Thursday, May 31, 2012

MeMadeMay'12 - Week Four (and a bit)

The final installment of Zoe's Me Made May '12 Challenge (and it's a slightly longer one thanks to May having four-and-a-bit weeks) Let's have a look...

Day 22.
me-made faux Chanel shoes
me-made map bag
It's finally t-shirt weather! Hooray! Here's to evenings in our balcony garden! I haven't worn this t-shirt much because I felt like I had cut the neckline too low, but it's nothing a little layering can't solve!

Day 23.
me-made self drafted purpley-grey cowl neck t-shirt
(me-cropped jeans)
me-made faux Chanel shoes
me-made map bag
This is the first time in so long that I haven't worn socks and my pale feet were given their first glimpse of summer sunshine! After having to retire my high-waisted jeans I dug out these low-rise jeans which I bought around the time I made my button boots (as seen on MMMay Day 1) and I cropped them so I could show off said boots! You'll have to forgive the balcony-door-reflection photo, I'm going to pretend it's artistic. This is the closest thing we have to a full-length mirror at home.

Day 24.
me-made map bag
It's comfort all the way today! The first outing of the new skirt and I'm pretty happy with it. It may end up being more of a slouching around at home (watering the garden) skirt rather than an out and about skirt though.

Day 25.
me-made moustache pendant necklace
(me-cropped jeans)
me-made two tone pointy flat shoes
me-made map bag
Home late after staying behind at work to make my emergency hot weather sandals! I think this may be the most me-made day of the whole challenge! The moustache pendant was made in the same way as the pipe and cloud as seen in MMMay Week 2. Again, I put it on a very fine chain because I wanted it to look a bit like a tattoo. I'm really liking the new belly band. Not only does it add a bit of contrasting colour/texture to the outfit, but it also effectively hides the fact that I am employing a large safety pin to keep my jeans done up. Plus it is handy for avoiding that rather unattractive side effect of low-rise jeans - always having hitch them up to stop your bum hanging out when you sit down!

Day 26.
me-made purply-grey self drafted cowl neck t-shirt
me-made map bag
Wearing the belly band again today, this time to hide the fact that I can't fully zip this skirt up anymore! The emergency sandals had their first outing today, wandering around Greenwich Park. I ended up doing quite a lot of walking in them and by the end of the day they did rub a little bit where the ankle strap meets the inside straps. This may be partly due to my feet being all soft and tender having been tucked up in socks all winter!

Day 27.
me-made angled flip flops
me-made map bag
Another out and about day, this time in a lovely dress I found in an Op Shop (charity shop) in Canberra, Australia a couple of years ago and my oriental inspired leather flip flops. These flip flops are re-makes of a pair that I made many many years ago and wore to death!

Day 28.
me-made map bag
me-made fabric carrier bag
It's nice to be able to wear this t-shirt without a cardigan and to be able to see the little kimono sleeves.

Day 29.
me-made pony sorbetto
me-made teal belly band
(me-cropped jeans)
me-made faux Chanel shoes
me-made map bag
Confused face. Probably because I spent all day thinking today was the last day of MMMay before realising I still had a couple of days to go! I am wearing a new teal knit fabric belly band. It was something I decided I needed in the morning when I was getting dressed, so I quickly cut it out from some teal knit fabric in my stash and whipped it up in no time on my serger. Instant accessory!

Day 30.
me-made teal belly band
(me-cropped jeans)
me-made map bag
me-made fabric carrier bag
Gratuitous belly shot (mainly for the benefit of my family in Australia. Look! Look at the Botterbean!) Teal belly band teamed up with my new pointy pointy shoes! Today was their first outing and I'm very happy to report that they were very comfy!

Day 31!
me-made beaded daisy chain necklace
me-made belt
me-made faux Chanel shoes
me-made map bag
I haven't worn this necklace for ages but I thought it deserved to be included in MMMay. It is a two-and-a-half metre beaded daisy chain which I wrap around my neck, allowing me to wear the necklace at different lengths. There are little yellow beads in the centre of the white 'daisies' and there is a small loop one one end of the chain which slips over the other end to fasten it.

