Friday, 30 May 2014

Me Made May: What I learnt

While last year’s Me Made May was great fun, this year I came to appreciate just how useful it can be. I started off the month pledging to wear every item that I had made - that’s one, maybe two, per day. I hoped that the month would provide me with an understanding of why I return time and again to some of my makes and why others have hardly been worn since completion. Perhaps it would offer a suggestion on my style, colours and what is missing from my wardrobe. I’m sorry that I have used old photos to break up the text, I just couldn’t keep up with daily photos when I needed to record how I felt about each item every evening.

Style and colours

I have a couple of preferred silhouettes. I feel at my best when my clothes nip in at my waist and flare out a little below it. My tummy is my weak spot, it is about the only part of my body that I have a bad relationship with. It is not unusual for me to bloat, sometimes by a couple of inches in a couple of hours, and as a result I don’t like bringing attention to my waistline. Having a more fitted look with some flare above or below distracts from my waist. This is why my Ceylon, Winifred, Mae, Miette, Camis and Robson are in constant rotation. I also like the fitted pencil skirt shape and my Emery is getting a reasonable amount of wear because of this. I've also rediscovered my pencil skirt. I generally prefer my dress and skirts to finish at my knees but there are some noticeable exceptions. 

Cadbury Ceylon
Calamity Cami
Hot patterns skirt

However, I can also pull off the loose look when I feel that nipped in is too much hassle or just damn uncomfortable (which it can be at times) and turn to my Lace Laurel, Tova, Alma blouses and Victoria Blazer. This latter look is one that I find very difficult to work with though - more often than not I feel like I am wearing a rectangle rather than an item of clothing!

Beehive blazer

Colour has always been interesting for me and was one of the key points in my challenge last year. I seem to be honing in on my preferred colours: practically every shade of blue and pink, deep and bright purples, and different shades of green, especially teal. Green continues to be the biggest surprise. For some reason I used to really dislike it and wouldn’t go anywhere near the colour - now it seems to be one of my most bought! 

Green Mae
Lace Laurel
Evergreen Robson

I’m not sure what has changed but I feel much more confident and happy wearing all the shades of green (except lime - I can’t pull off lime!) and this is reflected in my recent finished items - the Green Mae, Lace Laurel, Emery and Robson Coat. However, I do find it hard to style green at times. I have a light green skirt that needs some friends - trouble is I don’t really know what to put with it! I have an interesting relationship with neutrals. Black and white feature but mainly because they have to while grey and brown are practically none existent.

Sewing for my lifestyle

How many of you stand in front of your wardrobe every morning and say “I’ve got nothing to wear!”? I do quite often and I’ve realised that this simply isn’t true for autumn, winter and a cool spring. By focusing on the me-made part of my wardrobe I coped very well this month and even tried new to me combinations. It turns out that I do have items perfectly suited to the office and playtime. If I add in my RTW items then I shouldn’t ever find myself uttering those words again during these months. However, I wouldn’t say that I was happy with all of them and this makes all the difference. There is a noticeable difference between my earlier makes and the more recent ones. I made a few mistakes with my fabric choice and the finish on some items isn’t as good as it should be. 

Chiffon blouse

I really dislike my Laurel dress (strong words there but it was the only item I couldn’t take off the hanger!), I don’t really like my white and pink Sorbetto due to the poor neckline finishing and the piling fabric, my Jasmine blouse pulls in an odd direction (I think I may have cut it wrong) and the neckline of my chiffon blouse makes me self-conscious as its poorly finished. I’ve yet to decide the fate of these items.

The few days of warm weather were very welcome earlier this month but they revealed a massive hole in my wardrobe. I have practically nothing that is suitable for summer to wear to the office - everything is too thick, the fabrics too warm or the colours remind me of winter. I have a few plans to correct this, mainly focussing on creating some staple tops and summer skirts, but as ever, it is finding enough time to complete them.

I’ve learnt a lot this month. I feel that I now have a very good sense of what I like to wear and this should make the decision on whether to buy a pattern or a fabric easier. It is so easy to get caught up in the moment without really thinking about whether you will *actually* wear the item and I have been guilty of this in the past. If the pattern or the fabric doesn’t fit the above then I will need to think twice about buying.

Your turn, have any of you found Me Made May to be as useful as I have? 


  1. The teal green really suits you Clare. Me Made is useful for assessing sewing choices - I always try to make things I know I will wear. But sometimes we make mistakes - especially with buying patterns - I buy things that in hindsight won't suit. Office clothes are the hardest to make, I think.

    1. I completely agree that office clothes are the hardest. It is so difficult to strike that balance between what is appropriate and being true to you. I read your post about your style consultation with interest and look forward to seeing how you get on it.

  2. I haven't participated in Me Made May this year as I haven't sewn enough items, but even so, I can see from avidly reading others' posts how it can help to hone your wardrobe and shape future sewing choices. I particularly love your lace Laurel and Cami dress - and your Robson coat is fab. I also love your outdoor photo locations, being that I'm in Oxfordshire too!

    1. Thank you! We're so lucky with beautiful places in Oxford to take photos.

  3. Really interesting post, and I'm glad that you have found the process so useful. I think all of us in the UK probably have the same issue when it comes to summer clothes, I know I really struggled last summer when we had the heat wave. It's difficult though to justify the time and money spent when we get such limited summers!

    1. True but I think I will need to invest in some though - hot days in the office aren't fun with my current wardrobe!

  4. I really admire your handmade wardrobe! I know you regret some choices, but I think that in general you have been able to stick to your style and adapt your garments to your lifestyle (not the other way round!). Blue (especially teal) and pink really suit you, so no wonder they feature so much. And I might be colour blind, but I would swear that a few of your green makes are rather some shade of blue...

    1. You're probably right - I often have discussions over the actual colour of blues and greens! I'm not too bothered by the wrong choices as they have helped me find what I like most.

  5. I love reading your blog and find great inspiration. This post particularly. Having only recently started sewing again after a thirty year hiatus, I am only sewing what I need. Consequently not enough for a me-made May! But I am particularly tempted by your blouses Alma and Mae. Who knows I may yet sew one of each for myself but it is winter here in New Zealand so I am sewing wool and corduroy!

    1. Thanks, Margaret. I'm really pleased that you enjoy my little corner of the internet. Sewing things that you need is really sensible and something that I definitely need to stick to!

  6. Did you make all these things in May? You've been very productive! There's some lovely makes :)


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