Saturday, 2 June 2018

Me Made May: Recap and Reinvigorated Sewjo!


How was your Me-Made May? This is the first time I've participated, and I have to say while I found the daily photos a bit of a pain to get at times (daily photos are not compulsory but they were part of my own personal challenge) this also meant that I became a bit of an ambassador for the campaign (if that's what it is?) as I kept having to explain to friends and colleagues why I needed their help to take a picture of me - not just being vain, honest!

In terms of the clothes themselves I didn't set any specific limits, but as the month went on and I found the time to get out all the summer stuff that had been packed away I decided to see if I could go a whole month without repeats. This meant that I was forced to wear things that I wasn't that comfortable wearing all day, and made me consider why.

With a lot of the dresses I realised that, while I had managed to successfully do an FBA, often I had gaping necklines that made me feel sloppy or made the garment move and slide on me during wear. This is definitely a fit issue I'll be looking into for future makes - I'm going to experiment with using my upper bust measurement in future to see if that makes a difference.

These are all the garments that I will either make small tweaks for fit as they are or will make changes to the pattern for future versions. Top row all need their waistbands bringing up and in, middle row all need the fit at upper bust worked on, and bottom row the t-shirt needs more space for my beefy biceps, and as those the cropped sweater in the middle image (plus an FBA), and while I'm having fun in the dungarees in the last image for future versions I will experiment with bringing in at the waist for a more '40s look. 

Some of the stuff I wore I decided just wasn't well-made enough for me to feel good in it anymore; and that's OK. I have worn these things loads and learned a lot in making them. Some of them are decent enough to give away, others I will look at refashioning and those with lots of yardage I might repurpose for experimenting with muslins while I work out some fit issues.

This is my scrap/ donate collage. Top left: I'm donating the skirt - the print isn't me anymore and I think someone else will have fun with it. Top right: I'm keeping the dungarees but the cropped top underneath doesn't fit and rides up. Bottom left: Love this dress but the fabric is really bobbly, will look to address any fit issues then will re-make and scrap the old fabric and salvage the zip. Bottom right: the pile of clothes I didn't manage to wear during #memademay! Not getting rid of all these, but will donate the red skirt that matches the crop top as it's too tight over the hips, and will donate the yellow dress as this was a wearable muslin for the Megan dress that still ended up having fit issues. Also donating the boucle Delphine skirt - it's looking a bit ratty too and is big at the waist but I think someone else might have fun sprucing it up.

Sadly some of the stuff I really love has just got a bit ratty; either through lots of wear or through cheap materials. I plan to harvest what notions I can from these garments and re-use the fabric to make some woven bowls/ rag rugs as per this Megan Nielsen tutorial or something similar. I haven't made any of these yet, but I have some balls of braided scraps waiting to be sewn up that I found it very therapeutic to braid, for those times when you want to be creative but don't have the energy to challenge your brain, or just want to have busy hands while watching TV.

These are all getting refashioned! I love the fabric for all of these, but in the first dress the fit is off, the second I'm not keen on the style or the contrast shirred waist, and the third was always a disaster as it was just a terrible pattern! 

This brings me back to my blog; it's great having a blog so I have a memory of all of the things I've made, even if I do then decide to give them away, refashion them, or repurpose the fabric. It's great to have a record, and to learn from looking back!

How this has informed my making going forward (other than addressing that fit issue!) is to try and focus on spending time on making things I really want to wear. This sounds obvious, but quite often I make things out of a sense of duty to fulfil a previous plan or justify a pattern or fabric purchase that maybe I'm just not that into anymore.

These are the garments I enjoyed wearing most; shirts and shirtdresses (Melilot and Kalle), jeans, cropped trousers and culottes (Lander, Flint, Ginger, Safran, Winslow), and By Hand London dresses (Anna, Elisalex) that are feminine but modern in their aesthetic

The things I've made that I've loved the most (and made loads of repet versions) are patterns that have really appealed and grabbed me - the Gingers, Landers, Melilots, Kalles, Flints, Winslows, Annas, Elisalexs. I may not have "needed" these; but they've made me feel excited to make and made me feel current in what I wear. So I'm also going to give myself the freedom to be creative and follow my heart when it comes to fabric and pattern purchasing. Sewing becomes a chore when I'm slavishly following a plan, and I start to feel uninspired and disengaged and not take much pleasure from what I'm making.

Everything I didn't get a chance to wear: 6 skirts, 6 dresses (or 7 if you include the one I just found hidden in my stash waiting for a refashion), 2 tops and a pair of trousers

I may have enough clothing - in fact more than enough - as there have been me-mades that I didn't even get the opportunity to wear this month. Rather than feeling guilty or burdened by this, I'm going to use this as the impetus I need to embrace my creativity and not hold onto things that are holding this back. I have plans to do this sustainably and be more mindful in my making going forward, but I'm not going to channel making energy into projects that don't inspire me!

How was your Me Made May? I found it both inspiring and a chance to reflect and refresh my attitude towards making. Thanks Zoe for making it happen, and to everyone who took part!

NorseOtter xx


  1. What an awesome round up of your thought and some great plans for future makes and amendments.
    You have a really cohesive collection of lovely hand-made items and such fabulous prints and colours too!

    1. Aw thanks! This is the first time I've done Me Made May after four years of making, so I had a lot to show - next year won't be quite so spectacular I reckon!

  2. I LOVED reading this summary, thanks so much for leaving the link in your comment, and sorry that it took me a while to 'stop by'. It sounds like you learnt so much about your makes during last month, and I'm so happy for you! I really like your fabric and colour choices, really inspiring xxx