a fabric that doesn't have an obvious wrong side. I added cuffs to the sleeves, so I can turn these up and then fasten with the sleeve tabs. I didn't gather the sleeves into the cuffs, nor did I make button plackets for them. They are just the same width as the sleeves and are 5 inches, folded over. I like wearing the shirt with the cuffs rolled up once and then gathered into the sleeve tabs.

I set the tabs much higher than the pattern calls for. I can't understand why the pattern has them so low. It would roll them to about bracelet length, which is a bit pointless since they could be rolled to this length and not need fastening. I noticed this before I did the buttons for my white shirt, so I sewed the buttons higher up the sleeve. They are not on the anchor point of the tab, just floating on the shirt. For this one, I placed them much higher up, and the buttons are sewn on the re-inforced part of the tab.

I had four small navy buttons in my stash so I spaced them through the front. Five would have been better, there is a bit of gape between them. I didn't make buttonholes, since I will never wear this shirt open. So much faster! I had two larger, non-matching buttons that were close enough to each other that I could use for the sleeves. 

I shortened the hem by 7-8cm, so I can still tuck it in, but also wear it untucked if I want. I find the City Break hems much too long. This photo shows the shortened hem. Imagine if that was 8cm longer.

Will I make another Alex? My head says no, but if I get another drapey patterned fabric, it might be too much to resist. 

  Fabric: 1.5m £10
  Pattern: used previously £0
    lightweight interfacing, stash £1.13
    navy thread, used previously £0
    buttons, stash £0
Total: £11.13

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Me-Made-May 18 - Week 5

I, Cathy of Cathy Makes, pledge to wear a different item of me-made clothing each day of May 2018.

Saturday 26th May 2018
Clothing: Navy Linen Shirt Dress (2015)
Weather: Warm, sunny, 24C
Activity: Lunch in a box at Lords
Thoughts: This dress was perfect for attending sporting hospitality in the summer. But now I think I might need to let the hem down to it's original length.

Sunday 27th May
Clothing: Mustard Cardigan (2014)
Weather: Warm, sunny, 22C
Activity: Brunch
Thoughts: The weather was too warm for the rest of the day, so I changed into last weekend's outfit.

Monday 28th May
Clothing: Yellow Spot Top (2015)
Weather: Hot, sunny, 25C
Activity: Hosting BBQ
Thoughts: I didn't take a photo of this outfit on the day, so I had to re-create it.

Tuesday 29th May
Clothing: Martini Mustard Skirt (2013), Mustard Cardigan (2014)
Weather: Cold, stormy, 14C
Activity: Nothing, do you think I'm going out if I don't have to?
Thoughts: It's nice to wear this skirt, but I don't love it.

Wednesday 30th May
Clothing: Navy Birds Shirt (2018)
Weather: Cool, humid
Activity: Hanging at a friend's house
Thoughts: I finished two things in May! This one just in time to wear for MMM! Plus, I'll actually wear it again.

Thursday 31st May
Clothing: White Alex Shirt (2017)
Weather: Humid, unsettled, 22C
Activity: Friends to play for half term
Thoughts: This is quite a massive departure from my normal look, but I have to say, I do think it suits me. Working on being more "stylish Mom" and less on being "bag lady dressed as lamb".

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Me-Made-May 2018 - Week 4

I, Cathy of Cathy's Makes, pledge to wear a different item of me-made clothing each day of May 2018.

This is where MMM gets tricky! Final full week, last week of work before half term next week. Running out of clothes, scraping the barrel, wearing stuff I only wear once a year - in May. Never mind, it is almost over and the end is in sight.

Sunday 20th May
Clothing: Burda Cowl Neck Top (2013)
Weather: Sunny, 20C
Activity: Oiling the deck furniture, Bike riding in Regent's Park
Thoughts: Despite hardly ever wearing it, this top is a bit of a keeper. It's comfortable, cool and goes with a lot of what I have.

