13 July 2011

Me Made Musings...

Do you tend to sew casual or fancy clothing? Things you wear on a daily basis or special outfits for special occasions?

During Me-Made-June, I joined 100 other sewing bloggers in wearing homemade clothes every day for a month. This wonderful initiative of Zoe's taught me to embrace, celebrate and showcase my self-made stitchery on a daily basis. It also taught me another valuable lesson - that I should make more practical clothing.

I've made:
- seven dresses - one casual-ish, six fancy
- six skirts
- two blouses - neither of which I wear
- one jacket
- one t-shirt
- one pair of pyjama bottoms.

  
Spot the difference...

When it comes to sewing, I'm attracted to pretty dresses, fancy details, bright colours and unusual prints. I like making the kind of special outfit I could wear to a wedding or a party, safe in the knowledge that no one else will be wearing the same dress, and basking in the glory of compliments on my ability to stitch some bits of fabric together, oh yes. But my life really isn't as glamorous as my self-made wardrobe might suggest - I'm living a lie! Most days I just go to the office. I like dressing up to play offices - and I say "play" offices because my office is a jeans and shirt kinda place. Some days I feel like dressing down like everyone else, and on Saturdays I always have an urge for denim and stripes (why is that?). During Me-Made-June, my denim skirt and stripey top got a LOT of wear.

  

So I'm going to make an effort to make more things I can wear during the week - blouses, t-shirts and (gulp) trousers. After all, clothes are meant to be worn.

How about you? Do you sew fancy clothes or everyday clothes? Do you have a favourite casual clothing pattern that you make time and time again?

[Soundtrack: 'The Letter' by Macy Gray]

39 comments:

  1. I'm like you and love to make dresses.... and I wear them all the time but they really aren't that practical... But I love them!

    I have decided to try and branch out and have bought a coupe of top and skirt patterns.... I'm not game to try pants or trousers.... scared!

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  2. I started making dresses when I first started sewing but now I try to avoid them. Tops, skirts and the occasional trousers are the best way to get a versatile wardrobe and its great fun to come up with all the combinations once you've got enough separates to do it!

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  3. Ooh interesting, I was discussing this recently on my blog. As a beginner i am drawn to pretty dresses and fancy prints, but obviously this results in clothes that get worn only occasionally. I think good staple basics (like the beignet, lol) are a great way to go, but i would get bored sewing t-shirts and such all the time. I think a healthy balance is required, dresses for fun, learning new techniques and stretching those sewing muscles, and basics for good solid everyday wear

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  4. Yep, I'm definitely naturally a special-clothes stitcher! I'm always drawn to pretty dress patterns and fabulous fabrics (Silk dupion? Yes, please!), but I have forced myself to make some everyday type skirts, which I wear all the time for work and at weekends. The other good thing about skirts is that a lot of styles can be dressed up or down quite easily, depending on your top and accessories.

    One dress I've made has seen a lot of outings - a cotton print, empire-line sundress. Cotton dresses can be really versatile, again dressed up or down. I'm planning to make another cotton print dress, so maybe this is the answer - try making items that can be dressed up or down.

    I'm hoping to save up for a serger so I can try out making some t-shirts and the like to add to my everyday wardrobe. Oh, and I'd really like to try out making some trousers, particularly the Wearing History Smooth Sailing 1930s ones - I think they could be worn for a lot of different things.

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  5. I have made a few fancier dresses (including my wedding dress), and a few super-casual things like pajamas. But mostly I'm somewhere in between: lots of blouses and skirts. I'm lucky that I work at a place where I can wear my beloved wacky prints! I'd like to make more day dresses. It's interesting because I seem to BUY more dress patterns than anything else, but I actually haven't made anything from most of them.

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  6. A guy I once knew was contemplating buying some expensive, eccentric Prada pants but he didn't think he'd have use for them. The salesperson told him to change his life so the pants would fit in. He bought them.

    That's one philosophy.

    Right now, I personally tend to go for more practical clothes. Simple does not necessarily mean easy, often just the opposite.

    New York Sewer

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  7. I've been trying to sew more practical garments lately and it's been awesome! I actually have stuff I can wear during the week! And after watching everybody else do MMJune, I realized that I needed to get my butt in gear for self stitched September!

