Gosh I’m bad at this regular updating thing, aren’t I? I made it to day 8 of Me Made May, then just completely ran out of puff. I used to do most of my blogging in the evenings after dinner, but these days after dinner + clean up + toddler bedtime I’m usually just so wiped out that I fall unconscious into bed.
If you’re following my Insta you’ll see that I did manage to do (most) of the rest of Me made May, but in case you missed it – here’s a round-up!
When I made my most recent pair of Sculthorpe pants out of this stunning ochre linen I ended up having enough yardage left over to squeeze out a cropped Maya Top from Marilla Walker It’s the most beautiful heavyweight linen, and lends itself well to unfussy, classic designs. I had originally intended to wear the two as kind of a mock-jumpsuit, but while I’ve worn and washed the pants multiple times, the cooler weather has meant I haven’t had as much wear out of the top and now the two pieces are a noticeably different colour from one another. I’m wearing it today with a silk skirt I bought from Doops Designs way back when. I rarely wear it, because I’ve had a lot of trouble finding the right top to pair it with. It turns out the Maya Top is just about perfect. Necklace from Elk. Day 12
Even after the crinkles of a hard-day’s-wear this jumpsuit looks way better than it deserves to, considering how comprehensively I ballsed up the construction I couldn’t find a jumpsuit pattern I liked, so instead I came up with a plan to attach a sleeveless top to some elastic waist pants. Simple (I thought). The top is a mashup of the Demeter Dress bodice with a low scooped neck and flat hem, and I used the York top instructions for the back so that it had a keyhole feature long enough that when it was unfastened the neck was wide enough to squeeze my whole body through). For the bottoms I used Muna and Broad‘s Birchgrove Pants, with the rise lengthened so I could create the elastic casing at the waist. To start, I forgot to lengthen the pocket pieces to correspond to the lengthened rise (fortunately I had enough leftover fabric to re-cut), I had to recut the neckline three times before I could get my hips through, at some point I confused my right sides and I didn’t realise until I was sewing the bodice to the pants and discovered my bust darts were on the outside, I ran out of matching thread halfway through, and by the time it came to the elastic casing I had HAD it, so it looks a complete dog’s breakfast on the inside. Still, despite all that, I love it. It’s comfortable and functional and looks exactly how I’d hoped. I’m definitely planning to make another, and hopefully I can learn from my original mistakes, and the whole process will be a streamlined dream. Fabric from The Fabric Store , top from Uniqlo, shoes from Empress Shoes. Day 19
My parents have been down visiting – the first time in well over a year – and I’ve been enjoying some digital downtime while I’ve spent time with them and celebrated a couple of birthdays (including my own, yesterday!) I’m back on the #memademay2021 train as of today, with the Hope Woven Dress from Style Arc (made from fabric from Maai Design) It’s a lovely style with puffed raglan sleeves, and the loose-fitting cut that I’m loving so much at the moment. I added in-seam pockets which interrupted the lines on the skirt a little, so when I make my next version I think I’ll either add curved inset pockets, or patch pockets. No pockets are not an option, haha. I was congratulating myself on how little the fabric crushed when I first wore this dress, but after its first wash (not including the prewash before I sewed) the dress is getting these annoying hanging creases. I’ve been thinking I need to invest in a handheld clothes steamer so I don’t have to haul my ironing board out of the cupboard every time I pull something a bit creased out of the wardrobe. Anyone have one and can swear by it? Day 20
Don’t be fooled by the smile, I’ve had one of Those Days. I took another fall yesterday (skinned the shit out of my knees AGAIN) plus I got my flu shot, so I slept badly and woke up sore and sorry for myself. I had kind of a crappy day at work, plus I’m feeling a bit deflated about my family’s visit being over. Just a deep recipe for being rather Over It All. I took the opportunity to cheer myself up by taking advantage of The Fabric Store’s site-wide sale, and bought a couple of meters of fabric, so hopefully some self-care sewing will be on the agenda in the weeks to come. Today’s Me Made item is an Estuary Skirt made from a tencel-linen blend from Spotlight. I screwed up the interfacing on the pockets a little, but you can’t see unless you look very closely. I do love this skirt pattern, it remains my favourite of all the skirt patterns in my library. The shape works really well on my figure, I like the detail of the button placket, and the elasticised back remains comfortable throughout the day. That said, someone just drew my attention to the new Reznor Skirt from Elbe, and I’m kind of obsessed, so at some point I’m going to give it a try, and maybe it’ll eclipse the trusty Estuary as my fave… who knows! Worn with a tee from Owns It. Day 21
Today’s Me Makes are my favourite linen Sculthorpes from Muna & Broad in ochre linen from The Fabric Store, and a cropped Torrens Box Top – also from Muna & Broad – in a cotton canvas that I found at Ikea. Day 22
All in shades of green today! I’m loving this self-drafted jumpsuit (from the Muna & Broad Birch Grove Pants, and a modded version of the Demeter Dress bodice from Anna Allen), but apart from the striped tee I wore it with earlier in the month, I don’t have much to layer under it! Instead today I’m layering it under a long cardigan from Trenery for a tonal effect. The look needed the belt to break it up a little, and the ankle boots give the whole ensemble a bit of an edge. I’m enjoying wearing this jumpsuit so much that I’ve already bought some more linen to make another. Hopefully I can get it made with fewer stuff-ups than last time! Day 23