Monday 21st May
Clothing: Hibiscus Dress (2016)
Weather: Sunny, 20C
Activity: Work, School meetings
Thoughts: I wore this outfit in April already, but I liked it so much, I had to wear it for a photograph and check if it was all that I hoped it was.

Tuesday 22nd May
Clothing: Silk Poppy Top (2017)
Weather: Sunny, 20C
Activity: Work, Picnic in Regent's Park
Thoughts: I like this top a lot, and find it very versatile. I wore it on holiday this year and wear it to work semi-often. I only wear these trousers during Me Made May and it was fun to come home and throw on my denim shorts to head to the park after work.

Wednesday 23rd May
Clothing: Black Karen Dress (2016)
Weather: Cool, 22C
Activity: Work
Thoughts: I still love this dress. The fabric is on the cheap side (ie, a bit synthetic), but it is a marvellous staple in my wardrobe.

Thursday 23rd May
Clothing: Silver Maria Denmark Tee (2014)
Weather: Cool, 23C
Activity: Work
Thoughts: I don't wear this shirt very often, even though I do like it. I don't wear t-shirts very often and this one is a Wintery colour, even with the sparkle. Maria has released a new version of this pattern, but I don't think I'll download and print again. I like this one well enough, and I'm planning on using this pattern for a stripe version very soon.

Friday 24th May
Clothing: Tilly and The Buttons Coco Sweatshirt (2016)
Weather: Chilly, 18C
Activity: Yoga
Thoughts: I don't usually have an opportunity to wear this in May, so I wore it on a chilly morning walk to yoga.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Floral Scuba Dress

Blegh! It looks nice, but remind me never to wear scuba. I'm afraid that it is the worst fabric! It is pure plastic and it behaves as though you are wearing a plastic bag. It makes you feel cold if the weather is cold and sweaty if the weather is hot. Also sweaty if the weather is cold. Sweaty no matter what the weather.

Sorry scuba. I wanted to love you. You print such beautiful pictures onto yourself. You sew nicely, don't fray and don't need pressing as you go. All wonderful qualities, but I can't buy a knitted plastic fibre again. There is lots coming out in the fabric stores and the blogosphere is producing a lot of test garments.

Shall I talk a little bit about the dress? I wanted a pattern with a cap sleeve and a full-ish skirt, so I decided on Simplicity K1699. It is a pretty good outfit-maker pattern, with a dress, a top, a jacket and trousers in one. I got it with a sewing magazine a few years ago. The top and dress have raglan sleeves and princess seams. The skirt has a centre front seam, but I cut mine on the fold to remove this. 1.5m of fabric would have been plenty for this dress.

I cut a size 12 and did not make my usual short waist, sway back or small shoulder adjustments. It should be higher at the sides of the waist, but I didn't adjust it. You can see the puckers at the side of the bodice when I move:

I sewed almost the whole dress in March, and then put it aside for almost two months. There were two reasons for this:

Firstly, trying it on, it looked incredibly dressy. Like, wedding guest dressy. Since I am not invited to any weddings, nor Chelsea Flower Show, I felt like I was wasting my time on something I would probably never wear.

Secondly, the scuba fabric wasn't handing a facing well, so I was going to have to work out different neckline finishes. I thought I might have to experiment with a binding, or just a hem. Neither of which were making me feel the love for the dress. In the end, I just turned it under and top stitched it down. It looks fine as a finish and the spongy fabric creates quite an attractive rolled edge. I should have done this for the sleeves and the hem. These edges don't look that good, puffing out as they do.

The neckline on this pattern is extremely high. Way too high. It is because of the collar on the top, the bottom of the collar is about the right level for the dress neckline. I didn't lower it because I was going to experiment with the aforementioned different neckline finishes. But in this instance, I didn't change it - again, because this is not a dress that is going to be worn.

