Hello June! The month of May had come and gone in the blink of an eye and I hope everyone had fun taking part in Me Made May organised by Zoe from ‘So, Zo…’. I know I definitely had fun going through my handmade wardrobe and discovering other like-minded makers on Instagram!
My pledge for Me Made May this year is to spend time reflecting on my makes and to get a clearer idea of where I want to go in my handmade journey. Since I rarely wear my me-mades to work on the weekdays (because my work involves getting rice cereal, blue dye and drool on what I wear on a regular basis), I thought it would make more sense to just do a round-up and reflection at the end of the month.
So here’s a round-up of all the key pieces I wore on the weekends (and public holidays) for the month of May 2018. They don’t look like a lot because sometimes I repeat the outfit and accessorise differently, and sometimes I stay home and just wear my me-made pyjamas (this and this).
With just one look, I think it is easy to tell that I love prints. I started the month with a couple of fruity prints, progressed to floral prints (based what people picked via an IG story poll), and then ended with classic gingham. There is a mixture of very old makes from way back in 2012 (which is the year I started sewing more seriously), and more recent makes from earlier this year in 2018.
And here’s a breakdown of all the things I love and loathe about these me-mades:
1950’s style Retro Rockabilly Cherry Dress
Year made: 2012
Pattern: New Look 6020 (View D)
Thing(s) I love: I mean, just look at that sweetheart neckline!
Thing(s) I loathe: I still think this dress is pretty cute. But the combination of fabric just seems a little too cute-sy for me now and the skirt length just isn’t what I am into right now.
Future plans/things to note: It’s gonna break my heart but I will have to take this dress apart and transform it into something that I still want to wear and feel great in. I still have some of that cherry print fabric so maybe I will make a set of 1940’s inspired sun top and bottom. Also, I think I should always make sure that my 1950’s style skirts are always below the knee in the future.
1950’s style Lemon Drop Dress
Year made: 2017
Pattern: Vintage Reproduction Circa 1952 Vogue 2902
Thing(s) I love: That built-in petticoat made with inspiration from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress book! Took more time to complete the dress but definitely worth the trouble.
Thing(s) I loathe: You can’t tell in the photo because of the belt, but the bodice is about half an inch shorter than I would like it to be
Future plans: I definitely should continue to take time to ensure that the wrong side of the dress looks as well-made as the right side of the dress… and work towards maybe making a dress with a built-in dress like Christian Dior’s! Also, I need to pay more attention to getting the right body measurements.
1950’s inspired Blue Country Garden Skirt
Year made: 2018
Thing(s) I love: The classic floral print!
Thing(s) I loathe: It’s really a pretty decent piece of work! There’s nothing that I dislike about it.
Future plans: I am kinda getting sick of making flared skirts (i.e., circle or gathered). Time to move on to exploring making pencil skirts, gored skirts etc! But I definitely need to slowly expand on my country garden collection. For example, I love how my knitted sweater (No. 4) goes so well with this skirt!
1950’s style Beauty School Top
Year made: 2018
Pattern: Amy Appel’s (aka Poison Grrls) Beauty School Top
Thing(s) I love: Amy did such a great job with the pattern for the sleeves. They fit LIKE A DREAM.
Thing(s) I loathe: Just a tad not a fan of the neck opening. It might just be me being tight with my stitches but it takes a bit of effort to get through the neck opening.
Future plans: I already have plans to make another one in blue for my best friend!
1940’s style Retro Rosie Floral Dress (Pink version with sleeves)
Year made: 2014
Pattern: Vintage Reproduction Circa 1947 Butterick 5209 (View B)
Thing(s) I love: I am absolutely in love with this dreamy shade of dusty rose pink!
Thing(s) I loathe: I think in 2014 I was still figuring out ease and my body measurement. Or maybe I lost some weight? At this point I can’t remember. But I don’t like how this dress is kinda loose on me. Wearing cinched me-made 1950’s style clothes has made me used to having clothes extremely close to my body.
