Why I'm not taking part in Me Made May 2013...

Let me start off by saying how much I love Me Made May - it's inspirational, educational, sociable and Zoe is an absolute genius for coming up with the idea. When I took part for the first time ever last year - musings and links to each week's outfits - I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and even surpassed my little pledge.

So, why am I not taking part this year then? This time round I knew that I wouldn't be happy with just three or four me-made outfits a week. It was a great way to ease me into the challenge, but I feel I should have more to show for over three years of consistent sewing. Yet despite my efforts I actually don't. Why? There are many reasons - including poor fit and bad pattern choice for my shape. And because holding onto me-mades I don't like or wear makes me feel dispassionate about sewing, I've been getting rid of them instead. Just like I would with shop-bought clothes.

Throughout 2012, I gifted a couple of items to my mum and gave a few more bits to charity shops.  And with Me Made May literally just around the corner, I had one more ruthless cull and made a final me-made inventory.

NEVER WEAR


This lot has to go, I just don't wear them...ever!
  • I must be expanding because my beloved Sorbettos are too snug for comfort now.
  • I used way too stiff a fabric for my Burda Sleeveless Blouse.
  • My Applique sweater gets more misshapen with each wash, I wish I'd stay-stitched the neckline.
  • Aubergine Ginger had fitting issues from the start.
  • I still love my self-drafted circle skirt, but damn it it smells of mildew! The fabric smelt from day one and despite washing, airing and various other tricks...it still smells.
  • There's no sugar coating it, Vogue 8728 is still too big and misshapen, but I will be re-cycling the fabric to make some fancy undies. 
  • I don't know what's happened to my Mad Men dress, but it suddenly fits terribly through the shoulders.

SOMETIMES WEAR


These are good to stay, but aren't exactly wardrobe staples...
  • My beautiful Pendrell with a 30s twist is a bit snug too, but I genuinely think the silk cotton has shrunk in the wash. I can't stand to part with it though, so I'm saving it for 'skinny' days!
  • I adore my heirloom Armistice blouse, but I'm saving it for special occasions because my great-grandmother's silk is pretty fragile.
  • The fit of my self-drafted skirt is spot on, but it's a bit figure-hugging for everyday wear.
  • Love my Tilly picnic skirt, but I keep meaning to replace the waistband because it's linen and stretches out easily.
  • Western Ginger is cute, but I may have to shorten it a little to get more wear out of it with tights.
  • My Hazedale was a success in the end, but I can only really wear it weather permitting.
  • Minnie Mouse most definitely can't have her dress back, but I won't exactly be wearing it weekly.

ALWAYS WEAR


As you can see this doesn't exactly leave me with a month's worth of of me-made items. But what it does leave me with is comfortable, well fitting me-mades that I love to wear: Renfrews (here and here), re-fashioned PendrellAlmaMathildeDixie DIY animal print sweaterMiette skirt, Dixie DIY Ballet Dress30th birthday dress.

Granted, jersey and knit fabrics feature heavily in my staple wardrobe. I want to increase this (more Renfrew's and casual dresses are a must it would seem), but the fabric snob in me also wants to rectify this. So making more pretty blouses and woven dresses is high up on my agenda too.

I hope you don't read this as a negative post, because I'm actually in a really zen place about my sewing at the moment. Sure I wish I could sew faster and more often, but I'm excited to slowly sew the wardrobe of my dreams. Best of all, I feel like finally, in my third year of sewing, I'm getting there.

Are you taking part in Me Made May this year? I hope you're feeling confident and know that I'll be cheering you on from the sideline...hoping to come back stronger myself next year!

83 comments:

  1. You have sewn a collection of amazing beauties, I'm sorry that you can't wear some of them! The mad men blue dress was one of my favourites and the ginger skirts are so cool :) You mentioned refashioning some of your items, well I've been doing just that lately and it's really worth a try, I've been able to wear stuff that had been sitting in my boxes for years!

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    1. Thank you Cecili, you're very kind! And it's great to know you've had success with refashioning some of your makes.

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  2. Gah, last May when I was just making my first garments I was sure I'd be ready to do Me-Made-May this year, but alas, I fell into the home-made gifts trap of the novice seamstress and spent most of the Autumn and Winter sewing Christmas presents and birthday presents, and since then it's been all-wedding-sewing-all-the-time. Maybe next year!

