6.03.2014

Me-Made-May '14: Round-up

We made it to the end!  Happy June!

Day 31 (Poor day 31, all by itself :-P) - "Lilly Alligator" dress - for a day out with Brandon - I saved this one for the end for two reasons: 1. I was terrified it wasn't going to fit!  My post-surgery diet hasn't been as healthy as I like since chewing is harder now and high-maintenance. Luckily, it's been getting better so, my dress turned out not to be a problem :) 2.  I wanted to end the month on a high note.  I love this dress!  This was the four version of this pattern so the fit is pretty good.  I love the lace and the high-quality (Lilly!) fabric. The print is almost ridiculous (alligators and mini-flowers!) but, so cute and the colors are similar enough that, in my opinion anyway, it isn't loud.  Oh, and it's turquoise. Need I say more?  So, yeah, I still love this dress!


Dress: McCalls 4440, Purse: Coach (vintage), Shoes: Clarks

Final Thoughts:

I'm particularly grateful for Me-Made-May this year.  Not only did I get to test my wardrobe ideas and be inspired by lots of new sewcialists, but, it also kept me blogging.  I've been very self-conscious since my jaw surgery so, I haven't been up for taking my normal photos for all my new makes.  One photo at a side angle was boring but, a lot easier.  It's getting better now though so, hopefully I can resume my regularly scheduled blogging soon :)


This year, I pledged 5 items per week.  Save for one day where a migraine got in the way, I succeeded!  :-D

What did I learn?
  • I'm on the right track!  I'm learning what styles/colors/fabrics I prefer and I'm choosing those over things I may like but, won't wear.  All of my recent makes have been successes! (Not all perfect, mind you but, successes.) 
  • I really do prefer separates.  I like my dresses.  I do.  And, I want to make more.  But, on a day-to-day basis, I like to keep things a little more casual.  Separates also mean I can wear prints without them wearing me (it's a personal preference but, I tend to feel overwhelmed by allover prints).  Going forward, I need to add shorts and simple tops (mostly woven) to my queue, as well as continuing to replicate my already loved pieces (semi-circles forever!)
  • I still haven't learned how to accessorize.  Reading previous round-ups, this was something I've been trying to work on but, I'm easily intimidated by larger pieces.  Meh, I think I'm good with my simple jewelry.
What will I do next year?
  • Expand on this year's successes.  Next year, I hope to be able to up my challenge to a me-made item every day!  Now that I know I'm on the right track with all of my new makes, I think I'll get there.  There will be a lot of woven separates in my future, as well as some more knits, particularly t-shirts and yoga-wear.  Eventually, the goal will be to wear 100% me-made.
  • Choose a comfortable, consistent method for documenting.  I previous years, I've been disappointed that I allow MMMay photos to be "lazier".  Honestly, I think it's better that way.  I would like to find a uniform way to do it though.  Perhaps Instagram?  I saw a lot of fellow me-made-Mayers using that application for their daily shots and I liked it.  It's quick, easy, and consistent.  Now that I'm nailing my style down a bit more too, I think less text would ok too.  I just have to learn how to take a proper selfie :-P
  • Add Brandon to the mix.  I've hoped to do this before but, my sewjo comes and goes and life gets in the way.  Hopefully, I'll have a chance to make him a few things this year so he can participate too.
So, that's another Me-Made-May done.  I had fun, as always, and am even more inspired to keep creating! 

6.01.2014

Me-Made-May '14: Week 5

Nearly there!

Day 24 - n/a - I wore a semi-boxy t-shirt from J.Crew that I love.  So much so that I traced it a couple of years ago.  I finally made one this week!  see below.  Oh, and rtw shorts, cause obviously a girl's gotta wear more than a t-shirt ;-P

Day 25 - n/a - This was the dirtiest of the home improvement days this month so, I wore a (free) souvenir t-shirt and shorts.  I don't dare mess up my me-mades :-)  Maybe when I have plenty more to choose from?