And that's it! I SURVIVED ME MADE MAY 2012!!! It's been a really great experience and a thought provoking challenge. I'm really glad I decided to take part this time round. I have realised that I have more me-made items than I had thought, and that it is very easy to incorporate them into my everyday wear. I have had a quick count and I've discovered that I managed to average three me-made items a day throughout the challenge which I'm pretty pleased about. This month has had the added bonus challenge of having a body changing shape enough throughout the month that some clothes I was able to wear at the beginning of the month had to be retired by the end. I suppose this meant I couldn't be lazy and repeat outfits, but it also meant fewer options when getting dressed in the morning!

Big thanks go to Zoe who dreamed up this challenge, and to her and to my fellow MMMay-ers (and to myself) I say Hip Hip! Hooray! Hip Hip! Hooray! Hip Hip! HOORAY!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A splash of colour (with added stash-busting!)

Did somebody say "butter-soft turquoise leather, flat, slip-on winklepickers with contrasting red leather binding along the topline"?
You did? Well that's an amazing coincidence because I just made myself a pair!

These shoes have been on the back burner for a while, but I finally finished them yesterday. I've been trying to inject a little more colour into my wardrobe and I believe these shoes will do just that! 

These shoes are also the result of having decided that I must make more use of my leather stash...
This is my stash. It usually lives piled up on top of the bookcase that contains all of my making stuff in my little sewing corner. I have owned some of this leather for YEARS! When sorting through these leathers I discovered that this stash contains the first skin of leather I ever bought (this was over a decade ago!) and it felt like such an important purchase that I was then too nervous to cut into it! Crazy! What's the point of having all this lovely leather if it just sits up on top of the bookcase? I have resolved to make the most of the stash and make things that I am proud to use!

So, starting with some lovely soft turquoise lamb leather and (what I think may be kangaroo skin) red leather, I made myself some more pointy shoes. The turquoise leather is more of a garment weight - it's quite floppy and not quite robust enough for everyday footwear, in fact when we use lamb for footwear at work we usually add an iron-on backing) but I wanted these shoes to be really soft and to have a bit of ease to them. Rather than my usual variations-on-the-oxford-brogue-theme, I wanted the design to be un-fussy but still with impact, and to let the lovely leather speak for itself.

I have had these winklepicker lasts for years. They are my size but are a little slimmer across the joint (the widest part of the foot) than my feet. I have added a layer of cork at the inside joint to allow for my knobbly knuckles (that's the metatarsal-phalangeal joint of my big toes, if you're being all fancy about it) and have added a leather patch to add a bit of bulk to match the lasts measurements to my own.

Despite only working on these shoes sporadically over the last few weeks, they are very quick to put together. The most time was spent making the pre-finished sole. I wore them for the first time today and they were very comfy, although my toes have ended up a bit red - not from the shoes rubbing, but because of the dyes in the red lining leather! Overall, I'm very happy with how they turned out, and I now have a simple slip-on pattern with endless possibilities for variation.

So blue, so pointy!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sewing for a bulging belly

My new baby belly has really made its presence known over the last few weeks. I have had to retire my usual high-waisted jeans along with a number of my favourite trousers and skirts, and have bought myself some black linen maternity trousers. (Oh maternity trousers, I love you so! I love your elastic panels and I shall keep you forever - you shall be my special Christmas-Dinner-and-other-similarly-proportioned-meals trousers!)

I knew I wanted to make myself a comfy below-the-belly skirt and luckily, whilst tidying up my sewing area recently, I discovered a couple of metres of navy blue knit fabric I had forgotten I had purchased. The knit fabric is of a heavier weight than I would like for a summer t-shirt, but perfect for a skirt, so with a vague plan in mind, I started cutting. I based the shape on a skirt block I had made previously, cutting the front on the fold and two panels for the back. I serged the pieces together, tried it on, took it in a bit, tried it on again, took it in a bit etc until it felt right.

