Sew For A Change – June

The food month is coming to an end. To be honest, I haven’t dedicated myself too much in the star challenge this month for a lack of time. Much to do at work, we’ve had plans every weekend (been away, had parties or both!) which we have had since Easter. Plus my husband is on parental leave and does most of the cooking, I can’t make him cook something he doesn’t want to (firm believer in meat). Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Complete the following:

 

  1. Start by doing a food inventory. Get rid of (preferably through composting) any food that is not fit for eating any longer. Now, try to plan your dinners to use the food you have, before it goes bad.
    If I may say so myself, we are pretty good at using things in our freezer. We don’t overbuy and check what we have before making our shopping list for the week. Our freezer could use some cleansing and it should be done soon in my opinion. Maybe I should do it as a vacation project. I need the kids to be occupied somehow (TV or napping is sufficient) and it should preferably be done in connection to garbage pickup day. Let’s get planning!
  2. Choose one week this month to be a completely vegetarian week. For the rest of the weeks you shall eat vego at least twice/week.
    As I wrote above my husband is a firm believer in meat (I once suggested having a vegetarian day, his response was that he could fry up some bacon on the side). Plus we’ve been so busy in June that making new dishes have not been a priority at all. But I have gathered recipes and will, in July, start with a vegetarian day a week. Baby steps.
  3. Look into what is in season and choose vegetables and fruits accordingly. First choice is organic, second choice is local produce.
    We’re not very good with vegetables (that’s been made obvious) and fruit. I’m allergic to raw stone fruits (apples, pears, peaches etc.) so I pretty much just eat banana. We try to buy locally produced if we can, they have a lot of locally produced vegetables at our store so whenever we can, we get it.
  4. When it comes to the following 5, we ask you to buy organic or not at all: coffee, potatoes, grapes, bananas and cheese.
    Coffee, grapes (including raisins and wine) and bananas are check! We haven’t found eco-potatoes and unfortunately the most organic, local-produced cannot be harvested yet. I don’t eat a lot of cheese, but I’ve eaten some and it wasn’t organic.
  5. For meat we want to limit the use of beef to once per week (except for the vego week, obviously, where it is zero).
    Again, I haven’t had the energy to work this out. It’s quite possible that I could’ve passed this because we haven’t eaten much beef, but I honestly don’t know.
  6. Eat rice max once a week, unless you live in a part of the world where it is produced.
    Same answer. I honestly don’t know.

We’re not quite there yet, but we are coming up on the halfway point and it’s usually when I lose momentum. Plus I’ve been thinking a lot about a post I read on Creating in the Gap about sewing as a hobby. It is my hobby why should I impose a bunch of rules on it? I don’t over-buy, I keep clothes for a long time, I donate what can be donated. My kids wear plenty of hand-me-downs, we fill the washer, we buy eco-friendly products, I buy clothes second-hand. Why should I have to abstain from buying a pretty fabric for a maxi Anna dress just because I needed new bras after ten months of breast-feeding? Or a winter coat? I have underwear you can practically see through since they are so worn. My winter jacket was bought in 2006, my spring jacket in 2008, my clothes are from the 1990s. I keep things and wear them. We don’t throw away food instead we make lunch boxes, we recycle. I could probably do more, but I don’t see why I should sacrifice my hobby, something that makes me feel good, in order to clear my conscience.

image

Great fabric, length and lace. The joy!

Plenty of thoughts to deal with.

This month I bought myself 4 new bras. The joys of a well-fitting bra! They were in polyamide so 3 points each and 12 in total. I also bought a skirt (in lovely fabric, see blurry cell phone pic above), a blouse and a cardigan, but they were all second-hand so free of charge!

With 12 points spent and 0 gained it leaves my total on 59 points.

Creation: Anna Dress for Wedding

Ah, Anna. She has been everywhere this past year, on every blog I read, there she was! She looked great on anyone I saw her on. But I wasn’t convinced she’d look great on me. Now I surrender.

