Keep it simple, stupid

After promising to keep this blog up to date with a weekly post on my Me Made May progress I completely failed to do so. That’s not to say that I stopped taking part in the event, it’s more that I got really, really bored with taking pictures every day. Sorry (not sorry). You’ll just have to take my word for it that I kept my pledge. In fact on Week Three I absolutely smashed it with six handmade garments within one week!

Apart from learning that I find daily photos pretty tedious, I did learn some valuable things about my me-made wardrobe:

  1. I wear mostly separates. I don’t think I wore a single dress throughout the whole month. I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re more versatile – you can style a top or a skirt many different ways whereas a dress is more restrictive. I do love a good dress, but they’re just not my first choice of a morning.
  2. I love my Scout tops. My black and white zigzaggy Scout was my most worn item of the month, clocking up three wears in all and proving that you can’t knock a good basic (especially when it’s in a funky fabric).
  3. Next year I probably need to be a bit better at planning. There are some pieces in my wardrobe that just didn’t get worn because by the time I got round to them it was getting a bit too warm. My office turns into London’s biggest free sauna at this time of year (i.e. the aircon doesn’t work as intended) so long sleeves and woolly trousers are pretty much out. If I had planned a bit better, I could have worn them earlier on in the month when it was still a bit cooler.
  4. I’m pretty satisfied with how my clothes fit into my life. I am not in a client-facing role so I don’t need to be suited and booted every day, but more smart casual. I wear a lot of my clothes in the office and at the weekend so I think I’ve got the versatility thing down. Obviously there are a few things that don’t cross over – e.g. my Coco top is distinctly casual, and my Zinnia skirt only gets worn at work, but otherwise there’s a lot of mixing business with leisure.

So apart from the picture laziness I think Me Made May turned out pretty well. I even managed to keep the second part of my pledge, which was to finish off the Moneta that has been my only UFO for the past year. I only just managed it though – I finished it in the evening on 31st May, so it really was the equivalent of Indiana Jones snatching his hat back from that rapidly descending door. Incidentally Facebook reminded me that 31st May last year is the day I took the Moneta class at the Village Haberdashery (and here’s the result of that). I think it’s fate. I should make or finish a Moneta every 31st May from now on. Maybe it could be a blog community thing? Who’s with me?! Ok, just me…

You might be able to make out the lack of gathering on my left (your right). But that's only if you're not distracted by my boobs, which for reasons beyond my comprehension just look huge here. I'll blame the bra.

You might be able to make out the lack of gathering on my left (your right). But that’s only if you’re not distracted by my boobs, which for reasons beyond my comprehension just look huge here. I’ll blame the bra.

Anyway, the dress! This one, in bright pink cotton interlock, had been hanging off the back of one of the chairs in the kitchen for nigh on a whole year while I got myself scared about sewing with knits. I really shouldn’t have been so upset about it all because it is a pretty quick and easy sew all told. I made the simplest version – plain neck with short sleeves – and to be honest it was mostly fine. Having got my confidence back after making the Coco, I really don’t know what I was worrying about because in terms of the actual sewing it was pretty easy.

Once again, what I found difficult/awkward was the clear elastic. I stabilised the shoulders with it and felt that it mangled them a bit, so instead of using it to do the neckline I used Wundaweb instead. In hindsight this was a mistake – it’s too thin to do anything other than stick the fabric down so the neckline is a little bit wrinkly on the finished dress. Nothing to stop me from wearing it (in fact I’m wearing it as I type), but I think I need to suck up my issues with it and get some practice in.

I also used it for the waist, where you gather the skirt and then attach that to the bodice. You’re supposed to do it in sections and I managed to do it properly on about three quarters of the skirt, so there’s a section that isn’t as gathered as the other. And it’s on the front so noticeable. Again, it doesn’t bother me enough to prevent me from wearing it, but I’ll take it as a learning point for next time. To be honest I think it might have worked in my favour though. As I’ve mentioned recently I have put on a bit of weight (let’s say it’s through being content with life) and when I cut out the pattern last year I was a small. Based on my measurements now I really should be a medium. However, with the error in gathering the skirt now sits comfortably on my waist and I can quite happily wear the dress without feeling like I’m going to pop a seam somewhere.

Side

I did the whole thing on my machine, but next time I might have a go with my overlocker instead. After looking at the finish on my Coco I also whipped out my twin needle and I have to say I much prefer the look it produces – so very professional! So while this Moneta is by no means perfect, I’ve learned some good lessons which will stand me in good stead for the next one.

I’ve worn it in to work a couple of times and loads of people have complimented me on it with my best friend even telling me today that it looks like RTW. Not sure how much she’s massaging my ego there, but I’ll take it! It’s a great basic dress that will take me right through the summer and probably into autumn and beyond (I can see this with tights and a cardi). I’ll definitely make more and I’m looking forward to having a go at some of the special features it comes with. However, for the time being I think I’m going to try and put a dent in my stash before buying any more new fabric, so hold on – I might be some time.

Over and out.

The back. One of the nice features about this dress is that the front neckline is higher than the back. I quite like this - it's a cute feature that you don't necessarily see a lot. Nice work Colette.

The back. One of the nice features about this dress is that the front neckline is higher than the back. I quite like this – it’s a cute feature that you don’t necessarily see a lot. Nice work Colette.

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2 thoughts on “Keep it simple, stupid

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