14 books finished in 2015: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Friends, I have a serious backlog of books finished, five or six of them, and I’ve been waiting for haiku-spiration to strike. But it’s been a month, so I’m lowering my standards (and rolling my eyes at these haiku). The next few days will have scheduled book posts, and I try to catch up with reality before vacation reading doubles the backlog.

14 books finished in 2015

youth wasn’t wasted
on the young in this tale of
being bound by age

THIS SHORT STORY WAS MUCH BETTER THAN THE MOVIE. Ahem.

Days 15-21 of Me Made May

#memademay15 #mmmay15
Day 15 – This is my snow day dress. McCall 6465. I don’t know why I haven’t made more of these! (Probably because I am afraid to buy nicer silk fabrics, which is what makes this delightful.) I’m tempted to make this in a knit fabric, but I think the casual shape needs a fancier fabric to ensure I’m not just wearing a nightshirt in public.

#memademay15 #mmmay15
Day 16 – Another dress that is ridiculously simple, awesome because of the drapey fabric (this one is a polyester, I believe), and begging me to make another. In the next version, I really want to figure out how to enclose the elastic waistband – this one is just sneakily made with narrow elastic and my widest zigzag stitch.

#memademay15 #mmmay15 (saving those knit tops for another day)
Day 17 – Burda 7798, which I made four or five years ago and keep telling myself to replace. (The cotton is always wrinkly, though insanely soft at this point. The fit is terrible – and I finally made adjustments to it last year, but haven’t successfully made a replacement dress.) This dress is heavily worn and well-loved.

Same bodice (self-drafted) as Days 3 and 6 and 12. Colette Peony sleeves and skirt. #memademay15 #mmmay15
Day 18 – It’s a pink dress/peony mashup, the same as my Day 3 dress but in a very different fabric.

Faceless Wonder Woman pose because I could only make weird faces at the camera today. #memademay15 #mmmay15
Day 19 – Same bodice as above, but with an attempted v-back and a quasi-straight skirt. This was made on a whim from some quilting cotton in my stash, and it turned out so much better than anticipated.

I only made the skirt, but when I tucked in the top it was obvious that I should see them together one day. Dresses are so much less effort in the morning! #matchingishardwork #memademay15 #mmmay15
Day 20 – Self drafted knit skirt. I tucked in my tank top midway through the day and realized that I could REALLY get into a two-tone knit dress. Adding that to the infinite list of potential projects.

Made the shirt. The skirt was converted from a dress (chopped off the top, added elastic waistband). #memademay15 #mmmay15
Day 21 – Same shirt pattern as Day 14, which makes for an interesting comparison. The bra I’m wearing in THIS photo is the one I drafted it with, and it looks much more natural with this than the other (also, I ironed this shirt). Thanks, Me Made May, for helping me realize that I should be pairing these things better! (Also, wow, a good reason to think about the undergarments you’re wearing when making pattern adjustments.) This skirt is an old maxi dress that I converted into a skirt – chopped off the top and added an elastic waistband.

Week Three Summary Hey! One more week! I did some frantic sewing over the weekend, partially because I’ll be in the woods for a big chunk of the next week-plus, and it’s not wise to hike in short cotton dresses. (I mean, I could have made it work, but I prefer to NOT look like a crazy person, if I have the option.) So my life, and wardrobe, has been supplemented with the softest, most delightful bamboo jersey shirts. I haven’t even worn them yet, but I’m already itching to buy some more fabric.

Inspirations (garments I want to make):
-another snow day dress
-another elastic waist dress
(Both of these will be dependent on finding the right fabric, so I’ll be sure to write down yardage and shop with some intention while on vacation.)
-a new, better-fitting version of Burda 7798 -perhaps a two-tone knit dress?

Any other thoughts?
Hmmm…I had to write out the rest of the days of the month and compare it to what was still unworn. I’ll make it through the month without repeats. Of course, after I realized that, I wondered whether that should have been my goal – to make enough things to wear a different one each day. (It wasn’t my stated goal, but it must have been a motivating factor.) Really, the most useful part of MMMay is that it helps me to evaluate my wardrobe and think about what pieces are most loved and most worn, and to plan my sewing projects in a way that continues to move in that direction.

