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Author Archives: makedoandjess

Weeks 4 & 5, the end!

Well people, here we are! Time to breathe a sigh of relief that I no longer have to take a photo of myself every single day 🙂 It turns out this was the most difficult part of the challenge for me, sometimes you just don’t feel like having your photo taken (even if you’re the one taking it, ha).

Now that the challenge is over, I’m hoping to keep dressing as if I’m going to leave the house, rather than falling back into my old trackydak ways. I was reading Moorea from‘s post on Leigh-Ann’s blog, ‘3 Best Ways to Be Productive When You’re Self Employed‘ and her first tip is, ‘get ready every morning as if you were leaving the house’. I know some people work well in their pajamas, but I’m not one of them!

I really enjoyed coming up with some new outfit combos and realising that I do have plenty of clothes and to appreciate them! I like to think I’m careful about acquiring new things, but I so easily fall into the trap of seeing things I want and forgetting what I already have that fits the need. I really want to aim for a small wardrobe with things I truly love and feel great in, hopefully many of them made by me.

The MMM community was so inspiring and supportive and I highly recommend the challenge if you’ve ever thought about it but haven’t taken the plunge!


Weeks 2 and 3…

….. ummm so the plan was to do a weekly wrap-up, obviously something went awry! I am pleased I have kept up with the challenge though, even if this month has been a bit screwy. I’m going off some medication and the process isn’t being too kind to my general wellbeing, and my brain not work good! It’s nice to be ‘achieving’ something little every day.

So some thoughts after weeks 2 and 3? Good gravy I have more clothes, both me-made and otherwise, than I realised. Especially since I’ve made most of my Autumn sewing plan, yaaaaaay. This challenge has been great to see how under utilised my wardrobe is! Some things I think I just don’t gravitate towards because they don’t feel very ‘me’. I need to look at donating some of those, I don’t really like having a big wardrobe (and I don’t have a big house) and if I want to keep making clothes it’s going to get unmanageable!

I need to get some decent photos of my finished Autumn sewing plan garments for blog posts, I was hoping to take them on days I wore them but I under-estimated how tired of taking photos of myself I would get, haha. I hope I’m getting more comfortable with the camera, at least!

Me-Made-May, Week 1!

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Well folks I’ve survived a week of MMM! Not helped by the fact I came down with something awful straight away. It’s a lot harder to put effort into how you look when you feel like spewing, you know? I’ve still really enjoyed participating, so I’m sure once I feel better I’ll enjoy that process more.

What have I learned so far? Umm, I am rubbish at taking compliments. I knew this already, this is just a different form of it! People are so lovely and encouraging in the Flickr group, and I feel the urge to correct them with everything wrong about my garments and appearance! I’m sure I’m not alone in this, it’s a combination of naturally being hard on myself and that wonderful ingrained social expectation to put yourself down so you don’t seem ‘up yerself’.

I have found so many new blogs and things I want to make from looking at everyone’s creations! Onwards to week 2…

Autumn plans!

Sewing plans, of course! Somehow I didn’t manage to blog about this until now, when there’s only one month left of Autumn, but I promise I made this plan at the start of the season 🙂 I was inspired by the many bloggers who create sewing plans, also the Colette Patterns Palette Challenges and the Handmade Wardrobe Flickr group started by Jen of Grainline.

This is the first time I’ve made a proper plan for my sewing, and I’m already finding it very helpful. I started by thinking about gaps in my wardrobe, and looking at my fabric and pattern stash to see if I had anything that would work. Then the fun part: fabric shopping! Also, a little pattern shopping too 😛 I tried not to go too overboard here, I’m attempting to go for quality over quantity in my wardrobe!

Here is the current plan (I had way too much fun making this) :

From top left, left to right:

  • BurdaStyle Alexander, out of printed cotton voile from stash
  • McCall’s 6513, out of tencel jersey from
  • Loose Drape Top no.1 from Drape Drape 1, out of some mystery jersey from stash that I think is viscose
  • Gather Drape Dress no.3, also from Drape Drape 1, out of merino/viscose jersey from The Fabric Store
  • Peter pan collar blouse, modified from New Look 6407, out of printed cotton lawn from stash
  • Simplicity 1887, out of brushed rayon twill from stash
  • Sewaholic Minoru, out of organic cotton twill and rayon polka-dot print, both from
  • Vogue 1250, out of printed viscose/lycra jersey from Emma One Sock
  • Alter some old wide leg pants I never finished sewing, to be tapered leg pants!

I’ve made a couple of these already, hopefully I’ll get a chance to take some photos soon!

A Burda blouse, and Me-Made-May!


Hello! More stash busting today (my husband has been waiting for me to use this term since it slipped out when I was talking to him, don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll get up to speed on the sewing blog lingo eventually!). I bought this rather pungent mystery synthetic (I think it’s polyester) from an Op Shop while on holiday at the start of the year, I didn’t know what I was going to use it for but I just loved the minty green splotches!

