All The Handmade Clothes

My podcast is not cooperating and I'm trying another way to upload it - but since the computer tells me it still has 1093(!) minutes to go I thought I'd post a round up of my #memademay outfits for week two in the meantime ... #mmmay15 #knittersofinstagraWeek 3 #memademay round up. The temperature is definitely dropping - bring on the hats & shawls!  #mmmay15 #madememay #madebymemay #handmadewardrobe #handmadecloset #memademay is drawing to a close - just a few days to go... I won't be sad to have a break from selfies for a while 😉 Here's a round up of week 4.  #mmmay15 #madememay #madebymemay #handmadecloset #handmadewardrobe #knitting #knittersofig #knittersofUntitled

So, there you have it - My Me Made May 2015. 31 days of handmade clothes. Although I eventually grew slightly tired of taking endless selfies, it was a fun month. I felt quite enthusiastic to fill the gaps I could see in my handmade wardrobe and received so much pleasure and inspiration from seeing what other people were wearing.

I learnt a few things:

- selfies aren't as scary as I thought;
- although it's really hard to look like myself in them;
- I have sewn far more summer clothes than winter clothes;
- you can never have too many hats;
- or shawls;
- or socks;
- I could do with a bit more handmade jewellery;
- I really do wear handmade every. single. day!

I really enjoyed regularly scrolling through the tags #memademay & #mmmay15 on Instagram to see what handmade clothes other people were wearing. Since I had lots of wintery woollens right at hand I was particularly interested to see what sewing patterns might be good additions for my wardrobe. Of course, lots of the clothes were summery as people dressed for warmer weather in the Northern Hemisphere but I found some new people to follow and made a long list of (sewing) patterns I might try.

Here's my list ... have you made any of these?

+ Tova
+ Coco

Some are vague - notes about a whole range of patterns to look at. But most are particular garments. What surprised me most was how many dresses I liked and also, how different they could look in a variety of fabrics and with little modifications. I liked many of the Me Made May versions so much more than I do the original pattern version.

How was your Me Made May? Feeling inspired? Which patterns caught your eye?

Made Me May

Made Me May

In previous years I've watched Made Me May from the sidelines and often thought I should join in the fun because I wear something I've made almost every day. Every day if you count jewellery and bags. 

This year I thought I'd play along too. After all, I'm a huge fan of handmade clothes and bags and ... well, everything! It felt especially relevant this year since I've been doing lots of talking about creating a handmade wardrobe in my monthly newsletters and so many of you have told me how inspired you're feeling about knitting and sewing things for yourselves.

Made Me May was an idea dreamed up by Zoe on her blog So, Zo... What do you know? in 2012. The idea is to wear handmade clothes through the month of May and wear them frequently and with pride. Sounds great doesn't it? It isn't a competition or cause to become stressed and worried that you've not got enough handmade clothes. It's a celebration of handmade and the things you've already made and I love that idea.

I haven't made a specific pledge although I guess I'm secretly aiming to wear handmade clothes every single day in May. I'm documenting my progress with photos that I'm posting to Facebook and Instagram and so far I'm enjoying myself immensely. It's great to take a fresh look at clothes I've made myself and think about how I'll wear them together, how I'll style them and what else I fancy making.

Made Me May

I'm loving seeing what other people are wearing too - it's super inspiring. Check out two hashtags on Instagram: #mmmay15 and #madememay to see all the handmade goodness. It's wonderful how many people are joining in.

It's day 5 today (well it is here in New Zealand - It might still be day 4 where you are!) so you've still got loads of time to join in too. Pull out those handmade bits from your wardrobe and pop them on! Don't forget to wear them with pride!

I've noticing a lack of wintery things in my wardrobe with the weather turning a little cooler and me determined to wear all my handmade things, so I've decided to make a special effort to finish the sweater in my photos (See my Ravelry page for details) and get behind my sewing machine.

I've developed a terrible habit lately of rummaging through my fabric stash and pulling out pieces of fabric I'd like to use, washing them and then folding them in piles near my sewing machine. The piles are starting to get a little out of control! These two bits are on top of my most recent pile. Some gorgeous plum/pink stretch knit that will make a fantastic sweatshirt and some beautiful Marimekko linen that's crying out to be used. I'm thinking it might become a Scout Tee.

So, tell me - are you playing Made Me May?

The Big Reveal! Summer Outfit 1

The Big Reveal! Summer Outfit 1

I had to call this post "The Big Reveal" so we could have a little chuckle and remember back to my Handmade Wardrobe challenge in 2013.  Ah, wasn't it so much fun?! Crazy busy but fun. I'm not sure if I'll manage to make a whole outfit every month ever again but I'm so glad I did for so many months that year - I've absolutely lived in those clothes. It surprised me how well the outfits coordinated with each other - I'll tell you all about it sometime ...

Anyhow, here we have my first finished summer outfit. I'm both amazed that I've actually done it and super pleased that I have.

The Big Reveal! Summer Outfit 1

The Big Reveal! Summer Outfit 1

Of course my Washi top took all of fifteen minutes to finish. I hand-stitched the seam, catching it ever so carefully so you can't see the stitching from the outside and gave it a press.