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    1. Annabel, this is exactly why I'm a selfish stitcher nowadays! It takes so much time and effort to sew, that I just don't have time to do it for others as well as myself. I'm sure next year you'll be on fire ;o)

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  3. I'm not taking part this year because, like you, I don't have enough me made clothes. I'm trying to build some basic blocks in my wardrobe, even those comfy pants around the house on weekend clothes, and I won't be ready for a me made month until next year at the earliest. I applaud your garment cull, a great idea.

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    1. Maybe we'll both be ready by next year, eh!

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  4. Brilliant post Marie - I have the exact same feelings towards my me-made wardrobe (though I haven't gone through it all as thoughtfully as you have), and ultimately have the same reasons for not taking part in MMM13. x

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    1. It's all a learning curve I guess, so I'm sure you'll figure your me-made wardrobe out soon ;o) I love all your makes though, I'd gladly take any unwanted things off your hands ;o)

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  5. Thank you for this post. I also feel that after three years of sewing I'm getting a much better idea of what works for me style wise, and fit wise. I've also learnt a lot about fabric matching to pattern and what fabrics I feel comfortable in. I've spent three years having an exciting adventure sewing things that took my fancy, that looked good on other people and seemed like fun. At least a third of it I don't wear but I've learnt a lot and I've had fun. Onwards and upwards!

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    1. I LOVE that you're calling it an exciting adventure, what a great way of looking at things!

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  6. I was so sure you were "on" for this year, with all your lovely makes! I suppose it comes down to how often you are willing to wear the same things. I am sure you could wear one me-made garment every day for a month with what you have left... but not if you want it to be a different thing every day.
    So sorry about the mildew issue. I get that a lot in my damp house. Have you tried a cup of vinegar in the wash? That works for me with cotton garments.

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    1. Sorry to disappoint! I thought I would be too, but I guess I just don't want to wear things I'm not comfortable in, plus I don't like to wear the same stuff week in and week out. I have high hopes for next year though ;o) You know what, I haven't tried vinegar! I may well do that because I do love that skirt! Thanks for the tip!

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  7. I love this post. I did mentally the same thing with my wardrobe and like you jersey dresses wins on my daily wear, specially after loosing weight, loads of items don't fit and I hope to fix them with MMM as an excuse to not chuck them into the recycling.

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    1. Thanks Rachel! I imagine jersey comes in handy when losing weight as it's so forgiving. You're looking exceptionally lovely by the way, even though I don't think you needed to lose weight in the first place ;o)

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  8. Right there with you! Sewing is an ongoing journey for me and that means lots of learning curves, trials and hot messes as well as discovering what works for my shape. I'm going to be cheering like a mad thing from the sidelines but I don't have enough to participate in 2013. And your Mathilde blouse- it still makes me clap my hands in glee!

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    1. Yes, it is an ongoing journey and I'm learning that that's ok...finally ;o) Aaaaw, thanks for your kind comments about my Mathilde!

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  9. Lovely post! It's funny how much things change in your sewing journey. I don't have any of the stuff I made at the start. From a mix of picki g patterns that didn't suit my body type and not finishing them correctly so they fell apart. Now I find I feel a lot more confident in the things I make myself because I feel a lot more confident in my personal style. I need a to make more blouses too! I have only made myself one top. I have seen so many lovely mathilde's but I don't know if it would suit me. By the way I am so in love with your Minnie Mouse dress. It is adorable!

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    1. I hardly have any stuff from the start either...I guess we evolve as sticthers and then we become more confident in our sense of style too! I'm sure Mathilde would suit you by the way ;o)

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  10. Great post! I'm also not participating in MMM'13. Most of the stuff I've made is 'special occasion' and the rest of it is summer stuff, really inappropriate heading into the cooler months!
    One of my girls had a store-bought Barbie jumper that smelled a bit dusty/mouldy from the start - it took about 5 washes before the smell left.

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    1. Oooh, it'a lovely to have lots of 'special occassion' makes though, how fancy!

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  11. Great post. I also worked through my wardrobe before deciding to sign up. It played a bit part in choosing my pledge. If I didn't have enough then I would have watched from the sides again. I find it interesting when sewers cull their handmade items after all the work that went into them but I'm with you, if I don't wear it it has to go - which is my current debate!

