Last May, I was a brand-new mother and figuring out nursing bras and living in spit-up stained sweats. I scrolled through my Instagram feed while nursing for hours and hours, wistfully watching Me Made May happen at a distance. When I started to sew again, I knew I wanted to make it my goal to wear as close to completely me-made outfits as I could and spent the next months making clothes I hoped would get me through an entire month.
I made my sewing resolution for 2018 to make as many bottoms as tops and to finally conquer pants all with the goal of being able to wear me-made from head to toe. Even though I’ve been thinking about #MMMAY18 for a year, it still managed to sneak up on me. We’ve had the longest winter ever and this weekend was the first time we saw the sun and temperatures above zero in many, many, weeks, so I only Sunday ransacked my closet, panicking.
I pulled out every piece of clothing I had made and tried it all on. I kept out every piece that still fit (or almost fit). Considering there was one pair of freshly made trousers and two probably too-tight skirts, I knew there was no way I could make this work for a whole month. I decided that I would allow myself 10 ready-to-wear items and obviously accessories like bags and shoes would be excluded.
I found this exercise really eye-opening, because it made me chose items that I loved and worked with many other items. I included outerwear in this since I’ve started making my own coats, but this is Canada, people, and May can still bring unpredictable weather. I chose a light nylon raincoat and a fairly warm faux-leather moto jacket. I also chose my favourite long, pink blazer vest and a long beige cardigan. My last picks were three pairs of skinny jeans, black athletic leggings and two loose cotton tank tops. What I found particularly revelatory is that both jackets were bought on vacation because I didn’t pack appropriately and the cardi and vest were bought when I was pregnant and was in desperate need of layering pieces. This is totally further proof to my theory that I make my best fashion decisions when I have no time to think and grab what my gut tells me I need.
Among the me-mades, most garments seem to fall in one of three categories: current favourites, old favourites that don’t quite fit, and others that I haven’t ever really gotten into. My goal for Me Made May is to finally figure out what is holding me back from wearing and loving a handmade garment and to either fix it or donate it. For example, I made a skirt ages ago in a class, but never wore it because I kind of hate the fabric. I was limited to stretch cotton and the fabric store running the class only had a handful of fabrics. The skirt fits, but I just can’t seem to make it work.
I’ve also got a handful of Lindens that I made in the fall and got really excited about being able to use up scraps. This resulted in some favourites (the red and grey tester I sewed up is my favourite PJ top) and others that I’m not so sure about. In particular, this is going to be the make-or-break month for the cropped blue Linden. I’ve also got that mustard yellow dress that just doesn’t fit. Maybe I’ll see if I can’t get it to look nicer or just chop it into a skirt. I don’t know.
I’ve decided that any Me-Made that is seasonally appropriate which doesn’t make it into the rotation twice within the month is going to get donated. I’m thinking of doing a major purge of any pre-pregnancy clothes that I wouldn’t be super excited to wear again someday and might host a clothing swap in June. I’ve got bins and bins of clothes, but having a baby makes it so complicated to get rid of anything.
This weekend’s survey of clothes has also forced me to focus in on what my sewing priorities should be in the next while. For example, I realized that I had no short-sleeved or sleeveless shirts that worked with the trousers I just finished. I’ve got a list of items I hope to finish before the end of May and have planned them to hopefully coincide with when I’m going to need them temperature-wise. I’m getting started tomorrow, so I think this might just be doable:
- Grey Sasha trousers
- Pink sleeveless Butterick B6133 (Not sure which neckline yet, but I’m hacking it to be loose and flowy)
- Black and popcicle print sleeveless Butterick B6133 (also hacked, with the plain neckline)
- Pink and yellow banana Kalle Shirtdress
- Black denim with white dot Sasha knee-length shorts
- White Sasha knee-length shorts
- Black and Popcicle print skirt
Looking over this list, I’m thinking this might be ambitious, but I do have five weeks and the Butterick blouse is the only I haven’t made before (and it’s marked as easy). The skirt is kind of a bonus item since I still don’t really know what I want to do and it’s going to depend on how much fabric I have left over from the blouse. I know that it’s going to be really difficult to keep to this order. I know already that I want so badly for the banana Kalle to jump the queue, but I have more practical things to make first.
Thinking about Me Made May has already made me really see the holes in my wardrobe (which is, right now, warm-weather work wear) and forced me to thinking about sewing practical things (ahem, pants) before the fun stuff (banana print shirt dresses!). It’s also made me realize that I can’t keep every handmade garment forever and I need to start thinking about ways to find new homes for items that no longer fit or are no longer my style. I’m excited to check back in at the end of the month and see what else I’ve discovered!