Sunday, May 5, 2013

Me Made May Madness

I committed to participating in

 organized by Zoe of the blog  Zo- So....!  

My pledge and my first week of outfits.

'I, Audrey of Sewtawdry, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13  I will endeavor to wear at least one of my me sewn garments each day of the merry month of May 2013'

This may be more of Me Made May Madness because I really do not have time to take daily pictures of my outfits.  My reason for signing up was to expedite a closet purge. Something has changed  in the last year.  Any or all of these; my body shape and coloring, personal image, work dress code, fashion, etc.  But the clothes I enjoyed wearing or felt comfortable in are no longer that. I waste time in the morning trying to put together an outfit.  My closet  is stuffed with clothes, many I have made. I have a especially hard time giving away the garments I have sewn. So much time and effort invested in them.  But some have  passed their "wear by" date.  At the very least I can consider a sewn garment as a learning experience, a lesson learned. I will think of  my sewing projects as notches in a ratchet.  A ratchet is a mechanical device that allows continuous linear or rotary motion in only one direction while preventing motion in the opposite direction.     Every day I will wear a me made garment, and give it a chance to confirm its place in the limited space of my closet.  If I can wear it more than once, in different outfits, it gets extra points. If it is a 'one trick pony', it better be pretty special.

Wednesday was cold. I wore a recently made leather and wool skirt. I am making an effort to pair this skirts with different tops. I must have lost some weight since I made it. The waist is loose and the  skirt kept trying to  rotate around my body during the day. I will add some elastic inside  the waistband to accommodate waist changes.  I originally paired it with a black and white plaid shirt with black chiffon flounce (Burda).  The plaid fabric is too heavy for a blouse, stiff and uncomfortable.  It never even got the day trial. I took it off and put in Give Away box.

 Thursday I pulled out a silk blouse I made years ago from Silhouette pattern Pam's Blouse  .I  love the heavy weight silk and the print colors of tan, black and  pumpkin .   I will keep it.
Friday was a company holiday.  A sewing friend and I drove to Hampton Roads, VA ( 2 hours) for an ASG seminar. More on that later. I wore burgundy wool pants with a avocado green silk blouse and a fun tie dye cardigan that had similar colors.  I think I will retire the pants. I love the color, which goes with many things in  my wardrobe,  but the style is not the best for me; pleats at the waist and tapered legs. I have some similar colored fabric in my stash that I will make into traditional straight leg pants.

Saturday was tough. I don't sew many casual clothes so it was difficult to find something I had sewn that was not too dressy for a day when I planned  to putter around the house .  A Vogue knit top was the answer. Normally, I would have only thought of wearing it with the pants I pair it with for work.    But it looked great with  jeans.

Back to Friday. I attended an ASG sponsored event with Sarah Veblen  Her topics were Designing Comfortable Layers that Work  and Divine Details.  Sarah is a custom fashion designer with a home-based business that focuses on creating clothing for her clientele, and that concentrates on teaching and writing to promote the craft of garment-making. She has written a comprehensive and beautifully photographed and illustrated book on fitting.

The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting gives detailed information on custom fitting garment patterns. And it provides easy-to understand explanations of pattern making principles and skills to make the resulting pattern changes logical and straightforward. Sarah has been a consultant to several small label women's clothing companies, assisting with the conceptualization of designs, pattern development, and technical aspects of construction. She has also been a pattern making consultant for  Fit For Art Patterns, with whom she also collaborated to develop the Eureka! Pants that Fit pattern,

 which is based on the fitting research she conducted while writing her book. She is also a  regular teacher for

The morning presentation was Designing Comfortable Layers that Work.   Our first tasks was to complete a lifestyle inventory and answer questions about our current wardrobe.  For me, the question which made me think was "What would you like to  feel like when you get dressed on a daily basis ?" The way my clothes make me feel is a huge factor in whether I wear them. My answers - comfortable, attractive, distinctive.  She then discussed  and showed examples of the difference between separates versus an ensemble, which is a group of complementary garments that contribute to a single look. In addition to the common pieces we think of a layer and that often complete an ensemble; a sweater, jacket, coat, or shawl, a linen blouse over a pretty camisole can make you look just as put together as a blazer over a collared shirt.  A printed shawl over a tunic can turn a relaxed look into a statement, A vest can take the place of, and be more interesting than, a jacket.  She also discussed wearing ease and how much to add for layered garment. Her main point was RTW patterns generally have too much ease. She suggested, using the finished garment measurement at bust and hip, printed on many patterns or measured by you on the pattern,  to determine what size to make.  And don't go overboard when adding ease to parts of a layered ensemble.  Also discussed were 
  • Show pieces or statement garments versus "foil" garments,
  • Using repetition or echo of details.
  • Textural changes when combining colors and fabrics.
  •  The scale of prints, from bold declaration, mild statement, or reads as texture and how to use them effectively.

