Tag Archives: knit

McCall’s 7121 | Stripe Matching Victory!

5 Jul

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Happy Sunday, friends! I hope you are all rested and ready for the week ahead. I have taken advantage of this long holiday weekend to catch up on my never-ending list of things I would like to sew. I have made a simple knit sheath dress from some floral print scuba knit, a psychedelic Closet Case Files Sallie Jumpsuit, a Watson bra, started on the Maison Fleur Halterneck Swimsuit, and just finished this cute little dress — McCall’s 7121.

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Hopefully I will get around to sharing those other things with you but if I don’t, at least you know I’m back to sewing! And now that my knit fest is over, I have plans to start on some woven items like a dress and some blouses. I will keep you posted.

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Y’all know I love a good knit dress. Exhibits 1 and 2. And there are more that I haven’t even shown you but that make regular appearances in my wardrobe. So it’s not a surprise that I picked up this pattern when they went on sale for $1 at Hancock’s. But I think I love this one a little more because it has a waist seam and the skirt is a little more A-line. And since the front bodice is not cut on the fold, McCall’s added a little bit of bust shaping there in the front for you.

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And the stripes make it so fun and flattering. Plus, I get to show off my stripe matching skills! What, you thought I was hiding something under the belt? BAM!

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I chose my size based on the finished measurements, not the size chart, and I selected sizes that would yield zero to a little negative ease in the bust and waist. I made my standard adjustments of 1/2″ forward shoulder and 1″ swayback and I also decided to raise the neckline by 1.5″. After I stitched this up, I realized the armholes and back neckline were gaping and the waist was a little low so I pinched up the shoulder by 1.5″ and stitched a new shoulder seam, effectively fixing all three problems. I think using neck and armhole bindings would prevent the gaping but this pattern just calls for turning and stitching.

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Which, of course, I didn’t do! I decided to self-line the bodice for a clean finish at the neck and armscye. I did sew some clear elastic into the neckline and after I raised the shoulder seams, it lies smoothly. Finally, I serged some clear elastic into the waist seam and hemmed with a twin needle.

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Easy peasy for a great wardrobe builder. I think my next version will be hacked into a peplum top with some great black floral scuba knit that is calling to me from my fabric stash…

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McCall’s 6559 Again — Poster City

2 Mar

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Hello, again! Are you shocked by my three posts in as many days? Can I just tell you what a backlog of things I have to share — both food and sewing related. But I digress…

This dress is the first installment in my “resort collection,” or the things I sewed up to go on a cruise at the beginning of February (a total of 5 things).

You have seen me in this pattern before but in the maxi length version.

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I made only minor adjustments to this version beyond what I made in the last one — only widened the back armhole to normal instead of racer-style, raised the neckline 1″, and took another 1/2″ out for a swayback adjustment and added it back in over my derriere to keep the hem level. I also trimmed the seam allowances down to 1/4″ to make it easier to serge.

The fabric is an awesome rayon/lycra 4-way knit that I got from Emma One Sock a little while back — called “Poster City.” And this is your lucky day! She still has some in stock!!

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I constructed the entire thing on my serger, using a 4-thread overlock for the seams and my coverstitch function for the bands and hem. I used the elastic foot to insert elastic into the neckline for stability. This could also be used for the shoulder seam if sleeves were included.

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I don’t guess there’s much else to say about this one other than it won’t be my last!

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Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee — with Sparkles!

23 Sep
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Me Made Kirsten Kimono Tee paired with reversible polka dot jeans from Nordstrom, hot pink patent Cole Haan heels, and Ray Bans.

 

Howdy, everyone! Here’s a quick and simple project for you — the Kirsten Kimono Tee from Maria Denmark. What’s even better than quick and simple? This pattern is a FREE download on Pattern Review Maria’s site just by signing up for her newsletter! It only involves taping together a few pages (and this one doesn’t require cutting — yay!) From start to finish, I spent maybe 3 hours on this project and that included assembling and cutting out the pattern.

I cut a base size M but graded out a bit at the bust and tapered it in a little at the waist. I added 1/4″ seam allowances as the pattern doesn’t include them. Next go around I may create a center back seam to address my swayback.

