Me Made May-ness

The commitment was made.

I, Denise Dooley of sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear one me-made garment each day for the duration of May 2015.

In previous years, seeing others Me Made May projects was inspiring, and I was always impressed with so many makes. This is my first year as a participant, finally having enough Me Made clothes.

Focusing lately on making more casual wear, I just made the easiest skirt ever!The Easy Knit Pencil Skirt from the Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book. No darts, no zipper. It’s 2 seams, elastic and a hem, but it can show off the right fabric.


Gretchen was wearing this skirt when she signed my book at the last year. The fabric was gorgeous and it looked great on her.


Based on the measurements, I traced off an 8. The first attempt was wearable muslin, with a little twist. The fabric for the muslin was a power mesh meant to be used in shapewear. If I was going to wear this body hugging skirt, a little support was in order.

Laying out the pattern on the center fold to remove about 1 1/2 inches, I was hoping for a body firming fit.  With the side seams basted, I found the pattern had just a little more curve at the upper thigh than I do.  The waist and hips were a good fit, I just graded the seam in 1/4 inch along the thigh.


After sewing the side seams with a stretch stitch, I pressed the seams to one side and zigzagged the seam allowance down. The waist and hem were just folded over and zigzagged. Since the fabric was already all stretch, with a snug fit, I did not add elastic at the waist.


With the support wear done, I moved onto the skirt.

The fabric is a could not resist it, digital print neoprene from Haberman Fabrics. It has a nice stretch, no raveling  and is easy an easy sew. It only took 3/4 of a yard to make the fastest skirt ever.


I cut the skirt with the size eight, just grading out the 1/4 inch at the thigh. Then sewed the side seams with a stretch stitch, pressing the seams open. To finish the waist, elastic zigzagged to the inside folded over, then tacked down by stitching in the ditch of the side seams. Add the hem and the skirt is done.


This was my day 1 outfit for Me Made May.


The top was a wearable muslin of the Boatneck Top, also from the same book and almost as fast to make. I used the size 8, but my second version I cut with 1/2 inch removed from the center fold line for a better fit.

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The hardest part of Me Made May has been getting photos each day, I’m getting pretty tired of myself. 30 days of this, really? 10 days down, 20 more to go.

Day 1 – Skirt- Gertie’s Quick Knit Pencil Skirt in digital printed neoprene from Haberman Fabrics, Top – Gertie’s Boatneck Top in cotton knit from

Day 2 – Skirt- refashioned wedding dress, Top – vintage 1964 McCalls 7584 in stretch satin from Haberman Fabrics, Royal Oak, MI.

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Day 3 – Combined Vogue 8766 and 5982 in cotton from Satin Moon, San Francisco.

Day 4 – McCalls 5927 in Liberty print lawn from L.A.Fabrics in Toronto, Canada

Day 3  Day 4

Day 5 – Pattern Review Winter Street Dress in poly knit from Haberman Fabrics.

Day 6 – Self drafted skirt in poly-cotton from JoAnn.

Day 5  DSC_0219

Day 7 – Vogue 8993 in embroidered eyelet from Mood Fabrics.

Day 8 – Shirtwaist dress from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing in black chambray from Changed the collar to a ruffle.

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Day 9 – Simplicity Threads 2592 in cotton from L.A. Fabrics, Toronto.

Day 10 – Vogue 8998 in poly blend from Haberman Fabrics.

Day 9  Day 10

I’ve been posting on daily on Pinterest

and Instagram

The best part of Me Made May has been seeing so many great makes on blogs, Pinterest and Instagram. Leave me a link if you’ve been posting.




Sew Fun Sewing Expo

Last weekend was the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan. It was their 20th year anniversary and my 5th year attending. How could I have not heard about the first 15 years?


I always enjoy the classes and shopping, but this year I was part of a focus group with The McCall Pattern Company. The company includes Vogue, Butterick, McCall’s, and Kwik Sew patterns and their new president is emphasizing connecting to their customer. 101_0470Leading the group was the company’s Retail Promotions Manager, Kathleen Wiktor, who gave us some company background. Their New York office has only about 70 employees and many have been with the company for 20 years or more. There are just a few women who sew all the garments seen in the pattern books and, of course, everyone loves sewing and fashion.

Our group had a range of age and sewing experience and Kathleen asked us about our pattern buying habits (yes, everyone waits for sales), what we like to sew (the lone spoiled brat who only sewed for herself was me), our complaints with patterns (sizing and fit) and of course, what we were looking for in patterns.

Over the next year we should see some changes, with each division taking on a distinct brand image, Vogue may be for the young trendy sewer, Butterick more classic, McCalls having more beginning level and Kwik Sew, well what else, quick. The Vogue Patterns magazine is also being redesigned (a previous editor has been brought back and oops, someone was let go), we should see a difference in the December/January issue.

Talking about sewing was a great way to spend the afternoon and Kathleen was genuinely interested in what we had to say. To top it off, she gave us $50 Amex gift cards and a tote bag with a few patterns and notions. Bonus!

McCalls booth

The next day I stopped by their booth and bought a pattern, just because she was so nice. I also had a chat with Randy Peterson, Vice President, Manufacturing. McCall’s prints the patterns of over 70 independent pattern companies at their facility in Manhattan, Kansas. Someday, in my dreams, I’ll design a pattern and have it printed. At least now I have the price list.

More to come from the Expo.