Me-Made May

I’m still here! ^^ With lots of pictures. If you don’t know Me Made May, it’s a big annual event on sewing blogs. The point is to entice people to actually wear the garments they create and make a effort to coordinate them. People who wish to take part pledge to wear a certain number of outfits each week using handmade pieces, sometimes with other constraints. And then you can take daily pictures of your outfits to document your challenge, which you can share with others through the Flickr group and your own blog. I don’t find it very hard to wear my handmade pieces, I usually use them a regularly in my daily outfits, but I thought it could be nice to try and make a special effort this month by taking part anyway. It would force me to use my imagination to vary the coordinates. I didn’t make any pledge in advance because 1. I don’t have much time to post lately (as you might have noticed) and 2. I wasn’t sure how I would do in the challenge, because I don’t have that many different pieces that I can wear right now (hence the imagination challenge) and it’s not easy for me to take pictures each day. My pledge to myself was “Try to wear at least one handmade piece as many times per week as you can, with as little repeat outfits as you can” (but there will be repeat outfits, I’m pretty sure of it). I couldn’t do a weekly round-up post before, so here is my midway round-up.

But before the actual round-up, let me introduce the main “me-made” piece that will accompany me throughout this month:

I’m pregnant! We’re having a little boy (that’s what the text in French says)! ^___^ Okay so he will accompany me for a little bit more time that just this month, as we’re expecting him to arrive in August. This picture is a few weeks old, I’m at six months today. Can you believe it? I feel like it was just yesterday that we got confirmation that we would have a baby, and there’s only three months left… So you now understand why I was afraid it would be hard to follow the challenge, as most of my closet doesn’t fit anymore (and for the stretch tops that would fit, I’m afraid I’ll distort them and won’t be able to wear them post-pregnancy if I put them on now).

May 1st:

- handmade blue velvet maternity empire dress. I finished this dress in early April, half of the detailed post about it is ready, I’ll share more details about it asap.
It turned out to be warmer than I thought it would be that day, so even though I started it with a top and a cardigan, I ended up wearing only the dress.

May 2nd:

- handmade blue velvet maternity empire dress
- non maternity shirt from Camaieu that I can’t button below the bust anymore but it doesn’t matter ’cause it’s hidden by the dress! ;p
- charter school cardigan in rust from ModCloth (love those!!)
- shoes: Eram

May 3rd:

- handmade japanese tunic. This is the first garment I made when I went back to sewing after moving to Japan, on my japanese sewing machine, with japanese fabric, from a japanese pattern. ^^ I used to wear it a lot, but it doesn’t seem to fit in as well in France as it did in Japan. Plus I have more shapes at the back than standard japanese girls (slightly curved back + bigger hips) so I probably should have changed something there, it bags a little. So I tend not to wear it very much nowadays. Thanks to Me Made May for making me remember that it exists and try to arrange it in a nice way! :)
- maternity jeans from Verbaudet
- handmade patchwork belt. I also made it some time ago, from instructions in this very inspirational book. I probably should have interfaced the squares to help them hold their shape, but I didn’t think of it at the time… I love the fabrics that went into it and love the concept but sadly I don’t wear it often either, because I don’t know how to use it in a nice way. I think it’s either too short or too long for me to know what to do with it. Now that I’m pregnant I might be able style it more easily. ^^ What do you think of this?

May 4th:

Most of the day was spent cleaning and tidying the appartment in my jamies, so I’ll share the outfit I wore at the end of day to have diner with family members. ^^
- handmade blue velvet maternity empire dress, because I wanted to show it to my family.
- non maternity striped top from Camaieu bought one size bigger to accomodate my belly.
- grey wool cardigan from Etam
- fabric flower pin
- blue & silver bracelet handmade by a friend
- shoes: Creeks for Andre bought two days before. I find them really nice, what do you think? :) Hope they’ll be around for a while.

May 5th: same outfit as the previous day for most of the day, as the diner ended later than expected and we slept there.

May 6th: no handmade pieces that day: maternity jeans + a cute maternity blouse lend by a friend. Which funnily has exactly the same kind of shape as some japanese or Citronille patterns, and is made from a rather stiff cotton (poplin?), so I actually could have made it. ^^ I’m toying with the idea of copying it in a softer fabric.

