Thursday, June 30, 2011

Me Made June, Day 29

 So, June is over and with the exception of the first day, I have actually managed to wear at least one clothing item that was me-made/refashioned every day this month! Huzzah! This is a vast improvement over Self-Stitched September, where there were days I just ignored it, or settled for an accessory, or just wore things I didn't even like to fulfill the requirement. I can say that I actually liked my clothing this month, and while there were some repeats and not-so-inspired outfits, it was pretty fun and painless. Even with traveling! Which is an accomplishment in my book for sure!

Day 29: I had already bookmarked the Adey the Sew Convert's 1-Hour Kaftan tutorial earlier in the year, just waiting for the right drape-y sheer fabric. I got this polyester chiffon-esque material at Walmart from their remnants pile, so it was a measly $2 for a yard and some. The fabric's more autumnal colors made me a little hesitant about using it for a summer top, but I think it works, given how airy it is. It did take me more than an hour, but that's because the fabric was so slippery, and I also decided to use bias tape on the neckline instead of interfacing. I didn't think interfacing would look so good under such a sheer but dark fabric. After stitching it up, I tried flapping around the apartment in it for a little bit, then decided that the sleeves were too crazy -- I couldn't get anything done because they got everywhere! I ended up trimming off a triangle from each arm (cut on the bias, so no finishing required) and then sewing a little knot at the end of the "sleeve" to hold the front and back together. This kept things manageable enough that I was able to wash dishes and change cat litter...and if that's not enough of a test, I don't know what is.

Sew just enough to attach the front and back at the yellow arrows, cut on the red lines, sew on the blue dashed lines.

Best thing about this top: my friend Shayna thought that I had just given up on MMJ when I showed up at her house for book club! As in, I just decided to go with a RTW piece...because that's how real this top looks! Now, Shayna is the nicest person in the world and she knows about my MMJ project, so I might've blown her compliment off except that two other ladies stopped me earlier in the day while I was shopping to say how much they liked my top. And I'm pretty sure they didn't know about MMJ.
I love how elvishly flowy it is.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Me Made June, Day 28

Wow, I can't believe June is almost over already! Even though I'm not technically starting school this fall (for the first time in twenty-some-odd years!), I still feel a little bit of the "one-third of summer is gone already!" panic. But, it also means that MMJ is wrapping up. I'm kind of excited, frankly, because I have so many other summery things that I've been waiting to wear that aren't me-made. Most of it being jersey sundresses :\ I guess I know what I need to make more of for next year? I am also getting tired of being restricted to the same couple of tops (another serious lack that I've discovered), even though I have plenty of skirts. Also, I feel like most of my me-made dresses are so distinctive that they're not things I would wear multiple times in a month.

With that said, Day 28's outfit is a repeat of Day 15. What can I say? I really love this skirt. And this top. And this belt. Plus, the whole outfit is cheap ($6, $2, and $1 respectively). I was going for an Anthropologie-esque look, as seen here. Too bad I don't have a vineyard to go poking through.

The top was a simple kimono sleeve tee with a v-neck and absolutely no seam-finishing...this is why I love working with knits. The skirt I refashioned from an absolutely enormous tent-like dress that I found at Goodwill. It seriously could've fit two of me, but I got super-excited because 1) the largeness of the dress meant a swishier maxi-skirt, and boy do I love a swishy skirt, and 2) I am in love with the fabric. Super drapey and soft, but meant to be a little wrinkly (makes it perfect for traveling)...the top tier has little fish, the second tier is leaves, and the third tier has LITTLE UNICORN DRAGON HIPPOCAMPI. I mean seriously, it doesn't get any better than a mythological creature mash-up!

Look, it's got a horn, scales, and some giant fan-tail thing!
To refashion this dress, I cut off the top portion, leaving about two inches of the dotted bodice fabric all the way around. I folded down this part to the skirt top, then sewed it all the way around to make a casing for some 1-inch elastic that I cut to fit my waist. This automatically gathered up the top of the skirt, and now I have a fantastic (in more ways than one) swishy skirt that I didn't even have to hem!

One more tiny thing: I love the earrings I'm wearing. One of my bridesmaids, Nikki, is a fantastic architect and has access to a laser cutter, so she made these beautiful cutout wood earrings! They always make me happy when I wear them.

