What I learnt from MMMayPlus2020

For Me Made May this year, I pledged to take photos of my outfits and not repeat any outfits and I mostly managed to make good on those aims, apart from on the weekends when I would often wear lounge-wear for most of the weekend whilst sewing or cooking.

I found the month much easier to get through thanks, in no small part, to working-from-home! I shared photos over on my instagram grid and in my stories and although my photos from the month were pretty un-inspiring on the whole, I did have some interesting takeaways about my me-made wardrobe during the month.

Thing I learnt during Me Made May

Flynn Jacket
  1. I have so many more me-made clothes that I love now! I was so much happier wearing me-made this May than I was last year during my first MMMay!

2. I feel a lot more comfortable with the style of clothes that I’m making. I’ve found a lot more patterns that feel like ‘me’, instead of simply being things that came in my size, or which were ‘flattering’ but not something I really wanted to wear.

3. My clothes are so much better made than a year ago! They fit better, they’re better finished (neater inside and out), and they look less ‘home-made’ and are generally much more appropriate for work!

Nullabor Cami

4. Working from home makes it easier to get dressed! May is Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and I found it much easier to ‘pick an outfit’ while I was working from home. Whether I’m planning to dress warmly for my commute or wear waterproof because it’s raining out, it all adds a stressful dimension in the morning. Most days I didn’t even look up the weather before getting dressed.

5. Picking shoes is my kryptonite! I have shoes that I love to wear, and which work well in summer with my pants (which are mostly cropped). I basically didn’t wear shoes for the whole month of May and I realised how much easier it was to plan outfits when I wasn’t having to pick shoes to go with them!

Waikerie Shirt

6. I should explore more texture combinations! I’m quite particular, and generally have a lot of strong feelings about things, and I’ve always really struggled with combining linen and tencel textures, especially if the smooth/tencel fabric was on the bottom.

7. I still have wardrobe orphans to work on! And there are some items that I need to try to match with more items to make them more versatile! My natural-coloured linen Glebe Pants are my wardrobe work-horses and I’d like to have a few more pairs of pants which are as flexible.

Marsala Pembroke


8. I do still have wardrobe gaps. Even though I’ve got lots of clothes, the cooler weather kicked me in to action to finally sew up some of the cool-weather clothes like merinos that were appropriate for layering, and I’m still on the hunt for the perfect winter coat pattern too.

In other great news, my May was also filled up with the joy of coordinating a blog full of amazing fat sewing voices over at www.FatSewing.Club and at @FatSewing.Club on Instagram. Do take a look!

Marsala Merino Pembroke

Marsala Pembroke

I cut out this Cashmerette Pembroke and sewed it up over the course of a couple of hours last night, after many months of thinking how nice it would be to have a merino turtleneck in exactly this shade (a perfect match for my marsala linen Zadie Jumpsuit)

Marsala Pembroke

This Marsala Premium Merino from The Fabric Store has been burning a hole in my stash and was purchased in anticipation of being used on the winning pattern from my ‘perfect merino turtleneck throwdown‘ back in April. I got some great feedback from Jenny from Cashmerette about some changes to the pattern for my next version, but since that required printing out a new version of the pattern (I never trace), I just went ahead and made exactly the same version as when I toiled the pattern.

I sewed a pretty ‘straight-from-the-packet’ Cashmerette Pembroke I sewed a size 20 at the bust, grading out to a size 22 by the hips. Although there was a lot of wrinkling in my previous version, this merino is a lot heftier and I like the end product a lot more than I did my test version.

Marsala Pembroke

Sewing knit necklines is my nemisis, so sewing on a turtleneck is the perfect way to skip that headache. I can definitely see myself making at least another couple of these in a few different colours, especially since I think they’ll be perfect for layering under summery linen makes.

Nullarbor Cami

Nullabor Cami
A rayon Nullarbor Cami and tencel Glebe Pants

Today we’ve released our Nullarbor Cami and Dress Pattern for pre-sale!

Leila and I have got lots of patterns in the works right now, and this cami top and dress is one of them. There’s 3 views in this pattern: a cami cut on the straight grain, a bias cut cami and a bias cut dress and the great thing is that the pattern takes so little fabric!

I made this bias cut cami from 1 metre of a 150cm wide remnant! I’m also planning to make a bias cut dress which will only use 2 metres of 150cm wide fabric for my size.

Nullabor Cami

The cami has bra-friendly straps, if you care about that kind of thing and I’m keeping my eyes open for remnants of fabric, whereas before I really thought there wasn’t much I could do with a metre of fabric!

I just popped together an email newsletter for the Muna and Broad subscribers, and they’ve received a discount code to get the pattern. Sign up here to get the code!

Week 2 of MMMayPlus2020

MMMay
Left, Willandra Pants with a RTW sweater and McLean & Co scarf, Right a Torrens Box Top and pleated wool Glebe Pants

I think my main takeaway from week 2 of Me Made May is how much my indecision about shoes slows down getting dressed in the morning. Since I’ve been working from home, I haven’t fundamentally changed the things I wear but not having to choose shoes that are the right fit for my day ahead removes a huge burden!

MMMay

A couple of days this week I felt that I didn’t even have the time to head outside my front door and snap some pictures (usually takes me about a minute if that’s an indication of how slammed for time I felt), so I took some even quicker snaps in my cane chair (which I sit cross-legged in as my work-from-home desk)!

MMMay
Left, Nullabor Cami and Glebe Pants (in rayon and tencel respectively) and right is the Waikerie Shirt with Glebe Pants, both in linen.