 

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For the fabric, I chose a white sequin knit from my local shop, Ely’s, and a basic white tee-shirt knit from Sawyer Brook for the back and neck binding. When I bought the sequin fabric, everyone seemed a little surprised that I planned to make a tee-shirt with it. But I think once they see my finished project, they may not think it was so strange after all. I purchased 3/4 of a yard at $29.95 a yard and only used about 1/3 to 1/2 of the fabric. So technically I could make another top.

 

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I used my serger for all parts of construction on this top. I finished the neckline according to this Megan Nielsen tutorial and sewed the neckline and hems with the coverstitch function on my 5-thread serger. This could have just as easily been made solely on a standard machine with a stretch or zigzag stitch and a double needle to finish the neck and hems. I will mention, though, that sewing over sequins does increase your chance of breaking a needle so use something that is sturdy but appropriate for knits and sew slowly or even drive the machine with the handwheel over parts that are two layers of sequined fabric.

Overall, I love my new top, even if it may be a tee-shirt that has to be dry cleaned! I have already worn this shirt out on the town (like in the photos), and to work tucked into navy slacks with a green cardigan and the pink shoes from these photos. If you have contemplated making a knit top, this would definitely be a great place to start as the sizing is true and the process couldn’t be simpler. And consider experimenting with unusual fabrics as this pattern’s simplicity lends itself to modifications. Happy sewing!

McCall’s 6559 — Knit Maxi Dress

11 Jun

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Ladies and gentlemen, I have found my official pattern for summer — McCall’s 6559.  This knit tank dress pattern (post-tweaks, of course) is nearly perfect — easy, casual, chic, and comfy.  On top of that it is quick and easy to sew up since it only involves two pattern pieces plus neck and armhole bands.  My fabric for this dress was one of my treasures from last year’s NYC trip.  I don’t know the exact fiber content but I would guess some viscose and elastane.  It is a lightweight, soft knit with great recovery.

 

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I strayed from the pattern instructions (didn’t even look at them, actually) for the neckline and armhole binding.  I have never been satisfied with the bands that most patterns call for so when Lauren at Lladybird posted about this binding method from Megan Nielsen, I was all over it.  I LOVE the results and don’t think I’ll ever go back to the bands unless I have a fabric that is uncooperative.  I stabilized my neckline with knit staytape from Emma Seabrooke and used Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 and a twin stretch needle for my hem.  I have gotten so many compliments on this dress, especially about how professional the finishes look.

 

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As with all Big 4 knit patterns I have encountered, this one runs huge so I just based my size choice off of finished pattern measurements, going with a 12 in the shoulder, grading to a 14 at the bust/under the arms for a cheater FBA, tapering in to a 10 at the waist and then back out to a 14 at the hips.  If I had gone by the measurement chart I would have cut a 16 in the bust, 14 in the waist and an 18 in the hips!

 

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I started with a wearable muslin from a sturdy cotton knit and realized that I would have to make all future versions with a center back seam if I wanted it to fit my figure.  I had to take a 3/4″ swayback adjustment and then added a 1″ wedge back in over the derriere to accommodate for the swayback adjustment plus some for the junk-trunk.

 

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There will definitely be more versions of this dress in both the long and short varieties.  On the next rendition, I think I will go ahead and trim the seam allowances down to 1/4″ for serging and I will raise the neckline a bit to make it more work-friendly.  I will also take a bit more out for the swayback adjustment so it hugs my low back better.  Finally, because my fabric is a bit heavy, this dress could use some reinforcement in the side seams to support the weight.  I will be adding some clear elastic to the seam allowances from the underarm to the hip to prevent stretching and will keep this in mind for future versions if the fabric is really stretchy.  I don’t think it will be an issue with less stretchy knits.

So what do you think?  Could knit dresses be your go-to this summer?

