Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Full Floral Skirt

Another month has past without a single blog post.  I can't believe I've been so lax.  Or maybe I can.  I've spent much of the last month straightening things out for a big move in August.  I have been making time to sew, but the projects I've chosen… Let's just call them high maintenance-- as in I've spent more time hunting for buttons than sewing!  

On the bright side, I found the right project to give me a little instant gratification while I wait for those buttons to materialize.  Using some gray floral poplin I bought from and Verypurpleperson's very excellent easy full skirt tutorial, I made this: 

Styled with...
Racer-back pocket tank - Uniqlo
Drapey Silk Cardigan - TJ Maxx
Gladiators - 80%20

And one last shot-- testing out the twirl factor of the new skirt...
It looks like a keeper to me!

I should add that I made a couple modifications to my full skirt.  The waistband was created just like a self-fabric casing, only i left about 2 inches above the casing to make the paper bag effect.  I also added side-seam pockets in a contrasting (vivid fuchsia) fabric.  All skirts must have pockets!

It feels so good to finally finish a new project, and to be able to twirl in it.  What type of projects do pick when you're looking for a quick sewing fix?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May 31: All good things come to an end

I can't believe Me-Made-May is over!  The time has gone by so quickly.  My challenge to myself was to wear one self-made garment each day of the month, and I'm proud to say that I did achieve that goal.  This has certainly been the longest period of time in which I've worn something I made each day.  So often I cultivate a love-hate relationship with the clothing I make.  I'll stop sewing for weeks, months, unsatisfied with my own creations-- despite how hard I worked to design and sew them in the first place.  

If there's one thing that I've learned from Me-Made-May, it's that most of the garments I've made are actually very versatile pieces.  I may need to make a few more pieces in order to create an entire wardrobe, as I don't have very many basics.  Instead of making practical, wear-with-anything pieces, I tend to pick the most intriguing patterns (or fabric).  The end product of this approach?  Mostly stand-alone pieces, unless I'm feeling very daring.  And Me-Made-May has made me daring!  I have learned that it is just as easy to throw on a self-made ensemble as it is to put on the workhorse jeans and t-shirt.  Not only is it easy, it also makes me feel more confident about my sewing.

Here's what I wore:

Swiss-dot overblouse by me
Black shell (worn under) by me
Shorts - Cynthia Steffe 
Gladiators - 80%20

The overblouse is the one new item I finished this weekend.  This is one of those projects that was in my head for the longest time before I finally made it.  And, it only took one day, for both cutting out and sewing! I will share more details soon :)

Monday, May 31, 2010

May 30: A well-loved skirt

Yesterday I realized I needed to mix thing up a bit and wear a me-made item that hasn't gotten a lot of love recently.  So I dug up this skirt that I made about five years ago, from a dress that I made about five years before that.  The fabric was given to me by my Grandmother, one of the last pieces of material she had from when she still sewed.  I've always been attracted to the bright colors of the print, and the very fine transparent gauze fabric.  

Wearing the skirt reminded me that it's time to remake it once more, into a more durable, better lined garment.  The skirt that I made from the fabric last time was put together in a hurry, by making a basic casing using the lining fabric, and inserting a ribbon to cinch it up.  The construction neither looks very attractive, nor benefits the delicate fabric.  After wearing it belted at my natural waist, I think the next go-round I will make this into a high waisted skirt, using a nice cotton voile for lining, darts to shape the back and some gentle pleats to add dimension to the front.

 A very sad casing indeed...   
                        But a very pretty fabric!              

Here's how I wore it:
Black Leotard - had it forever
where did it come from?
Skirt by me
Belt - Thrifted
Gladiators - 80%20

Saturday, May 29, 2010

May 29: Red White & Blue

Today I wore: 
Floral Camisole by me
Tank top (worn under) - Express
Cuffed Shorts - Target
Gladiators - 80%20
Sweater - Forever 21
And for lunch I made:
Bulgar Wheat (cooked up last night)
English cucumber, diced
dash of EVOO
pinch of sea salt
Lime, juiced

New Free Patterns from German BurdaStyle

Hmm... what do we have here?  It looks like Burda (via has some new free patterns up.  Don't get too excited though, as one of them seems to be a tutorial? to create a pair of destroyed jeans like the ones Carrie/Sarah Jessica Parker wears in SATC II.  

Images from

The photo on the right is Burda's interpretation.  I don't know they're just not the same without the Uggs and tiara-headband are they?  heh.  Well, if you're still interested, you can find the tutorial? pattern? here.  Be forewarned, you will need to register as a user on the site first.  

Now for the good news!  Burda has also gifted us a lovely blouse pattern available here.  
Images from

I'm glad to see a couple new free patterns up on the site, but I hope they will also add patterns for purchase, as I've let my subscription lapse again.  I really miss the old Burda World of Fashion some days, as the new trendy reincarnation of the magazine is not as satisfying.  If I'm going to spend the time sewing my own togs, I don't usually pick very trendy styles.  

That said, I am still hoping for a pattern for the pleated trousers featured in the June issue.  After a closer look at the technical drawing, though, I suppose I could try my hand at drafting something similar myself.

