This was the first year I participated (almost) daily! I’ve gathered up my final thoughts after participating in this year’s #memademay… I’m going to miss it!
Click the image to watch the video, or if you enjoy a slightly garbled text version with no pictures, scroll down for the transcript.
Really, you’re much better served by watching the video…
Hey everybody, so it is the last day of May 2022. And that means it is the end of me made May. And I thought I’d do a quick recording. I was going to do a blog post but I’m finding I really prefer doing recordings lately to share my thoughts on things. And I’m putting them up on YouTube but maybe it should be more in a podcast format but for now, this is what I’m doing. Plus I like to be able to show pictures as I’m talking so um, so yeah, happy Me Made May.
I’m assuming if you’re watching this, you know what Me Made May is but just in case you don’t and you’ve stumbled upon this, Me Made May is an online group project. I don’t know how else to describe it, where every May people who make things to wear, you know, people who sew and knit and do things like that. They make a pledge to wear something handmade in some way during the month. So some people may might pledge to wear everything handmade every day for the entire month. Some people might pledge to just wear one thing or include upcycle things or thrifted things even it’s just a way to be a little bit more intentional about what we’re wearing. It has been around for ever. And I just want to SoZoBlogs, Zoe Edwards is the person who started this in this has been ages I’ve been in the sewing blogging world for for over a decade, this has been going on the whole time. So um, so you can go and follow her if you’re interested in learning more.
So this is the first time I’ve actually participated in Me Made May, every day of the month, I think I did it every day, there was a couple days. And I’m gonna get into of some takeaways, which is the whole point of this video is kind of the takeaways from this. So this is the first time I’ve done participation almost every day or nearly every day. And definitely the first time I’ve taken a lot of pictures.
If you look through my Instagram, I have been pretty faithful and taking pictures nearly every day, there’s a couple of days I missed.
And that will bring me to my first thing which actually made notes about stuff I thought I might want to mention. And this was closer to the end of the list. But one of the takeaways that I got from Me Made May is the same takeaway I’ve gotten every single time I’ve tried to do this project, which is I don’t have enough everyday clothes. I will say I’m way better than I used to be. When I first started sewing over a decade ago, I made a lot of you know, vintage fit’n’flare party dresses. I made a lot of fun stuff. But I didn’t make a lot of you know, doing chores on the weekend kind of stuff.
And I found this year there was a couple Saturdays or Sundays I was just hanging out with my husband. And I did actually stay true to the project because my pledge was that I was going to wear one thing handmade everyday. And I did stay with that. But I remember one day I just wore a pair of remade thrifted pants that I remade into bloomers with ready to wear T shirt. So it was almost, I mean, I was technically doing it, but not really.
So that’s one big takeaway that I got. And I think I have 30 pictures from the month. So there’s 31 days in the month. And one of the pictures is actually not I took two pictures on this day, this apron picture that I’m showing because this was like an accessory I actually wore. I think I wore that this day. Right. And I remember that I don’t remember exactly what I wore that day. But it was one of those things. But this was more of a finished made object picture.
So I have 30 Pictures representing 29 days because the apron there was two pictures that day. So I missed two days. And that was two weekend days. And I remember those days.
So I’m so I’m feeling a sense of accomplishment over that. Although I’m not really sure why because I just took pictures every day.
I know I mentioned this in a post the other day on Instagram that one of the reasons I’ve taken more pictures this year than I have other years is partially because the technology’s changed so much in the last decade since I first started doing this, you know, these days, I take a picture – I have an iPhone 12 Mini and I have a little stand the kind that you can use to set your phone into talk on the video call or to record a video on your desktop? I just set that on the ground and I love it because it’s literally a stand that you set your phone and it’s not the tension kind. So it’s super easy to just pop my phone down, I literally have left this up in my walk in front of my house for a month, my husband knows to just walk around it, he made me move it, and initially was over in the grass. And because I liked that perspective, a little bit more. But he, he was worried about the landlord mowing and accidentally started to move it into the path.