Days 8-14 of Me Made May

Let’s look at some photos!

This skirt. #memademay15 #mmmay15

Day 8 – Self-drafted knit skirt. After making the Nettie, I realize that this could handle more negative ease. But it’s super-comfortable as is.

At the beach for a few days. Wore this Plantain Tee for driving down and the first of many long walks on the beach. #memademay15 #mmmay15

Day 9 – Dark purple plantain tee. This was my first, made in a bamboo knit, I believe. It’s so delightful. Wore it to drive to the beach.

When I wasn't wearing a bathing suit, I put on this Nettie tank top in a crazy textured knit. #memademay15 #mmmay15

Day 10 – Beach living continues. Confession: I have meant to make a bathing suit for the last year. I have some fabrics and some lining, and even have a pattern (plus an old suit that was ripped apart for research), but it still hasn’t happened. So on a day when I was mostly on the beach, this tank top (a modified Nettie, made last week) was what I wore when taking breaks from the sun.

What I wore yesterday for a rainy morning at the beach, for driving the empty roads, and for lounging with @rebeccadesigns in Raleigh. #memademay15 #mmmay15

Day 11 – Rainy day at the beach. Then driving all afternoon. This is my favorite Lady Skater – the heather brown is a lovely neutral, and this fabric feels like terrycloth inside. Forgot to take a photo of myself wearing it, but here’s one for reference.

#memademay15 #mmmay15

Day 12 – A knit version of my favorite woven dress pattern, this is a bit too loose in the bodice (perhaps a theme with self-drafting with stretch fabrics is lack of negative ease) but it’s still a summer staple.

Since I didn't change out of pajamas today, and none of those are made by me, here's something else: two journals decorated. One is practically full, but was left blank for way too long. The other is on deck for summer and beyond.

Day 13 – I never changed out of my pajamas, and though I have patterns for some simple pajama shorts, and a promise/threat to myself that I cannot replace my current pajamas with anything store bought, it hasn’t happened yet. So I didn’t wear anything handmade. But I DID decorate two journals, which counts for something. (Right?)

WRINKLES! (I still wear this shirt, and it's blue twin, all the time.) #memademay15 #mmmay15

Day 14 – Yes, I probably SHOULD re-make this shirt in something less wrinkly. I’ll add that to my list, but will probably keep wearing this until that happens.

Second Week Summary

Halfway-ish, and I’m feeling the pros and cons of this endeavor.

Cons: selfie fatigue has set in, which isn’t as rough as is was last year since I’m not aiming for a standard pose each day. Vacations definitely throw off the rhythm, but I love vacations so I’m not REALLY going to complain about it.

Pros: Lots of sewing motivation! Fun conversations with a lot of real world friends about the project. Continued assessment of my wardrobe, figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

Garments made this week: none (yet) but I have purchased some jersey fabrics and they will be turning into tank tops and t-shirts this weekend so I have things to wear in the woods!

 

Days 1-7 of Me Made May 2015

Let’s do this!

Posting this to commit myself to #memademay15 - the shirt is me-made, a plantain tee out of ITY knit, with 3/4 sleeves and a little extra length. #mmmay15

Day 1 – The only thing me-made is the shirt – it’s a Plantain Tee in a dark brown ITY knit. The sleeves are 3/4 length. I have two copies of this shirt (you’ll see the other one later in the month, for sure) which was made specifically to wear with skinny jeans, etc.

Thankful for a sunny day and instant sewing gratification. #memademay15 #mmmay15

Day 2 – A brand new gathered skirt! Made by following the By Hand London tutorial. I have learned from previous skirt fails and interfaced the waistband. This woven fabric is a dream – it feels almost like flannel on one side – so I’ll probably be wearing it ALL SUMMER.