Images from

Alright, that's enough of my rambling.  This has been a nice break from outfit posts, no?  Now back to cutting out some new projects!  Happy sewing :)

May 28: Sapphire Blouse and Soup

Yesterday my sapphire blouse made its debut for Me-Made-May.  Since I have not yet made many trousers, I did wear a pair that were store bought.  This is a problem I hope to remedy in the near future, as the fabric quality of these trousers is not so hot, AND all the pockets in them are fake.  What?!  Why would you make four completely ornamental pockets on pants?  Seriously--I have more functional skirts! Oh, and speaking of functional skirts, have you seen Caroline Woolard's The Work Dress on BurdaStyle?  Very cool.

Sapphire Blouse by me
Lace Camisole - Kohl's
Cropped Trousers - The Limited
Ballet Flats - Me Too via Filene's

In addition to my daily Me-Made-May rambles, here are some photos of what I made for dinner last night: Three-Step Lentil Soup and Artichoke with Mayo-Balsamic dip.  What a lovely way to begin the long weekend!

Assorted Herbs
And then we had an aftertizer: fancy, I know ;)

Thanks for stopping by-- please come back later for today's outfit and some sewing updates!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Me-Made Day 27: Staying Cool

Today the temperature reached a bit above 80° F, so I was pretty sure that comfort would be the main goal.  What else to wear but a nice crisp poplin dress?  And the gray cardigan, of course, for the second day in a row.  Because it's cowld in the office during the summer!

Turquoise Dress by me
Cardigan - TJMaxx
Necklace - Macy's

(Gratuitous shot of lace inset)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26: Deco Dress Redux

Today I wore my Deco dress again, accessorized with pearls.

Cardigan - TJ Maxx
Deco dress by me
Belt - Stein Mart
Pearl necklace & Earrings by my very talented friend Rachel 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 24 & 25

I had a very busy weekend and did not have a chance to take pictures of what I wore either day.  Are you wondering what could possibly keep me away from both my sewing machine AND my camera?  Well, after three long years of law school, it was Rem's graduation weekend.  I was kept occupied posing for many photos taken by others, but didn't manage to catch any on my own camera.  Hopefully I can track down some of those lovely photos, so I can show you how my navy dotted dress finally turned out!  Until then, here is what I wore so far this week: 

May 24:
Peach top by me
Rust skirt by me
Necklace - Tord Boontje's Charming
Full outfit last seen here

May 25: 
Striped top by me
Khaki trousers - Gap
Sandals - Birki's

Even though I'm not doing the full challenge of wearing all handmade clothing items, at this point in the month I feel like I've nearly worn all possible me-made combinations in my wardrobe.  The good news is this has forced me to come up with a few new outfits, and to face wardrobe shortcomings head-on, rather than copping out and reaching for denim bottoms and a jersey tee each morning.  Oh, and I'm seriously looking forward to some quality sewing/project completion time this [long] weekend.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day Twenty-one

Wow, I can't believe Me-Made-May is already 2/3 finished!  What I wore today: 

Blazer - Esprit
Flower power sundress by me (also seen here)

Currently sewing: the hem on this dress and the slip for underneath.  Crossing my fingers that I'll be able to finish by tomorrow night!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The perfect day for Raspberry Jacket

Today was such a busy day at work, I nearly forgot to take photos of what I wore.  This one was taken just after I arrived home, and just before I ran out to order pizza.  I made this brightly colored jacket with my Flutter Sleeve Cardi pattern, with a couple adjustments.  The body of the cardigan has been shortened, while the sleeves were cut straight rather than flared and were lengthened to half-sleeves.  

Raspberry jacket by me
Houndstooth print blouse - Stein Mart
Belt - Thrifted
Black Trousers - Esprit

Goodnight!  Sweet sewing dreams :)

May 19

Last night Rem and I biked over to a friend's place for a dinner party and jam session.  Among the musicians in attendance, we had a banjo, guitar, bass guitar, saxophone and clarinet.  It was really fun to listen to their renditions of The Joker and Como Ves.  And now, without further ado, here is what I wore yesterday:

Layered ensemble by me
Jeans - Promod

And here I am with a cross-body bag I made forever ago.  It's getting a tad old, but it really is so much easier to bike with!  Have you seen Gertie's post on Handbag Strategy?  Can you tell by now that I don't have one?  I have to admit, when it comes to handbags, my first priorities are cost and convenience.  While I've never denied myself fabric that I really love, or cute and comfortable shoes, handbags have never seemed as important to me until just recently.  I know that I need a better bag, but where to get it?  Should I save money by waiting for a sale at Macy's?  (Do I like the bags at Macy's?)  Should I buy from etsy to support a fellow craftsperson?  The verdict's still out, but I'll get to it one of these days.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Minty 18th of May

Here I am, back on a (more) regular blogging schedule.  Very little to report on outside of my outfit for me-made day 18.  Sewing for myself has come to a screeching halt due the last couple days.  This is mostly due to the ramping up of preparations for Rem's upcoming graduation ceremony.  I just let out my first pair of men's suit trousers.  I'm not sure how I have escaped this type of alteration in the past, but I was very glad to learn that it's not a difficult job.  Especially given that I have another three pairs to let out!  Now, without further ado, here is what I wore today:
Minty top - American Eagle (?!) via TJMaxx, modified by me
Stripe & Floral Sash - thrifted
Chocolate double knit jersey skirt by me

Goodnight & Happy sewing!

