Me-Made-May 2015: Week 1 Round-up

What an eventful 10 days it’s been! If you’ve been following my blog or my instagram, you’d undoubtedly have noticed me hashtag #MMMay15 , heard about my Me-Made-May pledge or seen me wearing my me-made outfits over the last 10 days.

Before MMM I didn’t use to wear my handmade garments a whole lot, even though many of them were wardrobe staples or could easily be worn on a daily basis – I seem to be more of a “cake” than “icing” person in that sense. Maybe it was a lack of confidence in my workmanship, or perhaps I felt that certain makes didn’t fit me right, I’m not quite sure anymore. All I know now is that since the 1st of May I’ve been wearing at least one me-made garment a day and have been loving it! If the last 10 days have been any indication, I think MMM is going to be a roaring success in helping me to get over my me-made clothing insecurities and in proving to myself that a handmade wardrobe is most definitely achievable!

Day 1

I spent the labour day weekend on a beach holiday in Bintan with a group of friends so what could be more appropriate for the occasion than my beloved Tessuti Patterns Pineapple Ruby Top! This is one favourite that I always reach for on casual days.

Day 2

Still in Bintan, Indonesia, and this time spending the day lounging by the pool and on the beach. My garment of choice was a self-drafted kimono throwover made of some kind of polyester that I picked up in Walthamstow last summer.

Day 3

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The beach bumming continues in my as-yet unblogged Seamwork Savannah Camisole made from some kind of shiny slippery (I think poly?) fabric that I got from some bargain bin in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong. Also featured today is Mr Fabulous (LOL he’s going to kill me for that one) because it happened to be his birthday that day.

Day 4

Back to the daily grind in my yellow Coco Banana Top (Tilly & the Button’s Coco Top in a yellow double knit) to the amusement of my colleagues. For context, I hardly ever wear colours at work – I mostly stick to a neutral palette of black, grey and navy – I guess this is another positive consequence of MMM!

Day 5

Throughout the last 10 days I’ve become acutely aware of the lack of work-appropriate tops amongst my handmade collection – this is the latest addition which has yet to be blogged. For Tuesday I opted to wear my new Sewaholic Pendrell Blouse in view A made from a cobalt blue and purple bird print chiffon, underlined with navy cotton lawn. I made this originally for the April The Monthly Stitch challenge, but have put off blogging about it because it doesn’t feel right. This is one make that I’m not loving – for one I put in one of the sleeves wrong, and for another I feel like the sleeves overwhelm my frame. I’m more used to clean cut sleeves or normal sleeved tops and generally tend to avoid frilly or ruffly sleeves… I’ll have to think about this one, but I’m quite convinced that I’m going to end up taking the sleeves off and changing it to a View C instead – what a pity!

Day 6

Hump day in my denim Delia Creates’ Pleated Pencil Skirt! This was one make that I did up but never wore to work (although that was the intention of making it in the first place!) because I felt that it didn’t fit right. I don’t know what gave me that impression because when I put it on again this time it fit like a glove and is by far the most comfy pencil skirt that I own! I suspect it has something to do with the pictures I took – lesson learned: don’t just rely on pictures to assess fit, and if you do, for goodness sakes stand still and stop twisting about!

Day 7 and 8

Confession time: I wore this skirt two days in a row because it was JUST SO COMFY. Also, because I had a client meeting on Friday and the outfit I had had in mind for casual Friday was just too casual for it. This is the new Itch to Stitch Lindy Petal Skirt which I just blogged about earlier this week! I’ve had a ton of really nice comments about it already so if you like it too then be sure to head on over to Itch to Stitch and download the pattern – it’s free!

