Me-Made-May 2017

It's that time of year again to be thinking about Me-Made-May 2017 and  Sweet Zoe from 'So, Zo.... What do you know? has put up her information post and sign-ups for this year.
As she makes clear every year, Me-Made-May is not to pressure anyone to do anything... particularly to photograph oneself each and every day, though some folks endeavor to do so.... but to encourage us to set a personal goal for this set aside month, as well as to maybe use this time to make oneself more mindful of our handmade garments.

Personally I am wearing handmade garments every day now and it would be most unusual at this point in my handmade journey, to wear an entirely rtw outfit.  But oh how I remember the admiration back in 2013, when I first began sewing garments for myself, admiring those lovely ladies who had enough handmade items to participate in a Me-Made-May and how I longed for the opportunity to one day, possibly, be one of 'them.'  2014 was my first year participating in Me-Made-May and wow, what a struggle it was as my handmade garment choices were so few and far between.  That year's month was almost entirely of repeats upon repeats yet as the other participants left such kind encouraging comments, I felt more a sense of motivation to continue sewing for myself than a sense of 'defeatedness'.  At the end of my first year's participation I was now more determined than ever to build/make a handmade wardrobe of choices.  A collage of 2014's photos are below.
In previous years Zoe hosted Me-Made-May on the Flickr platform with another sweet lady hosting on Pinterest.  Flickr has always been sort of THE place for Me-Made-May...... until the birth of Instagram.  Due to the waning interest in Flickr (and Pinterest), Zoe will not be using those platforms this year and sounds like #MMMay17 will be used in blogs and Instagram.  Also instead of weekly giveaways, Zoe will be doing one larger giveaway toward the end of the month.  I never really participated in the giveaways, as my personal goal was all about wearing my handmade clothes and bettering my photography skills.  So this year I will be posting daily photos on IG, as well as activating my Tumblr account to show daily outfits in my sidebar here.  I will not be posting daily photographs here on the blog.  At the most, maybe a weekly summary update....... we'll see.   As always, feel free to follow via IG.

So without further ado..... 

I, Lisa, Lisa's Carolina | Handmade and @lisascarolina on Instagram, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavor to wear a handmade garment each day for the duration of May 2017.

Looking forward to Me-Made-May 2017 and hope to see you there too!  And thank you Zoe for hosting again this year.

Happy Sewing Everyone!  :)


Floral Shorts | Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

I have made a new pair of shorts. 
Last August my friend Sue, the always-inspiring creative talent behind Fadanista, blogged about her test versions of the then-newly released Itch-to-Stitch Belize Skort/Shorts Pattern and I did something I have NEVER done before.  I immediately purchased the .pdf download of the pattern.  Completely amazed myself with the quickness of that decision, but am glad I did as I needed an all around comfortable nice-looking shorts pattern. 
There are 5 different views within this one pattern..... a skort design as well as a couple of different shorts designs.  I chose View B.... a simple flat front with elasticated sides and back.  I also liked the layering feature which enabled me to only print the sizes I wanted.... AND the 1/2" seam allowances are already built in to the pattern.
Photo Credit:  Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts
I followed the pattern's directions completely.  Which also never happens.  ;)  After making so many Ottobre and Burda patterns recently with limited instructions, it was a luxury to follow the step-by-step instructions here.  All seams are serged and then double-needle stitched down including the crotch seam.  I really like this little added detail. 
My size fell between a 2 and a 4 and not wanting a lot of gathers at the back, still cut a 4 and regraded the waist a little smaller thinking I was being oh-so-clever.... but then cut the waist band a solid size 2.... and it fell short to match up properly.  Not to worry, I simply took in a couple of darts on each side of the center back by folding them in and stitching and all worked well.  I really like that these don't scream 'elastic-waist pants' all over, yet have the comfort of an elastic-waist pair of shorts.  And oh the pockets!  Great pockets!  Nice and deep!!
These were made straight from the pattern, with the exception of the slight waistline re-grading, so was curious to see how they would fit my backside..... a usual problem area for me..... and am finding this okay.  Today they are being worn with an old Deer and Doe Plantain top, but I have a new coordinated top in the works.
 They seem a little short?  Maybe?   I may lengthen my next pair a little.
And now for the rest of the story.....  I struggled to find the right weight material I wanted to use on these as I did not want them to be too 'stiff', nor too 'lightweight'..... so after digging around in my stash that had been archived in a box years ago.... I found this floral cotton remnant that seemed a good weight to me.  Excited that it measured the 1 yard needed to make this pattern, I could not understand why my pattern pieces were not fitting on my piece of fabric...... until I measured the width of my fabric and found this piece was a mere 34 1/2" wide!!  Whuuuuttt?!!!  Totally confused at this point I asked the sweet ladies of IG if this could possibly be a vintage piece and the resounding consensus was that it was.  How cool is that?!  I learned from Carolyn, who blogs at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, that most cotton fabric available in America measured @36" wide until the age of polyester, and then the widths changed to our now common 44/45" wide cotton fabrics.  And this piece just seemed different.... the color saturation went all the way through the selvedge and the 'feel' of it felt finer than an ordinary quilting cotton.  So there you go, I love the way stories are woven through the garments we make. 