Better Late than Never

I don't know how I have fallen so far behind in posting!  This past weekend was very busy, leaving me too exhausted even to upload photos.  I did make sure to take the photos, at least, so that I can share them with you.  Here are me-made-may days 13-17:

May 13:
Blouse by me (Burda 117 from 8/09)
Black turtleneck - thrifted
Jeans - DKNY via TJMaxx
Boots - Timberland via Piperlime

On May 14 I neglected to take a photo, as I was feeling a bit sick.  
Here is the dress I wore, with black boots and my black cardi:

Ah, and then there was the weekend.  The lovely, lovely weekend!  On Saturday we trekked out to Virginia to hear some traditional Irish music at Ireland's Four Provinces
May 15:
Tunic by me
Leggings by me
Boots - Timberland via Piperlime

Sunday found us busing further out into Virginia to tour Hillsborough Vineyards.  And gave me a chance to model my most recent Burda pattern conquest (118B from 3/2010).  
May 16:
Jacket by me
Striped Tunic Top by me
Jeans - DKNY via TJMaxx
Sandals - Birkenstock

Ta Da!  A close-up of my new top:

And then it was back to work on Monday. 
[Cue The Mamas and the papas Monday, monday]
May 17:
Top - Filene's
Necklace - Macy's 
Matte Jersey Pocket Skirt by me
Leggings by me (from BurdaStyle's Carol pattern)

I've done a few variations on this red, white and black theme now.  I must say, while I can tell I'm wearing out the concept, it's just so easy to throw on a combination of items in these colors and come out with a (decent) look with minimal effort.  Perfect for Mondays!

See you later tonight for a recap of today's outfit!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Today's Outfit And Project Update

Blouse - No-iron from Eddie Bauer
Necklace - Macy's
Belt - thrifted
Skirt by me
Leggings - Foot Traffic via sockdreams
Ballet Flats - Me Too via Filene's
I've really fallen for this necklace, despite my initial misgivings.  This phenomenon leads me to yet another lesson that me-made-may has taught me-- Accessories are key.  I don't have an expansive wardrobe of self-made clothing yet, but accessorizing has helped me pull together very different outfits using some of the same key components.  Today's outfit is a good example of this, as last week I wore this same necklace with my red pants and the same belt in black.  Last week's outfit was still markedly different, though it incorporated largely the same accessories.  Which leads me to another lesson of me-made-may: creativity.   I have tried to bring more creativity to my daily outfits in the past, but would always resort back to the age old complaint of nothing to wear.  It's pretty neat to find that limiting myself to building outfits around me-made pieces has actually helped me put new outfits together.  

Ok, I've rambled on enough.  Now it's time for photos of my current project:

The fabric I'm using more of the lovely modal jersey I purchased on Ebay.  For the pattern, I started with the HotPatterns Tap Pants free pattern download from, and then traced off one of my favorite tank tops for the top half.  I've had a time of figuring out how to get the flounces to hang properly at the center, but I'm really happy with how they look at present.  Now I just need to add straps and I'll have a comfy summer lounging outfit!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What I wore, May 11

Today was another one-piece me-made day.  What the me-made-may challenge has taught me so far is that I don't make myself many coordinating pieces.  Most of the clothes I make are stand alone pieces and do not necessarily play well with the other articles of clothing I've made.  Take this sweater, for instance.  I first fell in love with the silver hued cotton yarn, and then forgot to think beyond to what I would wear it with.  Sadly, the sweater does not get much wear, especially since it is 100% cotton and very heavy.  The asymmetrical closure is very dear to me though, and I'm thinking I should try the pattern again with some Lion Brand Cotton Ease.

Sweater by me, gilet asymetrique pattern from Phildar
Purple gingham blouse - GAP, from ages ago
Trousers - Esprit

My current sewing project was a bit fussy tonight, and so I have had to delay photos one more day.  Can't wait to show and tell!  Goodnight :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Me Made Days 9 & 10

Yesterday I wore a surplice bodice dress inspired by Diane Von Furstenberg's wrap dresses.  The leggings I finished on Saturday morning are also quickly becoming a staple in my wardrobe as you can see:

Dress by me
Cardigan - TJ Maxx
Scarf - Stein Mart
Leggings by me
Boots - Timberlands via Piperlime

Today I wore a dress I made a couple years ago, #105 from Burda 10-2007.  It's been a bit cooler here since Saturday evening, which has allowed me to start wearing cozy layers again.  I rather like it!

Dress by me
Top - Kohl's
Necklace - Tord Boontje
Stripey Tights - H&M
Boots - Timberlands via Piperlime

Stay tuned for sewing project updates very soon.  I am currently working on a jersey romper, and should be able to post some photos tomorrow.  I can't believe that 1/3 of me-made may is over already.  This just means I better get to work on some new outfits.  Happy sewing!