Back in April I took stock of my me-made wardrobe and announced my goal: to wear one handmade or refashioned-by-me item each work day in May. I also had some secondary goals (meaning, things I wanted to try but wasn’t fully committed to): wearing one completely me-made outfit a week; experimenting with styling some of my clothes differently; finishing up some stray projects (a dress, a skirt, some tops); making a couple of light-weight, colored cardigans to get me through the spring; trying a studio faro pattern; evaluating my me-made wardrobe in general. So how did I do?
Main goal: wear one handmade or refashioned-by-me item each work day in May
Result: stunning success
Look at all those outfits! Honestly, I had half an idea that Me Made May would mean wearing the same couple of items day in, day out, until I never wanted to see them again. But I only had one or two days when I wasn’t excited to get up and put on something me-made.
Goal: wear one completely me-made outfit a week
Result: pretty much successful
In the above picture, there are 5 outfits that are entirely made by me. Maybe it didn’t work out as one every week but 5 in a month seems like a win.
Goal: finish up some stray projects (a dress, a skirt, some tops)
Result: half success
I planned to finish several things in May. I actually finished several things in May. There was some overlap. Look, Venn:
(Those unnamed projects in the top left corner are things I started or fabric I bought in May.)
So I finished a lot of things. Way more than I planned. But I didn’t really finish the things I planned to – for example, that plaid fabric is going to be a basic skirt, a skirt which would only take me an hour to make. Luckily, the theme for Make A Garment A Month in June is going to be stash-busting, so maybe I’ll finally get it made…
Goal: make a couple of light-weight, colored cardigans to get me through the spring
Result: half success
I made one cardigan using this free pattern, the bright green one pictured above. It was easy and fast and I will make another soon (with pockets next time). Right after finishing I found another free cardigan pattern which looks promising. But seeing how my white summer cardigan was one of my most-worn items, my first thing to make will be another version of that.
Goal: try a studio faro pattern
Result: boo. Maybe next month…
Goal: evaluate my me-made wardrobe in general
Result: definite success
Concretely, it was good to see which pieces I wore and which I didn’t. Here’s my original photo from April of my homemade wardrobe then:
And what I wore in the month:
So a couple of things were just not seasonally appropriate, or not something I would wear to work (the black skirt is my geocaching / festival skirt, because it has tons of pockets). A couple things really don’t fit, or else are just old and raggy. But what about all those bright floofy dresses? Those colorful cotton skirts? Clearly, I have too much frosting and not enough cake in my wardrobe, and I’m not sure how to deal with that problem.
I can’t say that I had any life-changing fashion revelations in the last month, but that was never the point. The great promise of Me Made May is to think about your wardrobe in new ways, and I did exactly that. I recognized a couple of wardrobe holes and filled them, or am planning to. Changes aside, I just enjoyed thinking more about my clothing choices, and seeing how other people think about theirs. For this reason alone, I’m sad to see the month end (and already looking forward to next year!).
Two little observations from the month. First: So. Many. Photos. There are nearly 25,000 pictures on Instagram from Me Made May 2015. Almost 4000 on flickr. Another 500 on Pinterest. Good ones and bad ones, clear ones and blurry ones, artistic ones and technical ones. Photos showing fashion styling, and photos showing tailored details. I was prepared for the overwhelming number of photos, but I was surprised that there were so many outfit photos and so few photos of the processes behind the finished items. I definitely prefer photos showing details of how something was made over “pretty” photos.
Second thing I learned from the photographs this month: most homemade clothes don’t look homemade. I admit it, before Me Made May I had a fairly specific prejudice about what homemade clothes looked like, and it fell into a narrow two categories. The first was the stereotypical sloppy handmade, with mismatched seams, loose threads hanging, nasty fabrics – bad fashion in general. The sewers who make quick projects with all corners cut (sometimes literally). The second was high-end, über-elegant, all self-drafted, fully finished with couture techniques, classic pieces made to last a lifetime and be stylish forever. The sewers who take one glance at a Japanese pattern book and can draft up all the patterns based off their personal slopers.
Now I realize that these are not true representations of the clothes sewing world in general – these are just the two types of blog I read. The overwhelming majority of clothes I saw from other Me Made May-ers were, for lack of a better word, normal. As in, you wouldn’t be able to tell that they were handmade if you didn’t know.
Is it too soon to make my Me Made May 2016 pledge? I’m thinking of aiming for an entirely me-made month next year. Something to work forward to in the next 11 months!