Me Made May 2019 round up

I was excited about Me Made May this year mainly because I love seeing everyone’s outfits and discovering new sewists, but also because it’s the first year that it didn’t seem like a huge effort for me since I’ve got quite a vast handmade wardrobe now. Aside from a couple of jackets, one or two staple tops and some dodgy holiday t-shirts, my wardrobe is 100% handmade – it’s not something I consciously tried to do, in fact I think if I’d set out to do it it would have been a daunting and unenjoyable task. Instead, it happened out of a lack of enjoyment for clothes shopping, boycotting some of the worst offenders for fast fashion and an obsession with making dresses.

On top of Me Made May I was also doing a walking challenge with my work, which is why you might have seen me live and die in my Supergas. If you know me in real life it’s not my usual look but I’m also really competitive so it had to be done. I actually don’t know how to wear real shoes anymore now so it will likely continue forever.

Me Made May was however tougher than I thought, mainly because I was made redundant from my job halfway through. Now I don’t usually share personal details on here but this is directly relevant since it meant I had very little need to get dressed, and so for a few days in May I wore pyjamas, although they were me made pyjamas, and I really only left the house to go to the gym or supermarket.

I think if it had been any other month I probably would have had many more pj days, but I realised that even if you just get dressed to go to Lidl it can actually make you feel quite good. So many of my outfits documented on weekdays were worn with very little purpose except to get groceries and cat litter, but in the spirit of being #everdayfabulous (a la By Hand London’s Elisalex) I did it in style. I guess I learnt that you get dressed for you and you alone so if you want to go to the supermarket wearing Valentino then absolutely do.

So here is a roundup of my outfits for May. I’ll leave you guessing as to which ones I carried the cat litter in.

SLEEVELESS SUMMER DRESSES:

L-R: By Hand London Anna skirt with Flora bodice & Nina Lee Kew sleeves in Rifle Paper co rayon; Sew Over It Betty with self drafted back in Liberty lawn; By HandLondon Flora in linen; BHL Flora in Liberty lawn; Nina Lee Kew in Rifle Paper co rayon; BHL Flora in Rifle Paper Co cotton; BHL Flora in broderie anglaise; BHL Flora in Liberty lawn; Nina Lee Kew in linen; BHL Flora in Liberty lawn

I thought I had tonnes of summer dresses, and I do, but I realised a gap in my wardrobe is summer dresses with a more streamlined silhouette. My recent autumn/ winter makes have had more A-line skirts rather than full circle girliness and I want to replicate that for summer, so expect more Kew/Eloise/Anna dresses to come.

SLEEVED DRESSES:

L-R: By Hand London Jenna in cotton; BHL Orsola in Rifle Paper co rayon; BHL Anna with Nina Lee Kew skirt in Rifle Paper co rayon x2; BHL Holly with self drafted sleeves and Nina Lee Kew skirt in Liberty silk satin; Nina Lee Kew in viscose; BHL Holly/Nina Lee Kew in Rifle Paper co rayon; Selkie London in crepe; BHL Anna in Rifle Paper co rayon; BHL Holly/Nina Lee Kew in Liberty crepe.

OCCASION:

L-R: By Hand London Flora/Anna with Nina Lee Kew sleeves in gifted Rifle Paper co rayon; BHL Flora bodice/ Nina Lee Kew sleeves and Sew Over It Betty skirt in Valentino crepe; BHL Flora/Anna in Valentino crepe.

I also didn’t buy any fabric – woohoo! Well I bought some but it hasn’t arrived yet so that doesn’t count. And I managed to finish my brother’s shirt which has taken me nearly 2 years out of sheer laziness. I made my boyfriend a sweatshirt, and made 2 ties for my brother’s wedding. And I managed to squeeze in making a Kew dress and a Kew/Flora/Betty dress for a wedding. Not bad!

Here’s to next May and in the meantime even if you see me in the local supermarket I’ll be wearing some kind of ankle grazing floral number.

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[Gifted fabric] Rifle Paper Co Anna/Flora/Kew hack

One of the most exciting things that’s happened in my sewing journey was when I went to meet Anna Rifle Bond in Liberty where she was doing a signing. To be honest I felt kind of silly, queuing up to tell her how much of a creative idol she is to me and asking for a photo, my mouth dry with nerves. But when I approached her wearing my Tilly and the Buttons Martha in Rifle Paper co rayon she said that she recognised me from Instagram, she’d saved some of my photos and she liked my dresses. Well I was just about gobsmacked. She said she’d send me some fabric from her new collection which was being released in a few months. I’m not really sure what I said at that point but assuming it didn’t make a lot of sense.

Then fast forward to a couple of months later and it arrived.. the most perfect, bright, beautifully detailed rayon to make my summer dress dreams come true.

Since this was a special moment for me, I wanted to make something that did the fabric justice and also embodied my sewing journey so far. I thought about it A LOT and then decided on this mash of the By Hand London Flora bodice and Anna skirt, with the Nina Lee London Kew side straps. I was hoping the result would be casually elegant and also versatile, being able to dress it up with wedges or down with trainers.

It pretty much went to plan and she turned out exactly as I’d hoped! I made some modifications including a lower neckline, shorter skirt length, double leg slits and had to make the Kew straps a bit longer since the Flora is narrower than the Kew at the shoulders.

I’m really happy with this one, I think she’ll make many appearances throughout the summer. She’ll also remind me of an amazing day and collaboration that I never dreamed would happen, and the best decision ever to take the afternoon off work.

