Me-Made-May '13 - I'm In!

I said this last year but, I'll say it again - I love challenges!  They're so motivating!  I have Julia's Mad Men challenge to thank for finally nudging me back into sewing, Lady Katza's Challis Chalet to thank for keeping the momentum going (I have two challis projects headed for the cutting table) and now Me-Made May to thank for reminding me I need to work on separates.

Since I haven't been sewing recently, I almost opted out of Me-Made May this year but, it's just so fun!  So, I looked over my pledge for last year and then over my final thoughts and decided I can make it work. Yay!

Last year, I pledged four items per week and I succeeded but, I was displeased by the number of repeats.  This year, I'm going to keep it at four (since my me-made closet didn't grow much after last May) but, to up the challenge, I'm only allowing two garments to be worn twice.  Nothing can be worn a third time.  This creates a gap of at least five spaces that need to be filled by new garments.

So, here's my official pledge:
'I, Jennifer of The Musings of a Dedicated Housefiancee, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear at least four me-made items each week for the duration of May 2013, allowing only two repeats.'

Goals for this year, based on last year's final thoughts:

  • I will focus my May sewing on separates.  Last May (and in general, really), I struggled with what me-mades to pull out of my closet because I spend many of my days at home cooking, cleaning, etc and prefer comfortable clothes for such tasks.  If my serger pedal reveals itself before then, I'll add a few Renfrews to my plan, otherwise, I'll aim to sew a couple casual skirts (a la Simplicity 2451), tops and maybe a pair or two of shorts.
  • I will make a greater effort to "put myself together".  In real life, I suppose you might say I'm a fairly plain girl.  I prefer to keep my makeup relatively simple (though, I do always wear some when leaving the house) and I wear minimal, if any, accessories.  I've been working on it but, I'm still trying to find the balance between what looks "put together" to others and what looks over-the-top to me.
  • I will limit the number of repeats. (I've already stated this but, last year's bullet summary is proving so helpful, I wanted to keep the same format.)  In an effort to up the challenge this year, I'm limiting myself from relying on my two most comfortable pieces, my Simplicity shirtdress and my Vogue knit dress.  This should help push me to add new comfortable pieces to my wardrobe.
  • I will make a greater effort to photograph each outfit.  Since I often style items differently from the way I did for the original post, it's helpful to actually see how the "daily" styling works.  (This is also why I started posting occasional OOTD posts.)  How something looks in the mirror is not always how it looks to others so, photos help me see that.  It's also great to get feedback from all of you. :)
  • I will make a more consistent effort to document the month.  I blamed part of last year's inconsistency on my poor, slow laptop.  Luckily, the situation has been remedied, as I had hoped.  I've actually laid out a posting schedule for myself for once I'm back to regular blogging and designated Sundays as OOTD days so, it seems fitting to aim for Sundays in May to be Me-Made summary days.
  • (Owing to the aforementioned sewing absence, I'll excuse myself from the goal of having Brandon participate, with the aim to add that to next year.)
So, there you have it!  It will be challenging but, that's the point and I'm totally excited!  Now, who else has joined in?  (If you haven't yet, there's still time!)

Bring on May!! x

Finished Object: Mad Men Challenge - Betty's Picnic Dress

Finally!!!  After a long weekend of marathon sewing, I've finished my first successful garment of 2013!

I'd originally planned to make Trudy's blue party dress for Julia's Mad Men Challenge, since last year's attempt was a bust, but, once again it wasn't meant to be.  Royal blue cotton sateen just wasn't to be found.  Even when I ordered it online, the order was canceled and I was left with no fabric.

But, what luck that I should remember this red and pink floral cotton sitting in my stash.  And, how much I had liked the sundress Betty's wore for a picnic in season 2.  Clearly, I was meant to be a Betty this year.  I'm even taking on a Betty trait... sticking to the older, fuller fashions rather than embracing the cute mod looks so many of you are sporting.

Even browsing through my vintage patterns, I couldn't find one with the right silhouette.  So, I searched every pattern currently available to find a bodice with spaghetti straps and no princess seams (I'm so bad at trimming those).  New Look 6886 was the one and only.  With two muslins, (yes! me! muslins!!) I turned out to be just what I wanted.

The pattern's skirt, however, was too modern.  I planned on using a vintage Simplicity pattern but, when I took out the pieces for ironing, I discovered only the pattern's coat pieces remained!  Oops.  So, I turned to retro Butterick 5747 for its similar style lines.  Once I folded out the button placket, it was a perfect fit.  I just love the box pleats!

In the end, my Franken-pattern, and a tweak or two of my own, have me a comfortable cotton sundress with just the right vintage touches to make me smile.  I couldn't be happier to be sewing again and I feel like this was a huge win.

And, of course...
Not to worry.  No trash was left behind in this park.

Stash/spending notes:
Fabric:  2 yards floral cotton broadcloth from stash – $6 from Fabric Mart; .5 yard white mercerized cotton batiste – $3.75 from Gail K
Pattern:  New Look 6886 for the bodice (with modified straps) – $3.95, Butterick 4757 for the skirt (button plackets removed) – $1
Year:  Contemporary/Retro 1960
Notions:  invisible zipper from stash – $.50?, grosgrain ribbon from stash
Time to complete:  Way too long, as usual
First worn:  22 April 2013
Wear again?  Absolutely!! I believe "enamored" is the word I keep using :D
Total cost:  ~$15*
*Can I just say how proud I am that I shopped my stash for everything but the lining!  Woo hoo... that's 1 down, 7 more to go!

For those interested in more modification/construction detail, I posted my notes on Pattern Review.  (I've really got to get the hang of this blogging thing again!)

Happy sewing! x

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Stay tuned!  I've a finished garment to share and another headed for the cutting table... I'm getting back in the swing of it and I'm so excited!