Me Made May – Week Three

Can we, er, pretend it’s still May? Thanks!

Me Made May: day 16 – self drafted jumpsuit using Muna & Broad’s Birchgrove Pants & a modded version of the bodice from the Demeter Dress from Anna Allen. Sewn with a green linen from The Fabric Store.

It doesn’t really look like it, but this is the exact same pattern in the exact same size as the ochre linen jumpsuit from earlier this month. The difference fabric choices make, huh? The one is linen from The Fabric Store as well, but of a lighter weight, and it doesn’t loosen up nearly as much, making these a much more fitted style.

I actually made these first (and made a real hash of them to be perfectly honest) and instead of creating the extra wide neck for entry I made an exaggerated keyhole at the back and fastened it with a little button.

I’ve decided for my next attempt I’m going to draft extra wide armholes and add fastenings at the shoulders so that I can keep the higher neckline, and wear it with fuller and puffed sleeves underneath. Maybe one day I’ll even get around to sewing it!

Worn today with the beautiful Sundew skivvy from Nancybird and boots from Ziera

Me Made May: day 17 – cuff top from The Assembly Line, made from a vintage tablecloth

One of my favourite me-makes, this lovely top was the result of a disappointing online shopping experience.

For years I’ve been a fan of the wonderful Australian native prints that you can find on vintage souvenir table cloths and tea towels – in fact I wore my first souvenir tea towel skirt on the blog way back in June 2012. Whenever I see a vintage Australian Flora tablecloth on eBay or Etsy I’m compelled to buy it. I have a tidy stash now, but this one – advertised as “good used condition” was so stained and ratty that I simply couldn’t figure out what to do with it.

It languished in the bottom of a drawer for ages before I pulled it and discovered that with a bit of careful positioning I’d be able to cut a Cuff Top out of the unstained bits.

The result’s a gorgeously soft, unique, and striking blouse that I can dress up or down.

I’m wearing it today with the beautiful, BEAUTIFUL Wave Skirt from Nancybird’s current range. I am absolutely thrilled (thrilled somehow doesn’t even quite capture my level of joy) to have partnered with Nancybird to celebrate their new range, which goes up to a size 20. You can read an interview I did with them and check out some of my favourite looks here.

The skirt was gifted to me for the purpose of taking photos, but as you can see I’m going to continue to wear the hell out of it, because it goes with so much of my wardrobe!

Me Made May: day 19 – Torrens Box Top lengthened into a dress, in fabric printed by Next State

I took the day off Me Made yesterday to celebrate my (gulp!) 44th birthday. Back with a vengeance today in one of my most regularly worn makes.

I call this my Dark Side of the Rainbow dress for elaborate Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz reasons, but mostly because the print – designed by Lily Fink for Next State – reminds me of block printed rainbows.

I had it printed on the gorgeously heavy and textured Byron fabric, which has a lovely oatmeally base colour, and provided the perfect not-too-much contrast from the black.

I made the long sleeve version of Muna & Broad’s Torrens Box Top, and simply added enough length at the hem to make it a simple dress. I used patch pockets (carefully pattern matched) and utilised what was left of the yardage for a versatile wide-narrow sash that would add some shape if I literally ever wore it.

I don’t mind a bit of shapeless volume – even with stiffer fabrics – even though they fly in the face of every bullshit “what you should wear” fashion rule for women of my size.

Have you noticed how many of these rules are aimed at trying to make women look like they take up less space in the world?

I hope no-one here is still listening to this kind of garbage. Wear the horizontal stripes. Wear the bold prints and the colour and the voluminous shapes. We all deserve to be seen.

Me Made May: day 20 – Estuary Skirt from Sew Liberated in a cotton sateen from Nerida Hansen designed by Brook Gossen

This skirt has made an appearance in every #MeMadeMay I’ve done since I made it in 2019. I’ve fluctuated maybe four dress sizes since then, so to be honest it’s one of the oldest Me Makes still in my closet. The shape of the skirt and the elasticised back waistband are clearly very forgiving!

Despite how much I love this pattern, this is actually the only Estuary skirt I have in my wardrobe. I’m keen to make another, possibly in more of a midi length and in a plain colour. Stay tuned!

Wearing it today with a sweater from Tirelli, tights from Snag, and boots from Florsheim.

Me Made May: day 22 – Torrens Box Top from Muna and Broad and A-line Midi Skirt from The Assembly Line. Made from muslin baby wraps from Gorman Playground

What a weekend! For international followers who might not be aware, Australia went to the polls yesterday, and this morning my family, myself, and pretty much everyone I know woke up feeling hopeful about the future for the first time in a decade. The celebratory vibe continued throughout the whole day, as we threw E’s third birthday party – complete with fairy bread, chocolate crackles, pass the parcel, and a cake shaped (more or less) like a bin truck.

