Marianne Take Two

On the search for another fast project a couple weeks ago, I happened across a cotton spandex jersey that I got from Girl Charlee without having any real plans for it. It was hot here the week I made this and skirts and dresses were the best way to stay cool.

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I thought about trying out a new pattern but I was getting started later in the day and really wanted to finish whatever I decided to make in time to wear it for Me Made May the next day. My previous Marianne Dress (blogged here) only took a few hours so I knew this pattern was what I was looking for. I think from cutting out to clipping threads this whole thing took me three to four hours. Not bad!

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I made Version A of the Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes. My only modifications were to skip the collar and to add slim bands to the cap sleeves instead of folding over the sleeves and hemming them. I figured out how long to make the sleeve bands by calculating what percentage of the neckline length the neck band piece was and then making the sleeve band length the same percentage of the armhole edge.

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I added the sleeve bands in exactly the same way as the neckband is added in the pattern. Easy peasy!

I decided to stitch down the hem of the dress without my double needle because I still don’t feel like I get the results I’d like from it. I know this means I just need to play with it a bit more but who wants to do that when there are so many other things to be sewing and I could just wish for a coverstitch machine instead.

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I was intending to just stitch the hem down once but when I was almost finished I noticed that I’d missed an inch or so of the hem in one spot. Rather than take out what I’d done (we were going for fast, lazy sewing project here!) I decided to just sew another line underneath. So it looks like I used a coverstitch machine or a twin needle but this was just two lines of stitching with my walking foot.

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Not much else to say. This is still a great pattern. I basically feel like I’m wearing pajamas all day when I wear it, and it only takes a few hours to sew. Doesn’t get much better than that!

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The other great thing about making this dress is that I now know how fantastic this basic cotton spandex jersey is. At $6.50 a yard this medium weight, 95% cotton 5% spandex blend seems very high quality for the money. It sews up very nicely and is about as easy to work with as knits can get. I’ll certainly be adding more to my sewing stash soon!

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Details:

Pattern: Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes

Fabric: Cotton/Spandex Jersey from Girl Charlee

-Hannah

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Me Made May Round-Up Part Two

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I’m feeling very proud of how well I did with Me Made May. I had two goals when I signed up, the more measurable goal was to wear a minimum of three me-mades each week. I achieved this goal easily, and then some!

I wore handmade clothing 27 out of 31 days (I didn’t get photographs on two of those). At least two of those four days that I didn’t wear something handmade I also just didn’t get dressed. I’m a lazy Sunday sort of person! I guess this just means I need some me made pajamas!! There were six garments that were repeated at least once but even with those repeats I managed to wear 20 unique handmade garments in May!

Here are links for all of the garments that I’ve written posts about:

My other, less quantifiable, goal for Me Made May participation was to use the experience of trying to wear me-made for the month to clarify my sewing aspirations. I don’t have any enormous revelations here but I’ve certainly learned lots from the experience.

The first lesson is one I was expecting, and probably one that many of us have learned over and over again. DRESSES ARE FUN TO MAKE, BUT IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO WEAR ONE TO WORK EVERY DAY IT’S TIME TO STOP MAKING THEM!!

What is it about dresses? Sure they’re less work than making pants and a blazer but they’re not an insubstantial amount of work. Why are they so captivating? I’m a nanny so technically I can wear whatever I want to work but of course the goal is that I’m comfortable, not worried that anything that happens to my clothing is going to permanently harm it, and most of all that I can run after a three and a half year old in it. This doesn’t rule out dresses for me entirely but generally I need to stick with things that are really washable, roomy, and long enough that I can bend over easily. I have some dresses that fit the bill but for the most part separates just work better. I don’t need to swear off making dresses but should focus more attention on separates that I can wear day to day. Those are the things that I wore the most during May.

The second lesson, and one that I’m still learning, is that it’s ok if I don’t want to sew certain things, it’s ok if I like my Gap tanks and tees. I’m still in the process of figuring out which basics and wardrobe staples I want to spend time sewing and which I don’t. I’m really excited about the pair of jeans I made and I’m looking forward to making more of them. But I don’t want to make long sleeve t-shirts or knit tanks in basic colors. Making super basic items in the same fabrics I can purchase RTW items, not my cup of tea! I know it is for some people and I’m not swearing off making these things. If it’s what I or someone else really wants to make there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But sewing is an escape for me and deciding that I “should” be making basic tees when I could buy them (likely for less than the cost of the fabric I’d need to make them) takes away from sewing as a soothing activity for me.

My third lesson is really less of a lesson and more of a puzzle that I’m still trying to figure out. That puzzle is all about how I make my sewing plans, stick to them, and get through some of my massive stash of fabric. About six weeks ago I posted here about my summer sewing plans. It included eight garments in May, five garments and a bag in June and six garments in July. I actually sewed quite a bit in May. I made, from start to finish, six garments as well as working on but not yet completing three others. That’s a really productive month for me but unfortunately only one of my finished garments and one of in progress garments were on my list. I’m really happy with the garments I have made but there are also several things on my list for May that I was excited about and would still really like to make.

I think this means that I need to come up with a better system for planning. While I like the idea of having a long list of projects I’d like to get to at some point having three months of sewing all planned out has felt limiting. One thing that I can find a bit overwhelming about the online sewing community is that there are so many patterns coming out all the time and sometimes I just want to jump on the bandwagon and kiss my plans goodbye.

One idea that’s resurfaced several times as this topic has been percolating in my brain is to try to focus myself on really mini collections, the sort that would be perfect for a weekend getaway. I have several shorter trips planned in the next several months and focusing myself on three or four items to make for each of those instead of trying to have one massive plan for a whole season’s wardrobe seems easier. I’ll be back later this week to tell you about my first mini collection.