 

 

 

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Me Made May ’13 — Part 3

1 Jun

Well folks, the month has finally drawn to a close and I have successfully completed my first Me Made May challenge.  I must say it was a great confidence builder to be able to wear self-stitched or altered items each day for 31 days straight.  I even managed to make it more than 2/3 of the month without repeating an item!  As you have seen from my photos, I have several new items that have yet to be given official blog posts, but I will do my best to get those documented in the upcoming weeks.  So without further ado, here are the last 12 days of my month’s wardrobe:

 

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Me Made: Simplicity 2599 ruffle blouse
RTW: Nordstrom pencil skirt, Tessyla necklace, Cole Haan shoes

 

May 20 (Monday) — Today was a full day in the office.  Nothing exciting to report.

 

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Me Made: Refashioned David Kahn white jean capris
RTW: CAbi seahorse camisole and lacy jacket, turquoise necklace, nude patent flats

 

May 21 (Tuesday) — Another day at the office.  I hosted a CAbi party at my house the next night so my friend who sells the clothing brought her entire collection to my house a few days early so I could “test” things out.  I borrowed the cute seahorse cami and lacy jacket to wear to work this day with some refashioned white jean capris.  The capris are at least 5 years old and had a very flared hemline until I slimmed them down.  That was my first time to ever work with denim.  As long as no one looks up close at the seams and hems, I will be in good shape 🙂

 

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Me Made: In-House Patterns Belle Bow Blouse
RTW: Cookie Johnson straight leg white jeans, Kluster white coral necklace, Franco Sarto nude bow pumps (worn only for photo — being returned because they are too small)

 

May 22 (Wednesday) — My day off and my first repeated item.  I spent the morning dropping my car off to get serviced then met a new sewing buddy for some fitting help with a jacket project (Thanks, Nancy!  You are incredible!!!)  Nancy was so sweet and sent me away with an armload of awesome sewing goodies — patterns, fabric, notions — I feel so spoiled!

This was also the night of the CAbi party that I hosted for my friend Catherine.  For the party I made peach margaritas, fresh guacamole, and strawberry cupcakes with strawberry swiss buttercream; I picked up a party platter of fajita fixings from a local Mexican restaurant to round out the menu.  Yum!  We had a great time having a girls’ night in. Photographed here with Jennifer, one of my best friends since first grade.

 

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Me Made: Simplicity 2648 as a peplum top
RTW: LOFT denim jacket, vintage (college-era) black maxi skirt, turquoise necklace, Cole Haan purse, Cole Haan black peep toe low heel pumps

 

May 23 (Thursday) — A full day at the office at usual but in the evening my 5-year-old niece graduated from her pre-K school.  I cannot believe she will be a kindergartener next year!  The black skirt you see me wearing here is at least 12 years old.  I bought it when I was in college and have hung on to it since, knowing that it would come back in style again.  Unfortunately the elastic in the waistband has dried out so I will have to replace it before I can wear it again or I will risk wardrobe malfunction. I am posing here with the niece of honor and my mom.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Jalie 2921 scarf neck tee with ties wrapped to back (so glad I figured this out!)
RTW: Cookie Johnson white straight leg jeans, Etsy necklace, nude Nine West low heel pumps

 

May 24 (Friday) — TGIF and I’m not on call!  Plus this is the weekend I get to spend sewing nonstop at the Sandra Betzina workshop at All About Sewing.  In this photo I am working on McCall’s 6559 which you will see more of later in the week.

 

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Me Made: Simplicity 1664 top (will blog soon!) and McCall’s 6654 skirt
RTW: Silpada necklace and Cole Haan tan peep toe heels

 

May 25 (Saturday) — The Sandra Betzina trunk show took place this day.  She went through the samples of all her patterns and discussed different techniques for altering and modifying each pattern.  Although most of Sandra’s patterns don’t appeal to me right off the cover (I don’t think I am in her age demographic), changing fabric and/or features can definitely make them more attractive (see my project from last year’s workshop here).  After the trunk show, we each sat down with Sandra and our chosen pattern (Vogue 1291 for me) to select our size and make any fitting adjustments to our flat pattern. We then all went home to cut out our fabric.

Except a few of us didn’t go straight home — my sewing bestie, Dianne (far left), invited Sandra, me and Joni (far right) over for dinner at her beautiful new home, spouses included.  I was asked to bring a cocktail, so I made a double batch of the Strawberry Riesling Slushies that Annie recently featured on her blog (if you couldn’t tell from the empty glasses and pitcher, the drink was a hit — not too sweet but very refreshing!). Mr. Homemaker and I had a wonderful time — our dinner companions were lively and entertaining and our hostess prepared an excellent meal for us to feast on.  Thanks again, Dianne!

