Me Made May 14 – completed!

It’s the 31st May and I am pleased to say that for the last 31 days I have worn at least one ‘me-made’ item a day. I did start taking a photo everyday but there was a lot of repetition and frankly they were a bit boring.

Looking at the picture my me-made wardrobe seems quite limited. I do have a couple of dresses and a couple of blouses but they seemed ‘too dressy’ for everyday wear. I’m so glad I sorted out the Liberty jersey skirt, this got a few wears with the black Maria of Denmark Kimono tee.

all the items worn during May - only picture missing is of a black tee which I hadn't taken a photo of

all the items worn during May – only picture missing is of a black tee which I hadn’t taken a photo of

From top left
Socks Denim Shirt Burdastyle 7136 – Liberty Jersey SkirtSewaholic Renfrew top –  Maria of Denmark Kimono tee in greyChecked shirt Burdastyle 7136 – Denim dress Butterick B5600 – PJ bottoms –  Hermione’s everyday socksMaria of Denmark Kimono tee in redtartan shirt Burdastyle 7136

This month has shown up some gaps in my wardrobe. Mainly skirts and dresses. My next 3 projects are already planned and fabric has been bought for a denim skirt, a Kitschy Coo skater dress and a dress that I’m not quite sure what it will look like yet.

If you were taking part, how did you do?



Inserting An Invisible Zip – Best Method?

How successful do you find inserting invisible zips? After a lot of practice I find it’s more ‘hit’ than ‘miss’ these days but it’s still not unusual to find me cursing and unpicking.

Last year I discovered a great tutorial by Janet Moville. Foolproof Invisible Zip Insertion.

The first time I tried this I was really impressed.
I always used to hand tack the zips in first but this method doesn’t need this as you machine tack the zipper in.
Marking lines across the zip and on to the seam allowance helps with lining up any horizontal seams (midriff panels, waist seams in dresses).

Before I found this method I used to leave the seam below the zipper open and stitch it up when the zipper had been sewn in. The problem I found with this was that this area would never lie flat and there was always a lump which I had to try and press out. My other problem was never stitching close enough to the teeth.

I now have the Janome foot for my machine but previous to that I used the Hemline roller invisible zip foot.

hemline invisible zipper foot

hemline invisible zipper foot

The hemline foot was a bit difficult to get on to the shank of my machine, it was a bit of a tight fit but once on it worked really well. The roller at the front of the foot would keep the teeth pushed to the side and you could get a close stitch. Unfortunately after a few years the plastic parts started to break. I’m not that impressed with the Janome foot, I find I can’t roll the teeth away as easily so I’ve ended up using the standard zipper foot that came with my machine. It’s  the type with only half a foot so I can get a close as I like to the teeth.

4 bridesmaid dresses waiting for hemming

4 bridesmaid dresses waiting for hemming

I have just finished making 4 bridesmaid dresses with invisible zippers up the back using the Janet Moville method. I only had one c*ck up. The dresses were fully lined and bagged out so the side seams were unstitched when I put in the zips. On one I twisted the dress before I sewed the centre back seam. I didn’t discover this until the zipper was completely stitched in. I calmly unpicked the zip and the centre back seam and started again.

not a great photo but I'm happy with how the zipper looks and how seams are lining up

not a great photo but I’m happy with how the zipper looks and how seams are lining up

fiinished bridesmaid dress

finished bridesmaid dress – this was one I made last year in purple, the most recent ones were aubergine

Which method do you find the most successful?





A New Lease Of Life For Favouite Jeans

I have two pairs of jeans which I wear a lot. Both bought in January of last year. One pair of Levis and the others from Gap. I like dark jeans but after 16 months both pairs were looking really faded at the knee. Other than that they are still in good condition and fit really well. Jeans were the only item of clothing that I thought I could have problems with signing up to the Ready To Wear Fast. I know there are some out there who make really successful jeans but it’s not something I want to tackle but saying that I am curious about the Crafty ‘Jeanius’ course.

2014-05-12 19.12.40

faded Levis

So as I wouldn’t be buying any jeans this year I decided to dye the Levis back to a dark indigo colour.

I used the Dylon Jeans Blue dye and followed the instructions to use in the washing machine. I bought this from John Lewis for £6.75.

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household salt and Dylon Jeans Blue fabric dye

You can dye up to 600gms of fabric. My jeans weighed nearly 400gms so I decided just to do one pair and get a strong colour.

You need to add 500gm of normal salt in with the dye and wash on a 40 degree cycle. Then wash again using detergent. Remove from the machine and run the machine empty to clean. I also then used one of those washing machine cleaner packs just to be certain there was no residue left. Dylon do guarantee that the dye will not damage your machine.

The jeans have come out really indigo and they look great and no patches at the knees! With the orange thread being polyester it doesn’t take up the dye so you still have the contrast topstitch. One note is that the colour is darker than is shown on the packet. I think that if I had dyed both pairs at the same time the colour would have been lighter as the total weight would have been over 600gm.

dyed jeans

dyed jeans

The rubber seal of my machine does seem to have taken up dye but it is an old machine and I’m not too bothered. A friend tried this after I told them about it and their machine was fine.

stained rubber seal - never mind!

stained rubber seal – never mind!

Now I’ve done this once it’s something I will definitely do again.


Liberty Jersey Skirt – Sorting Out a Pig’s Ear

Realising I didn’t have that much variety of outfits for Me Made May 14 and that I was short of skirts I decided it was time to sort out the pig’s ear of a mess I made of this skirt.

look at the state of that hem!

look at the state of that hem!

I made this way back in 2009 and it only got worn a couple of times before I decided it was such a mess that I couldn’t wear it again until I had sorted out the hem. So since then it has been hiding in the back of the wardrobe.

The fabric is a Liberty jersey in my favourite design, Ianthe. I bought it on e-Bay. It must have been ‘seconds’ as in the green flowers the dot in the middle is missing but just on one side of the design. The skirt is semi – circular and has an invisible zipper at the side seam.

Fast forward to 2014 and I now have no fear of sewing with knits and know what ‘S.S. ‘ means on the stitch dial of my machine but back then I was a bit ignorant. I whizzed this up in one evening, the side seams are sewn with a normal straight stitched and the seam allowances finished together with a zigzag and trimmed. The hem has been zigzagged then folded over a tiny amount and stitched with a straight stitch. Which looked terrible.

The skirt just dropped at the side seams.

I did think it was going to need a whole re-make but when I tried it on a the weekend everything looked reasonably ok except the hem. So I put it on the dummy and measured up from the floor to the shortest point then followed that measurement all the way around the hem. The side seams were 5cm (2″) longer than the centre front and back.

the difference between the front and side seam was over 5cm (2")

the difference between the front and side seam was over 5cm (2″) and just look at that stitching?!

I finished the new hem with a twin needle and wore it to work yesterday. Ta Dah!

liberty jersey skirt

much better – I’m not ashamed to be seen wearing it any more.

As for Me Made May 14, seven days in and so far so good. I am taking photos with the plan that I’ll post at some point during the month.