So there are my Me Made May thoughts. How did Me Made May go if you were participating? Do you plan out large numbers of projects or just sew whatever is on your mind?

-Hannah

Me Made May Round-Up Part One

Sorry for the radio silence around here recently, it’s been a crazy couple weeks finishing up the semester and supporting Mr Match with grad school milestones. Any available time I’ve had I’ve spent sewing and not updating the bloggity blog.

Here’s an update on how Me Made May is going. This is the first time I’ve participated and I’ve done better than I was planning wearing my me-mades. I’ve worn something handmade 15 out of 18 days though I’m missing one picture.

I’ve been learning very quickly, perhaps relearning because let’s be honest I knew all of this already, which items get the most use in my wardrobe. As much as I love making nice dresses, and as much as I enjoy wearing them, I don’t have as many occasions to wear them as I do dresses I want to make.

What I do go to every day is easy to wear shirts, jeans, and cardigans. My Ginger Jeans have been getting lots of wear, as have my tees and tanks. My more casual dresses have gotten some wear and I certainly want to make more Marianne dresses and Eucalypt dresses.

I think the even more important lesson I’m learning is about fabric choice and wardrobe planning. I’ve got a lot of great prints that had been part of my summer sewing plans but I’m realizing that I may want to rethink some of the those plans, simply based on what I am and am not pulling out of my closet and drawers.

I am hitting the point where I’m going to need to start repeating some things. I’ve still got a few items I haven’t worn though and a few items that I’m working on right now. I’d also been planning on making some Jamie Jeans during the sewalong over on Indie Sew. School work prevented me from participating in the sewalong but I’m looking forward to adding another pair of jeans to my wardrobe.

I’m also prioritizing sewing more tanks and tees. I’ve got a bunch of different patterns I want to try out which will hopefully help me pick out a couple patterns that will become TNTs. So far Me Made May has been a great learning experience and I’m loving getting to show off my handmade clothing a lot more frequently.

Here are links for all of the garments that I’ve written posts about:

I’ll be back in a couple days to show off some of the things I’ve been working on recently. Now that school’s over for the summer I’ve got a lot more time to work on sewing projects. Hopefully I’ll have some great wardrobe additions for the second half of Me Made May. If you’re participating in Me Made May, how’s it going?

-Hannah

Internet Highlights

Today I’m rounding up my favorite bits from the interwebs this week, things that I’ve found interesting, useful or simply entertaining.

  • Jen’s review over on Grainline Studio of the Fabric for Fashion books definitely caught my eye. This set of books (sold separately) includes Fabric for Fashion: The Complete Guide and Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book. While I’d love to own both some day, the swatch book is going straight to my birthday list. One thing I certainly miss out on by being a self-taught seamstress instead of a school-taught one is all the instruction about different fabrics and that’s something I’d really like to know more about.
  • I’m loving the shirt length versions of the Marianne Dress that Amber over at Fancy Tiger Crafts made for Selfish Sewing Week. I’ve got a few single yards of jersey that I could definitely throw together to make some super cute tops.
  • I can’t even handle how fantastic this Minoru jacket it. Purple is totally my color, the sheen on the fabric is gorgeous, and Birgitte has added some awesome details.
  • This post on Sew Mama Sew about printing your PDFs at a copy shop caught me at just the right time. I’m definitely a PDF pattern over printed pattern kind of gal. As much as I don’t enjoy all the printing, cutting, and taping, I like not having to trace patterns and I like knowing that I can always just print something out again. But I balked a bit when I saw how many pages I’d have to print out for the Minoru jacket I’ve got planned. 61 pages feels like an awful lot of cutting and taping, especially when I already feel like I don’t have enough sewing time. I’ve got to do a little investigating to find the right place to print my patterns but depending on the pricing I may start doing that regularly with all the patterns that offer a copy shop version. This article certainly gave me the info I need to check out this option.

Striped Dashwood Dress

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I couldn’t help but think of Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility when I saw the name of Christine Haynes’ newest pattern. The Marianne Dress is a casual but classy knit dress with options for short or 3/4 sleeves, contrast yokes and a peter pan collar.

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I loved the look of the solid yoke and cuffs with striped main dress and sleeves so I went with version B. The fit is supposed to be pretty relaxed but I tend to prefer a rather fitted look so I sized down a bit. I think I made a straight 0 but next time might go with a 2 for the sleeves as they’re just a bit tighter than I’d like them. Still totally wearable and comfortable but something to fix next time.

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I wasn’t planning to make any alterations style-wise, I love the buttons on the cuffs but totally spaced on that step for some reason. I sewed the short ends of the cuffs together instead of folding in half length-wise and sewing the short ends and flipping out to overlap for buttons. Once I realized my mistake I decided to stick with it so I wouldn’t have to recut. I reserged the short ends about an inch in to make it fit the sleeves, folded them in half right sides together, and then attached them like regular t-shirt cuffs.

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I think this dress took me a total of 6-7 hours including cutting, possibly less. I did everything but the hem in one afternoon/evening. I hung it up that night to let the hem straighten out and then didn’t get back to it for about a week. It’s been so damn cold here that I haven’t had a chance to wear this until today. I’m so happy with it and will definitely be making more. I think I’d like a color-blocked one and maybe another solid yoke/striped main combo but with lighter, summery colors. I can certainly imagine these getting lots of wearing in the spring, early summer and early fall.

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Details:

Pattern: Christine Haynes’ Marianne Dress

Fabric: Organic Jersey from Gather Here in Cambridge, MA