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And yet another Me-Made-May is over. My pledge this year had two parts: to wear at least one garment per day that I had made or modified in some way, shape or form, and to finish all season-appropriate clothing works in progress. As the days went by, I started a sort of personal mini-challenge, to see how many days I could go without repeating a me-made garment. During the first half of the month, I had no problems at all and didn’t repeat any me-made garments, but the only WIPs that I finished were five pairs of jeans that I darned.
The second half of the month was also very easy to wear at least one me-made garment each day. A few days in, I realized that I didn’t like the wording of the mini-challenge, because I found myself purposely wearing a minimum of me-mades so that I wouldn’t risk having to repeat them. So I won’t be repeating that part of the challenge again.
I did manage to get a LOT of my season-appropriate WIPs done, however I kept finding more and more projects in the to-do list, and various family members kept providing me with new garments that needed mending. So, while I wasn’t able to finish everything, I did manage to clear off one of my sewing spaces.
So, let me show you what I wore from May 17 – 31, and the projects that I finished:
WIPs finished: four skirt refashions for my daughter (I will post about them eventually, so no more pictures for now)
WIPS finished: two embellished sweatshirts and one embellished t-shirt
I’d been wanting to cover up the logos on my little boy’s sweatshirts from his old school (like I did with these school t-shirts) for two years. So I used appliqué and some sweatshirt scraps to cover up the logos.
I chose a Brontosaurus (he loves dinosaurs) and his initial (which looks like a super hero symbol).
My sister gave this I Love NY t-shirt to Sofia years ago. But she put a sticker over the heart and, when she pulled it off, it pulled off some of the color. So I fabric painted over the heart, but it obviously started cracking a little while later. So I used this slashed t-shirt reverse appliqué technique to replace the damaged part. I tried to keep white the predominant color so that she can continue to wear it to school as part of her warm weather uniform.
Here is Sofia in 2012 and again in 2015 with the twice repaired/refashioned shirt! My gosh, how much she’s changed!
WIPs finished: replaced jeans hems and two pairs of ripped pants into shorts
For years my husband folded the hems of these jeans inside the legs until he wore through the folded edges. My original plan was to trim the jeans at the worn out part and sew the original hems back on them. However I discovered that the very bottom of the legs were slightly tapered, because the hems were a little smaller than the newly cut edge, so I couldn’t make them match up. So I used the two cut-off strips of jeans to create new cuffs. They’re definitely not perfect, but you can’t really notice them when worn.
My kids are ripping holes in nearly all of their pants. So now that it’s warmer, those pants are getting turned into shorts (tutorial here). Alas, shortly after doing this, we got another bout of colder weather and my kids didn’t have enough pants anymore. Whoops….
“No Cars” freezer paper stencilled t-shirt
May 22: (Friday theme: animals)
Felix the Cat freezer paper stenciled t-shirt
Saved from a disaster leggings
May 24: (repeat of May 14th’s outfit at a First Communion)
Suzuran no-waste kimono jacket
May 26: (sitting on this umbrella picnic blanket and working on this project)
Layered reverse appliqué t-shirt
May 29: (Friday theme: my town)
Rectangle shirt from ruined leggings (see below)
WIPs finished: the shirt that I’m wearing, three upcycled infinity scarves (I’ll write a tutorial for those soon), tank top refashion
Last Christmas I’d planned to give my sister-in-law and neice leggings, except a SNAFU happened and, in a panic, I chopped off the top of the leggings in hopes that I could make an infinity scarf from it, before giving up completely and abandoning the project for five months. Then I realized that I could wear the legs on my arms and use the top part to connect them like this knit cover. It worked fine, but I didn’t like how the knit ribbed fabric rolled up at the bottom, so I added a remnant of woven cotton fabric that had been hanging out in my stash for ages to the bottom to create a new shirt. Yah! I hate having to give up on sewing projects and waste the fabric, so I was thrilled that I was able to use all of the leggings fabric.
