Me Made May – The first 7 days

I have succeeded in my goal of wearing a minimum of one ‘Me-Made’  garment every day so far. I have not been so good at getting photographs – and some of the ones I have got are pretty awful (what can I say – the management is great at his job. His job doesn’t involve taking photographs).

Me Made May 2012

T-shirt and cardigan – 1st May

Me Made May 2012

Moon & Stars PJs – 1st into 2nd!

Day 1 was a self drafted T-shirt and a cardigan I knitted some time ago. The PJ’s were made from and old Vogue pattern for the top and the shorts were a self draft. The pattern is MIA but when I find it I will edit this post. I wasn’t sure whether I should include this for the 1st or 2nd so they are in both.   




Me Made May 2012

JAM 2011 – 2nd May


 I wore this JAM 2011 jacket to the cinema with my friend ‘L’ (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen  since you ask – much better than it sounds and it has Ewen McGregor).   




Me Made May 2012

SAM & Patrones – 3rd May


      A day spent sewing for clients so this SAM and the Patrones jeans were just what I needed as a comfortable outfit I didn’t mind crawling the floor in. Pinning hems is not very dignified. Check out the sparkly silver Converse Hi-tops! I love them.




Me Made May 2012

Patrones Jeans (again) 4th May

 Another day sewing – but no clients so I made a very lazy choice and repeated the Patrones jeans with an M&S t-shirt. Comfy but not all that great. I have decided that this jeans pattern needs tweaking.




Me Made May 2012

Pyjama Drama – 5th

Avoided a failure day by wearing the PJs that I made. I love my comfy PJs.   



Me Made May 2012

Patrones Gardening jeans – 6th May

These jeans were from the same Patrones pattern as the lilac jeans – they are now an even worse fit than the lilac. I have been following a running plan (again) in an attempt to strengthen my bones. (Mother and Granny both had/have osteoporosis). Whilst I don’t think my weight has changed my body shape definately is. Because of that these are now strictly gardening jeans. And I hate gardening.



    And the 7th. Sorry can’t show you. Top secret. It was the Lean on my shoulder top that I made to try a pattern for Rhonda. When she gives the OK I will be able to give you all the info. Until then – sorry! 

Going well so far – and I may even get better photographs for some of the future days. But not for today (8th). Didn’t get one. And I am already in my PJs (yes – Me-made) because it’s my birthday so I can do what I want today!

Had a Merry Christmas…

… ate too much, drank too much, did no sewing at all. As planned. I am now feeling a bit guilty for all the non activity and feel like planning the next move. But I haven’t shown you the Christmas prezzys I made yet! (Don’ t get too excited – it was a last minute thing – as usual).

Purple Organiser Wallets

Purple Organiser Wallets'Chez Hoodie' - How perfect!

'Chez Hoodie'!

'Chez Hoodie' - How perfect!

 Pre Christmas I saw a 12 Days of Christmas feature on LBG blog for a fabulous organiser wallet that I knew would be a good gift for my daughter and a good friend. I had just the right fabrics in my stash and with a visit to a stationers and the local quilt/patchwork store ‘Totally Patched’ for batting I was sorted. It wasn’t until I started cutting the Paris inspired fabric I realised just how perfect it was! If you looked closely at the shop signs one of them was ‘Chez Hoodie’ – as a Hood giving a gift to a Hood it was just perfect. I even remembered to put my label in them. (Just as well as when my daughter opened it she didn’ realise it had been made for her – praise indeed!)

Paper heaven!

My darling daughter is probably most responsible for the fact that I have done nothing for what seems like days. I know I never work as well when the house is occupied so having both daughter and husband home meant that the sewing was scuppered – but when you are given a bag full of Stylist magazines (weekly magazines given away free on the London Underground – saved by my fabulous daughter!) there is no possibility of work. Apart from meals and pauses for fabulous TV I have devoured these magazines this week. Fabulous! (Lots of inspiration for sewing so perhaps it does count as work? )
I have been looking at the thread on Stitchers Guild about sewing related gifts. I don’t usually expect anything sewing related as everyone seems to think I would be difficult to buy for (just try! I’ll be happy – honest) but this year my husband found an old book which he bought thinking it might be quite amusing. I could hardly believe it when I opened the parcel – my mum had this book over 40 years ago and I used to enjoy thumbing through it even then. Kindles could never smell like this !

