Me Made May ’13 – A celebration of all things refashioning

Last minute to the party, as per usual. Count me in for Me Made May ’13! Woohoo!

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Now, as many of you know, last year I was a scatty student who could justifiably spend all day indoors “revising” in some of my more questionable makes. These days, I’m an actual grown-up who needs to look somewhat presentable.

Why oh why is past Len such a slapdash sewist? Last year, I found myself rummaging in my drawers for makes I had long since written off because they were a bit rubbish. I’m sure the same will happen again this year.

For the sake of maintaining a professional wardrobe in the office, I plan on including refashioned and second-hand items along with my me-mades – I was lucky enough to get a good haul of office-appropriate garments in Guildford, which means I shan’t be caught short in the mad morning rush for work.

Without further ado, here is the pledge:

 I, Elena of seamlessblog.wordpress.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made, refashioned or second hand item each day for the duration of May 2013. To document my challenge, I shall tweet/instagram/flickr/facebook the bejeezus out of my daily outfits, even if it means taking mirror pics in work’s loos. I will also endeavour to make my way and finish all of the refashions I haven’t quite got around to and document how I did so, even if I mess it up.

It’s no blogging every day for May, but I’ll sure as hell be tweeting. You can follow me on Instagram or Flickr too for daily outfit posts and I’ll collate them each Sunday here on the blog.

And did you spot the little extra I popped in there? That’s right, I’ve got a whole bundle of refashions to get through. They’re mostly things I’ve bought or have been given with the best intentions of refashioning, yet haven’t quite got around to it just yet. Here’s a sneak peek at one, as modelled by my lovely new mannequin (who will have an introduction post soon, promise!)

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Isn’t it just delightfully HIDEOUS?! It used to have shoulder pads. I was one perm away from being an ’80s throwback when I tried this bad boy on.

Alright, hands up – who’s doing Me Made May this year?

Seamless needs YOU

Things are looking a little different around here! My good friend and all-round talented lady Martha Moreno kindly donated some of her time and waved her wand of creativity to spruce Seamless up a little. Doesn’t it look great? I love how the blog has a real retro feel to it now.

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If you want to update the button on your blog, the new code is:

[a href=”https://seamlessblog.wordpress.com/the-pledge/&#8221; target=”_blank”>[img src=”https://seamlessblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/button.png&#8221; alt=”The Seamless Pledge” /]</a] (replace the [ ] with < >)

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She also created this schnazzy little card you can download and print off to fit in your wallet. The brainchild of fellow blogger Gillian, it’s a gentle reminder in your purse just in case you get tempted while out shopping.

It seemed right to go for a little redesign now – when I started the pledge as a baby journalist a little more than a year ago, I didn’t really expect anyone to pay any attention. 100 posts, 901 comments, 55,200 views and an amazing 150 pledgers later (give or take!), I think it’s safe to say I was mistaken.

I definitely don’t plan on quitting anytime soon – and here’s where you come in. I’ve got an idea for a little project to get people thinking about the pledge once more, but I need your help to get this ball rolling.

All I need are some willing volunteers who aren’t camera-shy. You don’t have to be from the UK, no siree. In fact, the more people from across the world, the better. You also don’t have to be pledging  right now. Perhaps you’ve done it in the past or you’re planning to. As I said, the more the merrier.

While I’m calling for volunteers, I may as well mention that if you’re interested in doing any guest posts, do let me know.

You can probably tell I’m wanting to keep this project under wraps until I get it off the ground! For more details (only if you can keep a secret!) just shoot me an email on elenamcresci at gmail dot com with the subject “Seamless project”.

In the meantime, what do you all make of the new design? Do you love it as much as I do?

Mission: Create my perfect pencil skirt

I flipping love a good pencil skirt, me.

Wearable muslin purple pencil skirt with scarf1

By far the most worn item in my wardrobe is a jersey double-knit black pencil skirt – bought from H&M for my 19th birthday.  If I were to lose anything in my wardrobe, I’d probably be most upset about this – things you can just throw on in the morning for an early start at work really are priceless.

Pencil skirts are one of those great wardrobe staples. But I can’t say I’ve yet made the “perfect” pencil skirt. Oh, but I have tried – even made one of those wearable muslin things.

Gertie's New Book For Better Sewing

Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing

As a little treat to myself, I bought Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing, which has reams of glorious patterns plus plenty of room for alterations. I traced out the pencil skirt pattern last night with every intention of cutting the cheap-ish floral poplin I’d bought for a wearable muslin.

But, to date, I haven’t had the best of luck when it comes to pencil skirts. They may be my favourite item to wear, but not to make – odd, really, as you would have thought two straight seams and a few darts make for some easy-peasy sewing. But get some measurements slightly off and you can end up with the dreaded wrinkles, which just ruin the whole effect if you ask me.

