Geometric Emery Dress

Hold the phone, stop the bus and start a newsflash! It's an Emery dress! I think I have seen more Emery dresses, or variations of, than any other pattern so this isn't really newsworthy stuff here. However I think I made the best one. At least its my personal favourite. Since this is one of the only two I can actually wear I think thats perfect. I am delighted with the finished item.

Things I love about this dress:
1. The fabric! When I saw this fabric at Guthrie&Ghani I couldn't leave it in the (online) shop. I think it is beautiful and the colours are basically my chosen colour palette all in one fabric. In real life the print is just as gorgeous and really suits my style.
2. The fit is almost perfect, I've made one other Emery dress and the fit seemed pretty good so I didn't make any changes. I was actually planning to make some this time having not really done any alterations before (and I wanted to try it out) but it turns out, at least for this pattern, I don't really need to.
3. The dress pattern is really lovely. I can see why this dress is one of the most popular patterns for the last few years on the blogosphere, its simple, elegant and flattering without being overly dressy.
4. It is very wearable and fills (or starts to fill) the 'I need a few more casual(ish) dresses' gap in my wardrobe. This was something I identified during Me-Made-May and I know some people wouldn't describe this as casual however I would definitely wear it on the school run (and have) so I give it the casual seal of approval.

Things I'd consider doing differently next time:
1. While I absolutely LOVE the design of the fabric, its a little bit itchy. This may be in part because I've worn it during the hottest week I can remember living through but even when its a little cooler its still just a teensy bit itchy. Nothing so bad that I won't wear it, and even if I had felt this fabric before buying I love the print so much that I would have bought it any way because, well - did I mention I love the print? But its not quite as soft as I expected.
2. The general fit is great but the armholes are quite low under my arms. I guess I didn't notice this on my first one because it has sleeves but I'll probably try and change this next time.
3. I'd use a longer zip. I really wanted to try and make a whole dress without looking at the instruction (and I did) so was pretty proud when it was finished, but after I had already inserted the zip I realised it was not the right length so I have to perform some pretty funky looking acrobatics to actually put it on. My daughter actually said to me when I first tried it - 'Mummy I think you have made it too small.' Well I proved her wrong - but it wasn't easy. Next time looking at the instructions just for this detail would totally be Ok with me.

Next on my sewing table is some workout gear so a BIG step away from this, but I kind of like the contrast. I'll show you it all in good time. Happy Summer! Zoe x

Lessons from Me-Made-May 2015


Wow another Me-Made-May has come to an end, and for me this year was a roaring success. I managed to wear a handmade outfit every day for the whole month without repeating any complete outfits. This was a pretty exciting moment for me and felt like a graduation from someone who makes and wears her own clothes into someone who has a complete handmade wardrobe. That's not to say that I didn't have any problems or gaps in my wardrobe- I certainly did- but that I have now made enough items that I actually enjoy wearing, that can be mixed and matched together and I can build on what I have already to fill my wardrobe. If you follow me on Instagram you will have already seen every outfit but here I will share a few other things I learnt over the past month.

1. My Capsule Wardrobe Works!
My biggest goal during May was to see if working on my capsule wardrobe had been worth the effort, and it DEFINITELY has. I had loads of items to choose from that could be mixed and matched together, that suited my style, to create lots of fun outfits. Altogether I only wore (about) 18 items, but managed to create 31 different outfits from these items. I admit that by the end of the month I was starting to get a little bored of the restriction but I think if I were to add a handful of new items it would spice it up a little.

2. I need some more icing (or as some people call it 'frosting')
I have focused so hard in the last few month on creating a capsule wardrobe that I have made loads of basics and very few fun, patterned items. Some people have called this making 'cake not icing'. Every one loves some icing and making the cake is the slightly less enjoyable part. I however have so much cake that I need some more icing to bring back the joy of dressmaking. Plus one of the main advantages of being able to make ones own clothes is that you can make something a bit different and not what every one else is wearing so it'll be good to take advantage of this a bit more. I will probably try from here on out to alternate between making a basic and then a fun item so I keep a good balance as I go forward, after all I don't want to waste all the work I have put in so far.

3. I love wearing dresses
Linked closely to the 'needing more icing' lesson I realised how much I enjoy wearing dresses. I now have a few fancy(isn) dresses (here and here) and a few casual dresses (here and here) but since I enjoy wearing them more than anything else I would really like to make a few more. The next item planned is going to tick this box so stay tuned.

4. I don't have many warm handmade clothes
Every day I started out wearing totally handmade but often, especially nearer the beginning of the month, I would add a few extra layers to keep myself warm and occasionally I changed altogether. Items I lack include jeans, cardigans, leggings and a handmade coat. These are all on my 'to sew' list going forward and I am thinking about trying a 'Me-Made-Winter-Week' to test out my winter capsule wardrobe sometime in either November or January. What do you think, would you be up for it? I for one wouldn't manage a whole month in the winter but a week would be a nice starting point.

5. I would really like some handmade sportswear
I literally never thought I would say this. I hated exercising until about 2 months ago when a friend of mine persuaded me to enter a mini triathlon with her. I know, talk about diving in at the deep end - literally. Since it had been so long since I last pounded the pavements I decided to start a training program to make sure I was up to fitness. This meant lots of exercise. And I did not have enough to wear. I am now totally addicted to exercising (another thing I never thought I would say) so some handmade cycle shorts, cycling top, running top etc are now also on my list. Whew that was a much longer story than I thought. During May my sportswear was all shop bought and I intend to change this soon. I have my eye on these shorts and this top pattern to start with, maybe advancing to a trisuit at some point?!

So that is quite a lot of learning from just one month of wearing handmade. From my long list of things to make it seems like there will be lots of activity around here over the next few months. Can't wait to get sewing. Zoe x

A Holly Non-Jumpsuit Dress

I love this fabric! I saw it on So-Zo-What-Do-You-Know blog on a holly playsuit way bag in September. Then in January I saw a bolt end at a slightly reduced price at Fabric Godmother and couldn't resist. Once it arrive I kept it in a drawer for a little while unsure what to make with it. But when I saw a holly dress on What Katie Sews I was pretty sure that work well for this fabric. And I think it rocks.

I only finished it after May started, but since my Me-Made-May pledge is to wear a different outfit each day I haven't had much opportunity to wear it. I am therefore having to be a little creative about new ways to make it work.

This dress, in my opinion, is casual enough for everyday. Sure I could dress it up or wear it out if I wanted to but I love a dress that I can wear every day and for me this one wins. If you fancy making one then you'll need a copy of the Holly Jumpsuit pattern from By Hand London and there is a tutorial on their blog here.

I am fairly confident I'll make another one of these soon but I often say that and then get distracted by something else so I won't make any promises this time. I'll give you a roundup of all my Me-Made-May outfits at the end of the month. See you soon. Zoe
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