Click on the photo for a better look at Nikki's work!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Me Made June, Days 21-27

Last week was not so exciting on the me-made front, considering that spent three days of it more or less at home on account of my wisdom teeth being pulled. But the days that I went out, I tried to make worth it!

Day 21: Actually, this was not so exciting...I just wore an embellished t-shirt made from Ruffles and Stuff's Bouquet Tank tutorial with a maxi skirt to do errands and go to Bible study. Since this was one of the first shirts I embellished, I didn't really know about choosing good materials; as a result, the shirt is a little flimsy and the flowers are kinda falling off...but I love the gold beads I added. Also, white goes with everything.

Day 22: Honestly, I didn't leave the house. I just stayed home all day and sewed and tried to get caught up on life post-vacation.

Day 23: This is one of my favorite skirts, oddly enough. I don't generally like pink, but I do love cherries and this fabric made me so excited when I found it in the remnants section at my local Yardage Town. There was just enough to squeeze a skirt out of it. Actually, there was plenty of fabric; I just happen to like really full skirts. I used Gertie's Gathered Skirt tutorial to help me out, but I added pockets too because they just make skirts so much more useful! Once I was done, I decided it needed a big sash that I could tie a bow out of, because as long as I'm going to wear a girly skirt, I might as well go all the way, right? The red of the sash just matched some red bias tape I had in my box of notions, so I added that to help bring it all together. All in all, the whole thing cost about $5 (fabric, trim, zipper) and now I need to go cherry-picking!
Days 24-25: Spent lying in bed with Walnut watching Firefly, and sewing some more when I felt up to it.

Day 26: After a foggy couple days, I decided that I needed to wear an awesome dress to church and to hang out with friends to distract myself and others from my slight chipmunk look. I actually made this dress a couple months ago, but I just never got around to hemming it...I really loathe hemming, especially when it's a circle skirt! Anyway, I used a free BurdaStyle dress pattern, Danielle, for the bodice portion, then drafted a half-circle skirt since I didn't like the straight skirt that came with the pattern. I also lined the bodice, omitted the sleeves (obviously), and lowered the back neckline a bit. I had some trouble with the darts, but couldn't figure out how to fix them. However, my consolation is that I've totally worn RTW dresses with equally poorly fitting darts, but never batted an eye, so I think it's more excusable here! Although I'm not usually a fan of empire waist dresses/tops, I think it works here with the fullness of the skirt portion.

I was a little hesitant about the heart fabric too, but it was super cheap at IKEA two years ago (yes, it's just been sitting in my stash since then) and I wanted something summery and fun. Hmm, for someone professedly ungirly, I seem to have a lot of pink and bows and hearts going on.
Walnut likes the hearts too.
Day 27: Errands and shopping call for something fun and light, and the same embellished tee (oops, how boring) and tiered skirt from Days 21 and 11, respectively, as well as my uber-functional black belt. Still, this skirt makes me happy, and it's nice to try for more entire outfits, rather than just top or bottom with RTW stuff.

Me Made June, Days 7-20

Whew! It's been quite a while since I posted my latest me-made outfits, but my excuse is that I was in Europe, then I was recovering from jet lag and unpacking, then I was recovering from getting my wisdom teeth pulled!

It was really difficult to pack for our 1-year anniversary trip to England and France with the whole me-made constraint in place. I realized that much of what I've made is made for San Diego weather; in other words, it's totally inappropriate for the rainy gray weather of England this time of year. That said, I employed a lot of leggings and cardigans and boots. Not all of it worked, and some outfits were pretty uninspired, to be honest. Things got a little better in France, where it was a little bit warmer and sunnier.

Days 7-8: We were on the plane and train for many hours, so I settled for this refashioned t-shirt with jeans. I got this buttery-soft large jersey t-shirt from the dollar store and appliqued the feathers and then re-did the side seams so that it would fit better. On a whim I also cut the formerly crew-neck down to a more flattering V.

Day 9: To go see the Tower of London, I wore one of the first skirts I ever made -- just a simple cotton elastic waist skirt with a t-shirt, leggings, and one of my favorite elastic belts. This skirt was made before I knew about the difference between quilting and apparel fabrics, so it's pretty pouffy and stiff, but I guess it works for the look.

Day 10: We were so busy that day (lunch at Gordon Ramsay's at Claridges, Westminster Abbey, then train to Birmingham), I didn't take a picture! But I ended up re-wearing that outfit later in the trip.

