Ree-made May

I have decided to take part in Me-Made May 2014 for the first time. Having followed other blogger's response to the challenge last year, I'm excited about joining in!

I don't quite have enough hand-made clothes yet to wear something me-made every single day of May, but luckily one can set one's own MMM challenge, so here is my pledge:

'I, Marie of Ree-Sewn, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear self-stitched garments at least four days a week for the duration of May 2014'.

I intend to take mirror photos of each outfit and post a weekly update (I just know I won't have time to do a "proper" outfit shot on most of those May days, but if I do, bonus!). It'll also be good for me to keep track of my favourite Ree-Sewn clothes to reach for! 

Queue dress

Hello everyone! I stayed up on Sunday night to finish this, the very summery Queue dress. She is a sleeveless Emery dress with a pleated dirndl skirt, made up in the wonderful Eiffel Tower print fabric I got at B&M in Leeds market back in February. No pockets this time. 

the Queue dress (Christine Haynes' Emery pattern)
This is one of those dresses where lots of the features happened by accident, but on the most part I'm glad they did. 

Firstly, I really didn't buy enough fabric. I cut out the bodice pieces and then discovered that with my lovely directional print, my pleated drindl skirt would have to be just 18 and a half inches long. Oops. I honestly don't know how I made such a rookie sewing error as not purchasing enough fabric. Luckily I don't mind a short skirt! 

I did a fair few alterations and a muslin out of an old sheet. I really want to get this bodice fit perfect, as the Emery is such a versatile pattern. I can't wait to get it all perfect so that I can just cut out and sew up without all the altering and fit time that was involved in this one. 

The fit on my Flowers for Jane dress was pretty good, but there were a couple of things I really wanted to change. 

I moved the waist darts down an inch, and lengthened the bodice by about 3/8". I moved the bust darts up slightly to be pointing at the apex of the bust, and got rid of excess fabric pooling under the bust by shaping the bust darts using Gertie's excellent tutorial (thank you Lynne for pointing me to this tutorial!). I'm so chuffed with the fit on the bust and waist now. I took the shoulder seams up slightly and angled them to fit my big shoulders, then redid the neckline afterwards. I wish I had taken a bit more out of the neckline actually, it's a bit high for my liking. I took half an inch out of each side of the centre back as well, and made the neck darts a smidge bigger. I'm starting to think that this is what's pulling the front neckline out and making it gape, so more work needed there. I'm happy with the fit of this dress on the whole, though. 

I knife pleated my skirt in opposite directions, so there's effectively an inverted box pleat in the centre.

Pleats (and creases)
Because the skirt is so much shorter than originally planned, I didn't want to lose any more length hemming the thing. By happy coincidence, I had bought 6 packs of this navy bias binding from a charity shop weeks ago for 69p a pack, and it's a perfect colour match! Woohoo! It also gives the hem some body so it looks extra full.

I also over corrected the armscye from my last version. I wanted short sleeves with this dress but when I went to put them in, even after adding to the sleeve pattern to allow for the fabric I'd scooped out of the back of the armscye, that sleeve was never going to fit or look nice. ANY kind of sleeve was never going to fit, I had just scooped too much out of the arm hole. Drat. I then tried the Flowers for Jane dress back on and thought "What the heck was I worried about? These are perfect!". So since sleeves were out of the question on this dress, the armholes got bias bound too. And the neckline to match. I decided not to line it, especially since my edges were all going to be finished and bound anyway, and, you know, summer's just around the corner.

The only issues to iron out next time are: gaping at centre front of neckline (would having sleeves change this anyway?) and the waistline, which pulls down slightly at the back. Oh and to retrace the pattern again to go back to the Flowers for Jane sized armholes. Almost there on my quest for perfect fit!

My Invisible zip really is invisible. Hooray! I would have like to pattern match along the centre back, but flipping heck I didn't really have enough fabric for a dress anyway, never mind pattern matching!!

I put a press stud on some of the binding folded in half as a little belt. I thought it needed it to continue the theme and also accentuate the lines of the dress. But this way I can always remove for the wearing of a different belt.

I'm not sure on the bias bound neckline. Maybe it's because the neckline is a bit high anyway, or maybe it's the harsh contrast of colours? Maybe the bias binding is a bit thick? I'm going to live with it for a bit and if it gets to be too annoying I can always chop that neckline down a bit and bind it all over again. I've got enough of the stuff. 

