Me Made May ’12 – Thank you Zoe

It’s the final day of Me Made May 2012!

This month has gone by in the blink of an eye, a mix of me-made, work placements complemented with a flurry of exam and deadline nerves. When I’ve had a chance to check out people’s outfits on the Flickr group, I’ve loved seeing everyone’s outfits as the month went on.

Obviously, there’s one person to thank for all this! Zoe’s a real inspiration of the blogosphere – I even got the chance to meet her in person this month when I visited Brighton right at the beginning of May. Gillian came up with a great idea on the Flickr group to thank Zoe, hence the thank you sign.

Me Made May was all about re evaluating my relationship with my me-made wardrobe. Too many of my makes end up with discarded mass-made clothing at the bottom of my wardrobe, but May brought the spotlight right back on the leaps and bounds I’ve made with sewing since I first dusted off my sewing machine.

But more than this, Me Made May is about a community. Hats off to Zoe, because she’s helped create something you’ll find digital journos going on about all the time: a real sense of community. The best part of blogging is the way connections are built with like-minded people and I can’t think of many better examples than Me Made May.

So, thank you Zoe, for creating an inspiring community challenge. Looking forward to next year already!

As for the last outfit of Me Made May, what better note to end on than with my favourite make so far? I really wish my pictures showed how lovely the flocked velvet hearts on the fabric are. This one’s particularly apt, as I paired it with some tights and a yellow cardigan when I met Zoe in Brighton.

This time, I added one of my favourite scarves from my collection, which I bought when I did my first shop as an employee in Lush. The scarves in Lush are either designed by the company and made from recycled bottles or vintage, like this one. Whenever we got a batch of new scarves, you’d have to be quick to snap up your favourite before a customer or another member of staff got to it first.

The general rule we used to go by was to put your favourite scarf on display at the beginning of the shift and if it was still there at the end, it was clearly just destined to be yours. Or, at least, that was how I justified the ridiculous amount of vintage scarves I accumulated while working there!

Happy end of May, everyone! What were your highlights?

Keep your eyes peeled for more on the me-made refashion challenge. I’ll get these exams out of the way and get the plans rolling…

Me Made May ’12 – Blast from the past

Have you ever refashioned one of your own creations from when you were a beginner?

I’ve already written about one of mine and I’ve got a few others in the works, but I wondered what everyone thought about possibly doing a refashioning challenge of Me-Mades we’ve fallen out of love with?

Yesterday’s Me Made outfit is a case in point, when I wore a make from way back when I began sewing.

This little number happens to be the second dress I ever made, and oh boy, does it show. Well, on the inside that is. It’s funny how finishing seams didn’t really occur to me back then.

Using a mix of BurdaStyle’s Marie pattern and a contour bust tutorial on the site, I made the dress out of some vintage fabric I scored on eBay and some green polycotton fabric I found somewhere way back when. I have to say, I’m not sure entirely how much I like this dress nowadays.

I’m a big fan of the top (which happens to fit me a lot better now I’ve, er, filled out a bit, so to speak!) but the bottom half just isn’t as flattering as I’d like. It’s a little more tapered than I’d like it to be, but I’m not about to throw it out just yet!

If anything, it seems to be yet another contender for refashioning. In fact, it’s added to a long list of refashions I have by now, including my now-ripped leopard print Sorbetto.

With Me Made May and my journalism course coming to an end soon, I was thinking of running some sort of refashioning challenge this Summer. Would anyone be interested?

I’ve already got a few more Seamless features in the pipeline, so I’m thinking of doing it in perhaps July or August. Let me know what you think!

Apologies for the briefer blog posts of late – I still have a few hefty exams coming up. I actually don’t finish until June 13!

Me Made May ’12 – Goodbye, leopard print Sorbetto

BAD NEWS

Just as I was feeling all chuffed with myself for pairing up one of my newest Me Mades with the last ever garment I bought from cheaptastic Primarni, I noticed THIS:

A rip in the sleeve!

GAH. I knew I shouldn’t have been in denial about the fit on this one! It doesn’t help that the fabric I used frays ridiculously easily.

