Sunday, 26 April 2015

Me-made May 2015

I, Melanie from, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear a me-made garment once a week for the duration of May 2015.

Now to you hardcore me-made May'ers this may seem like a bit of a lame self-challenge but for me it will be a big step in my sewing journey.  Even though I've had a lot of sewing fails I have had a few wins. The wins make me feel good but I still do  not wear my me-made garments.  They may get one or two outings and then get relegated to the bedroom floor; or to the charity bag. I just feel they are not as good as RTW and feel a bit...weird and conspicuous wearing them.

I've been sewing for nearly two years now but (maybe surprisingly) I don't have enough me-made garments for everyday.  The photo below shows everything that I've made that I am still on possession of (minus two Party Peplum Dresses, two Coco dress and a Myrtle that I forgot about - shame on me). I would say that I would possibly wear a third of what is shown here - just due to fit, comfort and general non-ugliness of the garment.

I also find May a tricky time of year in Sydney. Is it hot? Is it cold? Who knows what weather you're going to wake up to each day.

The only bit of prep I want to do for May is to fix the seams on the yellow + white's my favourite make but is falling apart as I had no idea that you couldn't see a garment on a 3 spool overlocker (as there's no safety stitch). I might also make a Casual Lady Dress in blank ponti as I think that would be a handy addition to the wardrobe.

Mel x

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Ponti Linden Sweatshirt and a neckband WIN!

I'm not sure when my desire to sew the Linden Sweatshirt actually started.  I sort of never really thought about the pattern and then all of a sudden I HAD to buy it and sew it up that very weekend. I'm more of a "buy the pattern and sit on it for ever and probably never sew it" kinda gal so I'm quite impressed with myself.

This Linden is my "wearable muslin" though I don't actually have anything in my wardrobe to wear it with other than tracksuit bottoms for around the house. All my jeans/jeggings are a bit too tight for a jumper that doesn't cover my butt so I'm trying it here with a skirt and clogs...of course.  Next time I make this I'll be lengthening the body of the jumper so that I can wear it with my jeans/jeggings and feel comfortable.

Now...I've never sewn a raglan sleeve before and I'm super happy at how EASY it was. The instructions of this pattern are very good, and very easily to follow so that didn't hurt.

My struggle with neckbands is well documented on this here blog so I'm VERY pleased to report how EASY this neckband was to attach. It is pretty much perfect in my eyes...ummm, except for I sewed it on backwards the first time around. I was tempted to leave it as I'm lazy and because unpicking overlocking is not fun...but I'm glad I took the time to unpick it and have another go. The neckband looks pretty good...but nowhere near as awesome as my first one.

I'd read that this pattern runs a tad large so I was fairly sure the size 18 would fit me...which it did easily. Next time I'll go down a size as I did (and still do I think) have A LOT of extra fabric on the sleeves and under the arms which I remedied this time by sewing bigger seam allowances. Next time I'd like the sleeves to be more slim as I feel a bit swamped by then.  The sleeves are also uneven as initially they were too long and I obviously didn't do a very good job when shortening them.

The Linden is made 100% from Ponti. The blue leopard print is from and is left over from my last project and the black is from Tessuti- bought for pants, but it ended up as a jumper instead. I think jumper works in Ponti, though perhaps it's a little too "structured"?

Pattern: Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studios
Size: 18
Modifications: sewed larger seam allowances on sleeves and side seams.
Fabric: Ponti from and Tessuti
Changes for next time: sew a size 16, shorten sleeves and lengthen bodice about 5cm

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Ponti Casual Lady Dress (and no whinge)

It seems like the massive whinge-fest in my last post was quite cathartic as I whipped up this dress the very next day! Take that missing sewjo!  Everything went pretty well with the construction of this garment - yes, unbelievable I know! Ponti is (mostly) very easy to sew with and I particularly like sewing with this soft, cotton-like ponti as it's very stable.

I've made two Casual Lady Dresses before (here and here) in a thinnish polyester elastaine (neither were overly successful).  This ponti one has been directly inspired by Emma from the blog Ernest Flagg who has made more than one Casual Lady Dress from ponti fabric.  I like the shape the firmer fabric gave to the pattern and wanted to try one for myself.  The fabric was bought from about a year ago when I thought I'd be pumping out 100s of pairs of Anita Ponti Pants, but alas that never happened as the pattern didn't fit me (until recently when I went to Tessuti for a pants pattern alternation class).

I forwent the recommended facings again in favour for a self-fabric neckband and sleeve band finish - just like Emma has done on hers.  To make both bands I cut a 4cm strip of fabric, ironed it in half (wrong sides together) and attached to the right side of the dress with the overlocker; and top stitched it down using a narrow zigzag stitch. I'd received some advice to attach the neckband "in the flat"... only join one shoulder seam, attach the band and THEN sew the other shoulder seam. Much easier than attaching things in the round. I followed the same process for the sleeves too.

