Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hello July!

So... that was June.

30 days of me-made-madness in rapid succession and I survived! Woo hoo! Here are the highlights:
The Stats:

My most-worn style was the EvaDress 1940's trouser: 6 times in navy and another 3 in beige.

Followed by Lisette variations: a blouse and two dresses, worn 4 times between them... though my first Lisette dress was also worn at home in the evenings for another 5 days! :)

My Audrey-in-Unst cardigan came out 5 times. My Gap cardigan was out more often than that - tsk!

And my new self-drafted top was worn 3 times since making it on 11 June. I like it!

I wore a dress or skirt 9 times (including Lisettes)... which by a process of deduction means I wore trousers at least 21 times (or more since I paired Lisettes with jeans).

What did I learn?:

I need to knit more cardigans. OK... I knew this before I started, but there's no harm in reminding myself every time I go to pick up a sock to knit instead of a sleeve!

I LOVE wide-legged trousers! :D

I also found myself noticing that I was enjoying wearing my Sencha blouse. In my head, it is too big and blousy and has a precariously-high neckline. But while wearing it, I realised that it is not nearly as high-necked as my 1940's-pattern blouses and that the Liberty Tana Lawn feels absolutely gorgeous next to the skin.

My disgusting dog-walking parka should not be worn to work. Ever. No matter how rainy it is. Confession: I have worn it nearly every day, rain or shine.

The To Do List:
KNIT: Turquoise Laar cardigan from PoshYarns laceweight.

KNIT: 1940's-pattern black cardigan from Stitchcraft magazine in AlbaYarn Crow.

KNIT: Vintage-pattern brown cardigan in Peat AlbaYarn.

SEW: Black wide-legged trousers from Simplicity 2654

SEW: Black and orange skirts from Simplicity 2654 (Ginger-esque!)

SEW: Sencha in Tana Lawn

SEW: Orange / white striped seersucker 1940's blouse (because I didn't get to it in June)

BUY: More interesting earrings. I have worn my 50p-from-Asda fake diamond studs nearly every day this month!

And what about shop-bought?

I definitely didn't feel I missed anything by avoiding my shop-bought clothes for a month. Although I suppose I "cheated" by adding a shop-bought cardi and coat most days. Listen, I live in flipping ABERDEENSHIRE!

Did I buy any clothes in June?

No! Not even a pair of tights!

Is there anything I want to buy to wear, right now, cos it's pay day?

Hmmm... you see there are always a few items buzzing around my brain that I like for their quirkiness. Things I can't copy because they are so unusual.

But I very rarely give in to my obsessions because they tend to be things that I honestly won't wear often enough to justify the price. The current box of novelty cookies looks like this:

ASOS Bumblebee cotton cardigan, £35

Seasalt Working Boats Dobby Dot skirt, £45

Darling vintage floral print shorts, £36

I mean, seriously Roo - you have got to be joking?!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Small Pleasures

Just a gathering of things that have made me smile recently:

  • an hour spent rummaging through the button box in a tiny charity shop

  • ... and the little treasures I purchased for a grand total of 50 sparkling new pence!

  • Is this a portrait of Queen Mary in button form?

  • painting my nails an insane shade of lilac: Muggins by Butter London

  • rediscovering the ritual of a steaming cup of herbal tea, late at night, when I ought to be asleep

  • Watching "Brodeuses" (A Common Thread) and letting the language and colours saturate my brain

    • Knitting a sock, with no deadline in mind, just knitting a sock

    Reading "The Cookbook Collector" by Allegra Goodman

    • anticipating the publication of "A Stitch in Time Volume 2"

    • ... and being happy that it is delayed to August because it means I might actually have finished Betty Jean in time to get swept up by vintage-cardi-fever!

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    FO: Lisette Portfolio in denim: peace always

    It has been a long weekend of technological denials and upgrades.

    The good part was a Saturday devoted to sewing. I finished my Lisette Portfolio dress in denim... and I love it!

    It is the ultimate in comfort-dressing. I can wear it over tights or jeans or leggings, or even go bare-legged in the unlikely event that I find myself on a warm beach!

    And the best thing? The pockets! Look at my pockets!

    I lined them in Michael Miller fabric which is printed like an old school jotter, covered in red graffiti of hearts and flowers and: "Peace always" Yeah, man. Cool.