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    1. Hope MMM is going well for you so far! I must admit, it's hard to cull your me-mades, but a necessity in my book ;o)

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  12. So spot on! I've been deliberating whether or not to participate for pretty much the same reasons. I love sewing but as still on that journey to discover the perfect pieces that I enjoy, that fit and suit my shape. I have only sew a few jersey pieces but they are total winners. Sadly the pieces that I sometimes spend ages making and just too out-there for regular wear or don't fit just right.

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    1. We sound like we're in a very similar position Bohdana, but I'm sure we'll get there slowly! It's a fun journey for sure ;o)

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  13. I've been doing the same as you, chucking and charity shopping stuff and I don't have much in the way of me mades for a full month. I chose to do 3 days a week to enter into the spirit, but I'm in good place too. I think its so important not to beat yourself up over it. The Me Mades you have are fabulous and they will build over time.
    I have been working on getting my studio ready to teach some classes so I think 3 days is fair.
    x

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    1. 3 days is a great start Stevie, exactly what I did last year! Oooh teaching you say?! How exciting! I hope you keep us updated with that on the ole blog.

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  14. I'm joining you on the sidelines this year. I love MMM and all it stands for, but between my wedding being in a little over a month, needing to pack up the majority of my stuff (including my wardrobe) to move, having VERY few things that are different from last year because my dress took me about 9 months to make when you count the muslin process, the very strong potential for 6-day workweeks at a place where I can't really wear me-mades at all....the timing is just all around bad this year.

    You're very brave-- I always find it hard to cull my me-mades! But it looks like you do have a good core of things that work, and hopefully that will give you a solid building block for expanding your me-made wardrobe!

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    1. Goodness Becky, you certainly sound like you have your hands full right now. No wonder you're sitting MMM out this year! And I have SUCH respect for anyone who makes their (or someone else's) wedding dress!

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  15. Have you tried rinsing your self drafted circle skirt in a vinegar solution? It has worked very well for me when the fabric has a high polyester content.

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    1. Thank you, I'll give it a go! If I can save that skirt I'll be very happy!

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  16. What I don't see here is the Swing Dress you made, which I think looks really cute on you!

    But, thank you for this inspiring post. I'm shocked by how little I wear my me-mades and I think it's because I really didn't think them through, i.e., is this pattern right for me? Why isn't it fitting correctly? What could I do the next time about an awful fit? And, most importantly: why don't I learn and do a FBA rather than think I can get away with a larger size? I, too, have small shoulders but I also have a very large bust so I need to make adjustments and, so far, I refuse to learn the FBA. This post gives me a boost that I need.

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    1. I'm so glad this post has given you a boost and I'm super impressed you remember my Swing Dress!!! That went long ago I'm afraid....I was such a rookie when I made it that I messed up the zip and the hemming and it just looked tatty close up. I'd love to re-visit that pattern one day, it is lovely!

      Getting the fit right is such a pain in the butt, isn't it!? I've read on lost of blogs that an FBA isn't actually that hard, so look into it as it might be the answer to all your problems!

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  17. I think reflecting like this every now and again on your me-mades is absolutely appropriate. As is sitting out the odd sewing/wardrobe challenge or two. It helps you focus on why you make, and plan for making what you WILL wear!

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    1. Said like a true pro Sallie - you nailed my entire post in 2.5 lines ;o)

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  18. I've been having exactly the same musings about my me-made wardrobe - as you probably figured out from my last post! I made a tough decision - get rid of the stuff I don't wear and make more of the stuff I DO wear. It's hardly rocket science but it seems to have taken me a couple of years to realise this!!
    I won't be taking part in MMM officially as I tend to wear an item of me-made clothing most days anyway. But I'll be cheering everybody on from the sidelines as it's a wonderful concept. So pleased you're in a good place with your sewing at the moment Marie, keep up the good work my friend. xx

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    1. Yes, I saw all the beautiful makes you gave away! If only I had your slim hips, I'd have paid you to take them off your hands ;o) But if they don't work for you, then there's no point on holding onto them, You've now made plenty of room for all the new lovelies you'll be making!

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  19. As someone who went to fashion design school, I have too have thrown away/donated a BUNCH of projects of mine. Some I have never finished even though they're 98% done (like putting buttons on).