I think the bands are (mostly) OK and they went on with no trouble at all (though I notice now that the neckband didn't quite catch properly in a few places).  Sadly, I didn't pull them tighter when attaching as I didn't want to make the neck and arms too small and the result is a neck and sleeve that is a bit big and gapping.  Next time I'll put them a little in order to reduce some of the gaping.  There is also a bit of excess fabric at the front neck that I could pinch out (if I knew how) but I'm hoping pulling the neckband when attaching might fix this.

Overall I think this dress fits really well. It does bunch up a bit above my toush, but nearly everything does so I'm mostly blind to that. Plus I can't see my butt so it's like I don't even have one.

This dress was a test run for perhaps making this dress for the Canberra and Melbourne Frocktails dinners. I think it's a winner...but now I just need to find two really nice pieces of ponti...which is actually harder than the sewing part!

I actually decided to wear this dress out to dinner at Mr Wong (oooh, fancy) on Easter Sunday...I finished about an hour before I was to leave the house and as I quite like it so I figured I may as well wear it. It was mostly quite comfortable though the excess around the neck was a bit annoying...something to fix next time. My friend thought it looked nice and not handmade at all (I think she left her glasses at

Pattern: Casual Lady Dress by Go To Patterns
Size: XXL (I'm think that's equivalent to an Aussie Size 16 - 18).
Modifications: left off facing and finished neck/arms with self fabric bands. Reduced the sleeves and front neck from an XXL to an XL.
Fabric: Ponti from

Friday, 3 April 2015

The Mabby (and a MASSIVE warned)

* warning: this is a massive Negative Nelly whinge-fest. Read on at your own peril. You have been warned!*

I made this skirt a few weeks before we went off to Japan and I've not had the sewjo to sew anything since. Why? Because this skirt (that I HATE) was meant to be another knit Gabby Dress...but it just didn't turn out the way. If I hadn't just flushed $100 on fabric down the loo it would be kinda funny.

The first disaster was the fabric which I bought from Tessuti in Chatswood - which cost me $45 per meter (that's A LOT of money if you ask me). I initially bought it for a Casual Lady Dress but when I got it home and washed it it had shrunk SO MUCH that I would've been lucky to get a tunic top out of it. Into the cupboard it went.  A few months later I was at Tessuti in Surry Hills and saw this fabric again (helpfully this time with a warning on the swing tag that said this fabric suffers "serious shrinkage" so be warned...would've been helpful if the other store had that warning too). I umm'd and ahh'd and ended up buying another meter...with the lady at the store very generously chcuking in half a meter for free..."just in case" it shrunk again (which it did).

When I got the fabric home I realized that the fabric was the same same as my original piece, but different. Same pattern and colour, but on one piece the printing was very offset so the two pieces don't look the same. This is more than enough to send my OCD and anxiety into overdrive.  You can "sort of" see that in this photo, but trust me when I say the front does not match the back!

Anyway, the Gabby Dress just did NOT work in this fabric...I think it was too slinky and that pattern works best in the more stiff knit I'd made my first knit Gabby out of. It also just BAD!  I also had HUGE trouble with the neckline...I just cannot seem to do necklines in a knit and have them look neat. If I turn it under I get bulk at the shoulder seams that is impossible to sew over; and I'm hopeless at neckbinding. I'm not sure how to ready my neckline disability. There was something also very weird going on with the sleeves - heaps of extra fabric, bunching and twisting. Fail fail fail fail on so many levels.

In the end I hacked off the top part of the dress and kept the rest as a skirt. I used the Mabel Skirt waistband and attached it to the skirt piece and voila...I have a skirt.

I know the skirt looks alright in these pictures but alas the elastic holding the waistband up is too lose (though it might fit now as I've put on 2kgs since I made it). When I wore this outfit into the city I ended up buying a dress in Uniqlo and getting changed in the public loos so I would feel more...comfortable. I also just know that it's a fail...and that I've wasted over $100 on now ruined fabric that makes me want to cry! I look at this skirt and all I see is failure and a big waste of money (added to all the other failed garments and all the time and money I've wasted since I started sewing)

I did try and hem the skirt normally, but I also suck at hemming. More umm'ing and ahh'ing and I decided to use my rolled-hem function on my overlocker. I actaully think this bit looks OK, and this is the perfect material for a rolled hem.

So there you have it. At the moment sewing can go f**k itself. I'm sure I'll get back to it eventually, but right now I'm enjoying shopping for what I need and building myself a nice, considered wardrobe that way. I have a few things I'm thinking of sewing up (Mabel Skirt I'm looking at you) and I think for the upcoming Frocktails in Melbourne this year I want to make myself a zip purse to take (zippers = eep)...and forgo the homemade frock. I'm also about to embark on a big fabric destash...I feel like I might have more motivation if I have less fabric...

On another note, how awesome are my clogs! I love them to bits.

Mel x