Month: June 2016

Me Made May ’16 Recap

It’s time to recap my second year of Me Made May participation. First let’s take a quick look back.

‘I, Jamie from Mac’s Crafts www, and @jamie_l_mac , sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear one handmade “JamieMade” item each day for the duration of May 2016’

So excited to participate in my second me-made-may!
The month flies by when you look at it that way. So here’s my break down:

  • 35 separate pieces of Jamie-mades
  • 14 tops/blouses
  • 8 skirts
  • 6 trousers/shorts
  • 3 accessories
  • 2 dresses
  • 1 jacket

Four of those items were new makes for the month. Which isn’t too bad for me especially after all the trouble I had with the maxi dress and I’m a slow sewist. So what did I learn this year from Me-Made-May?

I need more tops to go with some of my separates. I couldn’t wear a few of my skirts because the tops I would normally wear them with are sweaters. It’s just too hot where I live now for sweaters in May. I think if I had an arsenal of Sorbettos in a rainbow of colors I would be covered. I’ll put that on my to-do list.

I feel like I’m still struggling by the end of the month. There’s certain items I love and those are the first to get worn. The final week is a scrounge of items I have left.

I’m a better sewist now. When I am getting to those scrounged for items, I realize that I don’t wear them all that often because the construction is a bit shotty, the fabric choice was poor or I didn’t know how to fit things properly. One good example of bad fit is my black and white plaid cotton shirt. The shoulder seam is on my arm and not my shoulder. That kind of thing drives me crazy now but when I first made it I was so chuffed with myself for cranking out a shirt.

I assume as I continue with the Me Made May participation my wardrobe will easily be able and ready to handle the month. Let’s hope 3rd times the charm. Looking forward to next year. If you participated, how did your month go? If you didn’t, what’s the hold up?

You Dirty Rat

Have you ever worked on a project that has crushed you? You’ve cursed it or has it cursed you? I’ve worked on projects that have pushed me to what I thought was my sewing breaking point. All those past moments pale in comparison to this month’s project.

A pattern that has been on my to-do list for over a year has been Vogue 9001. I’ve been in love with the maxi dress. Big, flowy, girlie and I really can’t resist that comfort that maxi dresses bring. One of the main reasons I’ve been putting this off has been the amount of fabric this guy takes. 6 1/2 yards! To put that in perspective to make a long sleeve button down takes 1 7/8 yds and 3 1/4 yds for a pair of trousers . This dress is massive! I can tell you after cutting it, it’s easy to see all that fabric is hid in the skirt. There’s a pleat in the front and back of the skirt where it dwells until you move and it’s unleashed in a swirl of fabric.

Everything sounds pretty pleasant besides the amount of fabric right? I cut out the pieces for the skirt first and put those together. It was quick and it gets the biggest part of the dress out of the way. I decided that since the bodice is so fitted and it has some unwanted seams (more on that in a moment) I would make a muslin. I very rarely make muslins. I don’t like the additional time and fabric it takes. I used cotton fabric I had no plans for. The bodice was a super large size because according to my measurements I needed to 14. I usually do an 8. The only finished garment measurements were the length of the dress. Pretty disappointed in that.

Here’s the first go. The seam I hate is the one right across the boobs. Why would I want a seam connecting my nipples? The straps have a double strap kind of look and the inner piece that curves into the low neck is quite fiddly but I figure it’ll be okay. I made another muslin of the two front pieces that make the boobie border into one. I drew with chalk on my fabric the big piece and then lined up the lower piece below that taking in consideration the 5/8″ seam allowance.

This is my new piece. Instead of having two pieces, there’s a bust dart to bring to fabric around and accommodate boobage. I was really happy and excited about this easy solution. I cut out the bodice pieces and my replacement pieces. The bodice has a lining and I had some leftover black lining that I cut out too. Things are going well so I sewed up both bodices. Now the moment of truth, sewing them together.

Everything went wrong. The fiddly bit of the strap that goes down into the neckline wouldn’t lay flat no matter what I did. I decided to connect the strap down before trying to sew it to the lining. I cut out the bodice pieces again and sewed the lining to the outter fabric. It was laying a bit more flat. I just needed to trim the excess around the turn from the strap to the neck. As if this bodice couldn’t be making me anymore mad from all the ripping, cutting and fussiness, I cut through the seam! My trimming now became a maiming. I cut an inch hole straight down from the neckline into the bodice. I have enough fabric for one more go. This has to be right or the dress was going to become a skirt rather quickly.

If one dart worked well, why not two? I drafted another new piece. This one incorporates 4 of the original pieces down to 1 and rids me of the fiddly bits. I went very slow and thought out every move as I sewed. I had to take the straps in a bit here and there, cut the arm holes lower and take 1 1/2 – 2″ out of the sides. For something that looks decently easy on paper, became the biggest dirty rat in life.

The dress called for 2″ horsehair braid along the bottom. Unfortunately Jo-Ann’s only carries 1″. The pattern calls for 5 1/2 yds. I bought 5 3/4 yds. I ended up being 2-3″ short. No one will ever notice it the 6 yds of skirt swirling around.

The finished product turned out great. My immediate feeling was “meh”. After all that trouble and work I feel that it should have glowed and felt glorious. I think I was more relieved it was finished.  Such an underwhelming feeling.  I started this bodice on May 6 and didn’t finish the dress until May 30. Dirty rat.