The Art of Needlecraft
The Art of Needlecraft – Published 1935

Looking back on 2011 I haven’t done as much sewing for myself as I would have liked but I have made some real steps in other areas. I took over ‘Material Matters’ fabric sales from Pamela in April and hope I have been able to serve my customers as well as she did. I am still on a very steep learning curve but hope to find next year easier now that I have some things set up on computer to ease the process. That was next, I have completed a computer course this year (and now have a Nationally recognised qualification to show for it!) which I did not find easy. All the knowledge gained is being put into use and I hope that I will continue to improve (watch the website – I am working on another tutorial online which may show some benefits soon!). I have failed miserably to complete 12 jackets in the Jacket a Month challenge – but I have 3 more jackets than before so I win anyway!

Next year I hope to be able to improve my business and do more sewing for myself – it was one or the other this year. Lets see what next year brings.
Happy New Year to all my readers.

Slow Progress 4 – The final – McCalls 5860 finished!

I worked this afternoon to tie up the last details on the McCalls 5860 Jeans jacket and have finished! I really underestimated the time that was needed to finish yesterday – but finished today within an hour. I am very happy with the jacket (though looking at the photographs I see I am going to have to move the bottom button a little). There is no-one home to take a photograph of me wearing it (but I like it!) so the model is wearing it.

The pattern was very easy to follow – although I did change a couple of details. The collar and cuffs have been done slightly differently to the recommended instruction but overall I think it is well described, with clear instructions. I think I may make this again – but not for a little while as I think it would be good in a summerweight fabric.

McCalls 5860

Love the buttons!

McCalls 5860 Front View

McCalls 5860 Front ViewLove the buttons!

McCalls 5860 Back view
McCalls 5860 Back view

I am thrilled that I can move my ticker on to the ‘3’ marker – pathetic though that is. I might get started on a 4th jacket but I think that will be my limit this year. I will be sure to keep up the ‘last half hour a day for me’ routine as it is working really well.

Bessies Words of Wisdom

Bessie:  So Kim, you should finish the jacket today?

Kim: I hope so Bessie – there’s not too much left to do.

Bessie: What exactly is left to do?

Kim: Sew on the collar and cuffs, facings, um, topstitching, buttonholes and buttons!

Bessie: All to be done in an hour – impressive.

Kim: Oh! I didn’t realise there was so much!

Bessie: Optimism is wonderful but a bit of reality wouldn’t hurt Kim.

Kim: OK Bess.

P.S. The jacket is almost done. Just topstitching,buttons and buttonholes. May be finished tomorrow. I hope.

Slow Progress 3 – McCalls 5860

I am still making slow but steady progress in my half hour slots on the McCalls 5860  jacket .

Facing + interfacing sewn on

Facing + interfacing sewn onInterfacing giving clean finish

I have pressed the interfacing onto the main fabric where needed – I used Supersoft Superior (you can get this from The English Couture Company). The photographs show how I sewed the pieces onto the facings before pressing in order to get a clean finish. Nice and easy.

Interfacing giving clean finish

Interfacing giving clean finish

Undercollar on cross + seamed

Undercollar on cross + seamed

The collar was a place I varied from the pattern slightly. Rather than cutting two identical pieces I cut the under collar on the true cross and trimmed about 1/8th of an inch off all wound the outside edge to ensure it sat behind the top collar when turned.This was a process in one of the wonderful ‘tip’ boxes on this pattern – if only all patterns offered this sort of advice. I have left it sitting round Bessies neck to cool having been steamed.

Collar setting on Bessie

Collar setting on Bessie

There doesn’t seem to be a lot left to do on the jacket – maybe if I allocate an hour tomorrow I will be able to finish? I hope so.

