Me Made May Round-Up Part Two

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I’m feeling very proud of how well I did with Me Made May. I had two goals when I signed up, the more measurable goal was to wear a minimum of three me-mades each week. I achieved this goal easily, and then some!

I wore handmade clothing 27 out of 31 days (I didn’t get photographs on two of those). At least two of those four days that I didn’t wear something handmade I also just didn’t get dressed. I’m a lazy Sunday sort of person! I guess this just means I need some me made pajamas!! There were six garments that were repeated at least once but even with those repeats I managed to wear 20 unique handmade garments in May!

Here are links for all of the garments that I’ve written posts about:

My other, less quantifiable, goal for Me Made May participation was to use the experience of trying to wear me-made for the month to clarify my sewing aspirations. I don’t have any enormous revelations here but I’ve certainly learned lots from the experience.

The first lesson is one I was expecting, and probably one that many of us have learned over and over again. DRESSES ARE FUN TO MAKE, BUT IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO WEAR ONE TO WORK EVERY DAY IT’S TIME TO STOP MAKING THEM!!

What is it about dresses? Sure they’re less work than making pants and a blazer but they’re not an insubstantial amount of work. Why are they so captivating? I’m a nanny so technically I can wear whatever I want to work but of course the goal is that I’m comfortable, not worried that anything that happens to my clothing is going to permanently harm it, and most of all that I can run after a three and a half year old in it. This doesn’t rule out dresses for me entirely but generally I need to stick with things that are really washable, roomy, and long enough that I can bend over easily. I have some dresses that fit the bill but for the most part separates just work better. I don’t need to swear off making dresses but should focus more attention on separates that I can wear day to day. Those are the things that I wore the most during May.

The second lesson, and one that I’m still learning, is that it’s ok if I don’t want to sew certain things, it’s ok if I like my Gap tanks and tees. I’m still in the process of figuring out which basics and wardrobe staples I want to spend time sewing and which I don’t. I’m really excited about the pair of jeans I made and I’m looking forward to making more of them. But I don’t want to make long sleeve t-shirts or knit tanks in basic colors. Making super basic items in the same fabrics I can purchase RTW items, not my cup of tea! I know it is for some people and I’m not swearing off making these things. If it’s what I or someone else really wants to make there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But sewing is an escape for me and deciding that I “should” be making basic tees when I could buy them (likely for less than the cost of the fabric I’d need to make them) takes away from sewing as a soothing activity for me.

My third lesson is really less of a lesson and more of a puzzle that I’m still trying to figure out. That puzzle is all about how I make my sewing plans, stick to them, and get through some of my massive stash of fabric. About six weeks ago I posted here about my summer sewing plans. It included eight garments in May, five garments and a bag in June and six garments in July. I actually sewed quite a bit in May. I made, from start to finish, six garments as well as working on but not yet completing three others. That’s a really productive month for me but unfortunately only one of my finished garments and one of in progress garments were on my list. I’m really happy with the garments I have made but there are also several things on my list for May that I was excited about and would still really like to make.

I think this means that I need to come up with a better system for planning. While I like the idea of having a long list of projects I’d like to get to at some point having three months of sewing all planned out has felt limiting. One thing that I can find a bit overwhelming about the online sewing community is that there are so many patterns coming out all the time and sometimes I just want to jump on the bandwagon and kiss my plans goodbye.

One idea that’s resurfaced several times as this topic has been percolating in my brain is to try to focus myself on really mini collections, the sort that would be perfect for a weekend getaway. I have several shorter trips planned in the next several months and focusing myself on three or four items to make for each of those instead of trying to have one massive plan for a whole season’s wardrobe seems easier. I’ll be back later this week to tell you about my first mini collection.

So there are my Me Made May thoughts. How did Me Made May go if you were participating? Do you plan out large numbers of projects or just sew whatever is on your mind?

-Hannah

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Lou Box Tops

My schedule and energy level over the last few weeks have left me most interested in faster, instant gratification sewing projects. This probably has a lot to do with not knowing how much sewing time I’ll have from day to day or week to week. It’s felt too frustrating to start longer, more in depth projects not knowing when I’ll be able to finish them.

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Patterns like the Lou Box Top from Sew DIY, with just three pattern pieces (two without the pocket) and minimal bias binding are really hitting the spot right now. So much so that I made 2!

