Thursday, 25 May 2017

Me-Made-May Week 3


May 15
For Uni on Monday I wore my new coral floral dress that I finished last week, paired with yellow cardigan (not made by me, but still handmade) and managed to take a quick selfie in a bathroom mirror, so you can at least see what the dress looks like. It has a halter strap, and boning in the bodice, and while the fit isn't perfect, it is good enough, and has enough in built support that I can get away with not having to wear a bra with it (which is good as I hate wearing strapless bras) I had developed a bit of a cold over the weekend, so I was feeling pretty awful, and decided after attending my lecture, that I just wasn't well enough to attend class after, so I had lunch with a friend, then headed home early instead.

After having a 2 hour nap when I got home, I decided I was feeling well enough to go to the SCA dance practice evening that is on Monday nights (despite protests from my husband not wanting me to go out in the cold night air) However, I changed into my navy pants and blue kitty pussy bow blouse (layered with my blue slip underneath) so that I wouldn't have bare legs or upper chest.


May 16
After workshop, I changed into the skirt from my blue suit, and pink kitty pussy bow blouse for the remainder of the day, although I did also wear my store bought hoody later in the evening.

May 17
I was still feeling pretty crook on Wednesday, but my husband wanted to go out for lunch and a bit of shopping. I didn't feel like wearing a dress that day, so I wore my polka dot jeans, pink stripe top (which I made some time ago, but have not blogged about) and denim jacket for a more casual look. Yes, I was rocking double denim.

From last May when I wore this
dress to Lifou

May 18 
Spent the day at home, mostly working on an assessment that was due Friday night. Wore my comfy yellow check with red gerberas dress, that I haven't blogged about making, but which I have worn previously during Me-Made-May last year

Photo from when I first made this
outfit
  
May 19
Again, spent the day working on and finishing my uni assessment. I got it done, maybe not to the level I would have liked, but my cold was making it very hard for me to concentrate, so I was just happy to get it done. Wore my navy swing pants and blue kitty blouse again.

Cutting out the Cotehardie

May 20 
Saturday was mostly spent at a friend's place, where we were having a "making day" for our archery group. I ended up making something completely unrelated to archery, as my friend had bought Reconstructing History's men's cotehardie pattern, and had some fabric, so I worked on that for the day while I had him there to fit it to. I did make some slight alterations to get the fit right, but I will probably write a separate review post about that pattern. Other things that got done on the day were; making bow strings (twisting strands of elastic and splicing them), Arrow making, wool luceting and metal plates for armour being cleaned of rust and painted to prevent more rust. Because I was worried about getting my clothes dirty, I wore an old stained off-white shirt that I made years ago, paired with a red gingham circle skirt, also made years ago (before I had an overlocker!)

That's a well-fitting cotehardie,
if I do say so myself!

May 21
On Sunday, myself and 2 others decided to go for an impromptu trip to Sydney to go to the Blacktown Medieval Fayre. I managed to finish off the hand worked eyelets on my friend's cotehardie during the drive, so he was able to wear it while we were there. I was pretty happy with the fit once it was done, and I think he loved it. I wore my brown and gold houppelande that I made the week before Rowany festival, and finally managed to get a photo of me wearing it.


I still have a few Uni assessments to work on, but I am also finding a bit of time for some sewing for myself. I have just started on making another jacket from Butterick 5824 (used previously to make my wedding jacket) using a floral fleece blanket I purchased from Best and Less last winter. I haven't cut out the lining yet, but I'm considering using some plain pink polar fleece from my stash, to keep it nice and snuggly. That should help me fill part of what is missing from my me-made wardrobe, although this year I am less concerned with replacing my store-bought items, if they are still in usable condition and fit me well.

Dixie

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Me-Made-May Week 2

May 8
As the weather has now turned cooler, I was able to wear my navy swing pants and striped pussy bow blouse to University. I have finally got back in the habit of setting my hair in curls, so wearing this outfit, pearls and curls, I was beginning to feel more like myself again after a very busy few weeks. I even passed one of my workshop teachers on the way to the library, and she said she almost didn't recognise me (keeping in mind she only ever sees me in my workshop clothes and hairnet)


May 9 
After Workshop in the morning, I changed into my Dracula Dress for the remainder of the day. I started drafting a pattern for a Gambeson as part of my armour for combat Archery. It is essentially a padded jacket that you wear either under or over the required armour, to provide more coverage and padding.

