Hey Babe, Take a Walk on the Wild Side

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I got a new sewing machine for my birthday and I loves it. Despite asking for it, I hadn’t expected to actually get it, so it was a lovely surprise. My birthday was last month, but it didn’t work when I first received it, so it went back to the shop for repairs, and then I was on holiday, and then I got it back and was excited all over again. Aside from the disappointment of receiving a broken machine, GUR were really helpful about getting it fixed, and were happy to hold onto it while I was away.

I wanted to test out my new machine with something new, rather than just finish off something which I was already working on, it seemed more exciting. I’d bought this Cynthia Rowley pattern because I was after a sleeveless blouse pattern, and I thought the other two designs looked interesting too. This pattern has the added design option of adding a whole bunch of fringing to everything. Yeah, I’m going to give that a miss.

For a first bash at the pattern, I decided to make the skirt. It has pockets and asymmetric pleats. When Andrea made her dress from this pattern, she changed the pleats so they were symmetrical, and I really like the look of that with the fabric she used. As my fabric is quite a bold print, and as this was my first time using the pattern, I decided to follow the instructions and stick with the chaos which Cynthia and pals had so carefully marked out.

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Sewing this up with my new machine was a joy. Everything worked, and nothing made any terrible noises. I got a bit confused with the instructions when it came to attaching the pockets, since one of them is next to the zip, but I worked it out in the end. I haven’t made this type of skirt before, so it was a bit of a mystery to me. Basically, on one side you attach the pocket front to the front and the pocket back to the back, then sew the side seam around the edge of the skirt and pocket. For the side with the zip, you attach the pocket front to the skirt front, then attach the pocket back to the pocket front, before basting it shut. Then you pop an invisible (or fairly visible in my case – must buy an invisible zip foot) zip into the side seam. It’s logical once you get going. Due to my uncertainty, one of my pockets is big enough for my massive hands, but the other one is a squeeze – I’m less likely to lose things out of the little one, though.

I cut a 14, because that matched up with my current measurements and I figured it would be pretty easy to take in if needed. After attaching the zip, I tried it on and found that it was about an inch too big at the waist. Thank God for asymmetric pleating – I just took a random chunk out of it somewhere, and never looked back. I decided to leave the waistband as a size 14, figuring I could just add an extra closure to it to stop it poking out. In the end, it wasn’t that much longer than it needed to be, and I decided to close it with a button, rather than just a hook and eye.

The fabric I used is actually a duvet from Primark which cost me £12 (and yes, I was upset that a sheet wasn’t included for that price). I know shopping in Primark is a bad thing, but I needed jeans and I have no money. I didn’t find the jeans, so ended up spending my money on two duvet covers (even I’m intrigued to see what I create with grey and white fabric covered in bikes with little birds sitting on them). I’d been wanting to make something in leopard print for a while, and this seemed like as good a time as any. As you’d expect from a £12 duvet cover, it’s quite a crunchy fabric. This works quite well with the skirt, as it helps to add body. It actually sticks out quite nicely to the front and the back, but I was rushing to take pictures so didn’t think to take a side view. I don’t know how comfy it would be for the top half – I guess we’ll find out when I make a matching blouse! I had some concerns that it may be a little see through, but actually I think it’s fine.

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What strange coloured legs I have…

When I was sewing with my old machine, I’d always dread trying new stitches or doing anything new, because it would invariably be a total nightmare. With my new machine, I’m actually keen to try new things – I just made my first buttonhole! I did a blind hem! A whole new world of sewing options is opening up to me!

Part of the reason I made this skirt in this fabric was to spite my mum, who doesn’t like animal prints, and who bet me that I wouldn’t make it. I’m pleased I did, because I think it’s something I’ll get a lot of wear out of in the summer. It’s nice to try fabrics that are outside of your comfort zone sometimes, and in this case it’s resulted in something I can’t wait to wear again! My mum has since deemed it “surprisingly alright”. I think Ben could be classed as “warming to it”. My step dad seemed to actually like it, and said that the zip wasn’t that noticeable because of the folds.

Another part of the reason I made this skirt now is that the first time I met Zoe, she was wearing at least 75% leopard print, so I thought this would be a very appropriate Me Made May make.

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A 70s Miette

"The Penguin"

“The Penguin”

Firstly, I’d like to say that every time I try and type Miette, I write mouette. A mouette is a French seagull. Fairly appropriate, since Brighton is overrun with the bloody things – the old lady next door feeds them scraps (today, as well as breadcrumbs, they received a raw new potato and a satsuma), and I’m fairly sure someone from our building once threw a birds-eye potato waffle out the window at them – I don’t know whether it was to feed them or a form of attack. I also don’t know if the box of matches which someone has flung into the garden were also seagull related. Neighbours are the best.