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  8. I don't have that much sewing under my belt but so far I feel I've come in on the side of sewing what I like to wear, which is casual and fun patterns. I actually do need to sew more for work. I work in a casual office so I usually wear vintage style jeans, a vintage blouse and a boring cardigan. (I can't wear dresses or short sleeves because of tattoos so it's a bit limiting.) I definitely would like to sew more so that my work clothes--which when you think about it you spend way more time in than most anything else (ugh!)--were a bit more fun and inspiring, too. I'm thinking more blouses, maybe trousers if I feel I can handle it, and then more hand knit light cardigans.

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  9. I also found MMJ useful for working out which sorts of clothes were most practical (and which weren't). The things I wear most and which I need to make more of are plain skirts and my one pair of trousers. The trousers go with EVERYTHING and have been worn so much it's ridiculous - I need to make another pair. Skirt-wise, the Colette Beignet is fab (but you know that!) and I've just today finished a denim Ginger skirt which is much quicker to make and will go with lots of things. I get my obsession with pretty prints out of my system through tops and blouses. If I like a pattern, I tend to use it over and again until I get bored. I've made three versions of the Pendrell blouse and two versions of a 1930's blouse, all of which I wear regularly.
    I agree with Law though, it's good to sew the occasional pretty dress amongst all the day wear! x

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  10. I tend to make casual stuff, as i haven't quite got the skills to make something complicated. I do love to wear something i have made myself though!

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  11. I'm a newbie & although I find myself oohing over the dressy stuff, I realize that I'll never wear them. I'm most comfortable in casual tops, skirts & dresses, so that's what I'll sew.

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  12. Oddly I find myself oooing and awwwing over the "dress up" clothes patterns too, but well my goats and chickens really would not appreciate the time and effort I would put in those and the high heels would be heck in the barn yard LOL.... actually I am not much of a dress person however I find it odd that since I have started sewing clothes and collecting patterns I do find myself drawn to some dress patterns.....anywho, I am trying to pick things I can wear on a regular basis. I did buy the Vogue DKNY dress to make. for a once a year dress up dinner my DH has through his work. Now the question is, will I get it done in time. Your outfits are great you made! Nice job!

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  13. I live in stripey Ts and jeans (or shorts during summer) all weekend too - it's almost like a uniform.

    I've enjoyed seeing everyones MMJs. It's made me realise the benefit of including a few more staple pieces (like a beignet). So I'm mpw reassessing my sewing plans.

    But it is nice to sew up pretty things too - even if they might not get worn quite so often.

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  14. 100 people? Wow! That's fantastic. I'm all about making clothes for myself that are comfortable and easy to wear. But that Green Tea dress is so beautiful I'm tempted to try one!

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  15. I love sewing things I can wear everyday---it's so much more exciting. You can do lots of fun and elegant touches on everyday clothes (I recently made a set of capris with a ton of piping) and it's terribly satisfying. Although I love wearing my fancy stuff too, I really adore the feeling of getting dressed in the morning and reaching for me-mades not just because I can, but because they're better for the day than the store-bought.

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  16. i wear handmade clothes nearly every day (i didn't officially follow me-made-june but halfway through the month i realized i had unintentionally followed it anyway! lol!), but it's all pretty much nice office clothes. not super super nice like career-woman, but definitely a step above getting a beer with my friends at the corner bar. in my defense, i have been trying to increase my work wardrobe because i found it pretty lacking - in the event that i do buy clothes (which is rare, unless they are used), i only buy stuff that is work-appropriate.

    at any rate, i have a few pairs of shorts i've made & an entire arsenal of revamped tshirts. i need to make more casual dresses, though.

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  17. Tilly, I know we have quite different body types, but I can buy most of my clothes: most pants fit me, most suits fit me, tops, skirts, exercise clothes, etc.  I cannot find casual dresses I like, though (they often tend to be rayon), so I make dresses & skirts in crazy fabrics because I can’t find those items in stores.  So I don’t have a problem w/ you making dresses only!  One thing I’m really considering is making light wool dresses for winter.  I can’t find anything like that (though I can find wool suits).  Also, I don’t mind dressing up everyday…I like to look nice & I rarely take part in the library’s casual Friday.  I guess my take is you’re overthinking this hobby!  Just enjoy & make what you want is my advice. 