I’ll just have to keep my eye out for some more suitable but adequately leopard printed fabric to make another Peter Pan collared Sorbetto, but one that fits properly and doesn’t fray so much this time.

What should I do with this one? I’m loathe to throw it out, but there’s not an awful lot of fabric to play with. Suggestions will be very much appreciated!

Me Made May ’12 – Send in the reinforcements!

With Me Made May drawing to a close this week, I’m happy to tell you all I haven’t actually repeated an outfit just yet.

You might remember I wasn’t going to worry too much about not repeating an outfit, but unlike my plans to blog every day, scuppered by exams, features and portfolio deadlines, this was one element I’ve just about managed to keep up with. So, you can imagine, when Saturday rocked up and I was without a new outfit, I panicked.

It was laundry day and there wasn’t a clean Me-Made garment in sight! But, after a bit of digging, I found a jersey top I made as part of 2010’s Summer Essentials challenge. Phew!

Digging out stuff I haven’t worn in a while has been the best part of the challenge I think. Does anyone else get that whole “I have NOTHING to wear!” feeling when it comes to your wardrobe?

Really, it’s ridiculous. I mean, you’ve all seen pictures of my wardrobe – it’s pretty full, even when downsized. Inevitably, this kind of boredom would end up in a bargain shopping spree and I’d arrive home with a bag packed with cheap-o goodies which would break in a matter of weeks.

Me Made May really breaks those kind of bad habits. Even by making a conscious effort to wear one self stitched garment a day, I think everyone involved has got a whole new appreciation for their wardrobe.

On another topic, I hope all you Europeans watched the glorious spectacle that is the Eurovision song contest on Saturday! For those of you not familiar with the beauty that is the annual cheese-fest, check out my FAVOURITE Eurovision song of all time, courtesy of Ukraine’s entry in 2007:

There are no words.

Oh, and also, I helped out Amy Davies with some photographs for the magazine she works for in this outfit! Once I see the pictures, I’ll be sure to show you, but here’s a sneak peek for now:

Me Made May ’12 – Olympic fever hits Wales!

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there’s a bit of a hoo-ha about this Olympics shindig.

Photo by Adam Care

Yesterday, the Olympic torch reached Wales. As excellent journalists well-acquainted with what will be dominating the headlines this Summer, some of the CJS boys and I popped to Cardiff city centre to watch someone peg it past with the flame.

The best bit was when we caught a glimpse of Welsh rugby captain Sam Warburton on the bus carrying the torch bearers. PHWOAR

It’s been absolutely gorgeous this whole week and there’s nothing like waiting in the heat for the briefest glimpse of an Olympic torch to make you realise how ill-suited your wardrobe is for Summer. I wore my favourite black jersey pencil skirt and a Me-made, refashioned purple shirt. Using the Sorbetto pattern, I turned a purple men’s shirt into a sleeveless blouse.

Unfortunately, I was cutting it from the same pattern as my leopard print Sorbetto, meaning it’s also a bit of a squeeze around the bust. Sizing issues are always a little bit frustrating, particularly when a garment is a bit too small.

Let me tell you, a tight blouse really isn’t the best outfit choice when it comes to a hot and sticky summer’s day. My future projects are definitely going to be more Summer-appropriate, that’s for sure.

I didn’t get a decent picture, but fellow Cardiff student Adam, who blogs about the Olympics here, took a few and he kindly said I could use them for today’s post.

Even the boys not standing on a bin are ridiculously taller than I am! This did not bode so well while standing on tip-toes trying to see the torch.

How’s the Olympic fever for the rest of you? Anyone in London for the Games?

Me Made May ’12 – Second-hand as good as new

If I’ve learnt anything while doing the Seamless pledge, it’s that second-hand clothing is just as good as new, if not better.

charity shop oxfam boutique

Most people who’ve been around the sewing blogosphere long enough for the likes of Wardrobe Refashion, New Dress a Day and Sew I Thought will know charity and second-hand shops are a godsend for anyone keeping an eye on their clothing consumption. It’s starting to become more and more mainstream as belts continue to tighten, with the likes of Marks and Spencer’s “shwopping campaign”, as Zoe wrote about on her blog recently, becoming de rigueur.

