This was my third year of taking part in Me Made May, and probably the most challenging yet, what with having a baby part way through! Yes, I’ve had to deal with going from a pregnant belly to a post-baby body, and was already struggling with a very limited selection of clothing that fit me, let alone me-made clothing that fit.
This was my pledge:
‘I, Anna of annajosews.com (@anna_jo_sews), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’18. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item (garment or accessory) each day during May 2018. I also want to spend the month assessing which of my clothes will work for life with a newborn, and to plan a breastfeeding-friendly capsule wardrobe to sew for the summer.’
In the end I did fulfil the pledge, with the exception of the day I gave birth when I didn’t wear any me-mades at all (but I’d made a baby!). I didn’t get all that many photographs, though, for various reasons I’ll go into. First, though, I’m going to share the ones I did take.
Day 1: the only me-mades here were my striped Erin skirt and a polka dot headband, but I really liked the overall outfit.
Day 2: really chilly start to the day, so layered up my Agnes/Neenah dress with a Drop Pocket Cardigan. Not a great look, but it kept me warm!
Day 3: Much warmer, so I wore my Amber dress.
Day 4: My floral Agnes top got its final outing over the bump! This picture was taken about half an hour before we left for hospital, so please excuse the ropiness.
Day 5: I got one last pic of the bump in the hospital garden, while being induced. The weather had turned absolutely roasting! Wearing a self-drafted jersey maxi skirt I’ve never blogged, which I normally only wear around the house as it’s gone quite bobbly. Super comfy, though!
Day 6 – no me-mades–just little baby Lauren! This was my most popular post of the month over on Instagram 🙂
Day 7- back home, and trialling my Colette Wren dress over my deflating tummy. Really comfy and lovely in the heat, but didn’t cover my bust adequately. Would need an FBA to wear this pattern at the moment!
Day 8 = a bit cooler, so I wore that Drop Pocket Cardigan again, with a me-made jersey scarf.
Day 21 – bit of a jump in time here! I’m wearing my Erin skirt again, with a self-drafted hacci kimono. Also wearing Lauren!
Day 22 – An old broomstick crochet cardigan (pre-blog), with a me-made headscarf.
Day 26 – Demonstrating how easy it is to feed Lauren while wearing my pink tee from the Craftsy Sewing with Knits class (affiliate link). Also wearing the Erin skirt again.
So, that was the outfits I documented. The other days I wore pretty much the same mix of garments, which was why I didn’t feel particularly inspired to get photos. But there were other reasons the photos didn’t get taken too. I lost my favourite photo locations, because Andy has been digging up the patio to join in the ensuite in our new bedroom (garage conversion) to the existing waste system. There are slabs up everywhere and quite frankly my entire courtyard is a mess and doesn’t make an attractive backdrop. I could have taken indoor pics by the door and window I usually use (see the first four days above!), but that would have meant tidying the floor and vacuuming. I just didn’t feel much like that with a newborn to look after.
But documenting isn’t what Me Made May is really about. It’s about your relationship with your handmade wardrobe, and for me, sorting my clothes and planning my summer sewing was the most important part of the challenge. I did this bit, and have put all this lot into storage:
Admittedly, the box of winter clothes also contains gloves, hats and scarves belonging to the rest of the family, but I was still amazed at how many of my clothes I can’t currently wear (there’s another under-bed box of too-small clothes, but ones I reckon I’ll fit into first as they’re probably a size UK 12/14 rather than the size 10 that went into the loft). I don’t remember it being this bad after having Gabriel, but I suppose it was winter then, some of the clothes I wore then have worn out and are no longer with me, and much of what I’ve sewn since then is small and close fitting.
This is now the current state of my wardrobe:
The clothes on the right are the ones I can fit into. Those to the left are ones I didn’t want to squash into a box, plus a couple of party dresses that should fit now. Oh, and an unfinished coat project I really should work on this autumn…
That’s not all my clothing. I have scarves and bulky cardigans on the top shelf there, and I keep camis, tees and lightweight cardigans in my bedside drawers, along with undies, lounging clothes and workout gear. Still, I think it’s fair to say that my current selection of clothing I can wear is extremely limited and I’m bored to tears with it all. There’s lots of plain black and very little variety in styles. I’m stuck with a small selection of RTW jersey breastfeeding dresses or camis and maternity skirts. Yay.
Out of interest, I decided to check my current measurements against my pre-pregnancy size, and here they are:
Pre-pregnancy: Full bust 36″, High bust 34″, Waist 29″, Hips 40″, Bra size 34 B/C
Current measurements: Full bust 40″ (+4″), High bust 37″ (+3″), Waist 33″ (+4″), Hips 43″ (+3″), Bra size 36 DD
It’s no wonder not much fits, especially as I tend to favour close-fitting clothing 🙂
I know that this state of affairs won’t last forever. I will get back to my old size (I’ve managed it twice before!) but it’s going to take time and exercise, along with sticking to healthy food and not overdoing the carbs. I’ve just started week one of the Couch to 5k to get me back into running gently, so I reckon I’ll be in the size 12/14 clothes in a month or so, and hopefully back to my old size by the end of the year. Any clothes I make now will need to work for a variety of sizes, or be easily adjusted when I lose weight.
FWIW, I feel I should point out here that there’s nothing wrong with having a “mum tum”, and I know many women never get back to the size they were before having a baby (took me 7 years after Daisy!). However, I would prefer to get back to the size I feel happiest and healthiest at, and I know it’s achievable as I’ve done it before.
Now for the planning part. I’ll admit, I haven’t found time to design the perfect capsule wardrobe for summer, but I have identified a few key items I’ve found myself wishing for when getting dressed:
- Maxi skirt – I definitely want one in black, in a lightweight swishy woven viscose. I’m thinking a simple elasticated waist would be best. You can get waistband elastic that’s designed to be exposed, and I might go for that. Should be a super fast sew that way! If that goes well, more maxi skirts in patterned fabrics would be great.
- Dungaree dress – Something lightweight again. Possibly in dark chambray or a deep plum colour. I like the look of the new pattern from Helen’s Closet, but might draft something myself as money is tight and I hate assembling pdfs.
- Looser fitting tees – until I lose the baby tum these are what I want to wear! Perhaps just a couple: one plain (plum?) and one striped or polka dotted. I could use the Deer and Doe Plantain tee as that’s close fitted at the top, but looser over the waist and hips.
- Tropical print kimono – Something lightweight with a colourful but dark background print. For a bit of fun, and an easy way to add some colour to my current all-black outfits. I could draft this myself.
- Another Amber dress or two – prints, this time! Polka dots, tropical florals, bright colours. Something to cheer me up.
Not sure I’ll get around to sewing all these as time and money are in short supply, but we’ll see. It’s a good exercise in planning, at any rate 🙂
So, that was my Me Made May, and it was fairly challenging! Did you take part? If so, what did you learn about your handmade wardrobe?