June 2019: What Happened to May?!

I can’t be the only person who is seeing this year slip through their fingers, can I? Is the year moving too fast for anyone else?

White embroidered tucked Butterick 5890 short sleeve blouse with gray linen drawstring Burda 6678 drawstring pants, black Dansko sandals

White embroidered tucked Butterick 5890 short sleeve blouse with gray linen drawstring Burda 6678 drawstring pants

First time I’ve used this white reflective piping and it’s pretty fabulous!

black linen Vogue 9091 culottes with whit Ready-to-Wear tee shirt, silver sandals

Showing off my new black linen Vogue 9091 culottes!

Admittedly, part of the reason why I’ve felt so busy is because I’ve been sewing up a storm. I’ve been trying to create some summer weather clothing, since a lot of my things from last year do not currently fit. So I made a white blouse and another pair of my favorite culottes in a larger size. I haven’t worn them together yet but they will be nice paired up. And they go with several things in my wardrobe, which means these will get heavy rotation this summer.

I finished up Me Made May 2019 having worn something Me Made a whopping 29 out of 31 days. The two exceptions were work-related. I need to make some super corporate-y things to wear to work events. Here are some of my favorites: 15 images of a tall, red-haired woman in different outfitsI keep analyzing what it is about my favorites so that I can spend more time making things that I’ll actually like once I’m done. A quick read here shows that I like things slightly fitted around my waist. And prints. Lots and lots of prints. Mostly floral.

My main Me Made May pledge this year was to not buy any new patterns or fabric the entire month, and I not only survived that, I realized I have at least half a dozen things to make before I even need anything. But of course, it’s now June, and I pre-ordered some Charley Harper fabric from Fabricworm.com. It’s barkcloth, and I’m not entirely sure what it will feel like, but I love the print. It won’t ship until July at the soonest so I’m thinking a pleated skirt or maybe some sort of cocoon jacket. While all this mad sewing was going on (and a million other things) in May, what was *not* going on was all the biking I promised myself I’d do. I’m not sure I biked any day in May – bad! I need to pull the bike out and clean it up and that’s part of my excuse. Weather, work schedules, after work activities, and everything else have piled up. Maybe I need to stop considering myself a bike commuter. Or a bike rider at all. <very sad face> Ah well, it’s a new month, so many more new opportunities, right?

This Star Wars print fabric *arrived* in May, but I ordered it in March, so that doesn’t count and still supports my Me Made May pledge : )

 

Sewing May 2019: Moving Through Me Made May

As I previously posted, May is many many things. The one that is currently taking up most of my time is Me Made May, a sewing/knitting/crafting “challenge” established 10 years ago by blogger Zoe. The goal is to encourage us to wear our handmade wardrobe, and everyone sets their own goal. I always like this challenge because it helps me see the gaps in my sewing wardrobe. So I pledge and post on Instagram as a way to keep me on track, and to track.

The usual part of my pledge is to wear something Me Made every day. I have made myself alot of clothing, but it’s not all work appropriate, so that’s the biggest gap I’m always trying to fill. I don’t always succeed at this… For example, I always have work events in May, and haven’t yet had anything Me Made to wear for them. Last week I had a fancy schmancy corporate-y work event, and I just didn’t feel like anything I’ve made was appropriate, so I wore some of my favorite Ready to Wear. However, just so everyone was clear, I wore a sewing themed pin (that I’ve had since the 90s!), in the Madeline Albright style. The first few days I wore something that was either red or pink or orange. I swore I’d leave those colors alone after I changed my hair color but I rather liked my outfits.

On May 4th, I wore my new Princess Leia tee shirt for May the Fourth/Star Wars Day. I grew up with Princess Leia – was she my first role model? Possibly! This image is a vintage library poster, which the genius people at Out of Print turned into a tee shirt, along with some others.

Princess Leia said read, so I did!

I wore my favorite dress on my birthday, made with fabulous linen from Marcy Tilton. I also matched my floral print top with a floral labeled beer. And Gaston helped me show off my new rabbit print shirt that I whipped up ahead of going to NE Bunfest. Yes, it’s a thing. More on that in a week or so! And over the weekend I kept to my pledge of not buying any new patterns or fabrics this month so I can sew up my stash. I wore a favorite tee shirt into Joann Fabrics, and made out with only zippers and thread. Whew!

Me, fleeing the temptations of Joann Fabrics, in a Me Made tee shirt (horrible lighting, though, yikes!)

