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Make the Most of Me Made

Written by Katie Done AKA The Fabric Squirrel

You may remember my Me Made Holiday back in April. If you haven’t, you should go check out the post! Well, we recently went away again but to the Isle of Wight. Rather than spend months leading up to the holiday creating a new wardrobe, I decided to make the most of my existing me made wardrobe. It just so happened that it was very Craft Cotton heavy. They do the best prints at great prices that wash really well, perfect for dressing making.

When I first started sewing at the age of 17. I generally only made a dress if I had a special occasion to attend. I rarely ever wore them more than once. I think the world of fashion and sewing has changed a lot in the last 16 years and thankfully the attitudes towards wearing items more than once has changed a lot too. I dread to think what my sew to wear hour ratio was. My sewing skills have improved massively in that time, you would hope so after all that time. It means I am much more confident in wearing something I have made and no longer feel the need to pack a needle and thread, just in case.

Compared to the two to three times a year, I now wear me made clothes two to three times a week. Probably more so in the summer. If I am going anywhere special or think there will be a good photo opportunity, I am more inclined to wear me made. Hence my blog today.

I packed a me made suitcase again for our trip, but I only took one new item. Everything else came from my summer staples.

On our first full day there was an event on at Carisbrooke Castle, so we booked tickets to visit there. We were able to walk around the castle walls which with a two-year-old was really stressful. Watching the fire breathers perform on dead grass after weeks of very un-British heat wasn’t any less stressful either. Besides that, we had a lovely day. Although a few hundred years out, my William Morris dress felt at home in the medieval grounds.

I made this button-down dress earlier in the year especially for Craft Cotton so I could match their stand at CHSI in Birmingham. I have already sewn up this pattern

twice. It is McCalls M8104 and I got it free in Love Sewing Magazine. My first go at it was a little longer and I made the sleeves capped but they didn’t allow for much movement. When I am constantly having to pick up a two-year-old, I knew I wouldn’t get any wear out if it if I left them as they were. This more flowy style is much more every day. The pattern also doesn’t include pockets, which of course I had to add. I use Tilly and the Buttons Indigo for the pocket pattern. I find it is the best size to fit my phone.

Our second day included a trip to the farm, so it felt like a good day to get my dinosaur t-shirt out. I was asked if I wanted to sew anything up in this new jersey for the Craft Cotton team and said I could make the boys some t-shirts. I used a pattern from Brindle and Twig that I have used before.

It is the perfect easy to follow pattern for a beginner. I did try and cut corners by turning over the neckline instead of adding the binding. It was far too baggy and didn’t sit right so I ended up unpicking and adding it on. They were then perfect. I had enough fabric to make something for me. Although I had a bit more to play with and could have made a dress, I thought a t-shirt would be less in your face for a 30 something year old. I used the same pattern I made recently from drawing round a t-shirt I already had. I am wearing the cherry version as I write this. With the hot weather we have been having, it has been perfect for making sure my shoulders don’t burn but also airy enough that I don’t get too hot. The fabric was well and truly tested with our farm trip, go karts, trampolining and then we finished the day off at the beach. I forgot my bikini top so I tied the ties around my bra and made it more of a crop top which was a good enough compromise although I was still a little annoyed that I couldn’t go for a swim.

After chatting with Paula aka, The Crafty Lass before we headed on our trip, I discovered that some of her family are on the Isle of Wight and we would miss seeing her there by a few days. She informed me that my Poppy dress was named after the area that we were visiting in Freshwater Bay. What a coincidence! Paula’s Aunt and Parents lived in nearby towns, and they would refer to the space between them as the ‘blue view’, because the weather could be so different between the two places. Luckily for us the sun shone wherever we were on the island. I absolutely loved the idea that the fabric I was wearing was inspired by the place I was walking around. It took all my will power not to tell anyone we got talking to. The dress is the Hinterland pattern from Sew Liberated and it is on my top three favourite patterns. The poppy dress was my first time using it. Unlike my William Morris dress, this one felt too short, so I added the extra ruffle. I much preferred it anyway and I was pleased with this happy accident. I have made the same dress since and made the bodice a little longer. I also swapped the pocket for my tilly pocket pattern piece to give me a little more room.

The other thing I learnt from Paula (The Crafty Lass) is that the shorts I made in her Wild Dreams fabric were also named after a part of the island. They weren’t in my suitcase initially, but I obviously packed them when she told me. We didn’t get a chance to visit the National Trust Walter’s Copse unfortunately so, it will remain on the to visit list for next time.

I wore the shorts on our last day because they are super comfy for travelling in, but we managed to squeeze in one last beach trip at Freshwater Bay before we caught the ferry in the afternoon. We went to a perfect rock pooling beach, and we had hours of fun exploring and throwing stones into the water. George and I went exploring and found some huge caves and felt like mermaids and pirates. I don’t think I have ever seen him more excited and happier. It was the perfect way to end the holiday and I think the final photo sums it up. The shorts pattern is Simplicity 1887 and this is my 4th pair!

All the items I wore bar the dino t-shirts, have been worn loads of times before and will be worn a dozen more before the year is out, I am sure. I always try and get at least two wears out of any of my clothes before I wash them unless I have been attacked by a toddler at lunch time or used the pizza oven for dinner. Not only will it help prolong the clothes, but it’s also better for our bank balance and the environment. I will add that I have complete faith in the fabrics, and I always prewash before I make clothing so I know that I will be confident when it comes to washing the finished item. The boys on the other hand barely get an hour before their clothes are dirty so they only get the one day out of them. We had a washing machine in the flat so they were also able to wear their dino t-shirts home as they waved goodbye to the island on the ferry.

So, the point to this blog? Not one of the items I made went right from start to finish. I had to change or adapt patterns slightly to make it work for me and ensure they will be worn and loved. I have a pile of me made clothes from years ago that have never felt quite right, and they need altering or upcycling. I have a hard job motivating myself to fix something that I had already decided was finished. I now make a point of making sure I am 100% happy with anything I make before it leaves my craft room. I have also made all the items I wore at least twice, up to four times. I never feel like I am wearing the same clothes because I have mixed it up with fun prints and a few alterations. If you find a pattern you love, don’t be afraid to make it more than once and make the most of your me made wardrobe.

To see more from Katie, follow her on Instagram @thefabricsquirrel, Facebook and visit her website.

Katie has written more about her 'me made' holiday on her blog, check it out!

Written by Katie Done for The Craft Cotton Co 2022.

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