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Sewing Chatter: What have you learned from Me-Made-May so far?

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We all wore our me-mades to lunch!

We all wore our me-mades to lunch!

It’s more than halfway through Me-Made-May, and I am still so excited to check the #mmmay16 hashtag when I get home from work each day. The number of patterns in my sewing queue keeps growing, and I’ve discovered some great new fabrics and sewists to follow.

While all of the inspiration is great, I’ve also recognized some me-made garments that are missing from my wardrobe, namely bottoms! I’m grateful for the extra motivation to complete my embarrassingly large pile of unfinished projects, but I’m also feeling the itch to start rounding out my wardrobe on a larger scale.

Let’s check in. How is Me-Made-May going for you so far? I have a couple of questions:

  • What have you learned about your sewing habits during Me-Made-May so far?
  • Have you identified any big gaps in your me-made wardrobe, or is your closet bursting with makes ready to be shared?
  • Have you discovered any great new patterns or fabric?

Meg Stively   —   Communications Manager

Meg is here to help you. She's the smiling face behind our customer service and social media. Keeping in touch with our family of stockists, and shipping your orders all across the world, she loves seeing what you're making with our patterns.

Comments 61

Sara radianthomestudio.com

I learned that I need to make more jeans and t-shirts! I knew this before, but it was definitely confirmed when I tried to wear something handmade everyday. I’m a mom first, living in the country…dresses and skirts just aren’t everyday clothes.

Meg

It’s important to recognize what works best for your day-to-day. I’m really paying attention to that as well!

Wallis thisoldblouse.com

I’ve tried to branch out with my sewing in the past year by making garments with zippers and buttonholes (yes, those are actually both challenging for me to sew), but MMM has taught me it’s OK to return to my comfort zone of quick knit makes. I hardly ever wear the garments that took me more time to sew since they’re really not comfortable for sitting at the office all day. MMM has even helped me appreciate the RTW pieces that I own, and that fortunately I don’t have to make every single garment in my closet. I’m pretty impressed with myself by how little I’ve had to repeat garments, I think that just goes to show that when I actually try, I can be much more creative with my outfits.

Meg

Yes, team quick-knit-makes!

Nicole Shepherd instagram.com

I definitely need to suck it up and make some pants. Lots of tops and lots of skirts plus a few dresses. I’ve refashioned a few items that weren’t working for me as they were anymore – both handmade items and RTW.

I have enough garments to wear something different every day with no repeats, which is crazy! Unfortunately my garments don’t GO together. I like crazy prints. :) I’ve noticed it’s just as easy to get caught up in the excitement of new fabrics/patterns much like with new releases in RTW collections. I need to take a more studied look at what I own to see what do I truly love and what works for me? And then review my stash- I have a number of garments planned, but do I really still want to make them? And what about the fabrics that have no plan yet? Lots of things to think about.

Meg

So many things to think about! It’s great.

Wallis thisoldblouse.com

I am currently having the same issue with my separates not really going together, time to make some quick neutral tops!

kalimak swarmofchickadees.wordpress.com

Seconded! I too have learned that it’s pants time. Even though I’m still in awe of the challenge that is pants fitting, Me-Made May is teaching me it’s high time I picked up the gauntlet. Good luck with your pants fitting and making journey, Nicole!

Jessica

Ah, massive prints lover as well! I have decided that I am OK buying/thrifting a couple key neutral solid basics, as long as they go with ALL THE PRINTS that I love to sew. For me, that’s black or white or navy cardigans (summer and winter), 2-3 jeans, 1 pair of black work slacks, 1 black pencil skirt, 1 gray A-line skirt, and 1 gray blazer. 1 of those in there will work with pretty much every fun, colorful, print-crazy blouse or dress I make (and I do have to restrict myself a bit in the patterns I choose, but it’s OK because fabric!!). Oh, and some neutral tees/button downs for the crazy print skirts :-).

If you don’t work in an office, sub “denim” for “black/gray” and you’re good to go!

That said, I’ve recently thought about trying to make jeans, as those are the hugest pain to shop for. That, and I really hate tucking blouses into skirts, so I’d love to make a couple more skirts that work with untucked shirts. So far, the only one I’ve really found is Grainline’s Moss Mini, which I’ve made up in mustard twill and olive twill and which get worn pretty much year-round.

Nicole Shepherd instagram.com

I work at home so I can wear whatever, which is awesome because I can wear whatever because there are no limits, but then it sucks because I don’t get to show off my makes on a regular basis. It soooo easy to fall into the jeans and a tee from Target uniform every day.

LaPriel Stein

http://pamelaspatterns.com/109-the-magic-pencil-skirt?ReturnUrl=LwBwAGEAdAB0AGUAcgBuAH

I don’t like to tuck my tops in either. You might like this pencil skirt pattern. It’s on my list to try this summer.

