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 – 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 – 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 – The leopard print Sorbetto

I hope this won’t be the only time this month I’ll be blogging about a new me-made garment – although, technically, this modified Sorbetto was made quite a while ago.

Paired with my all-time favourite double-knit jersey skirt and a vest top for modesty, this little blouse made a great addition to my first-day-on-placement outfit. I modified the freeĀ Colette Patterns Sorbetto to make this out of a sheer, lightweight leopard print fabric on sale at John Lewis.

I drafted a Peter Pan collar using Gertie’s tutorial and used the Sorbetto sleeve pattern from Sew Weekly (you can download a PDF version from Sew, Incidentally). No need for bias tape on this one! I also took out the centre pleat.

You can’t really tell, but this top is a bit too tight around the bust because I didn’t add enough ease after removing the pleat. D’oh! I also forgot to put interfacing on the collar. Double d’oh!

I’m remaining in denial about any problems though, because we all know leopard print and I have a special relationship. It became pretty clear why the fabric was on sale as soon as I began cutting – it frays SO easily! I cracked out the French seams, but even that hasn’t stopped some of it. I’m honestly not sure how much wear I’ll get out of this before it falls apart.

Nevermind, you win some and you lose some, and it looks fine for now! Sorbetto’s a great little pattern by the way and one you haven’t seen for the last time on Seamless!

This top came about when I decided I just had to have a me-made outfit for a friend’s Mad Men-themed party. Paired with my purple pencil skirt and a spot of red lippie, I was loving life.

If I were any Mad Men character, I think I’d probably be Peggy. I’d love to pretend I’m as utterly fabulous as Joan, but I think Peggy and I certainly have ambition in common! That programme is SUCH great sewing inspiration, don’t you think? I can’t wait to get my hands on Gertie’s sewing book so I can crack out my own version of her Joan-inspired dress.

Any other Mad Men sewing fans out there?