I broke one of my Sacred Rules of Sewing - I put it aside and worked on something else. I have never done this before! I was terrified of getting on a slippery slope of starting new projects and leaving them aside every time I get into a little bit of difficulty. I would never finish anything! I always make myself keep going until the bitter end. But this dress was truly a waste of time, and I needed something new to wear while Me Made May was still in full swing.

In the end, it was Me Made May that made me finish this at all. Since I pledged to wear something different each day, I have been a bit stuck on some of the days. I decided to finish this to wear while I was watching the royal wedding on TV so that I would have something to photograph that day. Then I could change back into my leggings afterwards. I finished it remarkably quickly, helped along by the fact that I was finishing it to wear in front of the TV, rather than out and about.

Cheating a bit on the whole Me Made May concept, but hey-ho, it's my challenge. And the pictures do look very nice.

 Fabric: £10.99 
 Pattern: £5.99 
  Zip: £0.60
Total: £17.58

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Me-Made-May 2018 - Week 3

I, Cathy of Cathy's Makes, pledge to wear a different item of me-made clothing each day of May 2018. 

Monday 14th May
Clothing: Megan Dress (2015)
Weather: Sunny 20C
Activity: Work
Thoughts: This dress is too small. It was on the small side when I made it, it has shrunk in the wash, and I have gained a little bit of weight. I am wondering if an exposed zip at the back would add enough ease to improve matters, or if the sleeves would still be too much of a problem.

Tuesday 15th May
Clothing: Red Dress (2015)
Weather: Sunny 23C
Activity: Work
Thoughts: I suppose I wear this dress only once a year. Good thing we have MMM. I love the pattern, but the fabric is not great. It is looking a little worn, and creases a lot. I put a lot of work into this dress, all the seams are bound with a Hong Kong finish.

Wednesday 16th May
Clothing: Suit Refashion Dress (2017)
Weather: Light cloud and breezy 16C
Activity: Work
Thoughts: This dress is in regular rotation in my work wardrobe. I am gutted that I messed up the neckline, but I hope it is not too noticeable when worn with something underneath. If making it again, I would raise the neckline by about 2 inches.

Thursday 17th May
Clothing: Bamboo Scarf (2015), Vogue Coat (2016)
Weather: Cold, Sunny 13C
Activity: Work
Thoughts: Two weeks in and two weeks to go. This is where MMM gets tough. I am running out of work clothes. I just don't feel like wearing separates but they will have to come out soon. Only 4 more work days to dress for.

Friday 18th May
Clothing: Bamboo Birds Molly Top (2018)
Weather: Sunny, Cool 15C
Activity: Exercise, Guiding
Thoughts: I love wearing this knit bamboo, it has such a lovely feel to it. It is so comfortable. I am glad I shortened the length of the pattern too.

Saturday 19th May
Clothing: Scuba Dress (2018)
Weather: Sunny 17C
Activity: Watching the Wedding
Thoughts: I got this dress finished so I could wear it in front of the TV today, and have something new for Me Made May. Otherwise: #fail

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Me-Made-May 2018 - Week 2

I, Cathy of Cathy's Makes, pledge to wear a different item of me-made clothing during each day of May 2018.

Monday 7th May
Wore: 70s Beach Dress (2013)
Weather, Activity: Hot, sunny, 26C; Gardening, still oiling the deck
Thoughts: This was about the only choice I had today for very warm weather clothing: dress, sleeveless, lighweight. It fitted the bill, but I have RTW stuff that I like better.

Tuesday 8th May
Wore: Navy Pin Dot Peony Dress (2015)
Weather, Activity: Warm, 24C; Work
Thoughts: I could get away with this today because London still has a weekend hangover and people are not ready to forgo their summer clothing. I like this better than I did when I first made it. Waistband is getting a bit tight tho.

Wednesday 9th May
Wore: B&W Stripe Skirt (2014)
Weather, Activity: Pleasant, 23C; Work, Art Club
Thoughts: I enjoy wearing this skirt a great deal and it usually gets a couple of outings a year. Always with a black top. It works particularly well in Spring and Autumn. I do wish I had made the pleats smaller though - it hangs too heavy in the front.