    Lisette Portfolio dress, Simplicity 2245
    Size 8
    1.7 metres of soft stretchy denim from my local fabric shop, Butterfly Fabrics in Inverurie
    2 red buttons at the back of the neck
    Red topstitching
    Fat quarter of Michael Miller fabric, found on eeebaaay, for pocket linings and the back loops.

    That's it: I have a uniform dress!

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    MMJ days 23 and 24: Low-tech version

    Click to enlarge!

    Taking a Pause

    Dear Reader,

    This is to let you know that I am having a (technological) crisis: my laptop has died.
    The warning signs have been there for some time: disk errors, CPU messages, overheating, and the frequent comment from my daughter that "This thing is a pile of crap".

    MMJ day 23 was the death of it. It couldn't cope with uploading my photo and came to a sizzling halt mid-way. Just after it had deleted the picture from my camera. Sigh.

    I'm not sure what to do. "Buy another one" is probably the only sensible response one week before the school summer holidays begin. The Girl will be home alone for most of the first two weeks and will expire without internet access. Her ipod-thingy recently stopped receiving wifi so she can't get access that way anymore. And yesterday the mobile phone network stopped covering the area of our house... mid-phone call.

    Oh - and we can only get pictures on the TV now - no sound. We have re-installed the digi-box approximately ten times every day for the past 5 days and get lovely pictures if everyone sits very still on the sofa. But the picture breaks up if anyone stands up and we have lost the sound altogether. We can still see and hear Dvds so the set itself is OK - it must be the new digital signal being blocked by the trees or something...? FL is fine with this - he uses the subtitles. But that's the end of watching this year's Glastonbury coverage.

    I am living in a technological bermuda triangle.

    If this was not all so stressful for The Girl I would see it as a chance to get so much done, without interruptions from the world outside.

    This was not what I was planning to write today. I was going tell you about a meeting I went to at a major Energy Sector company. The guy sitting next to me was leaning so far back he was almost in my lap. He was wearing a pinstriped business suit and red ostrich-skin cowboy boots. The guy on the other side kept talking about "The threat of two Sammys" which totally cracked me up, despite the gravity of the topic. (He meant tsunamis.) It was a real testosterone festival. The only other girl in the room was a rottweiler - she had to be to survive in that environment. I arrived "slightly late": 12.25 for a meeting at 12.30, and they had already polished off all the sandwiches and were hoovering up the last few crisp crumbs.

    FL said I should call this post "Two Sammys and No Sarnies" :)

    And this morning a police car scared me witless driving on the wrong side of a narrow road with lights and sirens blazing. The person in front ended up in a ditch trying to get out of the way.

    I really need a holiday, but I'm not there yet.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Sewing Plans (a MMJ-free-zone!)

    It's been a while since I updated my sewing plan.

    At the moment, I am well on my way to having a second Lisette Portfolio dress. Perfect for evenings and weekends!

    What next?

    I bought this 1970's t-shirt pattern from Etsy for a song. I want to make View C (the hoodie version) in white cotton jersey, but I might not have enough fabric...

    I DO have enough to make it in red, but I fancy using the red to make another self-drafted pleat-necked tee.

    Ain't that just the way? I might have to swop them over.

    And I haven't forgotten my Betsey Johnson skirt pattern. I am waiting for some funky bias-binding to arrive.

    I have had this pattern for a while now, thinking I would make a black cotton sateen wiggle skirt. Just kind of chop the dress off below the bust...?

    But I am nervous. There is no logic to this - it just worries me.

    The whole Me-Made-June experience has found me analysing my wardrobe and what I actually like to wear and I am coming to the conclusion that I prefer trousers to skirts.

    And I prefer dark colours to light.

    Is it time to use my stock of black cotton sateen and moleskin, instead of saving it up for a rainy day?

    It is hissing it down in Aberdeen today!

    So I tracked down a copy of Simplicity 2654. It is out of print - I got mine from a seller in the US as even with postage it cost less than its UK list price.

    There are some amazing examples of these trousers in blogland and on Flickr. Big cream buttons? Yes please!

    I like the fitted skirt too - with that Ginger-esque shaped waistband? Nice!

    Don't you want to make Ginger, Roo?

    Well, I do and I don't. It's "just" a simple a-line skirt isn't it? Do I really need to spend in double-figures to get a simple a-line skirt pattern? Plus I am not sure I am an a-line girl...

    This one in tangerine please!

    And what am I wearing today?