May 7th:

- handmade bear skirt. It has an elastic waist so I can still wear it, even if it looks less elegant that usual as it is supposed to sit at the waist, not the hips ;p I wanted something light and flowy but not too summery as the weather can’t decide between grey/rainy or nice.
- non maternity top from Camaieu bought one size bigger to accomodate my belly
- cardigan from gothic lolita brand Innocent World
- shoes: simple gothic lolita MJs bought in Japan.

May 8th:

- handmade bear skirt
- non maternity top from Uniqlo
- cotton shawl that I bought from someone off Ebay, handmade but not by me. ;p
- necklace handmade by me to go with the skirt. :) It has a small teddy bear and a yo-yo in the skirt fabric.
- shoes: simple gothic lolita MJs bought in Japan.

May 9th: no handmade, I wore basic comfy clothes to tidy the house (it was a holiday).

May 10th:

- maternity jeans
- non maternity top from Camaieu bought one size bigger to accomodate my belly
- handmade pullover. I haven’t shown this one here before because it’s not officially done, although it’s wearable and I’ve worn it several times. I find it’s lacking the nice finishing touches that it should have to match my other clothes, but I’m not sure of what to do… I’ll do a proper post about it later.

May 11th:

- handmade blue velvet maternity empire dress.
- striped maternity shirt lend by a friend (from H&M I think)
- wool cardigan from Etam

May 12th:

The theme that day was “cold spring candy”. ^^ Okay for real I didn’t have a theme when I chose my clothes, but those socks remind me of candies, especially with that blue top. And as you can guess it wasn’t very warm.
- handmade blue velvet maternity empire dress
- light turtleneck top (non maternity) from Etam
- charter school cardigan in peacock blue
- candy colored overknee socks

May 13th: I don’t even remember, but no handmade.

May 14th:

The weather is still very cold around here, I have a hard time finding handmade things to wear in new ways…
- non maternity elastic waist skirt from Etam, bought on sale two years ago
- non maternity top from Uniqlo
- handmade pullover
- handmade necklace, even though it doesn’t really count for the challenge. I made it during a workshop organized at a friend’s shop when I was living in Japan. The teacher gave us the pearls and a picture showing the finished necklace, so we all got the same piece in the end. I like it very much and wear it quite often.

What do you think of those outfits? I know they’re not as varied as what others are showing this month, but I’m glad I could go this far without any real repeat. :) Sorry about the blue dress showing up all the time, hope you’re not bored with it! ;p That said it’s very comfy and I feel pretty when I wear it, so it’s not going to change, unless I find the time to do much more sewing than I can do now. I want more dresses! And I need more simple tops to wear in this weird weither, that can be combined with skirts and dresses. If the weather gets better, as it’s supposed to at this time of year, I will have more things to wear. I can’t wait!

Different uses of gathers, part 1

After my last post I wanted to dive more deeply into the world of gathers, and make a follow-up post on how they are used in clothing. It turns out there is quite a lot to say about them, so this will be a series of two or three posts. First we’ll see the most common uses of gathers. Everyone probably already know about them, but I thought it would be nice to start with simple pieces with gathers uses listed by type. Then we’ll see some more original pieces. Most of the pictures are from my books and magazines collection (if you click on them you’ll go to my Flickr where I listed the sources).

At the waistline

The goal here is to have a fitted garment at the waistline that will get fuller at the bottom. I think it’s one of the most common use of gathers, with ruffles and puffy sleeves.

Empire waist

Small gathers so that the top isn’t very wide

This version has more gathers, so that the skirt part is fuller

Natural waist

Full gathered skirt are a common thing in fashion from the 40′s, 50′s and early 60′s. I love that type of skirts! Of course they were also commonly used in more ancient history.

Full gathered skirt on a 1957 dress

Low waist

You can find a lot of those in fashion from the 50′s also, with the “long torso” trend where the waistline was below the waist. That’s what I used for my blue 50′s dress last year:

Today it’s most commonly used in skirts where the gathers start under a yoke, see the part about yoke.

Tiered skirts & ruffles

Gathers are used to make tiered or ruffle skirts. Ruffles can also be added to different parts of a garment as an embellishment.

Dress with a tiered skirt.

Ruffle skirt

Ruffle at the bottom or a tunic, dress or skirt

Ruffle at the bottom of sleeves

A ruffle was added to the neckline of this bolero, which makes it look at little fancier

Under a yoke



You can also have yokes in skirts, which make the gathers start below the waist, around the hips. That makes the skirt full without having to much thickness at the waist. See this example by Eolune.

