reflecting on me-made-may

This was my first time really participating in Me Made May and I had a lot of fun with it! The (nearly) daily documentation, mindfully encouraging myself to choose a handmade garment over a RTW one, and the reflection that came with it about my wardrobe, my style, and how I want to present myself to the world in the future, were all really enjoyable parts of this month-long event.

You may remember from my last post that I didn’t get terribly specific about a goal; I was giving myself permission to dip in and out of the challenge as I felt like it, and not be too demanding on myself. I didn’t think I had enough me-mades to make it through the month, or, more accurately, that I had enough me-mades that I wanted to wear.

It turns out that I was able to wear some sort of me-made garment (or undergarment) nearly every day, with some repeats.

a collage of Small Bobbins' Me Made May 2018

(If I documented the day’s outfit, it’s linked to my Instagram. All patterns are linked to the designer’s shop.)

Day 2: grey Nettie bodysuit (with a turtleneck) and forest green Pheobe dress
Day 3: striped Sunny dress
Day 4: a pattern test t-shirt that I’m obsessed with even though I can’t say what it is!
Day 5: (undocumented) forest green peplum top
Day 6: camel/caramel twill Flint pants
Day 7: polka dot Orla dress
Day 8: grey ribbed knit Neenah dress (with shorter sleeves and shorter turtleneck)
Day 9: black Kalle shirtdress
Day 10: navy/white striped Astoria sweater and denim Flint pants
Day 11: black Astoria sweater
Day 14: paisley Rae skirt
Day 15: (repeat) caramel Flint pants, hacked grey ribbed knit Neenah top (shirt length, ruffles on the sleeve, shorter turtleneck)
Day 16: a Barrett bralette and Claudia panties
Day 17: a RTW dress that I altered to a peplum top
Day 18: (repeat) Astoria sweater and Alder shirt (hacked from dress-length)
Day 19: (repeat) Nettie bodysuit and (repeat) caramel Flint pants
Day 20: another pattern test! so I can’t yet post a full view, but this is a good one!
Day 23: (repeat) Peplum Top
Day 26: (undocumented) yellow Neenah dress (posted later on)
Day 27: tencel denim Marigold jumpsuit
Day 28: (repeat, undocumented) Kalle shirtdress
Day 29: striped Kate bias top and black Cindy skirt (which is not released yet and I keep forgetting, oops!)
Day 30: black and white Mesa dress
Day 31: (repeat) yellow Neenah dress

I documented 23 days, I wore 24 different me-made garments, and my most-repeated patterns were my Flint pants, Astoria sweater, and variations of the Neenah dress/top.

What’s missing from my wardrobe? What worked and what didn’t?

  • (warm-weather) Separates. I certainly do love the idea of dresses. Yeah sure, so I can put on a single thing and I’m good to go! No worrying about matching, great for warm weather, some more leeway to be cute, etc. They’re not so practical for my life though. My office is very casual, I commute by bike, and Belgian summer is brief. Last summer I went on a bit of a dress-making spree so I still have a lot of dresses that are in regular rotation, but they only made an appearance in MMM18 because of some (freakishly) beautiful weather. Otherwise, I would’ve craved my jeans way more often, and I don’t have any me-made versions (yet!). So yeah, more tops and bottoms!
  • Lightweight jackets and layering pieces. Even for RTW, I pretty much have only one Spring jacket, but it’s not a layering piece. I have a couple sweaters, but they’re a bit too heavy for this time of the year. I’ve had the Maisa denim jacket on my to-sew list and I really just need to get on that (same with a Mona moto jacket!).
  • Lingerie. I sewed some excellent additions for my me-made-underwear drawer (more about that below) but need to put pedal to the floor and sew up some more.
  • Skirts. Okay so this surprised me, but I found myself thinking about skirts a lot and I don’t have hardly any that work with my bike. Some basic, gathered, full skirts would be really welcome additions to my wardrobe!
  • Neutral-colored basics. Pretty much anything in a solid black, white, grey, etc. that can be mixed with prints. So I can make my crazy-printed tops, skirts, jackets, etc., but pair it with a neutral-colored piece to balance it out.

What didn’t work so well?

  • I discovered that a decent chunk of my handmade garments don’t actually fit comfortably! Fit is hard! Some garments have gone into my “need to mend” pile, some of them are maybe too tight and beyond saving, and others, I hate to admit it, I just didn’t do a great job constructing them. I may try to keep wearing those, since I’m not sure how to fix them, but it’s a bummer.
  • I don’t really like wearing fitted, woven garments for too long. Especially on the bike, especially climbing stairs at my office, especially wrangling my kids, I just didn’t enjoy them! It reminded me of how I need to consider how practical a garment will be for my lifestyle (and like, my real one, not the one I wish I lived) when I’m planning a new make.

But what about the other part of my pledge? I banned myself from cutting out any new projects (except for pattern tests) and resolved to take care of some of my giant stash of in-progress projects. Here’s what I sewed:

  • Claudia panties
  • Jamie bodysuit
  • Delphine thong
  • Jasmine bra (but I gave up due to poor fabric choice!)
  • Bella panties
  • Archer shirt (still unfinished but good progress made!)
  • three pattern test projects that I can’t wait to show off!

And I mended! Several items of mine have been out of rotation for months for simple fixes, and I was happy to get them off my table and back into my closet.

do totally recognize that I went for the low-hanging fruit by sewing mostly easy lingerie projects, but now I have a better idea of which cuts, styles, and sizes work for me from all of the (many) lingerie patterns that I have, and I’m excited to maybe do a batch-sewing night of my favorite ones! My in-progress projects still include my Gingers, a Helmi tunic muslin, a Frida dress, and of course, my Gaia coat that I’m ignoring until next Fall.

So what now?! How do you recover from such a sewing-focused month? I have same feeling I get right after Eurovision ends, I’m still so excited but the main event is over and suddenly it’s feels super irrelevant to dwell on. Or, is that just me? Okay…!

Moving on then, I’ve written out some plans on my sewing calendar (a free download from Sew DIY) and I’m going to try to not stray from that. All in all, I consider my MMM18 a huge personal success, and I’m so happy to have corrected with so many wonderful people on the sewing community!

How did Me-Made-May go for you? Did you participate, or not? Share your blog or Instagram handle in the comments so I can be nosy and read about your reflections of the past month too!