    The same as I wore on MMJ Day 8, except I have on my flat Kickers pumps instead of the Fly wedges... because the velcro is coming unstuck on the wedges and I fear leaving my shoe behind on the stairs! Ah the glamour, the glamour! Pass the superglue, supermodel!

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    MMJ Day 21: Wardrobe Rehab and Garden News

    Today I wore:

    Liberty print blouse, Burda 7831, made in 2008, blogged here. And here for the inspiration.

    Eva Dress 1940's pattern trousers, blogged here.

    Boden cardigan...

    Grandma's fake jet beads and John Lewis black glass earrings.

    This was an experiment in wardrobe rehabilitation. I have worn this blouse perhaps three times in three years because it was unbearably tight round the rib cage. Seriously, breathing was tricky!

    And today? It is absolutely fine, boys and girls. And this is a really good thing because it is Liberty cotton lawn and was a lot of work to make. I still find it a bit short... but that's what 1940's trousers are for! Hooray!

    I am told today is midsummer day. Paddle, paddle, splash. Sigh.

    That's why there is newspaper on my bedroom floor: to mop up the flood when it comes up between the tiles as the water table rises...

    In the garden:

    It is perhaps time to confess that my vegetable gardens are not doing well. Something got into the new garden and ate every single broccoli seedling and salad leaf. The list of suspects reads like this: pigeons, rabbits, pheasants, partridge, badgers, rats, mice, deer, moles. How do proper farmers manage?!

    The courgette plants are still pale and wan and show no signs of actually growing, let alone flowering or fruiting.

    Back in the first veg garden, my broad beans were looking pretty good, but have been attacked by black-fly. But FL's potatoes are up...

    In the double-fenced herb garden, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail were caught in the act of munching my cosmos and verbena, but I do a good line in thistles. Why can't the little blighters eat the weeds?

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    MMJ Day 20: Mind The Gap

    Today I wore:

    Self-drafted top, blogged here.

    Clothkits Ruby skirt, blogged here.

    Charcoal cotton tights.

    Boden cardigan.

    Kickers shoes.

    Gold dragonfly brooch.

    This was an attempt to wear my favourite print skirt without resorting to a shop-bought top. Like my aubergine trousers, this skirt is far too big for me. I have taken it in two inches at the waist, but it still sits on my hip bones. It is likely that this is what it is supposed to do, but I have got so accustomed to higher vintage waists that I feel half-naked. And my tights come up a good 3 inches higher than the skirt, which feels odd to me - is this a common issue? Or is my skirt just too big?

    But I just love the print of 1930's photographs. It's a different way to wear "vintage"!

    Anyway, here I am in the my me-made top which at least covers my dignity. The cardigan is navy blue, which by rights ought to look awful with purple and black and grey, but it all sort of tones in, and I am quite pleased with the overall blend. I question how "professional" it looks, but I didn't have any meetings in my diary today so decided to risk it. Besides - my haircut is sharp enough to let me get away with a more casual look! ;)

    The shoes are from 2004 and I keep forgetting I have them. I wore them to death when they were new, and I didn't have many alternatives. Time to bring them out again!

    The brooch was a present from FL, hidden in a Christmas cracker. :)

    When I have shorter hair I always want to wear interesting earrings but I never seem to get round to buying them. Maybe I will do it this time! I fancy a pair of fountain pen nibs dangling from my lobes - there are several sets on Etsy that tempt me. And how about a pair of vintage typewriter key earrings for hi-tech days?

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    MMJ Day 19 and a WIP catch up

    No MMJ picture for Saturday because I was getting my hair cut and didn't want the hairdresser to make assumptions about me from the way I was dressed! So it was today's outfit without the tunic... in other words, not at all me-made - shocking, I know!

    Today I am wearing my Brighton Pavilions print tunic, blogged here.

    Howies jeans and Gap t-shirt.

    Oh - me-made socks though! Flaming February socks blogged here.

    I cast on a new pair of socks on Friday night: meet Lenora! I had been stalking this pattern on Ravelry, waiting for it to go "live". Originally a Three Irish Girls sock club pattern, it is now available to everyone to purchase. I don't know why, but it totally grabbed me. I am using Old Maiden Aunt Superwash merino in the colour Bluebells, bought at UK Knit Camp last year. That's just one evening's knitting - woo hoo! The joy of socks!