 

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Me Made: Trina Turk knit tank altered to open up an extra buttonhole
RTW: Citizens skinny jeans, red Franco Sarto patent flats

May 26 (Sunday) — Our first full day of sewing with Sandra and my first day to wear something that involved only a minimum of sewing skill on my part.  None of my attire is me-made but this top only had two functioning buttonholes when I bought it.  On a less busty person I don’t think that would have been an issue but for me that made the shirt gape like crazy and revealed more than I liked.  So I got out my handy seam ripper and tore this shirt a new one — a new buttonhole that is 🙂

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Me Made: Golden Renfrew
RTW: Cookie Johnson white straight leg jeans, Kluster red coral necklace, nude patent flats

May 27 (Monday/Memorial Day) — This was our second full day of sewing.  I finished almost all of the construction of my shirt on Sunday so I just had to hem it and stitch down the neck band when I got to the store on Monday morning.  After that I made a few more flat pattern alterations to my knit maxi dress (McCall’s 6559) based on a knee-length muslin and cut out my fashion fabric.  Before we finished up for the day I had my shoulder seams sewn, the neckline finished with my new favorite method, and my side seams sewn.  All I had left was to bind the arm holes and hem it.

This photograph is a group shot of some of the ladies at the workshop.  We all had a great time and got tons of sewing accomplished!  Sandra is a great teacher and I always learn lots from her and the other students who all have more experience than me.  I am already looking forward to when she returns to our area next year.

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Me Made: Vogue 1291 butterfly sleeve top
RTW (not shown): Elie Tahari pencil skirt, Cole Haan coral wedges

 

May 28 (Tuesday) — Back to the real world.  Here’s my version of Sandra’s pattern, Vogue 1291.  Although this photo was taken during the workshop when I tried on my completed top (notice the mismatched necklace), I actually wore it to work the next day with a cobalt blue pencil skirt and my coral Cole Haan peep toe wedges but I just couldn’t get a flattering photo that I could bring myself to post for all the world to (potentially) see.  Sorry 😦

 

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Me Made: Sewaholic Cambie as a peplum blouse
RTW: Cookie Johnson denim capris, Tessyla necklace, Cole Haan wedges

 

May 29 (Wednesday) — My day off but this was a pretty busy one with running errands.  I started out with stopping by the hospital to check on my grandfather after he had surgery (he did great), then I had a dentist appointment, dermatologist appointment, grabbed a quick lunch, packed up some of my sewing stuff, headed to a friend’s house for a sewing playdate for a few hours working on tracing off and making flat pattern adjustments to the Colette Chantilly pattern, ran to the grocery store, then came home and cooked dinner for my husband.  I actually scored a “This is one of the best things you’ve ever cooked” from Mr. Homemaker so the recipe will be making an appearance here in the future.  Be on the lookout.

 

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Me Made: Simplicity 2599 ruffle blouse, Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt
RTW: Tessyla necklace, old belt, Via Spiga blue suede pumps

 

May 30 (Thursday) — Back to the office.  Two me-made pieces this day.  I added a belt over the Hollyburn skirt and I really like the look.

 

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Me Made: McCall’s 6559 maxi dress in a drapey knit from Elliott Berman (from my NYC trip)
RTW: Old belt

May 31 (Friday) — Yay!  I made it!! This is my most recently finished project — I started it during the Sandra Betzina workshop and finished it up the Thursday evening after so I could wear it before the month ran out. I will dedicate an entire post to this pattern, but can I just tell you that I LOVE it!  It is so easy and once you figure out your fitting tweaks and the sizing, it is such a flattering and comfy dress. I am going to make up more versions in both the long and short varieties.

And can I just apologize for the awful photo? After 30 days of remembering to take daily outfit photos, I hopped into bed last night and remembered I hadn’t taken my photo for the day.  Well, I wasn’t going to mess up on the last day of the challenge so I jumped out of bed, threw my dress and belt back on and tossed my iPhone to my husband and made him snap some photos of me in my bare face and bare feet. While I was at work, I paired the dress with my denim jacket and some white leather d’Orsay pumps.  After work, I nixed the jacket and changed into some white flip-flops for a casual business dinner.  I also paired the dress with a multistranded Silpada necklace (seen on May 25).

