If you follow me on Instagram you probably know all too well that I’ve been participating in Me Made May. You have suffered through my many pictures of what handmade item I’m wearing each day this month. Well, hopefully, you aren’t suffering too much but trust me, I am. It’s a little bit of torture to take a picture of yourself every day. Beyond that bit of pain, however, Me Made May has got me thinking about so many things. Some good and some a little difficult. But, before I get into that I have to share a new dress! I made another one of my tennis dresses (tunic, really?). Like before, this is a lengthened and slightly adapted version of Kristin’s free scoop top pattern. (Sorry for the terrible pictures, btw, rainy days make for crappy photos).
The fabric is from Girl Charlee, in a different colorway from what I used to make my boring shirt that everyone (but me) loved so much. There is a good bit of polyester in this fabric and it’s doesn’t have a huge amount of stretch so the fit wasn’t exactly the same as the previous tennis dress. I still love it and I love the print but it’s snug around the armhole and tight across the chest.
Now that I said all of that, never mind any of it BECAUSE there is something so fun about this dress! It’s got a tiny little pocket of the most amazing Liberty of London fabric! You probably noticed but it’s just the best thing ever!
A lovely sewist buddy of mine gave me the most precious fat quarter of this Liberty print at Christmas and I couldn’t stop admiring it. When I realized how perfectly it matched the colors in this dress I decided to add the pocket and I used it as bias tape binding at the neck. I’m so glad I did because it instantly transformed this into one of my favorite items in the closet even with the snug armpits. I’m really thinking that little bits of Liberty should become tiny pockets on all of my things. It’s really time for that trend, don’t you think?
Speaking of trends, as I mentioned I’m taking part in Me Made May. When I pledged to wear one handmade item every day for the month of May, I didn’t think about it that hard. I figured I’ve been making lots of clothes, I’m sure I can do it! It will be fun! And, that is true, it’s been great fun and so far, I’ve had enough handmade items to wear something everyday. Here is a selection of my Instagram shots:
I’m just past the halfway point right now and I noticed a few things about the whole process…outside of the fact that I’m dressing up more often, even showering with greater regularity (everyone is happy about that). While I went into Me Made May with a pretty cavalier attitude I quickly realized that wearing handmade on an every day basis is a little bit fantastic and a lot vulnerable.
Here are the fantastic things:
- Learning what to make. It provides great insight into the questions, “what do I actually wear?” and “What should I make for myself if I want to wear more handmade?” It’s pretty easy to uncover the gaps in my handmade wardrobe, essentially I need to stop making skirts (I have plenty!) and start working on more casual tops, dresses, a little jacket and lounge-y pants.
- Examining my style. It’s been fun to recognize what handmade items I like. It’s helping me make decisions about what fabric to look out for. I feel like I am discovering what I feel comfortable wearing and whether I should make bolder clothing (sometimes) or more basics (definitely).
Here is the vulnerable bit:
- Displaying my style. Hmm. I know. I like examining my style but not displaying it? What is up with that? Trust me, I’ve questioned myself in that regard a great deal these two weeks. Why, before Me Made May, would I make something bold and fantastic and then not wear it? Why? Well…here is the thing. For someone like me, who has never been very fashion-forward, It’s kind of easy to go shopping in a store, see something on the rack and buy it without too much thought. When you wear it, you can sort of hide behind the thought, “I just threw this on, I got it on sale.” It’s safe. Someone else decided it was in fashion and the colors are the season’s colors. Someone else made it with a perfect or imperfect fit. It wasn’t you. Handmade flips that on it’s head. You picked out the fabric, you picked out the pattern, you sat for probably at least a few hours and made it. When you put that on, you are wearing a bit of your identity. It’s you out there on the surface of your skin. As crazy as it sounds, quite a few days I feel as if I have to muster up a bit of that courage I committed to this year. You see, I’m a natural introvert, I like to think about things and quietly create them. I can handle occasionally wearing something I’ve made or carrying a bag I’ve made but I quickly want to retreat back to the ‘safety’ of wearing whatever I got at The Gap. Me Made May means I don’t get to do that. While it’s a little scary, it is also kind of wonderful. And, it’s getting easier and easier as the month passes. It’s become more automatic and involving fewer pep talks.
Who knew that wearing handmade could carry so much weight, huh? Thankfully, as the load is getting lighter it’s getting really, really fun. Can’t wait for the rest of the month! Are you participating in Me Made May this year? Has it got you thinking? I’d love a little company in this conversation. 🙂
Daniela D says
Aaaa! I love that you used the Liberty for the bias tape binding, too!!!! I love everything about this dress and hooray for participating in Me Made May! So awesome.
Melissa Q. says
Thank you for your amazing eye. I love this Liberty print so much!
Barbara J says
You comments about the vulnerability of MMMay is exactly what Zoe had in mind when she cooked up the idea of a month long commitment. Most sewists have no trouble actually sewing, it’s wearing the garments that can become a challenge. It’s possible that when you figure out the first points – sewing more for how you actually dress – then the second point – the vulnerability – will be more easily conquered. When what you are wearing feels safer, less likely to attract attention, you will go out into the world wearing your made garments with much more confidence. So, go you!
And, oh yeah. I didn’t really need a MM month to know I need to sew more pants, but it’s painfully obvious here at mid month.
Melissa Q. says
Ah, thank you so much for this comment. Zoe is so smart, isn’t she!? I love it. It’s interesting…I think that the more I sew what I actually want to wear the harder it gets. I don’t think I realized how much I was avoiding wearing the bold and interesting things I really want to wear until this whole MMM deal. I think part of what I’m realizing is I don’t want to dress so safe. You know? Took a long 38 year road to get to that one! So, it both feels great and liberating as well as terrifying.
Oh yes, pants. Harumph to that one, huh?
First of all – yay, I love that you’re getting so much use out of my little pattern! Makes me so happy. Second – I love this post and your talk about the decisionmaking process that goes with handmade. I have no problem using more prints and making all sorts of dresses for my daughter, because that’s all she wants to wear anyway. But me? I’m in jeans, a knit shirt, and a cardigan most days. Not even dresses (though they’re fun to sew!). Being postpartum and nursing has hampered my Me Made May aspirations this year, but I know those “elevated basics” are what I need to keep making, too. And I need to talk Grainline into making a jeans/pants pattern, because her clothes fit me like a dream! Anyway, carry on! 🙂
Melissa Q. says
Oh man. Your pattern is such a staple for me. Thanks so much for offering it for free! Though, you know I greatly value your time and work, too. Thanks for the post love. I always appreciate your comments!! Elevated staples is a great way to put it. Exactly. Great word for it. You know I have never made a grain line pattern and I really ought to, I keep hearing good things. Many of the patterns I’ve made recently have been for the bigger busted and require adjustments. It would be so nice to find one that I can just roll with! Have to try that. Thanks.
mary frances says
I am loving watching your instagram posts and all the amazing things you’re making and wearing for *yourself* I can’t think of the last thing I sewed for myself–thanks for the inspiration.
Melissa Q. says
Thank you so much friend. I can’t wait to see what you make for yourself! Perhaps with some of the Mood Fabric we bought ages ago! I’m always inspired by you so I’m sure to love it.
That tunic top is adorable! And I LOVE the pocket and bias tape around the neck. It is such a fun little detail, and I fell like those really make a piece at times. Wear ti proud. Your clothes always fit so well and don’t look dated at all, like many other handmade items I run across 🙂
Melissa Q. says
You are so sweet. Thank you. I’m wearing things with a wee bit more pride these days and it does feel good.