Day 11: We visited a real live honest-to-goodness castle and it was a beautiful day. I celebrated by wearing a whole me-made outfit, just a simple black t-shirt with a tiered, gathered skirt. The skirt fabric is special to me since my mom bought it many, many years ago to make me a dress. I think this was in middle school! But at any rate, I found the extra fabric in her stash when I went home and made a new skirt for myself.

Day 12: It stormed like crazy, so no skirts or dresses (which is all I ever really make, so it seemed, when I was going through my suitcase!). I wore one of the first t-shirts I ever made, embellished with an earring I found in my classroom. The workmanship was pretty terrible, considering I didn't know about using a ballpoint needle for knits, but I love the teal color.

Day 13: Another traveling day, as we took the plane to Paris. I wore one of my favorite knit skirts with a very hard-to-see-in-this-picture toile pattern. Excuse the mess of my duffel bag on the floor of the hotel room behind me.

Day 14: We visit the Musee Rodin and Notre Dame, for which I felt the need to dress up a bit. I wore one of my favorite dresses ever, made from two red jersey pillowcases! The color is so vivid, but it is a super comfortable dress since everything is elastic. I dressed it up a bit with a beaded flower-thing from a cardigan, and my favorite belt.

I've worn this dress before for a photoshoot with Eric and our good friends, Orange Turtle Photography (shoot blogged here and here). I love this dress, but it's hard to wear too often because it's so distinctive. Also, people always want to know why I'm so dressed up.

Day 15: One of my favorite entirely me-made outfits (not hard to choose, really, since I tend to make a lot of hard-to-coordinate separates)! Drape-y cream-colored jersey top, thrifted belt, and refashioned large hideous dress to Anthro-esque maxi skirt. Perfect for visiting the Opera Garnier and the Louvre.

Day 16: I rewore my yellow dress from earlier in the month to visit the Montparnasse Cemetery and take the train back to London. Hmm, I never realized how much jersey I have in my me-made wardrobe. At least it's all comfy and non-wrinkly.

Day 17: Another rainy museum day in London -- the Natural History and the V&A. To my dismay, the fashion and textiles at the V&A collections are CLOSED until 2012! That was my whole reason for wanting to go!!! Anyway. I wore a refashioned sweater (bought from the dollar store again, but with the sleeves falling apart) with a me-made skirt (McCall's 5803).

Day 18: We head back to San Diego! Another me-made jersey dress with the now-familiar belt.

Day 19: Me-made peasant-top for church and dinner at Souplantation to catch up with friends! The belt is actually a drapery tie and a button.

Day 20: Suddenly confronted with the lack of clean clothes in my closet, I dug out this dress from last's supposed to be one of those endlessly re-styleable dresses, a la American Apparel's Le Sac Dress. I just wore it the boring way for running errands, along with my trusty belt!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Me Made June Day 6

Today was an errands sort of day in preparation for our impending honeymoon/one-year anniversary trip to Europe, so I wanted something comfy. This is one of my few non-dressy me-made things, and actually one of my first refashions. Surprisingly, I still like it. Usually I look back at my older work and am sorta horrified.

The Facts

Fabric: I got this XXL three-quarter sleeve t-shirt dress from Old Navy on super sale. I cut it down and had plenty of fabric left for the ruffle and some other projects.

Notions: buttons to go on top of the ruffle (kind of obscured, though) and thread

Cost: About $7, but only because the buttons were so huge.

Pattern: I cut off the sleeves and cut the sides down drastically, although I let it slope out to the hem of the skirt so I could keep the fullness. It does look a little sack-like though, so I like it with a belt.

Time to complete: 1 hour

First worn: May 2010? Something like that.

Where'd you go today in this outfit? Target, the bank, dinner with friends

Good things about this outfit: It's super comfy, but not sloppy (at least, I don't think so!), and if I switch out the belt and shoes, or add a cardigan, it takes on a different look.

Things that weren't so good: The ruffles have gotten stretched out after all the washing, so they're totally covering the buttons. I need to stitch them back down.

Would you wear this outfit again? I already wear it all the time, so I think I will probably continue.

Me Made June Day 5

This is the first complete outfit that I came up with (as in a separate top and bottom, not just a dress). Unfortunately, it sort of languished in my closet forever because I couldn't get myself to hem the skirt. I hate hemming skirts. And this isn't even a complete circle skirt! But at least now I can say I'm really good at baby hems -- putting together my last three dresses was a piece of cake.

