Phew! We did it! Whether you made a pledge or not, we’re all Me Made May 2018 survivors!
Me Made May is about cultivating thoughtfulness and reflection on our wardrobes and sewing choices, and that’s really my favorite aspect of it. Each of the last three years has been wildly different for me, and brought up different challenges: office-appropriate makes, maternity makes, and now full-time-mom style.
I pledged to attempt 100% me-made garments (excluding pjs and underthings), but promised myself I’d go easy and let myself cheat as much as needed. It was surprisingly simple to go nearly 100% me-made, but a few early cheats (before the jeans were finished) really helped me keep my momentum going. I didn’t feel trapped by too many dressy garments, and I just wore what I wanted on most days.
Takeaway: Cheating is good. I wholeheartedly endorse participating with cheating (on your pledge) rather than eschewing the whole thing out of fear (not enough garments, clothes aren’t gram-worthy, etc).
I did end up wearing more dresses and skirts than I normally would. Naturally, jeans and stretchy pants are easier, but dresses were surprisingly not that hard. I loved wearing my basic black M6886 dress (with modified hem and sleeves), and could totally see that being my uniform once I’m done nursing. I did end up changing into pants at some point in most days, usually for our evening park trips. I don’t need to be flashing my neighbors while rolling around and playing with JuJu.
Takeaway: I can wear more skirts and dresses in my everyday life. Also, wearing a couple of different outfits each day is kind of fun, and another way to keep rotating in my favorite me-made garments more often.
I also found myself reaching for some surprising garments pretty often. I wore my brocade coat almost every weekend for bleary-eyed Sunday morning coffee runs. I loved wearing super comfy sweatshirts and leggings with my fancy jacket, and it put a spring in my step. I also wore my new Butterick caftan tee a few times (plus as pjs). I never would’ve guessed that I’d wear a shirt as both daywear and nightwear, but it was a delicious treat to roll around in, essentially, pajamas.
Takeaway: I dunno. Make all the fancy jackets? Make all the pj tops? How about this: make what you moves you, and let your wardrobe surprise you. Sometimes having all your outfits planned and perfect doesn’t leave enough room for surprise favorites.
Like in previous years, the optional “sharing selfies on Instagram” part of the month — which I really enjoy — hammers home that most sewers on Insta are using indie patterns. Like, I could scroll through dozens of posts before coming across a Big 4 project. While it doesn’t feel isolating or anything, it’s always a quirk that gets amplified so much in May that it’s impossible to ignore. I’ve foregone indie patterns for the most part because I have zero problems with Big 4, but I’m wondering if it’s time to branch out a bit. I don’t want to do something just because the cool kids are doing it, but I’m curious as to whether, as a Big 4 fan, I’d find the features other sewers rave about to be noticeable or worthwhile.
Takeaway: If everyone else is jumping off a cliff, maybe see what’s down there.
Instead of trying to sew anything to fill holes (besides the yet-to-be-posted 8222 jeans, which were a last-minute whim anyway), I focused on mending and refashioning. It wasn’t the most fun sewing — starting from scratch is always the most exciting to me! — but it was still satisfying trying to find ways to give old garments new life. Some attempts were busts, and that’s fine — I feel better giving a garment a second (or third) try before giving up on it and sending it to the scrap pile. Also, wearing some older makes helped me look at them with fresh eyes, and a few unexpected garments are now in the “refashion” section of the closet. I hope to continue with this exercise next year, and have May become a “Make Do and Mend” month for me.’
Takeaway: It’s pretty satisfying to put some love into your wardrobe. It’s not as much fun as creating, but it’s a key part of having a handmade wardrobe that really functions.
This year, rather than big takeaways, the whole experience for me was more about having fun and celebrating the sewing community. Wearing 31 days of me-made was not a challenge, and it didn’t feel much different than other months. It was fun to encourage myself to wear different garments instead of my regular defaults, and I do love ending up with a photo record of my wardrobe that updates from year to year.
All in all, a great experience, and I’m definitely “in” for next year already!