I love the innards of this dress. Especially that safety orange binding. #memademay15 #mmmay15

Day 3 – This dress is inspired by London fashion – I was stunned by how many well-dressed professionals in the city were willing to embrace wild colors and patterns in their daily wardrobe! I made it last summer, when I returned from Europe.

#memademay15 doing it's thang - MOTIVATING! I made both of these over the weekend. #Nettie shirt and a gathered skirt altered from a failed dress project . The fabric is wonky, but POCKETS! #mmmay15

Day 4 – My first Nettie! It’s only a t-shirt, because I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern (and I’m 4 inches taller than the sample size), but I love it! I’m definitely making the next one a size larger, because this pulls a lot on my shoulders, but I’m still pleased with this and will probably keep wearing it. (Also, I can’t wait to make a million sleeveless tank tops out of this pattern, so I can finally throw away some old standards.)

AND I made this skirt over the weekend, specifically to wear with my new Nettie shirt. It was re-purposed from my wadder* pile – a dress which I assembled with previously unknown levels of meticulous attention back in 2011 or so, but which fit so poorly that I never, ever wore it in public. But it had pockets! So I cut off the bodice, re-fashioned the skirt (it had huge pleats, so I changed them to gathers), and added a waistband and new zipper. (Confession: it needs a button, but I used a safety pin.)

Today's #memademay15 selection is a self-drafted knit skirt with an unfinished hem, and a plantain tee made out of sweater knit, with unfinished sleeves. #mmmay15

Day 5 – Plantain sweater and a self-drafted knit skirt (that I believe has been cut shorter since last Me Made May). Neither of these are stellar pieces, but they’re so comfortable, and they reflect my attempts, since last year, to add some new silhouettes to my handmade wardrobe.

6 days in to #memademay15 and selfie-fatigue has hit. Thankfully, the sewing mojo remains. This is a few years old, one of MANY dresses drafted from an old Isaac Mizrahi from Target. #mmmay15

Day 6 – Oh man. I love this dress. The color. The length. The silhouette – which you’re going to see over and over and over again this month. It bugs me that the neckline wrinkles, but I made it before I started to get really nitpicky about fitting, and I believe this pattern piece has been altered multiple times since this dress was made in 2013.

Lady Skater. I wear this constantly, so #memademay15 probably means giving it a break as I wear other things. #mmmay15

Day 7 – I made this Lady Skater last May, and wear it so often it’s possibly become my signature dress. It is SO COMFORTABLE and I’m constantly tempted to make enough that I never have to wear anything else.

First Week Summary

New garments made: THREE SIX, because I had a frantic night of sewing after starting this blog post and verbalizing some of my life/sewing dreams.

Inspirations (garments I want to make):
-interfaced-waist on a circle skirt (perhaps just an update of my denim skirt from last year)
-gathered-waist dress?
-fabric upgrade (heavier, sturdier) for knit straight skirt(s)
-Pink Dress in a maxi length, perhaps in a muted pattern from the stash

 

*wadder – I discovered this term on a British sewing blog, and it accurately captures the idea of a garment so hideous you want to wad it into a ball and throw it into a corner.

Doing this Me-Made-May thing again.

Looking at my wrap-up from last May, I realize that it was good for my handmade wardrobe in two specific ways.

First, it motivated me to sew more casual clothing – a few simple separates, a few t-shirts, a pair of leggings. Though I’d known of the too much frosting, not enough cake concept before last May, and I’d been considering how it should influence my sewing, I wasn’t really motivated to make wardrobe staples until I tried to wear handmade clothing every day.

Second, it helped me to cast a more critical eye on my handmade wardrobe, and after the month was over, I set aside a number of items – in my pile of things to be altered or re-used for their parts.

So, with those two things in mind, I decided to participate again this year. My main pledge is to wear something me-made every day and to document it in some way, for further discussion and consideration. I’ve been posting photos to instagram so far, and will probably keep that up as long as I can sneak in enough OTHER pictures to keep my feed from looking like a selfie-storm. And I’ll write some summary/review blog posts, sharing photos of each item here, mainly because I continue to have fitting and wardrobe planning notes.