    And here is Her Ladyship, Ms Betty Jean. All crumpled up from being squashed into a sock-sized knitting bag. Will I finish in June? I truly doubt it. She was sucking the fun out of knitting. I had to cast on for that sock to prove to myself that I do still enjoy playing with yarn and pointy sticks. I am not a lover of endless stocking-stitch. But I will get there... eventually!

    Well, look at that, it's only noon and I have done some weeding and some blogging and the floor is clean despite FL dropping a full pot of yoghurt at breakfast time. The washing is on the line. The dog has been walked.

    Sewing time!!!!

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    MMJ Day 17: Throwing Shapes

    The other day, Christine left a comment which mentioned how different clothes look when you actually move in them. And she is right, of course. So I thought I would demonstrate my Friday outfit in action.

    Disclaimers: no children or animals were injured during filming.

    Any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

    These pictures were taken before a glass of Orvieto Classico, Lidl £3.99 per bottle.

    The sheer joy of wide trousers is that you don't get a VPL... though it was touch and go for these pictures!

    The high waist means you can throw some really silly shapes and your blouse remains tucked in.

    I take bookings for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.

    Just don't ask me to sing.

    Today I wore:

    Neutral version of the Eva Dress 1940's trousers, blogged here.

    White dobby dot Lisette Portfolio blouse, blogged here.

    Audrey-in-Unst came too!

    Two-tone shoes.

    And my bluebird brooch (as yesterday).

    This month of style-blogging has certainly taught me a lot about the importance of photo quality. I have had far more comments on my MMJ pictures on Flickr where the photo has been well lit and I have looked... um... streamlined.

    Tomorrow I get my hair cut - and not a moment too soon!

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    MMJ Day 16: More Tea, Vicar?

    Today I wore:

    The blouse I finished last night! Blogged here.
    1950's pattern skirt, blogged here.
    Vintage bluebird brooch from Herman Brown's in Edinburgh. (Look at the News section of their website for great vintage outfit inspiration!)
    Camper Mambo shoes and fishnet tights.

    Just noticed: that strange little red velvet bag contains my Besame lipstick. It is not a one-fingered glove!

    When I tried this blouse on last night, I was worried that the neckline was too high. When I used the pattern before, I added shoulder pads, but when I tried pinning a set in to this one, the neck was creeping up my throat and felt suffocating. So here is the unpadded version - and it definitely works better.

    I thought I would go the whole Miss Marple route for its first outing, and added my "tea-length" 1950's pattern skirt.

    I just read this on Wikipedia:
    "Miss Jane Marple is an elderly lady who lives in the little English village St. Mary Mead. Superficially stereotypical, she is dressed neatly in tweed and is frequently seen knitting or pulling weeds in her garden."
    Oh my days - it's a description of ME! ;)

    It turns out that the blouse is wonderfully comfortable to wear - very soft, and with good flat buttons up the back, so sitting down to take tea is a pleasure.

    Only one issue - there is a single button which I can't reach to do up on my own and which can't be done up before I put on the garment. This hasn't happened before in my back-buttoning experience, so either I was a bit stiff this morning, or the spacing of the buttons is "out" compared to others I have made.

    Lacking a maid, I had to get FL to help, much to his amusement!

    FO: 1940's blouse: Style 4820

    I have been working on this blouse off and on for a couple of weeks. You might remember I used the pattern once before for my Sandpiper Blouse.

    This time, I was planning to run piping down the edges of the central panel, to add more definition, but I wimped out and top-stitched it instead. As a result, you can hardly see the details at all.

    Maybe I should have gone the whole hog and used a contrasting fabric for the neck and front band: plain navy perhaps?

    Next time!


    Pattern: Style 4820 from the 1940's, size 34". So much period detail, but you need to zoom in to see it! I didn't put shoulder pads in this time around, as the neck seems to be higher than before and the extra upward boost felt suffocating.

    Fabric: 1.5 metres of fine cotton lawn from Croft Mill, here at £6 per metre. It is very soft and drapey, almost a voile. Lovely stuff! I bought it to make a Sencha and then thought the print was too subtle for such a simple top. I was afraid it might look like a pyjama top.

    Buttons: 1940's vintage from Clover Crafts and Curios at eeebaaay. You can't see in these pictures, but they are navy with an engraved star which picks up the print in the fabric really well.

    It seems very... demure. That high neckline with the tiny print makes me feel like the vicar's wife from a 1940's costume drama! This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think I need to consider my jewellery options further. I pinned on my dainty bluebird brooch for these pictures, but I might try something louder.