A couple of days this week, I wore some forthcoming Muna and Broad patterns that I’ve been sewing up over the weekends and evenings in order to ‘wear test’. The Nullabor Cami is a forthcoming pattern which uses 1 metre of fabric for most sizes! There’s also an option for a bias cut dress, which uses 2 metres of 150cm fabric at my size (which i’m thrilled about)! The shirt is one of the view available in our forthcoming Waikerie Shirt pattern- I love that I’m slowly building a collection of patterns in my stash that I can use to make the relaxed natural fibre clothes that I wanted so desperately to buy but which weren’t available in my size.

I’m not sure if May will see me return to the office- this could create some logistical concerns for my outfits, both in terms of my no-outfit-repeat pledge, and my indecision with shoes!

Online Fabric Shops in New Zealand

Here’s a little roundup of NZ fabric stores where you can shop online to buy fabrics appropriate for garment sewing! I’m always trying to buy as locally as possible, and shipping from overseas can be agonising (both in terms of wait time and cost), so shopping close to home (and in your own currency) is a great alternative.

I’ve made my favourite shops bold! These are shops that I’ve shopped with and would wholeheartedly recommend!

Updated: 14/5/2020

Ackroyd & Adams (based in Auckland)

They have a selection of different fabrics including merino and cotton knits, denim, cottons and linens

AS Fabrics (based in NZ)

They have a small selection of fabrics (lot of polyester) which are leftovers from Annah Stretton’s factory. They actually charge more for postage the more fabric you order.

Backstreet Bargains (based in Hamilton)

They have a variety of fabrics at very decent prices. They have a system on their website for requesting samples, which you pay for, but I’ve also had luck getting free samples by emailing the store (either way, the samples are very small)

Charming Juno Fabrics (based in NZ)

They have a small selection of garment appropriate fabrics including Robert Kaufman chambray and velveteen, a few printed knit fabrics.

Drapers Fabrics (based in Auckland)

They have a decent selection of what I would describe as trend forward. Samples are available for $1 and shipping is free in NZ for orders over $75

Fabric Fixation (based in NZ)

They have a small selection of garment fabrics, and a lot of quilting fabrics. Their garment fabrics include cotton blend knit, corduroy, fleece and canvas

The Fabric Store (based in Auckland)

They have a selection of consistent colours across their linen, heavyweight linen and merino fabric offerings. In addition to selling designer short ends, they also stock a lot of silk, cotton and corduroy fabrics from Liberty Fabrics in the UK.

Florence & Mary (based in NZ)

They have NZ’s largest selection of Liberty Tana Lawn fabrics (15 pages of the stuff, to be precise)

For Fabrics Sake (based in NZ)

They have a large selection of patterned and plain knit fabrics, organic knit fabrics and a very limited selection of woven, non-stretch fabrics.

Hawes & Freer (based in Auckland)

They have a selection of what you could describe as high-end fabrics and bridal fabrics. They also have a lovely selection of sustainable buttons and a wide variety of interfacings, shoulder pads and lining fabrics. I’ve had success emailing them to ask for samples.

Harmless Solutions (based in NZ)

They aren’t a fabric store, but they do sell a variety of undyed cotton, hemp and bamboo fabrics.

Jones and Taylor (based in Taranaki)

They have a selection of Merchant and Mills fabric, and notions from them too. Their store isn’t well maintained so clicking on ‘Fabric’ won’t show you even half of the fabric which is actually listed. They do have a tidy selection of sustainable buttons.

Levana Fabrics (based in NZ)

They have a large selection of knit fabrics, including cotton, modal and merino knit fabrics.

McLean & Co (based in Oamaru)

Not strictly a fabric store, McLean & Co produce hand-loomed fabric from NZ Wool and you can purchase by the metre.

Miss Maude NZ (based in Greytown)

They have a gorgeous selection of really well curated selection of lovely fabrics, which skew to the pricier end of the scale, but are all great quality. They also have a great selection of notions (including bias binding, fancy elastics, etc).

Moreland Fabrics (based in Hamilton)

They have a large selection of well-priced cottons, corduroys and denims and offer a free sample service via post and free shipping for orders over $100.

New Zealand Fabrics & Yarn (based in NZ)

They have a small selection of garment-appropriate fabric, but are predominantly a crafting store (quilting, needlework, felting, etc).

New Zealand Merino & Fabrics (based in NZ)

They have a wide selection of merino fabrics (lots of blends with poly), as the name would suggest. They do also have a ‘fabrics other than merino’ section which seems to always have discounted remnants.

OTY Fabrics (based in NZ)

They have a small selection of of plain and striped cotton spandex knit fabric

Silks NZ (based in Christchurch)

They have a large selection of silk, silk blends, bridal fabrics and their Christchurch warehouse is open, by-appointment. They do send samples but I’ve found they can get pricey pretty quickly

Stitchbird Fabrics (based in NZ)

They have a limited selection of of garment fabrics (including Nani Iro) and have A Lot of quilt fabrics.

Studio of Sewing (based in Auckland)

They have a small but lovely selection of imported fabric from MeetMILK and Atelier Brunette. They also print PDF Patterns on to A0 and will post direct to your door.

Verdant Design (based in Wellington)

They have a selection of organic garment fabrics including organic cottons and organic cotton corduroys.

Zingara Organic Fabrics (based in NZ)

They have a selection of brightly coloured print and plain knit fabric. Their selection of solid colour fabrics include some bright, jewel tone colours which are hard to find elsewhere.

Have I missed any? I’d love to keep the list updated! Let me know in the comments!