The Facts

Fabric: I got the skirt fabric from a thrifted bedsheet (my favorite source of fabric) which was large enough to yield three other muslins. The top was a poly-knit that I got for another project, and it just happened to match the yellow on the sheet exactly.

Notions: zipper, thread, interfacing

Cost: About $5, with all the fabric and zipper. Hmm, it seems that all my me-made items are about this price.

Pattern: I drafted the half-circle skirt myself, but mismeasured my waist and made the waistband too small...but then I had the brilliant idea of cutting it in half height-wise so that it wouldn't be quite as constricting. The top I just sketched out and hoped that it would work, but I didn't know about the stretch direction of the knit so it's tricky to squeeze into when putting it on. This whole project was an exercise in "Goodness, I really need to think through these things a lot more carefully instead of assuming it'll all work out." At the last minute, I added several yellow triangles to the top, inspired by Emma Pilsbury's girly tops.

Time to complete: 3 hours? But spread out over several months. Most of that time was just waiting to get the wherewithal to hem the skirt.

First worn: May 2011.

Where'd you go today in this outfit? Church service -- it was a beautiful day, perfect for the sunny yellow.

Good things about this outfit: It's definitely cheery, and half circle skirts are so flattering. I love the v-neck in the back of the top.

Things that weren't so good: The top isn't as forgiving as I expected it to be since I cut it the wrong way. The waistband of the skirt gets a little tight after lunch.

Would you wear this outfit again? Probably, although I feel like I need to do a few more Insanity workouts first!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Me Made June Day 4

Today I realized that I really, really need to beef up my non-dressy, me-made wardrobe. I tend to make a lot of skirts and dresses because they're cute. That wasn't necessarily a problem during the school year, when I pretty much had to be dressed up every day for work, but now that it's summer break I need more casual stuff. When I woke up today, my first thought was that it would be silly to get dressed up to play Dungeons and Dragons, but fortunately we had other things on the agenda...

The Facts

Fabric: A linen/polyester blend from the remnants bin at my local Yardage Town. I pounced on it because I loved the pattern and colors (red and white are over-represented in my me-made wardrobe), but with only one yard of it, I ended up saving it for a while wondering what I could possibly eke out of it. I was just about resigned to it being a permanent part of my stash, when I discovered the Marie skirt pattern (free!) at BurdaStyle (pattern review here).

Notions: Invisible zipper, thread, interfacing

Cost: About $5, with the fabric and zipper. So sad that bedsheets are about three times the fabric for the same price.

Time to complete: A few hours, but it really shouldn't have taken more than two. The instructions for the pattern were just indecipherable, so I ended up cobbling it together based on my limited skirt-construction knowledge.

First worn: For April book club, where the ladies were very encouraging about the weird zipper insertion.

Where'd you go today in this outfit? Our church had its independence celebration service this afternoon, giving me an excuse to dress up! Good thing, because it would've been ridiculous to wear this to game in.

Good things about this outfit: I love the fabric and pleats, and I think the idea is really cute.

Things that weren't so good: Unfortunately, the skirt's weird hem, bubbly zipper insertion, and restriction of my stride really got to me today. Also, this is one of my favorite tops, but I discovered that there's an unfortunate oil stain on the front for some reason! If I move around and the light is shadowy, it doesn't show.

Would you wear this outfit again? To be honest, probably not, for all the reasons mentioned above. I don't think it's worth trying to salvage the skirt, but I'll sleep on it until the end of MMJ just in case.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Me Made June Day 3

I made this as a muslin (a "practice dress," if you will) for a dress I made for a friend's wedding. I was originally going to use McCall's 5466, but it's a discontinued pattern and the discounted copy that I picked up at my local Yardage Town was size 12-18, which was just one size too big. I didn't have time to grade it down, so I picked up New Look 6723 instead at my husband's recommendation. I was dubious because it looked so plain, and I've never done a princess bodice before...but it turned out to be such a good recommendation (even if he only suggested it so that we could get out of Jo-Ann's sooner)! The bodice fits perfectly and I already have ideas for modifying it to create different looks. Pattern review here.

The Facts

Fabric: A thrifted cotton/polyester blend bedsheet, and bleached cotton muslin for the lining.

Notions: Invisible zipper, thread

Cost: Linens were on sale at the AmVets store for 50% off, so I think the zipper was more expensive than the fabric! I probably spent about $5 total.

