Tag Archives: Me Made May

I made it!

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All images in these collages are pulled chronologically from my Instagram (which also details what the various patterns are). You can see how much better I got at selfies over the course of the month, though I clearly need to work on a more interesting pose!

Of the 31 days in May, I wore a me-made garment on 28 of them. That pretty much blew my stated goal out of the water, which is pretty exciting for me. That I managed to do it without also doing a constant cycle of laundry is even better, since it means the handmade part of my wardrobe is now at the point where, on any given day, I ought to have a handmade option clean and ready to go.

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Those baby-holding pictures weren’t posted on IG, but because I was busy hanging out with our nephew (and his wonderful parents) and friends, I didn’t take an “proper” photos that whole weekend.

The caveat to that, of course, is that it really only applies to tops. I am seriously lacking in dresses and skirts, something I become acutely aware of every time the weather warms up. I had an unofficial goal of wearing a skirt or dress at least once a week, and I didn’t quite make it. If we leave aside my New Girl skirt, which is knit in wool and short enough to require tights (for me, that is, everyone has a different comfort level), and my Endless Summer Tunic/Dress, which I also prefer to wear with tights, I really only have two handmade skirts! And, even including RTW options, I am sorely lacking in skirts and dresses that I would wear to work (and my office has a very relaxed dress code).

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Yes, I said 28 out of 31 days, and yet only 27 photos… That’s because 27 was easier, collage-wise, and because I wore my blue and white Endless Summer Tank (row two, photo 1, above) on the last day as well, and the photo is almost identical to the one above.

Luckily, that is something I can do something about! In my original post, I said I wanted to make two garments this month, and because a few things fell into place rather nicely, I actually managed to make four! All are shirts, but they represent three different patterns in four different fabrics (two Scout Tees, one in Nani Iro double gauze and the other in a Voile; one Endless Summer Tunic, sewn as a tank, in Liberty Tana Lawn; and a Southport Dress, also sewn as a tank, in rayon challis), which is pretty good, I think! And, it has just about filled in the holes in that part of my summer wardrobe, though another Endless Summer Tank or two wouldn’t go amiss (I’ve been wearing the two I have quite a lot!) I’d also like another knit summer top or two — I’ve been eyeing Vasa lately, and I could see myself knitting another Balta.

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The top fabric is Cotton + Steel Rayon in Zipline (purple) and the bottom one is a drapery-weight linen (or maybe a linen blend? I can’t remember)

Anyway, skirts! I am looking sewing up a couple of Zinnia skirts for the summer. I am thinking View A (with the button fronts) in the purple rayon, and View B in the floral linen, which I have a ton of and my well need to be lined. The two skirts I have sewn in the past are both ones I like, but I want to try another pattern, and I like how versatile Zinnia is. I also have a few summer dress patterns I’d like to try, but we’ll see how much time I have to sew.

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MMM check-in

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I intend to do a proper debrief/round up post about Me Made May at the end of the month, but given how quickly our free time is getting booked up, that might not be as prompt as I’d like (or it might — schedules can be tricky to predict). Anyway, with three weeks down I think I’m far enough into this thing to check-in. I’ll do it in point-form, so I can keep myself organized.

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One of my most-worn garments: My chambray Scout Tee. (This, and the other photos in this post were taken with my phone and grabbed from Instagram, in case they look familiar.)

1. Taking selfies is time consuming. I’ve been pretty good about posting daily photos to my Instagram (my planned wrap post will include photos, like last year’s if you don’t want to click through), but they take way more time than I thought they would! I do think my photos have improved since the first few days, but because of lighting/mirror restrictions in our new place, I’ve had to get better at turning the camera around, which has led to lots of similar poses and attempts to take photos of what I’m wearing without appearing to strain at the effort. Usually, that requires a few attempts, and it has not been a smooth addition to my morning routine, which is otherwise very organized/well-timed. It’s getting easier, but that first week or so involved a lot of rushing out the door at the last minute.

2. I’m not as self conscious as I was. It might be a weird thing for a blogger to say, but I’m not actually very comfortable putting myself out there on social media. This blog has always felt a little removed from that — public, but private too — and even here I don’t actually feature in many photos. I’ve still kept my face out of most of the MMM photos I’ve posted (this being the exception), but that’s been mostly about logistics (my arms are not long enough to get my face and my outfit in a photo, and I refuse to buy a selfie stick). The first week was kind of uncomfortable, if I’m being honest, but I’m getting over it.

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I can’t believe it was cold enough to wear my Epistrophy this month, but I was happy to have an excuse to mix up my options a little.

