Me Made May – my thoughts on 2018’s challenge

#mmmay18

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.

Me Made May Day 1 Erin skirt Meghan Nielsen Patterns

Day 1: the only me-mades here were my striped Erin skirt and a polka dot headband, but I really liked the overall outfit.

Me Made May Day 2 Agnes Neenah dress and Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan

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!

MeMadeMay2018 day 3

Day 3: Much warmer, so I wore my Amber dress.

MeMadeMay2018 day 4

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.

MeMadeMay2018 day 5

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!

MeMadeMay2018 day 6

Day 6 – no me-mades–just little baby Lauren! This was my most popular post of the month over on Instagram 🙂

MeMadeMay2018 day 7

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.

MeMadeMay2018 day 26

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?

 

 

 

 

 

Me Made May 18 – my pledge

#mmmay18

I wasn’t sure if I’d be taking part in Me Made May this year–after all, my due date is May 9th so I’d be spending part of the month heavily pregnant, then giving birth, then dealing with a newborn (plus a three-year-old and a twelve-year-old). Let’s face it, I probably don’t need any more pressure!

But then I remembered how much I’ve enjoyed the challenge the last couple of years, and that it’s a personal pledge with no obligations to up the ante each year. I’m keeping my pledge really simple, and hoping it will encourage me to spend just a little time on myself each day (easy to forget to do with a newborn around) and to help plan my summer sewing.

Here, then, is 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.’ 

I’ll be going through all my clothes and packing away clothes that I won’t be able to wear for the time being, sorting them into the following five categories:

  • Maternity clothes that can be altered for future non-maternity use.
  • Maternity clothes for donating to a charity shop.
  • Dresses with no nursing access (to be reviewed when no longer breastfeeding)
  • Out of season clothes (to be reviewed in the autumn)
  • Clothes that currently don’t fit (to be reviewed when I’m back to my pre-pregnancy size)

In previous years I’ve managed to get a photograph of my outfit each day, but that might not happen this year. However, I’m hoping I can at least get a quick selfie most days, even if it is with a sleeping baby on my lap! I’ll share those on Instagram, and do some kind of round-up post here at the end, although it probably won’t be as comprehensive as my posts in previous years have been (here’s the final posts for 2016 and 2017).

Right, that’s me. Are you taking part in Me Made May this year? If so, what are your goals?

Me Made May – week five and final round up

Wow, what a Me Made May it’s been! Only my second year taking part, but I’ve learned a huge amount about my style preferences, my wardrobe gaps and about taking better pics. Here’s this years’ posts in full: Pledge, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4.

And to wrap it all up, here’s the last few day’s outfits, followed by some general thoughts on the whole month.

mmmay17 29

Day 29: I wore my freshly made Striped Knit Sweetheart Top for the second day running (don’t judge! It passed the first test of laundry: it didn’t smell or look dirty, therefore it wasn’t dirty). This time I wore it under my needlecord Cleo dress, (fourth appearance) like I’d always planned for this top. Yay, it looked as good as I’d hoped! Continue reading “Me Made May – week five and final round up”

Me Made May – week four

We have truly had ALL THE WEATHER this week, which shouldn’t really surprise me as a Brit living in the West Country, but still, it’s been remarkable. Heatwave days when it was too hot to move, thunderstorms, torrential downpours–we had it all. At least it’s stayed too warm for socks, although the kids seem to disagree. Gabriel gets very upset if we try to put him to bed without socks on, even if it’s 22 degrees C in his room. And then he pulls the duvet over his head /o\

You’ll see some hot weather clothing in this lot, then, and also a couple of new me-mades. How exciting is that?! Okay, contain yourself, people. Let’s roll…

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Day 22: It’s the first appearance for my Colette Aster blouse, teamed up with my rockabilly headtie. Mixed feelings about this top–it’s really comfy in the heat and I love those mother of pearl poppers, but I don’t think it fits right. I decided this one will be relegated to gardening wear in the future. Continue reading “Me Made May – week four”

Me Made May – week 3

This has been a weird week in terms of weather, with a few days of unrelenting rain, wind and now back to sunshine. Okay, probably not that odd for spring in Somerset, but still, it’s made it more of a challenge to put together new outfit combinations (see my pledge here) as not all that many of my me-mades are suitable. I’m really hoping this next week is as good as it’s meant to be so I can break out more of the summer clothing!

Anyway, here’s what I managed to throw together:

mmmay17 15

Day 15: Tried to find a good indoor photo location as it wouldn’t stop raining! I’m in the Easy Knit Pencil Skirt again (2nd time) and the Wembley Cardie (also second time). This outfit looked quite dull until I added the chiffon scarf, which suddenly tied everything together.