Happy Sewing Everyone!  :)


Coral Tank Top | Simplicity 4192

As I make exercise a priority in my life, am finding a little more motivation to 'get moving' when there's something cute to wear.   This coral tank top, made from Simplicity 4192, checks all those boxes nicely for me. 
Most folks, myself included, might've picked up Simplicity 4192 for the awesome pants.  But look closely at the line drawing at the tank top, view A and you will see a simple, shaped tank with a little gathering detail center front and a wide neckband.  In my eyes I saw a tank top with style.  :)  

With this top more of a cropped top version, I wanted a nice long tank to go with my exercise pants (i.e. Ottobre leggings) and/or to be tucked in to a skirt for a layered look for summer, so I lengthened the front and back pattern pieces 4 3/4".  Why 4 3/4" you might ask?  Because that's all the fabric I had so that helped with that decision immensely.  :)  My measurements fall at a size 12 bust with a size 14 hips..... but as you saw from my last NewLook/Simplicity pattern make, I made a straight size 10 and it was a perfect fit.  So after dithering around for a bit, cut a size 12, sewed 5/8" seams and ended up ripping out the last 6" up from the bottom hem and regrading for a little more room there.  All seams were straight stitched on my sewing machine, then serged on my serger.
The lovely gathered center front was really what drew me to this pattern.  And the wide neckband.  Not having coral matching thread, the neckband was double-needle stitched down with a gold rayon metallic thread.  Some of my other metallic threads tend to break, but this one does not and has more of a matte sheen than a shiny sheen.  I thought the gold looks nice against the coral in a subtle way.
Big tip here!!!!  Before attaching the neckband to the top be sure to zigzag the raw edges closed.  The pattern instructions do not have you do this step and it really should as it keeps the knit neckband edges from slipping and slidding as you pin then stretch as you sew.  I do this with my quilt binding before attaching to my quilts and it certainly came in handy here.  Made this step oh-so-easy and not frustrating at all.  The only thing I did not do, that I will be sure to do next time, is also pull and stretch the neckband when sewing over the gathered center front.  My neckband has a little bit of slack in that area and I think that would help. 
The instructions have you simply turn under a 3/8" hem on the armhole edges.  Believe it or not, this was a first for me so I sort of had to think about that before finishing the armholes this way.  I was afraid it might give the top more of a 'homemade' look but in the end plunged forward using the double-needle with the metallic gold thread and sewing ever so slowly so as to not stretch out my cotton/spandex knit, stitched a perfect seam on both armhole edges.  I had only purchased 1 yard of this cotton/spandex 60" wide fabric with 4-way stretch from my local WalMart back in 2015 and after washing/drying it had shrunk to less than 1 yard, so there was no pieces left large enough to make self-fabric binding.  Am glad this armhole finish technique worked out well.
The back.  For now I've left a raw edge hem a la Alabama Chanin.  But am thinking I may go back and double-needle stitch a 1" hem in the gold metallic thread to tie everything together.
And these Brooks Ravenna 7 shoes, below, are what has triggered all the lovely springtime pastel makes this season!  Love these shoes! 
Thought I'd leave you with a shot of my front-door view this morning.  After a heckuva storm that passed through the middle of the night, with a tornado warning that put us all in the basement for a bit, we awoke to a beautiful morning with bits of green popping out everywhere.
Not sure this top, nor the leggings, qualify as official 'athleticwear', but all I can say is that it is really nice to have pretty colorful garments to wear with cute, comfortable, well-fitting shoes when exercising or working out.  There will definitely be more made.
Happy Sewing Everyone!  :)


