Thursday, May 23, 2013

Me-Made May'13 - May 18-23

Here are the Me-Made May'13 outfits for May 18-23. The weather had initially been very humid and sweaty. Then a after a couple of violent rain/wind storms, it became really cold again! Definitely not time to pack up the warmer clothing yet.

May 18:
Top: Me Made cotton shirt (see this post).
Buttom: Me Made baby blue stretch jeans (see this post)

May 19:
Top: Me Made mustard/black knit faux wrap top (McCall's 5271)
Bottom: Me-Made stretch denim jeggings (McCall 5273)

May 20:
Top: Thrifted black cotton cardigan
Dress: Me-Made red dress (see this post)
Bottom (under the dress): Me-Made boy shorts. I always wear some sort of shorts when I wear dresses/skirts. I don't want to accidentally flash someone if I was playing or struggling with one of my kids. This is my first boyshort underpants prototype (based on a pair of well-worn store bought shorts). As you can see the sewing is a bit sloppy. I was trying to sew it up quickly to figure out the fit. I'm going to tweak it a bit more and sew lots and lots of them using scrap knits in my stash. Hurrah to boyshorts!
May 21:
Top: Me-Made peasant blouse (see this post)
Bottom: Me-Made stretch denim shorts (Vogue 8157)

May 22:
It was much colder today so I had to layer up.
Top: Me-Altered store bought denim shirt. As with all store bought stuff, I had to release the back darts because they didn't fit my short waisted frame. Plus store bought tshirt when I went to New York City almost 10 years ago.
Bottom: Me-Made red skinny jeans (see this post)

May 23:
Cardigan: Thrifted black cotton cardigan.
Dress: Me-Made denim dress (see this post).
Under the Dress: Me-Made stretch knit boyshorts.

I hope next week will be warmer so that I can wear all the summer dresses I have made!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Need to Create vs Too much stuff......A ramble

I love creating garments and accessories - whether sewing, refashioning, beading, etc. I feel the most balanced and content with my life (despite all the chaos with 2 active young kids) when I do some sort of creative projects about 3 or 4 times a week - even if just for 30 minutes each time. I am usually happy and relaxed and feel a real sense of accomplishment after doing something creative (except for those sewing fails!).

With all the creation comes the results of all the creations. Frankly I have kept too much of what I have created! Seriously, who really 'needs' 15 summer dresses? I don't have a huge closet but my current 'small' walk-in closet is about 3 times the size of the regular closet I had when I was living in the UK. And it's choke full of stuff. Mind you, the weather in the UK doesn't vary as much as where I live now, where it can go easily from -25 C in the winter to 40 C in the summer. Still, I come back to the same question,' how much of my creations do I wear and how much of my creations I should keep?'

I have a hard time parting with my creations. I clean out my closet about twice a year. I have no problems donating store bought clothing but I can't seem to part with my creations year after year. Even the stuff that I know I probably will never fit into again, I kept thinking that perhaps one day I could refashion them into something useful for myself or my kids. So they just keep piling up in my closet.

I'm trying to live a life with less clutter and making do with less 'stuff'. I'm not too successful when it comes to stuff that I have made. Do you have a hard time parting with stuff that you have created too? How do you balance the need to create and your storage situation?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Me-Made May'13 - May 13 to 17

Here are the outfits for Me-Made May'13 from May 13 to 17. The weather was still a bit cool in the morning and warmed up a bit in the afternoon but then cold again in the evening. Layer was still key for this period.

May 13:
Top 1: Me-Made pink cotton button down shirt (Simplicity 5204). I wore this shirt many times to the office. This shade of pink is one of the rare pinks that is more flattering for my skin tone.
Top 2: Thrifted grey merino wool sweater that's crying out for a refashion!
Bottom: Me-Made black Polartec Windbloc leggings (McCall 5273). My local fabric store sold these Polartec remnants from years past at a deep discount a few years back. I originally made them for winter sports and they perform extremely well for that purpose. They became my regular throw-on pants this past winter. They are not super fitted so they sort of look like knit fitted pants.

May 14:
Top 1: Me-Altered turtleneck to crewneck black cotton ribknit top
Top 2: Me-Made blue wool/mix boucle woven cardigan/jacket (Butterick 5104 - see this post for the refashioning of this me-made jacket)
Bottom: Same Me-Made Polartec Windbloc knit pants

May 15:
Top: Me-Made grey sweatshirt tunic (Butterick 5241 - see this post)
Bottom: Me-Made stretch denim jeggings (McCall 5273). Very much loved 3 season pants. I altered the pattern to make it quite high waisted so that it holds back all my lumpy bits at my midriff.