So we’ve just left it in place makes it so easy, I just go out, I put the phone in the stand, and I’m set and I have an Apple Watch. So there’s a remote, I can work the shutter from my phone from my watch. And I love that and it’s made it really easy. You can see my perspective is I shoot upwards. And that’s because the phone is literally like six inches from the ground. And I’m standing up on a step. So it’s a different kind of perspective. And I know people on Facebook are bitching about it, or I probably shouldn’t swear, were complaining about it on a post where I was sharing a finished outfit picture. And there was a couple of people who were like, I wish you would take your pictures with the camera higher up and I was just like, whatever. Thanks for the art direction, I’m not changing anything -because it’s easy. And I actually think this angle is cool. I like it. So anyway, that made it a lot easier to take pictures.
This Me Made May happened to coincide with me making a big shift in my wardrobe. And this gets a little bit deeper. But just for some history, a couple of years ago, it’ll be two years in August, I stopped drinking. And I have been social drinker, a heavy social drinker for years decades. I’m in my late 40s. So pretty much my whole adult life has been a little bit hampered by a little too much socializing. And I feel like in the last two years since I stopped drinking, I’ve had the time. And probably the finances, I spent a lot of money going out because a lot of my drinking of wine was you know, going out to see friends and whatever. So I spent a lot of money on that. And I’ve I’ve had this, you know, extra budget and the time to really focus on kind of pulling together some stuff I’ve always wanted to pull together.
So first, I was obsessed with figuring out my curly hair. I have curly hair, it’s really hard to take care of, it’s naturally frizzy. So first, I was super obsessed with my hair, I got super obsessed with figuring out what kind of makeup works on my face, like what I look best in and what techniques I like best, I got super obsessed with doing my nails.
And part of me feels like this is all kind of connected with stopping drinking. And if you’ve stopped drinking or something like that, you might kind of know what I’m talking about.
So I think the natural progression from hair, makeup, nails to clothes, especially because clothes is a huge thing for me and always has been.
So I had already been starting to work on a turn the hangar challenge and I don’t know if I’d taken many pictures. I wasn’t really going to document it – I didn’t take a lot of pictures. So a turn the hanger challenge is when you turn all of the hangers with the garments on them around in your closet. Or you can just leave them as they are and then as you wear things, you put the hanger back in the closet the other direction so you can kind of see what you’re wearing. And the people I know who’ve done this, they force themselves – once the hangers turned you can’t wear it again. I’m pretty active in the Lagenlook and Sew Tina Givens community online and that look is a lot of layers. So people end up with wardrobe orphans, which anybody who sews always ends up with wardrobe orphans where you make something that seems really cool, but then you never wear it because it doesn’t go with your life or with anything else in your closet. And the turn the hanger challenge is kind of a way to figure out what’s working what isn’t get rid of it.
So I had already kind of started that. And my closet was really full of a lot of ready to wear clothes because I had a lot more handmade stuff but then a few years ago, my husband and I went and lived on the road for a few years and so I drastically reduced my wardrobe at that point. We settled back into a brick and mortar home a couple of years ago and I started rebuilding my wardrobe — mostly I rebuilt my wardrobe with Torrid cute fit and flare dresses — those are my favorites and they look good on me.
So I had like this kind of look that was a really common you know, cute cardigan, cute fit and flare dress. I love my wardrobe but I really was wanting it to be handmade. And I was wanting more natural fibers. A lot of the Torrid dresses that I had were rayon. So that is not a great process. But I consider rayon a natural fiber although the processing is problematic for sure. But I wanted more cotton definitely more linen or silk, less rayon and I wanted more handmade stuff.
So that was already in my mind. I was already doing the turn the hanger challenge I was thinking about selling off a lot of my wardrobe. I loved my wardrobe. It was filled with a lot of colors and styles that I liked. But there was a lot of stuff that wasn’t perfect. And a couple months ago I had my friend Sara over I gave her probably 10 dresses in one night and I was ready to start clearing the deck so when I do this, I do it.