Rachael

I’ve learned that I want to be able to participate next year! I pretty much only have me-made pajamas that fit at the moment, and while my office is casual, it’s not that casual. ;)

Meg

My favorite part about MMM is the inspiration, so it’s great that you’re inspired to join next time!

justine

I recently gave away a lot of me mades to the thrift shop and realized I now have lots of shorts, tops and dresses, but only two handmade skirts and one pair of pants, jeggings. So I just draped a new skirt . a black ponte pencil one that will go with lots of things. My goal is to eventually make most of my clothing from own patterns and not use any commercial patterns, except vintage. But I still get lots of inspiration from blogs!

Cadi

I’ve been able to participate every day with the rule that I only have to wear one thing in each outfit that is me made, and if I can do a whole outfit it’s a bonus. But I found I need more lounge wear, which I think is hysterical! Like many I started out making pj pants, and had a million pair that I have since ‘outgrown’, but now I find I have almost none! Better fix that, and soon.

Meg

I’m in the same boat, especially with summer loungewear. I have a bunch of cozy PJ pants, but nothing for warm weather.

Sarah anachronismsarah.blogspot.com

So I have discovered that I MISS making clothes. Seeing all the handmade lovelies in my Instagram feed has been part of the equation to get my sew-jo back, and really go in and be ruthless and critique and narrow down the focus of my closet…

Meg

I’m so glad it’s inspiring you to sew again!

Niamh shinypurpledistraction.wordpress.com

The biggest thing I’ve noticed? I have made very few things for everyday life, and most stuff for LARP costume. I nearly always have a little project on the go, but I still have like five or six garments that regularly get worn. Also, I desperately need new summer tops.

Meg

I don’t see why you cant’t rock some of your me-made LARP outfits every day ;)

Mira

Not all LARP genres have costuming that’s friendly or appropriate to wear on an every day basis in the general public. It can be difficult to explain why one is wearing a post-apocalyptic, medieval, or otherwise out of the norm costume piece to work. lol

Niamh shinypurpledistraction.wordpress.com

The game I play is a pseudo-medieval setting. So most of the gear I wear would look proper weird if I wore it to work for example. But it’s comfortable!

Mira

Comfort is a VERY important part of costuming, especially if you’re wearing it for several hours on a regular basis, AND doing any kind of combat.

PsychicSewerKathleen tarotbykathleen.com

I’ve learned it’s harder to get down to sewing in May! The weather has been so glorious all sorts of things like cycling, walking, road trips and having coffee with friends in outdoor cafes are calling me away from my sewing room and I’m missing it terribly but I can’t seem to pull it back up to the top of my list of things to do in May!

Meg

Maybe you should do a Me-Made-Februrary instead! :)

PsychicSewerKathleen tarotbykathleen.com

I was industrious in February :) I try to get to it at least SOME time in the day even if it’s just to read something or watch a video related to sewing I figure I’m getting a bit of a fix :)

classical retro

Know what you mean. My weekends have been sewing mad. Ok at the beginning of the month, but I’m running out of steam. It’s made me realise I need to sew for each season in advance. Not so easy but great for planning and stash building.
I’m great at giving advice and thinking about it, not so much the doing! But I do intend to go wool coat fabric shopping in July/August. Maybe I should do it in February next year, in the sales/end of season bargains?

Masha itinerantseamstress.blogspot.com

If I’m really going to be successful at wearing a mostly me-made wardrobe, I am going to have to make jeans. There is no way around it!

Meg

You can do it! At least there are so many great patterns out there right now.

SJ Kurtz erniekdesigns.blogspot.com

If you have a favorite pair that fit you perfectly, they are the perfect ‘trace/copy’ project (the Kenneth King “Jeanius” class on Craftsy is great for this from start to finish). You’ll start out with a pattern that only needs light tweaking and can focus on the details and fabrics that make jeans fun.
Worth it on so many levels: I have a stack of jeans I love now.

Sam

Agreed, they don’t call him King for nothing!

Regan Louise solitudeforsewing.blogspot.com

I’ve learned that I really do not like to wear dresses when it’s less than 80F outside ! Part of my challenge was to wear a dress a week and that has been the hardest thing ever. Bare my legs when they could be warm and covered ?!?!?! No thanks! I like me some jeans, so those must come next.

Izy

I have never made pants with a fly zip ever. I do need neutral pants because I got fun prints for tops to make. Blouses are also missing for the warmer weather. Will learn to do this!

Nathalie

The biggest thing I have noticed is that I need more separates. Last year I managed to dress me-made, not with ease but it went well. This year it is so much more difficult. I started working and not all of my clothes are suitable for that. Our dresscode is casual but still, I don’t have enough options. Specially when I go to construction sites, then it is jeans and some top or T-shirt. The conclusion is to make more separates that can be worn to work. Jeans would be a good option, but I just don’t feel like it.

