Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Me Made May 2016: roundup and realisations.

 Me Made May (MMM) is an annual event organised by British sewing blogger Zoe, and now in its sixth year. It's a personal challenge for sewists to wear their handmades, and an opportunity to share the sewing goodness online. The idea is that it's an individual challenge, so people can choose their own goals that work for them.

This is the second year that we've taken part at The Drapery. Our own aims were:
- to wear at least one item of 'me made' clothing every day of May (usually more)
- to document our outfits on the days we work at The Drapery, via our Instagram account
- to demonstrate how our garments work on a day-to-day basis rather than just in the 'we just finished this' blog posts
- to inspire our customers with a variety of practical garments/outfits
- to learn about our individual wardrobes: what we reach for, what we need etc.

We've enjoyed following along with others' MMM posts on social media, in particular observing how garments work for others 'in real life'. Jane was even inspired to whip up the Blueprints for Sewing 'Geodesic' top after seeing a number of posts by the designer, wearing her own.

Here we thought we'd share our own reflections on MMM. We'd love to hear any thoughts you may have had from taking part or observing, yourself!
NB: It feels a little indulgent writing about this as if it's life-changing stuff. I guess what we really want to promote here is conscious consumption, the awesomeness of handmade clothing, and feeling good about yourself :) 

I tend to have a 'uniform'
Once I got over my cringe factor about being photographed in the same outfit again, I found that quite liberating. At the moment my 'uniform' revolves around either the Marilla Walker Roberts Collection overall-dress (two, blue denim and dark linen), or the Pauline Alice Rosari Skirt (one, in dark denim), both worn preferably with an Alabama Chanin hand-sewn jersey long-sleeved top. In fact I sewed my second Roberts dress during May once I realised how much I wanted to just live in my denim one. And I definitely need to expand on my current collection of two Alabama Chanin tops.
What do I like about a uniform? It's compact and non-wasteful. It makes getting dressed easy. I usually have an outfit or two in which I feel really comfortable and 'well-dressed'. Embracing that as my uniform means I can feel good every day instead of cobbling a different outfit together and spending the whole day feeling just a little awkward. One of the many wonderful things about sewing for yourself is that you can make the same pattern in a different fabric. So it's same-same, but different!

Prints are for summer, plains are for winter.
For me, I mean. This is by no means fashion advice! I do love a pretty, cool or quirky print. But in winter when I'm layering garments, I struggle to make these work. A whole summer dress or simple top worn with denim shorts/skirt can look awesome in a print. In winter I have too many other elements going on (leggings, boots, jacket, scarf etc.) and I find it hard to work prints in there. I have a couple of long-sleeved Deer and Doe Plantain tees made in printed interlocks, and these do not see anywhere near as much wear as my plain tops.

Need. More. Leggings.
I am limping along with a number of pairs that have really, really seen better days and are beyond further repair. They're just one of those boring things to make. But I could at least really use a nice new pair from our charcoal stretch merino.

Back away from the box-shape.
Although I don't mind a time consuming sew now and again, I fully admit to being a card-carrying fan of the quick-result make. Usually for me this means less fussing about with fitting, and so has resulted in a lot of boxy, shapeless clothing in my wardrobe. Seeing those daily MMM photos has made me realise that this is probably not the most flattering look coupled with my wide shoulders. So, on the agenda for me are some gently structured dresses (only gently, though - I like chocolate and I've had two babies!) I've got my eye on the Deer + Doe Belladone, and perhaps another Cardamom dress.

Sew some prints already.
After losing some weight a couple of years ago, I've been all about building up the solid basics in my handmade wardrobe. I'm the kind of person who mostly wears plains anyway, so this approach seemed to make sense. No sense sewing what you know you won't reach for, right? But seeing that daily photo made me utterly bored with myself. So, enough with the solid colours - time to chuck in a few patterns to mix with my usual black, navy and charcoal uniform.

Toasty layers, please.
Ahem, that about prints all said above, there are still a few basics I'm lacking - and the change of our weather in May has bought this into sharp focus. My cardigan inventory is looking sorry (and the Muse Jenna Cardigan pattern has been sitting on my desk being procrastinated around for months to replace a very sad and threadbare old black cardi). A light merino Grainline Lark would be handy for winter layering, too. So yeah, basically - more woolly warmth.

Thanks again for following along with our Me Made May challenge. We've loved playing along and celebrating handmade wardrobe with other sewists. We'll look forward to throwing out a few more self-conscious selfies onto the internet again next year.

- Jane & Fiona xx


  1. Lovely garments! I'm with Jane on the allure of the uniform. I do enjoy getting into a bit of a groove with my clothing choices -- especially on busy days. That said, it can be strangely hard to actually sew that much needed second version of a beloved pattern. I wonder why that is...

    But it's important to keep an eye on wardrobe basics and make them -- you're right about that, Fiona!

    Thanks for sharing this look back on Me-Made May :-)

    1. Thanks for your lovely comments :) I guess the lure of new patterns makes repeating a favourite one a bit less enticing. Also, I often make mistakes in subsequent versions because I'm a bit too relaxed about it!

  2. You guys are too cute! Fiona, I spent the whole month admiring your "plain" "boxy" styles! I think you look great! And Jane, you are killing it with your uniform. So awesome. You know I have my own uniform too, it just makes life simpler!

    1. I think one of the best things about MMM is sharing it with sewists from around the world! And yes, hurrah for the uniform :)


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