    And red lipstick is absolutely essential: without it, I looked about nine years old!

    ETA: These pictures look really dark now they are "up". I swear they looked fine last night on the laptop! But I am wearing the blouse today so watch out for some action shots in daylight later today!

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    MMJ Day 15: Crystals and Lumpy Bits

    Today I wore:

    My new self-drafted top, blogged here.

    New Look 6190 trousers, blogged here

    Granny's crystal beads!

    And yes... the inevitable Gap cardigan!

    Today is the first time EVER I have been able to take my cardigan off with confidence while wearing these trousers, because AT LAST I have a top that covers the waist-slippage situation - woo hoo!

    It is also the first time I have worn this set of beads from my grandmother's treasure trove of costume jewellery. I remember her wearing these on a Sunday for church.

    I don't have many memories of my granny, as she died when I was 5. I am guessing that these beads date from the 1930's, but I may be wrong - they could be as recent as the 1950's. They are strung on a "silver" chain and are very heavy. I think they undercut the sportiness of that lilac stitching at the neck. I regret not waiting to buy matching thread!

    I was very comfortable in this outfit, but I see that all the lumps and bumps of the belt and pleats show through the fabric - boo hoo!

    Ah well, never mind, eh?

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    MMJ Day 14: From The Driving Seat

    Would you believe it was 25 degrees in Aberdeen when FL and I got out of the hospital at 1pm? Of course, by 2pm it was about 15 as usual... but we had our moment in the sun!

    Today I wore:

    Va va voom top, from 1950's pattern, blogged here.

    Eva Dress 1940's trousers, blogged here.

    Two-tone shoes, as before.

    Besame lipstick :)

    This top is for confident days. I wear it when I am planning to save the world.

    Hospital visits have this effect on me!

    There is no possibility of appearing shy and retiring when you are wearing figure-hugging polka dots and a peekaboo neckline.

    Its only functional issue is that the back-buttons are domed and it is therefore: deeply uncomfortable to lean back in my chair, driving is a pain and I have to sit up straight at my desk - not such a bad thing!

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    MMJ Day 13 and an Impulsive Purchase

    Today I am under the influence of 1950's Secretarial chic.

    This image is by Anne Taintor, and you can buy it printed on a set of Post-it notes - how perfect!

    Just what I need to shake up the office!

    Today I Wore:

    Simplicity 2501 blouse, the pouffy-sleeved version, blogged here.
    Rockabilly Rose skirt from a 1950's pattern, blogged here.

    You can't see it, but I am wearing a rose shaped brass hair pin (TopShop) to keep my fringe in order. (I have a haircut booked as I have reached the "going mad" stage!)

    Fishnet tights.

    Shoes: Camper Mambo, reduced in the January sales. SO comfortable!

    It was pouring rain, hence the indoor pictures.

    I am terribly self-conscious about these sleeves. They are in danger of looking like something Margaret Thatcher would wear, especially with the associated tie-neck. The fabric is very fine, which is both good and bad. The last time I wore this blouse I stuck my thumb through the faggoting at the back, while tucking it in. Luckily, the mended section is below the waistband of this skirt.

    I also wore my Gap cardigan. And my parka. Oops!

    But I have a dream of another cardigan! I spotted this yarn in the PoshYarn shop last night before it sold out - gasp!

    The colour is called "Tomorrow is Another Day", which is described as: "Leaf green, aqua, sky blue, apple, pale jade, mint". It is a laceweight merino / tencel mix, so should have fabulous drape. I intend to knit a Laar (Shetland Trader) cardigan with it.

    Hmmm.... a cardigan out of laceweight yarn with acres of stocking stitch, Roo? Is this wise?! Speaking of which...

    Betty Jean update: I have almost finished the first sleeve! I sat down to watch "Like Water for Chocolate" while I knitted, but hadn't bargained on the need to read subtitles, so only managed to knit an inch in two hours. Ugh!

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Double Birthday Weekend

    Today FL is 76 years old. Tomorrow, The Girl will be 15 years old. 6 plus 5 makes 11 candles!

    Last night we went out to our favorite South Indian restaurant, Spice Dabba in Aberdeen's Belmont Street for a double celebration meal.

    And what did I wear...? Shop-bought! Tsk! But FL bought me this top for my last birthday and I keep it for special occasions, so really it was the only appropriate thing to put on.