Sarah Veblen
The afternoon topic was Design Details.  I love these kinds of presentations. When a speaker shows the details she has added to her sewn garments. Details that take the garment from standard or pattern picture perfect to something eye-catching and unique.  Sarah often uses big 4 patterns, but they never look like the pattern illustration.  She described the creative process she uses, when a garment seems blah or just not complete, to find that detail which changes it into something she enjoys wearing, Many of her garments are shown in the gallery on her website. Unfortunately there is no information on the pattern used and the decorative technique/changes she made to the pattern. They were so inspiring in person.  If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of her classes, I recommend it.  I will be at the Quilting and Sewing Expo in Baltimore next week and am already signed up for her class on underlining.

On the way home, we made  a side trip to a nearby independent fabric store with a nice selection of fabric.  Sarah came in shortly after we got there, to do a little shopping of her own.

 It is dangerous for me to go to fabric stores right after seeing someone else's inspiring garments. I tend to buy fabric and trims similar to the ones  they used for their pieces. But after I get home I think, "These really aren't me."  I am proud to say I was very good and didn't buy anything.
I wanted  to reply to a question that  Far  asked in a comment on my last post.
 She asked "If you don't mind, can you explain a lil bit further what you did when you said: "So I drafted facing patterns and added hem allowances to the garment pieces." 
 It is hard to explain with words and I don't have pictures of the process so I looked for a good tutorial.   This one at  Grainline Studio Adding-lining-to-an-unlined-blazer is very well done. It is very similar to the process I used except she used facings for the hem edge of her jacket too.  I just added 1.75 inches to the bottom  edge of the jacket pattern to turn up as the hem.  Hope that helps.


  1. I love your plan for your wardrobe upgrade. The statement about a ratchet was particularly insightful-I hope to follow the same path this spring. Looking forward to more posts from you :-)

  2. What a great use of the MeMadeMay challenge! I understand your thoughts on your wardrobe, been there, done that. It's a that I've taken many times and expect for it to happen several more times as life's events cause changes in my life.

  3. I really like your inspiration for MMM and it will be interesting to see what stays and what goes.

    Oh to see Sarah inperson, how wonderful that would be, I have just signed up for her Pants workshop on Pattern Review and her information is extensive, a lot more than her book (which I also have). Wonder if she feels like a trip "Down Under"?

  4. Sharah's workshop sounds really interesting. It is always fun to meet inspiring people.

  5. Great process for refining your wardrobe!

    Though, I wouldn't get rid of those burgundy pants so hastily...not unless you have something else to wear with those gorgeous shoes!

  6. Okay, you can't mention an independent fabric store and not mention where it is, ok? ;) How close and how was the fabric selection?

  7. Thanks So Much For Taking The Time To Explain And Also Recommending A Good Tutorial! :) Xxx far

  8. I am so glad I have checked your post. I promised to make pants during the MMM 2013 and now I am facing all kind of issues. I am sure the books you mentioned in your post will be soon in my sewing libraty.

  9. I like watching what stays and what goes. I know what you mean about garments that don't feel right any more. Maybe some things can be refashioned?

  10. Thanks for describing Sarah Veblen's presentation so well and so succinctly. You did a fantastic job! I think I am going to print what you wrote so I can refer to it later. It was a great workshop that has inspired me to look at my wardrobe with a critical eye, to be willing to make changes - not only in content, but style. I hope to train my eye to look for those little "details that define" a garment. I enjoyed my day with you!

  11. Thank-you for the recap of the lecture - some of the points that you mentioned did make me sit up and take note. And I wish you luck with the closet purge - it is no easy task.

  12. Looks like fun, I hope to take part in a MMM contest someday!

  13. Love your Me Made May photos. I have not been to Fabric Hut in years! I have a wool skirt and short jacket I made from a lovely and expensive wool fabric I bought from them. They both fit still, but like you, they will soon be past their wear by date in the near future. Because of the quality of the wool, someone at Goodwill will get a great skirt and jacket.

  14. I hope your Me Made May went well, and that you were able to get a good handle on what should stay or go from the wardrobe. I look forward to hearing how the rest of the month went - oh and that presentation sounds awesome, I use Sarah Veblen's book (in a really amateurish way) a lot!

  15. Sounds like the workshop was wonderful! I just recently purchased Sarah's fitting book and the Eureka pants pattern. Awaiting it's arrival. Hopefully, it will be the answer to the pants fitting problem. : )