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One of the best parts of this pattern is the number of options it comes with. In addition to being able to use the pattern with knits or wovens, there are two different necklines (a scoop and a crewneck) and 3 different hemlines (straight, curved or a high-low with a dramatic dip in back).

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There are two front pattern pieces depending on whether you’re going with the scoop or crewneck and then the hemline pieces can be mixed and matched. You can either just print out the pieces you intend to use (she lists the page numbers in the instructions) or print out everything and have lots of options for a variety of closet staples.

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The first version I finished has a scoop neck, a curved hem, and a pocket. There’s not a whole lot else to say about this one. I made it entirely according to the pattern except that I used french seams for the whole thing. The only problem with this is that the tight curve under the arms didn’t take to the french seams quite as kindly as I’d like. Not very surprising but I guess it is a good reason to not question the pattern instructions.

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The second version I color blocked by cutting the pattern an inch or so below the armpit and adding seam allowances to each piece. It has a crewneck, no pocket, and I added a button placket in the back. The crewneck, when made in a woven fabric, requires some sort of opening in the back so that it can fit over your head. the pattern calls for cutting the back in two pieces, seaming it except for the top couple inches and adding a button and button loop at the back neck.

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For some reason I’m all about button plackets right now so instead I cut the top portions of the back in two pieces, adding 1.5 inches to one side for the button placket, and 2.25 inches to the other side for the buttonhole placket. I sewed the plackets down and then sewed the tops to the bottom back portion which I’d cut on the fold.

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The rest of the shirt was sewn just like the first, also with the, “not the best idea ever,” french seams. After I’d finished all the other steps I put four buttons and buttonholes on and called it a day.

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Next time I make this I will size up, while they definitely fit well and are super comfortable, they’re not quite as roomy as the pattern is intended to be and I’d like to give the roomier fit a try. I was short on fabric for the color blocked version, I squeezed it out of two half yard cuts, so I went with the smallest size because with the built in ease I knew it would fit. I’ll probably also go without french seams!

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All in all I’m incredibly happy with these shirts. They’re not a lot of work and are really comfortable, especially in the hot weather, though I know they’ll also layer well in the winter. I would certainly recommend this pattern for some easy basics.

Details:

Pattern: Lou Box Top by Sew DIY

Fabric: Shot cotton from Gather Here

-Hannah

Me Made May Round-Up Part One

Sorry for the radio silence around here recently, it’s been a crazy couple weeks finishing up the semester and supporting Mr Match with grad school milestones. Any available time I’ve had I’ve spent sewing and not updating the bloggity blog.

Here’s an update on how Me Made May is going. This is the first time I’ve participated and I’ve done better than I was planning wearing my me-mades. I’ve worn something handmade 15 out of 18 days though I’m missing one picture.

I’ve been learning very quickly, perhaps relearning because let’s be honest I knew all of this already, which items get the most use in my wardrobe. As much as I love making nice dresses, and as much as I enjoy wearing them, I don’t have as many occasions to wear them as I do dresses I want to make.

What I do go to every day is easy to wear shirts, jeans, and cardigans. My Ginger Jeans have been getting lots of wear, as have my tees and tanks. My more casual dresses have gotten some wear and I certainly want to make more Marianne dresses and Eucalypt dresses.

I think the even more important lesson I’m learning is about fabric choice and wardrobe planning. I’ve got a lot of great prints that had been part of my summer sewing plans but I’m realizing that I may want to rethink some of the those plans, simply based on what I am and am not pulling out of my closet and drawers.

I am hitting the point where I’m going to need to start repeating some things. I’ve still got a few items I haven’t worn though and a few items that I’m working on right now. I’d also been planning on making some Jamie Jeans during the sewalong over on Indie Sew. School work prevented me from participating in the sewalong but I’m looking forward to adding another pair of jeans to my wardrobe.

I’m also prioritizing sewing more tanks and tees. I’ve got a bunch of different patterns I want to try out which will hopefully help me pick out a couple patterns that will become TNTs. So far Me Made May has been a great learning experience and I’m loving getting to show off my handmade clothing a lot more frequently.

Here are links for all of the garments that I’ve written posts about:

I’ll be back in a couple days to show off some of the things I’ve been working on recently. Now that school’s over for the summer I’ve got a lot more time to work on sewing projects. Hopefully I’ll have some great wardrobe additions for the second half of Me Made May. If you’re participating in Me Made May, how’s it going?

-Hannah