"Middle distance"

“Middle distance”

Now, onto the topic of the day: I have made a new Miette. I’m much more pleased with this one – it seemed to go together a lot more smoothly. I don’t know if that was because I’d made the pattern before, or because I’ve just got better at sewing. It’s about three months since I made the last one, so a bit of both I suppose. This time I added some pockets, and I think it’s a bit shorter as well. I also went a bit mad with the boost when I was editing the pictures – just for a nice 70s feel.

"No neck" The back bit doesn't look this weird normally - I'm just standing awkwardly

“No neck” The back bit doesn’t look this weird normally – I’m just standing awkwardly

This one is made of some lovely teal wool-mix stuff which I found on the remnants table in C and H a few weeks ago. Realistically, it was probably a little thick for this pattern. It’s a bit tricky to get the waistband through the loop, although not impossible, and the seams don’t exactly lie flat, I think due to pocket bulk. If I were to make this pattern again in this fabric, I’d probably use something lighter for the pocket linings and one side of the waistband – that would be quite an interesting look, actually.

"Quizzical"

“Quizzical”

When I found the fabric, I considered making a Deer & Doe Anémone skirt or a Burdastyle Jenny (with braces). In the end, I decided on a miette because it’s a bit more casual, and the fabric could make the other two look a little bit too formal for my current wardrobe needs. If I’m being completely honest, I also briefly considered making the shorter version of the Pierre Balmain pattern which is silently mocking me at the moment. Thankfully I changed my mind, as just sewing this fabric made me feel a bit itchy so I want to keep it well away from my face and neck.

This has turned out to be a really versatile addition to my wardrobe as it seems to go with most colours and I especially like it paired with these boots. Look at me, unintentionally sewing a thoughtful wardrobe!!!

Does anything in your wardrobe go with anything else, or do you just throw things on and hope for the best? 

It’s a Wrap!

I decided to add a more casual and multi seasonal skirt to my wardrobe. Something which I felt was lacking. I chose a Miette, because I think it’s an interesting take on quite a classic design. Also, other people had them and I was jealous.
 

I really enjoyed making this, and found the pattern and instructions very clear. I made this a few months ago now, and at the time, it was really helpful to be guided through the process in so much detail. I’m probably a bit more capable now, and could whip this up with slightly more confidence!

I chose a grey linen for this skirt, mostly because I thought the grey would be easy to dress up and down. I didn’t really take into account that linen would fray and crease like crazy. Next time, I’d finish the seams differently. I’ve just had to come to terms with the fact that my lovely skirt will look really crumpled within ten minutes of putting it on. It’s not too bad as long as I don’t sit down. 

The biggest issue I’ve found with wearing this dress is that Brighton is super windy. Although the overlap at the back is very large, I still think I might end up flashing someone. These pictures were taken on a moderately breezy day, and it seems to be ok, but I don’t know what would happen in some of the more extreme weather we’ve had recently. It’s a fair-weather skirt, really. And if I flash you, then maybe you shouldn’t have been looking, peeping tom!

The Olive Skirt – Simplicity 4236

Hooray! One of the abandoned projects is finished! 
 
As I’d planned to make this as a full circle skirt, I was pleased that the half circle was suitably flippy, and presumably less likely to get caught in the wind. 
 
I was a little concerned that the fabric wasn’t really to my taste anymore, but as my boyfriend pointed out, I’d probably buy this in a shop. I wore it to work today and it received a positive response, which is always nice. 
 
The pattern was fairly straightforward, although the zip was quite poorly explained (maybe because I had no idea what I was doing). As I couldn’t work out how to attach the zipper foot to my machine, I sewed half of it in with a normal foot, and hand sewed the other half. Despite some paranoia, it is holding together well. 
 
The pattern sizing is GIGANTIC. I took it down a size from my measurements anyway, because it just seemed a bit much, and I could easily have gone down another size. In order to make it fit my waist (instead of dangling off my hips), I made a pleat to one side, and covered it with a button – actually quite a nice effect. 
 
I think I’d use this pattern again in future. It’s very straightforward and the twill tape waistband is a piece of genius. Not only does it look quite professional, but it’s also dead easy to fit. I’d use a thicker fabric next time – this one is ok when on, but a little worrying when held up to the light. I wonder how the draping would work with a thicker, more wintery fabric – maybe a light weight corduroy, or wool. If I didn’t make this exact skirt, there are five other options on this pattern to choose from. 
 
For the next project:
– I will learn how to insert a zip
– I will take more time to achieve a nice finish