Reflecting on the month, I feel like I have grown in my sewing skills, especially in fitting.  I finished several new items during the month — 7 total — and overall they each fit really well and I don’t have any major construction complaints.  I do need to bite the bullet and start working on fitting myself for pants and shorts.  All in good time, I guess.

Well, guys, thanks for following along.  I have several pattern reviews to bring you as well as some recipes for desserts, drinks, and main dishes.  Stay tuned!

 

McCall’s 6654 — Knit Maxi Skirt

19 May

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Well, friends, I have been on a sewing spree this week!  Me Made May has been Motivate Me May for me!  I have completed three projects this week, this skirt being the most recent.  I think I have been so eager to complete projects because I have made it 18 days into the month without repeating an item.  While that wasn’t part of my original pledge, I am amazed that I have made it this far with no repeats.  I am afraid I will have to show some reruns this week, though, but I will try to style them differently.  Aside from this skirt, I have also made two shirts, one of which you can get a sneak peek of on my Flickr stream and I will have reviews forthcoming for both tops.

 

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This skirt (McCall’s 6654) is one of the simplest things I have ever sewn — it is three straight seams plus a waistband casing with a piece of elastic inside.  I didn’t even bother to hem it.  It is really quick and easy if you have a serger but I can’t imagine that it would take much longer with a regular machine — just remember to use a narrow zig zag stitch so your stitches won’t break, especially on the waist.

 

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My only beef with this pattern is that it runs HUGE!  But I find this to be the case with all Big 4 knit patterns.  I suspected this going in so I did a little preparation before I started cutting.  I first looked at the pattern pieces to see what the finished measurements were for each size.  Unfortunately, the finished waist measurements weren’t given so I measured the waistband casing piece and subtracted the seam allowances.  I then realized that if I cut my size according to the size chart, this skirt would be GIGANTIC, so I decided to see which size corresponded to the waistband size I wanted.  Basically, I looked for the size that most closely matched my waist measurement plus seam allowances so there would be zero ease at the waist.  I didn’t want a bunch of excess fabric gathering at the waist of this skirt that is supposed to have an A-line silhouette.  I then checked the finished hip measurement for that size, and saw that it was only 1″ smaller than my hip measurement so I decided that I could live with that.  But honestly, there is no way this is 1″ smaller than my hips — do you see any negative ease?  My final skirt ended up being 2 sizes smaller in the waist and 4 sizes smaller in hips than what the size chart recommended!

 

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Overall, I highly recommend this pattern for anyone.  Seasoned sewists will find it a breeze and a great palate cleanser after more complicated projects.  Beginning stitchers will boost their confidence with the 2 simple seams and elastic waistband.  What do you think, should I shop my stash for a floral knit for my next version?

 

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For more details on the construction, visit my post on Pattern Review.

Me Made May ’13, Part 1

10 May

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Well folks, I’m about 1/3 of the way through Me Made May and I have to say I’ve been doing pretty well.  I haven’t repeated anything yet and I have even worn two me-mades that I have yet to blog (but I promise I will give you more details soon!).  So without further ado, here’s my Me Made May days 1-9.

P.S. You can follow my Flickr MMM set if you want to see daily updates.

 

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Me Made: Cambie Peplum Top
RTW: Citizens of Humanity jeans, Cole Haan wedges and clutch, and Kluster necklace

 

May 1 (Wednesday) — Sorry for this lousy photo that I took with the timer on my camera after dark. I wore this on my day off while doing volunteer work and running errands.