May 16:
Top 1: Me-Altered Men's XL 80's buttondown shirt (see this post). This top is loose-fitting and super comfy to wear. The pattern of the shirt seemed scary at first but actually works with many pieces in my wardrobe.
Top 2: Me-Altered thrifted cardigan (I changed the buttons only)
Bottom: Same Me-Made stretch denim jeggings (McCall 5273)

May 17:
Dress: Me-Altered thrifted XL black terry cloth dress (same as last week's). I still want to refashion it a bit more to give it more character.

Under the Dress: Me-Made red swimsuit (Kwik Sew 2690, same as the black one from last week. See this post for the making of the red swimsuit). This swimsuit, as well as the black me-made one have performed well so far at chlorinated pools and lakes/rivers already. Hopefully they will last a few more years.

Let's see if the weather will get warmer next week. I have lots of dresses that I want to wear with bare legs! ;-)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Great Hair Experiment has come to a halt....

After reading Meggipeg's blog about her 'all-water' hair experiment (see here) in March, I decided to try that myself too. For 2 months straight, I was washing my hair with water only. Nothing else. No shampoo, no conditioner, no hair spray, no gel, no mousse, etc, etc etc. It felt a bit greasy at the root but also a bit dry at the ends. I thought I could stick it out for another month to see how every goes....

....that was until I went swimming at a chlorinated pool with my daughter. We have resumed our weekly swim and there was no way I was going to let the chlorine stay on my hair. Unfortunately baking soda didn't wash away that film of chlorine. So I had to use shampoo to wash out my hair. Sigh! So much for trying to live a less toxic life! I guess I should start researching on what non-toxic alternatives there may be to wash off chlorine off my hair?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Encore Pattern Review - New Look 6752 dress

This is an Encore Pattern Review for the New Look 6752 dress. The first attempt can be seen here.

This time around I used this cotton/poly mix crinkle fabric from my stash. It had been there for a long time and I had just enough to make this dress. I guess I really like red because there are lots of red fabrics in my stash! The dress sewed up really quickly since it's my 2nd time sewing this, and because it is a really easy to sew pattern to begin with.

I made some changes to the original pattern:
1) I narrowed the a-line shape of the dress. Now it just has a slight a-line.
2) I raised the front shoulder seams by about 2cm because I found that the fabric was pull from the top of the chest all the way to the shoulders. It's better now but still not completely smooth. I might have stretched the fabric a bit too when I was sewing the gathered neckline.
3) I added shoulder tabs and buttons to jazz it up a bit. The original dress was fine but a bit boring. And I have tonnes of buttons in my stash!

I think it looks okay. I am still a bit self-conscious about the fabric pulling on the shoulder but hubby said he didn't notice anything. I'll test-wear it and see how it performs.

Conclusion: Easy to sew. Quick to sew. Easy to change/add your own design elements. Pull-over style. Great for the summer! I just may sew more dresses from this pattern later this year.

Me-Made May '13 - May 7 to 12

Here are the outfits for Me-Made May '13 this past week. I didn't really put a lot of thoughts into the clothing. I just wore what made sense for the activities that day, e.g. if my daughter had Kindergym that morning it would make sense for me to wear pants or shorts. Dresses would be too fiddly for those days. Oh I have to dress according to the wacky weather in our part of the world. This morning it was freezing and when I was driving it starting hailing (i.e. little balls of frozen rain falling from the sky) and then later wet snow started falling. We are all back into wool sweaters and warm jackets today, after the hot sunny and humid weather a few days ago.

May 7:

Top: Me Made poly knit faux wrap top (New Look 6729). I made a dress with this fabric too (see this post). This is one of the tops that gets worn a lot in the past few summers.
Bottom: Me-Made stretch cotton twill shorts (Vogue 8041). I made it a few years ago and had to narrow the shorts a bit for this summer. Perhaps all the wearing and laundering had stretched the fabric a bit too much?

May 8:

Top: Me-altered men's XL cotton tee into a side tie cap sleeves tee (see this post).
Bottom: Me-Made stretch cotton denim shorts based on Vogue 8157. I did the pull-on self fabric contour waistband for these shorts (same waistband as the pants in this post).

May 9:

Top: Me-Made ponte di roma knit faux wrap top (same pattern as the yellow print one above - see this post). Again another go-to top for me for the summer.
Bottom: Me-Made baby blue stretch cotton twill slim pants (see this post). I have to figure out what else in my wardrobe will work with these baby blue pants other than black.

May 10:

Dress: Me-Altered black terry cloth knit dress. This dress was very wide and it was like a tent on me. I just took in the side seams gradually to fit me. However, I think I can refashion it some more to give it more character. Perhaps some pockets? (NOTE: I deleted the picture of me wearing the dress by mistake. So here is the dress on a hanger.)

Under the dress: I'm not done yet! I went swimming at the local pool with my daughter this morning and i had this Me-Made swimsuit (see this post) under the dress. I'm getting lots of use of my Me-Made swimsuits already!

