Me Made May Week 2

Day 1 – I wore my Sew Over It Nancy Dress which I made last year and although I wasn’t entirely convinced with the shape, I still wear it often as its bright and fun and cheers me up (that and I needed a bit of a looser shape after an indulgent bank holiday weekend!)

Day 2- I wore my much worn Cotton and Chalk Rosie Dress. This was my first make in Ponte Roma and it has really stood the test if time.

Day 3 – Having felt a bit sluggish this week I decided to brighten myself up a little so I wore a green RTW t-shirt with a self-drafted skirt. The fabric is a vintage buy from my favourite shop up in Northumberland.

Day 4 – This is where Me Made May has stepped my game up a little and made me dive in my wardrobe. The is the Rebecca Page Arabella Skirt skit which I made last year and i have to admit, I haven’t worn it since. I love this retro tapes fabric from Flamingo fabrics and I really don’t know why I haven’t worn it much. Teamed with a RTW white blouse it was perfect for work and added a bit of colour to my day. This one is definitely being brought to the front of the wardrobe now!

Day 5- I wore two outfits today. I wore my hacked Datura blouse with RTW jeans to have my hair cut. (I haven’t blogged this but I love it!)

I then wore my Joni dress out for tea for my brother’s girlfriend’s birthday meal. I absolutely love this dress!!

Day 6- my husband and I had a drive out and I wore my super comfy Peak T-shirt which I made from Wendy Ward’s book Sewing with Knitted Fabrics for Minerva Crafts.

Day 7 – today I thought outside the box and wore my Style Arc Italia Shirt Dress which I made for Sew Me Sunshine, tucked in to a plan black self-drafted circle skirt.

Thoughts for this week:

  • I am still very much in need of blouses for work.
  • I wear too much blue!

Me Made May 2018 Week 1

Hi everyone,

It’s going well so far and I’m posting daily over on Instagram. I did Me Made May last year and was surprised how much I actually managed to wear me made garments. I loved how much it helped me to think. However, I’ve learnt so much in a year and many of those garments are just not the same quality as I produce now. So… If I pull it out and pull a face, it’s either being donated, being mended or going in the fabric bin. I’m hoping it’ll help me to re-assess and get a bit more clarity in my wardrobe. So, let’s have a look.

Day 1. I wore my Sew Over It Ella Blouse in a chiffon which I bought from my local market. The was the second time I made the blouse and I hacked it to use ribbons instead of the ties. The facing on my first one (see here) never quite sat right and it is a little tight on my arms so that is being removed from the wardrobe! This one is staying though!

Day 2. I wore my Paisley Moneta, anyone who knows me, knows I love a good Moneta and this one, which I ran together before my holiday last year. I always get lots of compliments when I wear it.

Day 3- After being suitably inspired and having found I was slightly ahead with my uni work, I ran together another Moneta, this time in this beautiful fabric of my name (Emma brushed Jersey) from Sew Me Sunshine. I added pockets and lengthened it. I also attempted to add a collar to find I hated it and I unpicked it!

Day 4- I am determined that it will be sunny so I wore my Frankendress which I made last year by hacking New Look 6483 t-shirt and the skirt from 6723. I widened the sleeves and pleated the skirt. I wear this a lot.

Day 5- I wore my new Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers. They are perfect weekend wear and perfect for English summers, which never quite justify shorts for me! I wore these with a RTW t-shirt, something I seriously need to fix, as I discussed in my last Sewcialists post.

Day 6- I wore my Sew Over It Florence Dress which I made last year for breakfast with my hubby. It’s such a cool and super easy style to wear.

Day 7- hooray for sunny Bank Holiday weekends! I wore my Vanessa Pouzet Wanted Tee (which I have previously made a tutorial for if anyone needs a hand with that neckline!) This one I Refashioned out of a men’s polo t-shirt. I paired this (as I usually do) with my Sew This Pattern Velo Cullotes in peachskin from Sewisfaction. This outfit won a prize during last year’s Indie pattern month and I love it!

Thoughts for this week are that, I aparantly like Sew Over It patterns more than I realised and my summer wardrobe is looking a lot healthier than I thought!

I need to work on getting some camis made, as I’m my desperation to cover my arms, I’ve been left a little hot at times this week!

Me Made May 2018

I, Emma of Emma and her Machine vow to wear hand made clothes every day of Me Made May. Simple but thought provoking for me.

I’m hoping it will help me see what garments I’m definitely not wearing and clear out my wardrobe a bit.

Last year was my first year and I really didn’t know how much of a benefit it would be to me. It really helps to inspire and to direct my wardrobe in to the kind of clothes I need. It’s like a wardrobe audit!