I also made a new tee shirt whilst wearing a Me Made tee shirt – so meta. Except that I don’t really need any more casual wear! I need more corporate-y clothing! I have some ideas for summer weather, I just need the time to make them.

I have another three weeks of Me Made May to go, three more weeks to see what other sort of things I need to make myself.

That’s right, that’s what I am!

May19: Momentous May

It’s the merry month of May! It’s a rather momentous month every year because of three things that always happen (and are important me): my birthday; Me Made May; and National Bike Month.

My Birthday

This year I am turning 47. I have no idea how I got to be suddenly so close to 50!!! Eek! I feel a sudden urge to figure what I should do with my life. I need to put a plan into place to help me focus the next three years. Maybe that’s the year The Mechanic and I will finally move overseas somewhere. Who knows, it could happen!

Early celebratory mermaid themed cupcake!

Me Made May

Me Made May is a personal challenge for sewists on Instagram. The idea is generally to encourage you to wear the things you have made, especially the pieces that get little use. Most sewists set their own pledges: I pledge to wear something #memade everyday; to work; not buy fabric; finish up neglected projects; etc. This year I plan to sew what I already have planned, and see what gaps I think I have by wearing as much as I can (depending on what fits). Loved wearing some #memade things in New York Cityast weekend! I got so many compliments on my coat, I was shocked!

National Bike Month

Yep, a whole month to celebrate biking. It will be a bittersweet month in the DC area as the bicycling community continues to mourn and fight for improvements. I pledge to bike as much as possible this month! It’s the perfect month to get serious about my regular biking. I plan to use this time to analyze my love of all things reflective. Does the reflectivity make sense on the things I’ve made? Are the trims in the right place? Should I give up making reflective tops, because they are covered up in the winter, or I’m not out late enough in the summer? These are things to consider.

Wore my new nail print skirt on a recent bike commute- it was perfect (but not reflective)!

All Together Now

Putting all these things together, May should be a month to plan, reflect, and celebrate. What do you plan to celebrate this month?

Recap and Review of Me Made May

I was pretty impressed with myself during this year’s Me Made May challenge – with the exception of the few days I had to wear company branded clothing and the one day I wore my Diane von Furstenberg dress for a fancy work event, I wore something Me Made every day this month. This might actually be a first. It means that I have things in my sewing collection that I like well enough to wear often. So let’s break that down a bit.

  • I didn’t like everything I wore – for example, I don’t love my Colette Wren dress but like it under a blazer.
  • Not everything fits well – e.g., the pink print duster needs to be wider across the back and the sleeves are waaaaay too short.
  • I don’t actually fit into some stuff I’ve made in the past since I’ve gained more weight in the last year than I should have. (#dislike)
  • My goal is always to find the right <dress, skirt, top> and I decided that there are some patterns I could repeat, even though I hate repeating patterns.
  • Having red hair now means that some stuff I made when I had blonde hair doesn’t look quite right.
  • I finally bought a tripod and remote so I can take pictures someplace other than my office bathroom! My Instagram followers must be relieved, haha!

With the exception of my denim lace dress, which I forgot to take a picture of, here are my top faves for this month:

As I mentioned above, part of the goal for sewing is to find styles and thus patterns that I really love and that really work for me. I’ve had a lot of trial and error, and I’m beginning to figure out things. Gaining weight hasn’t helped, because I’m disappointed in myself at how I look in things, but overall, it’s not that much of a gain that I can’t see what I like and don’t like. I still don’t have me-made pants that I really like, although I do love my culottes, so I guess that’s something. I think I need to focus on perfecting the patterns I do like, rather than just trying new things over and over.

That being said…. on June 1, I finished this dress: (Note: when I bought this fabric, my hair did not match it!)

I absolutely *love* this fabric but I tried a new pattern and don’t love it. It’s McCalls 6885, and I thought it might be a nice simple summer dress. I’m sure it will be, but I don’t think it’s very flattering. It’s rather shapeless, even with the back ties. And the collar is HUGE! I feel like I should be going to a 70s party in that collar. Maybe it will grow on me. The sleeve tabs are reflective, though, which of course I love. I was thinking that I’d make this in an autumnal plaid but I think this will not be a repeat pattern.

well, when you have to take something apart, might as well make the process enjoyable, right?

Another reason to focus on what I like is that I seem to have lost my ability to ease in sleeves properly. I think I need to make a few of the same to figure out what I’m doing wrong.

