Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Me Made May 2022

It's Me Made May time! This challenge is designed to encourage people to make their own clothes and improve their relationship with their handmade wardrobe. You can read about the origins and goals of the challenge here. I wear my me-made clothing frequently and I use this challenge to focus my making. This year while brainstorming with my friend Hillary, we came up with a fun theme for us to play with. We like to challenge each other to up our creative games and this year we are combining quilty goodness into our garment making. 

The intention of Me Made May is not specifically about making new things, but in part about sustainability and reuse. Given the size of my pattern and fabric stashes, using what I have is a focus of the challenge for me.

My goals are to:
1. Integrate pieced, patchwork, quilted elements into what I make.
2. Use from my stash of pre-made, gifted and thrifted base materials. 
3. Use patterns from my out of print, retro and vintage pattern stash.
4. Add more separates.
5. Wear my me made clothes daily.

Most of my time lately has been spent stitching up some of the 100 designs from my upcoming book Represent! Embroidery. What I am able to sew on my machine will largely be dictated by hand fatigue and the need for necessary breaks. 

The first project I want to share with you is this upcycled hexagon quilt top tunic.


A couple of years ago I was given a handmade hexagon quilt top from a friend. When she gave it to me she warned me that it was made using a mixture of polyester and cotton hexagons. She saw the mix was inconsistent and she could not see it selling in her store. She gave it to me and hoped I could use it. 

The quilt top was completely hand-stitched and I appreciated that. In spite of the double-knit polyester bit, it had a funky, scrappy charm. I value the time and effort it took to sew these hundreds of hexagons together.

I am lucky enough to own a few Betsey Johnson sewing patterns and chose this vintage Butterick 4680 pattern.
Due to the age of the quilt top, I inspected it and found there was some damage the needed to be repaired before cutting. 

I used my rotary cutter, mat and pattern weights to cut the fabric pieces. Cutting broke the delicate hand stitches and I feared using scissors would cause me to manipulate the fabric more than I wanted.

There was some inevitable unraveling at the cut hexie seams. I immediately took the cut fabric to my serger to secure those edges. I would not venture into a project like this unless I had the time to cut and serge in one continuous session. Those cut edges are very fragile and I did not want to take any chances.

Once the precarious part was done I sewed the fabric up as I normally would.​ ​This top is unlined. The fabric is very lightweight and airy and I did not want to lose that feel. There is generous ease so the top barely touches my body and where it does, it's not uncomfortable.

I used a cotton cord as the neck tie.

I love the funky vibe of my new tunic.

There is plenty of discussion about repurposing quilts to satisfy the quilted garment trend. I believe in pulling things down from shelves and out of tucked away places. I love to breathe new life into what would have been discarded or ignored. My goal is to celebrate the workmanship of the original piece by making something I will use and love. 

Happy Sewing,