Last year pointed out that I need basics, weekend tops and Pyjamas in my life. I can’t wait to see what this year brings!

See you there!

Buzzing about my Kalle Shirt

Not to sound like a broken record… but life is busy at the minute. I am determined that my blog will continue through all the business as it is my little bit of me. It does mean that I’m getting behind and I’m not able to keep up with the sewing challenges the same as I usually would… so on that note I give you Sew My Style’s March entry… in April!

The Kalle shirt dress is one of the reasons I wanted to try the Sew My Style challenge because I had my eye on the pattern anyway.

I wasn’t sure on the sizing as I have never made a Closet Case Pattern before so I decided to toile it first. I chose a denim look linen which I got from Sew Sew Sew last year. There are so many pieces to cut out for the Kalle, which is one of the reasons I took so long to make it. I thought putting together the PDF was never going to end! Anyway, once I had my million pieces, I chose the pop over placket and tunic length (it’s great that there’s so many variations). I’ll share my toile soon as I’m waiting on some poppers to finish it! My toile was a success so I decided to use the beautiful Kokka Trefle Bee Cotton Gauze I bought last year.

For this I chose the button front and the tunic length but I changed it a little. I’m not a facings lover at all so when I saw that it had facings for the hem (literally never seen anything like those before) I promptly completely ignored them. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get around it but in the end I overlocked the bottom and turn it over once. I find this is a really successful way of hemming curves and it looks really neat. It worked really well on my toile so I repeated it on my second version and even hacked it so I could have a high low hem.

Anyway, here she is, I’m really happy with the fit. The instructions were great! I’m happy with it and the buttons were from my stash; it’s amazing what a perfect match they are. The length is maybe a little short at the front but I love it!

Perfect buttons!

She has not disappointed AND… I think I have FINALLY found my ultimate go-to blouse pattern after I have made soooo many in my search for the one! Did I mention, I love it! See you soon with another!

Sew Me Sunshine Dalbury Doris

Hi everyone,

For my most recent make, I was definitely thinking spring. I love organising what I am going to wear and when the season has already changed in your head, what could be better than making clothes which suit it.

I chose this beautiful Dalbury Cotton Lawn for my make and wanted to make a floaty feminine dress to suit it. With this is mind, I chose the Sew Over It Doris Dress as it has a real feminine feel with skirt panels which add fullness at the skirt.

For more details on my dress please visit Sew Me Sunshine where the beautiful Ella has also written an amazing post.
I’m really happy with this super pretty dress. The fabric is a summery, floaty dream and I can’t wait for the sun to come out to wear it more!


This review in more detail was originally written for the Sew Me Sunshine blog, where Harriet at SMS gifted me this beautiful Cotton Lawn fabric to write about a sewing project and includes my own opinions about the pattern and fabric combination I chose.

I MADE TROUSERS!!

The caps above should say it all but I am so proud of myself! I finally made trousers! Thank you to everyone who’s voted for them in my April challenge because it pushed me to finally get round to them and I am so so glad that I did.

I’ve had the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers for a while now and kept avoiding making them… What a mistake. They come together so so easily, there’s only 4 pieces and because there is a side zip there’s no tricky fastenings to worry about. They’re absolutely perfect for a beginner trouser maker like me! Whilst I’m really not very excited at all by any of the more recent patterns from Sew Over It (I feel they are a lot of the same thing) you can’t go wrong with their classics and their directions, the construction is always seamless.

Anyway, I chose this beautiful gingham stretch cotton from Sew Me Sunshine and it’s a perfect fabric for these trousers. Like so many Sew Me Sunshine fabrics, it’s vibrant, cool and original. The better I’m getting at sewing the fussier I’m getting about my pattern matching but I’m glad the squares on this fabric were small enough for that not to matter because I don’t think I could pattern match and master trousers at the same time. I paid attention to the grain-line but otherwise I didn’t worry too much about matching the pattern.

These trousers are definitely a winner for me and I can’t wait to make more. They are a super fast staple and I’m going to try them in a block colour next. Has anyone else tried the Ultimate Trousers?

I needed a plain top for with these so this is a RTW number but I need to be addressing this gap in my wardrobe. I posted about it over on The Sewcialists this week if you’re interested. ☺

Rosie Dress

Today’s make is one I have returned to… The Rosie Dress by Cotton and Chalk for Simply Sewing Mag was one of my first free patterns and one I tried pretty early in my sewing. The Cotton and Chalk patterns are massive on the ease and the dress I made was a little dodgy (with a very wonky zip) and it was definitely too big. I also didn’t use sleeves, which isn’t something I wouldn’t do anymore as if I make things for myself, I’m making them to hide the bits I don’t like!

