My pledge…

right... I'm doing this!

‘I, Mel of Thanks! I made this myself sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment each day for the duration of May 2015.’

Ok folks…. Here we go. I’ve been a part of this online sewing community for a couple of years now and Me-Made-May has been something I’ve always wanted to be part of.

For those of you who’ve not come across this before, Zoe from So Zo, runs this annually and the challenge is to actually  wear the garments you’ve slaved over and get to share them with others. Many of us find its really easy to make something and then not find a chance to wear it and just leave it in the closet… Not this month baby!!

Each person can choose what they want to pledge – some choose to only wear a garment once in the month, other ones I’ve seen are to wear more self-made dresses and to ONLY wear self-made all month – eek!

I haven’t done this previously as I always figured I needed to have more actual me-made clothes in my wardrobe. I still don’t think I have enough for a whole month, but am really keen to do it this year, so I I’ll either have to get really productive at my machine (not that likely as I’m just starting a quilt) or to show you lovelies  many double ups.

I figure May will highlight gaps in my wardrobe and what I don’t wear and hopefully give me some guidance on what I should prioritise for future makes. (Ooh those wardrobe architect posts are making me drool. How I wish I had an actual “personal style” to focus on. But I’m too eclectic – or too casual – to have any kind of specific style.)

One of the key aspects  or Me-Made-May are the regular photos  people take of what they are wearing. I’m planning to photograph daily and add them to my blog as a round up weekly – we’ll see how this goes. However they’re not going to be exciting photos as Mr T is gone by the time I leave the house in the mornings and its dark when I get home now. They’ll be hall way photos I’m afraid. But its all about the garments huh?

What about you folks? Are you taking part this year? Any concerns? At the very least May is a time to see and droll over what everyone else is making – not that I need any more inspiration… my to-make list is already sooo long… Sooo long…

so much to make....

Some mail… exciting mail…

you guys today I came home to a pretty exciting envelope… wanna see it?

ok, its the back of the envelope but you get the idea....

ok, its the back of the envelope but you get the idea….

Its not just the fact its mail that’s exciting – though mail when its not bills is exciting. Its not just because its pattern mail… its where this mail comes from!

The organisers of Rigel Bomber January each got to pick their favourite bomber jacket and guess what… Kat from Modern Vintage Cupcakes choose mine!!!!!

yep this one...

yep this one…

There may have been a bit of squealing when I found out. Even if it was quiet and subdued squealing as I was in the office. I was pretty excited! And kinda proud.

For being picked I got to choose a free Papercut pattern and I knew exactly the one I wanted. I saw a jacket a woman was wearing in town the other day and I had to have it, and the Bellatrix pattern was perfect. So this blazer will soon (promise!) be made in this, awesome, bright orange cotton (sorry Mr T, a bit bright for you I know!).

pretty prettywon't lost me in a show storm...

 A huge and grateful thanks to Kat for picking me! Shucks! Check out the round up posts for the sew-along. Kat, Mel and Sonja each have a round up post – there’s a whole heap of inspiration there…

Sparkly Rigel Bomber

I wasn’t going to get involved in this sew-along. Ginger Makes, along with Mel at The Curious Kiwi and Kat at Modern Vintage Cupcakes decided that the Papercut Rigel Bomber was something they needed to make and did anyone want to make it along with them? and so RigelBomberJanuary was born.

I figured I am currently mid-rehearsal (again) and don’t need anything extra in my life at the moment. I didn’t have anything in my stash that seemed right for this and I didn’t have the pattern, so I couldn’t make it anyway. Then Mel posted some inspiration photos. Pretty!And I saw this one on the left and I was hooked. I tried to ignore the call of this siren but a week later it was still sitting in my head, a fabric sale started and I just had to give in.

Sequin fabric is expensive! Especially considering you also need to underline it.My pretty.... I headed to the Fabric Store sale and hummed and haaaed over what one to get. I ended up with this one (which is more black than it looks in this photo) for only $29 a metre (less 40% because of the sale!). It had the look I liked the best, but I don’t think its going to be the most robust sequined fabric I could get to be honest. I don’t know if the others would be less likely to shed sequins, but its something to learn if I ever sew with sequins again.