I do most of my second-hand shopping at charity shops, being lucky enough to live around the corner from Albany Road in Cardiff, where some real treasures can be found on the numerous charity shops along the street. But charity shops are obviously a two-way thing and they rely on our old and unwanted clothing to keep going and keep raising money.

Last year, 64 per cent of you told me you donate your old clothes to charity, but I also found charity shops are struggling somewhat when it comes to donations. Hard times mean less shopping and fewer wardrobe clearouts.

This month, cancer charity Tenovus is running a campaign in my area to try and get people donating. Liz Rawlins, the charity’s PR and Communications Manager (and fellow blogger!) explained the difference one bag of clothing could make to a charity shop:

ā€œEvery single item donated to any one of our shops raises vital funds that enableĀ us to support cancer patients and their families across Wales.

ā€œOne bag of clothing makes on average Ā£20, and that Ā£20 means we canĀ continue to provide services such as treating people closer to home on our Mobile
Cancer Support Unit, bereavement counseling and keeping our freephone cancerĀ support line open 7 days a weekā€.

I don’t know about you, but I’d much, much rather be helping to make this extra Ā£20 for a charity than contributing some extra pennies to a multi-national company.

For the “Worn by You, Loved by Us” campaign, Tenovus set up a great little fashion shoot in Cardiff using clothing from their shops, modelled by staff from Tenovus. All the photos were taken by Amy Davies of Cardiff Arcades fame, so they’re pretty schnazzy to say the least, showing off second-hand clothing AND one of Cardiff’s amazing arcades.

As it happens, MeĀ Made May Day 24 happened to be all about the charity shops, as I donned my refashioned vintage skirt and skinny men’s belt for a day of exam mocks and revision. In fact, aside from the cardigan, my whole outfit had passed through other hands before they arrived in my wardrobe.

The scarf is yet another vintage one from Lush, the necklace and my cream lace top were both birthday presents and my Mum bought me the shoes this time last year when she noticed how full of holes my favourite pair of pumps were.

But here’s the fun bit – I was heading back from the Students’ Union when someone working for More! magazine stopped me to ask if they could take a photo of my outfit. For those of you who aren’t familiar with More!, it’s a fashion/celeb women’s magazine which is pretty popular over here.

I won’t lie, it felt like a small victory to attract the attention of someone employed by a magazine with a direct interest in promoting fashion and the high street. Ā Score one for second-hand fashion!

So I’ve divulged my favourite charity shop haunt, what about yours? Where do you, without fail, manage to find something fab to refashion. I promise I won’t tell…

Me Made May ’12 – Whatcha got cookin’?

The best part about being back after a month of living out of a suitcase at each ends of England is being able to cook again.

I’m not going to pretend to be some sort of Nigella-like goddess in the kitchen, but I can rustle up a good meal every once in a while. The only thing I hate is cooking for myself – I always make too much, and while it’s always great to have some leftovers for lunch the next day, the food’s never quite as great.

Hence why I invite friends over when I get the chance. Just the one this time, an old colleague from Lush, to eat some munch and catch up on some trashy television. Cheeky bit of a spinach and mozzarella pasta bake with my new favourite dessert, chocolate mousse. Nigella who?

I used to cook a lot more back when I lived in Germany, making huge dishes of paella and chilli (I made NINE LITRES of chilli con carne once… NINE LITRES)

This particular apron was my 21st birthday gift from one of my best friends, who lived in Germany with me. Anyone who used to read my blog under its other alias will know why it’s got a strawberry on it – I can’t, for the life of me, say strawberry in German.

Honestly, it’s ridiculous. I can’t think of a time I asked for something strawberry flavoured auf Deutsch and didn’t get a funny look or a “wie, bitte?”

One of those things Ā I suppose.

You’ll recognise my ruby red skirt as today’s Me Made – it goes quite well with lace doesn’t it?

As for the cooking soundtrack? I’m in love with this right now:

Me Made May 12 – Catching Up!

So much for blogging every day for May! Needless to say, the exams got to me a little bit more than I’d anticipated.

Luckily, we’ve got a bit of a break after Friday’s exam, so I can get back on track again. Also, while I may not have been documenting my outfits as rigorously as I hoped, I have kept to the challenge thus far and without an outfit repetiton just yet!