For today’s #memademay contribution, here’s the other half of my #gormanbutfat mock-dress made from muslin baby wraps designed by Melanie McIlwain for Gorman Playground. I so love this print – it’s cool and contemporary and the colours are terrific, and the fabric – while being a total pain in the ass to sew – is a pleasure to wear.

The skirt is The Assembly Line’s Midi A-line skirt, which is a comfortable elastic waist skirt with big pockets and loads of casual chic.

I’ve actually made two tops out of this fabric now. I bought four wraps in total, and managed to make this ensemble out of three, which left me a spare which I turned into the Cuff Top that you saw earlier this month. This Torrens Box Top was the original though. I was having a little trouble keeping the hem tucked, so I actually brought the sides in a little to make the shape more fitted.

Wearing it today with a long cardigan from Sussan for some extra maximalist pattern-clashing.

Me Made May – Week Two

Me Made May: day 8 – self drafted elastic waist dress (bodice a mashup of the Marilla Walker Maya top and the Wiksten top with a bit of extra creative license around the sleeves; skirt a pocketless mod of The Assembly Line’s Midi A-line skirt; cobbled together using the instructions for The Assembly Line’s Cuff Dress). Fabric from Bonnie & Buttermilk

I don’t toile even though I know I really, really should. It’s just… with a job and a small child and a household to (co)run and meals to cook and ironing to do and books to read, it’s hard enough finding the time to sew one thing, without adding the extra time/money/resources to sew another one in a fabric I don’t like as much simply as a practice run.

I think this is probably what I mean when I tell people that I am an extremely amateur sewist. I find a pattern I want to try, and I dive straight in with the fabric I most want for it, and just hope for the best. Usually it pays off.

This dress is basically an exact (plus size) replica of a dress from @kimdergwand, which I saw shared by Tilly & The Buttons a couple of months ago. Kim’s version is the Lotta Dress (which @aweedyseadragon has also made an exceptional version of) and honestly if I was being sensible I would have bought the Lotta, made a toile, made any necessary alterations, then used my expensive, imported Bonnie and Buttermilk fabric to make a perfectly fitting heart-print Lotta of my own.

Reader, this is not what I did.

And it was fine.

I’m not quite sure what the point of this story is. I’m certainly not advocating for others to adopt my slipshod ways. I guess I’d just like to encourage people – especially those starting out for the first time – to not be overawed by the sewing process. It doesn’t have to be hard, or complicated, or time consuming. It can just be fun.

Me Made May: day 9 – Demeter dress from Anna Allen, made from a rough woven cotton-linen slub thing from GJ’s Fabrics.

This dress is kind of case-in-point when I talk about how I don’t toile, and it ends up mostly OK.

For years I’ve been on the eternal hunt for the Ultimate Brunswick Hipster Farmer’s Market Smock Dress, and to be honest they’re mostly all been variations on a theme (boxy bodice + gathered skirt). I’ve tried about six different iterations from the Fen Dress at Fancy Tiger Crafts (best pockets) to the Hope Dress at Style Arc (puffed sleeves!) to a variety of self-drafted things I’ve hacked together using different top patterns and skirt patterns.

The one I keep coming back to (and it’s annoying because the size range is limited up to a 51” hip) is Anna Allen’s Demeter Dress.

It’s not a perfect pattern – the pockets are those silly side seam ones that flap around, and the waist seam is too low, the neckline too wide, and the size chart is out of whack. But it’s the one I usually reach for when I’m making a smock dress.

The most recent version I made is the Mirka Mora dress from day three of Me Made May, and by this point I know to make it perfect I have to cut a size smaller, lift the neckline up, shorten the bodice and lengthen the hem, and swap out those pockets for my preferred Birchgrove trouser pockets

This, here, is the original version I made, right out of the packet, in a costly linen from GJ’s Discount fabrics.

It’s not perfect – the pockets are a particular bugbear because they’re at exactly the right height to add lumpy volume to my upper thighs whilst simultaneously being too far down my body to be in any way practical – but I still wear it ALL THE TIME.

Wearing it today with a cardigan from Commonry, tights from Snag, shoes from Ziera and necklace from Wyldling Spirit.

Me Made May: day 10 – Torrens Box Dress from Muna & Broad in a fabric from Doops Designs.

What comes first, the fabric or the pattern? Usually I fall in love with a pattern, then try to find the perfect fabric for the project, but occasionally I fall just head-over-heels in love with a print and I buy a few metres for a future project.

Now that I’m sewing more regularly I’m aware of how much yardage things take, but when I first started out I used to think most things could be made out of 2 metres (it certainly LOOKS like a lot of fabric!).