So so that was going on in in here’s another weird thing I was thinking about the other day. I am kind of weird about jewelry. I love jewelry. But I wear my jewelry more like a statement piece where I wear the same thing every day I don’t switch up my jewelry. I do have a gold and silver set of jewelry that I like but I don’t switch it up and just to show you. Here’s a pretty good picture of my hands. I’m always like, Oh my hands are way too big. So I love these raw stone rings. The vendor that I get a lot of my rings from is called Ringcrush. They’re on Etsy you can go check them out. I got this awesome band for my Apple watch which is Rose Quartz. And it’s it’s a pretty hippie kind of boho vibe and I love this jewelry. I wear it every day. I have a moonstone pendant I wear every day. And it was oddly bugging me because I felt like my jewelry…. Here’s one of my Torrid dresses. I felt like my jewelry was more me more like hippie cool raw, kind of the vibe I like. But my clothes were more pretty girls going out to brunch and I should wear more refined jewelry with my clothes. I felt like my jewelry style was me. But it didn’t match with my clothing style. And it was bugging me. So that was another thing that was in my mind where I really wanted to get my wardrobe to be more reflective of me.
And so Me Made May came along and there’s one more piece of the puzzle that I want to mention. I’ve talked about a lot, a lot a lot. But that is at the end of April. I turned 48 on April 28. And I got myself a color analysis so If you don’t know I mean, you haven’t known me for a while I am aware that most people now think that I am a blonde. But I don’t see myself as a blonde. I see myself as a redhead because
I am a redhead. I was a redhead for years. I grew up a redhead. I was teased as a redhead. I’m looking for a picture of my hair.
Oh, there’s me in high school, right there and make peace. But you can’t really see that well. So my hair has really changed color in the last few years. This picture is from 2015. And you could see how red it is. It’s possible it was colored in that definitely was colored in this picture. Here’s my natural color from 2012. So I went from that to this over the last few years and actually this blonde color really has happened in the last few years like four years maybe.
So I spent my whole life thinking that I was an autumn if you’re familiar with the seasonal color analysis, and I was really struggling — so this orange that’s the kind of color I loved — I thought it was my color.
I really struggled because of a few things first, I felt like it made my hair look like a bad like weird, brassy, faded a bad dye job. I felt like it made my skin really ruddy. I felt like frustrated because like I said I had gotten kind of obsessed and took a deep dive into makeup and and even my fingernails and when I was wearing the colors that I thought were my colors, they really clashed with my daily lipstick that I wear. I don’t like to change up my lipstick that often. And my nails and I didn’t like the clashing so I was like okay I’ll just get my colors done and then much to my surprise, turns out I am not an autumn. I am a light summer which is a cool palette, not a warm palette. And it’s pastel there’s some pastels in this palette that I just have always been afraid of in particular, this lemon chiffon Good gravy, and this lavender mist and peach sorbet. And sweet tart. I mean those are all colors I just did not think work for me.
So here I was at the beginning of May I just got my colors done. I wanted to change my wardrobe to a more natural fiber, better style more indicative of me and so off we went.
So this, this was a really good experience for me to kind of see what I had and what I was making because I made quite a few garments over the month and kind of see how it works and I will say I noticed this this was different from a lot of other Me Made Mays – I am totally prone to being a peacock. So other Me Made Mays I remember taking pictures — like, putting on the outfit for the picture — like, here’s my handmade thing. And then maybe by the end of the day I was like oh I just need to put on leggings and a T shirt. Not that I really wear leggings and a T shirt but I remember changing a lot that didn’t happen in any of these pictures — all of these pictures are ones that I got up and this is this is how I dress, this is what I wore. I mean, I don’t always have a cardigan on but the pictures where I do have a cardigan I had it on because it was cold out and I didn’t change out of my clothes.
Like I said I did miss two days where I didn’t take a picture because I just didn’t really love what I was wearing. And this is also a day where I didn’t love what I was wearing.
So obviously my wardrobe is getting better and it’s getting more me and more what I like to wear because I wasn’t changing out of it. So that was very cool.
I also started out the month I’m really struggling with this color thing and you could see on May 1, I actually wasn’t intending on doing Me Made May, I just realized on May 1 that I was wearing something handmade in this picture. It’s my pants and I thought well why not? I really didn’t think I had enough stuff to wear for the whole month and if I hadn’t sewn I probably wouldn’t have and by the end of the month I felt like oh this is getting really repetitive.
