May 30, 2014

Reflections on me-made-May

Participating in something like Me-Made-May seemed a little self-indulgent and silly to me at first.  I've always felt super awkward in pictures anyway--why would I want to commit to taking a picture of myself every day?  I know, I know.  It's not about the pictures; it's about wearing handmade clothing.  For me, the pictures gave me better idea what styles are flattering and what I realistically pull out of my closet when I get dressed.  The last thing I want to do is spend my precious sewing time on garments that I won't actually wear.  Fortunately, I've made pretty good choices up to this point.  I like clothes that are decidedly feminine and pretty, but I also like clothes that are easy.  There's nothing easier to me than pulling out a beautiful dress. One of my new goals is to make pieces that are more versatile--I think that's why I have been so pleasantly surprised by my Simplicity 1541 pencil skirt and so drawn to the Belcarra blouse. 

Another realization I made is that I could not pull off a challenge like this during a cold weather month.  While I have a few spring/summer projects still waiting for me, I probably need to begin thinking ahead to fall.  I think the biggest reason I haven't sewn very many garments for cooler weather is that I haven't been a big sewer of knits.  However, I'm definitely getting more comfortable working with knits, and I can envision some lovely Alabama Chanin-style tops, skirts, and cardigans that would be perfect for cooler temperatures.

For the sake of completely fulfilling my pledge to wear at least one handmade garment five days per week, here is my final Me-Made-May selfie:


May 29, 2014

me-made-May: the final week


This week has been a struggle in so many ways.  The end of the school year is so close and yet so.far.away that I think I'm going to lose my mind before it's all over.  Clothing has definitely been about the last thing on my mind, and taking those selfies isn't high on the list either.  #summerwhereareyou

May 26:
Colette Sorbetto (unblogged) 

Sorry for the wet hair and lack of make up.  Like I said, I'm not really into getting dressed this week, and especially not on a holiday from work.  This was my very first Sorbetto, and it's made out of fabric from my great-grandmother's stash.  This was well before I knew anything about french seams or working with sheer fabric, so it's seen many repairs.  I love it much, and I will wear it until I can no longer repair it.

May 27:
Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse (not blogged yet)

Still loving this shirt.  I'm trying to follow the sew-a-long for my third version, but I'll probably just zip through it all at once because this pattern is just that awesome.  Also, the laundry piles in the background make me laugh.

May 28:

I wasn't really sure if this blouse "matched" this skirt, but I ended up really liking this pairing.  Also, I worked out for the first time in a million years, and there are no words for my hatred of Jillian Michaels and the intensity of my soreness.

May 29:

I've been avoiding this shirt, but I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's all the bright colors?  I like it, but maybe it feels more like early spring or fall instead of summer (which is definitely what is going on right now, weatherwise).

One more handmade outfit left to fulfill my pledge...I can do this.

May 25, 2014

new developments

There have been some interesting developments around the Cooper household lately.  One of our children seems to be trying to grow up.  While we have not granted explicit permission, this process has been so cute that Cara seems to think her parents condone this activity.

Yesterday, we went to the mall, which doesn't sound all that revolutionary or unusual except that we never do it.  It's one of those things that has been replaced with online shopping or just staying home because two kids.  Anyway, we went yesterday, and Cara thought she hit jackpot.  The wonder and amazement in her voice as she exclaimed over all the stuff was hilarious.  "Mom, have you ever seen such a beautiful toaster?"  "Mom, when I'm a grown up and a parent, I'm going to get all my things here!"  And that was just while we were in Belks.

She became particularly fascinated by the purses (it's genetic), and decided that big girls have purses and she needed a real one.  Not a play purse or dress up purse, but a big girl purse to hold all the things.  A word of advice, other parents of big girls, department stores are not the place for this.  Claire's is a much better option.

And so, to Claire's we went, maneuvering poor Colin in his stroller through the smallest spaces imaginable as he grabbed every sparkly headband in sight.  Fortunately, Cara found the perfect real purse: cross-body to keep the hands free, purple because it's always been her fav, and a heart closure.  And she does love it, so much that she has not left the house without it since.

Look!  Versatility!

In addition to a new purse, Cara has also been in need of some new skirts, as she has had the audacity to get taller lately.  I used Made's layered skirt tutorial for this little baby.  It took less than a yard of fabric and maybe two hours, tops.  I lengthened the ruffle pieces and connector pieces to five inches in the hopes that this skirt would hit just below the knees so that it *might* see us through to next summer.

As much as I hate to admit, Cara's desire for all things big girl might just be warranted.  I mean, the girl does need somewhere to keep all the money that the Tooth Fairy keeps having to cough up.

Okay, she can stop it now.