3. Beyond the whole daily photo thing, which isn’t even a requirement of MMM, I feel really good about the handmade items in my wardrobe. I plan to write about this more another time, but one thing I’ve noticed over the last few weeks is how much I like the clothing I’ve made for myself. That sounds like a weird thing to say, I realize, since what’s the point of making things if you don’t like them, but there are no guarantees: lots of things can go wrong and while in knitting you have the option to rip everything out and start over, that doesn’t often work in sewing. When I first started to sew clothes for myself, I was prone (like a lot of beginners) to settle — this version is so much better than my last one — and end up with items that demonstrated a lot of learning but not much style. Improving my technique has meant letting go of those early garments in favour of ones whose construction and fit and overall appearance I’m really proud of.

4. Documenting what I wear every day has given me a different way to think about my wardrobe. Me Made May offers a funny constraint: What you want to wear meets the limitations of what’s available. I guess that’s an everyday constraint no matter what, but when I run up against the what I want to wear/what’s available, it has forced me to really think about what it is I want to be able to wear on a regular basis, handmade or not. But, especially where handmade is concerned, it’s been interesting to see which items I wish were always clean, versus which ones hang in my closet unworn until I’m desperate (ie: it’s laundry day). In a lot of cases, there’s nothing wrong with the things I’m not wearing, but for whatever reason, they don’t interest me. MMM has offered a reason to embrace some of these items anew, which is nice, but it’s also forced me to think about why my favourite items are my favourites — whether it’s cut or fabric or fit — which in turn as informed my to-make list. Obviously, I want to try new patterns and fabrics, but if there are a few that I reach for the minute they’re clean, that’s probably a sign that making another, similar item would be a good bet (hence why I have so many Scout Tees, I guess).

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And, speaking of Scout Tees, here’s the original! Not the first one I made, but the first one that fit the way I wanted it to. I wasn’t sure about the print, originally, but I kind of love it now.

5. I have more handmade clothes than I realized. Last year, MMM was kind of a struggle after the first week or so, but this year has been so much easier. I have enough items that I don’t feel like I’m wearing exactly the same rotation week after week, though to some degree the cooler weather helped with that, since it let me lean on my knitwear a bit. I could use a more varied colour palette, but otherwise I have a pretty respectable number of pieces to choose from. And thank goodness! I prefer not to do laundry every few days, so having a bigger selection has taken that pressure off this year.

I’ll stop there, lest I start getting repetitive, but the main thing I think is that I’m having so much fun this year. I love clicking through to the hashtags to see everyone else’s work, and instead of feeling burnt out, I’m just so inspired. If you’re taking part, let me know!

It’s May, let’s do this

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Since it’s already May 1, I’ll make this quick. (Technically, I already got started.)

Sibella! Full and proper post coming soon, but in the meantime, here's an shot of my handmade wardrobe in action.

Sibella! Full and proper post coming soon, but in the meantime, here’s an shot of my handmade wardrobe in action.

I, Angela of Pans & Needles, am signing up for Me Made May 2016 with the goal of wearing a me-made garment five days a week. I will endeavour to post a photo each day on Instagram.

A few caveats/details: When I say “garments” I don’t mean accessories, so socks and shawls don’t count. In addition to the clothing-specific part of my plans this month, I have a couple of other goals: First, I intend to blog every week! I know I’ve said that before, but in this case, I have a little backlog of finished items to write about, so if nothing else, those should see me through.

My other plan for the month is to actually make a couple of things. My knitting plans this month are all gift-related, but I do want to carve out some sewing time. I always get a little more drawn to sewing when the weather warms up, and this year is no exception. I have plans for a couple of tops, but since bottoms are a real hole in my hand-made wardrobe, I think I should probably plan to make a skirt too.

Are you participating this year?

MMM recap

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I had intended my next post to be a mountain-photo extravaganza, but then I realized that if I didn’t do a Me Made May roundup now, I probably never would. I didn’t do weekly updates here, as some other bloggers did, and at the end I didn’t even post photos to Instagram with any kind of regularity, but I did continue to take them. So, here we go, Me Made May 2015, in one handy, approximately chronological, collage:

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I’m not going to list every piece in every photo — if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll probably recognize all the knitwear, and almost everything is detailed on Instagram (at least when I posted there)/Ravelry or under the Sewing tab at the top of this page. There are a few tops up there that I haven’t gotten around to blogging, but they’re all Scout Tees. Far and away, my two favourites are my Double Gauze Scout (dark blue with white polka dots) and my Chambray Scout (very lightweight, with a pocket — centre of the second row). They’re both easy to wear, fit fantastically (I think) through the shoulders and bust, and stand up well to a full day’s wear (ie: they don’t wrinkle horrendously). It was really too chilly to wear many skirts or dresses, but as summer gathers steam I think another Madeleine skirt is definitely in the cards for me — I love wearing the feathered one I made last year, and I think a second one in a drapier fabric would be fantastic.