That all being said, I’m trying a new dress pattern.

I’m doing Version A of this New Look 6095 dress.

I just want a nice simple dress pattern so I can make a few work-appropriate summer linen dresses. Something with a fuller skirt would obviously be more bike friendly, but I’m not in love with the dirndl skirt style at the moment. What to do, what to do? Stay tuned!

Linen on the left from Marcy Tilton Fabrics, linen and buttons on the right from JoAnn Fabrics

 

The Return of Red

A natural blonde of a rather boring sort, I started coloring my hair red when I was first out of high school, and have been every shade of red possible in the 1990s and early 2000s. I would actually buy hair color when I was in Germany, because so many women there had/have the brightest, most red red hair I’ve ever seen. But then over the years, I went dark brown, then gradually lighter and lighter, until the pale blonde of recent weeks.

Most recent blonde, as pale as I have been maybe forever.

The one constant in my life is that nothing is constant – I got bored and decided to go a different route this weekend. Voila! Return of the Red!

Power Red!

This L’Oreal Feria “Power Red” color fell into my hands in Target last week, so here we are. I love the color, properly called Cherry Crush, and The Mechanic likes it too but is having a hard time getting used to it. To be fair, it’s barely been 36 hours.

In other news, I decided to throw together a drawstring backpack this weekend. I’ve been thinking about our Disney World vacation this fall (I know, I know, it’s months away, but I can’t help myself) and wondering what sort of day bag to take. I thought this might be a good option. I didn’t bother with a pattern and just sort of made things up as I went along. It has a long narrow zippered pocket in the front, and two pockets in the back with zippers on the sides, for things I need to reach often, like my phone and maybe wallet. Made with my reflective camo fabric, I added a reflective ribbon loop to the top as well. I don’t know what drawstring I will end up with so for now it’s just black grosgrain ribbon.

I finally got a tripod for my phone/camera, too, so now I can take more interesting Me Made photos that aren’t selfies in the bathroom at work or ones I’ve begged The Mechanic to take for me. I will need some practice, though….

Speaking of fashion, did anyone else watch the Royal Wedding on Saturday? I got up at 4:30am EST to watch guests arrive so I could admire the hats and dresses. I enjoyed drinking my tea and texting with friends as everything unfolded and had to laugh when it looked like Sully wanted to get in on the action too. He and Quinn are *English* angoras after all, haha! (Aren’t the peonies gorgeous?! They are blooming in front of our townhouse!) I think the new Duchess of Sussex could look gorgeous in anything, and her wedding dress was about what I expected – simple, classic and still dramatic. I love the story behind her veil, however – flowers from every country in the Commonwealth, as well as flowers to signify Kensington Palace and California, were embroidered on it. Beyond loving the symbolism, I love anything embroidered and would love to see this close up. There’s a list of all the flowers on the royal family website as well as more details about the wedding party’s outfits. I also loved the Art Deco tiara she wore, but wasn’t horribly exited about the bridesmaids’ and page boys’ outfits. But I absolutely LOVED her second wedding dress! And the photographer who caught the fabulous photo of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their way to their evening reception has hopefully made his or her fortune with that photo! Here copied from Daily Mail:

Thanks to whomever took this photo! I’d love to see a better picture of this dress.

My favorite dress was worn by Sofia Wellesley, wife of James Blunt. The Daily Mail considers her look a “miss” (really, “too wholesome”?) but I love her REDValentino dress. Did you have any favorites?

Sofia Wellesley in REDValentino at the Royal Wedding (photo from Daily Mail)

This is the sort of thing that makes me wonder about my new red hair though – can I pull off a floral dress with crazy red hair?! I need to rethink the sewing projects I have lined up. That yellow gingham might be shelved for another time, not sure how a top out of that will look with this crazy red hair!

Let’s see how this color does over the next few weeks!

Three Reasons Why May is My Favorite Month

May is my favorite month of the year. I’m a bit biased, of course, since my birthday is in May, as are the birthdays of many friends, my dad (who randomly has the exact same birthday – day and year – as The Mechanic’s dad. What are the chances of that?!??!), and some wedding anniversaries. But those aren’t the only reasons.

1. Birthday Books

Okay, I will start with my birthday and be blatantly self-centered. Aren’t birthday presents fun, though? I got two really cool books this year and I have to share them with you. Okay, one I bought for myself. My copy of Bikes and Bloomers by Kat Jungknickel arrived, hurray (blogged about last month)!

