Me-Made-May: A Month of Handmade Outfits

What did I learn from Me-Made-May? For one, you put more effort into your outfit when you know you’ll be on camera! I can’t just throw on any old thing and run out the door, a little more thought is required.

During May, I tried to spent a little extra time on my accessories, hair and makeup as well. And I really noticed the little things I hoped no one would see – wrinkles, dangling threads, and the skirt with lining that hangs below my skirt hem. You think no one will notice these little things, until there’s photo evidence…

This past month also made me think about how much clothing one person really needs. I went an entire month without touching so many garments, that it makes me wonder how long it’s been since each item’s seen the light of day? Do I really have clothes that haven’t been worn in months? How about years?

So why am I holding on to these things? I have things that I purposely didn’t wear during the Me-Made-May mix because I didn’t want to photograph them on myself. Maybe that’s a sign they need to go?

It also made me think about how un-special some of my purchased clothing is, if I don’t love it, why am I keeping it? I have a couple theories I use for clothing purges: 1 – would I want to run into an ex wearing it? 2 – if it was stolen/lost/burned in a fire, would I miss it? If the answer is no to either of these questions, then it goes in the giveaway pile. I think I’ll be doing a little closet-cleaning shortly and really evaluate why I’m keeping each item. I certainly don’t need more clothes.

I had to take my vest in for drycleaning, so I could wear it a few more times this month. When I dropped it off, the woman made me pay cash since it was only one item, as sometimes people don’t bother coming back for one item. And I thought – but I made it! I love it, I used nice bemberg lining and spent a long time picking the perfect buttons for this vest – of course I’m coming back for it!

Also, it was pretty cool to have an excuse to wear a strapless dress to work. It could have easily been a garment that hangs in the closet for a long long time before I had the guts to wear it out of the house. (Strapless is scary! Plus when you spend that much time on a project, you feel that wearing it might ruin it, somehow.) Not only did I want another option for Me-Made-May but I wanted to take the pictures for my blog… which leads into my next point.

It was fun/challenging/awkward to evaluate photos of myself every single day! It’s one thing to pick a photo for a project, but to choose photos based on how I look was hard. I started to enjoy it after a while, especially as my photography skills improved. It was kind of nice to look at a photo of myself and think, wow, I look pretty good!

And then immediately felt kind of embarrased for liking photos of myself. I’m not sure how to explain this properly but I felt a bit showy and self-important. Look at me! was what my blog said every day. And normally, that’s not my style. Get the job done, work hard, keep my head down, stick to my schedule – that’s my usual routine. It’s almost like this awakened a part of me that likes the spotlight – and even stranger, I kind of liked it!

I loved reading comments from people who’ve never met me, saying they liked my style and liked my outfits. People all over the world were reading my stuff, looking at my finished sewing projects and saying nice things! Can you believe  I was shy to admit I’d made something, previous to this challenge?

In high school I loved sewing, seriously LOVED it. I’d skip my other classes to hang out in the sewing lab! But it wasn’t cool to like school, or be successful and get good grades. The cool girls sat in the back of the sewing lab, worked on the same wrap skirt all year long, and made snide comments. I’d proudly wear a dress I made only to have my bubble burst by the so-called cool chicks. Even when I wore jeans and sneakers, they’d say ‘Did you make your backpack? Did you make your jeans? Did you make your shoes?’ So it became natural to not mention if I made something. Why open myself up to that? It’s almost like pretending you hate math because everyone does, even when you secretly kind of like figuring out what happens when two trains leave the station at different speeds…

Well, that veered a bit off-topic from where I intended to go with this post… so thanks for listening. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m so happy to have this blog, and readers who are as excited about sewing as much as I am! I love that I have an outlet to create and share. I never expected so many people to read it, much less leave such lovely comments. So thanks so much for visiting, commenting, and being such awesome readers!

And thanks to Zoe for leading this challenge! It’s been a fun way to showcase my handmade creations, and led a bit of self-discovery as well. If you follow her blog, you may have already heard about the next chapter in the handmade revolution – Self-Stitched September!

I’ve already made my pledge:

‘I, Tasia of, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-September. I endeavour to wear 1 handmade or refashioned item of clothing every day for the duration of September 2010.’