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  18. All sorts of interesting comments above! From reading your blog up to now I would never have guessed that work for you is jeans & T shirt! I too have been focusing more on the casual element of my wardrobe, but do dress up for work, so get chance to wear pretty tops & snappy skirts. I agree with Law on the one hand, that making clothes for the love of them brings the most pleasure. I'm finding that the more sewing I've done, the more I plan to cover my gaps. In the last month I think I've made at least 3 plain casual items to go with the many hand made printed beauties competing with each other in the wardrobe! I'm aiming for a totally handmade wardrobe, so am motivated by something different now than I used to be. Whilst I allow myself to become diverted & make something for the love of it, I do mainly try to plan & keep to a colour palette. And I still love it!
    By the way my blog is now back on line, its address has changed slightly, pop around for some cake,
    http://scruffybadgertime.co.uk
    (There's no /wp on the end anymore!)

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  19. Hmm. I'm actually trying to make more dresses (but semi-practical), mostly because I also can't help the bright colours and patterns, and that's less of a problem if I don't have to match pieces up to make an outfit. With a great love of vintage and historical, where I most have to reign myself in is making floor length skirts and corsets, haha. When I think of a project, I try to say "ok it's pretty, but can I work in it?", and if the answer is no, is it worth making for just weekend wear?

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  20. I got into sewing because of all those fancy retro dresses I saw on the internet that I couldn't afford to buy. Over a year later, though, I've actually only made one (and a half, though the half went to my sister) of them. Self-Stitched September last year convinced me to get more daily life with my sewing and by now I've added almost enough separates to last me for a couple of weeks. I really want to get back to those dresses, though. Summer is the best excuse to wear them! :)

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  21. I find it hard to keep my wardrobe balanced, because I go off on benders and make things I love, before I realise whether I have a need of them or not. I made two of the most gorgeous maxi dresses out of cotton silk two summers back, but they are so fabulously fabulous they are really only suitable for weddings and really posh occasions. And then when I DID go to a wedding this summer gone, I wore a maxi I rehashed from a "High St" shop, as I realised that my good dress was see through and the venue was surrounded by full length windows hehehe. So practical isn't always in it, although I do knock up trousers and tops and things for work too. And I love frock coats, but as I work in corporateville and am expected to make an effort, this is a good thing! :)

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  22. I love to wear dresses and skirts - they are my wardrobe staples. I tend to sew casual / smart casual items as those are the things I love to wear daily. I thrift knits (t-shirts, etc.) as I detest sewing with stretch fabrics.

    My Building a Lifetime Wardrobe project was born from my need to sew items that are practical and wearable: http://www.rhinestonesandtelephones.com/2010/11/building-lifetime-wardrobe.html

    I love your creations, Tilly!! Your red Beignet and your 1970's Simplicity brown dress are my favourites! :) Love, love the newest Green Tea Ceylon, too!

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  23. I veer toward casual, but I have my fancy moments :-)

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  24. Do I make fancy clothes or every day clothes?

    I make fancy clothes and wear them every day!

    I used to always wear slacks and a button up blouse to work, but now I'm in a homemade dress at least 2x per week.

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  25. I like shopping for tops and pants, so I do tend to sew skirts and dresses. I try and sew with fabrics that are not easy to find in ready to wear. I wear the skirts I sew the most; the dresses are hit and miss -- sometimes I make one and wear it lots, while other times, it just doesn't work out. My husband did point out though, that with bought dresses, the same things happens. I wear dresses to work often, but that perfect 'day' dress is an elusive creature and a delicate combination of fabric choice, shape, and the ability to layer a jacket or cardi. I would like to branch out to shirts and tops, but as I do not sew with stretch fabrics, I tend to buy these more.

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  26. Much as I know I need to make things like trousers, I find myself making dresses. Lots and lots of dresses. Especially 1950's dresses. Love them! (I tell myself there's no such thing as too many vintage styled dresses in your wardrobe. Right?)