So, before trying what will be my third pencil skirt pattern in recent years, I’ve decided to put the breaks on and maybe, actually, do a PROPER muslin this time. As in, one I will take apart and keep for future pencil skirtness.

For one thing, in Gertie’s book, the patterns are adjusted to take into account that most women are bigger size in the hips than they are in the waist. Not me!

But if I nail this with a decent muslin, then there’s nothing stopping me from creating pencil skirts in every colour of the rainbow… not to mention the other garments which build upon the foundation of this skirt block in the book.

So that was a very roundabout way of saying that I had planned to sew loads tonight, but actually, I’ve decided to put the brakes on.

Or I may have just sat and watched the Comic Relief Great British Bake Off and left the sewing too late…

Why don’t my shoes last?

If my shoes aren’t well-worn, there’s (usually) something wrong with them.

20130110-230124.jpgWell, except for these bad boys. They can take ANYTHING

Perhaps it’s all the stomping I do, but it doesn’t take too long before my shoes are well and truly scuffed, as I’m wobbling on uneven heels and just hoping the holes will stay away for another day. Being a pair of my shoes can’t be easy.

Rather than buy multiple pairs of shoes, I tend to wear one pair to death before grudgingly moving on to the next. Usually, this process can take about a year at the most. But lately, I’ve noticed my shoes wearing down quicker and quicker.

Is it just me, or are shoes just not made to last? It makes sense really – if they’re cheaply made, the prices will be down in the shops and people won’t really mind spending £2 on something they’ll chuck away in a matter of months.

Sound familiar? This is more or less exactly how I saw my shopping habits pre-Seamless pledge.

This is the reason shoes are exempt from my pledge – but I don’t really buy them often anymore. Even when I make a conscious decision to splash out a little more on a new pair of shoes, they just don’t seem to be able to handle my endless tramping around.

Then I’m back to square one, buying tacky shoes which won’t last two minutes because it’s not worth parting with more cash for a pair which won’t last much longer.

That said, there must be some reputable brands out there which aren’t going to fall apart at the drop of a hat? I got lucky with a pair of second-hand floral Doctor Martens on eBay a few months ago and they’re the best pair of shoes I think I’ve ever bought, but not quite work appropriate.

I’ve also got a battered pair of Converse which really should have given up by now – they’re a real pair of troopers, already scuffed when I bought from for five Euro at a flea market in Dortmund. But they’re still going strong!

What are your favourite shoes? When it comes to your shoe rack, is it a case of less is more, or do you need to stock up just so you can do some damage limitation by rotating which ones you wear?

Moving back to Wales!

News! More news!

Well, it is what I do, after all.

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Mind how I made the scary move to England but a few months ago? It seems you can’t keep the girl out of Wales and I’m moving on back to Cardiff to start a new job at Media Wales in January.

It wasn’t exactly planned, as you’ve probably guessed, but I’m really excited about it. I never really settled into Guildford as well as I’d hoped – it’s not so fun living here without a car!

So that’s why my posts (and sewing) have been sparse of late, but hopefully things will get moving once I’m settled once more.

Edit: You guys are the best. Had a rubbish day but your lovely comments made me smile loads, thank you!

Style crush – The Hour

There’s a lot to love about the BBC’s The Hour.

Set in the 1950s, The Hour gets behind the scenes of a groundbreaking current affairs programme at the BBC in (fictional) times gone by. While it’s very much a generalisaton to call it such, ithas been dubbed the UK’s answer to Mad Men. Except you have nosy journalists chasing stories rather than high-profile advertising executives chasing clients.

What’s not to love?

Of course, the characters and story have got me hooked, but can we please, please talk about the clothes. Please?

Part of what made most of the sewing world fall head over heels in love with Mad Men was the impeccable costumes. I think we’ve all wanted one of Joan’s wiggle dresses in our lives. Admittedly, it plays a lesser part here in The Hour, as tricky stories and conspiracies rule the roost.

But the costumes really are a treat, from roving reporter Freddie’s shabby suits to the more polished flounce of housewife Marnie Madden. But my absolute favourite wardobe is that of ambitious producer Bel, filled with jewel toned skirts and dresses. Sleek and professional.

As you all know, I’m not a fan of quick-fire fashion and Bel’s work wardrobe, full of practical yet professional favourites, harks back to a time when clothes were meant to last. She basically owns my ideal working wardrobe.

I’m not quite pulling off this level of classy just yet, but I’m only a few months into the working world, give me time! Streamlined and sophisticated, her wardrobe screams efficiency. Just the thing you need if you’re in charge of a hard-hitting news programme, wouldn’t you say?

In terms of sewing, it would actually be fairly simple to stitch up. Only yesterday, I ordered a copy of Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing, which includes a suit jacket pattern as well as a pencil skirt. Just add a vintage brooch and you’re sorted.

Have any of you watched The Hour? What do you make of the new series? If you’re in the UK, you can catch up with it on BBC iPlayer.