I based the wide, fold-down waistband on similar design on a pair of yoga trousers I own. I cut the waistline lower at the front than the back (to sit below the belly), hence the difference in the hem length in the above shot. I cut the waistband, serged it into a tube and then serged it to the waistband. The width of the waistband allows me to fold it over a little or a lot depending how high I want it to sit.

I hadn't originally planned to have another band at the hem, but when I was hemming the skirt on my usual sewing machine, it got gobbled up into the feed plate and ripped as I was wrestling it free. I changed my needle in case that was the culprit, but once I started up again the hem got munched up again, resulting in another rip. This hadn't happened before on any of the t-shirts I've made and I found it really frustrating. I had to cut the nibbled hem off and serged on a band instead. I shall, however,  pretend that I had planned this all along - the hem band echoing the waist band.

It's not the most glamorous skirt on the hanger, and to be honest, it's not the most glamorous skirt at all, but it is comfy and that's what I wanted.

I also made myself a belly band. I used my lace print jersey left over from my peter pan collar kimono sleeve t-shirt to make a 6 inch wide tube. This very handy band is for use with trousers and skirts that still pretty much fit but without quite being able to fully do up the zips/buttons. The band sits on my hips, under my t-shirt but over the top of my low-rise jeans, effectively hiding the fact that I am holding them closed with a big safety pin! This band may mean I get a little more wear out of some of my skirts/trousers! 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Emergency sandals!

It's going to be a beautiful, hot, sunny weekend in London (finally!) and I realised today that I don't have any casual sandals. So this evening I stayed behind after work and I made myself some EMERGENCY HOT WEATHER SANDALS!

I wanted them to be super quick to make so I used all straight lines and raw edges. First I had a play with masking tape...

And then I had a play with strips of leather...

Then, when I decided what I was going to do, I cut the straps, added buckles, stitched them to lining leather (self lined), inked the edges of the straps black, made a leather covered insole and lasted it all together. I spent a little while adjusting the straps to get them all even and matching...
Those patches on the lasts (above) are to add a little bit of bulk so that the lasts match my joint measurements.

And TA DAH!  Emergency sandals!
Slatey-purpley-grey leather, metallic purple leather, leather covered insole, 6mm rubber sole, hard-wearing rubber top piece.
Bring on the weekend!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

MMMay'12 - Week Three

It's Me Made May Week Three! Let's go...

Day 15.
me-made madeleine mini bloomers
Not a good start to the week as I caught a cold and spent all of Tuesday in bed. At the end of the day I realised that I was about to go to sleep without having worn a single me-made item. With the whole MMMay challenge in jeopardy (!) I changed into my floral-y red/pink/purple Madeleine bloomers. Phew, MMMay is saved!

Day 16.
me-made stripey t-shirt
me-made map bag
me-made fabric carrier bag
me-made leather peacock feather brooches
Still sick, but had to head out for a midwife checkup appointment and a stop-at-the-shops-for-supplies before heading back home. I made these leather brooches a couple of years ago and they pretty much live on this turquoise jacket (a very fortunate charity shop find).

Day 17.
me-made plain blue sorbetto
me-made faux Chanel shoes
me-made map bag
Back to work (but still with a bit of a cold) and what better way to get back into the swing of things than wearing big pretendy jewels! 

Day 18.
me-made two tone pointy flat shoes
me-made map bag
At a party to celebrate my friend's 30th birthday. I ended up being a bit late to the party because my new baby bump meant that I couldn't fit into the me-made skirt I was planning to wear and ended up spending a while working out what else to wear! This skirt was a gift from my sister, made for me by a friend of hers. It has white netting folded and stitched in random rows down the front as well as little strips of white netting detail in the seams.

Day 19.
me-made belt
me-made faux Chanel shoes
me-made map bag
Round at Mr B's mum's place for a barbecue to celebrate Mr B's birthday. The first barbecue of the summer, we even got a little bit of sunshine. Hooray!

