Me-Made May 2017

This was the first year that I participated in Me-Made May. I’ve been aware of it for a few years and sort of ‘played along at home’, but since I wasn’t using social media it was really just me at home picking out handmade stuff to wear! This year I signed up officially, and pledged to do the following: 1. Wear at least one item of handmade clothing every day in May. 2. Make at least one pair of knickers. 3. Use the process to reflect on which clothes I reach for most often, and which I could consider refashioning or recycling for me or my children. So here’s how I got on…

Goal 1 was pretty straightforward, as I already wear me-made every day. I didn’t want to repeat outfits, so it did make me reach to the depths of my wardrobe to find things that I don’t wear as often (and was helped by the indecisive weather, as I wore sweatshirts and sundresses on different days!) Here are two dresses I don’t wear often, that each got an outing:

Goal 1 also helped me to realise what I want to wear, as there were days when I just automatically reached for something I’d already worn in the month, and then had to look for something similar instead. So I shall be sewing more of my favourite patterns, and trying to sew things that I know will be worn often.

Goal 2 has been fun! I made only 2 pairs of knickers in the end, one in a woven fabric and one in jersey. I liked both, and will be making more with offcuts from other projects!

Goal 3 has had mixed results. The few things I was considering refashioning went down pretty well on Instagram, leading me to wonder whether I should just try to ‘own’ the look a little more! I did make a few decisions though: my McCalls scuba dress that I blogged about here is going to get chopped down to tunic length; one of my Mesa dresses that is thoroughly pilled but has a pretty design on the reverse is going to become a dress for my daughter, and another one where I’m not sure about the fabric may become a couple of pairs of knickers.

So which patterns do I wear most? Check out my pie chart!

 

This tells me a lot: 1. I prefer indie pattern companies; 2. I often wear the same style in different fabrics; 3. I like making and wearing my own designs.

As for what I reach for most often, and where the gaps in my handmade wardrobe are… well, this was the most useful part of the Me-Made May process for me. Time for another pie chart!

 

I have realised I have two very separate wardrobes: a work one and a home one. For work I like dresses with simple shapes, usually in fairly muted tones:

 

For home I like jeans and t-shirts, with sweatshirts or hoodies if it’s cold, and I go for brighter colours:

I have 3 pairs of me-made jeans (including one cropped pair), but clearly I need a couple more pairs if I want to dress handmade every day. I also only recently discovered a love of tunic-length tops (I’ve grouped it in with ‘t-shirts’ here), so that’s another thing to make more of – I’m thinking of using our Lotus pattern, but combining the length of version A with the neckline of version B. Also don’t let the low entry for sweatpants fool you – there was only one day when I wore them all day long, but plenty of days when I wore them before or after whatever I was wearing for the middle of the day!! Another thing not shown on the pie chart is how much of what I wore was in knit fabrics. There were only 3 woven dresses (all Deer & Doe patterns), and jeans. Apart from that, everything was knits. And as you can see, I like wearing pink and blue, and occasionally I even branch out towards purple.

The new garments I’ve made this month are: 6 versions of our new Angelina pattern (the 3 different tops and the 3 different dresses), 2 pairs of knickers, 1 pair of sweatpants, 3 pairs of our Loulou modesty shorts (two for my daughter, and one for myself using the age 14 size! I’ll get a pic up on Instagram soon 🙂 and 2 prototypes of a new summer tank top). I’ve also cut out my next pair of jeans, to be made in June I hope! So now I just need to decide whether I accept that I am not a wearer of skirts, shirts and cardigans, or whether I need to branch out and maybe try some more styles… till next time, thanks for reading!

6 thoughts on “Me-Made May 2017

  1. Maxine Singleton

    Great insight Helen, I love the pie charts, interesting to see the stats behind the wardrobe! I’ve only just signed up to Seamwork but have enjoyed my first project with them so definitely going to work my way through some of their patterns, the Mesa dress being one of them as all of yours look fab! X

    1. valentineandstitch Post author

      Thanks Maxine! I am always drawn towards patterns for knit fabrics, so the Mesa has become a wardrobe staple. I always grade out at the hips to make it more “fitted” than “tight”, and I shorten the neckband too, otherwise I found that it gapes. I have ripped out quite a few Mesa neckbands so I would definitely advise shortening the neckband before sewing!! Look forward to seeing your makes 🙂

  2. Lynsey_makes

    Such a super round up, loving your pie charts and that you have really thought about your wardrobe (I think I should sit and do the same!) I definitely need to work on jeans as they are my staple piece but I’m totally scared of them! Seeing photos of what I’m wearing is quite strange but I think it’s helped me see what suits me better.

    1. valentineandstitch Post author

      Thanks Lynsey! Yes, I wanted it to be about assessing what I wear, not just a series of selfies. It was really useful, and interesting to see what other people thought looked good on me compared to what I felt comfortable in. Sometimes the most positive comments were about things I was unsure of! Like you I love florals and colours, I didn’t realise how much until I saw all those photos grouped together on my IG page. Don’t be afraid of jeans – the only big issue is that they take a long time (I did my first pair in one long 8-hour sitting, having cut and prepped all pieces in advance). So if you’re doing it in short bursts (as I have with my other pairs) then for me at least it’s a week when I can’t sew anything else. But that’s OK, because you end up with perfectly fitting jeans at the end of it! I don’t think you’d have any problem with the sewing, having seen your Luzerne trench 😉

      1. Lynsey_makes

        I also found that with the items I was unsure on, it’s funny how that works?? I think I should have a wardrobe sort out and take out the things I don’t feel happy in. Great to know about the jeans, I will definitely put a decent amount of time aside when I’m ready to give them ago and buy some cheaper fabric for a toile and some better fabric so I can start them straight away 😊 Thank you your vote of confidence 😘

        1. valentineandstitch Post author

          That is funny, maybe one photo just doesn’t show that we might feel a bit awkward in something… Or maybe things look better than we think! With jeans, they actually need far less fabric than I realised (1.2 metres for me, less than 1m for crops!) so you may not even have to worry about cheap fabric for a toile! My first pair I made out of a 107cm remnant that cost me £7 – definitely the cheapest pair of jeans I’ve bought!! Looking forward to seeing your first pair of jeans when you decide to go for it 🙂

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