Continue reading “Me Made May – week 3”

Me Made May – week 2

Well, we had a couple of glorious warm, sunny days this week, but then it got cool and rainy. I suppose I should be glad for the garden, but instead I’m wondering how I’m going to get a chance to wear the rest of my summery me-mades this month!

You can find last week’s outfits here, and details of my pledge here, but now on to week two…

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Day 8: I went for three me-mades today, seeing as how two of them were accessories. I teamed up that black Knit Sweetheart Top (second time this May) with my chunky necklace and freshly made rockabilly head tie. Really liked these together, although I did at times wonder if the head tie was giving off more of a housework vibe than the vintage glam I was after! Continue reading “Me Made May – week 2”

Me Made May: week one round-up

This is my second year of Me Made May, and I have so many more garments to choose from this time around! That’s why I decided to up the challenge level to wearing two (or more!) me made items a day, and to try not to repeat any combinations (read my pledge here). It’s totally okay to repeat garments, though. I’m not that well stocked. Maybe next year…

Anyway, I’ve been posting my outfits daily on Instagram (I’m @anna_jo_sews), but thought I’d do a quick round-up on the blog every week, with some closing thoughts. Nothing like a bit of clothes-related navel-gazing, right? 😛
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Day 1: My Heather Dress and handknit socks. Liked this combo, but felt at points in the day that the socks were a little too warm. Continue reading “Me Made May: week one round-up”

Me Made May 2017: my pledge

MMMay17logo

This will be my second year taking part in Me Made May, and I had a blast last year. This is my pledge for this year:

I will endeavour to wear two me-made garments/accessories each day for the duration of May 2017 and to only wear each specific combination once during the month.

I’m also planning to finish up the mother of all crochet projects by the end of May: my broomstick Rebel Lace cardie. I think I need a deadline with this one or I’ll be making it forever!

That’s a bit more ambitious than last year, when I simply pledged to wear one me-made garment/accessory each day. I now have more me-mades to work with, though, and I fancy having a go at combining them in different ways. I’m hoping to find some new ways of styling my me-mades–especially the ones that don’t see as much wear.

I’m also hoping that by forcing myself to wear some of my lesser worn garments, I will be able to evaluate whether they have a place in my wardrobe, or if they need to be refashioned or find a new owner. And over the month I’ll be aiming to come up with some more concrete sewing plans for versatile garments I need to fill the gaps in my wardrobe.

I will be Instagramming my outfits each day (as anna_jo_sews), with weekly roundups on the blog.

Now, I need to work on my plans for April’s sewing. Some versatile pieces that can be combined with lots of other of my me-mades, methinks! And some knickers. That gives me a bit of a cheater easy second item to wear with my dresses–you’ll just have to take my word for it that I’m wearing them 😛

Anyone else planning to take part this year? And if so, what’s your pledge? Feel free to leave a link in the comments 🙂

Me Made May: thoughts and conclusions

I thought I’d reflect on last month’s challenge using lots of pictures. Hey, why not? So here is a visual run down of various aspects of my MMMay experience:

Knit and crochet

So, it wasn’t all about the sewing for me. I’ve always been a keen crocheter, and I knit, although not to such a high standard. However, I tend to be drawn to really complex, lacy crochet in bright colours which doesn’t always seem practical for everyday. It was good to finally get a few of my pretty shrugs and cardies out and find ways to style them for the school run. And I’ve been wearing them since the challenge ended, so I’m feeling more confident about picking future crochet projects I’ll actually wear. I’ve started on a really fancy one, but as it’s in navy I reckon I’ll find lots of ways to wear the finished cardie 🙂

Jewellery

The jewellery bug never really infected me. I mean, I went under for a while, seduced by all the unusual, original pieces I could make. But to be honest? I don’t wear jewellery much, and anyway, I quite enjoy shopping for earrings and necklaces. I mean, a girl’s allowed some retail therapy, right?! Continue reading “Me Made May: thoughts and conclusions”

Me Made May, days 19-27

And here are the pictures all together:

There are more repeat appearances here, but I’m still managing to unearth some new garments to show off. You can find the previous posts here: Days 1-9Days 10-18

Here’s the full run down: Continue reading “Me Made May, days 19-27”

Me Made May, days 10-18

I’m only doing these in groups of nine because I love the look of tiled Instagram pics…

Anyway, here goes for the next lot of details. Some are repeats so I haven’t linked the patterns again. You can find days 1-9 here. Continue reading “Me Made May, days 10-18”