Sleeveless Presto! Top

Here's a quickie for you today. Another Presto! Popover Top. This is my second version, squeezed out of some remnants of a sweater knit with little cut on sleeves to make it work.

Pattern: Naughty Bobbin's Presto! Popover Top
Fabric: lightweight sweater knit
Cost: $5




As I recall, I accidentally sewed the center seam off center and had to unpick and redo, so it was touch and go there for a minute. I like the drape and I like the color, but I'm unsure about the durability of the fabric. It seems to be pilling already, so we'll see if it makes it through the ruthless clothing purge I've been doing lately. It was a remnant from the fabric bin, so maybe I should have just passed this one up.




I will conquer the Presto Popover top some day!

Fall Outfit

 Fall is here, hear the yell. Back to school, ring the bell ...  Well this graduate is actually still on the job hunt, but you get the idea.

Pattern: basic t-shirt block 
Fabric: 1.5 yds jersey knit

This shirt, which was actually cut out in the spring, finally got sewn up and found its place in the wardrobe this fall. It is from the same TNT custom-fit pattern as my previous turtleneck, which I wore all over rainy Europe this summer.

The fabric is a buttery soft cotton jersey from Stone Mountain in Berkeley, and what I love about it is that it is thin without being transparent. While Mr. Made isn't a big fan of turtlenecks, even he admitted that it was very soft as we snuggled up on the couch.

The deep red gives a nice pop of color without being too bright in my wardrobe, and goes really well with my various pants. If you're wondering, I made the ones in the picture a few years back and still think they are some of my best-fitting.




I could see this becoming my new wardrobe uniform this season...

Nesting



Ever since we got home this fall, I've been really nesting. Three months in Europe was amazing, but three months living in other people's Airbnbs left something to be desired. So now that we're home (and I'm semi-unemployed), I have become a bit obsessive about our space. I want everything to be functional and clean! I Marie Kondo'ed my closet, rearranged our open shelving, organized under the sink, and went on a bit of an Amazon shopping binge for things like hooks and drawers and scrubbers. Mr. Made laughs (or groans) every time he gets home, as I have inevitably bought, rearranged, or cleaned out something. At least I also make dinner!

Along with the cleaning, I have been contemplating a bit of minor redecorating. Nothing huge, but just some new textiles or prints to spice things up a bit. To dip my toes in the water, I worked with Pixers to add a few new things to my space. Pixers is an eco-friendly company that makes wallpapers, murals, posters and prints - pretty much anything you can imagine for your wall. Aneta at Pixers offered to send over a few things for me to try out, and a 40% discount code for you if you want to do the same (use code madebymeg at checkout)!

Pixers offers a bazillian different options and can also print a custom image on just about any of their products. I actually checked out the competition and Pixers has way more options than just about any other site I came across. For me, however, all those options gave me a bit of design paralysis. While I have ALL THE FABRICS for sewing, I really really struggle with home dec patterns. Curtains, bedspreads, and wallpaper all confound me! Does anyone else seem to have this issue? Something about the large scale and longevity of home decor terrifies me.

Embarrassingly, I think I spent about two days obsessively browsing their website (oh the perks of being unemployed). I had originally thought of doing our bedroom wall in a cool wallpaper, and mocked up quite a few options (please excuse the sorry state of our bed, and the weird angle).

Ugh don't you just love those oversized florals? In the end, however, Mr. Made and I couldn't quite find one we agreed on and that felt right for the space. Maybe next time I will work up the courage to do something more drastic.

Instead, I found the perfect print for our bathroom wall. While Pixers wallpaper isn't recommended for spaces with high humidity, our vanity is in a separate room from the shower, so I don't think it will be an issue. I chose this amazing black and gold geometric design that adds just the right amount of class to the space - much needed in our dinky little bathroom! And the best part is that Pixers offers removable wallpaper as well as the more traditional kind, which is perfect for a home dec commitment-phobe like me!





So fun! I also snapped up some posters as a lower-stress way to add some color to our space. While our previous posters had all been in black and white, to add some color and personality. In the living room, I added a cloud print and a cactus print to our art shelves above the couch. I ordered an accompanying frame with the cactus, which was really good quality, and a custom size for the cloud print so that I could fit it in the frame I already had. Their customer service is very accommodating!