Anyway, I got this lovely navy tie dyed style fabric, which reminds me of the Shibori style of dying from a shop I recently discovered called Fibers to Fabric over on Etsy. They sell some beautiful, bright, ethnic style fabrics! This fabric is a lovely light cotton and although I sewed this up on a rare snow day from school, it had my thoughts in spring. It presses and handles a treat and is beautiful and rich in colour. I decided it would be perfect for a remake of the Rosie dress.

I sized the whole pattern down by a size, even though the measurements say I should be an XL, I knew it would be too big, so I used the L. The pattern has subtle gathers at the shoulder and bust and a waist-band which is pretty flattering.

It comes with a bias binding neckline which you stitch in place before you join the front for a really neat finish. Anything that use bias binding it a winner in my eyes (I mentioned I hate facings, right?) The construction of the bodice was pretty easy but a little lengthier than usual as you have the extra features. I was lucky the the patterning on the fabric is pretty random so I didn’t have to worry too much about pattern matching.

The sleeves are interesting as they have a little gather in them also, this is created by a 2 inch piece of elastic which you pull as you sew.

Having seen that the fabric took pretty easily to the elastic, I decided to try a little trick… Because I was essentially too lazy to put a billion gathering stitches about the waistline and I know the dress needs A LOT of gathering, I decided to try the method for gathering that the Moneta uses, which is to use clear elastic to gather the waistline.

I measured the bottom of the bodice and cut elastic to that size and then I stretched it as I sewed it to the top of the skirt piece whilst stretching the elastic. It worked an absolute treat, it was so much easier and it has made for really neat gathering. All I had to do then was attach it to the bodice, no gathering required! (winner). I’m not sure this would work with all fabrics but because this is a light, soft cotton, it worked a treat!

I distinctly remember making my first Rosie dress and it’s meant that I have really felt how much my dress making capabilities have improved. I’m really happy with this gorgeous dress, it feels floaty and feminine and perfect for spring and summer.

Floral Sophistication

Hi everyone,

As part of my very extended birthday celebrations, my Mum and my sister took my out on the Saturday. I didn’t know what I was doing but I was told to have a nice dress ready… Is there ever a better excuse to make something?!

I was certain I wouldn’t be able to make a new one in time because uni and work have been so busy but my Mum got us tickets to the Craft Show at Event City in Manchester and bought me 2 and a half metres of viscose loveliness to make a dress.

I decided to make New Look K6723 as I’ve made it before and felt quite glam in it. I chose view B with a short sleeve. The last time I made it, I didn’t bother lining it but I wanted it to feel special so I used a gold coloured lining from my newly acquired stash from my grandmother-in-law. (I’ll share more on that soon). I thought it would pick out the yellow in the fabric and I feel it does the trick.

I also managed to encase the raw edge of the sleeves in to the lining which feels so neat and lovely! This make also marked the day that I mastered the invisible zip. I can’t believe I’ve made so many garments without invisible zips before now! It looks brilliant, if I do say do myself! I do wish I knew how to incorporate the zip in to the lining but that’s a skill for another time!

I French seamed the rest of the dress, especially the waist-line so it felt luxurious. I used the remaining fabric to make a long tie for round me waist. A quick hem and all was complete!

I was so pleased I managed to squeeze this make in to my busy week because I felt really special in it. I was really happy with the fit and the fabric draped beautifully. After being bought a gorgeous new sworoski ring and a glass of champagne at Selfridges champagne bar (get me!) , my surprise was to have afternoon tea at Cloud 23 which is up high in the Hilton hotel in Manchester. You could really see far and wide and I felt very sophisticated!

We rounded up the day with a few G&Ts. I have been truly spoilt for my birthday and I have the most amazing family! Here’s to my 30s and many more dressed to come!

Birthday Dress

Well, it happened… I turned 30… My amazing family ensured, I had a truly fabulous time so I didn’t wallow in my own sadness at getting old! It’s true what people say, it doesn’t feel any different!

To take my mind off the impending doom which was turning 30 I decided to make sure that my birthday weekend was truly me-made. I began with my birthday dress for our family meal.

Having had success last year with Threadcount 1501 which was free with Love Sewing magazine some years a go, I’m not sure you can get it anymore but I know that you can still snag them on eBay!

Anyway last years version I made using Liberty scraps I had bagged in a sale day at my favourite shop in Northumberland, Village Tearooms and Emporium. I loved the dress, I felt it was really flattering and was so keen to make another that I put it on my Make 9 for this year.