Thursday 10th May
Wore: Chiffon Top (2013)
Weather, Activity: Mild, 17C; Work
Thoughts: Hurrah! I finally wore this top during Me Made May! For years I have been making excuses and it is so nice to get out some different clothing for a change.

Friday 11th May
WoreBamboo Cardigan (2016)
Weather, Activity: Windy, 19C; Exercise, MyGuide, school run, finished oiling the deck.
Thoughts: I didn't get changed after exercise today, but actually I think this photo is one of my favourites

Saturday 12th May
WoreVogue Coat (2016)
Weather, Activity: Rainy, 15C; Brunch.
Thoughts: I still really enjoy wearing this coat.
Wore:  Eurovision Skirt (2017)
Activity: Watching Eurovision
Thoughts: I tried to go for the Buck's Fizz look by repurposing this skirt with a primary coloured top. It would be fun to make the full version of this costume. (But it's never going to happen!)

Sunday 13th May
WoreMolly Dress (2018)
Weather, Activity: Chilly, 17C; Tidying up.
Thoughts: I don't like this dress. I only wore it because I was staying home and it was Me Made May. What I actually wanted to wear was my pyjamas and Stride Socks!

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Me-Made-May 2018 - Week 1: Skirts

I, Cathy, of Cathy's Makes, pledge to wear a different item of me-made clothing every day of May 2018.

As the first week of Me Made May kicked off, I wore three skirts in three days. So I thought, why not carry on and make this skirt week? Luckily the weather changed half way through and I got to wear my winter and then my summer skirts.

Tuesday 1st May
Worn: Wine Wool Skirt (2014)
Weather, Activity: Windy 13 C, Work.
Thoughts: I've worn this skirt a few times this winter. I've not pegged it, mainly because of the hassle of re-doing the hem around the double vents. I don't love it with this cardigan, my outfits in 2017 and 2015 are better, but I wanted to wear it differently.

Wednesday 2nd May
WornCashmere Delphine Skirt (2016)
Weather, Activity: Rainy 13 C, Work
Thoughts: I've worn this exact same outfit a few times this season. Nothing new to see here. It's getting a bit worn out, but I'm not about to part with it.

Thursday, 3rd May
Worn: Floral Scuba Skirt (2018)
Weather, Activity: Party Cloudy 17 C, Work
Thoughts: I made this skirt on Saturday and wore this same outfit on Sunday. The weather got nicer and I thought I'd round out my first three days and make it a series of skirts.

Friday 4th May
Worn: Teal Cord Erin Skirt (2017)
Weather, Activity: Fine & Sunny, 19 C; Volunteering
Thoughts: This is the first time I've worn this skirt without tights and it worked really well, especially for the kind of day that seemed pleasant but was not truly hot.

Saturday 5th May
Worn: Garden Skirt (2014)
Weather, Activity: Warm & Sunny, 23 C; Oiling the deck (see the stripes?)
Thoughts: It was nice to wear this skirt for Me Made May for a change. I chose this one because it was short enough to move about in when I was working.

Sunday 5th May
Worn: Wild Red Skirt (2014)
Weather, Activity: Warm & Sunny, 24 C; Family dinner out
Thoughts: I was still oiling the deck, but I changed into this outfit to go out with the kids for dinner. I still think I should take an inch off the length.

I also wore my Suzy Taylor Daydream PJ Shorts (2017), but I didn't feel like posting a picture of me in my jammies on the internets.

I've pulled these photos from my Instagram feed, I decided to post there once every three days rather than every day. I don't post that much, and I don't want to fill it up with pictures of myself. I like to think that I'll maintain the discipline over the month. I'm not going to post anything else and then the whole grid of nine pictures will be 27 tiny photos of me! Standing exactly the same way!

Next week might be Tops.



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