Hello there! This is always a work-intensive post to write, but I’ve gone back to previous such posts numerous times to remind myself of clothes, outfits or resolutions, so it’s definitely worth it – to me at least.
But first… May 2020
This May has been, of course, completely different to any Me-Made May I’ve taken part in the last few years. Initially this was because of Covid-19, which added a different flavour to proceedings. My husband was working from home, so he had a few minutes to get a picture of me each day, which helped immeasurably. On the other hand, not going out anywhere beyond my back yard meant I didn’t really wear many “going-out” clothes, or even many coats/jackets, so that was a little different. I did, nonetheless, make an effort to dress up a little some days and it really did noticeably lighten my mood on those days, so there’s definitely something to be said for the effect of what might be seem like a superficial routine on your psyche.
Having said that, I can’t say it’s been all that bad from a purely personal/family perspective. I’m not (and have not been) blind to the fact that we live in a comfortable house with a decently-sized back garden to access a bit of fresh air. My husband’s job was not really affected except that he’s working from home for the foreseeable future, but, again, we are lucky enough to have an area in the garage where he could set up a makeshift office and work in relative peace. I’m a stay-at-home mum right now and the truth is that many of my days were spent around the house anyway. And, thankfully, none of our close family or friends have contracted Covid-19, so we haven’t had to deal with the horrors of this virus first-hand. Of course there are things I miss, but there are so, so many people in a worse situation (by far) in any or all of the above categories that I don’t feel I have any grounds on which to complain.
The fact is: I have a certain amount of privilege/advantage in this life and that brings me onto the other momentous happenings during May, which were those of the murder of several Black Americans and the ensuing global demonstrations, specifically after the death of George Floyd. I’m not going to get into depth about it here, and principally for the main reason that it’s not about me. I don’t feel I have anything meaningful and informed to delve into in a blog post that hasn’t been said better by someone (or many people) already. All of my interaction in the last few weeks has been on Instagram, where it’s easier to converse, share and learn, I think. There are plenty, plenty, plenty of fantastic resources that have been posted online and on social media, should you still be looking for an entry point. Following @blkmakersmatter would be a good start for any sewist.
Issues like racism, privilege, socio-economic circumstances, cultural awareness and politics affect everything we do, both overtly and more insidiously – sewing included, in my opinion. I’ve written and rewritten this part of the post several times, but have ended up deleting most of it and think that for now I just want to say that I am unequivocally 100% behind the Black Lives Matter movement and that I continue to read, review, think a lot – and hopefully learn and implement.
Me-Made May 2020
Moving from that to the clothes I wore over a period of 31 days seems rather frivolous, but there is no good way to lead from one to the other, so I’m just going to dive right in with my summation.
My pledge this year was to wear a different fully me-made outfit every day of the month, which I succeeded in doing. I also had a few small side-missions: to finish a few UFOs and to do a little mending. I did actually manage to fulfil both those criteria as well, even if in a minor way. I put a new hook and eye on a skirt, fixed a frayed sleeve and sewed a pocket hole, instantly giving me three garments back into the wardrobe mix. For my UFO I pulled out and finished the DP Studio Le 500 top, which I still haven’t blogged, but will try to do so later, probably in the context of a more general article since it doesn’t fit me too well. C’est la vie!
Here are some notes from this year’s challenge:
I’m still not the greatest accessories wearer, but I did manage to think about it a little more this year and added some to some of my plainer outfits, as well as pick out hats, earrings and shoes more thoughtfully than normal. Wearing accessories is not any sort of mandatory dress code, but I have to admit, looking back at the pictures, that it does add something to the outfit.
In my case, it meant a hat (also useful for sun protection, obvs), definitely earrings (the one piece of jewellery I wear consistently) and a necklace now and again. I admire the wearing of scarves in other people, but I’m not sure a) I’m really a scarf person or b) if I have the patience to fiddle around with said scarf to avoid it looking like a wet dishcloth. I’ve also developed later-in-life eczema or psoriasis the last year or so, which is hampering much jewellery wearing, including, sadly, my wedding rings. Both run in the family, so it’s not a surprise, but I haven’t been able to get a proper diagnosis since Covid shut down non-essential appointments. I daresay I could probably go soon.
The weather was pretty decent this May, so I didn’t get a chance to wear a TON of outerwear, but thanks to my dedicated coat/jacket sewing last winter, I had some top layers to play with!
I grew up in hot countries and still find adding outerwear a bit of an afterthought, but I’m slowly changing that and the addition of some cool coats/jackets to my wardrobe has definitely helped. I guess if Me-Made May was in the autumn/winter, you’d see a fair few more of these items. There was one particular outfit I wore and it was later in the day when I threw on the long spotted linen coat you can see. I caught sight of myself in the mirror and it transformed my outfit so totally, I was taken aback. It was a moment when I really thought” Oh! This is the kind of outfit I admire in other people!”, which was rather nice. I’d already posted a photo for Me-Made May that day, so I don’t have a pic, but it stuck in my memory.
A year or two ago, I realised I had a lot of wardrobe “orphans” and not too many separates that went well together. I feel that this year I found it much, much easier to mix and match my wardrobe and, most importantly, feel quite put-together.
Core items I made in the last year like my Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans and Ensemble Patterns Robinson trousers help immeasurably. I’ve also made a few intentional outfits like the Seamwork Dorian and Willis combo you can see – this is something I’m going to do more this summer.
Dresses and colour
This year reaffirmed my tendency towards dresses. They’re just so easy to throw on – one garment and you’re done!
Although my entire wardrobe probably still tends towards blue and black, there is a good deal more variation in it and wearing reds, pinks and greens makes me really happy. I enjoy wearing them and am glad I’ve managed to get them into my wardrobe.
Overall, although this year was a little different, I still got a lot out of the month. I only had a couple of outfits that I didn’t care for, and they were both comprised of two blousy pieces, which just made me feel frumpy. I’ve discovered that I definitely need at least one garment to be more fitted on my own body shape to enjoy the outfit. As mentioned, I started using outerwear more intentionally and I’m really happy with my colour mix. One last, but very important, conclusion I’ve come to is that I have plenty of clothes now. I have a virtually 100% me-made wardrobe and lots of clothes to mix and match. I suspected I would reach this point around now and it has give me food for thought as I figure out where I go from here. To be continued…!