May 10
Wednesdays tend to be lazy days for me, I spent most of the day in my pajamas, just throwing on my Dracula Dress again to head to the supermarket in the afternoon.

  
May 11
On Thursday I caught up with my mum, and an old friend I hadn't seen in years, at the Maitland greyhound races. I wore my Mummykins and me Madison dress and matching Denim jacket. We only put $1 bets on some of the dogs, but we did win a little bit back.


May 12
Didn't get up to too much on Friday, although I did dye a few pastel streaks in my hair. When I wasn't dying my hair, I was wearing my kitty print B6167.

May 13
Instead of seeing my mum and grandma on Sunday for mother's day, we decided to schedule our brunch for Saturday instead. I wore my yellow self drafted shirt and Elsie George resort skirt (that I made) I then headed to combat Archery practice (a bit late and a bit tipsy, oh well)

May 14
I had a pretty bad day on Sunday, so I just hid in my sewing room in my pajamas watching movies and working on my gambeson. By this point I had most of the pieces assembled and quilted, with just the sleeves left to quilt.

I'm loving that I can start wearing certain things again now that the weather is cooling down, but at the same time, I really need to get a start on some winter sewing that I have had sitting in my sewing room for a while, but couldn't motivate myself to do during summer. Unfortunately now I have Uni assessments to work on, and what sewing time I do have, I have been using for SCA (medieval) stuff.

Dixie

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Me-Made-May Week 1

So here we are at the start of another Me-Made-May!

While I left it until May 1st to comment my pledge on So Zoe's 2017, and haven't yet posted anything to my blog, I am once again participating, with the same pledge as last year:

"I Dixie O'Dare, of missdixieodare.blogspot.com.au, Sign up to participate in Me-Made-May '17. I pledge to only wear me-made clothes every day for the duration of May 2017"

First day of Me-Made-May

May 1
I started out the week going to University wearing a dress I have not yet blogged about. It is Butterick 6322 (another Gertie pattern) made in a delightful yellow cotton printed with toadstools, strawberries, acorns, snails and butterflies. I made this months ago, but haven't yet managed to take decent photos of it for the blog yet. I did however wear a store bought cardigan, so maybe it wasn't the best start to the month. Every year I find I need some me-made cardigans, and I still have not done anything to rectify that. I guess while I still have perfectly usable store bought ones, I can't justify spending money to make new ones.

May 2
Unfortunately, Tuesdays mornings for me are spent in the industrial technology workshop, which means I have no choice but to wear store bought Australian Standard work clothes. However, I nearly always change afterwards, so I brought my floral sun frock to wear. I am very glad I remembered to take a change of clothes on this particular Tuesday, as I had been using the lathe in the workshop, and had been covered in sawdust from using it. 

May 3
Did some yard work and moved the caravan to under the carport (so we can work on it more easily) so for practicality sake I wore my polka dot jeans and a store bought shirt.

May 4
As I was planning to work on some more plaster casting for a Uni assessment, I decided to wear a dress that I wouldn't mind getting plaster on. The vintage floral sheet I used to make my version of McCalls 6236 already had a few specks of white paint on it (I didn't realise when I was making it) and while they aren't noticeable to anyone but me, I figured it made this the perfect, cute, but not too precious, dress for the day

May 5 
Spent most of the day in my pajamas, threw on the sun frock from a few days before to duck to the shops to buy groceries. Found a dress that I had cut out and started sewing one day when I was at my grandparent's place babysitting my cousin's kids, so I decided to finish sewing it up. I had just quickly self-drafted it at the time, out some floral furnishing fabric that was in the spare room. The bodice isn't my best example of drafting, and it's a bit big in the waist and a bit snug at the bust, and just a bit too low cut for some situations, but regardless, the dress still turned out pretty cute.

Embroidery progress and the skirt of my new dress

May 6
And so I wore it the next day to Archery practice with some of my SCA friends. I curled my hair again for the first time in about a month, which always makes me feel better about myself, combined with the new dress, I felt positively adorable! I didn't get a photo of this new dress, but I did photograph some of the skirt here with the embroidery I was working on.