Slow progress 2 – McCalls 5860

The plan to sew a half hour for myself at the end of my client work is probably something I should have started ages ago. As predicted the progress is terribly slow – but even slow progress is better than no progress.

Body with pockets

Body with pockets

Since my last post I have been able to sew the pockets and flaps onto the body of the jacket (now pressed and topstitched). As I am working in a tweed I backed the pocket flap in the satin lining to reduce bulk which I think worked well. I even remembered to sew the buttonhole before it was sewn to the garment – not rushing does have its advantages.

Satin backed pocket flaps

Satin backed pocket flaps

I sewed the sleeves and tried them on my arms as they looked fairly large. I felt they looked a bit ‘flappy’ on my arms so I reduced the circumference by 3cm simply by resewing the underarm seam to 3cm rather than the 1.5 allowed. This looks much better in my opinion. I dislike ‘fat’ sleeves as even if the rest of the garment fits really well they are inclined to make me look larger. I did a little adjustment on the body to comensate for the now smaller sleeve and they sewed into the holes perfectly.

Lining ready for insertion

Lining ready for insertion

My last job was to sew a complete body and sleeves in lining which are to be sewn to the shell of the jacket before the collar and facings. I will try the jacket on before I sew the lining to it to check the finished length is right. Once I am happy I will machine sew the hem edge, right sides together, which will give a clean finish.

I am intending to cut and iron the interfacing to everything that needs it in my time today, and get the collar sewn tomorrow. I have the buttons ready and I am very happy with them. All that stands between me and completion is time – and I am finding that in bits!

Progress – slow – but still progress….(McCalls 5860)

'The chosen one'

Following my last post I spent about a week circling the fabrics. I changed my my about which colour velvet to use for the McCalls jacket about every half hour. Eventually I made up my mind. I went for the beige tweed – bet you didn’t see that coming! I checked the wardrobe and decided that if I used the tweed  I would be able to use the jacket with stuff I already have. But I still want to make trousers in the almond velvet.

Having finally made the choice I prepared my pattern. I hadn’t used a ‘Palmer/Pletsch Perfect Fit’ pattern before so was surprised to find a whole sheet dedicated to preparing the pattern.There was lots of good, encouraging information on the sheet which  helps  to get the best fit possible. Just follow the words and don’t try to overthink and you will get the desired result.

I cut the size 16 and made a full bust adjustment before shortening the body and sleeves a little (I am 5’4″).I was fairly sure that Gigi had mentioned that this jacket was a fairly close fit but I rarely wear thick jumpers with a jacket so I was happy to go with that ( I have checked her blog and can’t see where I saw that – maybe I imagined it!). Having sewed the backs and fronts together I can confirm that it is a close fit  but I am happy with that.

 I will be lining the jacket  so that it slides more easily over t-shirts etc. and was delighted to find in a little ‘pro tip’ box the instructions for doing it. The suggestion is to simply cut the backs, fronts, and sleeves and baste to the jacket before sewing the collar, cuffs and hem Simple and effective. There are a number of these little tip boxes in the pattern which I think is really good.

 Because I have been very busy with client  work I decided to do 1/2 hour at the end of each day to make this jacket. That means it will take a while – but at least it is progressing from the little pile of pieces it has been for about a week. Yesterday I managed to sew the body together to check the fit again and I plan to sew the pocket & flaps, and sleeves today.  I will report on progress as I can.

M5860 Front



M5860 Back

As you can see this didn’t get as far as the ironing board before being flung on Bessie to be photographed – I will be pressing the seams before they are topstitched. Hopefully it will look more presentable next time!

An apology to Patrones – After reading Melissas blog I realised that the ‘Extra’ issues of Patrones are actually collections of patterns from previous issues (in the one I was referring to they are for the ‘larger lady’). If you are aware that they are published in this way then that is probably the better way to buy these special patterns. Now that I understand I felt I had to apologise for the last comment I made.
Edited on 2/12 re Melissas comment: It would seem that SOME paterns are repeated in the EXTRA editions, but some are new. It would seem worth checking contents before purchase if you can.

