Tag Archives: me made may

Late as usual …my Me Made May Pledge

 ‘I, Jo of ‘The Amazing Adventures of Taracat’ blog, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear an item of me made clothing at least six days a week for the duration of May 2014′

And to prove it, Day 1:


My Day of the Dead Simplicity 2444, this is about as good as it gets for photography at 6 o’clock in the morning before I leave for work.  I wasn’t really blogging when I made this dress but I wear it a lot and it always gets compliments.

One day done…




Simplicity 1610 maxi dress and a giveaway!

maxi dress dForgive me but it has been over a week since my last post. It was sunny, we had guests and the beers and suncream distracted me from the important job of recording my makes. But I have been sewing.

One of the things I discovered through doing Me Made May was that I need more me made maxi dresses. On sunny days there is nothing easier to wear than a long dress that you can chuck on over a swimming costume and wear about town then on to the beach.  So when Simplicity contacted me to see if I wanted to try a pattern I immediately checked out their long dresses.  I selected either Simplicity 1610, one of the Project Runway patterns, or 1612, a knit dress, and when the package arrived they had very generously sent me both, plus an extra pattern to do a giveaway!

With the temperature rising I couldn’t wait to get started.  I used an African  Wax Woodin print from Empire Textiles.   Six yards cost me £18.00 and although postage was a little pricey it arrived the day after I ordered it. I didn’t use all of it, I have about two and a half metres left, but more about that later.

Anyway, the pattern:

Like all the Project Runway patterns this one is modular, so you can choose from two different bodices, with or without sleeves and cummerbund and with a  long or short skirt. And it has pockets!    I’m looking forward to making up the version with the short skirt and sleeves, I think it has the potential to be as good as the famous 2444.  However with the sun shining I really, really needed that halter neck bodice and long skirt.

Looking at the pattern pieces I was a tiny bit worried.  There are quite a lot of them to start of with. There was no need to worry. Not all of the pieces were for this version (of course – duh).   And this is actually a pretty quick, simple make with some nice touches. I’m still not too good at technical talk but it has princess seams that made it really easy to fit.  You put a bit of elastic along the back on both sides on the seam allowance, which stops it gaping and holds it up a bit more,  and I love the way you make each pocket out of one piece that folds over to also form the yoke(?) of the skirt. I missed out the button loops at the top of the straps and used a pale turquoise button and button hole instead because I was in a hurry to finish before the sun went in and turning those pesky little tubes inside out would have taken too long.

IMG_2190And yes, those pink dots are actually sparkly! They look fabulous when they catch the sun. I lined the bodice with a mauve sheet and stitched up the front pieces to avoid any gaping cleavage incidents.


IMG_2193I’m afraid I shied away from pattern matching. I know I should’ve made the effort but I really needed this dress finished quickly in case the sun didn’t last -I know those of you living in the UK will understand.  And to be honest too much time looking closely at this print was making my face hurt.  Okay, that might have been the sun. Or the beers in the sun. And I can’t possibly tell you my husbands first comment when he saw the dress. Okay, I might if you ask but but I’m hoping he has a unique way of looking at things and nobody else will see what he saw….

After my last zip disaster I intended to move it to the side but I got into the zone and totally forgot until I had already sewn in the lining so I did a lapped zipper on my machine and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. It’s a damned sight better than my last one anyway.

maxi dress eI persuaded the husband to take pictures in the garden. Then when he made me look like an Oompa Loompa I bribed my eldest daughter.

maxi dress cmaxi dress amaxi dress bmaxi dress fAs far as wearability goes this one has passed all the tests. It held up to a day on the beach which ended up as a barbecue and evening drinks. I started out with it over my halter neck bikini then later wore it with my detachable strapped bra with one strap on halter style, because my days of going bra-less are long behind me. As my boobs would be if I did try. There was no gaping or falling down, the bra remained hidden and the print means that any ketchup, beer or suncream stains just blend in.  Result.  I will definitely be making this again in this length and I also want to make the shorter skirt version so watch this space.

Anyway, did someone mention a giveaway?  As well as the two maxi dress patterns Simplicity also sent me a copy of this:

I absolutely love the little scalloped collar on the green one, and the bow on the blue one. If you want to see it in the wild Gertie has just made them both up here and here, and she’s also done a little tutorial on how to do the collar.   And as I love you all so much I’m also going to throw in the remaining two and a half-ish metres of the African Wax print I used for my maxi dress.

To enter leave me a comment below, I’ll give you until midnight next Monday the 22nd July and I’m happy to send it overseas. Good luck!