May 7 
Decided it was about time I made it to one of the region's SCA meetings (and not just the Uni ones on a Tuesday) so drove to Newcastle, wearing my cute Kitty Print B6167. Learnt how to set up my inkle loom, and how to do some basic tablet weaving, which I am pretty keen to get into more of. I only used part of my loom for my first attempt, but when it is fully set up, my loom can fit about 6m of weaving on it! Afterwards, a few of us went out for dinner, where I did wear my store bought hoodie, as it got pretty cold once the sun went down.

So I haven't managed much in the way of outfit photos so far, but I have been mostly sticking to only wearing me-mades. To be fair, this year doesn't seem like much of an effort, as I have mostly changed over to a me-made wardrobe anyway. How is everyone else's Me-Made-May going?

Dixie

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Rowany Festival

Sorry for the lack of updates lately, I have been a very busy little bee!

This Easter Weekend just past, I attended Rowany Festival, which is the biggest SCA (Medieval re-enactment) event in Australia. There were around 1000-ish attendees, all dressed in medieval garb, some even with period accurate camp set ups. I unfortunately didn't take any photos, as I didn't want to lose or damage my camera, and turned my phone off for most of the event to conserve power. So here are a few photos from other members of my camp.

The Barony of Mordenvale's campsite
Photo by Alexous Ofuri

Watching court, you can see my big bum in the blue plaid,
with 2 other people from my camp
Photo by Nicole Flood


2 of the guys demonstrating some swordplay
Photo by Nicole Flood


Me and Nicole
Photo by Quinn Ortega-Edwards


One of the Artisans building a forge

One of the teams during morning war
Photo by Nicole Flood

I managed to quickly make a houppelande from a doona cover set I picked up second hand for $12 a few days before the event. Most of the cutting out of the pieces I did during some spare time at uni, and a majority of the construction happened during meeting time for the uni SCA group, with only the hem being done at home, and the neckline and belt hooks and eyes being hand stitched on the bus ride to festival.

On the line drying after being washed. There is also a belt in
the same gold flocked brocade.

Bell sleeves and a very full skirt

 With this additional dress, I had 3 complete outfits to wear, which only meant I would have to re-wear 2 of them. My first outfit of course was the one I made for Winterfest last year, the second was one I made for the SCA newcomers event earlier this year and haven't blogged about. It consists of a white chemise, this time made from essentially an over sized T-tunic with a gathered neckline, a bodice/pair of stays made from calico and a brown wool petticoat.

Also on the line drying, and in desperate need of a press.

This does lace fully closed, and the next one I'm working on I
am working on is a bit smaller and shorter in the back

I had a few other items I had started making for festival, but either didn't get finished in time, or I lost interest in them as they weren't turning out as I had hoped. I may or may not get them finished in the future, we'll see I guess.

Other than preparation for festival and the festival itself, I haven't been up to much else apart from University study. I have been trying to limit myself to not sewing anything if I have assessments that need to be done, otherwise I would never get them finished on time. I have started on another Butterick 6167 (yes, another!) in an adorable Cat print quilting cotton from Spotlight. After being away from my sewing machines so many days, I really needed a nice quick sew to feel some accomplishment. It's almost finished, with just the zip and hem to go.



I am already dreaming up plans for garb and camp set up for festival next year, so hopefully I get myself organised during the year and don't leave it til last minute (like I usually do)

Dixie

Monday, 3 April 2017

I made a Denim Jacket!

Yes, I made a Denim Jacket! Complete with flat felled seams and (mostly) straight top stitching! The pattern I used was the new Kingston Jacket from Mummykins and me. I made a straight XXL (didn't even need to grade out for my hips!) and the pattern goes up to a ladies 5XL, as well as being available in children's sizes as well.


I once again forgot to take progress photos while making this jacket, and while I was using a particularly thick, unruly denim, the thorough instructions, combined with my trusty, ever faithful Janome with a walking foot, made sewing this jacket surprisingly easy! 


Nearly all the seams are flat felled, I used my overlocker for the ones that weren't but this pattern also includes instructions for seams without overlocking. As with any Mummykins and Me pattern, this one is very well set out and explained, so while it may seem intimidating at first, each step is so well explained, it makes it a very manageable sew.



I top stitched in a medium pink, and used a piece of floral fabric leftover from my Madison dress for the under collar.










I also used the optional hanging loop, and I love how handy it is.



So far I have already worn my jacket to University and to a Dixie Chicks concert. It should hopefully fill a gap in my me-made wardrobe of a casual, not-to-warm jacket.