At the neckline

Here the gathers embellish the neckline and give a little fullness to the top.

At the bust

You can also use gathers to shape the bust part of an empire waist dress or top.

At the sleeves

Gathers can be at the sleeve cap to make it stand up a little, or at the bottom to tighten it around the arm. This creates a nice puffy sleeve. You can see an example of that on the last picture.

I hope you enjoyed this journey in the world of gathers as much as I enjoyed researching it for you. If you have common or uncommon pieces with gathers to share, please leave a common I’d love to hear about it!

Pretty shoes and a tiny bit of sewing

Here it is, the age of weddings has started for us! It’s funny how it all seems to happen suddenly. One day you’re quietly living your life, and the next day you’re surrounded by happy news: engagements, weddings, friends getting pregnant, babies… So last week we went for the first time to a friends’ wedding.

Of course I needed a nice dress for the occasion (sadly I didn’t have time to make one), and a nice pair of shoes to go with it. Which gave me the excuse to get those pretties, that had been tempting me for months:

I love their colour!! At first I was thinking of getting black shoes. But I just couldn’t get them in “boring” black when they existed in such a nice shade of blue. So in the end I got the outfit below (I took this picture the day after the wedding so my dress has wrinkles).

But when I tried on my outfit before the wedding, I realized it was missing some blue color at the top. Since I couldn’t improvise a last minute trip to the store, and couldn’t sew a bolero or stole, especially without the proper blue fabric, I decided to make a necklace. I’m really lacking some more blue accessories!

Here is what I improvised:

The yo-yo is made in blue Menasse Liberty cord. It was the only thing I had that could match my shoes and bag! It was a little hard to cut into this fabric, which was a gift from a friend who lived in London (bought at Shaukat), and which I’ve been saving since for the perfect project (I’m sure you do this too!). But at least now I can tell her that I made something with it!

For those who don’t know Liberty fabrics by heart, this is what it looks like:

The funny thing is that in the end I wore another necklace, that my mother lend me. She and my sister thought it looked better with the outfit and my husband thought it was more elegant… But I’m sure I’ll find other occasions to wear a blue necklace! Here is a picture of it worn:

I’m not sure if I’m going to leave it as is, or if I’m going to change it into a long necklace that I might use more often. We’ll see!

Today’s finds

It wasn’t exactly panned, but today when going to the city center to look for material for a new sewing project I decided to go check Off House. It’s a second hand store where you can find lots of stuff, among which clothes. I wanted to see if they had things I could use as cheep fabric source (like clothes or sheets). It seems a lot of people around the web use things they find in thrift stores.

Conclusion: it wasn’t such a nice idea for the wallet, but from a strictly personnal point of vue it was a really good one! I didn’t find any clothes to buy just for the fabric (they don’t have linen). Things were ugly or too expensive or too difficult to use. But, I did find two very cute top, so cute that I couldn’t leave without them! Okay, I have to say in my defence that it cost less than 1,000 yens in the end, so it’s not a really big bad idea. ^^

First is this adorable little blouse. The fabric is very thin and therefore see through, I will wear  t with something underneath. I loved it the moment I saw it: flocked fabric (is it how you call this?), very delicate, small pleats, frills, puff sleeves? Yes! It reminds me of some vintage pieces. I was really surprised to see it there, not already bought and for such a ridiculous price! I have to admit I’m not 100% sure it looks perfectly okay on me, but it was so adorable and so cheap, I had to get it! In case I can’t wear it I can still use the fabric for doll sewing.

And then there is this top that reminds me of the 50′s~60′s. I might be wrong and it might be totaly different from what they wore, but it makes me think of that period. I think it’s the collar and the ties at the shoulders. ^^ I love it! I like everything about it: the overall shape, the previously mentionned details, the dots and the colors. And of course since I love 50′s fashion and it reminds me of that time, I had to like it. It was slightly more expensive than the other one (but still cheap), I hesitated for two seconds, but it was too nice and uncommon to leave it there. ^^; I wasn’t sure you’d see the collar very clearly on the first picture so I took another one:

Now I have to make myself a long and wide white skirt to go with it! Which is fortunate because I already had an idea of that kind. ;)

And for those who might wonder, yes, I did also find the supplies I needed for my project. ^^ Just have to do it now!