Reading on the bus with my Ulster Weavers tote bag

I haven’t gotten too far in yet but was surprised to see that over a century ago, Butterick Pattern Company produced women’s bicycling patterns! I wonder if they can find them in the archives and reprint them. Then I got a surprise package from my friend in Germany, with a wonderful sewing book! Trying to translate both the language and the metrics will be excellent practice to get my language skills back up a bit.

“Now I sew for me” = direct translation. Not sure that’s how a German would say it!

2. National Bike Month

National Bike Month is celebrated across the US every May. During this time, Bike to Work Day and Week is celebrated and National Safe Routes to School hosts Bike and Walk to School Day. Watching all the kids, especially at the elementary level, arrive at school on their small, brightly colored and well-decorated bikes is one of my favorite days of the month and year. Bike to Work Day is a second favorite in May. I love the excitement and energy that surrounds something as fun as biking and it always makes me feel better about my chosen mode of transportation. (Caveat: I’m still healing from surgery and not yet biking <sad face>.) 3. Me Made May

Me Made May is a fun challenge started by sewing blogger Zoe to encourage people who sew, crochet, knit, and otherwise craft things to wear, to actually wear them, and to love them. I didn’t actually sign up this year but I’m participating anyway. I like the opportunity to analyze what I’ve made and figure out what the holes might be – and we never have the right thing to wear, amiright?! Beyond realizing how badly I need another way to get photos of my outfits other than my work restroom (eek!), I realize that my weekend wardrobe is a bit lame. And I need more plain white tops. Here’s a sampling of the first two weeks; follow me on Instagram @earletted as I keep it up for the rest of the month.

So basically May is a celebration of two of my favorite things, sewing and biking. What is your favorite month, and why?

 

PS – Another thing I love about May around here are the azaleas. Gosh they are so pretty! The colors are so vivid and bright and dense, and I just love them.

 

Me Made May Returns!

It’s May! It’s my birthday month! It’s National Bike Month! It’s really finally Spring! It’s also Me Made May month, again, and this has me a bit flummoxed.

I love the idea behind Me Made May, of wearing clothing I’ve made myself every day the entire month. In it’s eight year this year, the challenge is intended to encourage people who sew and knit and create to wear and love the things they make. Everyone can make up their own specific challenge, be it to finish projects or wear less-loved things and/or to create a list of holes, things they wish they had. Personally I still want to try to focus on business-appropriate garments, because although I definitely have 31 me-made garments, they aren’t all “corporate” enough for all the work events in my life. And I wear most of my items pretty regularly, so making and hiding isn’t that big of a concern of mine. Although of course there are things that I wish I loved better, I was fairly pleased with how last year’s Me Made May turned out:

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In addition to the corporate looks, part of this year’s Me Made challenge will be our upcoming trip to London. I’m turning 45 and thought that this would be a good excuse for a weekend trip to London – a city I haven’t visited since 1990! For our four day trip I’m thinking two pairs of pants and a dress or skirt, then a few tops. I just can’t decide which because most of my tops are summer weather, and it probably won’t be that warm. I hate to take blouses that will wrinkle in my luggage because I hate ironing on vacation, haha! And most of my dresses are summer dresses as well. I want to take my new striped nautical dress, but I’m not sure the weather will be warm enough. I might take it anyway! I wish I’d had time to finish the 1940s trousers I’m making; I bet they would be perfect.

Maybe, maybe not….

There are other challenges that prevent me from wearing Me Made clothing, namely, the bike events in May to which I need to wear work branded clothing. I certainly don’t need another pair of jeans, but something to wear with a polo shirt might be something to add to the list of holes in my 31 day wardrobe. It seems like my list of “missing” clothing is really long already!

I haven’t pledged on Zoe’s website but here is my pledge:

I, Elizabeth of TinLizzieRidesAgain, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear at least one Me Made garment each day for the duration of May 2017. In addition, I will create a list of “missing” clothing to help me focus on my future sewing plans.

The drawback to this pledge, of course, is that I plan on buying fabric at both Liberty of London and Dashing Tweeds, which will probably throw off any cohesive, practical sewing plans I might have. I’ll need to finish aforementioned 1940s trousers but then you know I’ll be dying to get something made with my new stash! Capsule collection, pshaw. But really, this is a good opportunity to help me focus, and maybe figure out how to be 100% pleased with what I make.

I really want to take this as well but think it will be too cool for this as well. Bah!