Me Made May 16 – Week 1

me made may 2016

Love the idea of MMM16, or Me Made May, the challenge to wear things you’ve made or refashioned yourself for a month. Not so much the idea of selfies 🙂

This week I experimented with illustration as a way to record and share my MMM16 musings.

Monday: leggings and a thrifted sweatshirt that I refashioned and completely reshaped. I made a mistake and forgot to change my needle to ballpoint and had to unpick a seam when I sewed this, which means that there are some unsightly holes under one of the armholes 🙁 I was thinking I could add embroidery to fix that and give this sweatshirt a second refashion.

me made may 16 refashioned sweatshirt

Tuesday: Denim Adelaide dress, yet to be blogged and a black RTW t-shirt. I’ve had this t-shirt for a long time and I am impressed how well it still looks.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 13.21.05

Wednesday: Self made white t-shirt in self-drafted pattern (yay!) and Adelaide world map vest, together with refashioned jeans.

me made may 16 self made vest and tshirt

Thursday: Traditional Romanian Peasant blouse (called “ie” in Romanian) that I did not make but want to try to make one day and a refashioned high-waisted denim skirt. Not pictured, but worn, self knitted white cardigan.

me made may 16 denim skirt and peasant blouse

Friday: refashioned plaid shirt and black joggers (the fancier word for sweatpants:). I’ve had this shirt for more than 10 years and I wear it almost every week. It might even be one of the first men shirts I restyled.

me made may 16 shirt and joggers

It was also fun to do these illustrations every day 🙂

How is your MMM16 going so far?

New: Sky Turtle Embroidery Patterns

frida embroidery pattern free

Today I’m launching a new series: the Sky Turtle Embroidery Patterns, starting this summer with the ICONS mini-collection. The first of the four embroidery patterns is Frida.

You can download the free embroidery pattern by subscribing to our newsletter here. You’ll instantly receive the download link.

We only email when we publish new content and we will not share your address with anyone else. Next month, you will also receive the new embroidery pattern, right in your inbox!

What’s in the pack?

A high quality printable PDF with the Frida pattern in five different sizes, so you can embroider a tiny logo on a polo shirt, decorate a skirt or embroider a pillowcase.


How to use the embroidery pattern

There are several ways to transfer your printed patter to fabric: you can trace it with a pencil, using a window and the light of day, or you can use tracing paper.

how to trace your embroidery pattern

Another way to transfer your pattern is to print directly on your fabric. I press and then tape the fabric on a piece of cardboard and print as usual. Disclaimer: please use this method at your own risk! I’ve used it a few times, but I am okay with potentially jamming/destroying my printer. In case you are not, better stick with the tracing method 🙂

tracing the embroidery pattern

How to embroider Frida

This embroidery pattern is beginner friendly. You can only use a back stitch if you want. I’ve used satin stitches for her hair and flowers, but feel free to use your creativity.

I recommend using a medium weight woven fabric for this pattern. I’ve embroidered my sample on a gauzy woven fabric and it puckers a little. You could also embroider on a heavier knit or polo fabric.


That’s it. If you use it, I’d love to see the end result!


The problem with sewing as much as you want

pretty alladin fabric

The only problem with sewing as much as you want is that you end up with lots of stuff. Lots of garments you loved to think about, plan out, and make reality.

But how much stuff does one need?

Not so much, I think.

When putting back in storage (finally!) my winter clothes and reviewing my possessions (which I am trying to keep to a certain minimum that still lets me discover new combinations and garments I love and not worn in a while), I realised I have a bit more than I really need.

Do I love everything I sew? I care for all of them, because I made them and I liked making them, but If I could give them away to someone who would enjoy them as much as I do, I would be just as happy. But I don’t feel like giving them away to someone who doesn’t understand their value. Do you know what I mean?

So what do you do with the too many garments you make every season? Do you keep them all? Do you have a friend with similar fashion taste to give them to? Do you just donate them?

I am also curious, what do you love most, the process of sewing or the final result?




A self-drafted floral peplum top

floral peplum top 2

“Oh! A top with flowers”… my partner exclaimed when presented with this blouse.” But you don’t really do flowers…”

And it’s true. I don’t. Normally. Yet when I saw this fabric, a light and fresh cotton batiste it screamed of spring and pretty things. There was still snow on the ground then, but today it feel like a good day to share this without feeling spring will be jinxed and forever banished from Canada.

In a recent post, Portia was writing how sewing enables us to adapt trends (or in this case things that inspire us) and make them work for us. I like that.

floral peplum top 3

And I like how this blouse looks. It’s one of the few self-drafted patterns I that looks exactly like what I wanted. I even did a muslin for this. The construction is simple: a darted bodice that flares a bit from the waist down. The peplum is created with a few rows of shirring. The sleeves are set in and end just above the elbow. The neck opening is large enough to make any zippers or buttons unnecessary, which is a kind of simplicity I really like.

I initially went for 3/4 sleeves, but they didn’t balance well the bodice. It looked strange. Now looking at the photos I am wondering whether the blouse would look better with shorter sleeves… any suggestions?

floral peplum top_1

Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: self-drafted

Things I wish I’d done differently: I could have made it a few centimetres longer.

Fabric: Cotton batiste, 1m  14 CAD

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = 14 CAD



Tie Dye Flared Knit Top


This is actually a short sleeve top I made almost two years ago (!), I just drafted the pattern using a t-shirt I already owned and, instead of cutting the body of the top at the sleeve point, I continued the shoulder line, perpendicular to the neck line. I explained how to create the flare, in the How to make a flared waist tank top blogpost.


The construction is very simple: I first sewed the shoulders seams together, then the side seams. I then finished the flutter sleeves, the neckline and the bottom hem. Very simple and very practical.

Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: self-made. Similar to this one I described here.

Things I wish I’d done differently: Maybe use a more drapey knit?

Fabric: 1.1 meters tie-dye knit I bought in Barcelona for maybe a couple of euros.

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = a couple of euros 🙂

DIY Natural Beetroot Dyed Easter Eggs

pink pastel easter eggs colored naturally with beetroot

If you’d like to paint eggs in a natural way this Easter, you could try this quick tutorial.

I first grated the beetroot and boiled it until it was done. If you don’t want to grate it, you can also cut it into chunks.

easter eggs with beetroot

I strained the beetroot, mix it with carrots and mayo and made a side salad 🙂 I kept simmering the remaining dye for 10 more minutes.

In the meantime, I boiled the eggs. You can also boil the eggs in the beetroot coloured water! I think the colour would stick much better (and they’ll be pink inside as well 🙂

how to color easter eggs with beets

I then mixed the natural dye with vinegar and let the eggs absorb some of the colour for about half an hour.

naturally colored easter eggs

The result is a pale pink, but I find it a great way to reuse what you have around the kitchen!


How to make a flared waist tank top (pattern drafting basics)

self drafted tank top

I wanted to show you a very easy pattern drafting for a top that flares from the bust down. To draft this, I first traced around a tank top I already owned and fit me well. The best top to trace from is a top in a similar fabric than the one you are going to sew you new top. If you’re using a woven fabric for your new top, use a woven fabric old top. If you’re using a stretchy knit, the more similar the stretchiness in your RTW (ready to wear) to your new fabric, the closest the fit will be for your new garment.

So, as I said, I just traced the tank top (you can use a t-shirt as well) for parts 1 and 2 in the pattern below and then for the pattern piece number 3, I added a curved wedge to the side.

You can move where the flare starts by marking your bust point on the pattern or have the flare start from the waist for a peplum effect. You can make it just a little bit flared, or design a very dramatic flare.

If you extend the top you can create a very simple trapeze shaped dress.

how to make a flowy tank top

That’s it for today. Happy sewing and pattern drafting 🙂

Later edit: I see that Caroline Amanda also published a hack of the Sewaholic Renfrew top, but in her wonderfully explained tutorial, the volume starts at the shoulders, and not under the bust like my top. Fun stuff!

Thick knit long sleeve tunic (a Mesa pattern hack)


If you’ve been reading my blog before, you might have noticed a lot of Mesa Love. Mesa is a basic, yet beautifully shaped, t-shirt dress pattern from from Seamwork Magazine. I love Seamwork Magazine. I love the simpler lines and how easy it is to modify them. It’s easy to be creative with a good base.

Other Mesa-based garments I made:

Magenta knit mesa dress (no alterations)

Green textured knit mesa (modified)

For this long sleeve tunic I changed the neckline a bit by bringing in closer to the neck (to make it less boat-neck-shaped) and then lowered it a few centimetres.


I lengthened the sleeves to make for a long sleeve top and I shortened the dress to just under the hip.

I used a double knit I found in the scrap bin at Fabricland. I like the scrap bin because I don’t feel so bad using beautiful fabric when I hack into patterns and try something new. I also aim to make garments that I will wear a lot and I only keep what I love, so this makes me feel a bit better if I have to end up donating a garment that looks good but I know I will never wear.

I also don’t make muslins, but rather try to fit as I sew, which is easier for knit fabrics than woven ones. I will aim for a wearable muslin if it’s the first time I work with a fitted pattern for wovens, but if it’s a tried and already customizes to fit my needs pattern, I will take the risk.


Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: Mesa (in my stash). I used an already altered version of this pattern (different neckline and graded in at waist)

Things I wish I’d done differently: cut a shorter neckline band. I want to see if the band will look better after the first wash and press, if not I might have to reinstall it.

Fabric: 1.1 meters textured knit 10 CAD

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = 10 CAD

How to tie dye fabric napkins with blueberries (DIY natural dye)

naturally shibori napkins

Have you ever tried natural dyes? Some of the natural dyes I’ve used in the past are coffee and tea. They give linen and cotton a wonderful vintage look.

This time I’ve tried blueberries. They always stain my fingers and they stained one of my handmade napkins recently, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I first boiled a cup of blueberries in water for around 30 minutes. I strained the berries and left the not dark red looking water, to which I added vinegar and salt to help set the colour on my cotton napkins.

Before submerging them in the dye, I’ve knotted and folded and wrapped my napkins. I wanted to see the shapes the dye would create.

I simmered the napkins in the dye water and then let them dry almost completely. The result is the pretty lavender blue on the napkins in this post.

fabric napkins 3

But does it last?

I didn’t want to use any other chemical than the colour fixative I already had at home (salt and vinegar) but you should be able to make your dyed fabric last longer if you use a mordant.

The napkins kept their beautiful lavender colour until their third wash, after which the fabric turned a light blue. I enjoyed them as they were, but for some people they might just look like stained napkins, which is probably why my partner had decided to use the precious blueberry dyed napkins as cleaning rags when I was away. 😮

So, in short, the result is beautiful, but the dye quickly fades.

fabric napkins shibori

Slouchy, cropped cardigan (knitted)

white knitted cardigan

This is a slouchy T-shirt shaped open cardigan in stockinette stitch. It doesn’t get simpler than this. There’s no ribbing, no shaping, apart from the increase for the sleeves and it’s knitted in a cross shape, from the back piece, to shoulders and sleeves, to the two front pieces.

The fabric is lucky soft white acrylic that looks good over my mesa dresses. Being that the -28 C degrees weather doesn’t permit really permit non-warm layering, this will have to wait until spring, probably.

I keep thinking whether I should ad a closure of some kind or just leave it as it as.

white knitted crop cardigan collage


Oh, I almost forgot!