Mind you, I have found certain items are getting more wear than others – like my red Cynthia Rowley skirt and my graduation circle skirt. It’s made me realise certain shaped items are staples I should probably make more of.

Here are a couple of the outfits I did get a chance to document:

Day 13, it was just me, my books and my favourite flamingo t-shirt of all time. My Me-Made floral skirt doesn’t go with it that well, but who cares when you’re revising?

Red lipstick for an exam? You betcha. My public administration exam didn’t go too badly (I hope). Perhaps it was the addition of my favourite leopard print cardigan and me-made dress? Also, the whole headscarf thing has become a wicked way to hide how my haircut is slowly developing into a mullet… (business in the front… PARTY IN THE BACK)

A speccy day normally means I’m chilling out and/or hungover. Not so on day 16 I’m afraid, it was all about Media Law, for which I cracked out the wannabe hack skirt. You’ve yet to see it, but I have quite the collection of oversized hoodies, acquired from various people over the years. This gem actually belongs to my brother, who made the mistake of leaving it at home. Yep, my undergraduate university has a beer pong society, who have some damned cosy hoodies…

How’s Me Made May going elsewhere?

Me Made May 12 – Key texts

This weekend, James Morrison’s Public Affairs for Journalists has been my best friend.

We’ve been spending a lot of time together, Morrison and I, and my law handbook’s been getting some loving too. Yay revision.

Go on, ask me anything about the House of Lords or the main institutions of the European Union, I DARE YA!

When it comes to revision, everyone knows it’s all about comfort. The graduation skirt is actually the only circle skirt I own and I honestly now wish I owned a couple more, just because they’re so bloody versatile!

Not to mention, easy to make. There are an abundance of tutorials online for you to take a gander at if you want to make your own circle skirt. My favourites are the one I used for the Graduation skirt and also (surprise, surprise) this helpful tutorial on hemming a circle skirt by the one and only Gertie.

One of the ideas I had for the stained Grad Ball dress was to splash it with some bleach, remove the bodice and turn it into a funky circle skirt. You can never have too many twirly skirts in your life, after all.

It’s been heating up a little in Wales, FINALLY, so it was bare-legs o’clock for no one in particular. I also really couldn’t be bothered to do my hair which has been a right bird’s nest of late since I decided to grow it. Lucky for me, I own plenty a scarf and was taught how to do the whole retro turban type thing while working at Lush.

Voila, hair problems not quite solved, but definitely hidden. Add one hell of a versatile batwing top and you’ve got yourself a revision outfit! I’m going to pretend the lipstick was a revision aid and definitely not the result of some make-up related procrastination…

So that was day 12! May is speeding past isn’t it?

Me Made May 12 – Make do and mend

Apologies for the lack of Me Made documentation yesterday! I travelled back to Cardiff more or less straight after the end of my placement, meaning I didn’t get back until about midnight.

Needless to say, I’m glad I won’t have to do anymore long train journeys for a while now!

Day 10 was all about the graduation skirt, paired with a lace t-shirt – a birthday gift from the lovely Ki! You should see the pink jeans she got me as well, they’re a treat.

Me Made Day 12 was all about comfort – sitting on a train for five hours is no joke! My Me-made item is actually one you’ve seen briefly before, but, as yet, has gone unblogged.

Too often, I make something which just ends up lost at the bottom of my wardrobe. I really loved my Cynthia Rowley jumper dress to start with, but, as happens all too often with clothes, I fell out of love with it and left it to gather dust in my wardrobe.

Now, as I recall, the double-knit fabric was actually pretty expensive, so I decided it was high time I did something with it. Knowing how much I wear my black double-knit pencil skirt from H&M, I nabbed some elastic from my sewing box, traced the skirt shape and made myself a green and navy houndstooth skirt out of my abandoned dress.

Needless to say, I’m pretty happy with the results, and now I know how well it withstands the train journey! I was really wary about cutting up the dress, because the sleeves took me bloody ages, but I’m glad I did. After all, what was the point of all that effort if I wasn’t going to wear it?

There are a couple more me-made items in my wardrobe needing to be upcycled, so this won’t be the last you’ll see of projects like these.