I had a pretty good idea of what this year’s Me Made May would reveal to me about my collection of handmade clothes; I make a lot of dresses but actually find myself reaching more for jeans and leggings (the items I have made far less). However, that wasn’t to say the month-long sewing challenge didn’t help me learn more about my sartorial preferences and what I want to sew in the future. Firstly, I realised that when I do wear dresses, simple silhouettes (such as the Papercut Patterns Axis) are for me, and second, though I love colourful prints, I’ve recently found myself wearing more solid, and predominantly neutral, colours.
If you haven’t come across Me Made May before, it is a sewing challenge created by Zoe of the sozowhatdoyouknow blog that takes place each year to enable sewists to reflect on their handmade wardrobe and set themselves a challenge throughout the month to optimise their makes and essentially improve their relationship with their clothes. For instance, a personal challenge could be to wear a handmade item every day in May, style a garment in different ways, upcycle items that you don’t wear as much, or complete unfinished projects. Having lots of handmade items isn’t a prerequisite for taking part in the challenge but personally, it was nice to have a few more handmade pieces to hand this year as I wanted to challenge myself to wear a handmade item every day.
Practicality and pattern shopping
My Instagram bio has been the same for a few years now and while at the time of writing it my penchant for colourful prints was in full swing, I now find myself reaching for solid prints, and neutral colours. My pattern preferences have certainly evolved over the years too; initially I would be tempted to buy a pattern because it was a new release from a designer whose other patterns I liked, or I was simply inspired by other people’s makes on Instagram. Now, however, I’ll give myself a bit of time before purchasing a new pattern to essentially consider how much I would actually wear the garment and if it would align with my typical style preferences. I think about the practicalities too – I live in the countryside, walk every day and cycle to work so making a lot of dresses – over trousers – for instance, wouldn’t really suit my lifestyle.
Pattern inspiration for summer
Which is your favourite season to sew for? I love autumn for the autumnal colours but then I get to spring and suddenly holiday season is looming and it’s a chance to enjoy sewing some quicker makes in cool and floaty fabrics. Following the Me May Made challenge, my most recent pattern purchase was the Anna Allen Clothing Pomona Pants; I think I’m going to make the tapered leg version in ecru, mid-weight denim. I love the simple construction and don’t have many light-coloured trousers in my summer wardrobe so this should fill that gap. Next up is the Pattern Fantastique Vali top. I was sent this as part of the Fabric Godmother Dream Wardrobe subscription, I received some lovely colourful fabric along with the pattern but it’s not really ‘me’ so I think I will team the pattern with a linen fabric instead. Also on my to-make list is a pair of Megan Nielsen Dawn shorts. I still have some denim scraps leftover from jeans projects, which I want to put to good use.
Mending my clothes
A key takeaway from this year’s challenge was to always mend handmade pieces. I was mortified when I recently lent a jumper to a friend and there was a big hole on the seam line (eek!). Setting myself the challenge of wearing as many handmade pieces through May, I realised that within the stack of handmade items I had worn far less, quite a few of these needed mending. Buttons falling off was a common trend, and as simple as it might sound, I really need to learn how to sew buttons on securely as they are forever falling off my handmade clothes!
Over the years, my sewing has improved and I think the items that I made early on in my sewing journey didn’t have the best finish, which was another reason why these might have needed some TLC. Moving forward I want to try and concentrate on finishing garments well so that they will hopefully last longer.
Complimenting other pieces in my wardrobe
Ever finished a handmade item and realised there is nothing in your wardrobe to wear with it? I’ve been there. It’s funny how many heeled shoes I have that have barely seen the light of day in the past few years, but would work with a range of outfits. So, I have slowly been building up a versatile collection of comfier shoes that I can wear with multiple garments. Likewise, before I buy any fabric I will consider whether this can be complimented by other clothes or accessories in my wardrobe. This might sound like I’m taking the fun out of fabric shopping but trust me, it is making getting ready in the morning so much easier! Just another note, when buying a new pattern or fabric, I will always endeavour to buy both at the same time, it just saves me from using what I might have in my stash for the sake of wanting something to sew instead of matching both fabric and pattern at the same time and that item getting a lot more wear as a result.
Did you take part in Me Made May this year, and if so how did you find it?
You can find all of the handmade items I wore during Me May Made 2022 over on my Instagram highlights.