Time to complete: About seven hours, but that's because I am an abysmally slow fabric cutter (it's my least favorite part about sewing) and I needed two sets of everything for the lining. It actually went together pretty fast. The other time consuming part was waiting for my iron to heat up.

First worn: June 3, 2011.

Where'd you go today in this outfit? Walnut and I had a photoshoot with our friend Cindy of Orange Turtle Photography. It was Walnut's second time ever outside and he was so nervous he shed all over my dress! Thank goodness for lint rollers, because that evening I went to a chamber music concert where I got to watch one of my favorite students perform a cello solo.

Good things about this outfit: It's so perfectly summery and cheerful, and the skirt is swishy enough to feel dressed up, without being so excessively full so as to be impractical. It's also pretty covered up, so I don't need to use up a whole bottle of sunscreen.

Things that weren't so good: The bodice is a little ripply since I had some issues attaching the skirt portion to the double layer of fashion fabric+lining.

Would you wear this outfit again? Yes! It's a great summer outfit that doesn't involve thinking about coordination. That's what I love about dresses -- no confusion about matching tops and bottoms!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Me Made June Day 2

This year, Me Made Month is June instead of May...thank goodness, or else I wouldn't have had time to churn out a bunch of stuff after AP Exams. Once again, I endeavor to wear at least one me-made, modified, or refashioned article of clothing, piece of jewelry, or accessory every day in the month of June. And I'm going to add on that I'm also trying to wear thrifted/secondhand clothing as much as possible, in an effort to reduce waste and be green and all that.

Well, guess what. MMJ started as a fail already since yesterday, June 1, totally snuck up on me. I was cleaning out my classroom and I knew it would be a dirty, sweaty job (even if I had Emily and some students do a lot of the work). I'm really protective of my me-made stuff since I put so much time and effort into making them, so I decided to start a day late. Also, I figure I earned a day of respite considering my crazy sewing weekend (read about it here!).

So here is Day 2!
The Facts

I didn't make this dress. It's just a swimsuit cover-up that I bought last year at Target, but it was such a lovely mustard color that I thought would go well with lace. I wanted to make it more Anthropologie-esque and whimsical, so I cut out these lace flowers from a scrap of fabric I had leftover from when I was thinking of making a wedding dress. I used iron-on adhesive to secure them to the jersey, and they've mostly held up through several washings, although some of the tiny corners are starting to fray .

Cost: Considering I only cut out what, ten flowers? Maybe fifteen cents? Oh wait, add in the probably a dollar. Plus the cost of the original dress.

Time to complete: Probably about an hour, but most of that was cutting the weird flower shapes with a tiny pair of embroidery scissors so I could get all the details.

First worn: August 2010? I don't remember.

Where'd you go today in this outfit? Drove all the way out to El Cajon just to turn in my keys and laptop, then went shopping with Emily and joined Eric for tapas in PB.

Good things about this outfit: I love the mustard color, the comfiness of knit jersey, and the lace embellishments, of course. It's also fairly versatile, season-wise, since it's actually not overtly summery; with gray tights and boots and a cardigan it's still passable for winter.

Things that weren't so good: Since this wasn't meant to be a real dress, I feel like it's a bit short. I don't usually like hemlines above the knee unless I'm wearing tights or tall boots. Also, as I mentioned, the corners of the flowers are starting to come off, so I think I need to stitch them down before it goes into the laundry again.

Would you wear this outfit again? Definitely! This is one of my favorite dresses since it's so bright and cheerful. Plus, I know it's good since my girl students always comment on it favorably (I wear it with leggings to work, of course!).

I'm really excited about MMJ since I feel like my sewing has gotten a lot less craft-y and more real clothes-esque. Last year during MMMay, most of my clothes were jersey or quilting cotton or just embellishments, really easy to sew stuff. In the last year, I've learned to fit bodices (this means I can make dresses, not just skirts!), insert invisible zippers (honestly, I don't know why I was so afraid of them), and use commercial patterns. I've figured out how to use bias tape, do lining in dresses, and the importance of ironing while sewing. Also, since it's June, I am off from school and can spend all day sewing up a storm! That is, as long as Walnut doesn't distract me.

The best thing about this dress is that it matches perfectly with the chair's at Eric's new workplace. Emily was so impressed she made me take a picture.