 

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Me Made: Yet-to-be-blogged Simplicity 1796 View D
RTW: Tessyla necklace, old white belt, Cole Haan pink patent pumps and wristlet

I also wore this dress on May 1, for date night with my husband.  I will blog more about this pattern soon, but I have to say before my mother calls me that it came out waaaaaaay shorter than I anticipated.  I was hoping to end up with a cute, easy knit dress for the summer but unfortunately it will be reserved for occasions where showing a bit of leg is more acceptable. I’m sure my mother will ask if those occasions really exist 😉

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Me Made: Sewaholic Lonsdale
RTW: Boden cropped cardigan, camel flats

May 2 (Thursday) — On this day I had to travel to Destin, Florida, for a board meeting.  Since I was staying at the Grand Sandestin Complex, I decided a sundress was in order but because conference rooms are cold, I topped it with one of my favorite cardigans. The night culminated with an impromptu gathering in my condo for pina coladas!

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Me Made: Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt
RTW: Elie Tahari ponte blazer (love!), silk shell, Kluster necklace, and Via Spiga blue suede pumps

May 3 (Friday) — I didn’t get to stay at the beach long because the very next morning I had to get up early to drive back to the Pensacola airport to fly to cold and rainy St. Louis for another work conference. I know most people opt for comfort when traveling but I also like to look put together so my Hollyburn, ponte blazer, and low-heeled pumps fit the bill. This photo was taken in the mall in St. Louis after I got my Nordstrom fix 🙂

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Me Made: Vogue 8603 skirt
RTW: Boden cardigan, Limited shell, Stuart Weitzman pumps, Tessyla necklace

May 4 (Saturday) — I was still in St. Louis (obviously) on this day, attending the conference.  This is my favorite Me Made May photo so far.  I have just learned to use the filters on the Flickr app on my iPhone so I had a lot of fun sprucing this shot up. Thanks to my excellent employee, Lesleigh, for taking the shot for me!

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Me Made: In-House Patterns Belle Bow Blouse
RTW: Citizens of Humanity jeans, Via Spiga blue suede pumps, Kluster necklace

May 5 (Sunday) — What do you do when you are stuck in the Atlanta airport for 2 hours?  You take silly pictures for your Me Made May Flickr set! I finally got home that night around midnight and boy was I glad to see my husband and my own bed!

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Me Made: Knit Peplum Top
RTW: Ann Taylor denim jacket, Womyn ankle pants, camel flats, Kluster necklace

May 6 (Monday) — Back to the office and my regular routine after a delicious but short night in my own bed. My husband and I joined a friend from residency for dinner after work.

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Me Made: Sewaholic Renfrew Cowl Neck Top
RTW: White pants, Cole Haan wedges, Kluster necklace

May 7 (Tuesday) — Typical day at the office. Looking forward to my day off the next day 🙂

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Me Made: Yet-to-be-blogged Megan Nielsen Kelly Skirt
RTW: CAbi top, Reef flip-flops, Silpada necklace, Ray Ban sunglasses

 

May 8 (Wednesday) — Whew!  My first real day off to relax in over 2 weeks!  I enjoyed it by hanging around the house, doing a few cleaning chores, but mostly SEWING! When my husband got home from work, we went out to dinner at one of our favorite Italian places and had a nice, quiet dinner together. We stopped at one of our local public piers to take this photo on the way to the restaurant.

 

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Me Made: Consignment shop silk skirt altered to raise hemline ~8″
RTW: CAbi top, chambray shirt, Cole Haan peep toe pumps, Tessyla necklace



May 9 (Thursday) — This is the first item that is not made by me but has been altered by me.  I purchased this 100% silk skirt from a local consignment shop last year sometime because I loved the fabric and shape.  What I didn’t love, though, was the mid-calf hemline.  I marked my desired hem length using a yard stick then marked another line 4″ below.  I then serged the skirt off at the longer length.  I turned up the serging and pressed then turned up the shorter marking line and pressed this as the new hem.  I then hand stitched the hem in place.  For the lining I followed a similar procedure except I just stitched a narrow machine hem. I am guessing from the tag (Rickie Freeman Teri Jon Nites), that this skirt is from the 80s or 90s, but with the updated hemline, I think it has a definite Kate Spade vibe. I have always worn it with a basic black top but this go around I was comparing it to various other things in my closet and got the idea to pair it with my chambray shirt.  What do you think about the outfit?


Well, that’s it for May 1-9.  What’s your favorite outfit so far?  Favorite photograph?  I’ll be back soon with more good stuff to show and tell!