Day 9

Saturday is by far my favourite day of the week – no work and Monday is a whole day away, what could be better?! Plus I usually spend some part of my Saturday with either of 2 cell groups I attend and it’s always great to spend meaningful time in fellowship with friends and God. For Day 9 I wore my Tulip Skirt made from some unidentified navy cotton fabric that feels of a similar weight to broadcloth. It’s also embellished with adorable double yellow buttons that I scored at Portobello Market last summer, and yellow topstitching (both of which were suggestions by Fiona over at Fiona Makes, thank you!). The general feel of the skirt is just a little too twee for my taste, so I’ve hardly worn it since making it. Again, I’m so glad for MMM because wearing it for a full day yesterday revealed just how comfy it is!! You can definitely count on seeing more of this skirt pattern on the blog in the future.

Day 10

Happy Mother’s Day to my momma and all other yummy mummies out there! For church and Mother’s Day lunch today I wore my refashioned / altered crop top and a teal midi skirt I bought in Hong Kong. I ended up regretting not wearing something with an elasticated waistband after being faced with this mountain of food:

Doing Mother’s Day brunch right – GO BIG OR GO HOME #hokkienmeecoma #orhluahmadness #thehuens

A photo posted by jessiehuen (@jessiehuen) on May 10, 2015 at 12:35am PDT

And that’s the round-up of week 1! If you’d like to see what I’m wearing for the rest of Me Made May then be sure to follow me on instagram (@jessiehuen) or to check back here every Sunday! Fingers crossed I’d have come up with a better photo taking routine so that I can stop awkwardly begging friends to take them for me (I’m not going to have many friends left at the end of this…)

The Emergency Christmas Dress

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Belated Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to everyone!

It’s been absolute chaos this festive season, with my boyfriend’s cousins coming to visit and a whole whirlwind of family, friend and church events. Christmas is always a rather hectic period, though I thought I could escape it this year by planning early… I was wrong. In fact I shouldn’t have been surprised that one morning last week I found myself without anything to wear to a dinner party that evening and with no time to go out and buy one (I was busy prepping the decorations and so on).

I may or may not have been particularly anxious to procure a new outfit due to the photobooth that was to be was at the party that evening. I know social media makes it seem like photo booths are a dime a dozen nowadays, but unless you’re a celebrity, they really aren’t!  You guys understand, right? It’s about carpe diem! Seizing the day! Vanity and narcissism didn’t even factor in my desperation (and if anyone says otherwise, ignore them).

Frantic with nothing-to-wear-induced-exasperation, I ran to my closet and pulled out these two pieces which I’ve had for well over a year but never wore.

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I love the accordion skirt of this piece from Love, Bonito, but kind of hate the cowl neck of the bodice. I suspect this has something to do with my lack of boobage and the lifeless way this dress hangs on my body – kind of like someone decided to drape a dead fox around my neck. I have no idea when I got this piece, but I must have been delirious to have bought something so unsuitable for my style or body shape.

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This romper on the other hand, I had high hopes for when I bought it in Bangkok. I loved the print of the fabric and was shopping for rompers at the time (I have since given up hope of finding one that is flattering on me), plus it was marked at wholesale price, so I snapped this up straight away. If you know anything about shopping in Bangkok, you’d know that trying on of clothes at places like Platinum Mall aren’t allowed, so there was no way I could have seen this coming. It turns out this romper was much too short on me – leaving half of my behind exposed for the general public to ogle at! It had to go.

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I wasn’t too sure if what I had planned would work, but I was hopeful as both the pieces are elasticated round the waist (no zips yay!) and are of similar fabric weight. The skirt was also fully lined which helped a lot. I also hated the pieces in their original form so it wasn’t too heartbreaking to have to cut it up.

After half an hour of pinning, sewing and pressing, this was the result! And I have to say, I’m really pleased with it.

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The back view even has a really sexy slit down the middle, which I love! It can be pinned closed if I feel like wearing regular undergarments or left open if I’m can be bothered to put in the extra effort to dress properly.