And here's an outtake from the photo shoot, which I'm calling my "bad girl" look.


I'm really looking forward to getting lots of wear out of this jacket over the coming cooler months, and am also considering sewing another one out of a lighter fabric, or perhaps a vinyl bomber style jacket. Who knows......

Dixie

Sunday, 12 March 2017

The start of more Medieval garments

As I am studying at Newcastle University this year, I decided to join the campus SCA group, which is essentially Medieval re-enactment and other fun stuff. I have always had an interest in historical clothing, and did actually attend a few SCA meetings almost 10 years ago when I lived in Sydney, but until Winterfest last year, hadn't really made much in the way of (mostly) historically accurate garments. Now, after only 2 meetings with this new club, I already have 3 more pieces of garb underway (some of which may take longer than others to finish) My inspiration for my new pieces is to create a complete wardrobe for a specific time and place, and taking inspiration from my husband's last name, I have chosen to focus on Scotland, probably around the 15th or 16th centuries, as any earlier than that seems even harder to find reliable information on (and later is no longer medieval)



The first item I began on is a yellow leine, which is essentially the medieval gaelic version of an undershirt. They were worn by both men and women, throughout Ireland and Scotland, particularly by those who refused English rule. According to the research I have been finding, they were quite often dyed bright yellow, although I am finding conflicting information about whether they were dyed with saffron to get the colour, or merely dyed a saffron yellow, by way of a description of the brightness. From what I have been looking at, they fairly often had long, bagged sleeves and simple necklines. There are many variations of course, but I wanted a fairly simple design, but liked the bagged sleeves, as they can also be used as pockets.

I found a piece of light yellow cotton in my stash, that was just over 2m in length. Ideally I would have liked more fabric to work with, but I also like to work from my stash instead of buying more fabric, and I also believe that trying to make historical clothing work from as little fabric as possible would be quite in the spirit of historical accuracy, as working class people would not have been able to afford to be extravagant and wasteful with their cloth. Traditionally the leine would be made from linen, but I can't really afford that sort of fabric, so cotton will suffice just fine for my needs. To start my leine, I simply folded my fabric into quarters, so that the middle of the fabric, where the neck opening will be, was at a corner, then using my measurements and pins, marked where I was going to cut. I cut the front, back and upper sleeves as one piece, with no shoulder or sleeve seams. I then pieced some extra length onto my sleeves from the fabric next to the skirt, to make sure they would be (almost) full length, and also to utilise the most out of the fabric. The way I have cut and constructed my leine is almost certainly not historically accurate, however, with such limited fabric, this is they way I chose to do it.

Sorry for the wrinkles, but this gives you
an idea of the sleeve shape

Here is a rough diagram of how I cut to make the most of my smallish piece of fabric:



The construction was very simple, sewing on the extra sleeve lengths, then just sewing the 2 side seams. I plan to use a simple facing for the neckline, which I will hand stitched down once it has been turned in and pressed. The sleeves and bottom still need to be hemmed by hand. I can leave it there, but I am considering trying my hand at a little bit of decorative embroidery along the hem as well.

I also decided to make a bodice/corset/stays/pair of bodies, or whatever term you wish to use, as so far my kirtle is the only support garment I have, and I thought a second one, without an attached skirt, would be handy to have. I decided on a simple design, back lacing, sort of straight Tudor style front, with tabs at the waist and ties on the front of the shoulder straps. I quickly drafted a pattern for these straight onto my calico when I was at my brothers one day, but when I pinned the pieces together to check the fit, discovered I had made quite an error in my measurements and needed to add an extra panel either side. so I then used those initial pieces to trace out new pieces, cut out 2 layers, sewed the seams, pressed them open, then sewed the 2 layers right sides together along the back edges only. I then turned it right side out and began carefully hand sewing boning channels along several of the seams and back edges. I used a tiny prick stitch, which should be fairly strong.