Helen hshandcrafts.wordpress.com

I already rectified one problem which was that I didnt have anything to wear on days when I needed to do manual work so I made a sweater!
Now I just need to make a few more tops for jeans days as I currently mostly have dresses and skirts

Zoe

I’ve enjoyed looking at everyone’s outfits and realised that I’d like to take part next year. I work from home and mostly wear jeans, tops and cardigans, so I think the way forward is to make tops and maybe cardigans, I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle jeans yet.

El Pepperell

I have loved MMM. I have only been sewing for a couple of years and initially got sucked into sewing clothes that didn’t get worn that much. At the beginning of the year I made a resolution to sew what I wear ie to suit my lifestyle (I live at the beach, have 2 busy, active, outdoors loving boys and work 2 days a week) so I made a ton of Lindens and braved knits. I have been pleasantly surprised to be able to reach into the drawer and easily pull out suitable me-mades so far in May but I have learned that I need to make trousers and more skirts; need to embrace the pattern-less so I have plain separates to mix and match and I’ve also learned which of my rtw clothes I have been missing. Yay for me made may.

Jo helloseedling.blogspot.co.uk

It has me re-evaluating my whole wardrobe! I used to have an office job in a creative industry, so I have lots of skirts made from vintage patterns, and kooky, slightly fussy, dresses. Then I had two kids, and I look after them full-time. So I still want to dress in a way that’s fun, but really comfortable and nursing-friendly. So my current queue for summer is pair after pair of Moji pants in prints. Moji + tee + sunglasses = mom uniform.

ChrisK

I’ve learned that nothing is off the table if you can identify and accomplish the pattern adjustments to make your project fit your body. So I’m going fearlessly onward to do that nd accomplish some fitted pants and tops beyond the ever forgiving tee shirts I usually wear. I’ve also learned to embrace a “yeah me” attitude, very big for me!

Meg

Love your attitude! :)

Knitmo

I love wearing skirts and dresses, and they do work for work and working on the farm. But, May is often gross in Iowa. I’m tied of wearing tights and shoes and want to wear sandals, but it’s too cold to go bare legged and sandals. So, I’ve recognized I need more pants for work — my one pair of clovers isn’t cutting it anymore.

Today is assembly line cut and sew pant day to get me through this not quite warm season.

Ms. Cleaver mscleaver,com

This is my first me-made may, but it’s confirmed a lot of things I had known on some level before hand. 1) That my handmade wardrobe is lacking in pants and non-print tops and 2) that I have made a pretty good-sized and surprisingly wearable collection of handmade garments over the years.

The thing that has been somewhat surprising is that my handmade items tend to be much more feminine than my RTW purchases. Which I suppose makes sense, since my knitwear designs tend to be more “girly” – so I guess the “me” in my head is just craving feminine things and MMMay has been a chance to embrace that.

Ruth Mendum

I am a beginning sewer so for me MMM has been about doing something every day. First project was a pair of pj pants for my daughter who is 12. I learned how to do French seams and that not pattern matching drives me crazy. I’m now doing the Selene sewalong and more pj pants for my son. Here is my question: in my small college town we have a thrift shop for knitting and sewing materials that benefits a organization that provides support for developmentally disabled and mentally ill adults. Great cause, great shop. They have tons of great pieces in 1 yard sections. Does anyone have a pattern for a top that takes that little in size 4? Alternatively, what are the tricks for using two types of cloth in a piece of clothing? I’ve thought about adding a strip of matching solid color along the bottom edge of a sleeveless top but are there any other ideas? I don’t need to cover pillows or make bags. I’m currently focused on clothes for my daughter and selectively for me. (She’s the size 4, I’m more in the 8-12 range.) Thanks for any suggestions.
Ruth

Orangie

I THINK that you can get a Sorbetto out of a yard, as long as it’s non-directional, and if you bind it in a different fabric. Anyone want to confirm/deny this?

Meg

I think you can, too, especially if it’s 60″ or if you omit the pleat like in this tutorial on the blog.

Ruth Mendum

Thanks for these suggestions. Sorbetto with the pleat takes a bit more than a yard but I’m going to see what I can do without the pleat and play around with adding bands of color. I should also add that I don’t ever cut an original pattern. I learned long ago from my knitting work that if I want to finish anything I need to “control for one variable only” to use social scientist speak. In other words, a new project can either involve a new yarn or a new pattern but not both. Projects that have too many new things to learn are likely not to get done and certainly not get perfected. Thus I am already a huge fan of the idea of making a muslin and then using a pattern that has been adjusted over and over again with new techniques, kinds of fabrics etc. To that end, I trace any pattern I want to use onto contractor paper. Think brown paper bag on a roll. I label each piece and the size it represents and any changes I have made from the original. This is another reason I’m so pleased to have found the fabric thrift store–I will make sorbetto over and over again for not too much and when the pattern fails I’ll have learned something for my notes.