Which is a long-winded way of saying I wish this Torrens Box Top dress was six inches longer, but at the time I’d only bought a limited amount of this gorgeous linen from Doops Designs, and so it’s not.

It’s actually a perfectly reasonable length, but I’m a bit shy about my knees, so every time I wear it I find myself self-consciously tugging the hem down throughout the day, and I would never wear it without tights. I keep thinking I need to retire it, but the fabric’s just too good.

Maybe one day I’ll hem it into a shirt, but for now it just mostly hangs in my closet reminding me that when it comes to stash fabric less is definitely not more.

Me Made May: Day 11 – Cuff Top from The Assembly Line in a repurposed muslin wrap from Gorman Playground, and Sculthorpe Pants from Muna & Broad in a linen from The Fabric Shop

So, apparently Gorman has started doing a size 20 (ish, there’s not much on offer yet). I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Gorman. Love the prints, hate the size exclusivity. Love the styles, hate that they have less-than-outstanding ethical fashion cred. Love the staff, hate their reputation for ripping off indie artists.

Nothing in the range – which consists of a whopping four items out of 267 – catches my eye, but (let’s be real) if they keep expanding it, I will almost certainly buy something down the track.

In the meanwhile I have my terrific #gormanbutfatter ensemble, made with repurposed muslin baby wraps designed by @melanie_macilwain for Gorman Playground.

I decided rather than make a dress I would make a top and a skirt that could be worn separately or together, and today I’m wearing the top with a pair of Sculthorpe pants from Muna and Broad which were made out of the same heavyweight ochre linen as the jumpsuit I was wearing earlier, but dyed black for Black Fridye by Citizen Wolf when I realized that black pants went with much more of my wardrobe than orange ones.

Me Made May: Day 12 – Demeter Dress from Anna Allen, from a repurposed tablecloth from Adairs

The biggest down-side to sewing is that you can’t try something on before you make it. And sometimes – whether it’s the style, the fabric, the fit, or something else entirely – the project that you’ve laboured over just isn’t quite what you’d envisioned.

I made this dress last year from an absolute show-stopper of a linen tablecloth designed by Dana Kinter for Adairs. I loved it – the pattern, the fabric, the fit. I wore it a handful of times, and then… stopped.

I was looking at it in my wardrobe recently and trying to puzzle out why I so rarely reached for it. Did I think it was too special for every day? (No). Did it fit awkwardly? (No). Was it annoying to launder? (No).

Eventually I figured it out. Originally I made the dress sleeveless, thinking I’d layer it pinny-style over long sleeves in winter, and wear it with bare arms in summer. But I didn’t. I had precisely one (1) top that worked under it, and I’m newly self-conscious about my upper arms.

Luckily when I’d first sewn the dress I’d done such a good job of tetris-ing the pattern pieces that I still a smidge of fabric left over.

Too beautiful to discard, too small to do anything with. But just, juuuuust enough to cut two elbow length sleeves.

I had to get a bit creative with one (you can see the extra wedge I had to install) and the armscye is cut quite deep, which would have been an issue if I didn’t have such narrow shoulders, but a little unpicking, a little creative cobbling, and I have a dress that I both love and will hopefully wear far more often.

Me Made May: day 13 – Cuff Top in a gingham linen from GJ’s fabrics

I’ve been pretty meh about gingham for a long time. It seemed like such a sweet print – better suited to rosy-cheeked twenty-somethings and romping in meadows. I didn’t think I was cool enough to make it look cool and ironic, but then I found this oatmeal & black linen from GJ’s which was cool and ironic in its own right.

There wasn’t much more than a metre left on the roll, but it was enough to squeeze out a Cuff Top (without facing, front & back cut on the fold, and fairly cropped).

It’s quickly become one of my favourite tops! If you’re looking for some linen like this for your own project, The Linen Shack has some available now.

Worn today with a black skirt from Eva’s Sunday, boots from Florsheim Shoes, and a necklace from Elk

Me Made May: Day 14 – Kielo Dress from Named Clothing in a poppy-print fabric from Spoonflower

I made the Kielo dress earlier this year, and it’s such a show-stopper. The deceptively simple wrap shape creates a clever draped and pleated effect at the front, and is both comfortable and versatile. It’s been designed for the crossover to wrap at the front, but you can see the simple sheath-dress effect of wrapping it with the crossover at the back too.

The pattern does have a sleeved option for cooler weather, but the bright print really screamed summer at me, so I made it sleeveless and brought the hem up from the original maxi-length. I’m actually surprised by how well it layers under a chunky sweater – the bodice is clean and tight-fitting enough that it doesn’t create extra bulk, and I was able to tuck the hem of the sweater into the wrapped sash to create the illusion of a form-fitting pencil skirt.