Day 20.
A lazy Sunday spent pottering around at home. A little bit of gardening, a little bit of baking (this delicious tried and true recipe), a little bit of stitching (re-hemming some trousers for Mr B) and trying to shake this annoying cold! I forgot to take a photo on the day, so here is a me-less version of me, re-creating the large portions of the day I spent lying on the couch!

Day 21.
me-made plain blue sorbetto
me-made map bag.
Shockingly, I was not wearing me-made shoes! I was in red suede Clarks shoes to match the little bit of red on the hems of the nautical cardigan. It made me realise that I need to make some red shoes to replace the me-made pair I wore to death quite a few years ago! (I used to pretty much live in red shoes. I think your day goes better when wearing red shoes!)

So that's Week Three. I had planned on making something new to wear this week, but didn't really have the energy for it thanks to this pesky cold. Tune in for Week Four when (hopefully) there will be something new to break up these repeats!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

MMMay'12 - Week Two

It's Me Made May roundup time again! We've covered Week One, so let's jump right in to Week Two!

Day 8.
me-made pony sorbetto
me-made two tone pointy flat shoes
me-made map bag
These are my purpley-grey and slatey-grey two tone pointy flats. They have a winged toecap with punching with similar detailing at the back. I made them a couple of years ago and they are rather scuffed and worn now.
I'm loving my pony sorbetto and thought that pretendy pearls would go very well with the ponies!

Day 9.
me-made lace print t-shirt worn over a blouse
It may be May, but it's still chilly enough to be in multiple layers and tweedy trousers!

Day 10.
me-made purply-grey cowl neck t-shirt
me made two tone brown oxford brogues
This t-shirt was my second attempt at a cowl neck t-shirt using the same pattern as the stripey one from day 3. I don't think the stripey one works but I really like this one.
Wearing these cropped trousers and my two tone brown oxford brogues, I feel like a lady golfer! I completely love these shoes. I made them not-last-winter-but-the-winter-before when I was trying to decide on the perfect knee-high boots to make. I couldn't decide, so I made these beauties instead. I had a play with the lines of the classic oxford brogue - bringing the edge of the toecap right up to meet the edge of the vamp, as well as extending the line of the vamp creating a lovely curve at the back of the shoe. The darker brown leather shows through the punching of the lighter brown leather and vice versa.

I really love this design and I plan to make more in different colourways.

Day 11.
me-made pipe pendant necklace
This pipe necklace is my response to Magritte's The treachery of Images which I love. I made it by hand-cutting my pipe drawing from mdf with a piercing saw, filing it smooth with a set of very small files, and giving it a couple of coats of acrylic paint. I put it on the thinnest chain I could find because I wanted it to look like it was floating, or like it was a tattoo. This necklace always gets compliments!

Day 12.
me-made cloud pendant necklace
me-made purply-grey cowl neck t-shirt
me-made massive bird skirt
me-made two tone pointy flat shoes
My most me-made outfit of the month so far! We spent the weekend in Faversham, Kent where we attended a friend's parent's joint 60th birthday party which was very fun! I finished this skirt recently and shall dedicate a blog post to it soon because I rather like it! 
The stylised cloud pendant was made in the same way as the pipe pendant of the previous day - based on a drawing of mine, hand-cut from mdf with a piercing saw, filed and painted. Again I put it on a thin chain so that it would look like it was floating.

Day 13.
me-made plaited belt
me-made two tone pointy flat shoes
A lovely lazy day wandering around Faversham, in pretty much the same outfit as Day 7.

Day 14.
me-made massively long bead necklace
me-made two tone pointy flat shoes
me-made map bag
Out to dinner to celebrate Mr B's birthday (which is actually the following day). I'm wearing an enormously long necklace I made using all sorts of interesting blue and green beads. I'll give you a closer look at this necklace in a future post. As you can see I'm also showing off 16 weeks worth of baby bump. Yup, we have a little Botterbean on the way! (and no, I'm not about to get started on all that wine and champagne!)