Tag Archives: wardrobe building

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:

mmm15

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!

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Have clothes, will travel

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Clothing — and, specifically, wardrobe building — has been on my mind for a while now, but perhaps never more than when I’m travelling. Somehow, despite reading quite a lot about creating capsule wardrobes and personal uniforms, it never fails that the minute I get wherever I’m going and open my bag I realize that I’ve utterly failed to pack outfits. Instead, I have a bunch of pieces that don’t really go together in any kind of coherent way, soon to be immortalized in all my vacation photos.

Shaelyn and Grace, the absolute stars of my travel wardrobe.

Shaelyn and Grace, the absolute stars of my travel wardrobe.

Typically, this initial panic recedes a bit and I realize there was some method to my packing, but honestly, it’s definitely a make-do situation. How someone who reliably wears the same basic outfit everyday can be this inept I don’t know, but I think that maybe writing it down here will help me remember this failing in the future. Having spent the last ten days thinking about where I went wrong this time, I think I’ve narrowed down where my thought process went wrong:

1. We planned to split our time between hiking and sightseeing, so I needed two totally different wardrobes. I did really well on the hiking side (clearly what I was more worried about), and left the everyday/sightseeing side to chance.
2. Me Made May distracted me. I made the pledge knowing I’d be away for a third of the time, but I didn’t really think about how that would factor into my packing. I was doing really well and wanted to keep it up, but in general, my sewn pieces all require ironing, making them less than ideal for travel. I changed my mind about half way through packing and then didn’t compensate with my usual wardrobe staples.
3. I forgot about colour. My default colour is dark blue, which serves me very well, so why I decided to change it up for a holiday is beyond me. I mean, I packed my Grace cardigan for layering, but then also a pink t-shirt. There is zero logic in that.
4. I made a bad bet on the weather. If Switzerland had been warm and sunny, I think I would have been okay. But the first half of our trip was pretty cool, and since that’s when we did the bulk of our sightseeing (saving the nicest days for hiking), the skirt and dress I’d planned to wear were pretty useless, and the necessity of layering (and thus, the uselessness of the pink t-shirt) was pronounced.

It probably goes without saying that handknit socks are a staple. They saw me through hiking, sightseeing, and just hanging around the apartment. They are the absolute best.

It probably goes without saying that handknit socks are a staple. They saw me through hiking, sightseeing, and just hanging around the apartment. They are the absolute best.

All of this aside, I am thrilled to say that both my Grace cardigan and Shaelyn shawl saw regular wear and I’m not tired of either. I could definitely use some neutral handknits though, so I’m going to have to think about how I want to handle that. I had been thinking about knitting the Sibella Cardigan in a gold colour (I’m partial to Shibui Staccato in Brass, to be specific), but now I’m thinking I’d get a lot more wear out it if I knit it in a tonal grey — maybe Tanis Fiber Arts Slate or Charcoal? My Flukra is already a great neutral (why oh why didn’t I pack it?!) but I also have some Tosh Merino Light in my stash that would be a great neutral colour for an interesting but neutral shawl (Holden or Ishbel maybe).

As I’m mulling all of this over now, I thought I’d ask your advice. What are your wardrobe staples when you travel? Are you ever surprised by what you come to rely on? When it comes to your handmade wardrobe (knit or sewn), what are your favourite or most versatile pieces?

I’ve got myself to a place where I want to be really specific about what I’m making, and I’m with my sock drawer in good shape, I’m especially interested in garments and accessories. With Me Made May ending today, I will for sure be writing more about this in the near future, but with travel top of mind, I thought I should pull this out as a separate post.