Me-Made-May no more. :(
With an 80-strong group of fabulous sewing, crafting ladies from all over the globe who I stalked even when I should've been grading or packing or sewing, Me-Made-May was an incredible experience. Even on the "lite" version, I learned a ton. It was one of those serendipitous things that came at the perfect time. I always think, when learning a new skill, that there comes that point when you must decide to go through the frustrating and rewarding process of getting good or settling with being merely adequate. Languages are like this for me. I get all excited about learning a new language but I always self-destruct when it comes to the work it takes to be fluent. At one point or another, I could carry on childish conversations in French, Mandarin, Spanish, and Tagalog.
Sewing, for a long time, was like that. I could sew adequately, anything with straight lines: curtains and pillows and tote bags. I'd started to re-consider sewing apparel (after dismal first attempts years ago!) and then I stumbled onto this amazing sewing community in the blogosphere. Then Me-Made-May came around and, even though I knew I was moving at the end of May, it allowed me to use April to try and alter and refashion unused items in my closet or donate them. I'm a former deadline reporter, I need that guillotine hanging over my head. And guess what I learned with that deadline inspired stitching? I can sew apparel. I make plenty of mistakes, but Yes I Can.
Since I've been deficient in the photo department, a photo of the final day in Me-Made-May, starring the (wrinkled) Marie skirt I learned to love:
Several other bloggers have chimed in on MMM lessons, so this is a bit redundant, but here's some lessons/thoughts.
-I've loved reading other blogs and being inspired by the handiwork of others. Because sewing requires work and craftsmanship (and shortcuts can be costly!) I admire it all the more. These women learned to sew, to sew well, have gone through trial and error and came out the other side with fabulous things to show for it. It shows me, as a beginner, that patience and work and a little playfulness pays off.
-I like dresses and skirts. Who knew? And I like Burda patterns. The sizing, for me, is perfect.
-I've learned that I need to be less cheap with my fabric, because if I'm going to create a quality garment, I need to use quality materials (and by "quality" I mean no-longer-scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel). I buy a lot of clearance fabric and fabric at thrift stores, but now that I'm actually making wearable items, I sometimes feel that cost in other ways. If I don't love it, don't buy it just 'cause it's cheap (so obvious, but why is it so hard?). And if I'm making something I know I will use frequently, I should just pay for the fabric I really want.
-I need to find some tried-and-true patterns that are reliably versatile, stylish and well-fitting.
-This is wisdom from Amy of Quixotic Pixels (and quoted by Zoe), "When clothes come 'hot off the sewing machine,' I tend to be hyper alert for fit problems and/or construction failures. If I focus on those things too much, my home-sewn clothes get relegated to the back of the closet." Yes! That's exactly right. MMM forced me wear my clothes and guess what? Like RTW, after a few jaunts out, I don't even notice.
-Speaking of not noticing, others didn't notice my clothes were handmade either. In fact, I got compliments!
-Even though I've definitely had some fails this month, I've never been happier about the way I dress. I feel more confident, more like my clothes are a reflection of me, which is what this blog is about: Finding my style, one garment at a time.
Whew! That's a lot. But see? One challenge, lots of lessons. I'd wished, especially looking at the photos in the Flickr pool, that I could've participated at a higher level and lucky for me, Zoe has created Self-Stitched September! That's right, we're doing it again in three month's time.
Here's my challenge:
I, Ali of http://wardrobereimagined.blogspot.com, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-September. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade item of clothing every day for the duration of September 2010.
My MMM personal challenge included altered and refashioned items, so I'm upping the ante. If I use an old garment for its fabric, I'll still consider it homemade rather than refashioned, though I reserve bragging rights for reuse.
So what's on the sewing agenda before September? Still whipping up those Ruby Shorts with Lisette of Vintage or Bust (does anyone know what size the buttons are? These BurdaStyle instructions just kill me). I've joined Cecili's wonderful Japanese top sew-along. Join us! You know you want one, with all those Japanese designs making their way around the internet, you can now have your very own.
And some of the MMM ladies were interested in doing a Summer Essentials Sew-along. I'd love it if you'd join us! Are there five garments you'd rather not live without this summer? More on the sew-along in my next post.
May-love to you all.
1950s Mises one piece slip sewing pattern illustration. - 1950s Mises one piece slip sewing pattern illustration.