    Must dash - candles to light! ;)

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    FO: The Totally Me-Made Tee!

    I did it! My first self-drafted top!

    I had been searching for a simple t-shirt pattern with pleats at the neck, but they all seemed to be sleeveless and/or low-cut.

    I wanted something with a slightly vintage air about it: a simple round neck, perhaps kimono-style sleeves?

    So I did it myself! :D

    I really like the shape of my 50's twin-set top, blogged here.

    But it was quite a fiddley thing to sew, with lots of bulky seams and loads of darts, not to mention back-buttoning and bias binding.

    So I copied the neck-pleats and basic sleeve shape from there, but pared the design down to its essentials.

    I raised the position of the pleats by an inch and drafted a narrower body, taking out all the darts and back-fastening.

    I added a slight curve at the front hem, to allow the pleats to drape. I lowered the back neck. I scooped the underarms a bit closer to the body. Instead of the wide neckband, I cut a bias strip to finish the neck.

    The whole project took just 4 hours from start to finish - woo hoo!


    Pattern: Me-made! :D It has just two pieces: a back and a front.

    Fabric: Purple marl jersey from Croft Mill. I had 1.5 metres and used about half of it, down one side. I have plenty left to make a camisole and knickers - woo hoo! It was £5.25 per metre. It is supposed to be 100% cotton, but it has a slight sparkle in the marl. It a really nice weight of fabric, with stability, softness and good drape.

    Sewing notes: I used the Vari-Overlock stitch on my Bernina machine for all the seams and hems. I didn't have any matching thread, so used a lighter lilac colour and took extra care to sew neatly! This may have added a "sporty" edge to the garment, which I had not intended. But I still like it!

    Verdict? I am feeling very pleased with myself! Hence the smug expression in the photos. Feel free to make faces at me! ; )

    I will definitely use this pattern again - next time I will turn the pleats the other way out, as I like how they look on the inside.

    And I will definitely do more pattern-making - it is such fun!

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    Fearless Friday inspiration

    Image credit: Emily of The Black Apple

    We interrupt Me Made June to gawp in wonder at someone else's sewing.

    The is Emily's "Bee in My Bonnet Blouse". You can read all about it here.

    Basically, she traced an existing blouse to make the pattern, then plunged right in to her vintage fabric like Edward Scissorhands: snip, snip, snip: ta da! OK, so maybe there was more to it than that.

    All this week I have been grumbling about not being able to find the perfect pattern for a simple t-shirt with pleats at the neck. An anonymous reader pointed me in the direction of an excellent-looking Butterick pattern, and I found another by Kwik-Sew, and both were fine but neither was perfect.

    And I have been watching in awe as Miss Dibs whips up dress after dress for MMJ, with an airy comment that she used the top half of one pattern combined with "a rectangle of fabric" to make a maxi dress. Fearless! Fabulous!

    And I have come to the conclusion that I need to stop being such a wimp, relying on shop-bought patterns all the time. Surely I have enough experience to draft a simple top?

    So... um... watch this space! You can all laugh and point if it all goes horribly wrong! :)

    Thursday, June 09, 2011

    MMJ Day 9: I never promised you a rose garden

    Today I wore:

    Sencha in Liberty rose print, blogged here

    Eva Dress 1940's pattern trousers, blogged here

    Audrey-in-Unst cardi, blogged here

    My grandmother's glass beads, worn doubled.

    Two-tone navy and white brogues.

    Today I had several considerations to take inot account when making my choice of outfit: a major Committee meeting (membership includes a Knight of the Realm!) lunch in the rose garden with a knitty friend (hooray!); and Parents' Night at The Girl's school. So I had to be smart without being stand-offish, and "not too weird". Tricky!

    My mother would tell me I can't wear navy and green together, but both colours appear in the Liberty print, so it "goes".

    And then it rained. So that was the end of the rose garden plan.

    But I did get to watch seagull chicks paddling on the office roof. They look like tabby kittens with wings!

    Wednesday, June 08, 2011

    MMJ Day 8: They Said It Would Rain

    ...And today's prize for seasonally-inappropriate dress goes to Ms Roobeedoo, who topped her outfit off with a parka and then wondered why she was too hot.

    Listen, it was supposed to rain!

    Today's ensemble is in the no-brain category. The blouse matches the trousers. I reach for this pairing at least once every two weeks.

