MeMadeMay: week two

MMM.wk2.d1Day 4: One of the challenges of Me Made May is taking some of those less successful me-made items out of your bottom drawer and letting them see the light of day. This week you’ll see me trying to make it work with a couple of my me-mades! Exhibit one, the Drape Drape no. 1 Loose Drape Top. This is actually the first time I wore this poor little top out in the light of day! It turned out all right, though I had to add some makeshift strap carriers (safety pins) to ensure the shirt would actually stay on!MMM.wk2.d1 back viewThis extremely blurry pic (sorry!) shows just how low the drape goes. And since the pattern is essentially identical at the front and back, there is really no way to wear the top without some sort of layer underneath. I’m also not very happy with the fabric I chose. It’s some funky synthetic that so distracted me with its earthy color palette and cool print that I failed to notice it was not, in fact, good fabric. It appears to be a semi-sheer chiffon, but the drape is too crisp to really do this pattern justice. MMM.wk2.d1 full outfit I wore it with the same Zara tank from last week layered underneath, an F21 blazer on top (had to make it classroom appropriate!), H&M khaki slacks, and heels by Pour la Victoire. MMM.wk1.d2Day 5: This is the sort of outfit that, while at first it may seem strange (boots + wool sweater + shorts?), is actually perfect for springtime. I made the shorts using McCall’s 6515 pants pattern, altered to try for some of the finishing details I saw on a pair of Steven Allen shorts I once lusted after. Many, many yards of this fabric were thrifted for around $5. It looks like silk noil, but I can’t say that it wears as well as all that. I suppose these are really just a wearable muslin, but I sure do wear them a lot! Though the fit needs some work, they’re really comfy!MMM.wk2.d5 outfitI wore them with Loefller Randall boots, a Zara men’s wool cardigan, and an F21 rayon tank that, while it makes the whole thing look like a jumper in the pics, creates a nice contrast to the slubby texture of the shorts in person.MMM.wk2.D6 outfitDay 6: During the many years I worked as a wardrobe stylist I learned a lot of sneaky tricks for making clothes look better in pics than they ever could in real life. If this had been a professional shoot (and I wasn’t playing photog, model, art director, and stylist in one), I might have fixed that collar. But other than that little curiosity, my version of the blouse from The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook looks like a decent little top, right?MMM.wk2.D6 close upWell, behold me-made making it work, exhibit two! When we get up close and personal with this blouse we see that, once again, Ebony made a less than optimal fabric choice. This wretched synthetic (yeah, you seeing an unfortunate pattern forming here?) was picked up at the thrift store for a song. I remember being really excited about the cocoa brown pin stripes and silky, flowing drape. But man oh man, this fabric was awful to work with, and as I’m sure you can see, it wears worse.

I think I probably reset those sleeves at least half a dozen times before giving in to the reality that I was never gonna get the shoulder ruffles even and un-lumpy. And much as I’ve pressed, steamed, and pleaded with that collar, it insists on hanging out, one side high. Last but worst of all, I’ve never worn a less breathable fabric! I know it’s gross to admit, but I had major armpit wetness all day. Friends, it was not pretty. The pattern itself I will absolutely sew up again in a better fabric with a few minor fit adjustments, but after a day in this version I think I would burn it if only it weren’t made of plastic fabric!MMM.wk2.d6 layeredI wore it with a Target blazer, H&M jeans, and a pair of sandals—purchased years ago at Urban Outfitters—that have held up surprisingly well for a $7 pair of shoes! (I may look a little sweaty and overheated in this pic… Ugh. I was!) 2013-05-13 21.42.38 Day 7: Thursday was one of those blessed “work from home” days writers and graduate students like me live for. I spent the day in my nightgown (and was reminded, for the umpteenth time, that I should really consider sewing up some quality PJs), and I only put this outfit on to meet up for dinner, drinks, and live music. (If you’re interested, check out my talented friend, Leo London, who recently released his new album on Itunes!)

2013-05-13 21.46.22Here I tried to get a closeup of the shorts, but to no avail. Trying to get a decent photo of black fabric is tricky business.MMM.wk2.d8Day 8: Friday was an incredibly hot day; it was also my birthday! I’m not gonna lie to you, I didn’t wear any me mades that day. As I was walking to go see the Dali Lama speak (you heard right, that’s one of a few rad things I did to celebrate my day!) I realized I should have grabbed my Charlie bag in order to keep up with the challenge. Alas. Instead I tried to make up for it by wearing a me-made on Saturday; the result is pictured here. These are a denim version of Grainline’s Maritime shorts. If you’re curious to learn a bit more about how these came into being, check out my earlier post.MMM.wk2.d8I wore it with a JCrew hat, an H&M oxford shirt, a leather jacket I got several years ago at Anthropologie,  a gold belt from JCrew, and shoes from Aldo.
MMM.w2.d8 rear

Here’s one from the back. Next time I make these I plan to place the pockets a little closer to the center seam, and maybe I’ll make them a tad smaller too. As it is, these pockets seem to be widening my rear. (That’s right, I blame the pockets.)