just the smallest peek of my Cuff Top from The Assembly Line under a black linen pinafore from Joolz Fashion today. I’ve been wearing this dress layered over tights and long sleeved tops for a month or so now, and I wasn’t sure how it would go layered over something with puffed sleeves – volume + more volume isn’t always a recipe for success. But I actually quite like the ensemble. It’s absurdly comfortable, quirky but classic, and the Cuff Top works unexpectedly well as a layering piece. I’m pretty keen to make a few more versions of this top (and also try the Cuff Dress), but next time I’m planning to lengthen the sleeves to 3/4 and maybe try a fabric with more drape than this linen from Spotlight. Day 24
This dress is a make from last year’s Me Made May. A hacked Torrens Box dress (literally just Mona and Broad’s original pattern with as much extra fabric at the hem as I could squeeze out of my yardage). The fabric is from Ikuntji Artists (I bought it from Flying Fox Fabrics), and it features a design from First Nations artist Mavis Nampitjinpa Marks. Day 25
I’m not entirely sure this is a particularly successful OOTD, but the components are some of my favourite pieces from my wardrobe. The dress is my first Demeter Dresss (from Anna Allen), which I made from a kind of handwoven hessian fabric (in cotton? linen? hemp?) that I found at GJs Discount Fabrics. It’s served me well throughout months of snotty noses, yoghurt smears, muddy shoes, and the general detritus of life as a toddler-mum. Initially I wasn’t completely in love with the pattern, the bodice was too floppy, the waist too low, and the pockets seemed to land somewhere around my knees. The next time I made the pattern I sized down, tweaked the waist and the neckline and completely relocated the pockets, and it’s made it alllllmost my perfect smock dress pattern (the hunt goes on). I guess that’s why people make muslins? The other thing that needs to be said about the Demeter Dress – especially this year, when the dialogue around size-inclusivity in the sewing world is so prominent in people’s minds – is that Anna Allen’s size chart maxes out at a 51” hip, which – to put it bluntly – isn’t good enough. As a Small Fat I have the privilege of fitting into a much broader range of patterns than a number of the brilliant sewists I see on my TL daily. In the future I will not be purchasing patterns from companies that exclude larger bodies, and I will be contacting the companies whose patterns I already own to encourage them to expand their size ranges. For dressmakers who like this outfit, but are excluded from the size chart I would suggest checking out #tfsteddydress, #hinterlanddress , or #samontanamididress Day 26
This wattle print Estuary Skirt (to a 57” hip) was the first time I made Sew Liberated’s fabulous pattern. I made it way back in 2019 from a Nerida Hansen cotton sateen featuring a beautiful print from illustrator Brook Gossen My weight has fluctuated quite a bit since then, so I’m thankful for the elasticised waist! I’m also thankful for the big pockets, and the lovely shape, and the fact it just goes SO WELL with the wattle necklace that I spoiled myself with from Jess Dare. I’m wearing it today with an absolutely stunning puff sleeve linen blouse gifted to me but the lovely Belinda at Chasing Springtime. It’s such a lovely, elegant piece – I love the slightly tapered shape, and the fact that it somehow fits my narrow shoulders AND my g-cups. There’s a little pleat at the back yoke, and the gathered cuffs on the sleeves fit my forearms comfortably without catching. Shopping with small, independent labels like Chasing Springtime is a terrific option for people who can’t sew (or don’t have the time!) but still want slow fashion and natural fibers. Plus if you’re in Melbourne you’ll be supporting a local maker, so win-win! Day 27
What a day. Jeez. Melbourne’s gone back into lockdown (our fourth? Fifth?) so I’m once again housebound and masked-up while we try to get a handle on the latest outbreak. The best news of the day is that Victoria’s officially opened the vaccine program up for ages 40-49, meaning I’m finally eligible to get my Pfizer. I’m already booked and raring to go. Anyhoo, today’s Me Made outfit is a mashup of my two favourite recent makes: the gorgeous ochre linen (from The Fabric Syorew) of my Sculthorpe pants, and the self-drafted jumpsuit that I franken-sewed out of the @Muna & Broad Birchgrove Pants (71.5” hip) and the Anna Allen Demeter Dress. I took my time, and didn’t rush like last time, and it was definitely a less stressful sew, but somehow even though I used exactly the same pattern, it seems to fit differently – especially around the bodice. I suspect it’s because this time I eschewed the keyhole feature in the back and simply cut the neckline really low so I could pull the jumpsuit on over my hips. Oh well, you live and learn! Maybe the next time I make it it will be PERFECT. (But what colour to make?!) Day 28
We’re well into winter now, and I’m feeling the chill in the morning walk to E’s childcare. This padded jacket – made from a pared-down version of Muna & Broad’s Grainger Coat – is fitting the bill nicely. I made the jacket from a quilted doona cover that I bought from Adairs, and that once again features beautiful art from Dana Kinter. When making the pattern I narrowed the sleeves, cropped it extra short, and eliminated the pockets. It was the first time I’d sewn a quilted fabric, the first time I’d sewn a lined item, and the first time I’d done bound seams. It’s far from perfect, but it was a great learning experience, and the jacket is one I’m enjoying wearing. I made it during Melbourne’s last lockdown, and I couldn’t leave the house to find buttons, so the little yellow “buttons” are actually repurposed earrings. I think they work a treat! Day 31
I actually had a different make planned for the final day of Me Made May 2021, but lockdown + sick toddler + a general feeling of apathy took its toll, so instead I’m rounding out the month with the old (but still perfectly serviceable) Torrens Box Top dress hack (from Muna & Broad – to a 71.5” hip), made from Doops Designs fabric. The skirt on this is entirely too short (I didn’t buy enough yardage) and I refuse to wear it without the thickest of thick tights, so it doesn’t get as much airtime as it deserves to. I love the print though, and the simply cut of the dress (the same as the one featuring the fabric from First Nations artist Mavis Nampitjinpa Marks) is classic and versatile. I’ve been thinking about making another in a midi length from some glamorous drapey silk or something, but this year’s #memademay has brought so many terrific new patterns to my attention that it might have to wait.