I love navy and white for summer. I'll wear it with red, green, turquoise, bright pink, or perhaps yellow. For now there are always tights and cardigans! When we get some sun it can be flats and bare arms. Come on, sunshine, we're ready for you! 

It's called the Queue dress because when I first went to Paris with my mum and dad as a teenager, I can remember us getting to the Eiffel Tower, having planned to go up, and my dad in true Yorkshireman fashion declaring "I'm not bloody queuing in that!". It was a very long queue, he had a point. But I've told Liam he has to take me to Paris soon so we can go up the tower. And so I can wear my dress of course.

Off to cut out another Emery. Over and out! 

Sew Dolly Clackett - What an Awesome Competition

Hello all! Well, I hope you've enjoyed Sew Dolly Clackett as much as I have. It has been an amazing competition, with some truly wonderful dresses sewn by a lot of talented seamstresses. 

It was so SO much fun to be a part of, and the whole competition had a really positive, supportive atmosphere. (You may say that a sewing competition on the internet full of people you have never actually met can't possibly have any kind of atmosphere, but you'd be wrong there). And come on - the inspiration! Oh man, people have outdone themselves. I would like to make pretty much all of the dresses in the Sew Dolly Clackett flickr pool. I have A LOT of favourites, including Ashley's Owlie Cambie, Jessica's Coo Coo Ca-Choo Dress, Taracat's Eiffel Tower dress, Zoe B's duvet cover dress, Lynne's Lucky Elisalex, and every single one of Jade's awesome Emerys

The competition has also lead me to discovering more wonderful sewing blogs. I would like to echo Sarah's words: I flipping love the online sewing community. I'm pretty new to it as a contributor, and I already adore being part of that community. It's one of my favourite things about the internet. I absolutely wouldn't have improved my sewing to it's current level without the existence of sewing blogs. I'm very grateful to all of you inspiring seamstresses out there in blog land!

Sew Dolly Clackett also really helped me to get my flipping skates on. I managed five dresses in the time frame:

The Ancient Mariner dress, the Rock Around the Clock dress, the Stevie dress, the Flamin' Go! dress & the Flowers for Jane dress

I think my favourite out of the five is the Rock Around the Clock dress. It just turned out so well! At a shivery Easter BBQ a non-sewer friend even complimented my tulip sleeves (completely unprompted I might add).

I just loved seeing how different people interpret Roisin's sewing style. It's so interesting. The dresses that had giant helpings of Clackett-ness, quirk AND the style of the maker in the mix too were the most inspiring to me. 

What a lovely way to pay homage to a fab sewing blogger, and to tip our hats to her wonderful style. Not to mention an extremely thoughtful wedding present. I hope it's heartening for Roisin to see how many people she inspires. 

Bravo, Sarah at Rhinestones and Telephones, for giving us this marvelous treat. 

Over and out! 

Ps I mentioned in my last post that an Eiffel Tower dress was in the offing. I didn't get it finished for the deadline for SDC, but rest assured it will be done soon. I kind of ran out of fabric, so it's, um, SHORT. 

the Flamin' Go! dress

the Flamin' Go! dress (variation on Butterick B4443)
Hello everyone! Here is my fifth entry into the Sew Dolly Clackett competition (closing on Wednesday - time to sew one more? I have some Eiffel Tower fabric...) and yes, it's another Butterick B4443. 

I love the flamingo print - you might recognise it from Roisin's Honolulu Baby dress

by Hillberg Fabrics
I have to say, I thought I was being terribly original when I snapped up a few metres of this at Rolls & Rems in Lewisham a month ago, but alas, I later discovered that Dolly Clackett had got there waaaay before me.

The print is so tropical, it made me make it into a dressy-ish summer dress. I couldn't give it a high neck or sleeves. It was just screaming halter neck at me, so I went with the screaming. 

Wow. It has clearly been a while since my legs saw the sunshine! They're a bit blue!
I used view A of the pattern, which is just a straight strapless bodice, but "drafted" my own sweetheart neckline (just drew it on a traced pattern piece basically). Gotta be honest, it's not quite the perfect shape for me but I'll fix that if I make it again. 

I decided to copy the strap design from a favourite Vivien of Holloway top (like this one). Well, it isn't an absolute copy, but it's more than inspired by. It was quite tricky to get it to lay the way I wanted, so there was a lot of pinning with the dress on me to make it right. 