It's a lovely fit across the chest and I've taken some width out from the waist/hip region so it is a little narrower which works better for me. No pockets this time which I'm kind of missing although they'd probably look silly. I'm wondering about a slightly longer, lightweight, tunic version with a simple scooped neckline and colourful pockets ...

The Big Reveal! Summer Outfit 1

It's hard to see the detail on my Moss skirt because it's so dark. The fly worked pretty well although I would like to try it again with lighter fabric. The drill was so thick layer upon layer and my poor sewing machine didn't much like it. I didn't even try a button hole in the waistband. Instead I used a trouser hook and bar to hold the waistband closed.

It's a groovy, comfortable wee skirt if you don't mind having all your legs on show. I made the shorter version of the skirt and I like the details such as the yoke at the back and the angled pockets. I didn't do any top stitching but I think I'd like to try some on another skirt.

I did find however that the skirt came up a little large on me. I could have gone down a couple of sizes and took a chunk out of both sides before I attached the waistband. It wasn't the pattern - it was me. When trying to work out which size to make I found my waist measured four whole sizes larger than my hips. Worried that it wouldn't fit if I made the smaller size I cut out the larger one. Now I've made the skirt I realise that it goes nowhere near my waist. It sits right down on my hips. Next time I'll go with the smaller size.

The Big Reveal! Summer Outfit 1

My necklace is fun. I bought the beads on Etsy a couple of years ago and the black beads and leather cord were from my stash. 

I tried a couple of ways of string the beads. Initially I thought I'd string them simply on the leather but it wouldn't fit through the holes on the beads! That's when I added the black beads, trying first one then two between each wooden piece. Two worked better and I added a couple more on each end too. All the beads are strung onto some clear plastic jewellery "wire". I made a small loop at each end and tied my leather cord to each loop with a long tail so I could knot the cord for several inches up itself. The knots are slightly haphard and look a little like crochet. 

I'm the worst critic of my own creatiions. I wasn't sure about the necklace as I made it. Would it look ok? Would it look totally amateur? I tried to look at it as if I was viewing it in a shop. Would I like it then? In the end I decided I would, in a "tribal" meets "urban" sort of way.

Well, I'm so pleased that I've finally got something new to wear this summer. Let's hope the good weather stays around for a while because I'm itching for more summer clothes now! 

Getting Back to Sewing & My Top Tools

Getting Back To Sewing & My Tops Tools

Getting back to sewing has been no easy feat. I've really wanted to sew, needed to sew but try as I may, I just couldn't manage to get myself in front of my sewing machine. 

I'm very pleased to tell you that that's changed. I've done it! I have been sewing. I actually finished the first of my summer outfits and it feels so good. Was it really September when I started? Oh dear. Never mind, at least I'm feeling motivated now.

But, before I show you my new outfit, I thought I'd tell you a few things that helped get me back to sewing in case you also need some encouragement, and share a few of my favourite sewing tools with you.

Here we go. Ideas that worked for me that you might feel inspired to try:

  • Publicly announce that you're going to sew something. Once I told you on my podcast I was going to sew my skirt and make time for sewing, well I had to do it. I didn't want to turn up here in a couple of months and confess that I still hadn't done it. Perhaps it might work for you to tell someone you're going to sew a specific thing? Even better, suggest you do it together!
  • Break the job into parts and tackle one little bit at a time. I organised my pattern and cut out my fabric long before I sewed a seam. Then, when I did start sewing I broke the pattern down into chunks and told myself I was just going to do steps A, B, and C then have a break. Once I started sewing I actually went on to do more than those first steps because I was having so much fun.
  • Start even if your sewing space/table isn't perfect. This is a biggie for me. I like making things in a tidy space. It's easy with knitting, I can knit anywhere so I tend to plonk myself down somewhere tidy. With sewing I like to tidy up my table before I start and sometimes this task takes all my sewing time. This time, I gave everything a quick straighten and got on with my sewing. I didn't do my big sort and wipe. You know? It was actually ok ;)
  • Stop buying clothes aka get desperate. I haven't bought myself any new clothes for a very long time partly because I don't tend to go to the shops, partly because we're spending any spare money on our house but mostly because I am determined that I should sew my own clothes and wear a handmade wardrobe. Now it's hot I'm starting to feel desperate. It's sew or keep wearing the same couple of cool outfits day in and day out. Do you buy things you could easily sew?
  • And finally, organise a chunk of time to sew. I sat down on Saturday afternoon and made my skirt. Before I started I organised Mr Myrtle to make dinner so I didn't have to stop. I don't like sewing in a rush, I always make mistakes and stopping and starting isn't much fun either. A long stretch of time allows me to relax and sew carefully. 
  • It helps to gather a few good tools too. My favourite sewing tools are lined up in the photo: a magnetic pin-cushion, a good un-picker, sharp scissors, a rubber hoop for bobbins and a tackle box for my sewing machine feet. My iron isn't in the picture but I couldn't sew without my it, essential! Do you have favourite sewing tools? What can't you live without?

So there you go. Some ideas to get you started. What do you think? Fancy doing some sewing too?