Blue Anna (12)

Back in February we were invited to my SIL’s wedding. Of course I wanted to make my dress for the occasion. As we came from the theatre when she told us I wanted to make a dress mimicking one we’d seen. I looked through several patterns, trying to find at least a bodice I could work with. I didn’t find one that felt 100%. I could’ve still gone for one of those but with trying to get it right and then Frankenpatterning sleeves and skirt I figured it was easier if I went for a pattern which I could use in its whole and perfecting it.

Step one of perfecting it was fit. I cut a size XX. I sewed the side seams with 1 cm SA, so it would fit according to finished measurements. I made a 2 cm FBA (1 cm per side) according to the tutorial from the By Hand London’s sewalong. It worked fine for me, but I’ve read that it doesn’t really work if you need to add more than 2.5 cm (1”). I found no gaping in the neckline at all.

Blue Anna (6)

You could call this selfie a fail, but it does show the FBA dart I added.

 

 

After cutting my pieces, the first thing I did was a staystitch on the neckline. The V is pretty deep and I didn’t want it to stretch when I handled it. Other neckline finishes I added was that I interfaced the facings as well as understitching them (did wonders!).

 

Blue Anna (14)

Unfortunately I got some gaping at the top when adding the hook and eye

 

After cutting my pieces, the first thing I did was a staystitch on the neckline. The V is pretty deep and I didn’t want it to stretch when I handled it. Other neckline finishes I added was that I interfaced the facings as well as understitching them (did wonders!).

 

French seams and lace hem

French seams and lace hem

For the whole dress I did French seams, except for the bodice to skirt seam and CB due to the zipper. The sleeves and hem are finished with a hand-sewn catchstitch and on the hem I added some lace as hem tape. Just because it’s pretty. We sew to add details like that, right?

 

The fabric is an organic cotton sateen from Sonja’s Ateljé. It was very nice to work with and is soft, while still holding the shape of the pleats. The fabric recommendations is 2.5 m for the short version, I bought 2.7 to be on the safe side and account for shrinking, still I have one metre to spare (which was lucky since I accidentally cut a notch in the fold of the centre front skirt. Oops!). Very generous fabric recommendation. I hope I can use the remaining fabrics for something useful. It’s a very wide fabric, so I can probably squeeze something out of it.

 

Lace hem with catchstitch

Lace hem with catchstitch

As the dress is in one colour only I thought I needed something to go with it. Based on what I had at home (purse, bolero, hair piece and jewelry) my colours became blue, gold and white. I wanted something more to complete the look and as I was reading blogs it came to me; Tilly’s bow belt! I used her easy tutorial and then my look was completed.

 

The fabric wasn’t very cheap I paid 554 SEK for it (but can probably make a top with it as well), but after hearing what others spent on their store-bought dresses it’s not so bad. My dress is organic and custom-made. You can’t beat that! It would be nice with a few more occasions to wear it.

 

As I said, I surrender. This dress is gorgeous and flattering and I really want to make more.

This dress is also my first post on The Monthly Stitch for Indie Pattern Month. If you like it, please head over there and vote for me!

Sew For a Change – May

Another month has passed, bith in the real world and in Sew For A Change. The focus for May was laundry and I must admit that I wasn’t very committed to this challenge.

  • Estimate the amount of laundry your household produces during a normal month (and make it official), then try to reduce that amount by 20% during this month. This means, if you usually do 10 loads during the month you should try to do only 8 (or less).

Husband and I estimated that we do about 2-3 loads a week, accumulating to about 10 per month. Our loads are usually pretty full and we wear clothes several times before washing them (unless they’re smelly and/or stained). We saw no reward in trying to push this further down. We also have two kids who need their clothes was and while they have clothes to get by, they don’t have enormous amounts (trying to reduce shopping as well leads to having to wash more) and the clothes needs regular washing. We do, however try to fill the machine with what’s in the laundry pile. (Being grumpy, I’m not a big fan of relative goals. We would need to get from 10 to 8 to pass this goal, whereas someone who washes 20 loads needed to get down to 16. Their reduction is larger, but over the course of a year with our ten we’d wash 120 loads and they’d wash 192. Which saves the environment more?)

  • Only wash full loads.

