2019, was the 10th year anniversary for Me Made May, an initiative set up by Sozo to encourage makers to wear items in their handmade wardrobe. On Sozo blog, Zoe speaks about how all clothes are handmade by someone in a factory normally, so she prefers the term me-made to describe clothes that you’ve made yourself. This was my first time taking part. I am far from having a 100% ‘Me Made’ Wardrobe, but I do have 14 items in my spring capsule wardrobe, that I’ve made myself.
- Tilly and the Buttons Stella Joggers
- True Bias Ogden Cami blue
- True Bias Ogden Cami linen
- Thread Theory T-shirt white
- Sew Over It Molly Top blue and white stripe
- Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top yellow
- Sew Over It Molly Dress blue stripe
- Sew Over It Alex Shirt Dress denim
- Simplicity hack jumpsuit chambray
- Sew Over It Eve Dress colbalt blue
- Tilly and the Buttons Joni dress black and white stripe
- Sew Over It Mia Jeans
- Sew Over It Erin Skirt
- Wool and the Gang Hotline Sweater
With just under half the number of items for the optimum capsule wardrobe, I thought I’d pledge to wear one piece of me made everyday, in a hope of understanding what I reach to wear everyday, discover what I’m missing and most importantly celebrate one year of making my own clothes. So here it goes…
Well, I did it, and I loved it, so here’s what I learnt.
Getting dressed matters
I heard Helen and Caroline on the Love To Sew Podcast, discuss the science and satisfaction behind making your own bed in the morning, it gives a sense of accomplishment before the day has even begun. They likened this to getting dressed in the morning and wearing clothes you’ve made yourself, as a double dose of accomplishment. I have to agree. I learnt that getting dressed matters, I’m unemployed at the moment for health reasons, so it could be tempting to stay in my pyjamas all day on the sofa. But I go to yoga everyday at lunch time as part of a physiotherapy programme, so it’s tempting to wake up, put on active wear in preparation for yoga and walking the dog. Soon enough by the time I get home from yoga and make lunch, half the day is gone and I end up staying in leggings and cosy hoodies ALL DAY, EVERY DAY.
This signposts to a need to make my own sportswear, but importantly MeMadeMay forced me to get up and get dressed for the day, and just swiftly change into yoga gear when the time came. I noticed a shift in mindset, I’d plan my outfit the night before, (just like I did when I was working in an office) and it put a spring in my step, knowing that, yes, I may be the best dressed dog walker, and my self-appointed title contained more gravitas, because, I’d made my clothes myself. So I’m all for supporting and continuing the #diyootd because getting dressed matters, to firstly make sure I showcase my wardrobe, but also to celebrate accomplishments everyday, however small.
Jumpsuits everyday, all day
By far, my most worn item during May was the Simplicity Hack Chambray Jumpsuit. I have grown to LOVE it, the fitted bodice creates a sillhouette, but the relaxed fit trousers make them comfortable to wear. I paired it with a RTW, but second hand, stripe top and trainers. Putting it politely, the weather has been changeable, so with a t-shirt underneath this was a great choice for unpredictable climates. The main reason I hadn’t been wearing it was because I needed to hand stitch the lining, so MeMadeMay gave me the little nudge I needed.
But I have grown to love jumpsuits, they are comfortable to wear, easy to put on and suit my lifestyle. The Sew Together for Summer challenge this year is jumpsuits. I’m going to start a jumpsuit sewing marathon, firstly with the Deer and Doe Sirrocco with both short sleeves and long sleeved hack in cotton jersey. Then a Tilly and the Buttons Marigold and Bettine mashup, inspired by Emily from Self Assembly Required, then I’d like to try the Fibre Mood Carmella Boilersuit for autumn.
Mending over making new & upcyle from your own wardrobe
MeMadeMay forced me to handstitch linings & finish hems, reminding me to finish one project fully before moving on to the next project. I unpicked and upcycled, my Sew Over It Molly Top, which is made from Navy and White Breton Ponte Roma, the fabric I love, but I find the sillhouette drowns me. Although I was reaching for stripe tops most days, Molly remained unloved, so I decided to transform it into a 3/4 sleeve coco top instead to maximise fabric in my wardrobe, so it taught me to upcycle and mend from my wardrobe, first before upcycling from second hand shops. Next year, one of my pledges will definitely be to finish projects before starting anything new.
A summer coat is a staple
Most days, I was reaching for my denim jacket, or a light midi length coat, it was May, but some days it definitely felt like March. So it spurred me on to make The Named Isla Trench Coat, I have on my Make Nine List for 2019. Inspired and motivated by all the makes I was seeing this month, as well as the rain, I finally cut the fabric and it’s soon to be finished, which will be set to be a well worn staple.
My love for coat making continues, mainly because I know I am guaranteed to get a lot of wear from them and I love all the tailoring involved, so I’m tempted to make a Closet Case Kelly Anorak with a fur lined hood for walking the dog when the weather calls for strong protection against the elements after seeing Becky’s version here on Note from The Sewing Room.
Relaxed fit trousers
I realised how much I love a relaxed fit pair of trousers, I have two RTW pairs, one in a crepe, I bought for going to Morrocco a few years ago but since have worn them at home. Paired with an Ogden Cami, the relaxed fit, make them easy to wear, great for sewing days, when I’m crawling on the floor playing pattern tetris.
The Sew Over It Carrie Trousers are a similar fit and style, I have the pattern, but I’m looking for a great patterned crepe to make them, or maybe I should hang fire until I have some of my own surface patttern designs ready to print on to crepe.
I have three pairs of jeans in my wardrobe, one I’ve made myself and two ready to wear pairs, one which is too snug and another which I like the cut of, but I don’t really like the wash. So jeans need to be a priorty for my making.
I have the Ginger Jeans on my Make Nine, but I really want to nail the fit on them. I want to tackle the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers first, then draft a pattern for trousers based on the recent body scan I had Manchester University so I have a real understanding of the adjustments I need to do to make the perfect fit for my body shape.
It was eye opening how I have three pairs of jeans in my wardrobe, that I’m indifferent about. Spending time and energy to make a great fit on one pair is more important to me than having three mediocre pairs that don’t make me feel good. I’m sure there are thousands of unloved pairs of jeans in womens’ wardrobes across the world, because well no two bottoms are the same, so finding RTW jeans can seem like an impossible task.
A massive thank you to Zoe from SoZo blog for having such a bright idea 10 years ago to set up MeMadeMay. Hopefully by sharing photos of home sewn clothes it will encourage more people to start making their own wardrobe. It was seeing other peoples’ photos in which they were wearing their homemade clothes on Instagram last year that got me inspired to start garment making. So to celebrate my one year anniversary I’ve made a page with a gallery of my 2018-2019 makes. Finally a big thanks to Rob, who painfully and patiently took photos throughout May, yep, there’s a shirt coming your way to say thank you. May, will certainly become a creative highlight of the year and here’s to MeMadeMay 2020.