Monday 22 April 2019

Dorothie Blouse ♥️

Here's a sweet little blouse that I made a couple of months ago. I've held off sharing it but now the weather has sufficiently heated up enough for me to actually wear it to be able to give it a full review. 


Do you remember the deep dive into I did into French sewing pattern companies? Well, whilst researching that post I fell hard for Slow Sunday Paris's Dorothie blouse pattern and I was NOT going to let the language barrier get in the way of me making one for myself. I love the proportions and delicate details of this pattern: the soft, open collar/lapel, the gentle gathering along the front and back yoke seams and sleeve heads, and THOSE. SLEEVES. I'm obsessed with the clever gathering into the band effect. In a way it's so simple, but I haven't seen it before in a garment pattern. There are three other sleeve styles included in the pattern (I think two are free additions that may require a separate download, I forget) but the banded version had to be the version I went for first. 

(image source: Slow Sunday Paris)

So how did I cope working with a French sewing pattern when I don't speak or read French? Having a PDF 'copy' rather than a paper format really helped here. I opened up the instructions file on my lap top and copy-and-pasted chunks of text into a translation app. Obvs a lot of the translations then required some interpretation, but alongside the step-by-step illustrations and previous blouse-making experience, it all worked out fine.

One aspect of the pattern that I wasn't a fan of, was the way that the blouse is hemmed. The front halves of the hem are simply double-turned and stitched, but the back is finished with self-made bias tape to accommodate a gentle curve. However, I feel that the back curve is soooo gentle, that double turning and stitching wouldn't have been at all tricky, and if you are using a slinky fabric like I did that doesn't respond well to being made into bias binding, then it's an unnecessary headache. There are also tiny slits at the bottom of the side seams which, having worn this blouse a little, I didn't feel were worth the faff to create them. 


I snapped up 1.5m of this mustard viscose twill from Fabric Godmother at the same time as buying the rust viscose twill that became this Elisabeth blouse, and using it marks the completion of the second of my #2019makenine goals. In real life, I think this fabric looks a bit more chartreuse than mustard, which looks amazing combined with navy, IMO. Having already worked with this slippery fabric, I knew to take my time when laying it out to cut, and to avoid a hot iron and pressing on the right side of the fabric! I failed to remember the pressing points a couple of times, and there are a few sections on this blouse that now have a bit of a permanent sheen, but I think only I would notice them. And let me tell you how nice this fabric feels to wear. It's slinky and smooth, but it's not too fine so I'm not freezing cold whilst wearing it. Although it does need a decent press after each wash to get the many wrinkles out and bring it back to a state of wearability. 


Having worn this blouse and seen these photos of me wearing it, I'm compelled to share two flaws that I would make changes to avoid next time. Firstly, the length: although I'm short-waisted (I have a high natural waist/short torso), I decided not to shorten this pattern before cutting it out, and I'm relieved that I didn't because I feel it would be better a bit longer. I think the pattern is designed so that the blouse can be worn loose or tucked inside a skirt or trousers, however I feel it looks much better tucked in a bit, and I've found it comes untucked easily as it's not quite long enough.

Secondly, I think the button/buttonhole positioning is a bit too far in from the edge. I can't remember if the pattern specifies the size of buttons required, however, I found these dainty little vintage buttons in my stash which were a weirdly perfect colour match which were crying out to be used. I'm pleased with how I've positioned them in pairs for added interest, yet I should have accommodated their small scale by placing them a little closer to the edge. That's something that is difficult to spot when you're working close up on a garment project, so I'm not kicking myself for not spotting it until it was too late.

But honestly, those are minor points on a generally lovely garment that I think fits me well and feels wonderful to wear. I'm already planning another project using this pattern, this time trying out one of the other sleeve versions and an extra addition that I'm excited to share (if it all works out!). 

What about you? Have you ever tried a sewing project using a pattern or tutorial that was written in a language that you don't understand? How did you go about it and how did it turn out?

Thursday 18 April 2019

Me-Made-May 2019: My Pledge!

Alright, after much deliberation, I have worked out my pledge for this year's Me-Made-May challenge:

'I, Zoe Edwards, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2019. I endeavour to wear only me-made clothes in a unique combination each day during May 2019. Plus, I will wear a dress or skirt at least 3 times a week' 

The most observant of this blog's readers may notice that this is effectively the same pledge I made last year. The reason why I'm doing it again is because I found it soooooo useful. The benefits of having to come up with different combinations of clothing gave me heaps of new options to choose from through out the rest of the year. Plus, inventing new combos gave some of my older me-mades a new lease of life which is obviously a great step towards a more sustainable wardrobe. I definitely feel better about myself and feel more confident when I'm wearing a more considered outfit than my standard 'jeans and a stripy top' look, and I'd like to push myself to create even more outfit combos including all the clothes that I have made since last May. 

It's been super fun to see everyone's pledges coming in, and it's so inspiring to see how participants are really thinking of pledges that will get them closer to where they'd like to be with their me-made wardobes. Remember, you've got until 1st May to come up your own pledge if you wish to take part. Plus, the Me-Made-May enamel badges I got produced with Fabric Godmother (with 20% of profits being donated to Labour Behind the Label) are selling well, so if you'd like to own one, get your order in soon!

Happy pledging!

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Me-Made-May 2019 Enamel Badges: Available Now!!

I told you I had a little thing up my sleeve to celebrate the TENTH Me-Made-May, didn't I?! I worked with Fabric Godmother to get these cute enamel badges produced and they are now available via their website for just £5!!! Plus, 20% of the profits will go to the non-profit organisation 'Labour Behind the Label' (more on that in a bit). They are limited in number, so grab yours quick!