Day 26 - Navy Ikat linen skirt - One more time! For a Memorial day cookout at a neighbor's house.  Ok, this day cinched it.  No one else showed up to the party wearing a skirt and yet, I still felt perfectly comfortable in it.  I think the fabric and the print make it casual enough to not stand out.  Normally, I get "Aww, you didn't have to get dressed up." but, not this time.  And, the linen was downright heavenly in the humid, raining off-and-on, summer heat.  Grade: A

Shirt: Brooks Brothers, Skirt: self-drafted, Shoes: Hush Puppies, Jewelry: Lilly Pulitzer & J.Crew, Umbrella: Totes

Day 27 - Self-Drafted Lavender Linen Skirt - Another day, another repeat.  For running errands and whatnot.  Not much new to say about this one.  I really wanted to wear it when I woke, which is always a good sign.  It's a bit tricky to pair though.  I Googled and, apparently, the trendy option would have been mint.  Having a mint silk blouse, I considered it but, I think it's a bit too "omgfashun" for me to pull off and would have just looked way too sugary sweet.  So, I went with blue. Blue's always good (I hope).  I felt good in it at least :)  Grade: A-

Brandon was away on business again but, I remembered the timer on our camera, trying to spare you the cell phone selfies :)
Shirt: Brooks Brothers, Skirt: self-drafted, Shoes: Dolce Vita, Bracelet: Lilly Pulitzer

Day 28 - Self-drafted (traced) "Daphne" T-shirt - This is my first attempt at finally remaking my aforementioned beloved J.Crew t-shirt.  I can't find a lightweight stable knit like they used so, mine came out drapier and less boxy but, I do still love it.  Oh, and more blue-green (turquoise, jade, teal, I love it all)!  I plan to make more of these and write up a proper post eventually but, my overall thoughts are very good.  I'm still a knits-newbie but, I finished it the closest to the original way as I good (I even used a twin needle!!) and I'm really pleased.  It filled a me-made gap and it's going to be a regular wear :)  I do think the outfit overall is a little boring though.  Grade: B+

T-shirt: self-drafted, Shorts: AE, Bracelet: Target, Shoes: Dolce Vita

Day 29 - Maria Denmark Kimono t-shirt  - more home improvement - Ok, so I said I never wear me-mades for construction but, I attempted this pattern a few years ago when I knew absolutely nothing about knits and the quality is less than I like.  I like it, I just don't like to wear it out of the house.  Now that I'm a bit more knit-educated, I really should try this pattern again - it's cute, comfy, and on-trend.  No grade.

Day 30 - Maria Denmark Kimono t-shirt - ditto - and ditto.

Only 1 day to go! (Ok, technically that was yesterday... post coming tomorrow with my end-of-challenge thoughts :)

Previous posts:
Me-Made-May '14: My Pledge
Me-Made-May '14: Week 1
Me-Made-May '14: Week 2
Me-Made-May '14: Week 3
Me-Made-May '14: Week 4

5.29.2014

Me-Made-May '14: Week 4

Let's pretend I didn't post this four days late and just jump in, shall we?

Day 17 - n/a  - A sudden chill came through and I didn't feel I had any appropriate tops... must work on that. I wore jeans, a Liberty lawn button-front, and a lightweight cardigan. The cardigan isn't something I feel I can make myself (It's lace-weight but solidly knit...it would take me decades) but, the shirt is, so I plan to add a few to the queue.

Day 18 - n/a - We're doing a lot of improvements to the house and I didn't bother putting on any "nice" clothes.

Day 19 - not-yet-blogged turquoise top - to babysit our neighbor's son (which turned out to mean 'sit by the pool for two hours, reading a book and check on the napping baby at regular intervals - easy peesy) - Right, so, we're getting a little more real here this year.  Not seeing many fancy dresses, are we?  While I've basically boycotted jeans since college, this year, I've embraced the "casual norm" a bit more. Enter this simple but glorious rayon top. Oh how I love rayon. And turquoise. And rayon... you get the idea ;-) While I don't think this is "my best look", I know this top will get regular wear.  Despite the unexpected lounging in the sun, this top stayed cool and comfortable.  Grade: B+?