Prick stitching the boning channels

Progress shot. Tabs will be cut into the bottoms of the panels

Once I had added boning channels and boning to both front seams and the 2 back edge seams, I began working on the lacing eyelets, stretching them out with an awl (actually a knitting needle, but whatevs) and hand stitching around them with the same sort of reverse blanket stitch I used on the eyelets for my kirtle. After I had inserted a couple of the eyelets, I tried it on to get an idea of the fit. It wasn't perfect, but it certainly wasn't bad either. There seems to be a little too much room under the arms, but that may sit better when the rest of the eyelets are done and it is fully laced up, if not, I can remove some of the excess with a dart on each side. Also, the shoulder straps are far too short, however, I can just use a longer piece of sting to tie them to the front, so that isn't too detrimental. At the moment I am thinking of using some dark green cotton for the binding around the edges, but I am not completely decided on that yet.


The third garment I have been working on is a pair of socks! I know, how exciting! I saw another SCA member using a technique called nalbinding at the first meeting I went to, so the next day I decided to find some of my rougher handspun and a wool needle and give it a go. It essentially gives you a fabric similar to knitting, but is made with shorter lengths of yarn and done with a yarn needle, where you pull the entire length through a loop each stitch. It is a technique that predates knitting, so definitely could have existed in the 15th/16th century in Scotland. Looking in my collection of handspun, I found 3 cakes of some brown alpaca that I had spun, 2 that were quite chunky and rough, and 1 which was a lot finer. I started my first sock, using some guidance from online tutorials, using one of the chunky cakes, but as it was forming, I realised I would finish the cake before making the sock anywhere near as long as I wanted. In an attempt to keep things even between 2 socks, I made the decision to start each sock with each cake of chunky yarn, then finish each with half of the yarn of the finer spun cake, thus keeping the sole, toe and heel thicker and more hard wearing, then making the leg a finer, more delicate weave.

Sock progress. cake in use on the left, finely spun cake in the
middle, and the second rough spun cake on the right
I have also already made an Arisaid, but as that is just a rectangle of fabric, it's not really much on an achievement. I purchased 2m of a blue, black and white polyester woven tartan, that is lovely, soft and warm. It naturally has a small fringe along the selvedge edge, so I machine stitched down each cut end, about 1/2 and inch from the edge, and purposely frayed the fabric. These are usually worn pleated and belted to the waist, so I will have to find or make a suitable belt to go with it.

I still have plenty more garments in the planning stages for my SCA persona, which I will share once I get started on them. Has anyone else been working on any historical clothing?

Dixie

Monday, 27 February 2017

Mummykins and Me Madison Blouse/Dress

Recently, I was lucky enough to be selected as a tester for a new pattern from Mummykins and Me. While I had heard of this designer before, it was mostly for her children's patterns, but what I didn't know was that most of her patterns are also available in adult sizes as well! The pattern I tested was the Madison Dress and Blouse (also available in girls sizes) I was originally going to sew up the blouse version with the bow collar, but when I looked in my fabric stash and chose a lovely lightweight floral cotton, I could just see it made into a nice little A-line dress.

I made a XXL, graded out to the 4XL at the hips and hemline. These patterns go up to a very generous 5XL size, which is great for us larger ladies. I didn't use any interfacing in the button placket, to keep the whole garment light and airy, and utilised clear buttons so as not to distract from the floral print.









While this is certainly not my usual style, I really love how it has turned out! The little gathered sleeve heads, and neat little collar, make it very sweet and feminine, which I always love. Like most PDF pattern designers, Mummykins and Me patterns have wonderfully detailed instructions, that seamstresses of any experience level could follow, and as a bonus, for those more advanced seamstresses such as myself, they include a 1 page cheat sheet of brief instructions. I mostly used this so I didn't have to scroll through pages and pages of instructions that I didn't need. The instructions also include options for seam finishing, so you don't need to have an overlocker, or spend time working out the best way to finish all the seams.

If that wasn't enough to tempt you with this pattern, here are a few of the other lovely ladies who tested this versatile pattern!

Valerie from Elegantine made a beautiful silky blouse


Tenille from Tenille's Thread made a great wardrobe basic white blouse (which makes me want to make one too)


Loni from Havin Sew Much Fun made this cute girls blouse


Amy from Anna's Heirloom Boutique also made a delightful girls version with some cute print coordination.


Zoe of Soul fed on thread made this cute incarnation, and if you head over to her post, you can also see the adorable matching doll size one she made!



I can definitely see myself making a blouse version with the neck tie in the future, but I am also thinking of hacking it slightly and making use of those shoulder yokes to create a cute vintage western style shirt. But for now, I am already making my second Mummykins and Me pattern, the Amsterdam Coat!

Dixie