Polka Dots Tunic Top | NewLook 6374

With polka dots always on trend and navy/white a classic combination....  why in the world it's taken me so long to embrace navy and polka dots I have no idea.   
Am so glad I picked up this 1/12 yards of rayon challis at Hobby Lobby recently.
Funny because I've always thought navy blue was not a good color for me.  Nor polka dots.  Why, I really do not know.
This was one of those times when I saw this fabric, I knew immediately what it would become....  NewLook Pattern 6374 tunic top.  I've made this pattern twice before you can see here and here.... so there wasn't any fitting issues to worry about.  Cut a size 10 with 5/8" seams and modified the length just like the others.  See how long the back hangs down on the model below?  Not wanting that much length..... using the length of view C I simply moved my pattern pieces up (both front and back pieces) and cut the rounded hem from that point.
And this is a perfect length for me.  Interfaced the neckline and placket on this version and really like the way everything holds its shape.  Also, again, sewed the placket closed @4 1/2" up as it is way, way too low otherwise.
This rayon challis drapes nicely.  A little stiffer than the earlier floral challis, but that's okay as I really like the overall look.  Love the rounded hem on this top.
Well guess my hair covers the back yoke with a center pleat..... but it's there.
Hemmed with a 1/4" rolled hem but this time hemmed the sleeves with a 1" hem and like this 3/4 sleeve look.  None of the tops' sleeves have been finished as per pattern instructions because I really like the way the sleeves are a little flared hanging loosely down with no restriction.
Hard to see, but there are front yokes with gathered seams at the front.
And wearing those hardworking Ottobre white pants..... again!  Gosh these things go with everything!!  Note to self..... gotta' make more white pants.  :)
Happy Sewing Everyone!  :)


Boxy Sweatshirt/Take 2 | Burda 02/2017 #111A Sweatshirt

When you are on a roll, why stop, right?!  So I made a second version of Burda 02/2017 #111A Easy Sweatshirt.  :)
Earlier this month I finished my first make of this cute pattern and immediately knew I would make another.
Burda 02/2017 #111A Easy Sweatshirt is an easy-to-make boxy sweatshirt with interesting diagonal design lines both front and back.  The front has a hidden pocket that I eliminated on both sweatshirts as the pocket bag hung down in an unsightly way and added bulk to the front that I did not need.
I slimmed this one down a little by folding the pattern at the center front in @1" and folding the pattern at the center back fold line @1". This not only brought in the boxy width, but also narrowed the neckline.
I also wanted a seam line at the side seams, so I simply folded the triangular pattern piece in half, added my side seam allowance to the side seam edge, and cut 4 pieces.  This hangs nicely with a side seam.  The pink version was made with no modifications and though I like the uniqueness of no side seams, it sometimes 'rounds' around my body instead of hanging 'with' my body, if that makes sense.
I liked the top-stitching effect on the recent Burda green hoodie so much, that I top-stitched all the seams on this one.  Love it!  Top-stitching is such an easy little thing to do, and in a garment like this, it really adds to the look methinks.  French terry fabric purchased at JoAnn's.
You can see it is still boxy, but not overly so on my body. 
At first I was afraid I'd slimmed it down too much, particularly in the neckline, but believe it actually 'fits' me better in the long run. 
My pink one slip-slids back and forth on me at times that is a little annoying.  This one stays put.
Kinda proud of the twin needle stitching at the neckline.  :)  Twin needle stitched the hem also.  Seams are serged.  Overall another sweatshirt winner!  I like these sweatshirts because they are sweatshirt comfy, but a little unique and different than just an ordinary sweatshirt. 
Wearing my white Ottobre pants.  Need to make another pair as am wearing these constantly.  Today's photos were again taken at Lake Jocassee at Devil's Fork State Park.  It was a little disappointing to see the water so low, thus the red clay peeking out in the background here.  Usually this area is under water with a sliver of a sandy beach.  
Love, love, love the way the mountains meet the water here.  We are at the southern edge of the Appalachian Mountain Range.
Suzi and I enjoyed a little snack on the rocks before heading back.
Happy Sewing Everyone!  :)
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