May 11:

Top: Me-Made ponte di roma knit jacket (see this post). I wear this jacket very often in the Fall but not so much in the Spring. It was starting to get cold again this morning so a jacket was in order.
Bottom: Me-Altered store bought jeans. I shortened the pant length. I'm short so any time I buy pants/jeans at a regular store, I always have to shorten the pant legs.

May 12:

Top 1: Me-Altered store bought purple silk blouse. Everything fit on this blouse except the back darts were in the wrong place for my body. I have a short waist so anything with darts need to be altered. So I just released the back darts and it became a slightly loose-fitting silk blouse which suits me just fine.
Top 2: Me-Altered thrifted Men's XL wool mix sweater. It was very wide and boxy. I just used an existing, well-fitted knit top as a guide to cut and sew this sweater to fit my body. I had been wearing it quite a bit this past winter.
Bottom: The same Me-Altered jeans from yesterday.

Well those are the outfits for this past week. Who knows what kinda of weather we will be having this coming week? More snow? Should I bring out my snow boots again? ;-)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Refashion: Grey XL Men tee to side tie ladies' tee

I was given this grey XL men's tee by a family member and I was actually using it for sleeping. It seems to be of good quality and the material is not thin and it wasn't stretched out of shape. I thought I could do something with it to increase my options for Me-Made May 2013.


I remember seeing a tutorial by mytwobutterflies regarding a men's tshirt refashion (see this post) so I thought I would try it too. But first I cut off the existing ribbed neckline and made it into a boatneck. I sewed a piece of clear elastic on the wrong side to prevent the neckline from stretching out further. I then cut the sleeves off, cut off some of the sides to make the shirt narrower and made cap sleeves. Then I cut off some of the bottom length and made the side ties as per the tutorial. The last thing to do was to turn the raw edges under and then topstitched. Voila! A very quick and easy tshirt transformation! Thanks for the idea Jennifer (of mytwobutteriflies)!

Encore Pattern Review: McCall's 5273 pants

Since making the red skinny pants (see this post) and tweaking the pattern to my liking, I thought I would make another pair of skinny pants with the same pattern in another stash fabric. This time I chose a baby blue stretch cotton that I bought quite a few years ago. I don't remember if I bought it for myself or for the kids. Anyway, I had enough yardage so I just cut and sewed the pants quickly. The fabric doesn't have as much stretch as the red stretch cotton so the fit is a bit loser on me. I added back pockets again and added a zig-zag design to the pockets to jazz it up a bit.

For these pants, I decided to make the Reitman style waistband (no closure pull on waistband). I refashioned another pair of me-made pants a few years back with this style of waist band and was happy with it (See this post) so I thought I'd try it again with these pants. I used the waistband pattern piece as a guide to draft a front and a back waistband. I used a 3/4 inch elastic and zig-zagged it into the seam allowance. I know others had tried to replicate the Reitman style waistband with 1/4 inch clear elastics but I really feel that I need the thick heavy waistband to hold back my tummy rolls so that the waistband doesn't roll over.

I'm pretty happy with these pants and I think I can probably get away with wearing these pastel coloured pants in the spring and summer days (with an untucked top). I'm also happy that I have tweaked this pattern enough that I can sewed these pants up easily and quickly.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Me Made May - May 1 to May 6

I've not blogged for a little while. Each Spring and Fall, the kids and adults in our household always have these lingering colds going on - not sick enough to be totally out of commission, but sick enough to be tired and cranky all day every day. I have done some sewing and refashioning but I haven't taken pictures yet. They will be coming soon.

Anyway, here are my outfits for the first 6 days of 'So, Zo...'s Me Made May. I did pledge to wear at least 2 items of me-made or me-altered clothing/accessories each day. Well, I think I did it!

May 1:
Top: Me-Altered Men's XL argyle cotton sweater (see this post)
Bottom: store bought leggings

May 2:
Top 1: Me-altered thrift shop cotton cardigan (I just changed the buttons)
Top 2: Thrifted cotton t-shirt
Bottom: Me-Made red skinny jeans (see this post)

May 3:
Dress: Me-altered Large ribbed knit dress that was down to my calves. I shortened the hem and took in the shoulder seams and the side seams to fit me better.

May 4:
Top: Me-Made cotton tunic. This is a regular favourite of mine for the past few summers. It's lightweight and blocks out some sun even when I forgot to put on sunscreen. The black/white print goes with everything (see this post).
Pants: Me-Made stretch cotton woven shorts based on Vogue 8041.

May 5:
 Top: Me-Made cotton voile peasant top (see this post). Also a summer favourite for the past few years.
Botton: Me-Made Red skinny jeans (what? The red jeans are making a repeat appearance already? Must have been on top of the laundry pile!)

May 6:
Dress: Me-altered cotton dress (see this post)
Botton: store bought leggings

You might have noticed that some of the days I have only worn 1 piece of me-made/me-altered clothing in the pictures. But wait! I was wearing this me-altered hat out all week (see this post):