Join us, won’t you?

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24 Responses to Me-Made-May: A Month of Handmade Outfits

  1. Jessica June 2, 2010 at 7:44 am #

    It’s funny, isn’t it, how those mean comments stick with you? I also get a little embarrassed in the real world about people knowing I make my own clothes. My husband is fond of telling people “My wife made her dress,” and I know it’s because he’s proud, but still – embarrassing!

    Good luck with the closet cleanout – it’s hard, but so much better when you don’t have things to wear that don’t let you feel your best!

  2. Trisha June 2, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    Love the photo collage! How do you do that— do you use a special program? You make some great points– like wearing “special” items in your regular day-to-day outfits. Me-Made-May was great for that!

  3. Alexandra Mason June 2, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    I have really enjoyed your Me-Made-May posts, very inspiring xx

  4. Steph June 2, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing your Me Made May! I really enjoyed it. Your clothing is lovely. I identify with your sentiments about photoging yourself too. Thanks again for your efforts to share the challenge with “us” on the blog. It was very inspiring indeed!

  5. sofia June 2, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    Please donate your clothing to me, your loving sister. :) And then, if you ever want it back, ta da! it’s still around!

    And your blog is about sewing, and you the seamstress, so don’t feel weird about posting pictures of yourself! It’s either you or Diana and she’s a fake stiff plastic lump. And you know how much better it is to see pictures on real people!

    By the way, good job on finishing the month! Huzzah! Awesome outfits!!!

  6. Monet June 2, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    Reading about those girls made me so mad! It’s hard enough to have a slightly unusual (for this day and age) hobby without being mocked at such a sensitive time in your life…how awful. But look at you now! You look beautiful every day and proudly share your hobby with others who need and want inspiration…hooray for you!

    And maybe you should think about making a backpack and jeans…just because :)

  7. The Cupcake Goddess June 2, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    What a lovely post and it brings up so many things that I’ve thought about too! I’ve been that girl and I know how you feel when everyone sarcastically asks you if you made your shoes. I hate that! Even though I know grown-ups would always say it to make you feel better, it really is true, they are very jealous of your talent.

    I love your “conditions” for whether a garment stays in your closet or goes. I think I need to do that. Right away…

  8. ~Sherry~ June 2, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    It is nice to see all your outfits together – they all look so lovely!
    Part of me loves a good clear-out, but when I do I almost always regret getting rid of something! Maybe I’m a natural hoarder, but my advice is don’t be too hasty in throwing things out!
    Those so-called cool chicks are probably still grouped at the back of a room, achieving nothing, making snide remarks… and look at you now!

  9. Uta June 2, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    Well, look at you! So well put together, every day of the month. You mix your garments really well, and the photos are great. Time to shut up the mean girls, don’t you think ;)

  10. Clare June 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    Tasia, you are a treasure! Not only do you make gorgeous clothes, YOU are gorgeous and that radiates through your posts, through the weird old internet and into the computers of random strangers across the globe. I’ve really loved your regular posts and keeping up with your MMM outfits and commentary. No one my own age ever made me feel bad about sewing my own clothes (at least not to my face) but my headmistress hauled me into her office aged 14 to justify why I wanted to get a ‘sewing’ qualification rather than study chemistry or ancient greek…20 years on, I want to haul her into MY office and show her that I made a good and honest choice. Despite not posting or photo-ing, I kept an undocumented MMM and even in my groggiest morning states forced myself to wear at least one thing I’d made myself. My (undocumented) ‘what I’ve learnt’ lessons are pretty much the same as yours. A) I could really do with donating 70% of my clothes because I don’t wear them B) I keep home-made items just because I made them (but don’t necessarily like them, so they need to go too) and C) why shouldn’t we wear strapless dresses to work???!!! that’s what cardigans were invented for!
    Congratulations with the photos and getting better at photography – you have produced some really lovely pictures.
    I’ve rambled on but all I wanted to say was ‘Well done!’