But I thought let’s get going. And I remember this day wearing this. And those pants I’ve had those for like over 10 years I made them for my mom to wear to my wedding — they were the mother of the bride outfit. And they’re a rayon and linen mix and I love them and I remember that day just thinking oh I’m just not into these colors. And two days later I wore this outfit. I just made this metamorphic dress. I think it’s adorable but I just don’t want to wear it and I need to find somebody who likes orange will wear it.
So throughout the month I like I said I did make a few things I made this maxi dress. Oh, and here’s me in that lemon yellow color which is just crazy. I think I made this. This is a metamorphic dress. This outfit — that’s a new ready to wear linen shirt that I need to remake I like that it’s linen and I like the color but I don’t like the fit. I just cannot bring myself to wear unfitted that silhouette doesn’t work for me. This dress was new, this is another metamorphic dress.
This was fun. This month I got into using Rit color dye or color remover to make some of the fabrics that I had and ready to wear garments that I had worked for me.
This is a dress I just bought from Torrid and it’s in a style I really love but it was in a kind of an emerald green that actually is probably on my color card but I just felt it was too much for me so I faded it and I love it. I also added those pickups in which is really fun to give it some personality.
This dress is new it’s a reversible silk dress based on the Ogden Cami — I love it. This apron I made to cover up all the dresses I was making. This is a good mix of ready to wear on top and handmade on bottom. And this is one of the garments that I color removed. It was a really chartreuse green before and I got it down to more of a light yellow color. This skirt was new is tall skirt and I love that this shirt was new. This was new, I made this just the other day. It’s cute. This is new, I am wearing this today and I made it today.
Which brings me to my next thing with Me Made May — I remember other years kind of feeling like I was laying down the railroad ties as the train was coming in terms of making clothes to wear so that I’d have something to wear for the month and in some cases making stuff either really fast or just that I didn’t love and I never really wore again, I think I don’t think I’m alone in approaching Me Made May that way some years I think that the challenge has a way of sort of pressuring you into this performance anxiety to have something new to wear. Although maybe it’s just me but I’d be very surprised if it is just me. This year there was a little bit of that but not a lot I mean I was definitely making clothes as I was going along. But also in the course of this month I sold off a ton of my wardrobe. A lot of my stuff was from Torrid and there are Buy Sell trade groups on on Facebook that are towards specific so people go there to buy towards stuff. I made like 700 bucks from selling stuff from my closet.
So my closet used to be really really full like I couldn’t fit stuff in. I literally am I’m down to the dregs now. So I was making a lot but I was making a lot because I need to wear stuff. So yeah, I mean there was a little bit of wanting to get stuff done.
The dress I’m wearing today — this is one I knew I wanted to wear it today and I wanted to take a picture for my last day of Me Made May so I put the buttons on this morning when typically I sew at night so that was probably the biggest example of me doing performance sewing for Me Made May but for the most part I really just wore what I had.
I came up with a few remixes like this is a ready to wear dress in silhouette that I do like and I still have in my closet a few of these sort of fitted on top with the midi skirt that’s nice and flared. And I really love this with a lantern skirt underneath which is not something I would have done if it wasn’t Me Made May I just would have put on that peasant dress from Torrid but I put on the skirt to stick to my pledge of having my one handmade item and I I really love that look so I probably will continue to wear the lantern skirts with the ready to wear dresses. So I kind of found that from this from this year.
So I think that my takeaways from Me Made May this year are kind of what they always have been which is I need more weekend clothes for me that means more — I’m probably going to make some more this shirt is the hinterland dress from sew liberated that I made into a shirt This one’s kind of fluffy and fancy it was based on an inspiration garment from Ewa i Walla — that sort of peplum look is one that I like I’ll probably make some more. I don’t really wear a lot of bloomers this Me Made May because it didn’t have any — I liked this cut but this is an old Burda pattern that’s out of print and I can’t find it I searched and searched and searched for it this month because I’d like to just make another more of these but I can’t find it. But I do have some bloomer patterns from Sew givens and so I probably will do those.