Top: Simplicity 1690, Jeans: Gap, Shoes: Hush Puppies
Brandon pointed out the wrinkles and I said "It's Me-Made-May. It's about keeping it real!" :-P

Day 20 - Gah! The day that killed the month! (I've now officially failed my challenge of five days per week.)  I had a migraine for a large portion of the day and, admittedly, stayed in [rtw] pjs all day. :-(

Day 21 - Three Seasons shirtdress - for, you know, daily activities and some home diy.  Sorry, didn't get a photo.  I think this is the year that has finally done this dress in.  Ugh, I felt awful in it.  It was made pre-serger, which would have been fine if I'd used French seams or something but, nope.  I used my old machine's faux-overlock, which is still allowing the edges to fray a bit.  Also, the fit is off just enough to be annoying.  Is it noticeable to the general person?  Probably not. But, it doesn't feel right.  It's time to look at this one as a learning process and start again.  I'll likely use the pattern again but, I think the view with the waist seam will make it feel a bit more me.  I'm thinking navy linen... and maybe another blue shirting. Pinpoint perhaps?  Grade: D

Day 22 - not-yet-blogged 60s Floral Skirt - Errands and dinner out with Brandon - I really like this skirt.  That said, I'm having a bit of trouble deciding what to pair it with.  It's harder than I thought to avoid 'matchy-matchy' and/or 'sugary sweet'.  I think this rtw wear top is teetering on both but, I was in a rush.  The outift was seriously comfortable, I just felt a hair too "cutesy" while everyone else seemed to be bustling about in their modern colors and hi-lo hems.  Grade: B+

Oh hey, look! You do get to sneak a peak at this skirt :-)
Top: Banana Republic, Skirt: Self-Drafted, Shoes: Dolce Vita via TJ Maxx

Day 23 - "Dock of the Bay" dress - so. much. shopping. - Sorry. No picture for this one either.  I was way too worn out by the time we got home to pose for a shot, particularly in unflattering indoor lighting.  Another iffy selection.  I had to force myself to pull it out of the closet.  If it weren't for MMMay, I wouldn't have.  I really like it in theory but, 1. it's overfitted.  It's a casual sundress but, fits like something more um, attention-seeking? 2.  it's too small in the bust.  I was totally winging my pattern alterations and didn't add enough room there (seriously, I'm not a full girl - who is this pattern designed for?).  Also, the embroidered fabric apparently has zero give so, yeah, there's a lot of smooshing happening and the sports-bra look is not a flattering one.  If I can ever stop getting distracted by shiny new fabric and patterns, I'll redo the bodice and maybe let the side seams out a touch.  Then, I think she'll be a winner.  Grade: C+ (for now)

Previous posts:
Me-Made-May '14: My Pledge
Me-Made-May '14: Week 1
Me-Made-May '14: Week 2
Me-Made-May '14: Week 3

5.20.2014

Me-Made-May '14: Week 3

Day 10 - "Here Comes the Sun" skirt - for an indulgent breakfast and the drive home from New Orleans. Now that the pockets are sewn shut on this skirt, I think it lay much nicer.  It's still a very full skirt though so, I have to be in the right mood to wear it.  Brandon has suggested I add a bit of trim to break up the line between the yellow and the white to make it look more "rtw"... I'm thinking a small lace?  Grade: B

Sorry! Photos on this blog are dropping to a new low... my phone takes horrible photos and I know nothing of "selfies".
Top: J.Crew, Skirt: Butterick 5285, Shoes (the usual): Hush Puppies

Day 11 - n/a

Day 12 - Seersucker shirt - Errands and such.  I think it's time for this one to go.  I didn't know anything about fitting when I made it and so, I don't really have room to move.  I was pulling on it all afternoon.  Also, the fabric quality isn't so good - the dye bled and it's a little scratchy even though it's 100% cotton.  Grade: C-

Shirt:  Simplicity 2339, Skirt: Vineyard Vines, Shoes: Hush Puppies
Day 13 - n/a

Day 14 - not-yet-blogged turquoise top (and a me-made hair tie :P) - for daily activities - This one was hot off the machine and I love it already.  Rayon challis is definitely a fabric I need more of in my closet.  It's so smooth, cool and breathable.  And yes, I'm totally stuck on all variations of turquoise.