Knitwear-wise, there’s a whole lot of orange up there, so you can be sure I’m planning more lightweight cardigans (which I also mentioned in my last post). I also wore both Shaelyn and Flukra a lot, though they didn’t always make it into the photos, so another biggish shawl or two would not go amiss (also mentioned in my last post). One thing my handknit wardrobe is definitely lacking, though, is lightweight knit tops. I have some good winter sweaters, but basically nothing for warmer weather, which is something I really want to change. I’m knitting away on Balta right now, that’s a start, but I was really inspired by the way Natalie layered her lightweight knits (here and here, for example), and it made me reconsider how versatile a knit tank could be. It also makes me think I should revisit my Kit Camisole, which I never wear because I find it about an inch too short and don’t love the placement of the straps — ripping out the top and adding a little length before reknitting would be a pretty easy fix for that though, and then I’d have a new summer top with much less knitting!

In my initial pledge post I stated that my two goals for the month were to assess the handmade wardrobe that I have, and figure out where I wanted it to go, and that I wanted to think more how dressing in general, and why I wear what I wear and why I like what I like. Those two things are definitely related, since obviously what I wear and like will affect what I choose to make, but I did find it useful to think about them separately. For me, splitting those two things apart meant that instead of just saying “I need more lightweight cardigans,” I was able to be more precise about what that meant. So, I need more lightweight cardigans like Grace, which have some visual interest, but are otherwise simple to wear; I really like that Grace is a bright colour, but for the next one I should probably knit in a neutral (warmish grey, I think), and then alternate colour and neutral going forward, so ensure easy layering; etc.

All in all, I think the month was a success, and I’m excited about the prospect of tackling it again in a year. Mostly though, I’m excited about the perspective it gave me on what I make and why, and how that will help organize my making going forward. With my sock drawer pretty well sorted, I’m excited to shift my attention more to garment knitting, which is a slower process that I think suits where I am right now.

All right, that’s probably enough about wardrobe planning for one week. Next time: mountains!

Me Made May

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For the last two years I’ve watched other bloggers take the Me Made May pledge, and followed through the month as they’ve rocked their handmade wardrobe in a really public way (so many people post daily outfit pictures during the month, which feels like a more public way to dress than just to wear your clothes and go about your day). Last year I really wanted to join in, but I knew I didn’t have the wardrobe to do so; this year I think I’m right on the cusp. I have a few skirts, a few tops, one lightweight cardigan, a dress, and some accessories. I’m not sure it’s really enough to get my through the whole month, but I’m going to try (and I plan to add to the tally as I go along).

Technically, I think I’m too late to make the official pledge, but I don’t care. Having a largely handmade wardrobe is a slow process, so maybe deciding to pledge can also be slow. I want to make this month as thoughtful and useful as possible, so I took my time thinking about what I wanted to get out of it, and here’s what I’ve come up with.

First, I want to really assess my handmade wardrobe. It’s small, so there are lots of holes, but I want to get a real sense of what works and what doesn’t, so I know what to add going forward. I also want to be really aware of what I’ve made so far, how those garments fit, and how they make me feel, because I don’t want to spend time making things unless those things are going to make me feel great later.

Second, I’ve been slowing thinking about my wardrobe in a more holistic sense (hence all those links last week), and I think this will help. I’m not sure how to explain it exactly, but I want to be less haphazard about how I dress. It’s not that I think I dress badly, but I think I can definitely be more thoughtful, and the idea of putting each outfit out into the world will force me to dress in a way that I’m proud of every day. This isn’t about dressing up, but it’s more about being more precise in my choices, and even if my actual outfits don’t change much in the end (I will probably always gravitate toward jeans + t-shirt + cardigan, and I’m okay with that), I at least want to know that I’m dressing a certain way by choice and not out of habit. (Does that make sense?)

So, here we go:

I, Angela, am signing up for Me Made May 2015 with the goal of building an outfit around something Me-Made 5 days a week (this means a pair of socks won’t cut it, but a great shawl might). I will endeavour to post a photo each day on Instagram.

Left to right: My one and only successful Wiksten Tank, with Grace; and my Shaelyn shawl with New Girl.

Left to right: My one and only successful Wiksten Tank, with Grace; and my Shaelyn shawl with New Girl.

I am surprisingly excited about this challenge, especially since L and I are going away for 10 days and I have no idea how a me-made wardrobe will work for our trip (about which, more later). I’m not going to do weekly roundups, but I will do a sum-up post at the end of the month. Is anyone else doing Me Made May this year? What do you think of this whole thing? (Honestly, as a knitter, I think Me Made March would be way easier to commit to).