I got some black acetate to underline, which had a nice solid hand to it. I traced and cut out a size Large for this jacket (which is the size I made for my other Papercut pattern), which given I had main fabric, and underlining, and interfacing and rib took its time. Then I needed to baste the sequins to the underlining. I just used the acetate for the facing of the jacket, and decided not to line the jacket given there were already double layers of fabric (though Kat has done a great tutorial on adding lining here).

This counts as hand sewing right?

You can just see the hand basting at the end of these sleeve pieces….

Previously whenever I’ve underlined anything I’ve machine basted the pieces together, but this time as I wanted to make sure all the pieces were flat and there wasn’t any bunching (which is what I’ve had before) I hand basted it with the pieces sitting against my cutting table. It took time but I was much happier with being able to manipulate the fabric as I went so I think I’ll keep hand basting up. I’m yet to work out the best time to take out these basting stitches before they get caught up in the garment construction – any ideas on this? At what stage to you folks take basting stitches out? I also learned that you should use a new piece of cotton for each line of the pattern then you can take all the other basting stitches out and still leave the hems etc basted.

The construction of this jacket is really easy, though the first thing you do it welt pockets (first time for me!). Weirdly enough cutting into the middle of the jacket front to make the pocket itself filled me with terror, which I don’t think it would have if it was later in the sewing process – I know, makes no sense, but there you have it. But that was the only thing I struggled with. Though I did do a lot of top stitching to get everything looking right.

I finished the seams and the facing with pre-made bias binding. Because a) you have to do something to hide those ugly seams if you don’t put lining in right? And b) you have to cover the sequins on the seams cause they’re all scratchy. Trust me.

In the end this is a locally made jacket. The fabric comes from one of our local (well Kiwi owned) stores The Fabric Store, the pattern is from Nelson, only a boat ride away and the metal zip (which I love) came from my local haberdashery Made On Marion. I don’t always manage to make it all from small, local companies but I try.


I’m really happy with this jacket – I like the way the ribbing and the style makes it more casual, and therefore more wearable. It’s actually too big – I think I could have gone down a size? And if so, that’s the first time I’ve ever had that problem! Also the sleeves are a smidge short… which, if I’d searched the interweb before cutting I would have known in advance (do your research kids). Its yet to have it first wear other than getting photos taken, but I’m sure it won’t be long. Who of you have made a Rigel – I have a suspicion there are more in my future? What else have you been sewing?IMG_4635IMG_4624IMG_4592

P.S… my denim bed thingee is still being used. Now I’m back up on my feet it was relegated back to its home on the spare bed. Normally that room isn’t used, but Sewing Cat George came off worse for wear after meeting a car last week. The poor thing has a broken pelvis :( He will be a-ok but is banished to a cage for 4 weeks. As the spare room is the coolest room in the house (and its currently summer) we’ve moved him down there, and Mr C and I have set the room up as an alternate front room for the next few weeks to keep him company. Which means the spare bed, and the denim bed thingee are doubling as a couch. Poor man....

While Sewing Cat George may LOOK miserable in his cage, he seems to be having the time of his life having discovered he can reach both his food bowls without leaving his bed! So far he’s been a pretty cool customer with the whole thing… so far…

Meanwhile Sewing Cat Samantha is ignoring him – looks like sewing cat duties are all her for the next month…

Using my most popular post…

I am currently sitting on my couch, where I have been since late last week when I had minor surgery on my toes. I have weird and wonderful big toes (or “great toes” as they are apparently officially called) which are all crooked and that combined with wide toenails gave me pain.

So after putting it off for a long time, I finally booked in to get them done and sat back and experienced this simple surgery get bigger and bigger. Long story short last Thursday I went into hospital and had full surgery on my feet. It really was a minor surgery (honest) but I came to with feet looking like this. Eep!

My feet are under there somewhere...

