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 free 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?

Me Made May ’12 – Technical Difficulties…

This blogging every day lark is a lot harder than I thought it would be, especially without images to add to the post.

So, two things went a bit wrong yesterday. First off, I couldn’t access Seamless’s dashboard and then I couldn’t find the cable for my borrowed camera to upload yesterday’s picture! Not that I really should have bothered because here’s how it turned out:

Bit dark and you can’t even see what’s Me Made about the outfit! On the plus side, the lovely El (yesterday’s birthday girl!) made an appearance, and that’s enough for me. We also saw The Avengers – it was brilliant!

Anyway, here’s what I wore yesterday:

A lovely combination of my not-quite Meringue skirt and the old favourite of a leopard print cardigan, which even after multiple washes, still smells very much of Lush. It’s (sort of) black and white, so it inevitably ended up in my work wardrobe.

So hands up who here treats leopard print as a neutral? This won’t be the last you’ll see of my leopard print, that’s for sure. My favourite ever pair of shoes are a pair of monster leopard print heels with Christian Louboutin-style red soles. Honestly, I wear them with pretty much everything I shouldn’t.

Over the years, there’s been many a leopard print creation which has caught my eye. Here’s my top five from the sewing blogosphere:

  • 1. The moment I saw Suzy’s Rock Chick Clovers, I was in love. In my second year of university, I owned the most ridiculous pair of grey leopard print jeans, but these are far, far better than those Primark pantaloons. I wish I could pull them off like Suzy does!
  • 2. No favourite creation list is complete without my blogging fave, Zoe, who turned out another Colette patterns creation, the Macaron, complete with just enough leopard print to set my heart a-flutter. Want. Not to mention, she also made a leopard print coat. Jealous.
  • 3. Oona is another classy lady on the blogosphere. Last year, she turned out this fabulous leopard print dress with an exposed zipper. Check out the brilliant apron too!
  • 4. People keep telling me how ‘in’ detachable collars are. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Peter Pan collar, but I’ll sew what I like, not what’s in thankyouverymuch. That was, until I saw Iroiro’s detachable leopard print collar, made especially for a  Janelle Monáe concert no less, and fell head over heels in lust.
  • 5. Last, but not least, those of you familiar with Sew Weekly will undoubtedly have seen their ‘Make this Look’ feature. The minute I get my hands on some disposable income, you can bet I’ll be making the hell out of this look – if I’m still brave enough to pull that much leopard print off, that is!

Anyone else unashamed leopard print fans? Perhaps we should set up some sort of support group…

2011’s Inspirational Makes – as chosen by you!

I received some lovely submissions for 2011’s inspirational makes! You’ve been really busy this year haven’t you?

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Without further ado, here are Seamless readers’ inspirational makes from 2011 (in no particular order):

Check out Adri H’s Bombshell Dress! Isn’t it amazing? Gertie’s online class is clearly worth taking if these are the results. What I really loved was how Adri blogged the construction of the dress, so you can see just how much detail has gone into it. It’s clearly paid off – it fits her like a glove and the diamond brooch is an elegant touch. Adri said: “It’s an evening dress with a structured bodice, lots of couture techniques and an overall sewing adventure.” The Bombshell Dress is most definitely on my sewing list after seeing this incarnation of it!

image from The Wardrobe Reimagined

Ali was nominated by Minnado: “I was inspired by Ali’s use of existing jeans and a jacket to create her own pattern pieces and wardrobe staples.” Ali completed quite the feat this year by accurately making copies of not only a J Crew jacket but also a pair of jeans from Gap! Not to mention she did it from working out her own pattern for both garments. It just goes to show, who needs the labels when you have your sewing machine?

Minnado has been pretty busy too, sewing and refashioning a whole maternity capsule wardrobe for herself. In total, it cost her a mere £32 for her entire maternity wardrobe. She said: “It has meant I have busted out a lot of stash fabric and I have learnt that it is a myth that you have to buy maternity clothes, and need to spend lots of money.” Cost-effective, practical and stylish.

Molly made this fantastic coat for her sister, nicknamed the Sith coat. Possibly the coolest name ever? Perhaps only after her sister’s, who chose Pedro as her online moniker. She clearly enjoys wearing this coat and who can blame her? I can’t decide what I like best – the epic hood or the hipster-style lining. Bravo!

Charlotte whipped up this beauty from a V and A pattern found here! It’s retro-tastic and a great example of how reproductions of vintage patterns should be done. Isn’t the floral fabric just beautiful? Charlotte also wore it to the Sew Weekly UK meetup earlier this year and she looked fantastic!