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  27. Hi Tilly On my first year of sewing, I didn a lot of fancy dresses just because ,as yourself, I love prints, lovely details etc.. then I decided that would be making a different garment every time to try something else. I made already 1 pair of trousers(I teach some trickson my blog), 3 tops, 3 skirts and 4 dresses. My goal is to make a jacket and a cape... I will continue to make dresses in between because i just love them !

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  28. My usual sewing is kinda casual although sometimes I feel that I'm over dressed when I wear these things. I have to say that I haven't really worn a dress (or skirt for that matter) in years... but I love them! I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal but since coming back to sewing I lust after pretty dresses. I have bought several patterns to make both modern and vintage dresses in last couple of months. All I have to do is make sure I wear them once they are made.

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  29. I find that I enjoy buying a special occasion dress, but hate shelling out for everyday layering basics - so my sewing plans include mastering some basic patterns that I can make repeats of.

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  30. I'm definitely with you on the sewing of dresses and such. I am always more drawn to pretty things when I sew, rather than practical things. For example, I came across the blog "Tanit-Isis sews", where she makes her own jeans, and they look GOOD! I mean not homemade.
    I am a relatively new sewer, so I don't think I would trust myself with making my very own pair of jeans. It would most likely be a disaster! But maybe someday I will sew some more practical things!!!

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  31. Ooh, I love your green tea dress; it's one of the loveliest versions of seen of that pattern so far... I tend to swing between extremes--either very fancy pieces (I especially like learning to make tailored clothes, although I don't have much opportunity to wear them in my very hot climate) and very, very everyday things like tank tops. But I love fashion exactly because it's like playing make-believe, and I also wonder if blogging has encouraged more fancy sewing. Since many of us blog about our sewing/clothing as much as we actually sew, perhaps we're also participating in a little performance art with an online audience. I love that.

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  32. I prefer to make more everyday items, like to have plenty choice in my wardrobe! Altho I just make a dress for a wedding I went to, unfortunately the fabric was so old I dont think it'll stand up to another outing, so I'm going back to casualwear for now! :)

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  33. I sew things that I can wear everyday. I hate working with slippery fabrics (which is mostly what fabrics I choose for my "fancy" projects). I usually sew staples like skirts and high-waisted trousers, and I like sewing dresses. I also do mini-SWAPs by myself one season ahead so I have at least a few "new" things to wear for next season.

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  34. great job on all the stuff you've made! i love that red red dress! now i've put some patterns in my etsy shopping cart. gotta buy and try making some skirts for myself now!!!

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  35. I've been making cotton sundresses (I live in Austin and it's HOT!) and that's practically all I wear all summer. They're casual and have fun prints, and yet they look pulled together. I use Simplicity 5626, which is an awesome vintage pattern from the 70's. Nice A-line skirt.
    I did go through a period of making sheath dresses, but found I just wasn't wearing them all that often!

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  36. Definitely fancy. Sewing casual clothes doesn't seem to get the same return on investment.

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  37. Sunduri Das! That's exactly what I was trying to say...sewing casual clothes just doesn't give the same return on investment. Thanks!

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  38. I love reading your blog, and everyone's responses :-)
    I've run the whole gamut of sewing, really. I used to sew the fancy stuff and wear them every day, as well as more casual garments. My tastes changed a few years back and I now dress in a quieter way - eg if I sew a fancy top I'll wear it plain trousers or skirt, saving the fancier garments for more 'fancy' occasions.

    I occasionally sew basics if I find the right fabric, (which is hard around here), but it bores me to tears. Happily the op shop usually has plenty of them, so at least I get the satisfaction of op-shopping for them!
    I've taken to sewing more fancy clothes for friends and family lately and that helps satisfy the fancy-sewing-cravings while preventing my wardrobe from groaning too much with beautiful special clothes I sadly don't have much practical use for.

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  39. LOL - So far I'm the polar opposite of you. I've mostly sewn casual clothing and things that are perfect for work (trousers, blouses and tops). In fact, I just sewed my very first special occasion garment (a dress). And I vowed that sewing more dresses and dressy/high impact pieces (pretty dresses, bright colors, and fancy details) is what I should focus on rather than casual and work clothes. I guess the grass is always greener...

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