It all went well, and is healing fine, but its meant several days spent mostly on the couch with those toes elevated. As soon as I came home Mr C had a suggestion… the denim bed rest thing!the bed rest thingee In the weird way that this internet goes, the post about this bed rest thing is my most popular post. BY FAR. People read this post everyday… and we never use it. Mr C, who requested it, has never used it. However after using it for the last several days I can attest it is quite comfy and does it job quite well :)

I figure its just well I made it – what would I have done without it huh?? huh???

Summer casuals…

Its a stunning summer here in NZ (you can’t beat Wellington on a good day folks!) and thats always a good excuse to get the legs out!

I brougTrue Bias Hudson Pantsht the last Perfect Pattern Parcel for 2014 and among the selection of patterns was the Hudson Pants by True Bias. I’m not a fan of long track pants as they’re never the right length, always too short, and I think that for me a tapered leg isn’t the most flattering. However I do have a pair of track pants that come to below the knee that I basically lived in for rehearsals for my last show so I was keen for some more.

Ok. Time to be honest. At times I can be incredibly uncreative. Most (if not all) of the time when I see a pattern picture I want to make the garment in the same colour. If the dress on the cover is red I want red fabric. If the jacket is blue I can only imagine myself making it in blue. It happens ALL THE TIME. So, true to form I made my first pair of these in grey :) This is a knit sweatshirt type fabric that is a bit less stretchy than 40% the pattern recommends. And to be honest is a bit heavy for these pants in summer but oh well.

Yep grey.The pattern comes with both the full and shorter length, and the cuff is a band of the main fabric – no ribbing here. I have to admit I was a bit concerned with the fit of these as I have fairly large calves (knee high boots are alwaysnot even almost even an issue) but I cut a straight size 16, knowing I had fabric to spare. But it all fit spot on.

The waist band is self fabric again, around thick elastic and then you then stitch horizontally to create three lines that create the waist band effect. This is meant to spread and hold the elastic evenly through the waist band. I did this wrong – check out how uneven the gathers are on either side of the cord. Trying to unpick it all, through the fabric and elastic was too much hard work. I know I do need to be pickier (no pun intended) with this stuff though, but I like to pick my battles. #lazysewer?

The only tricky part of this is the pockets – you can’t see on mine as its all the same fabric and colour, but there is a separate piece that create the pocket edging and I couldn’t work out where to start. Thank goodness for the internet as without True Bias’ sew-along I don’t know if I would ever have worked it out.

These really are super easy though, and are been in regular rotation, esp as I’ve just started back into rehearsals. And check out my pink hoodie which is worn heaps as well. I’m ridiculously excited about making my own casual wear… its something nobody notices but gives me a smile.

These photos were taken on a river bank on our way back from Martinborough the other day. It was a lovely day and I’m a water baby and I just wanted to swim, but I managed to refrain – its a long drive home!

See you later all!

look... a stone... tough feet tough feet... mmm water...

I’m back!

Hey there all you guys!

Happy holidays…. here’s to an awesome 2015 (wow 2015!!) and sorry for all the other events I’ve missed in my blogging break. 2014 was crazy busy with me doing three shows (two back to back!). I love theater, I love performing and I love the opportunities that I to perform, but man it takes up time!

So my last show wrapped up the end of November, and though I haven’t been blogging I jumped straight into my sewing room. I had to, it was a week til my brothers birthday and I was meant to make him pajama pants. Nothing complicated but it got me back on the horse.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos before I gifted them. Bad blogger. They were super cute though, trust me! My brothers internet handle is a fox and I saw this fox fabric from Girl Charlee while internet surfing and knew I had to have it! Making a t-shirt was not going to fit in the time that I had, so I searched the city and found a plain t that matched, got my bro’s internet handle embroidered on the Foxessleeve in a matching orange and I was sorted. Happy Birthday little brother!

At about the same time Kat from Muse Patterns (and one of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers) sent out a message looking for testers for her new knit pattern the Natalie dress. Now, admission time. I’ve never made a dress for myself (that I remember anyway). I love dresses, they’re so pretty and if you check out either my pinterest or my scarily growing pattern collection you will see I have dress ideas to fill from now til the cows come home. But actual dresses, scare me. I hardly wear any in real life, and I’ve never successfully made one. I think its a fit thing, I’m thick waisted, so the middle of me is always several sizes above the rest of the pattern and I’m not that good at adapting patterns to fit me. I’m working on it…

If you read my next to last post I advised you all my next make was going to be the Nicola Dress. Oops. well they start with the same letter, so thats not too bad, huh?!