  11. Jaime June 2, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    I really loved your Me-Made-May and would love to do Self-Stitched September! Might be a wee bit pregnant if things go as planned so it would be nice to make some maternity items or items that can work for both stages of life! :)

  12. Ali June 2, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    This is such a beautiful post, Tasia. Really. Wonderful, honest, and thoughtful insights. Like Monet, I got all worked up about those high school girls (goodness, people are cruel!).

    It’s funny how we can shy away from our own accomplishments, isn’t it? Very few people in my life know I blog (and about sewing!), as I don’t want to get into the convo about why I obsessively enjoy something, as if I have to justify it because it’s a bit “unusual” in the mainstream.

    So, to you, and your courage for sharing your passion with us! I, for one, liked the photos! That Armani skirt looked consistently good and you can bet your behind I’m buying that pattern :) It’s on the summer-sewing agenda!

  13. S√∏lvi June 2, 2010 at 6:56 pm #

    First I got caught up by your photp collage, such a great idea for summing up MMM (I might borrow that idea for my blog), and then I got caught up by the text as well. I have been thinking alot about my wardrobe this year as well, and especially this May. Great post and great outfits!

  14. Alli (One Pearl Button) June 2, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    Wow, all of these outfits are so gorgeous!! Thank you for the inspiration!

  15. Kristie June 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    Congratulations on your MMM! This was a great summary post and I loved the photos. I too am trying to get used to taking pictures of myself to post my creations. Your MMM has really inspired me. I just entered the Wardrobe Contest on PatternReview. Not sure if I can do it but I’m gonna try AND…then maybe I’ll be able to take the Self-Stitched September pledge too!

  16. Karin (the Mrs.) June 3, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    I hope you’ll never feel awkward or insecure about your sewing and looking at yourself in pictures again. You look so gorgeous, I love your style and the garments you make. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing with us, Tasia.

  17. Tasia June 4, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    Trisha, I used a screen-capture program called Snag-it, and basically screen-captured my photos and lined them up on a white background, then added the text. There are probably faster & easier ways but this did the trick! I don’t mind if any of you use the same idea :)
    Jessica, thanks for reassuring me that I’m not the only one!
    Alexandra, Kristie, Steph, Jaime, Alli, Solvi – thanks for stopping by. I’m glad to hear my Me-Made-May was inspiring!
    Karin, Clare, Ali, Monet, Sofia, Sunni, Uta – you guys are awesome. Your kind words MADE my day, thanks for the support!
    Sherry, you’re probably right. It’s like when you see a cute boy from high school and he STILL works at the gas station..
    And to all of you planning to participate in Self-Stitched-September, I look forward to following your progress!

  18. just chic June 4, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    What a fantastic collage, you have created so many wonderful garments.
    For the coat you used on days 20 and 23 did you use the Colette pattern?

  19. Tasia June 4, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    Hi Stefi, yes you’re right! The coat is Lady Grey by Colette Patterns.

  20. Ms.Cleaver June 5, 2010 at 6:20 am #

    I think I’ll be joining you for self-stitched September – here’s to the challenge!

  21. Zoe June 9, 2010 at 3:45 am #

    Hi! You are welcome! Very happy to see you are on board for the next month. I’m really pleased you found the MMM experience useful and enjoyable and are prepared to come back for more! You really should be proud of your skills and style, you looked stunning every day and your creations are quite clearly very well made. Not that looking great and sewing well is what making a success of MMM or SSS is all about of course, but you know what I mean! You were/are an inspiration to those interested in furthering their sewing skills and expanding their handmade wardrobes. All the best
    Zoe x

  22. Rachel June 17, 2010 at 4:45 am #

    You are adorable. I’m a pear too although pear does sound terrible and I prefer full figured from the waste down. Either way I am embracing it. I’m 32 and love being in my skin. Back to you. this site is so cute. I found you through the selfish seamstress. Your cloths and blog is spot on. Happy sewing I’m going to add you to my favorite blogs. Sorry I might be stealing your style a bit in the future but you know that just means you’ve got it going on.


  23. Miss Randi June 20, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    You are an incredible seamstress Tasia! Your garments look so lovely… I worry about ruining my handmade clothing too when I wear it, but it is always much more satisfying in the end than wearing anything I’ve bought off the rack.


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