Me-made-May 2017: day 3, top in black knit

Voila! Day three, same self-drafted top is medium-weight black knit. The neckline is finished with facings, carefully tacked down with a single stitch here and there all the way around the neckline. Pain in the ass. But I needed a simple black top in my wardrobe. You gotta love how forgiving knits are, and I really like to scoop neckline…

Me-made-May 2017: a pledge, a pattern

Good grief, it’s been forever since my last post. Not to say I haven’t been sewing, but not much, and nothing really worth posting. Life gets in the way sometimes, right?

So here we are, me-made-May again. Last time I checked, Zoe had over 600 people pledge to sew and craft their way through the month. Pretty great! So here’s mine:

I, Nadine Bennett, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to sew and wear one new garment each day (if humanly possible) for the duration of May 2017, using only fabrics in my current stash. I will also endeavour to donate a minimum of 5 lesser worn garments from my closet, want not, waste not…

I’m planning to use only 4 patterns from my collection, 1 pattern per week, to show how easy it is to use a multitude of fabrics and minor changes to a single pattern to get very individual garments. It’s going to be a great way to burn through some of my stash too. Let the fun begin!

So this week, I’m starting with a self-drafted pattern. I have this great simple top in my wardrobe, bought off the rack. It’s a dark grey silk, cap sleeves, loose fit but elegant. I paid too much, more than I normally would, but the fit was great, and my ever-sewing-in-my-imagination brain realized when trying it on for the first time at the store that I could easily trace the pattern at home and make a hundred more tops. So I carted my prized purchase home, laid it out on brown kraft paper, and traced around the edges, adding 1/2″ for seams and tracing out facings. Simple, right?

Yep. This is the first go at the top, in a lightweight challis. Not bad, but I didn’t interface the neckline facings, and I think the fabric needed a little support. And the sleeves are a little tight, but not so much that I care to unpick them and redo them, no thanks!. It’s all good, this will make a great top for under blazers and cardigans…

Happy me-made-May, let the fun begin!

Doggie bag re-fashion: turning a surprise find into a useful item

Don’t you love re-fashioned unused or found objects? Last year, I tore apart the basement in order to paint the concrete floors. When I pulled away the large workbench, I found an old UPS messenger bag under it, left behind by the previous owner. I’d been wanting to make a doggie bag to take along on long walks with the pup, so this fit the bill. Plus, she’s starting “group adventures” this week with a local dog walking/boarding company and needs to bring a few things along. They pick her up each day along with other neighbourhood pups, transport them to private farm land outside of the city, walk them for a bit as a pack, then let them loose in a grassy area with swimming pond for some crazy fun pupster play time. Extravagant? Meh. Leni is half husky, and full of energy, she needs an outlet so that shredding our baseboards again is less of a temptation, not to mention getting a much-needed potty break each day while we’re at work. She’s going to have a blast!

Here she is, modelling the finished product:

The bag in it’s original state, after having been washed:

I wanted to make the bag something that could be worn over the shoulder, so I clipped one end of each handle, and sewed them together to make a single, long handle:

It was pretty simple. After cutting opposite ends of each strap away from the bag (pic above, left), I sewed the straps together right sides facing, opened the seam, pressed it flat, and sewed the raw ends to the strap sides using a zig zag stitch to catch any bits that might fray:

Next, I had to find a way to cover up the UPS logo. I found a scrap of black fabric in my stash, a kind of heavyweight felt that didn’t fray. I measured the UPS logo, adding 1/4 inch to the measurements to ensure it would cover everything:

Off to the fabric store I went, luckily, they had an adorable pair of doggie paw print embroidery patches. I sewed them on to the felt piece first, then stitched the felt piece to the bag by hand. After, I used a zig zag stitch around the edges:

I also made a smaller pocket for the inside of the bag, with a zipper closure, to hold my keys and such. I attached it by sewing it to the bag’s upper inside edge, under the bag’s facing and velcro closure:


And voila! Doggie day bag! Ready for fun and play…

Here we are on the weekend, having a great time at the local dog run:13872989_10153516238606599_6295832438157812922_n

MMM 2015, Day 18: New Look 6123 faux wrap dress, in a taupe lightweight knit

Me-Made-May, day 18!

Mondays in Me-Made-May are all about variations on New Look 6123, a lovely dress with options for a 1-piece or crossover bodice, and plain or side-gathered skirt, with an optional side flounce. I adapted the pattern for medium-stretch knits in order to stash-bust a bit. Here, I used a lightweight knit. I’m kinda neutral on how it turned out. It’s nice, but probably a little too flimsy for business casual at work.

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I happened to have Monday off, so I wore it while pup and I played in the backyard together…

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Pattern & Instructions, Garment Assembly Alterations – see this post

Final Thoughts:

Meh. It’s comfy, I’ll wear it on weekends  🙂

MMM 2015, Day 17: Hungarian embroidery – modern Matyó piece

Me-Made-May, day 17!