May 23, 2014

me-made-May: week 4

May 19:

I am kind of amazed that this skirt still exists, as it was one of my very first adult sewing projects.  As with my last Meringue skirt, I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I like this outfit.  Meringue skirts for the win!

May 20:
Simplicity 1541 (unblogged)

Another Me-Made-May repeat, but I'm really digging this skirt.  It's only downfall--major wrinkling after sitting. 

May 21:
Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse (not blogged yet)

So, I'm now on my second Belcarra blouse with a third one already cut out and ready for construction.  I just love this pattern.  It's so easy to wear.

May 22:

Another repeat, but I replaced the bolero with denim jacket to make this a more work appropriate outfit.  This dress is super comfortable to wear, and it makes me feel like a rock star.  I'm starting to think that a closet full of Alabama Chanin-style garments might not be a bad thing.

May 23:
Victory Patterns Ava Blouse

Aaaannnddd it's another repeat.  This is another meh item that has really grown on me.  There is no beating the shape of this peplum blouse--the waistline hits in the most perfect spot, and it also happens to be really comfortable.

A few thoughts on week 4:
  • What I really want to wear are skirts and dresses.  I've been on a blouse-making kick lately, but I'm going to need some skirts in order to create actual outfits.
  • But also more dresses.
  • The iphone camera makes the picture-taking part of this challenge a lot less stressful.  Once I quit trying to take pictures every morning with the real camera and let go of that pressure, I realized that Me-Made-May doesn't require much extra effort at all.  
  • I've really enjoyed seeing how other people incorporate their handmade garments into their daily wear on Instagram too. (I'm jessicakcooper over there.)  So much inspiration!

May 16, 2014

me-made-May: week 3


 May 12:

Sorry for the mirror selfie again--it's all I had time for in the midst of returning to work after a long weekend out of town.  Must clean that mirror.  Wearing this dress makes me remember how much I love this pattern.  I need to work on fitting the bodice though; I'm thinking that I'll end up going down a size, and I must do something about the gaping at the front neckline.  I love this style though, and it's on my list of patterns to make again.

May 13:

Colette Patterns Sorbetto (unblogged)

This is a top that I refashioned last year from one of my husband's dress shirts that had a rip in the sleeve.  I took the shirt apart and used the button-down front as the back of the new top.  I had some navy polka dot bias tape in my stash leftover from my Taffy blouse a few years ago, and that was that.  Free pattern, second-hand fabric, leftover notions.

May 14:
Meringue skirt from the Colette Sewing Handbook (unblogged)

I made this skirt two summers ago, but I never put it on the blog.  I am always a little hesitant to pull out my Meringue skirts because I feel a little weird in A-line skirts.  I have no particular reason for this, and these skirts are not an exaggerated A-line, so what is my deal...

May 15:
Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse (not blogged yet)

To say that I love this blouse would be an understatement.  I whipped this baby up the night before I wore it, and I just barely managed to squeeze it out of one meter of delicious Nani Iro double gauze.  I see many, many Belcarras in my future, and this one definitely deserves a proper post. 

May 16:

My first Me-Made-May repeat is, fittingly, my newest favorite dress.  However, I'm wearing it with a cardigan and a different pair of shoes than last weekend, so it's all still in keeping with my original pledge of no exact outfit repeats.

A few observations from week 3:
  • I am really terrible at iphone selfies.  It's kind of pitiful, actually.
  • Speaking of pictures, that part of this challenge is getting old.  
  • Even though it's really annoying, taking pictures of my outfits provides a different perspective of how my clothes look on me, and it's eye-opening to realize that one style is unexpectedly flattering (for example, my Meringue skirt) while something else is a bit disappointing (I'm looking at you, refashioned Sorbetto).
  • I've been very hesitant to get rid of handmade garments that do not fit into my wardrobe for whatever reason, but I'm beginning to feel more comfortable with the idea.  It's time for a few things to move on. 

May 11, 2014

a me-made-May weekend

My little family went to Charleston for my brother's graduation this weekend.  Since it's Me-Made-May, I documented accordingly. :-)

so many cousins!

May 9:
Sewaholic Saltspring plus my mom and sister

We spent the morning on the beach and then the afternoon and evening wandering around downtown Charleston.  While it's probably more widely known for its history and architecture, Charleston has a unique style all its own, a sort of unspoken dress code.  I love it and hate it in equal parts, but it makes for great people watching.