    However, it is not without its problems. These trousers are too big for me nowadays. A full four inches too big at the waist. Without a belt, they fall down. With a belt, they have unsightly folds which I have to redistribute towards the back, to hide under my cardigan. When I sit down, the blouse shoots out of the waistband at the back and leaves me with a cold draught around the kidneys. I therefore cannot remove my cardigan, ever, under any circumstances.

    But still I reach for these trousers on a regular basis: I like the colour, they are wide and swishy and basically comfortable once I get my belt sorted out. A belt loop at centre back would be an improvement. I can't see a way to take them in by a whole 4 inches without losing the drape and shape. So I wear them on days when I don't expect to take off my (shop-bought) cardi. You know, on days when it is supposed to rain.

    Today I wore:

    New Look 6190 trousers in superfine aubergine wool, blogged here

    Simplicity 2501 blouse, blogged here.

    My Gap cardigan - tsk!

    Molly Spilane brass bangle with vintage sheet-music print, found in the UK here.
    The inevitable Fly London shoes (seen here being carried on my way to the car)

    Sewing thoughts:

    This week has been a wash-out in sewing terms and I am getting quite twitchy: so many plans and so little time!

    I have cut out: a denim Portfolio dress and a 1940's blouse.

    I have matched up: my blue herringbone linen with the Betsey Johnson skirt pattern

    I have received in the post: A fantastic vintage-inspired but modern pattern for skirt / trousers/ shorts: one of each, please!

    I have ordered: a fabulous funky 1970's hooded t-shirt pattern. HOODED, I tell you! ; )

    I really want: a pattern for a t-shirt-cotton top with pleats at the neck. I can't find what I am looking for. It is my excuse for procrastination in all other aspects of my sewing life.

    That, and walking the dog... in the rain.

    Monday, June 06, 2011

    MMJ Day 6: A Risk Assessment

    Today I cracked and popped on my Portfolio top. I didn't want to do this too early in the week / month in case I had an urgent need for plain whiteness to rescue me from a major me-made wardrobe 7am crisis! But I do have a washing machine, and there is a batch of white pillowcases waiting in the laundry basket, so I should be able to get this turned around again and ready to wear before this potential emergency occurs.

    Risk name: Mismatched wardrobe meltdown

    Type of risk: Strategic (a risk to achievement of key objectives)

    Initial Risk Assessment: Impact: 5; Likelihood: 5; RED RISK

    Risk Action Plan, mitigating actions: Add Portfolio top to pile of white washing immediately after wear and load machine that night; make more plain tops.

    Ability to Manage: 5, an Internal risk that is fully manageable

    Effectiveness of controls: 3, Formal mitigation measures in place, part of Standard Operating Procedures.

    Residual Risk: Impact: 5; Likelihood: 2; AMBER RISK


    Today I wore:

    Japanese pattern skirt in oversized floral print, blogged here

    White Lisette Portfolio top, blogged here

    My grandmother's glass beads, worn as a single string, flapper style, instead of doubled.

    Comment received:

    FL chuckled: "You look as if you should have the name of the asylum printed in that square on the front of your top!"

    My own opinion:

    Madness is just a state of mind, darling.

    I think the flapper-style beads elongate the silhouette and prevent me from looking totally shapeless.

    This top looks better either tucked in to a high waist, or loose over a more fitted skirt or trousers.

    What was missing?

    The old story: I needed a colour co-ordinated cardigan for warmth. This is Aberdeenshire not the South of England. Even if I get Betty Jean finished this month it won't entirely solve this problem as she won't go with everything. Certainly not with this skirt.

    I need more than one me-made cardigan.

    No, Audrey doesn't work. She's too short for the low waist of the skirt.

    Newly-identified mitigating actions:


    The Shetland Trader's Laar in AlbaYarn colour Peat would work well with this outfit.

    Sunday, June 05, 2011

    MMJ Day 5: Veg-ing with Denim

    I have developed a second vegetable garden. One day while I was at work, my dear FL instructed the farm labourer to fill the first veg garden with potatoes, because he hadn't realised that the multitude of pots on our bedroom windowsill were full of brocolli, salad and courgettes, intended for planting out next to my broad beans.

    Luckily, the labourer accepted the job of creating another garden to the west of the house, and today I planted out my "crops". They are looking a bit pale and wan after spending too long indoors (waiting for their annex to be constructed), but I have given them a week's exposure to the elements and they seem to have good strong roots.
    Today I wore:

    Portfolio dress from a Lisette pattern, blogged here.