As I mentioned above we try to fully load the machine every time, filling up with sheets, towels or other things in the right colour and temperature. It pained me that I needed to wash an almost empty machine towards the end of the month, but unfortunately it could not be helped. I had washed my judo gi on the weekend, filling up with other whites, but on the Tuesday class I got a lot of blood on it (not mine) and it needed to be washed immediately so the blood didn’t set. And since it was recently washed I had nothing to fill up the load with.

  • Change to a earth friendly detergent – make sure it’s free from phosphates, zeolites and EDTA.

We bought a new machine last summer and with it we got plenty of boxes with detergent, bound to last at least this year out. So we’re sticking to that for now.

  • Do not use fabric softener! If you must use something, use vinegar instead. 

My husband is a softener addict, I don’t use it. Except for my judo gi (that thing is a laundry environmental hazard in itself) because it is so heavy and stiff that it actually hurts to train in it un-softened.

  • Avoid dry cleaning.

I can’t recall using a dry cleaner. Ever.

  • Check the water hardness and make sure you don’t overdose the detergent.

I’m bad at this, I just wing it. We do have pretty hard water where I live and I haven’t been bothered to check it. We have our own well, so I don’t really know how I’d go about testing it. I do think it’s pretty hard (my FIL has said that he need to rinse his shampoo a lot longer at our place than at his home)

  • Avoid using the dryer and instead air dry the laundry inside or outside. Get set up with line and pegs!

The dryer that came with the house broke a few years ago and we haven’t even bothered replacing it, there was no need for us.

Some good things, some bad. We could change to a more environmental friendly detergent, but it would be after using up what we already have. As for dosing we could probably do better but I do think we have quite hard water so I don’t think it would differ much.

Now, let’s get to those numbers:

Ingoing points: 75.125p

Blue fabric:      -4,05 p    (2.7 m of 1.6m wide organic cotton)

Star challenge: 0p

Outgoing: 71.125p

This month it’s focus on food, I probably won’t get the 10 extra points, but I will work on the challenge bits anyway.

Me-Made-May Week 5

The end of the line… Me-Made-May 14 is over and I have already posted two lessons on declutter and body image, I have a few more lessons to write about.

Me-Made-May day 26

Me-Made-May day 26

Assymetrical Top, Lessons Learnt Skirt

A top thathas been completely overlooked in May, good thing I had time to pull it out in the last week. Good thing I did! The fit is a bit off, but if I pull it up a bit it will drape in both the front and back,making the bad neckline fit almost look intentional. A great comfortable top with some interest in the neckline, even if my pose does nothing to show it.

Me-Made-May day 27

Me-Made-May day 27Blueberry Sorbetto, Three year pants.

In theory I like these garments. In reality the fit is a bit off on both of them. I love the blue colour of the blouse, but the bust darts sit too high on me and it’s bugging me. Likewise the pants have a bit of excess fabric in the front. Neither garment is so bad that it will get the axe right away, but I will look to replace them in the future. I did, unexpectedly, liked the look of o tucked in bloues in high-waisted pants. A surprise!

Me-Made-May day 28

Me-Made-MAy day 28Indian Shirt, Namesake Skirt

I like both of these pieces even though the skirt waistband is beginning to lose its shape. However the shirt doesn’t go very well with the high waist of the shirt so while both garments are keepers, they should just not be paired. BTW, my hair is a total mess. Haircut definitely needed and now we are close enough to the wedding we’re attending in late June that I can actaully get it done.

Me-Made-May day 29

Me-Made-May day 29The Turnaround Dress

I still haven’t blogged this dress and it deserves a post of its own because let me tell you: I love this dress! I wore it to a family day at the race tracks (carousels, horse riding, horse races, lunch – fun for the whole family!) and I loved that I my look was so completely different from everyone else’s. I felt like I stood out in a good way, I liked that feeling. Yup, I was completely full of myself as well.

For days 30 and 31 we just stayed at home so no me-mades for those days (note to self, make a few more casual me-mades to wear around the house).

I completed yet another month of me-mades! However, since I’ve come to the realisation that I’m not very fond of my wardrobe I have no idea what I’ll wear in June. But that’s an issue for another day!