I used sew-in plastic boning in all the bodice seams (on the lining). Of course I did a practice first. And it was actually really easy. It gives the dress a really nice structure and a bit of support, so I'm glad I put the boning in. 

The only problem is that it's a tiny bit too big all over. Why does this keep happening to me? I even bought a new tape measure before this dress because I have only just learned that tape measures stretch over time! Mine had gained an extra half inch!!!

I'm thinking maybe it's because the other views of this dress fit me so well in a straight size 14 I thought the strapless one would too? Perhaps the fit is different? Anyway, it's not obscenely too big, I'm going to live with it for now, but I'm a bit disappointed in myself. 

I sewed most of it on marathon day (hence the name: flamin' go!). I was nursing a hefty cold, but got up and did some stitching while watching the start of the race. Then Liam and I abandoned everything and ran down to Deptford (about a mile away from us and on mile 7 of the race) to watch the leaders pass and give them a cheer. 

Instagram snap of the elite men

We stayed and watched and cheered for a bit, enjoying the atmosphere, then wandered back home to watch the rest on TV. A lovely Sunday and by the end of it I almost had a dress!

Then last night I did the hand stitching (lining and hem), and here she is! Ready for a garden wedding in a couple of weeks which I'm very excited about. I think I'll wear these shoes but may require a new bag. Oh dear. What a shame...

I also added the Emery pockets on a whim. Why not? I love dresses with pockets. 

I would like to give huge congratulations to Roisin and Nic on their wedding, and wish them lots of luck in their marriage. Also good luck to Roisin for the judging of Sew Dolly Clackett - there are some corkers in there!

Taking part in the competition has been ace - and I've been so inspired by everyone else's dresses. Thank you Sarah at Rhinestones and Telephones for running the competition!

Over and out!

Signed, sealed, delivered... Here's Stevie!

The Stevie dress (Butterick B4443) photobombed by the cat

Here's my newest make, another Butterick B4443, this time with the higher neckline and no sleeves. Spoiler: I love it. Another spoiler: not great blog photos today. Apologies. Added to this Blogger seems to be making the colours look different (even though I've already turned off auto-enhance). Who knows why. Hopefully you can still see the dress and all of it's wonders?!

The fabric is from A-One on Goldhawk Road (I think. Goldhawk Road shopping days end up being quite a blur in my memory). This was part of my birthday money splurge on fabric. I loved this when I saw it on the bolt, but every time I have looked at it at home I've grown increasingly unsure it was a good choice. I love the magenta colour, I'm just not sure about bright pink and black together. I kinda wish the stamps were navy. 

Even as I made the dress up I wasn't sure whether I was going to love it. But once I got the zip in and tried it on, I was giddy with glee. I do love it! Hooray! I'm very glad I pushed through and just made it.

This being my second Butterick 4443, it was quite a quick sew. Quick for me that is. I'm not a super speedy sewer. This took me 3 evenings in all, so by my standards that's a quick sew!

I just adore the shape. This time I shortened the skirt to the petite line on the pattern. I'm not petite, I just wanted the skirt a bit shorter than my first incarnation of B4443. I find a shorter dress much more wearable in the daytime with tights and flats. 

I didn't do any proper pattern matching, but I did make sure the stamps "lined up" across all of the bodice pieces (a line of stamps runs all the way around the bodice), and that the pattern was centred nicely.

I lined the bodice mostly with fine black cotton which I had off cuts of from years ago. I didn't quite have enough so I self-lined the bodice back centre pieces, and I don't hate it. I quite like it actually. I didn't line the skirt, although I am now wishing I had as the fabric clings to my tights a bit. I can live with it! 

Unzipped shot (cheeky)
The guts
I can tell you for sure that this dress will get worn a lot. And it's not too summery for the current cold snap we are having like my Rock Around the Clock dress is (this has not stopped me wearing it, it's my current favourite piece of clothing).

This very odd shot is only included because for some reason my waist looks super tiny. If I'm being picky (of course I am) there seems to be a neckline wrinkling issue. In real life it is very slight so I ain't gonna be adjusting that.  
Next I'm making either a flamingo dress or a peacock dress. I find it rather funny that I'm drawn to bird print stuff, since I have a pretty serious bird phobia. Well, they're nice to look at. As long as they don't flap at me I'm fine! Anyway, happy sewing everyone, and thanks for visiting!