May 10:

I would like to thank my brother for graduating from the Citadel and for giving me an opportunity to wear my beloved Alabama Chanin dress.  We look particularly goofy in these pictures--that's because I grabbed my brother's hat and put it on, as silly girls often do, but then I remembered myself and apologized for disrespecting the uniform.  A photographer walked over and encouraged me to please put the hat back on, so I complied in the same silly manner.  As he was snapping away, I realized that I definitely looked more like my brother's girlfriend than his older sister.  Ooops.  That's awkward.  

We spent the evening hanging out at the Waterfront Park fountains.  Cara was most excited to play in them, but her little brother was not quite as brave.

Colin was a bit hesitant.

Good thing he has an awesome big sis to help him out.

May 11:

We spent a good chunk of Mother's Day on the road, but I got to spend time with some of my favorite moms (my mom, my sister, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law!), so the time on the road was worth it.  Also, my niece made me an awesome Mother's Day card:

so true.

May 8, 2014

me-made-May: week 2

Here goes another week of me-made clothing!

May 4:
on Colin: Oliver and S Sketchbook Shorts (unblogged)

I may have decided that this is the last time I wear this dress.  The fit really bothers me (see that extra fabric right under the bust?), but I think it feels worse than it looks.  The lining is a cheap poly that collects lots of static and doesn't breathe well.  Also, I didn't realize how much taller Cara has gotten lately until I looked at my original post about her dress.  This one covered her knees last year.  I guess it's just one more sign that she's turning into a big girl.  She even lost her first tooth a few weeks ago!  I can't take it...

May 5:
on me: Victory Patterns Ava blouse, Simplicity 1541 skirt (unblogged)
on Cara: twirly skirt loosely based on the Market Skirt from MADE (unblogged)
on Colin: Oliver and S Sketchbook Shorts again (unblogged)

Today is a two-for-one.  For as much as I was "meh" about this blouse, it is really growing on me.  I finished this red skirt over the weekend.  I couldn't find many reviews for Simplicity 1541, which is odd because this is a great skirt pattern.  It has princess seams in the front, and it's one of Simplicity's Amazing Fit patterns, so there are three different skirt backs depending on your shape.  I went with average this time, but I might switch to curvy next time.  There is a lot LESS ease in this pattern than is usual in Simplicity patterns, but it was also really easy to construct and fit.  This skirt is actually just a muslin that turned out to be quite wearable.

May 6:

What a sad iphone mirror selfie.  I am really terrible at these.  My husband had to head out for a quick business trip, so this is all I can manage when I'm in single mama mode.  I know it's hard to tell, but I'm wearing some pretty awesome cropped navy skinnies.  The Gap is the reason that I don't sew pants--I swear their pants are designed for my body.  Also, I'm noticing a red theme so far this week.

May 7:
on me: Colette Patterns Licorice Dress (unblogged)

This is the better version of the Licorice dress that never made it to the blog.  I shortened it at the waist by an inch, and the extra fabric pooling under the bust disappeared.  It was sort of a lazy project--I used free fabric and skipped the lining, collar, and sleeves, but I think this is one of my most worn me-made items.

May 8:
Colette Patterns Sorbetto (unblogged)

I am over myself, so I cropped my head out of this picture. :-) That's what taking daily outfit pictures does to me.  However, I am really proud that I have worn something handmade every single day so far.  I already have a better idea of what my next projects need to be and which items just need to leave my closet to find a better home.

May 3, 2014

me-made-May: week 1


My pledge for Me Made May is to wear something me-made at least five days a week with no exact outfit repeats.  In preparation for the handmade clothing parade, I moved all of my me-made garments to one side of my closet so that I could get a clearer picture of the challenge ahead of me.  And challenge it may be.  I'm pretty confident that there will be some repeated pieces, probably several times, and I've already started to realize the gaps in my handmade closet.  I have not made any pants, and so far, I haven't had any burning desire to start.  My first love is definitely the dress, followed closely by skirts and tops.  However, I don't have that many tops that I really love.  Fortunately, the Belcarra and Alma blouse patterns are currently on their way to my house.  Yay!

May 1:
on Colin: Oliver and S Sketchbook Shorts (unblogged)

There is no better way to start than with perfect weather and my favorite me-made dress.  The kids were very excited to get in on the picture-taking action, and they look rather adorable in their mama-made outfits.  

May 2:
on the kids: yay for Target!

The kids didn't wear any handmade clothes this time, but they still wanted to take a picture.  Who am I to say no? :-)  I really like this skirt--it's comfortable and versatile, and it fits really well.

May 3:

No kids this time.  They were off riding bikes and being superheros.  I'm calling this entire outfit me-made since I cut those shorts off myself. :-) Me-Made-May was a good thing for me on a Saturday morning as it encouraged me to actually get dressed, which is something I generally avoid on Saturdays.  Now I'm decent enough to go to the grocery store!

So far, so good.
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