Me-Made-May Week 4

Me-Made-May day 19

Me-Made-May day 19

Starry Organic Alma, Exposed Zipper Skirt, RTW cardigan (Camaïeu)

Love the blouse! There’s not much more to say. I like the skirt, it’s a basic shape with a fun pop of colour. However the sewing is pretty bad and all I can think of when wearing the skirt is if anyone else notices them. Probably not right, I mean it’s practically only sewists who care about stripe matching right? The verdict for this skirt is that it will be kept in my wardrobe, until I can replace it. Seeing how the skirt is totally wearable, it’s not unflattering or too worn, I have other things to prioritise before replacing this skirt. So a keeper it is! I have two of this cardigan (one grey, one navy) and I love wearing them. Cardigans like these should definitely be on my “to buy”-list even if I do want to sew toppers as well.

Me-Made-May day 20

Me-Made-May day 20

Lessons Learnt Skirt, Green Floral Blouse

Skirt – no comments needed. The blouse is awkward, it’s the blouse from the Burdastyle Sewing Handbook. In theory I like it and I could like it on me as well, just not this version. What is awkward? Let me count the ways. The sleeves hit at a bad place, especially since they have cuffs. The cuffs hit me right where I want to bend my arm, pushing the cuffs up, or restraining me at first. The blouse is made before 2014, aka. the year of the Full Bust Adjustment, meaning I never did an FBA and my ample bosom makes the elastic go up, hitting me above my natural waist – not pretty. Plus the colour is a bit too pale on me, a brighter green would have been better. I could see myself making another version of this blouse, granted I fix the errors above, but I can’t really place it at the top of my sewing list.

 

Me-Made-May day 21

Me-Made-May day 21

Midnight Sun Shirt, Midnight Sun Skirt, RTW cardigan (Target)

Symbolic dressing today. I’ll explain in day 22’s description. I haven’t worn this combo before, the shirt and the skirt as a dress. I struggled with an FBA in the making of the shirt and the fit is not spot on, however it looks much better when belted. I like the slight A-line shape of the skirt, it has six gores to shape it. These will stay!

Me-Made-May day 22

Me-Made-May day 22

Striped Organic Alma, Thrifted skirt (Sunshine 365)

Premiere wearing of my Striped Organic Alma, with matching belt. The symbolism continues. You see, last night I took my green belt in judo. Before that it was orange, but since I don’t have an orange belt the yellow belt yesterday stood in. Today I wear my green belt. With pride. Both in my judo accomplishment and due to the fact I really like this blouse, such a cool fabric and great fit! The skirt is thrifted but I love it, the shape is great and I love how it swooshes as I walk. I keep wishing for the Hollyburn skirt in various giveaways, maybe I should just relent and buy it already.

Me-Made-May day 23

Me-Made-May day 23

Pretty in Pink dress

I really like the shape and the square neckline of this dress. However, it’s not that the fit is too bad, it just sits badly. The edge of my bra is on display, the sleeves feel a bit dated and I’m not 100% sure about the colour. It was a tough call, but as I kept tugging on the dress all day to try and at least not show my bra I think it’s time to let go. The negatives, sadly, outweighs the positive. The same goes for its sister blouses.

Me-Made-May day 24

I wore a thrifted dress as I didn’t meet anyone today. Very comfortable dress, I need more casual dresses in my wardrobe.

Me-Made-May day 25

Picture is old, but I looked like this. With different hair. And a hat. The shoes were the same, but are unseen.

Lime Truffle Dress.

Busy day today. Out running before eight, brunch at my sister’s, last gymnastics class for kiddo and voting for European parliament. When I first made the Lime Truffle Dress, it was my first Colette Pattern. I thought this dress fit well, since Colette drafts for a C cup, whereas most others draft for a B cup it fit me better than anything else I’d made. But since discovering the FBA (why, oh why did it take me so long!?) I realised that this dress doesn’t fit that well. I kept pulling it all day. It won’t go right away because the fabric makes me happy and if this dress is to be replaced I need to find a fabric that makes me equally happy. Also I wore a hat. Hats are great for blocking the sun without hiding your face behind sunglasses. More hats for the people!

 

 

Creation: Organic Striped Alma

Following the success of my first Alma, I did yet another one in organic cotton, the Organic Striped Alma.