That’s it for week 2! I hope you’ll check in again next week to see what there is to see of week 3. I’ve got a few more never-been-blogged pieces to share, and I’ll debut the new item I was working on last week!


what’s on my table

When I set out to participate in Me Made May this year I realized that I’d either A: need to show up re-wearing some of the same me made articles more than would truly be ideal, or B: need to sew up a few new pieces during the month. In favor of the latter, I’m working on something new this week! I’m using a pattern from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing,  a book which is quickly shaping up to be my favorite project book of all time. I’m excited to share the finished item with you in a future Me Made round-up, and today I’ve got a couple images of the work in progress.preview-vintagezip

I’m using fabric and a zip that I thrifted for about $5 and 25¢ respectively. My thrifted fabrics have turned out some mixed project results, but I’m pretty excited about this one. preview-fabric

The fabric has a bit of stretch in both directions and is thick and plushy, almost like a sweatshirt knit when squished between the fingers. However, it looks like a mid-weight woven, with a smooth back and slightly nubby face. Nevertheless, it took those pleats like a champ! I’m sure I don’t need to pink the edges for functionality, but I did because I like the look of it. So, I think this might be ponte? I’ve been seeing so much about that fabric of late, and if this is ponte, well I can completely understand why folks love the stuff! I think this may turn out to be one of those rare garments that allows a girl to be both outrageously comfortable yet still look pulled together and, dare I say it, chic! We shall see… preview-vintage zip-close up1

Don’t you want to take a closer look at the cute packaging of this vintage zip? I thought you might.preview-vintage zip-close up2 Adorable, non? Oui!

MeMadeMay: week one

“I, ebony h. of the SewStylist blog sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavor to wear one sewn, refashioned, tailored, or upcycled item at least 5 days a week during the month of May 2013. I will take pictures of my outfits and post them all at the end of each week.”

I’m so excited to use this opportunity to share some of what I’ve created! And now, without further ado…


Day 1: I like to call this one my Chakra Tank because the round orbs in the center of the print happen to line right up with my heart, navel, and sacral centers. It’s a Tiny Pocket Tank with the tiny pocket omitted.

ChakraTank-3I altered the arc of the neckline at front and back, and I slashed and spread open the back pattern piece, which resulted in a pretty a-line silhouette.


I wore it with an H&M cardigan, MiH jeans, and No.6 clogs.

IkaatDress-2Day 2: This cotton ikat dress is probably the make I’m most proud of, mostly because it looks just as good on the inside as it does right side out. Nothing but french seams here, even around the pockets.

IkaatDress-3It’s the Tiny Pocket Tank again. It’s got the same alterations around the neckline as the Chakra Tank, and of course I lengthened it and added pockets!

IkaatDress photo bomb!IkaatDress photo bomb-2

So, these aren’t the greatest pics of me and the dress, but check out my cat Fig photo bombing! What a card! (Yep, he’s in both shots. Keep looking…)

IkaatDress with coat-2

I wore it with an H&M coat and Loeffler Randall boots.

PrintedPortraitBlouse-4Day 3: I made up this top using the Portrait Blouse pattern from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. It has the most perfect little capped sleeves. Don’t you love how the classic shape looks in this funky print?

PrintedPortraitBlouse-5Here you can see that I didn’t sew the darts all the way down to the bottom hem because I didn’t want the top too clingy around my middle. Also on display is my hand-picked lapped zipper. Well, you probably can’t quite make out the hand-picked part, but trust, it’s there. I did a bunch of hand finishing on this top and in that way learned how much I absolutely love hand sewing. Love! It’s so relaxing, and the perfectly imperfect look of hand stitches is lovely.

PrintedPortraitBlouse-1I wore it with a Zara tank layered underneath, a leopard print scarf from Target, a peacoat from F21, MiH jeans, and Chinese Laundry flats.

PrintedPortraitBlouse close up-2Okay, that’s all for this week! I hope you’ll check back again in seven days for more MMM madness!