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I wore it to my party that night and again to the Midnight Eucharist service at church so all in all, I’ve already gotten a ton of utility out of this make. Plus I think it’s the perfect casual party length and style, just look at these pictures! It really holds its own against other RTW outfits I think (of course it’s the franken-child of two RTW garments but let’s just pretend I made it, shall we?)

Did any of you have to do some last minute sewing this Christmas?

 

 

DIY // Adding Side Panels and Width to a Crop Top

The one bad (and pretty major) thing about buying clothes that you haven’t tried on is that all too often the fit is a little off. As a result, I have a whole cupboard full of clothing that I’ve been meaning to refashion or resize. In particular is this ADORABLE little gold and white striped crop top from A for Arcade which I scored on sale. The only problem: it was way too small around the waist – I couldn’t even button it up! (Sadly it had no problems going round my bust but waist was another story #workouttime #smallbustwoes )

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I’m an incredibly lazy shopper. I don’t like loitering around pointlessly in malls looking at clothes I can’t afford, I hate queuing for the changing room, and I feel stressed when making others wait for me when I shop in a group. (Yet I feel stressed making decisions without a second opinion!!! Anyone else have this infuriating problem?) It’s not surprising that I do most of my shopping online instead – ASOS, Zalora, blogshops – my own virtual shopping heaven from the comfort of my bed.

The one bad (and pretty major) thing about buying clothes that you haven’t tried on is that all too often the fit is a little off. As a result of this I have a whole cupboard full of clothing that I’ve been meaning to refashion or resize. In particular is this ADORABLE little gold and white striped crop top from A for Arcade which I scored on sale:

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I envisioned it paired with pencil skirts and denim high waisted skinnies, but was disappointed when I received my order and found it way too small around the waist – I couldn’t even button it up! (it’s telling that it fit round my bust but not my waist #workouttime #smallbustwoes )

I looked around for an online tutorial on how to add width to crop tops but came up empty, so I did a bit of freestyle fiddling and this was the result:

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Pretty good for a beginner attempt I think! Keep on reading to see how I did it-

TUTORIAL: ADDING SIDE PANELS / WIDTH TO A CROP TOP

Materials and tools needed:

A crop top to resize

Unpicker & Scissors

Fabric for the side panels and matching thread (I used white bamboo knit, it’s slightly lighter than double knit but a whole lot more stable than jersey)

Sewing machine

Pinking shears (or an overlocker if you have one!)

Steps:

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1. Pick apart the side seams of the crop top.

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2. Cut a piece of fabric as tall as the height of your crop top plus seam allowances (I used 1 inch) and as wide as you estimate you will need to extend one side by. (I estimated the width needed and just snipped off the excess after!)

3. With right sides together, sew the fabric to your crop top along the side seam. Because I was using a knit, I used a tight zig-zag stitch.

4. Hem the top of your fabric to match the height of your crop top.

5. Put on the crop top and facing a mirror (or enlisting the help of a significant other / sewing buddy) pin out the excess fabric along the side seam. Do the same on the other side.

Because my crop top had darts in the front already, this was a matter of just pinching out the excess along the contour of my body and pinning it.

At this point, take off the crop top and check that it looks like this:

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Also check that the side panels on either side are roughly equal (mine are off by about a cm but it’s not very noticeable!)

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6. Stitch up the side seams right sides together, using a zig-zag stitch if you’re using a stretchy fabric.

7. Hem the bottom of the side panel to match the rest of the bottom hem of the crop top.

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8. Finish the seams any way you like – I pinked mine because I figured the knit wouldn’t fray much.

9. And don’t forget to press your seams! Mine looked awful till I did.

Voila! You’re done! Your formerly too-small-to-breathe-in crop top now fits perfectly.

And you guys I’m so in love with mine. I’m already planning all the outfits I can wear it with! (Sadly there is a dearth of high-waisted fitted skirts in my closet – I will have to rectify that ASAP!)

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Anybody else have suggestions on how to resize too-tight tops? (ooh checkout my alliteration)