Thursday, 7 June 2018

My Me-Made-May'18: Lessons Learnt

(my favourite looks worn during MMMay'18)


It's surprising to me that, having taken part in nine Me-Made-Mays now, I can come away each year with a whole lot of new knowledge and feelings towards my handmade wardrobe. In my last post I wrote about my feelings towards last month's challenge. Today I want to talk about the specific lessons I learnt about my wardrobe from taking part, and what I've done (or plan to do) about them.


Some things don't fit so well...

My body has definitely changed since I made a lot of my clothing. Growing and breastfeeding two babies, as well as entering my late 30s, means that my silhouette and measurements have changed in a way that cutting back on the magnums for a while probably won't reverse. There's nothing I can do about it, and last month's challenge forced me to notice that some items really weren't working anymore.

(image source: Tilly and the Buttons)

Both my plain black and stretch denim knit skirts were made when my waist was smaller and therefore the curve between my waist and hips was more, umm, curved. I tried altering both by lowering the waistlines, but it only really worked on the black one. The denim one has now gone to my mum to see if she can make use from it, and I've set to work making an updated alternative using Tilly's Bibi skirt pattern (pinafore version!) in this denim knit (pictured below) from Fabric Godmother.

(image source: Fabric Godmother)

Last month's challenge also made me admit that I had stopped feeling great in my 1960's Breton top (pictured below).  I still adore the style of this garment and consider it the best garment I've ever made, but it was starting to look a little snug around the waist in a way that did suit the boxy style. I held my breath as I took my seam ripper to it, and successfully managed to claw back some width from the side seam allowance. Phew! It now looks a lot better and I feel good in it again.



Some garments should no longer be seen in public...

I've had to say goodbye to my grey Tova tunic, and my denim Tova top (pictured below) has set aside for allotment wear when I finally get one. My amazing anchor Luna pants are developing holes on the knees and bum (I think the little anchor have been created using some kind bleach-like colour removal technique rather than by printing, making the anchor shapes thinner and more susceptible to wear) and have been relegated to 'lounging around the flat' wear.



I have loved wearing...

My Ivy pinafore and Mila dungarees. I love the look of them and the extra stomach coverage, AND the garment layering is both stylish and warm on chillier days. My Cleo pinafore only got worn once during May because a) it's a bit tight at the moment (I should have made it in a denim with elastane), and b) it's a bit short for day-to-day small child wrangling (I should have made the longer version). I've been loving these styles of much in fact that I am planning to make the TATB Bibi pinafore (see above), Sew House 7 Burnside bibs AND Helen's Closet York pinafore. That's a lot of sewing...


Close-fitting knit tops. I had started to veer away from my closer fitting jersey tops (like my Bronte tops and Agnes tops) because I've been feeling more self-conscious about my waist (and the previously mentioned lack of non-jeggings trouser styles), but they've been given a new role for layering under the aforementioned pinafore and dunagrees.


There are some holes in my wardrobe...
  • A lined jacket. There's a bit of gap between my wool cocoon coat and my unlined La Trop Facile jacket where I wish some kind of lined jacket lived. On those inbetweeny days, I find myself wearing a weird selection of layered items that neither looks good, nor feels very comfortable. I do have my lined Woodland stroll cape, but I find that its colours limit the outfits that it works with, plus it looks a bit wintery for spring/summer wear. I've yet to find the right jacket pattern, but I have 2m of gorgeous off-white/navy striped double knit in my stash that might work for a casual jacket. My eyes are peeled for a pattern to fall in love with. 
  • Trousers that aren't jeggings. All my trousers, aside from my one functioning pair of Luna pants, which are really only for very warm weather, are a tight jeggings style. I LOVE my three pairs of jeggings, but I don't like them with my tighter or shorter tops. So I made the most of the Me-Made-May celebratory discount codes and treated myself to the True Bias Lander pants pattern plus fly front extension pack. That pattern has been on my #2018makenine list for months anyway, and last month showed me how useful they will hopefully be. 
  • A dress or playsuit. Generally speaking, day-to-day, I prefer wearing separates. But I'm feeling the draw of a nice dress or playsuit for occasions when I want to feel more put together. Aside from my casual pinafores, I only really have my Staple dress, which I don't think suits my style anymore and is probably destined for the charity shop. I have two beautiful lengths of fabric in my stash, one crazy-long length of quilting cotton-weight African wax fabric, and some gorgeous cotton lawn that I chose whilst testing out the Cotton Bee fabric printing service. I'm looking for a dress pattern/s that is cute, but not too short for toddler wrangling, that vaguely shows the shape of my body, but  isn't a fitted bodice-and-full skirt style (those makes me feel like I'm wearing a little girl's party dress). I'm interested in the Chalk and Notch Fringe dress and Republique du Chiffon's Yvonne playsuit, but suggestions of others would be very welcome...
  • Sleeveless tops. After an exhaustive online comparison of the Grainline patterns Willow tankWiksten tank and Made by Rae's Gemma tank, I bought the Gemma pattern and have begun the surprisingly long journey towards getting a fantastic fit. So far I'm four toiles in and there's still further alterations to be made. It's going to be worth it though, to have near-perfect woven tank pattern to reach for.  
  • Shorts. At the end of last summer, I returned to Pattern Runway's Sweet shorts pattern and made a lovely navy pair, having made a denim pair previously that ended up being way too big. Annoyingly, that navy pair DO NOT fit me now, but fortunately (?) the denim ones now do! But I don't think one pair of shorts is enough as it can get pretty warm during the summer in the South of England. I've made an initial (two sizes too big!) toile of the Deer and Doe Chataigne shorts pattern, which I've had in my stash for a number of years. I'm also thinking about making a pair of Lander shorts as a way to test the fit of that pattern before I embark on a full length version. 
  • Warm tops. My lack of warm tops wasn't really highlighted during May, but it's a perpetual issue in my wardrobe that I thought I'd chuck on to the list here. After the success of my lovely anchor ponte Freya top, I'd like to make another in black ponte and I'll keep my eye out for other suitable sweater knits. It's a great item for layering with vests underneath and cardigans on top. I've also got plans to draft a great sweatshirt patterns, and I might even try out the Sew House 7 toaster sweater pattern than appears so much on the interwebs. 
  • Exercise wear. Recently, I made a commitment to myself to exercise more by going jogging and maybe yoga. I've been out jogging a couple of times of late, but my exercise wear is embarrassingly early 2000's RTW, and it does little for my motivation to get changed into it and get out there and run. I bought some plain black cotton/spandex jersey from Girl Charlee using the recent discount code (which I've used previously and loved the quality) with vague plans to make some leggings. I know that a couple of great-looking books in sewing active wear have recently been published, but I'm not at that level yet!