Still catching up on same late me-made-May posts, but I’m still sticking to the plan and trying to finish a piece for each day in May. Here’s what I finished last week…

According to my plan, Sundays during Me-Made-May are Hungarian embroidery days. Here’s a piece I started some time ago, Matyo embroidery, from the North-Eastern region of Hungary. It was meant to be a Christmas gift for my parents, but our sweet kitty passed away a few weeks before the holidays, and frankly, I just didn’t have the heart to finish it. But here it is, thanks to the push in me-made-May! It will have to serve as an anniversary gift instead, I think they’ll be pleased…


It appears to be a modernized rendition of Matyo design, using traditional shapes but in a non-traditional arrangement. It’s not an original design, as such I won’t be providing you the design pattern, but I’m having a heck of a time uncovering the original source. I found a picture of the original embroidery in several places online, but none which claim to be the original source. If anyone can help me on this, please send me a message. It appears to be part of a collection of square-shaped pieces from various regions of Hungary, depicting the various styles of embroidery. Hmmm I may have to tackle them all…

I made this piece by copying the picture into a Word document, sizing and printing it. I then traced the design onto fabric using a pen:


Matyo is probably my favourite style of Hungarian embroidery. I love the cheerful colours, and the symmetry. In this piece, the typical mirror-image symmetry has been replaced with a more free-flowing design, with flowers and leaves draped loosely from the cabbage rose in the centre. If you’d like to give Matyo a try, Kate & Rose Patterns offers similar traditional floral motifs in modern settings.

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MMM 2015, Day 16: Liola Patterns’ Luna top, in muslin and adapted for knits

Me-Made-May, day 16! 

Saturdays during Me-Made-May are wild-card days, I get to sew whatever I want! This is the second Luna top I’ve made, the first one was a muslin made as part of pattern testing for Liola Patterns. For the second version, I decided to adapt it for knits, as I wanted to have something cozy to thrown on for walking puppy in cooler weather. I love love love love love it! The colour, the drape, the fit, I love all of it:

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Here’s the muslin made as part of the pattern testing:

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Wearable, but with flaws. The sleeves were a bit too snug, and I didn’t account for my massive swayback (see pooling above my butt), both issues were fixed for the knit version. Read on…

Pattern & Instructions

The Luna is available as a PDF download, 24 pages to print. The instructions are fantastic, and there are enough illustrations to guide you through the process. In short, you’re piecing together contrasting panels on the front, and then on the back:


Afterwards, sew front to back, add sleeves, and hem bottom. Yep, looks complicated, but if you follow the instructions it’s pretty straight-forward.

Garment Alterations:

Swayback was my biggest issue, there was way too much fabric pooling into my lower back. Luckily, the inserts at the back of the top are up high enough that taking out some of the length in this area doesn’t mess with the overall contracting fabrics design. I pinned out the extra fabric, measured it, and cut it out of the pattern piece:

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As for using knits, mine was a medium weight, so I adjusted as with yesterday’s top. Add to armscye, take in at shoulder and side seams.

Final Thoughts

I’d make this again for sure, maybe even give it a go in a heavier ponte for winter time 🙂

MMM 2015, Day 15: Sorbetto, adapted for knits + sleeves

Me-Made-May, day 15!

More catching up, this is what I wore last Friday. Fridays during Me-Made-May are Sorbetto days, a free PDF download from Colette Patterns, featuring bust darts, bound neckline and armholes, and a box pleat detail down the front. This version has been adapted for knits:

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Pattern & Instructions, Garment Assembly – see this post from the start of Me-Made-May.

Garment Alterations:

To accommodate for the stretch in knits, I modified the ease in a few places.

I added a little extra to the armscye:


I trimmed a little off the sides and shoulder seams:


I also added sleeves:


Final Thoughts:

If you’ve done a muslin already, the Sorbetto takes about an hour or two to make. Nothin’ fancy, but super comfy…

MMM 2015, Day 14: Pencil skirt drafted into an A-line, in a loud and obnoxious knit print

Me-Made-May, day 14!

Whew, the last week has been pretty busy, so I’m slowly clearing out the backlog of projects posts for Me-made-May. Thursdays during Me-Made-May are a time to explore variations on the pencil skirt. Today I’m wearing an A-line version of the pencil skirt, with a waistband:

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The fabric is actually kinda hideous, but I think it works as a skirt, paired with a solid black top.

Garment Assembly & Alterations:

The construction was quite simple: take the front and back pieces of any basic pencil skirt pattern, and simply cut them on an incline as shown below, to form an “A”-line skirt:


You’ll notice I cut inside the lines towards the top of the skirt – I was using a knit fabric, so taking it in a bit in this area ensured it would sit snugly around my hips. I sewed up the sides, and then cut a long strip of fabric for the band. I sewed the around the top, then folded it over to the inside and hand-basted it to the inside skirt top:


Final thoughts:

Quick, simple. Kinda hideous, but I’m ok with that.