Me Made May Report

I learned a couple of things from participating in Me Made May this year: It’s pretty easy for me to wear something that I made every day for a month, but photographing myself every one of those days is pretty hard, though I managed it most of the time (evidence here). The project was further complicated by the fact that I broke my toe early in the month and had to spend a couple of weeks wearing running shoes, which ruled out a lot of my skirts and dresses. So it’s a little hard to know what I would have worn otherwise, but the pieces that I reached for over and over again were my Endless Sumer Tunics and Staple Dresses.

chambray Endless Summer Tunic

silk/cotton Staple Dress

It was an interesting exercise to see which handmade items I reached for most often and which ones I felt most comfortable in. I’m a big fan of making multiples of the same garment; I love the idea of a uniform. I wish I had half a dozen of those silk/cotton Staple Dresses. I wear it most often like that, over slim jeans with a cardigan, but it’s long enough that I’m comfortable wearing it as a dress, especially with tights. I had bought the fabric years ago and can’t find more of it, but this rayon might be a decent substitute. The version with the high-low hem needs fabric with a lot of drape; I make it with a straight hem when the fabric doesn’t move as well. It’s also easy and pleasant to sew. If I leave off the pockets, I can do the whole thing with French seams, which I find extremely satisfying. I actually hate sewing the Endless Summer Tunic, since it involves a number of things I’m bad at—gathering evenly, sewing down facings tidily, hemming a sharp curve—but I love the finished garment so much I’m willing to grit my teeth and get through it.

The piece I got the most compliments on, though, was my navy leopard Hollyburn Skirt. It’s a flattering shape and shows off prints really well. I’m really looking forward to Erin Dollar‘s fabric collection this summer; I think there may be one of these skirts in one of her prints in my future. (I do wish they were doing her prints on more than one substrate—Essex isn’t my favorite—but I’ll take what I can get.)

pre-toe break

Sewing for spring

It’s been more than two years since a repair guy told me my sewing machine (an entry-level Kenmore I’ve had since 1998) would cost more to fix than it was worth and since then I’ve developed workarounds for the things it had stopped doing two years ago (zigzag stitch) and all the new things it quit (sewing in reverse, winding bobbins evenly), but it stopped maintaining any semblance of even tension whatsoever over the weekend and there’s really no workaround for that. So I’ve spent the last few days reading reviews all over the internet to pick out a new one. I decided on a Janome Sewist 500—I’m looking for a solid workhorse garment-sewing machine (even though I make a quilt every couple of years or so, I don’t need the kind of features that serious quilters want) and I couldn’t find a single negative review of it anywhere. It’s supposed to get here today, so I’ll be able to play with it a little this weekend.

Naturally, this is making me antsy for new patterns and new fabric. For Christmas, I asked my mom to do some sewing for me, so I have several really nice pieces coming my way from her, but I’d like to tackle at least some of these myself:

Girl Friday Culottes from Liesl & Co.

I love these unreservedly. They’re chic and practical and manage to be both on-trend and classic. I also really love the styling suggestions and inspiration photos Liesl shows when she introduces a pattern, as well as her How I Wear It series.  I was ordering some notions from JoAnn earlier this week and noticed that they had what looked like some perfectly nice linen on sale, so that’ll be my first pair.
1299338I also like Liesl’s Bento Tee. I like the proportions of it with the culottes and I like that it looks like a pretty simple introduction to sewing with knits.

I’ve also recently come across the patterns from Verb for Keeping Warm. I’d love to make a couple of this tunic, maybe one in chambray and one in double gauze. It’d be perfect on its own in warm weather and under cardigans in the spring and fall.

And this bias-cut linen dress looks like something I’d wear weekly until it fell apart:
Plus, after seeing Fancy Tiger Crafts’ version of the Bess Top, I’m plotting one or two of those.