a routine

One week of MMM ’15 down! Time flies when you never leave your hobbit-hole. True to my initial me-made-May pledge, I’m NOT wearing a whole lot of me-mades, and when I am, I’m not documenting it a whole lot because let’s be honest, it’s a lot of bloomers and I’m not into showing the internet my upper thighs on the reg. However, also true to my pledge, I have been doing a LOT of sewing – two dresses down, and I’m starting a third today. My days are pretty predictable, but definitely enjoyable. I wake up, study until I go stir-crazy, then sew, and then study a little more. The studying keeps me from having marathon sewing days (which, ironically, were what I think kept me from sewing as consistently as I would have liked), and vice versa.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 11.28.22 AM IMG_1167

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 11.28.08 AM Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 11.27.58 AM

In terms of my makes, which are both currently unblogged: the first one was a (sort of?) wearable muslin of the Anna dress. I had a bit of an issue with print placement (read: there was none), which was a huge brain fart on my part. It did not occur to me until I was piecing the skirt together that maybe I should have tried to line up these stupid stripes. WHATEVER. I’ll post more detailed photos of my horror later. Otherwise I am a big fan of the make, and the dress I’m starting today is another Anna! My other sewing product thus far is an infinity wrap dress that you have seen on every internet bridesmaid ever and will eventually be featured on my bridesmaids(!). More on that to come later, as well. Off to more sewing (:



Late to the party, as per usual. But I’m here! So let’s move on. I spent a lot of time thinking about my MMM ’15 goals, mostly because I’m going to have a weird month. As I mentioned previously, I’m spending most of May studying to take Step 2 of my MD licensing exam, which means that I will be spending most of May at home alone with my cats, not wearing pants. I cannot possibly describe my own level of excitement. However, this isn’t conducive to wearing me-made garments beyond my Madeleine bloomers. For this reason, I think it would be a bit silly to make a rock-solid MMM ’15 pledge to wear me-mades all the time. However, my need for sanity in the form of sewing breaks (in addition to my constant need for more clinic clothes) means that I want to take this month to focus on getting into a groove of sewing more regularly, even when I’m busy.

IMG_1133 IMG_1139

Also, when I’m not at home, I’ll be in one of two very exciting places: Champaign, Illinois, watching my excellent and intelligent sister graduate from undergrad, and Los Angeles, California, checking out the city with David and his padres to see if we could possibly live there for a few years while I do residency. Both of these trips are very thrilling, and very deserving of an excellent me-made wardrobe.

I, Ellie Ryan, of jelliefish crafts, pledge to sew for at least one hour every day of May (with the exception of the days I spend on vacation and thus away from my sewing machine). While on vacation, I will wear something me-made every day.

Ultimately, my goal is to have a couple iterations of the Anna dress (the By Hand London version, not the Frozen version) done by the end of the month. I’m toying with the idea of sewing a jazzed-up version of the Anna as a wedding dress, but I don’t want to commit to anything until I make it at least once. I’ve finished the bodice muslin.

IMG_1142 IMG_1143


Since it’s already Sunday/Monday, I figured I’d do my first roundup post of MMM. I’ve surprised myself with the ease of wearing me-mades over the past few days. Hooray!

me-made-may, week 3

Another seven days, but not quite so many handmade outfits.  Big excuse: the weather in Chicago took a huge turn for the worse (think SNOW in the suburbs on Friday) and I just could not supply the makes to meet the weather. Boo hoo.  Here’s the breakdown of what I wore.

photo (18) photo (17)

photo (16) photo (15)

  1. Sunday, 11 May: it turns out later on I was feeling like wearing something handmade…pajamas!  I didn’t take a picture, but I wore the cat pajamas that I blogged about here.
  2. Monday, 12 May: Not sure how I feel about these two pieces together, but right now this is the only pair of work pants I have that goes with this Sorbetto. Ah well. (More Sorbettos are on their way, woo!)
  3. Tuesday, 13 May: I didn’t wear any me-mades to work, but I came home at noon with a migraine and spent the rest of the day in my other pair of Madeleine mini-bloomers (thank goodness I have multiple pairs of those!) Today was also unphotographed because I could not keep my right eye open for a majority of the time I was awake.
  4. Wednesday, 14 May: After feeling pretty gloomy about not putting on a me-made garment, I realized that the trench coat I’ve been wearing to clinic almost every day qualifies (by my definition) as a me-made.  I bought it at Salvation Army for $6 in 2006, but it stayed unused (because it was such a creepy flasher length) until 2011 when I decided to shorten it. It was my first real project where I was like “I’m going to learn to sew beyond just forcing my mom to hold my hand through a pair of pajama pants!!!!!” and you can really tell.  It is veeeeery lopsided. But you know what?  I don’t have any eyeballs near my knees, neither does anyone else that can talk, and this coat is perfect for this weather.  Take that, I say to my inner judgmental sewing anxiety voice. Take that.
  5. Thursday, 15 May: Another day in the trench coat.  It was so cold that I also wore my white coat under the trench. As you can see by the weird shape of my hips under the coat, my pockets were totally full.  Welcome to third year.
  6. Friday, 16 May:  Just my Regina hat and the trench (again) today.  This was the day it snowed in the suburbs – so miserably cold.  As you can tell, I look pretty unimpressed with the fact that a wool hat was a necessity in mid-May.
  7. Saturday, 17 May: Unphotographed, but I wore my Renfrew tee today while David’s friends came over and brewed beer.