As I covered all of my alterations in the post about the Starry Alma, I will just focus on what makes this one special.

Striped Alma

Just as with my last one the fabric is a cotton sateen from Stoff och Stil. Yes, the stripes go diagonally and no, I have not cut it off-grain. I tried to line up the stripes along the side seams, but the bust dart as well as the vertical darts left the stripes distorted. I really don’t mind because I think the fabric makes an awesome blouse.

Striped Alma (2)

The starry fabric was light weight and drapey, this is more sturdy and heavy. It’s one of those fabric that is so easy to work with as it doesn’t crease or slip and it is an absolute dream to press. However, I’m not so sure it goes very well with the cap sleeves, making them stick out. I’m thinking of adding an elastic to the cap sleeve hem to bring them in and down. Do you think that could work?

Striped Alma (3)

If you look closely (and are very familiar with the Alma) yopu would notice the the front left vertical dart is a bit lower than it should be and a bit more centered. It’s not a fitting alteration in any way, rather a sloppy mistake. After I had sewn the darts I was to clip the thread. I accidentally got a bit too close and snipped the fabric as well. Oops! So I had to unpick the dart and move it about 1 cm to cover the hole. Luckily it didn’t alter the fit and the holes left by the needles in the first dart steamed out easily and left no marks.

Striped Alma (1)

Also I think I haven’t done the notch properly, it’s not quite as deep as the other versions I’ve seen. But I like the one I got. Besides no one in real life knows how it’s supposed to look. Before starting this project I spent an evening with scraps and my overlocker, trying to master it. I still have plenty to learn, but I did learn enough to finish my Alma seams on it so it looks very pretty on the inside (I forgot to take a picture so you will have to take my word for it).

The Alma will rest for a bit now, but I am planning to do a long-sleeved version, complete with the cuffs, for fall. I love this blouse! I wore it today, it was very warm out, but with the cap sleeves it was not hard to wear, very breezy and I still looked professional.

Do you ever worry that others will notice you are wearing multiple versions of one pattern? Do you use a pattern multiple time or do you want to get to the next one as soon as possible?

 

 

Me-Made Lessons: Photos vs. Mirrors and Body Image

Participating in Me-Made-May has made me realise this: I could never do an outfit blog. Having to take your photo each day, edit and write something witty each day, nah not for me. However, there are benefits in taking your photo each day.

In our bathroom we have a full length mirror. So, whenever I shower I see myself naked in front of the mirror. It’s inevitable. So in my mind I have an image of how I look. This also applies to every time I look myself in the mirror after getting dressed in the morning. The mirror shows me my view of myself. For my me-made pictures I use the self-timer or remote control to let the camera show me its view. An outside’s perspective, even if I’m the one doing the actual photography.

Me-Made-May day 15

As I see myself in the mirror

Seeing myself in my clothes, dressed for work, gatherings, parties I realise that well-fitting clothes makes me look good. My clothes are not trendy but the suit me, fit-wise and personality-wise. My clothes displays who I am. The bad things I see (my eyes only?) when I look in the mirror are not so obvious when I’m dressed in clothes I like and that fit me. Seeing many photos of yourself kind of breaks down the barrier. For the first ones you focus on the bad, but after 20 days (and counting) of looking at your own picture you start seeing what you didn’t see at first, what looks good instead of just going for the bad. You get used to seeing the outside perspective of yourself and I’ve realised that the outside perspective is not so bad. I need to look at myself with the same eyes as I look on everyone else.

Midnight Sun Shirt (14)

As the camera sees me

Generally I must say that the body image in the online sewing community is great. Mainly because I don’t see much body issues. Women of all sizes display what they’ve made and all are encouraged. We work with fit to flatter our bodies, we work with styles we feel comfortable in, we choose fabric and prints to match our complexion and we are all very encouraging towards each other. There’s a place for everyone and we are empowering each other.

It’s great fun to see everyone’s outfits, it’s inspiring. It is also empowering and liberating. So many women, so many body shapes, so much beauty and encouragement.

Do you ever photograph yourself, or have someone photograph you regularly? Do you find yourself looking different in the mirror and photos? If you sew, have sewing change your view on body image and how?