    Mad Budgie socks, blogged here.

    Me-made knickers. I won't mention these again - I wear them every day!

    What am I stitching?

    I am in a muddle with my sewing.

    I have cut out a 1940's pattern blouse but haven't started the inevitable tailor tacking.

    My Betsey Johnson skirt pattern arrived yesterday and I wanted to get going on that straightaway, so I drove to my local fabric shop (Butterfly Fabrics in Inverurie) to get some soft denim.

    Despite knowing that I needed 2 1/2 yards, I allowed the saleswoman to persuade me that 1.7 metres was more than enough... it was the end of the roll. Of course it is NOT enough so I have spent an afternoon trying to make the pieces fit... and they don't. So I need to start again, probably using the blue linen I bought to make another Portfolio dress. And I can use the denim to make the Portfolio dress. But which to make first?

    It is now ten past four on Sunday afternoon and I have done NO sewing all weekend and I haven't done the ironing yet.


    But I DO have two vegetable gardens.

    Saturday, June 04, 2011

    MMJ Day 4: Laundry Day

    Down to earth with a bucket of wet washing!

    Today I caught up on the laundry, and planted out my Sarah Raven haul in the herb garden.

    So my "outfit" was dredged from the bag of Problem Children. Because it was more important to be comfortable than to look stylish. And that's real life, my friends! ;)

    What I wore:

    Japanese pattern top made out of Liberty cotton. I had such high hopes for this garment, but it is short and square, and FL says I look like a laundry bag in it. Ta, muchly, darling! Blogged here.

    Blue Bella trousers. The over-sized buttons cause over-sized crease-marks across the tummy, so by the end of the day I look and feel a bit... dishevelled. So I try not to wear them to work, unless its cold enough to keep my cardigan buttoned until 5pm. But they are perfect for home-wear. Blogged here.

    Friday, June 03, 2011

    MMJ Day 3: Salsa Time!

    Today, the gals over at MMJ-Central on Flickr suggested having a theme for the day: wear something for twirling in!

    Fact: I don't make many dresses.

    Fact: I don't wear many dresses.

    So I had to push myself out of my comfort zone today. Just as well it was Friday, that's all I can say.

    On a Friday, my commute to work is halved in time due to the oil-industry "9 day fortnight", which means that almost half the workforce of Aberdeen has every second Friday off work. My drive takes me past two oil-industrial estates so I generally spend twenty minutes every morning sitting still in traffic queues.

    But on a Friday? No queues! Woo hoo! Time to mess around with toe-nail polish and red lipstick! ;)

    What I wore today:

    1940's pattern dress, blogged here. And in its original form here.

    Audrey-in-Unst, blogged here.

    Me-made knickers.

    1940's reproduction shoes by Rocket Originals (bought in sale)

    Rockalily Rockette Red lipstick

    Butter London toe-nail polish in Blowing Raspberries - darn it: you can't see it! Why did I bother? ;)
    I feel a bit self-conscious wearing a flippy short skirt. I fear the wind. I deeply fear the wind! Hopefully you can't tell I am wearing hold-up stockings? The fear of exposure gave me a headache!

    I have never worn red lipstick to work before.

    Boy, was this a challenge or what?!

    The constant feeling that I may have transferred a red stain from my lips to my chin with a thoughtful finger... hmmmm.... having to carry said lipstick with me on trips to the Ladies' Room to scrub my chin.

    OMG does this mean I might need to carry a handbag?! A compact mirror?!

    It is on days like these that I realise that I am a tomboy at heart!

    I also wore my "Faith, Hope and Charity" necklace... except today I realised the awful truth about this family heirloom, found in my grandparents' house when my mother was clearing it out. FL said "Why are you wearing a cross?" and The Girl said "Why has it got a pair of compasses on it?" and I looked a bit more closely than ever before and realised that the heart is suspended from a set of dividers and that for all these years I have been wearing a freemason's insignia around my neck. OMG this is the necklace I wore for my graduation photo! Ugh.

    But there was added motivation for this outfit: Salsa Celtica at the Woodend Barn!

    Woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!

    Did I dance? Yes I really did!

    Did FL dance? Errr.... no. I thought he was going to refuse to come, after spending his day asleep in the chair. But I loaded him into the car and off we went. And he had a really good time, which he didn't expect because he had been feeling so low all day. Result!

    Give us a twirl then, Roo!