Phew! Now that I look back at this post, that looks like a lot of lessons I got to take on board! If you took part, what type of garments or specific patterns are now on your to-make list?

7 comments:

Jacey said...

Love the lessons learned...especially as someone who is also coming to grips with a new post-baby shape. Oh, and my goodness, I've made the Burnside Bibs from Sew House 7 and LOVE them -- the sewing was fun and they're fun to wear. Highly recommend.

BusinessFirstFamily.com said...

Making your own clothing can be a great way to put together perfect silhouettes that work with your shape. I may have to take out a loan just to start up a new wardrobe for myself, because certain fabrics can be so pricey. As soon as I get instant approval on my next credit card, it'll be off to the fabric shop to get started! Keeping up with how your body changes over the years is definitely easier when you make your own clothes.

Laura said...

I loved taking part in me made May! The gaps I found in my closet were jeans and button down shirts. I'm not quite ready to tackle the jeans yet, but I think I'm ready to tackle the shirt! Your outfits are making me rethink my stance on overalls, though.

Alysa Levene said...

Great post! I LOVE the Toaster sweater and I've had my eye on the Burnside bibs for a while (bought the TATB Milas in the end after your review and the MMM discount :) ) As for active wear, I hear lots of good things about the free Patterns for Pirates Peg Leg leggings pattern (I think you need to join their facebook group) and there is also a free add-on pack for various extra options. I also read a comparison post of various leggings and another free one came out top - the Laeyla Jayne Taylors - again you need to join a FB group. My tried and testeds are the Greenstyle Strides, but others love Jalie or Fehr Trade (I love her tops). Gaps in my wardrobe - definitely plain tops!

Hilary said...

Thank you, Zoe, for MMMay18!
I've written a blog post about my experience, with a link to your website.
The problem I have is that I now want to wear organic, plant-based, ethically produced textiles but still have a stash with all manner of fabrics and a wardrobe of clothes of very mixed origins! The recent 'Who made my clothes' campaign has transferred into 'Who made my cloth?' which is great for going out and sourcing new textiles. But what about all that fibre in our stashes?!
I'd love to know your thoughts.

Fabric Tragic said...

Wow that is an exhaustive roundup of thoughts! How helpful for you. I’m focusing on some more useful layers in the coming months. I’m not committing to woven trousers as I’m still dropping bebe weight. My next few garments will be a couple of kimono jackets from Wendy wards book, a York pinafore, an unlined vogue jacket in boiled wool, another Driftless cardi and a cropped Tamarack jacket. Lots of jackets and cardis it seems.

Anonymous said...

Great to hear you are still learning from MMM. I participated for the first time this year and I wore either a me-made or secondhand garment every day. Even better if I wore something I’d upcycled. I strongly prefer natural fibres that don’t contribute to micro plastic pollution, and I learned that I need to add knitwear to my me-mades. So I’ve got my crochet hook out and I’m making my first cardigan! Thanks Zoe for organising this challenge. I found it really valuable and I’ll definitely join again. Wendy

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