Rooibos Rescue

sewing and ursulas heels 031I made this  Colette Rooibos when I started sewing, along with my other one here:IMG_1824

I was sewing along with the Sew Weekly challenges. They weren’t quite the first dresses I’d made, but they were pretty amateurish. On the blue one I completely cocked up the piping at the neckline (my first attempt at piping) and ended up chopping it off along with the collar and bodging a join at the front.  And there are a lot of other faults. I hadn’t yet figured out that you are given grainline markings for a reason. Pressing seemed like an unnecessary interruption to the fun stuff, and I didn’t see the need for extra steps like adding interfacing.  I do like looking back at these early efforts to see how far I’ve come.
Despite the errors I do like these dresses.  Rooibos is a fantastic pattern and I keep meaning to make it again.  I thought I would wear the blue and white one the most but I found that while I wear the grey one at least once a fortnight in the winter I have only worn the blue one a couple times. I think the fabric and colours are just that little bit less forgiving than the other one, because the faults seem much more obvious.  However I put a lot of effort into it and didn’t want to bin it and it was way too badly made to pass on to a charity shop, so it remained scrunched up in a bag in the bottom of my wardrobe for the last year.

MMM13 me realise that I need more separates, particularly skirts, ideally with pockets. It also motivated me to go through my me mades and look at the ones that I don’t wear, to try and decide which could be rescued and which were beyond help. I decided to cut off the bodice of my blue rooibos and try it as a skirt. Originally I intended to keep the curved waistband but it soon became clear that it wasn’t going to work.  The wonky grainlines and lack of interfacing, meant that in the end I decided it would make more sense just to fold it inside as a facing then top stitch to keep it in place. I swapped the long zip for a short one, and voila, a new skirt!

P1210510P1210521No dancing I’m afraid, I had approximately 30 seconds to do these photos before I had to be out of the house. You do get a big cheesey grin though.  And weird under boob gathering on my cardi. No idea what’s going on there.

I have already worn this skirt twice, once to work and I’m wearing it again today for the school run and general pottering.  That is as many times as I wore it as a dress in two years, so I think it’s a keeper.

On a different note – anyone else going to Claire and Marie’s  Birmingham Meet Up tomorrow? I am so excited!  What’s on your shopping list? I am on a mission for swimsuit fabric and elastic, pants elastic, something totally frivolous for sundresses and some buttons and bias binding for a couple of projects I have in mind.  I will probably forget what I am there for and come back with loads more lovely random stuff, but even if I don’t get anything it’s worth the journey to hang out with everyone and chat.
Hopefully see you all there!

Me Made May – So how did I do?

me made mayNot bad actually.  I won’t pretend I’m not relieved it’s over but I’m pretty proud of myself.  I have learnt a lot about what I actually wear and what I need, I made some items that are getting worn a lot already and in terms of wearing me made items I actually  managed to do better than I pledged to do.  My original pledge was as follows:

‘I, Jo, of The Amazing Adventures of Taracat, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear at least one self made garment each day for the duration of May 2013, but I am allowing myself one day a week off if I need it.’

I only had one day in May when I wasn’t wearing something that I’d made, or two if you don’t count the shop bought shirt that I’d dyed blue. I also managed to get a photograph every day I wore me made except one, when I cheated and used a picture of me in my Beach Hut Laurel that I took the previous month. Getting photos was a pain in the arse and cost me a fortune in bribes to my daughter but I’m glad I did it.

Rather than doing daily or weekly posts I set up a new page, here. So how does it break down?

What I wore:  IMG_1920

Spotty Tiramisu   x3
Stripey Laurel    x3
Blue Lekala skirt    x2
Nautical Cambie    x2
Blue maxi dress    x2
Dixie DIY summer concert tee   x2
Mathilde no 1   x2
Marguerite Mathilde   x2
Leopard pencil skirt    x2
Floral Tiramisu    x1
Lace print Tiramisu    x1
IMG_1765Dragons and Koi print dress   x1
Beach hut Laurel   x1
New floral dress   x1
Stripey cotton shirt   x1
Blue faces t shirt   x1
Deckchair Elisalex  x1
Burdastyle Jenny skirt x1
Rooibos  x1

IMG_1946Most worn patterns:

Tiramisu  x5
Mathilde x4
Laurel  x4




What I’ve learnt:

  • I already wear dresses to work most days but at weekends the weather in this country does not want to cooperate most of the time. I need to make tops, skirts and (dare I say it?) trousers that will work when running around with kids, messing about on the beach, etc…
  • I also need more me made knit maxi dresses for the rare occasions when the sun does shine. When they fit properly and provide enough coverage they are the most practical garment for my lifestyle when I am not at work and it is sunny.
  • I need better bras. This is one of the revelations of taking crappy photos every day. when you take picture for a blog post you take loads and pick the ones that show you and the clothes the best. Yes, I know it’s supposed to be about the garments, but I’m sure I’m not the only person that tries to avoid posting the really hideously unflattering pictures of myself, even if they are the ones where the dress looks nicest.  It has been difficult to admit to myself but these hastily grabbed shots this month are probably a truer snapshot of what I look like in real life. And my norks need help. Shop bought bras just don’t seem up to the job, and trust me I have tried everything from high street to high end, with a variety of fittings.  I am therefore going to try my hand at making a bra. Not necessarily straight away, I think I may need to work up to it. Shall we say before Christmas?
  • I still need to work on fitting, and I am much pickier than I used to be. I can now see all the faults in garments that I was really proud of when I made them. However I think a lot of them can be rescued, and when I was wearing garments that I made only a year ago my main thought was how far I’ve come since then.  I’m getting definitely getting there.

I am actually amazed that I didn’t find it more difficult, even though I did end up sewing myself a couple of things out of desperation for something new – my as yet unblogged Dixie DIY summer concert tee and my stripey Laurel top.  I have found out a lot about what I wear, what I need and what I really don’t need.  I have also found myself automatically looking at my me made things first when I am picking out what to wear in the mornings. That’s got to be a good thing, hasn’t it.  Anyway, a big thank you is due to Zoe.  This month has been one of the most valuable sewing related experiences ever.

Me Made May, and Sunshine!!!!


This is a long overdue post. I have decided to put all my Me Made May pictures on a separate page – here – because it made more sense to me. I will try and post a picture for each day with comments on the outfits and/or thoughts and observations. So far, well some days it has been tough. However, on Monday, sitting on the beach with my girls in the glorious sunshine people watching and feeling a bit smug that I live here but they all have to drive home I realised that not only was I wearing clothes that I had made but so were my girls!








Youngest child is telling the man sharing our table that he smells of ham. Oldest child is having a diva like strop because I brought the wrong swimming costume.

This does not happen often. The clothes thing, I mean – My oldest has always very dramatic (but we love her) and my youngest often tells people they smell of ham. Or peanuts.  Nothing to do with me, I usually pretend she’s not mine when she’s doing it.  Anyway I mostly sew for myself but my original plan when I bought my first sewing machine was to make clothes for the family, to try and save cash and go a bit green. The yellow dress the little one is wearing was made for my oldest when I first started sewing two years ago, from a free Burdastyle pattern that I can no longer find on their site. It has unfinished seams and very dodgy top stitching and does look a bit crap on close inspection but they both love it. The skirt my oldest is wearing was made on one of the rare occasions when I gave in to emotional blackmail and sewed with her. It is just a rectangle with elastic through the top but she chooses to wear it so she must like it.


I was wearing my ‘last days of summer’ maxi dress for the second time in three days.  Which brings me to what I have learned so far from doing Me Made May.

1. I need more me-made knit maxi dresses. They are the most practical item of clothing for the beach when it is warm.  No flashing your pants (knickers) when it’s a bit breezy or you are bending down to pick stuff up, make sandcastles and play with the kids (although the next one I make will hopefully show a little less boobage). You can pull a knit maxi over your swimming costume or get changed into and out of one without exposing yourself too much (I’m seeing a common theme here). And it’s even better if it’s made from a nasty synthetic fabric because it will dry in the sun in minutes. I have quite a few maxi dresses but only one me-made. I need more.
2. I  also need more T-Shirts and vest tops/ tanks. Preferably knit, I have already downloaded Dixi DIY’s summer concert tee  so I need to sit down and figure out what is going on with my overlocker.  Although I have also got my eye on some patterns for wovens – the Grainline scout woven tee, and the new Megan Nielsen Eucalypt tank for example. And Victory patterns Simone. And the Salme gathered top.
3. I really do need some better fitting bras. This feels like an eternal quest,  so I may just bite the bullet and try and make them myself.
4. I look like crap after a full day at work. I know it’s all about the clothes, not me, but still… I need to get up earlier and use my auto timer rather than bribing my daughter to snap a quick pic on my i phone when I get in.

So that’s it – ten days in I have managed something me-made or refashioned every day and learned a few things already. My pledge was six days a week so I’m pretty chuffed. Let’s just see if I can keep it up….