My sister gave me this shirt of her a while ago, but I never really wore it because a) I don’t like big bows, b) the casing hadn’t been sewn perfectly, so the tie couldn’t gather the fabric right all the way around and c) the ties-to-gather-the-front-of-a-shirt just scream out “pregnant woman” to me. Seeing as I already have a complex about my belly that refuses to go down all the way and makes me look 4 months pregnant all the time, I didn’t want to add to the look. So I pulled out the tie and sewed in some elastic like in this maternity shirt refashion from when I was pregnant with my second child. The gathered look is still reminiscent of maternity wear, but not as much, so it works for me. (P.S. Remember those earrings?)
May 31: Hooray! All done!
My daughter, Sofia, who is 8, is my official photographer. She took all of these pictures of me, except for days 23, 24 and 31, which my husband did, plus all but one of the pictures from the first half of the month. In addition, she has suffered through modelling a lot of clothes for me, and in the case of refashions, also for the “before” pictures. She sometimes grumbles and complains, but in general she’s a great sport, and she’s also starting to learn how to use a DSLR pretty well.
The picture above was a break during a particularly long photoshoot on May 9th, when we took turns with the camera and modelling, and she had to change her clothes numerous times. All it took was permission to sit on my pile of darned jeans to put a smile on her face for modelling what would become skirts on May 17 and the shirt that I refashioned on May 18 (see above). I love this girl so much!
So, conclusions? I enjoyed the push to finally get a lot of these projects done, and I discovered something: I really, truly love sewing. It makes me so happy but, as much as I love creating tutorials for this blog, stopping constantly to take pictures and think out how to explain things does take a lot of the fun out it and can often hinder the creative process. I loved just sitting down at my machines and going at it with full concentration. So I’ve decided that I’m going to dedicate every Saturday morning at least to my own “selfish” sewing, without taking pictures in the process.
Second conclusion: I have a lot more clothing than I thought I did. I’ve made and refashioned a decent amount of clothing for warm weather, so it wasn’t really much of a challenge to wear at least one per day. So I’ve decided that next year I’m going to step up my pledge and wear ONLY me-mades or me-modifieds, perhaps also allowing second-hand clothing. I think that this will work pretty well, because I haven’t bought new clothing for myself for a few years now, so a lot of my store-bought garments are starting to get pretty ragged and will need replacing. I’d also love to finally get around to sewing my own bathing suit. (I swim three times a week, so I’d definitely be able to use one in the challenge.)
Third conclusion: Wearing me-mades feels pretty natural to me by now, but making the effort to wear them instead of store-bought garments has the same effect on me each year that I participate in Me-Made-May. It reminds me how much work goes into creating a garment, and what it’s worth. It also reminds me of the anonymous people behind each and every pre-made garment, and to think about what sort of life they have. And the more I think about them, the more I want to distance myself from the garment industry.
Question of the day: Did you participate in Me-Made-May 2015? How was the experience for you?
I just answered that above, so I will refrain from repeating. But for real, I’d love to hear what you thought about this challenge if you took part!
6 thoughts on “Me-Made-May 2015: May 17-31”
Wow – I’m so impressed by all of your refashions. And how amazing that you’ve reached a point where you can consider wearing nothing but me-made stuff for a whole month. (I’ll be very interested to hear how the bathing suit project goes!) I also love your comment, “I really, truly love sewing.” It’s so nice to find that thing (or those things) in life that brings such extreme pleasure — I’m so glad you found yours! One last note: I just LOVE that photo of Sofia hanging out on the pile of jeans. She is a superb model and photographer! 🙂
Well, Linda, I’m not quite there yet, but I have another year to replace older garments with new me-mades. Yes, sewing really makes me happy and calms me when times are tough! Sofia’s so funny, right? 🙂
I sewed a couple of swimsuits for myself in high school and college. Two warnings. In the 2-piece, I used elastic that lost its elasticity and stretched out when wet, so check your type of elastic. In the 1-piece I used a pale yellow stretch lycra knit meant for swimwear, and I lined it in a light color tricot. That was a double mistake. The tricot didn’t have the same stretch properties, so the suit didn’t lie smoothly when stretched. But the biggest problem was that even two layers of light colored fabric became see-through when wet! I could only wear the suit for sunning.
Oh wow, Jan, what a bummer! I do have real swimsuit lining material to use, so that should be fine, and I think the type of elastic I have is right, too… or at least I hope so! 🙂