ME MADE MUSINGS

It only seems a couple of weeks or so since I was writing about my plans for Me Made May…. yet here we are in June already, two months on from when I made my pledge, and it’s been another busy month for me! May mainly coincided with plans to renovate the Distracted Household’s garden in time for the summer. My sewing time was reduced to small gaps around digging and planting; meaning I had the whole month to really consider my me mades.

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

Additionally, I have been working through The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees, and I somehow also managed to squeeze in a visit to the V&A Museum to see the exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams (left). All these things have given me a renewed focus, a lot of inspiration and some excitement for what’s to come next.

This year I managed 19 of the 31 days wearing various items crafted by my own hands, with Mr Distracted stepping in as a ‘one-day substitute’ to make it 20. That’s a significant improvement on last year (which was honestly not a difficult achievement), and I even managed to document each day (check out a few of my favourites below, or the full gallery here).

The days I didn’t participate were mostly days when scruffy gardening clothes were more appropriate than me made, and a couple of days where RTW was just easier and seemed to fit my mood and temperature better.

I’m quite pleased I managed so many days of me made – after last year it felt like an impossible task, but this year it has given me plenty to think about. Here are some of the things I have learnt from the last 31 days; 

FAVOURITE PATTERN:

May’s most worn patterns were the Emmeline, Freya and Mandy tops, but I enjoyed wearing the Collins top and my second self-draft the most!

FAVOURITE COLOURS:

I clearly love bright colours; I’m drawn to interesting fabrics that are, more often than not, patterned and lively! In fact, even my shoe choices are all the colours of the rainbow! But this makes it difficult to pair clothes if EVERYTHING is bright, so I need to consider making some basic items in plain colours so that ‘mixing and matching’ becomes a lot easier.

TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT:

I wasn’t too keen wearing the Pan top by I Am; I love the style, but I don’t think I’ve put in the collar stand very well, and so it doesn’t look it’s best! I also think the size down would be a better fit; I might have another go at this pattern in a drapier fabric, and I might also try and adapt the one I have made to something more wearable for me.

The Ralph Pink Sahara; these shirts never made it out of the wardrobe for May. I love this pattern, but it’s time to face it – I’m too short to pull this look off! I am swamped in fabric, drowning even, constantly tangled. These shirts will either be heading out to a better home or be refashioned into something Esme and Patrick would positively gush over.

I also have a black linen Cassiopee that is too big for me. I know this dress is supposed to be oversized / raglan etc but again I feel like I’m swamped in fabric…and it’s just too good a fabric to waste. This is a definite candidate for a reuse project.

WOVEN OR STRETCH:

Woven, but mainly because I have sewn more and prefer making woven items. The days I reached for RTW were mostly jersey days though, so more stretch garments are on the list! I also want to introduce some softer woven fabrics into my summer wardrobe; maybe some more linen, definitely some more cotton lawn.

YAWN:

Selfies! WHAT. A. CHORE! Thankfully this was just for my benefit and not a requirement of the challenge, but seriously who has time to dedicate to selfies?!

READY TO WEAR DAYS:

These were days when comfy or cosy clothes were called for. Usually just jeans and a t shirt, or a sweatshirt (since the English weather is often four seasons in a day!) - clothes commonly referred to as secret pyjamas! I have a couple of key RTW pieces that I go back to time and again, and so I will be looking for similar patterns to replace them or attempting to take a copy of them so I can recreate the pattern myself.

ME MADE GAPS:              

  • Trousers! I have a couple of sewing patterns for trousers ready to try out, and I’m booked onto a trouser fitting workshop in July so hopefully this will change over the next few months!

  • T-shirts & jersey tops – layering pieces and relaxed fit tees for those days that require comfort.

  • Winter weight items – almost everything I have made is short sleeve, lightweight, summery – which is a big problem for most of the year! 

FUTURE PROJECTS:

I already have an enormous list of patterns and projects to make, but I have been able to narrow down and shuffle to the top of the list the ones that would be most useful right now. I’m definitely planning a couple more Collins tops for the summer, in a smaller size and probably in neutral or co-ordinating colours to wear with my selection of colourful jeans. I also want to make a few more relaxed fit t-shirts and sweatshirts. And of course – trousers! I have also identified a few pieces that I am going to alter / adapt / refashion / reuse / mend etc, to allow them to become part of my wardrobe rotation.

At the same time as Me Made May, I have also been working through The Curated Closet to focus my mind on creating the perfect wardrobe. I notice I’ve become much fussier about what I consider to be a good look since I’ve been sewing, and half of my Pinterest pins don’t appeal to me anymore. I guess this is a good thing, I seem to have naturally honed what I could consider to be ‘my style’. My plan now is to move everything out of my wardrobe into the spare room and only return the items I really use, and then to figure out why I don’t wear the rest!

These two processes combined have really helped me to scrutinise my wardrobe as a whole, and the Dior exhibition has inspired me to step up my sewing game too! Not that I think I’ll be swanning around in couture silk dresses, crystal studded jackets and feather headgear; but the quality of my sewing and my self-drafted garments could well be inspired. The structure to the Dior pieces were incredible. Crisp hem lines, sharp pleats, some near invisible darts…there is a whole room dedicated to just toiles (right) which are a magnificent work of art in their own right (and not a sharpie line in sight)!    

Although April and May have mostly been sewing free, it’s been a worthwhile break. I feel in a much better position to plan projects; I’ve identified some definite future makes, ‘shopped my fabric stash’ to find some suitable fabrics to pair with these patterns and made a shopping list of everything I don’t already have. And in a couple of day’s I’ll be visiting some of my favourite London fabric and haberdashery suppliers, and possibly dragging Mr Distracted along to see the wonderful Dior creations! So my summer makes should be rolling off the machine in no time…well, that’s as long as a random pattern, fabric or project doesn’t accidentally leapfrog the list!

I’ve also enjoyed following along with other sewist’s me mades on Instagram; discovering new creatives to follow, new fabrics to crush on and new patterns to think about trying. Hope you enjoyed Me Made May too; let me know if you learned anything useful or interesting about your handmade wardrobe, or where you find inspiration for your future makes!

Kx