In the kitchen I added a frame with a lemon print and another with a cacuts print (I think I have a think for a cacti). I especially like that little cactus, which I think looks like it's flipping you off. Cheeky! Here you can see how I've tried to "style" our functional kitchen shelves with these frames. Mr. Made rolled his eyes at this, too, but everything is so organized I love it!






If you are in the decorating mood, check out Pixers and use the code madebymeg for 40% off your entire order. 

Happy Halloween!

If you don't know, we are big TV nerds in this house. While Mr. Made and I spend plenty of time on creative pursuits, we also love sitting down at the end of a long day to watch some good TV. West World, Master of None, Bojack Horseman, House of Cards, Stranger Things, Fargo, we've watched it all. And, of course, we love us some Game of Thrones. So this year, after binging our way through the seventh season, I decided to sew us up some GoT costumes. Enter Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and her dragon. 

Admittedly, they are a bit dorky. Our wigs were pretty cheap and poofy, and Mr. Made complained his cape fur wasn't fluffy enough. But we have had a good time dressing up and going to costume parties. My costume is a combination of a corset with long tails and a t-shirt pattern. Mr. Made got a simple cape with darts and a t-shirt tunic. Both were made in stable knits from the discount section of Stone Mountain - affordable and I didn't have to finish any seams!

As usual, I put the most effort into Beatrix's costume. She just makes the cutest little dragon. She is also remarkably tolerant. As long as she isn't too hot, she'll pretty much wear anything for a few hours. I think she likes all of the attention. 

The fabric really makes the costume - it's from Cali Fabrics, which locally is the brick and mortar shop Fabric Outlet. The pattern is a dog coverall from Milla Milla combined with their hoodie sweatshirt pattern. The reason I love this company is that they have sizing for different dog breeds, so I can get one that fits my little bowling ball. Of course, I've been sewing for her for a few years now and have made some adjustments particular for her, and so now sewing things up goes rather quickly.

The real challenge with this pattern was creating the wings. I used galvanized utility wire from the hardware store and inserted it into channels in the wings. It behaved remarkably well, and I could see this being really fun for future Halloween costumes. I also inserted some into the tail to give it some shape. The wings can also be worn separately for an easier costume.

Hope you are having fun and making the most of this little holiday. Happy Halloween!



I try Lekala Patterns

If you follow the Britex blog, you may have caught sight of my new dress. If you want to read more about the beautiful silk blend I used, head over there. Today though, I thought I'd talk about my first try with Lekala Patterns.

Pattern: Lekala's Dress with Pleats
Fabric: Britex silk blend

With this beautiful windowpane fabric, I really wanted a design without too many seams so as not to break up the lines of the fabric. After a lot of searching, I found this simple design from Lekala patterns. If you haven't heard of Lekala before, what is interesting about the company is that each pattern is customized to your body measurements. I was excited to see how it would work.

After you select your pattern, you have the option of entering a series of measurements, from standard bust, waist, and hip measurements to things like neck, relative height of protruding point of the bust, and more. You can also choose whether to add in seam allowances, use English or metric units, and the size paper you want it formatted for.

Because I had never used Lekala before, I decided to do a quick muslin first to check the fit. When I slipped it on the proportions were good, but it was skin tight! I rechecked my measurements and realized I had sewn the seam allowances at 5/8" when they should have been 3/8". Because my main fabric had a good amount of stretch, I decided I would just move on to my garment.

Lucky that my fabric did have a good amount of stretch because the final dress was very fitted. A little too much so, actually. While it is comfortable to wear, I felt a bit like a sausage, especially the way it really cupped my lower belly. Hmmm, maybe there's something to be said for being too fitted. I shortened the darts a bit past the waist, and may also try to let out the seams a bit more if I can manage it.

The only other issue I had to contend with was my swayback, which is always an adjustment I have to make. Even with the custom measurements, there was still some wrinkling at the back. I took the back dart in a bit, but of course that also made the dress a bit tighter as well.


I also found that the sleeves were comically large. I don't have a picture but they stuck out like shoulder pads from an 80's space adventure movie. I took about three inches out of the center raglan seam to bring down the volume. They now sit much better on my arms. I have heard that automatically-graded patterns like this can have some weird anomalies.



I am curious to try Lekala again. The patterns are just $3, so there's no harm in experimenting a little. Perhaps I need to add more ease into my measurements, or maybe the amount of ease varies by pattern. Have you tried Lekala or Bootstrap patterns? Any advice?

In the end, my dress turned out really lovely (thanks mostly to the gorgeous fabric). I see some more experimenting in my future...

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