This is Sew Tina Givens Greta pattern — based on that it’s not exactly like it. I don’t love that yoke I think it’s not super flattering. So I probably won’t make that up probably will maybe play with the Plinka pants, which are a really popular free pattern from Sew Tina Givens but I definitely need more bloomers for lounging around on the weekends.
I also have a stack of knit fabrics. I made this Stasia dress, which is knit using my sewing machine, but I do have a serger I just haven’t used it in like four years and it’s giant and I’ve been putting off taking it out. So I need to take that out because I love this Stacia pattern. So I want to make some peplum you know, shirt length versions of this. And then also there’s a variation of the pattern where it’s a t shirt where there’s no flair, it’s just straight. So I need more of those and you know I probably would be well served if I want to be totally handmade. And I’d love to source I do like leggings a lot. I mean I have a ton of ready to wear ones but I was thinking of finding a pattern that really works for me for leggings and then I’m sourcing some great, more natural knits. I mean in May I live in Virginia, I probably don’t want any wool or anything like that. But a linen I have a linen rayon ready to wear sweater that I love.
This was another thing that I did this this year that or this month that I loved these pants that I’m wearing in this picture are you might recognize them their linen drawstring pants that they sell at Walmart, and they’re wide legged, and I found them at a thrift shop for like three or $4 and their linen rayon blend 50/50 so I love that blend. It’s got some drape, it still has the linen vibe, and I remade them into bloomers. So I love that I would wear the heck out of those pants and I will wear the heck out of those. So I think more pants like that, the Arthur pants from sew liberated if I make them a little shorter might be a nice kind of loungy pants that I’d like I need just need more of that. And just more shirts, shirts and skirts.
I did find that I really love this metamorphic dress, which in this picture if you’re not familiar, the blue layer and that kind of window pane in real life, it’s a sort of a sea green color, but it looks kind of white in this picture. That’s the metamorphic dress, the two white layers are a different dress. And the metamorphic dresses reversible, so I can wear it with the green side out or the blue side out. I think I wore it with the yeah, here’s the green side. So I love that as a layering piece over dresses or skirts or bloomers or leggings. And I think I’ll probably make more of those. But you can see in the bottom of this I probably should do some fitting with it I just don’t want to because there’s no darts in the bodice as is it’s meant to be like a loose fitting jumper.
And so I’m a little hesitant to put darts in but that’s a big, big neckline gaping is kind of bugs me when I’m wearing it. So we’ll see.
So that was Me Made May May — here’s the pictures, I’ll go through them really slowly. Really I dove into my color palette, my new color palette this this month, I have eradicated everything that is not in my color palette from my closet with exception of a few orange things that I just haven’t been able to get rid of. yet. I love that I am making things that are more me which is evident by the fact that I got dressed in the morning took my picture and didn’t change that’s what I wear and I went to bed that’s kind of a change from some other years when I was doing Me Made May and then the other thing is I really love Instagram. So it was fun to interact with people this year more on Instagram and I’d like to do more of that I myself am not awesome about going out and interacting more people came in commented on my pictures and it was fun to talk to them and I need to be better about going out. I do try to go through you know once or twice a day and be in the Me Made May tag and like things and comment if I really love something but I just didn’t do that as much as I wanted to. And I know creating community goes two ways and I was a little bit lazy.
So that’s that so it’s a wrap and I’m gonna keep doing this. I’m probably going to keep taking outfit pictures. Probably not every day. I am you know my Instagram feed if you go back before me made me. I do have more real life real life pictures Sometimes and some more process pictures, which actually don’t really like those on my feed. I like those on my stories more. But um, but yeah, this has been fun. I’m glad I did it this year. I don’t know if I’ll do it next year, I might do it. I might not. We’ll just see how I feel. On May 1, 2023. Thanks for listening. And if you like listening to selling things, or watching them or whatever, this was this quasi YouTube podcast situation I had going on. Come and follow me on Patty Brower on Instagram or you can come and find me on Facebook. And just send me a friend request. It’s I think it’s forward slash Patty Brower. So thanks and you have an awesome day. I’ll see you next time.