I missed out on Me Made May last year as I was dealing with a newborn and obviously none of my clothes fit my freshly post-partum body. I had lofty goals for this MMMay, which had to be re-jigged more than once.
Since about Christmas, I told myself that I would wear exclusively Me Made for MMMay18. I had planned to invest time into making the Sasha Trousers my go-to pant pattern, but didn’t manage to get as many pairs done as I wanted in time for May.
Version 2 of my goal was to pick 10 ready-to-wear items that I would keep in rotation and pack the rest up. This kind of worked, but also didn’t really. I picked two jackets (a raincoat and a moto jacket) that didn’t make it into any photos as I took all my pictures inside, in my classroom. I wish I had used those two spaces for items that would actually contribute to looks, but honestly, I can’t think of anything specific, so it’s probably just as well.
Version 3 came about when my second pair of Sashas turned out worse than the first and any dreams I had of making a million pairs of Bermuda-length Sashas by the end of May spiraled down the drain. After the first sort of hot day, I got really antsy and realized that even the idea of being too hot really stressed me out. So I placed a bulk order for shorts at American Eagle and immediately felt better. I think there’s something to be said for knowing what you like, what fits and sticking with it.
Inspired by Kallie Sews, I devised a rating system to help me learn about the clothes I wear and how much I actually like wearing them. Each day, my outfit got a mark out of five for the following categories: comfort, style, appropriateness (to the activity I was doing that day) and overall confidence. Reflecting on how I felt in my clothes each day really helped me to clarify some things about my style. I used to have a really solid sense of what I liked and what looked good on me, but after having a baby and being off work for a year, both my body and my taste have changed.
Here’s what I learned over this month:
- I really like long, woven tops over skinny jeans for work. They are comfortable and make me feel professional without having to wear dress pants and a blouse.
- I don’t really like wearing skirts as much as I used to. There was a time when I would wear a skirt every day, but I really, really enjoy wearing shorts. I made another Kalle tunic (coming to the blog soon!) during May that was actually slated to be a dress. I realized halfway through that I would realistically wear it maybe 5 times this whole summer, but as a top, it would get weekly wear and would work into winter.
- I like the idea of uniform dressing. I have always hated having so many separates that theoretically work together, but for some reason don’t, so I end up wearing the same tops with the same shirts over and over. Getting into a rhythm with my Kalle tunic and skinnies might have been boring to my Instagram followers, but I found it so nice to not really have to think when getting dressed in the morning.
- I really only need five work-appropriate tops. I kind of came to the realization that it was stupid to not wear my favourite top as often as it was laundered to fear of people noticing I was wearing the same shirt all the time. Also, I only need two weekend appropriate tops, one casual dress, one date-night dress and one semi-formal dress. I have planned out the latter two and feel great knowing already that any occasion thrust upon me this summer will incite no panic as I’ve already got my dress down.
- I’m not a fan of bright, novelty prints. I still occasionally succumb to impulse fabric buys that later have me asking, “what on Earth did I think I was going to make with this?” While the yellow striped shirting was a hit, the bananas seem like a little much.
- I do, however, consistently like stripes and dots. Especially in neutrals. This is going to guide a lot of my fabric shopping from now on.
- Fabric choice is everything. Having the exact right fabric for a pattern is key because more or less drape can drastically change how a garment looks on you, which will significantly impact how you feel in it. The sailboat Kalle dress is slightly stiffer, and as a result, the back sticks out funny sometimes.
With all that said, I have a much clearer image of what I want to make in the future and what I’m just going to donate. Here are the winners and losers of this MMMay:
- Black Dot Blackwood Cardigan. This garment rarely made it into photos because it was warm enough by midday to toss it over the back of my chair, but I wore it most mornings on my way to work. I WILL be making at least one more in the fall.
- Plum Kalle Tunic. If you’ve been following along, this is no shock to you. It’s easy to wear, comfy, professional, but also cool. Bonus points for being breezy and lightweight for warmer days.
- Limoncello Kalle Tunic. I regret not making this top sooner. It’s a carbon copy of the plum one above and I love all the same things about it.
- Blue Cropped Linden. When I made it, I thought, this will be a good layering piece when I go back to work. But then I went back to work and didn’t wear it, so yeah.
- Blue knit cardigan. I’m super proud of this sweater because it was the first (and so far only) sweater I have knit, but something is just wrong. It has a weird bump at the armpit and the cabling on the sleeve add a ridiculous amount of bulk. I think I may unravel this and re-knit it into something else as there’s a good hundred dollars of wool in there.
- The pink and yellow pencil skirt. This is OLD. I made it in a class several years ago and never really liked it. I picked this fabric because yellow and pink are my favourite colours and I had like three equally busy fabrics to chose from. Except I find pink and yellow together kind of awful. I don’t know why.
- The pink and yellow bird tank. This is another oldie that I just never liked. I bought the fabric back when my now favourite store was just starting to sell apparel fabrics and I could never find printed jersey ANYWHERE. I’ll probably cut it up to make something for my daughter.
- The Cat Linden. There was a time when I would have loved to wear this with a Peter Pan collar, but now I kind of hate it. It was also made from leftovers from a maternity top I made so there might be some negative association there. I did not enjoy being pregnant.
- The Striped T-shirt Dress. This is also old. I didn’t mind it before, but it’s just not my silhouette anymore. I also made it when I was first sewing with knits, so the arm- and neck-bands are not great. I still like the fabric, so I’m going to try to cut this one into a tank top.