[Pattern Test with Gifted fabric] By Hand London Jenna

So a very exciting thing happened, I applied to be a pattern tester for By Hand London and they picked me to be on their team of testers among some very talented sewists. This was my first time pattern testing and I fell in love as soon as I saw the pattern. She’s called Jenna and she is a little bit 90s, a little bit 60s and very classy. There are two versions and one has a high neck and Peter Pan collar – I’ll be honest that one is a bit of me. But I wanted to try something new this time so opted for the square neck, and was seduced by those tie sleeves. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I took the neckline up very slightly, maybe 1.5cm, because low necklines don’t look good on me, and I LOVE the result, way more flattering than I expected especially with the bias cut skirt.

And now to talk about THAT fabric. Yes you recognise it correctly it’s ex- Kate Moss for Topshop from my fave people at New Craft House. They ever so kindly gifted me this fabric for the pattern test. When I heard they were going to supply me with fabric I knew exactly what I wanted. The pairing of this fabric with the Jenna made all my teenage dreams come true as at the time I always lusted after the Kate Moss for Topshop dresses but couldn’t afford one. I also thought they were too short. And also heard they shrunk in the wash. So I was able to change all of those things, avoiding a bum-skimming hem and pre-washing my fabric.

So grateful to By Hand London and New Craft House for making this happen and essentially pushing me out of my high neck, Rifle Paper Co comfort zone! I can see more Jenna’s in my future, especially the Peter Pan version in Autumn.

Anna/Kew hack in Rifle Paper Co vines

I’ve already blogged about an Anna/Kew hack in a previous post so I will spare you the details but in short this is one of my favourite hacks, so simple and only needed 2 metres of fabric.

I bought this Rifle Paper Co rayon from Sister Mintaka. It’s one of my favourite fabrics to work with because it’s so soft and slinky but still easy to sew. Since I only had 2 metres I had to be quite creative with the pattern placement – in this fabric I knew the placement would be make or break and truly I’m not sure if I nailed it, although I have had some lovely comments on Instagram to say otherwise – thanks for making me feel better about it!

I finished the bodice with binding and added side slits to the skirt. I’ve seen a lot of dresses this style on the high street recently with side slits so I wanted to try it out, although I initially made them a bit too high and have some people on the Tube an eyeful, so I have gone back and edited them a little lower now!

Overall, really love this dress and it’s the fabric that makes it. I also bought it in cream and am still deciding what to do with it so watch this space.

Anna/Kew Rifle Paper Co dress

I’ve done a few different hacks of the Kew dress and Holly bodice but this time I decided to use the Anna bodice (By Hand London). It’s one of my favourite bodices to sew up, so simple and easy to adjust. I think paired with the Kew skirt it’s quite a 1940s silhouette so I love it in this classic red floral rayon by Rifle Paper Co. I bought it from Sister Mintaka, she always has a fab selection of fabrics.

I only needed 2 metres for the dress and it was only cut in 6 pieces in total so a super simple make. I used bias binding to finish the neckline and made a sash from offcuts.

It’s one of my most worn recent makes and I’ve already made another in some more Rifle Paper co rayon and earmarked some of my stash for some more!

Holly/Kew Rifle Paper Co dress

My latest hack go-to is the By Hand London Holly bodice with the Nina Lee Kew skirt. I love this hack because it’s versatile – it’s a bit of a blank canvas since it’s such a classic shape and you can easily add any type of sleeve. It also only uses about 2 metres of fabric (sometimes a bit more depending on sleeves) which means I’ve ended up making many of them!

This fabric is one that I missed out on the first time round when Rifle Paper Co released it, it’s from their first collection, Menagerie. I saw that Minerva Crafts were selling it so I just had to get it. I wanted to make something with a bit of a 70s vibe so I added volume to the sleeves with elastic at the cuffs and a fake button placket.

To do the button placket I cut the front piece on the fold and stitched straight down with the fabric still folded in half. I then ironed it flat and stitched at each side of the button placket. I added some big pearl beads from eBay.

For the skirt, I cut the front piece on the fold instead of in two pieces and I cut the back piece in two and added seam allowance so I could add an invisible zip.

Overall, I’m really happy with the dress and think I’ll wear it in all seasons. I love the simplicity of the Kew skirt so I’ll definitely be pairing this with other bodice patterns too.

Liberty Silk Satin Holly/Kew dress

When in Liberty I regularly stroke the silk satins, dreaming of floaty dresses and luxurious pjs. Obviously it’s pretty pricey unless you’re able to get a remnant in the sale but I found this silk satin ‘Juniper’ at Shaukat for £25 per metre and thought I could squeeze a Vampire’s Wife/ Reformation inspired midi dress out of 2 metres.

For the pattern I used the By Hand London Holly bodice (minus the button placket), self drafted some puffy sleeves and used the Nine Lee Kew skirt again without the button placket. I added an invisible zip to the back to keep the shape nice and simple and let the fabric stand out.

I French seamed the whole dress and used Liberty bias binding from my stash for the neckline. I didn’t want to line the dress because I wanted it to be really light and luxurious, and it does actually feel like secret pyjamas when you’re wearing it.

You might recall that I put out a call for anti static solutions on my Instagram stories, because it does cling a bit. So if you see me touch a metal grounded bench whilst wearing this, that’s why. FYI the most successful of the advice I received was misting water so I just gave it a brief steam from a distance with a travel steamer. I’ve worn it twice so far and the second wear wasn’t static at all so I think that’s a winner.

Although traditionally a little dressy for the day, I have worn this casually with boots and tights; equally it can be dressed up with strappy heels. Since the fabric is so light I think it will be wearable in hotter temperatures too and perfect for a summer’s evening.

I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for silk satin remnants in the Liberty sales as it is a dream to wear and much easier to sew than I originally thought it would be. Although I don’t think I’m ready to hand wash ALL of my clothes so I’ll keep the silks to these one off garments I think!