Patrones and planning

Yet again I am the lucky recipient of not one but 2 Patrones magazines! My dear friends came back from Spain with these issues last week and I have spent hours poring over them.

I absolutely love the neck detail on the cover picture of issue 308, and the grey dress on page 11 (2nd down, first column on the middle picture) is simple but lovely. I am also looking at several pairs of trousers to try a pair in a wool tweed to go with my next planned jacket – but more if that later!

The other issue was a ‘Patrones Extra Tallas Grandes’ Issue 8. Not quite so much in this issue that I really liked until I got towards the back. Pages 42-45 looked appealing – but also strangely familiar. I trawled my past issues and, sure enough, found these designs in Issue 274 (Especial Fiesta).

Same model, same garments – actually same photographs. Did they think we wouldn’t notice? I love Patrones magazine but this does rather cheat its buyers don’t you think? I still like the first and last tops in the pictures and may make them at some point – but I still have the patterns from Issue 274.


Enough of that – I have finally got to the end of my computer course and passed the exam (Hurrah! I hear you say – perhaps the quality of the blog will improve! – don’t hold your breath) so I have a bit more time to sew for myself. I have long planned to make McCalls 5860 – which I first saw on Gigi Sews site. Gigi made a lovely version of this jacket and I lusted quietly after it – silly really since the pattern was available and I could make my own (not quite as good as Gigi’s) jacket. I thought this would be a very useful ‘anytime’ jacket – the sort you can throw on to go shopping or dress up to go out. The fabric I am intending to use is the stretch velvet  I have in the winter collection. Now all I have to do is decide if I want blue or almond…….


How many?

Bessie:  How many months are there in a year Kim?

Kim: 12 Bessie, everyone knows that!

Bessie (Sighs): Really Kim? And how many jackets have you made for your JAM this year?

Kim: Hurrah! 2 now! OH! Now I see what you mean…….

Bessie: Yes Kim. 10 left. Not 8. 10.   

Kim:  !

Bessie:  Better get a move on then.

The Birthday Jacket – Finished!

I have spent time this week finishing off the birthday jacket (Vogue 1263) which I love!

Showing what needs to be trimmed from under-collar

On monday I trimmed the under collar so that it would sit properly in the fairly thick fabric I am using (you can see how much difference  the ‘turn of cloth’ makes  on the photograph) and sewed the lining together so that it resembled the whole jacket made again in lining with just the facing in fabric.

Lining and facing


Hem showing 'wedge'to be trimmed

I installed the lining by the ‘bagging out’ method – machine sewing the sleeve linings to the already hemmed sleeves and sewing the hem in two installments. As I had cut the lining pattern myself I knew that I wanted to sew from the  front seams towards the centre of the jacket by machine and close the last little bit by hand. The lining is obviously the hem depth short where it joins the facing but by pinning the lining, level with the hem from the first dart toward the front seam, it is possible to show how much of a wedge needs to be trimmed away to make a neat turn when you reach the facing (which is now sitting at an angle), whilst also allowing it to fold a little with the lining. The last thing to do was to topstitch around the fronts and collar – not so much for decoration in this case but to give it a ‘stiffness’ on the very edge that just finishes the whole thing.

The pattern was described as ‘easy’ and I would agree with that. The only thing that I would change is to put a simple in-seam pocket in place of the one provided. I know I didn’t help  by using lining fabric for both pieces, but I feel that it is not lying as well as it could. If you just follow the instructions and dont line this jacket it would be a very quick and easy project – I love it!

 I took photographs of the front and back on Bessie as I wasn’t expecting to be able to have a photograph of me wearing the jacket – doesn’t it show! Now I need to decide what to wear with this jacket for our theatre visit.

(Hurrah! I can move my JAM counter on to a whole 2 jackets made for me now – only 8 behind. I have discovered a new enjoyment in sewing for myself again so I think I may have got my mojo back).