But I was intrigued by Kat’s dress and keen to be part of it. The blogosphere talks about the ease of making and wearing knit dresses. I on the other hand have not worn a knit dress in my adult life – I was scared they would cling in all the wrong places so I’ve never even tried them on (wow sometimes I astound myself with my weird, situation specific, chicken-ness!). But I figured if this didn’t work out, nobody had to know!

Natalie can be made as knee length, maxi length and as a top, with different lengths of sleeves. Its a PDF pattern, and this thing taped together like a dream – it all lined up and all worked beautifully. I decided to make a knee length with 3/4 sleeves.

For a girl who was afraid of clinginess I totally picked the wrong fabric. Colour – stunning, thickness – thin thin thin. And not only is it clingy its also harder to sew. So any imperfections are totally my sewing, not Kat’s great pattern. So… check her out!

Natalie- in blue   modest and artistic looking

tiny little belt!The dress has gathers round the bust and the waist (the later are optional) and the belt is optional as well. I only made the belt half the standard length so there would be less for me to catch things on (any reduction for potential clumsiness is a good reduction, trust me).

Look at all those lines across the back (and on some of the other photos). They’re not there in real life I promise. I blame the wind on the day we took photos, combined with poses that may have not been the best for the dress. But by the time I saw them I was back in the car and it was raining!

I found this dress easy to put together, instructions were great. I love this colour – I originally brought the fabric to make a top (or two) but this was a much better choice. I got this dress in in less than 2 mtrs as well so I have some fabric left – win! As for clinginess, yep a bit but it looks great. And I tend to wear a slip under it too.

The first time I wore this dress to work I got lots of comments. And a couple of requests to make one for others… hmmm… Actual clothes for others? Thats in the scary bin too.

I had a great win on TradeMe a week ago ( NZ’s version of Ebay) and scored a massive pile of fabric for $20 (plus the petrol it took Mr T and I to drive 90 minutes each way there and back!). Included was some great stuff and some knits – so there’s another Natalie or two in the pipeline. Along with a WHOLE lot more…

Hope the holidays have been great for each of you and you got to spend some with people who make you smile and feel loved. That’s what I think is the best part of this time of the year after all.

Thanks to the unknown people who let me use their kids school bus stop for photos! See ya later

But its PINK!!

“But its pink” Said Mr T.

“Yep” I replied

“Bright pink” Said Mr T.

“It is” I confirmed.

“And you’re going to make a hoodie. A hoodie” Confirmed Mr T.

“I am” I nodded.



Mr T has this (slightly irrational) hatred of hoodies. Much to his frustration if I get a sweatshirt it almost always has a hood. I am the source of much frustration for the poor guy!

I had seen the Jamie Christina Sol hoodie a while back and when I saw this pink sweat shirting it called to me. Which was weird as I don’t like pink… I have no pink in my wardrobe but once upon a time someone said that I look good in pink and I figured this might work. After all its not completely pink…

Mr T did not approve. Oh well!

I figured that, with the sol hoodie having bands down the zip, I could use a solid pink to tone the end product down. Writing that dIMG_3663own it was an assumption that make s no sense, but it was totally logical in my head!

I used matching quilting cotton for the bands (and the ones  around the hood) and pink rib for the inside of the hood. I wanted a metal zip for this, but couldn’t find one long enough so white it was.

I was a bit nervous to make this us up. It was a stretch. It was thick fabric. It had thumbs holes in the sleeves! Eep… But in the end it was really easy. The instructions were really clear (and I mostly followed them) and it came together pretty fast. The only bit I struggled with was sewing the zip through the thickness.

its... pink...

This hoodie has been in regular rotation since I finished it up and I really like it. The only difference I will make next time I make is make the sleeves  a smidge longer. And as for Mr T, he decreed that the end result “wasn’t as bad” as he thought it would be. I even get to be seen in public with him when I wear it!