Weeks 1 and 2 (well, more like 1 and 0.5-ish) of MMM-14 are done!!  I’ve actually been surprisingly successful at wearing my creations, even though I don’t have a whole lot of them (so there are some repeats) and it is colder than all get out in Chicago right now, and most of my makes are warm-weathery things. Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve sported thus far.  (Sorry for the crappy quality of photos, but I am so not into being photographed every morning at 7:15 AM, and I also don’t have an Instagram, or a smart phone for that matter, so these are all taken on my boyfriend’s iPhone so I can email them to myself easily. Thanks boyfriend.)

(I feel like I should clarify: I’m counting “me-made” as anything I have either made from scratch or modified beyond stuff like simple hemming.)

Anyway!  Allons-y, and welcome to my messy bedroom with unfinished artwork on the walls.  I also suck at taking selfies.

photo (2) photo (1)

photo (4) photo (5)


photo (13) photo (12)

photo (11) photo (10)

photo (7) photo (6)

  1. 1 May: Renfrew top
  2. 2 May: skirt sewn from Simplicity 1873
  3. 3 May: doodle-shoes copying a design I saw on some Miu Miu flats
  4. 4 May: doodle-shoes inspired by henna designs
  5. 5 May (a cheat day): my cat pajamas
  6. 6 May: repeated my Simplicity 1873 skirt (it is just too darn cold for all my summery skirts, sigh)
  7. 7 May: Simplicity 2588 in batik, my first real independent make!
  8. 8 May: Banana Republic pants which I cropped
  9. 9 May: Pleated skirt
  10. 10 May: Lady Skater dress
  11. 11 May: No me-mades today(!) I just wasn’t feelin’ it.

I am really pleased about how MMM is going thus far: I’ve actually succeeded at wearing something me-made (almost) every single day (I’ll be honest, I only put on the cat pajamas out of a sense of obligation, but whatever) and I’m getting compliments on what I’m wearing, which is hugely life-affirming and all that.  These past few weeks have also really helped me think about where I have holes in my wardrobe.  Conveniently, MMM coincides with a time where all of a sudden, I need to wear a LOT of professional clothes, all the time (whereas before I was wearing them once or twice a week, tops, and I basically wore no pants at all, ever, for the entirety of March and April – the perks of studying for boards alone in your apartment).  I really see where the holes are in my wardrobe – SEPARATES.  Specifically, bottoms that don’t make me feel like “bleh, winter” but also are work-appropriate.  So instead of making another Simplicity 1873 dress in some grey poly poplin I have, I think I’ll convert it into a skirt.  The light grey will look nice and summery, and I’ll have something besides a couple pairs of trousers to wear with my blouses.  I’m thinking of doing a Sorbetto with short sleeves with the leftover grey fabric.  Hooray sewing! Hooray MMM! Also hooray contrived song puns as post titles!

(On another hooray, I PASSED STEP 1. Yee!)

tee bee tee

I’m doing the Internet right, right?

As I sport more of my makes during MMM, I uncovered one that I made before this blog was even a twinkle in my eye – the first dress I ever made, and also coincidentally my first ever independently made object!  When my mom gave me a sewing machine for Christmas, she gave me the very solid piece of advice that I should choose a relatively simple dress pattern, some fabric I liked (but didn’t like too much) and just dive right in.  So I picked Simplicity 2588 and a pink-and-tan batik print, and then began my trial by fire.  The result was actually surprisingly good! Some parts are weirdly puckered in places, and I refuse to look at the lapped zipper for fear of getting irrationally angry with myself (invisible zips 4eva), and I may have shed a few tears over the princess seams, but I really like this dress!  It fit pretty well (well, four sizes below my recommended size on the pattern envelope fit pretty well) with no modifications, something that definitely hasn’t always happened for me.


Here’s the dress in its just-finished glory, more than two full years ago. Ugh, time flies. There is my icky old undergrad apartment kitchen in Evanston, and I cannot believe how much hair used to be attached to my head. Ahh I sound old! I guess I can’t even do a “cool youth” Internet hastaggy thing without sounding like a nostalgic old lady. Newspapers and milkmen and walking to school uphill both ways in the snow!  Get off my lawn. The end.

me-made-may, and a few sewing milestones

Oh my.  I’m not even sure where to start, y’all.  (At the beginning, I suppose.)  Guys. Gals. Everyone. I sew SO SLOWLY. The good folks at Merriam Webster should consider putting the word “slewly” into the dictionary to describe my sewing habits.  No task, no matter how simple, goes quickly for me.  I have never made anything in one sitting…until now.  And to top it all off, the first thing I ever made in one sitting was also MY FIRST KNIT FABRIC GARMENT.  Oh mylanta, it was a good day in Ellie Craftingland (population: 1 (and one cat) and immigration services are pretty unwelcoming). This is the lovely Renfrew top, a pattern I purchased 100% because of the cowl neck version but I don’t intend to sew until it gets cold again (never mind the fact that it is still really freaking cold in Chicago).



The construction process was very simple, and I can see myself making about a bajillion more of these.  I probably won’t add the waistband or cuffs on following versions, especially the short-sleeved cut.  I have some more knit fabric and next up is a Lady Skater (or two, hooray)!   All of these projects will contribute to my stash of clothes for Me-Made-May, in which I’ll be participating this year.  I think my goal for the month is something handmade at least three days a week.  I’m so excited that I finally have enough hand-makes to participate!



On another note, if you look closely in the photo above you can see my veiny arms and where they were poked multiple times today in the name of education. We learned how to put IVs into patients…by doing it on each other.  No fainting, and only one arm bled everywhere.