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The dress comes with two options, one with an ordinary skirt piece and the other as block pieces. AS you can see, I’ve already made the blocked one so I wanted to try the other. Last year I won tickets to go to the Handmade Fair from Elle as Sew Positivity over on Instagram and I bought this beautiful water colour cotton. My Mum and I debated and thought that it would perhaps be a bit much as a complete dress so she advised I went for a purple to break it up a bit. Mum’s are usually right folks, so that’s what I did.

I cut the bodices out of the block purple, I think using plains on top is great for me because when it is pairs with prints at the bottom it detracts a little for my chest, which can look a little large in some outfits. I used the watercolour print for the skirt.

The construction of the dress is a pleasant experience, there’s quite a few darts and a princess seam. The whole bodice is constructed and then the skirt added. The Skirt has both pleats at the front and the back and then gathering from the pleat to the side seam, which lends itself to a really flattering shape. I loved using my overlocker here because it meant all the gathering on the inside looks really neat. I think I enjoyed the experience even more because I wanted it to be a nice dress for my birthday.

The observant amongst you will notice that the original dress I made was pulling slightly across the arms, to solve this, I just used a very tiny seam allowance on my sleeves. I wish I could tell you that I did a super advanced pattern grading but that’s just not true!

A final note on the construction (and the most exciting I feel) – I finally inserted an invisible zip! This was something which really shocked a lot of people over Instagram as I have made so many garments now but it’s just a step I’ve always avoided. I was reassured that it would be easy but I didn’t find it as easy as I hoped, the zip got caught really easily and isn’t as invisible as I hoped but… I have tried it and will continue to try it until I get it right as I do with most things!

Not quite invisible but nearly!

I’m really happy with the fit, I feel it is super flattering and feminine and perfect for my birthday meal. I loved wearing it. I feel like more recently, I’m really starting to win with my fit.

Check out my amazing cake!!

Say No to turning 30!

If you have a look over on the Sew Me Sunshine Blog, I’m also really pleased with my Deer and Doe Bruyére Shirt which I made using their dreamscape mountain cotton loveliness.

On a sad note, with everything that I’m doing at the minute, I’ve decided to close my YouTube account. My main love is writing my blog and I can’t keep up with the vlogs enough to do them justice. Thanks for those who supported me with it though. ☺

Pencil Pencil Skirt

Hi everyone,

I love that making your own clothes means that you can play with prints and essentially create whatever you want to wear so when I bought this super cute pencil fabric from Sew Me Sunshine and I was looking through my fabric options in my Stash Buster Fabric Post I decided on a pencil skirt. Why not have a pencil skirt made of pencils?!

IMG_20171119_215403_721.jpg

I had some success last year with Simplicity 8342 as part of the Simplicity turns 90 challenge. It’s a vintage style pencil skirt with a ruffle. I really like the overlapped zip detail and the neat finish. It has two darts at the front and four at the back, with a tulip style shape so I really like the shaping it gives you. I decided to go with this but to omit the ruffle this time.

_20170914_203141

I took the size down this time as I have been losing a little weight and it always goes from my hips first so my last skirt is starting to be a bit roomy. The construction of the skirt is a real pleasure and it comes together quite quickly. My lapped zip worked out really well and I’m happy with how neat it has turned out. The lines of the pencil even line up, even though they are not the same pencils!!

To finish the hem in leiu of the ruffles, I overlocked the hem and then turned it up (my new favourtie and most reliable way to hem a curve). Then I crossed the edges at the back, pinned them in place and ensured the stitching line met in the middle.

I absolutely love this skirt, I don’t want to be vain but it makes me really really feminine and curvy. I’m a little bit happy dance in it!

Taylor Trench Coat

Hi everyone, 

Sorry I have been a bit M.I.A. I replaced my last blog post with a vlog and didn’t manage to get one together for last week – plus most of my makes are christmas related at the minute so I can’t share! I definitely will afterwards. Anyway, I finally blogged my Cleo on Friday and thought I’d throw in an extra post as an apology and it’s a good one because… 

I made a coat!!

This, my friends, is the BEST thing I have ever made!

It is a very classic trench coat pattern which has literally just been released by Rebecca Page so I chose an ex-Burberry waterproof coat material in an Aubergine colour with a pink and blue floral lining both from The Fabric Man on ebay.  I’ve always wanted a coat with a funky lining so I was pleased with this find. It uses quite a lot of fabric but I don’t mind because it’s the kind of garment that will stand the test of time. I wanted the lining I chose to be a little bit stable so it wasn’t too fiddly so I went with a thicker viscose. I also utilised vast amounts of spray starch which helped hugely and is my new best friend!