Future plans: Part of me wants to sell this dress. It would look SO MUCH BETTER on someone else with the right measurements. Part of me wants to save it for when I gain weight in 10-20 years’ time. But for now, I have no real plans for this dress, except to wear it again when the mood calls for it.
1940’s style Retro Rosie Floral Dress (Purple version without sleeves)
Year made: 2014
Pattern: Vintage Reproduction Circa 1947 Butterick 5209 (View A)
Thing(s) I love: Definitely in love with the Monroe vibes over here! This is also the first piece that I made with bra pads sewn in by hand. I have also since learnt to plan ahead and sew the bra pads in between the main fabric and the lining (like my 1950’s gingham sun top listed as No. 9)!
Thing(s) I loathe: The initial final product was so loose on me I had to sew some elastic along the upper edge of the back and take in an inch where the straps join behind the neck. On the other hand, this unfortunate outcome gave me the opportunity to learn to use shirring elastic!
Future plans: So if you have been following me on my Instagram via @gwenstellamade, you will know that I have been talking about making my wedding dress. My original muslin for my wedding dress failed so now I will be hacking the pattern for this bodice to make my wedding dress. I am getting married in 2 months so it MUST and WILL be done by then!
1950’s style Sunday Picnic Dress
Year made: 2018
Pattern: Vintage Reproduction Circa 1952 Retro Butterick 6212
Thing(s) I love: The stark contrast of red gingham skirt with a white bodice. Also, I like anything in gingham, really.
Thing(s) I loathe: The questionable fit of the armhole, demonstrated in my Youtube video here
Future plans: MAYBE (as in like, HUGE MAYBE) modify the pattern and improve the bodice/armhole situation… and just continue wearing this as a regular dress..
1970’s style Baby Blue Gingham Prairie Dress
Year made: 2012
Pattern: Vintage 1970’s Butterick 6124 (View A)
Thing(s) I love: Those puffy sleeves and the dual ways of wearing the dress (i.e. shoulders on or off)
Thing(s) I loathe: A tad too girlish for me
Future plans: Make more peasant style tops! Perhaps consider making my own pattern by hacking into this vintage Butterick pattern or purchasing Gertie’s Rita Blouse (via Charm Patterns by Gertie). Maybe stop wearing this when I turn 40 and feel too old for this.
1950’s style Gingham Bra Top and matching skirt
Year made: 2017
Pattern: Top = Simplicity 1426 (View A), Bottom = self-drafted basic gathered skirt
Thing(s) I love: Definitely the classic gingham print and this shade of green!
Thing(s) I loathe: Naive increase in the length bottom band of the bra top to make a top without any regard for the shape of my waist
Future plans: Continue making Simplicity 1426 but put in more thought into modifying the pattern into proper tops and perhaps even a bodice for a dress. That means darts and maybe an elasticised back!
I know it’s only June but I really feel like the year is whizzing by so quickly! I can’t wait to see what other sewing adventures I will go on for the rest of the year (and all the years after). But I know that in the short term, these are the 5 things I want to work on:
- Make more pencil skirts
- Use more solids to build a versatile me-made wardrobe
- Hack previously-used and loved patterns
- Get the right fit with commercial and self-drafted patterns
- Write crochet patterns
- Reflect and re-invent
What are some of the things you learnt about yourself and your own sewing through Me-Made May? I’d love to hear your thoughts about them! By the way, which one of these makes is your favourite? xx
More details of the above me-mades: 1950's style Retro Rockabilly Cherry Dress (here) 1950's style Lemon Drop Dress (here) 1950's inspired Blue Country Garden Skirt (here) 1940's style Retro Rosie Floral Dress (Pink version) (here) 1940's style Retro Rosie Floral Dress (Purple version) (here) 1950's style Sunday Picnic Dress (here) 1970's style Baby Blue Gingham Prairie Dress (here) 1950's style Gingham Bra Top and matching skirt (here)