Top:  Simplicity 1690, Shorts: AE, Hairtie: me-made from fold-over elastic, Necklace: Target

Day 15 - not-yet-blogged Lavender Half-circle Skirt - for an orthodontic appointment (Yep! The braces are on! ...though, I won't be flashing them until they close the SARPE-gap a bit.) - When I bought this fabric, I posted it with two others stating that I'd apparently decided I needed more purple in my wardrobe. I totally did! I love this color!  It's a little sweet but, I kept the shape simple and wore it with neutrals, and hey, pastels are in right now anyway, right?  Oh, and clearly my love for unlined, breezy linen skirts continues.  Ignoring linen's tendency to wrinkle, this is practically a perfect skirt in my book.  Grade: A

Oh look, Brandon's back and so are better pictures!
Shirt: J.Crew, Skirt: Self-drafted, Shoes: Hush Puppies

Day 16 - not-yet-blogged Navy Ikat Linen Skirt - for a day out with Brandon - Yep, this rtw shirt and this skirt again... I love them both!  I'm not sure if my addiction to this top means I need more navy tops, more short-sleeve tops, or both.  I'm really surprised how much I love this skirt - I wouldn't have guessed that this print would be "me" but, as soon as it was out of the wash, I wanted to wear it again.  Now that's the kind of me-made item I need more of! (I think this outfit would benefit from bright pink shoes/accessories though.) Grade: A+

Top: J.Crew, Skirt: Self-drafted, Shoes: Aerosoles

Previous posts:
Me-Made-May '14: My Pledge
Me-Made-May '14: Week 1
Me-Made-May '14: Week 2

5.12.2014

Me-Made-May '14: Week 2

My week 2 round-up is a little belated, but, the good news is, I stuck to my goal of five outfits.  In fact, I went out-of-town and wore a me-made item every day I was gone!

Day 3 - Unblogged Brigitte "Teacup" Scarf - to cover my sun-burnt part and glam up a trip to the hardware store :-P.  I don't consider this part of my "five" but, I enjoyed adding a small touch of me-made to a rtw outfit.  I like having a new way to wear this fabric (since styling its sister Sorbetto is a work-in-progress) and I like the little retro polish it adds to an otherwise very casual, modern look.  The rtw pieces remind me how much I love silk/cotton (the top - bonus: I actually own this fabric! I really should make something with it) and that I really should make all of the shorts on my list. I prefer my inseam to be longer than this and it always makes me a little self-conscious.

Head scarf: Brigitte Scarf, Top: J.Crew, Shorts: AE, Belt: Brooks Brothers, Shoes: Hush Puppies
Day 4 - n/a (I wore a knit polo shirt, which I've never been inclined to make since finding matching collars is next to impossible, and a twill skirt, which I'm replicating using Simplicity 2451.)

Day 5 - "That Cozy Blue Dress" - for an impromptu road trip with Brandon (I accompanied him on a business trip to Mobile because one of my favorite cities is only 2 hours away from there).  I'm sure I've said it before and I'll say it again: knit dresses are THE BEST clothing for travel.  6 hours in a car while wearing jeans? No thanks. While wearing a loose fitting, non-constrictive, breathable dress?  No problem!!  I'd almost forgotten how much I love this dress!  Is it glamorous? No. But, it's an "old-friend" kind of dress.  I feel like I've had it for ages though it's only been two years.  I still love the color (of course) and the style - young but not too-young, and not too dressy. I never feel bad in this dress (at least not owing to the dress itself - funny story: when we arrived at our destination, we opted to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at a Mexican restaurant. As usual, it was a casual atmosphere, with many guests wearing athletic wear. No problem. BUT, the older ladies at the table next to us took issue with me, the only girl wearing a dress. Get this, they hated that I dipped my tortilla chips in my dip. Many rude faces, comments, and gestures were made. Then, one of the ladies proceeded to blow her nose at the table, while still saying how disgusting I was. So, I ordered nachos!* They loved it! :-P)  Grade: A-
(Sorry, didn't get a photo.  It looked about the same as last year though, except I wore it with coral flats and my Coach bag.)