Meg

You can definitely get creative with 1 yard pieces! I like your idea to add different color bands, and you can always do that with your binding. If you find a t-shirt or tank top pattern that works for color blocking, you can match two different prints or two different colors (try to keep the fabric in similar weights if you are blocking larger pieces, but if you find some lace or sheer fabric, it will work for nice accents). Sorbetto, as mentioned below, would work.

Wallis thisoldblouse.com

I have a lot of small scraps around that I’m trying to use up, so I’ve been using them as contrast for sleeves, armbands, etc. For a pattern like Selene you could make 2 of the princess panels a contrast color, or if you’re making version 3 have the pockets be contrasting!

Ruth Mendum

Hmm. Also a great idea. Now the question is why do I work for a living when I could be having more fun learning to sew??? Perhaps so I can afford to buy yet more fabric? Just as I get my yarn habit under control. Thanks so much for the good ideas.

Shelly secondstorytreehouse.wordpress.com

What about the Polly Top from By Hand London? http://byhandlondon.com/products/polly-top I haven’t tried it yet, but the online examples are really nice, and the center panel takes a single yard. And the pattern is free!

Deborah Morrison

What I discovered may seem a bit obvious, but here goes…buy a basic pattern, (for me it was the Lark tee,) and DON’T cut it out. That way you have a basic block pattern you can use to trace over and over, alter many different ways, and cut in many different sizes. Then when a close friend or family member compliments your make, you can surprise them with one in their size.

Bohemenoire bohemenoire.%20wordpress.com

I recently wrote a blog post about me made may and how I can’t participate because my makes are seriously lacking clothes for every day wear. I was motivated to make a pair of jeans that actually fit .and plan specific projects to fill in those gaps. Im learning to sew with intention.

Katie

I learned so much about my personal style this month! Turns out that I am a sucker for small, fun prints when shopping for fabric but I feel kind of funny wearing them. My taste in fabric doesn’t seem to match up with my clothing style, strange. It’s been eye-opening and has really motivated me to sew up some more functional, neutral pieces.

Because really, there’s nothing better than a perfectly fitting straight skirt that goes with everything

Niamh shinypurpledistraction.wordpress.com

I really struggle with that too! I love really vibrant colourful complex patterning and geometrics, but what I make to wear, and what gets worn? Solids. It felt like a massive step when I made a floral dress and a floral shirt in quick succession.

Hilary

I’m a first-time MMMer and set out to wear something I have a made every day to work . Its already made me notice that I make dresses and tops. I need to make trousers and skirts. In fact jeans are on the agenda. At the same time I know that enjoy slow sewing, taking pleasure in the pattern alterations (FBA is compulsory!) making a muslin, playing with the details. Then I always want to start a new and different challenge, learning new techniques, different material. So I will be running out of me-mades to wear soon. Also made me pine for some of my RTW that I love to. And these are often things I want to copy. More time to sew needed :)

classical retro

It’s my first time too, restricting myself to work as I live in joggers at the weekend. Luckily I have pants and tops but not enough to ring the changes, and dresses, but not always suitable, but no skirts, so I’m beginning to think in capsules as well as more staples. I’m not good at thinking in colour schemes so this is another challenge to add to the mix.

Elizabeth Denton tinlizzieridesagain.wordpress.com

I too need pants, and have a few patterns lined up for this summer, but need to reexamine what colors coordinate with my print tops. I feel like it’s easier to buy basics for work (boring, yawn) and make all the fun things! I haven’t been 100% happy with the fit of pants I’ve made but I’m going to force myself to slow down and try it again.

Worsted Skeins

Every time I sew a knit, I ask myself why I don’t sew knits more often. Why do knits intimidate me? In some respects they are easier than wovens. I am focusing on knits this month.

Mira

It’s been a slow sewing month for me. I’ve mainly just been finishing up projects and “researching” on Pinterest for inspiration. Having started with a painfully small capsule type wardrobe, I’ve learned that I need to keep sewing ALL THE THINGS!! No really, I’ve been stuck in a style rut for ages and I need more items to throw in the rotation: more shirts, more skirts, more dresses, more staples, etc. Most of my projects to date have been pretty standard, so they integrate well with what I already have.

Gretchen Potts sizemode.wordpress.com

Seeing this image is so totally awesome! You all look radiant. I think I recognize Katie on the left from many years ago in Ft Collins. She was the awesome and inspiring gal at our local craft/sewing shop. I loved her creativity and motivation. Ive since moved to a different town and Im so happy to see she is expanding and sharing her creative energy with my favorite fashion and pattern designers. Yay!

Kara

I’m realizing how much color and print my summer wardrobe has, and that my winter wardrobe is mostly blues and grays. Time to add some variety to my cool weather clothes!

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