DSC_2037.JPG

I made this as part of a being a brand ambassador and it came at just the right time as I was ready for a project that would stretch my wings a little… and have they been stretched! Sadly, I have had to step back from working with Rebecca because I can’t keep up with work, uni deadlines and my sewing so I won’t be making anything else prerelease just now.

 😦

Anyway … The Coat. It comes with lots of different options, such as front and back yokes, welt or patch pockets, sleeve tabs and a hood.

I chose to do pretty much every option but the hood (as I didn’t have enough fabric). I knew I was making it challenging for myself but I wanted to embrace the challenge and do as much of it as I could. So, my version has:

Front and Back Yokes

IMG-20171130-WA0003.jpg

Welt Pockets (My first welt pockets!) I attached one upside down and all the unpicking meant it went back in a little messier than I would have liked but I’m pleased just the same!

Shoulder and Sleeve Tabs

Vents – some sewists chose to omit this and just joined the pieces in a straight line.

I think all of these elements add together to make a real classic trench look. I really enjoyed doing all the individual parts as it meant it was a absorbing make which I could really take my time with.

One of the reasons I knew I would be able to take this challenge is because the Rebecca Page patterns are always so detailed. They talk you through every little step and I would recommend them to newbies in a heartbeat (though maybe not the coat!)

I really enjoyed the process of making this, I did every little step with precision and really took my time to get it right. I was super fussy and unpicked parts that I wouldn’t usually, such as small bits of top-stitching I wasn’t happy with or slight ruffles.

I’ve learnt so many new skills through doing it. I’ve never done welt pockets before or tailored sleeves (which were super tricky!) The trickiest part was the lining though. I have never lined anything and although I feel it is ever so slightly lumpier than I would like, I’m really pleased with myself.

I followed all the markings for the buttons, exactly but I still feel it is a bit off centre (it uses a shed load of buttons by the way- I’ve never spent so much on buttons!) I think I will just do one row next time!

What do you think?

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When your mum thinks it’s hilarious to photobomb you…

Call me crazy but I have also bought some yellow waterproof fabric and I intend to make a short version with a hood too. though that will definitely be on hold until after the uni deadlines!

Look out for lots of Christmas makes posts over the festive period, I’ll be so glad to finally share!! 

Sewing Cleo

Hi everyone,

I’m massively late on the bandwagon with this one… But I’ve made a Cleo! The pattern, by Tilly and the Buttons, (incase you didn’t know) has been made by pretty much everyone, in every shape,  size and hack going but I was convinced it wasn’t for me. I didn’t think the shape would suit me.

Then, the black Friday sales rolled round and I could resist. I saw so many sales on pattern kits from some of the bigger companies and thought, I’m going to see how much it would cost me. Here goes :

Cleo pattern: 25% off in the sale: £7.13. 

1 metre Needlecord: 20% off in the sale by Sewmesunshine.co.uk: £8.80

Prym clips: also 20% off by Sewmesunshine.co.uk: £3.28

Total: £19.20 – a bargain when many of the bundles come in at £40!

This Needlecord is from Sewmesunshine.co.uk, she always has great offers on Instagram,  with themed weekend specials too.  Harriet who runs it is full on amazing!! 

Even though they have a pink Needlecord too, it had to be the navy, I knew I would get more wear out of it. An unusually sensible decision for me!  I got my Prym clips from her too.

Anyway, I wanted something a little bright so I dug out a small piece of Liberty Strawberry Thief that I had ready for the facings and got started. 

I bought a metre of the Needlecord and you get the pattern out of a metre easily, which I love! I buy my interfacing by the metre and the odd shape facings really seem to eat in to it, not life changing but something I’ve noticed! 

Everyone says it’s easy to do and it really is. As with all Tilly Patterns, even though I’ve had sizing issues with some, they’re so easy to follow and come up good everything. There isn’t many seams or many hems, you don’t have to insert anything and the facings are easy to use. I think when I make another one, I could have it done on an hour. I can totally see why people have several. I can see it being a win for some of the thicker upholstery type fabrics I have. 

This needlecord was a pleasure to see and it means I could practice a bit of top stitching without worrying; I think it’s come up quite neat. ☺ 

I’m so glad I have my overlocker too because it makes the insides look so neat!

I thought I might use buttons for the straps but I’m glad I went with the clips, as they look really professional. 

I’m so glad I changed my mind and went with all the lovely ladies who have made this! I think it’s such a reliable wardrobe staple and I’m actually surprised to find it’s not horrendous on my shape like I thought it would be. What do you think?

I’m thinking a green cord one next with another splash of colour in the facing! I love sewing plans!! 

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