Charlotte also nominated Sew Weekly contributor Debi for her response to the community’s Sewing Through the Decades challenge. Debi’s blog is well-worth a look, as she consistently comes up trumps with her creations. Charlotte said: “This 1933 outfit made me gasp out loud the first time I saw it. To be honest she has made lots more as well that I just love, but this is my favourite.” I agree with Charlotte, Debi’s creations are consistently inspirational – in fact, she’s just posted her own year in review, featuring a whopping 58 outfits!

Sometimes, the simplest silhouettes are the most effective, as Barbara shows with her 1950’s dress. Can you believe this is made from a vintage sheet? I think the little touches like the piping detail really makes this dress special. Barbara said: “I really got into the sew-mo during the second half of 2011. I think one of my best pieces was made out of a thrifted sheet that I repurposed into an adorable 50′s dress. Having one of my talented daughters take the pictures, made for a very pleasing set of pics.”

Last, but most certainly not least, is this very unique way of RSVPing a wedding invitation from Kirsty of The Leopard Anchor. The embroidery on this cushion is astoundingly intricate, particularly the post-card style writing on the back and the little owl stamp. It’s also scented! This wasn’t the end of the story for this special little cushion however. Kirsty said: “I was pretty proud of it as I hadn’t done much embroidery and it turned out quite well. But I was bursting with pride when I discovered the lovely couple were using it as their ring cushion on their wedding day.” How lovely is that?

There we have it ladies and gents! Some cracking makes, I’m sure you’ll all agree. I’m really looking forward to what you all come up with in 2012! I’m thinking of featuring inspirational makes on a more regular basis in 2012, perhaps monthly? What do you think?

If you want to see some of the blogs I read for inspiration, then check out my bundle of RSS feeds here, including Zoe (also recommended by Minnado), Thread Carefully and Gertie, amongst others! I’m always adding more, so subscribe if you want to share my sewing blog reading list.

Oh, also…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Apologies this post is so late in the day! WordPress and I were having a bit of a technological fist fight, as you do. I had a good old rant on Twitter and then got back to it. Consider yourself defeated WordPress, ha!

Challenge Accepted.

pincushion

Three years ago, I saved my sewing machine from the attic and taught myself how to thread a machine and wind a bobbin via the wonders of the Internet. Since then, I’ve used the bustling online sewing community to navigate the ins and outs of home sewing.

So I like to think I’m a dab hand with the sewing machine, even if sometimes I can’t quite manage to sew in a straight line. Let’s not even get started on the evils of buttonholes.

You’d be forgiven for thinking my mad skillz with a needle and thread (but not buttonholes) mean my wardrobe is full to the brim of self-stitched clothing. In actuality, my self-made items take up only a tiny part of my drawers. I’d estimate I made or refashioned about 5% of my wardrobe.

There are plenty of excuses I could give for this, but it’s a pretty poor statistic for someone who goes on about stitching as much as I do. Lately I’ve fallen into a sewing rut and back into my lazy clothing habits, and our generation is pretty lazy when it comes to clothing. “Make do and mend” was the motto during the second world war but nowadays we’ll settle for something which will fall apart in a matter of months if it’s colourful and cheap enough. Fast fashion reigns supreme on the high street and in our wardrobes, and mine is no exception.

Yet across the blogosphere there are plenty examples of people who have put down the shopping bags and picked up their needle and thread instead. Take Mena Trott of The Sew Weekly. In 2010 she took on the hefty challenge of filling her wardrobe solely with clothes she had sewn herself. A year on, she’s encouraging a whole communityof sewers to do the same.

Then there’s Zoe of So, Zo…, a seamstress very much concerned with sustainable fashion. You name the garment, she’s probably made it. We’re talking coats, dresses, jogging tops and even pants. In March, May and September she challenges her readers to join her in a month of wearing nothing but self made garments.

simplicity 2591

In more productive sewing days...

As for me? For the past few months I’ve been in somewhat of a sewing rut, to the point where I’m at the risk of edging out the me-made side of my wardrobe completely. This will not do!

So I’ve set myself a bit of a challenge.With the Interwebs as my witness, I plan to spend the duration of my postgraduate diploma at Cardiff, which ends in July 2012, sewing or refashioning all of my clothes. Under no circumstances am I allowed to purchase ready-made garments from any shops unless they are bonafide vintage or second-hand.

This blog will serve as evidence I’m keeping up with my pledge meaning you can all tell me off if I end up slacking. If I fail miserably, then you’re all entitled to point, laugh and tease until you’re red in the faces.

So what can you expect here at Seamless? I want to explore the avenues outside of mass made clothing, whether that’s through sewing, knitting, trawling through charity shops, gawking at vintage wares or using good old eBay. Wish me luck!