When I saw this pattern on Burda Style I liked it, but it was only when I saw the awesome member’s versions that I realised its true potential. My measurements matched up with the size 40, but I measured some of my shirts against the finished measurements and there was too much ease for me so I cut the 38. There’s no darts so the shape is really just through the side seams. I’m happy with the fit!

This pattern is great, goes together easily and I think the neck pleats are such a nice detail. The armholes are finished with bias binding, which didn’t work that nicely with this fabric as it doesn’t press well.


Now, I mentioned it’s a bit strong-smelling. I think this fabric harkens back to the time when synthetics felt (and smelt) synthetic! I don’t mind the smell, but I don’t think this will be good in hot weather. I’m too used to nice breathable fabrics! I’m still pleased I found fabric I liked in an Op Shop though, I’m always on the look-out but I don’t really see fabric in the ones near me.

Pattern: Burda Style Magazine 09/2011 Sleeveless blouse

Fabric: Printed polyester from an Op Shop

… something I’m pretty excited about! I’ve never participated in one of these challenges before, organised by the lovely Zoe of ‘So, Zo… What do you know?’. I’m sure most people coming across this blog would be familiar with the challenges, but if not you can click on the banner above to learn more.

‘I, Jess of make do and jess, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’12. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment or accessory each day for the duration of May 2012’

I’ve put in accessories to make it easier on myself, I’ll try not to cop out by wearing hand-knit scarves or beanies everyday but I’m concerned about my lack of cold-weather me-mades. I tend to make a lot of light-weight dresses and blouses. I was starting to think I could get away with wearing them since Autumn has been so mild, but of course the weather has turned this week!  I do have some cooler weather projects planned so that should help as I get them done.

At first I wasn’t sure I should even do this challenge as I’m trying to start a business from home, so I don’t need to get dressed for a job, but I think it will be really good for me to make an effort. I know when I get dressed as if I’m going somewhere I’m more productive, so this can only be a good thing. My plan is to post to the Flickr group everyday and then do a weekly post here. I’m looking forward to shaking up my routine a bit, and also seeing the other participant’s unique clothes and self expression!

New Look 6348

This is a project I bought the pattern and fabric (a printed linen) for years ago, I’m not sure why it took me so long! I stopped sewing for myself for a long time, and I’m making up for it now :).

I knew from reading reviews that people had a couple of problems with this pattern, and yep, I had them too. One of these was that it gapes open at the neckline, which I tried to fix by pinching out maybe 1cm from the neckline and pivoting it into the bust gathers after making up a muslin. This helped a lot but I still feel like I’m flashing people my bra from some angles when I wear it! I think this might just be a problem with this style of neckline?

The other problem you can see above, horizontal wrinkles across the hip. If I make this again I’ll put the zip in the side seam and get rid of the centre back seam. There’s some drag lines under the bust in the next photo too, but I think that’s partly because I self lined the whole bodice and the linen was too heavy for all those seam allowances together! A lightweight lining with just a facing in the linen would have been better. That’s what I get for not wanting to buy more fabric, haha.

I know it sounds like I’m complaining a lot about this dress, but I’m pretty happy with it! It’s really nice to wear on hot days (like we are still having, even though we’re well into Autumn!) and I like the classic style of the bias shift dress. It feels a bit clingy around my tum sometimes but I think that’s the nature of the beast, the beast being the bias cut!

Pattern: New Look 6348, view E

Fabric: Printed medium-weight linen

McCall’s 5052

I have been wanting a short sleeved gingham shirt for ages, so I finally got my act together and made one! It’s McCall’s 5052, which appears to be out of print now. There are so many similiar patterns out there, but I chose this one based on the good reviews at PatternReview. I was originally going to draft it myself since it’s such a basic shape, but I didn’t seem to be getting around to it! I can’t wear good intentions now can I, hmmm?

Sorry about the squinty face, I’m a bit of a squinter in outdoor photos I’m afraid. I’m pretty happy with the pattern, it’s exactly what I wanted- not too fitted or too boxy. Instructions were fine, I mostly followed them except I used fusible bias interfacing tape on the neckline instead of staystitch (I hate staystitch, sorry staystitch) and drafted a back neck facing to avoid the slipstitching it asks for at the inside collar and facing. I did mock flat felled seams at the side seams and shoulders for strength and because I think it looks nice on shirts.

I wear it with the sleeves folded up, I just found the length hit me at an unflattering place on my arm otherwise in my opinion. Actually I knew it would to start with and quite like rolled sleeves anyway!

I have to sneak in this last photo, we had someone else who wanted their outfit documented:

He is one of our neighbour’s cats, dubbed ‘black & white guy’ as we don’t know his name. He looks docile here but one wrong move during a tummy rub and he’ll hook you with a razor sharp claw!! Just be glad we can’t have pets in our rental or you’d be exposed to a lot more feline documentation 😉

Pattern: McCall’s 5052, view B

Fabric: Cotton gingham from Spotlight, not the greatest quality but it was cheap so I got what I paid for.