We chose coral because it's Pantone's colour of 2019, and will add a great pop of colour to your me-made garments throughout May (and beyond). I also think the coral looks really stunning with the gold. Personally, I never wear jewellery (aside from my super simple wedding band), so I'm excited to wear my Me-Made-May 2019 badge to add a fancy element to my usual, casual look.

So why the donation to a garment workers' campaign? Well, as someone who makes my own clothing and no longer buys ready to wear, I’ve long been at a loss as to how I can challenge the horrendous, and even life threatening, conditions that garment workers are often forced to work in. I certainly don't believe for a second that a garment worker would thank me for refusing to buy mass produced garments. However, I believe that making our own clothing and avoiding mass-produced garments (particularly 'fast fashion') can be a more sustainable option, environmentally speaking, and therefore better for everyone on the planet, if it is done so with thought and with care (which is a massive part of what Me-Made-May is all about, of course). So this is my answer to the issue of the violation of the rights of garment workers' and their terrible working conditions: making a contribution via an organisation who will know how best to affect positive change.

Monday 1 April 2019

Me-Made-May 2019: Sign Up Here!!!

This is the TENTH year of the Me-Made-May challenge, and if you're interested in improving your relationship with your handmade wardrobe, then you've come to the right place. To take part, you will need to set yourself a pledge to wear your me-mades more and/or in different ways, and follow it through out May. Hopefully, by the end of the month, you will have learnt a whole load about yourself, your style, how you feel about your wardrobe, and how best to spend your clothes-making time going forwards. Here's what you do....

How do I sign up?

All you have to do is copy the pledge below and paste it into the comments section of this post, adapted to include your details and the specifics of your personal pledge before 1st May:

'I, (insert name here), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2019. I endeavour to ........................................................................... during May 2019' 

Why should I take part?

The Me-Made-May challenge can help you...
  • to start integrating your me-made items into your regular wardrobe rotation.
  • get out of a wardrobe rut by focusing on your lesser-worn items and creating new outfits that include them.
  • find out what the 'holes' in your wardrobe are so that you are able to use your garment-creating time more usefully in the future.
  • begin wearing the clothes that you really want to be seen in, rather than the same old things you usually reach for most mornings.
  • enjoy the excuse to finish off any lingering UFOs (unfinished objects), or to finally start a project that has been on your mind for ages.
  • discover what the rest of this large community of makers has created and is wearing in their day-to-day lives, and enjoy the support, advice and inspiration that they will provide.
You just need to work out a tricky but do-able pledge for yourself that pushes out of your usual routine, and will be useful for you.

What isn't Me-Made-May?

  • A photo challenge. You might have seen heaps of Me-Made-May related pictures posted on blogs, Instagram etc. during previous challenges showing participants in their awesome handmade creations. Many participants like to document and share their challenges in this way, which is obviously amazing (and if you do, please use the hashtag #memademay2019), but COMPLETING YOUR PLEDGE is the actual challenge; taking and sharing photos of what you wear during it is ENTIRELY OPTIONAL. You do not need a blog or Instagram account or any social media presence at all. I cannot emphasise this enough: you do not need to take any photos. At all. But please do, if you want to. 
  • A reason to make lots of new clothes. This challenge is about wearing and enjoying the items that you have already created more often, not about stock-piling more makes. However, if you want to use the challenge as the kick in the butt you need to finally hem that half-finished skirt, or rework an ill-fitting garment, then great. This challenge is about being thoughtful about creating, not about trying to make as much as possible just to have more options to wear.
  • A competition. It doesn't matter how many me-made items you already have or haven't. You can take part even if you just have one solitary me-made item! You just need to set your pledge to make it challenging for YOU, don't concern yourself about what other participants have pledged for themselves.

Ideas for your pledge...

Remember, this is meant to be challenging (i.e. NOT what you usually do), so take some time to think about how to get the most from the challenge before writing your pledge.

Many participants pledge to wear 'one me-made garment per day', but don't feel that you have to follow suit, particularly if that would currently be too tricky or too easy for you. Try to think up a pledge that will be difficult (AKA challenging!), but not impossible, and most of all USEFUL to you! There are near-infinite ways to tailor the pledge to your own requirements. Here are some ideas:
  • pledging to wear things you made a year ago or more, to see if you can bring some of them back into regular rotation, or if it's time to let them go.
  • pledging to only wear separates to force yourself to get creative with your mix-and-matching.
  • if you'd like to wear dresses (or whatever) more often than you current do, pledging to wear each of your me-made dresses at least once during the month.
  • pledging to wear each of your me-made garments only once during the month, perhaps to see what didn't make the cut and to therefore not make any of that type of garment again!
  • pledging to finish all your UFO's by 31st May if the sight of your UFO pile has been weighing you down.

If you do have a blog or social media accounts, why not re-post your pledge and the logo at the top of the post there so your readers and followers can see what you are up to and be inspired by your endeavour? If possible, please include a link to this post so others can also sign-up if they are interested. If there's one thing I've learnt from these challenges, the more people involved, the better the party!

I've signed up, what do I do now then?

Nothing in particular until 1st May 2019, except let an underlying sense of excitement brew! You may decide to finish up that UFO, but please people, NO PANIC-MAKING NECESSARY OR CONDONED!!

If you are concerned or confused about any aspect of this challenge, please email me at sozoblog (at) g mail (dot) com

Let the signing up commence!!!!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...