Day 6 - unblogged 60's floral skirt - for a bit of relaxing at the hotel and a late dinner.  I love this skirt!  It's a half-circle, cotton sateen, and a pretty floral print so, of course I do.  However, being my first time wearing it, I was very conscious of it and wearing it to a "nice" place to eat made me feel like everyone must have thought I dressed up for dinner, which, despite the illusion of this being the nicest restaurant in the city, no one else did.  I think this one will get worn often but, I may need to be selective regarding the setting.  I also wasn't totally convinced the pinpoint shirt was the best pairing but, I have many more options I can play with.  Grade: A
(Gah! I didn't get a photo of this one either.  By the time we remembered, we were going to be late for our dinner reservation.  I meant to "recreate it" the next day for a quick shot but, that didn't work out either.  If I get a chance, I'll add one.  Otherwise, you'll just have to wait for the "Finished Object" post :)  For a sneak peak, here's a wip pic of it:

Day 7 - "Betty's Picnic Dress" - for sightseeing in downtown Mobile and another late dinner.  This is definitely at the top of my love/hate list.  This is the first item I think of when I think of prints in my wardrobe and a huge part of how I developed my current plan/"theories".  I took my time with the fit, love the fabric, love the style and yet, often when I wear it, it feels a bit like playing dress up.  I think it's the all-over print that is just a bit too 50s-housewife (and it never helps that I actually am a housewife, like I have no defense to the snickers.) I think I need to give more thought to the settings in which I wear it.  Once I have a larger variety of me-mades in my closet, it will have it's place and I will love it more.  Grade: B+


Dress: New Look 6886/Butterick 5747/Frankenpattern, Purse: Coach (vintage), Scarf: AE, Shoes:  Hush Puppies, Accessories: Target & Timex
Day 8 - Pool Green Half-circle skirt - for fabric shopping (what? doesn't everyone buy fabric souvenirs!?), driving to our next destination, and sight-seeing/people-watching in New Orleans!  Since this is a recently blogged make, I don't really have any new thoughts on it.  Comfortable, polished, all-around a great skirt. However, this outfit was certainly not Bourbon Street attire.  It was hot/humid, and a day-appropriate look in a city that definitely believes in dressing for the night.  Not that I would have worn something drastically different (I wasn't looking for beads... they hurt when they hit you!) but, darker colors and a blouse rather than a shirt would have been better. Grade:  A

(Sorry for the poor quality phone shots.  We don't have a proper camera bag and didn't want to risk carrying it down Bourbon Street.) Anywho...
Shirt: Brooks Brothers, Skirt: self-drafted, Purse: Coach (vintage), Shoes: Hush Puppies
Location: Vaso, Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA - You know what I love about NOLA?  Even on a Thursday night, you can simply stroll down the street until you hear music you like and go in to enjoy amazing food :)

Day 9 - not-yet-blogged navy linen skirt - for more food and sight-seeing.  Yep, I love this skirt too.  In my head, the navy color makes it classic and versatile, while the Ikat print adds a touch of trendy.  The unlined linen in a flowy cut was an excellent choice for walking around in the humidity and it's sure to become a go-to skirt this summer.  Also, since it's a simple two color print in a non-floral pattern, I didn't feel in any way out of place in it.  Lady-like, yes, but never over-dressed.  Grade: A+

(Again, swelling + poor phone camera = sorry!)
Shirt:  Ann Taylor (thrifted), Skirt: self-drafted, Jacket: Brooks Running (color sold out), Shoes: Hush Puppies
Location: Jackson Square, New Orleans

Previous posts:
Me-Made-May '14: My Pledge
Me-Made-May '14: Week 1

*I was already planning to order nachos but, oh how they groaned.