    Sewing is a complicated thing, as is style and shape. Then if you throw in pattern making, you have a real hot mess. I graduated in 2007 (starting in 2004) and only now am I actually comfortable with my pattern making/sewing skills - nearly a decade later!

    So... what I'm trying to say is, you are light years ahead of many people. You picked it up fast and your sewing is neat, fabrics adequately chosen, and design choices fashion forward.

    There will always be many, many things to learn with sewing/pattern design and it's easy to over-critique your work as I always do. Long story short, you're doing a great job!

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    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement! It means a lot coming from someone who has studied fashion to a high level and it's good to know that you too are constantly learning!

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  20. I love these kinds of "reflection" posts! I definitely have less to show for my years of sewing than I should, too. I'm doing MMM and I have 20 dresses and 4 blouses that are cute and springy. That sounds like a lot, but I've made like a dress a week for 3 years! Some were real duds. I'm sorry you're not participating but I totally understand!

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    1. Thanks Amy! A dress a week!?! Wow, that is so productive! Also, you already know this hopefully, but I love all your me-made summer dresses!

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  21. I've loved your update on what ouve made and how it's worked out. It's great to have sewn so much, experimented, learned, and worn things to discover your sewing and wardrobe secrets. It's great that you're in a good place about it, you should be with all this under your belt! X

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    1. Thanks Winnie, you're very kind!

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  22. I like the idea of MMM, but I don't relish the thought of taking pics every day of myself....I'm not sure my readers can learn all that much from my styling efforts!

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    1. I'm sure your readers would love to see your styling efforts ;o)

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  23. It's not negative at all! It's just an honest reflection on how your tastes have changed and how your wardrobe is altering to suit that.

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    1. Thanks, glad it came across how I intended it too!

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  24. Don't feel bad about not joining in this year- sewing is a journey which evolves. After a few years of only sewing for the girls am I beginning to sew for myself, and that's without the time investment required for a great blog such as yours :-)

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    1. Thank you Caroline, you're very kind! I hope you're enjoying sewing for yourself again!

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  25. You have a gorgeous handmade wardrobe! I think you're right to cull things that don't suit your lifestyle or fit right. What's the point in having things taking up space in your wardrobe that you don't wear. Now you have room to add new lovely handmade things :)

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  26. I think you've had all the benefits of MMM without actually participating! You've sorted out what works for you and what doesn't, and have figured out what you need to have a wearable handmade wardrobe-- that's awesome! I just culled my handmade wardrobe pretty harshly, too. Many of my early handmade clothes just aren't my style or don't work for my lifestyle, so instead of hanging onto them, I donated them and saved a few to cut up and restyle.

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    1. Yay, for a good cull now and again! I'm pretty pleased with my analysis, but it's definitely not as fun as taking part in MMM ;o)

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  27. Very good analyze of me-made wardrobe! I think I should something like this the next year, when I hope I will have a lot of me-made garments. This year I decided to participate for 3 days per week%)

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    1. Good luck with MMM, hope you're having fun with it so far! And yes, have a go at something like this next year, it's a great exercise.

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  28. I'm too attached to my me-mades to throw them out... :(

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    1. I can understand why and I bet you actually wear all of them! Whereas there are so many of mine that didn't see the light of day :o(

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  29. Thank you for your honest account. It wasn't negative, just truthful. In fact, it surprised me how much of your thinking echoes my own -- about my own me-made clothes, that is! It's reassuring to realize that I'm not the only one who feels I have some ways to go before I'm able to be 100% happy with what I make. You know, I really should do the same exercise.

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    1. Great to know other people have the same predicaments too!

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  30. I think we should all take a long hard look at our wardrobe of clothes. It will help decide why we are sewing and what result we want. Do we do it just because we want to sew something- anything in which case we could sew for some charitable project. Do we sew because we have fallen in love with some fabric or pattern and want to make it without regard to whether it suits us or our lifestyle? Or do we sew because we want well-made well-fitting garments that are of constant use? I'm rapidly coming to the last view which is why I've just made a really boring beige straight skirt in stretch cotton. Boring, yes, but it will go with loads of items in my wardrobe and wash like a rag and the hem won't unravel. (I do a bit of the first motive too, which is why I was up at 5 am stitching a floral bow tie for a knitted teddy bear)

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    1. Very well expressed, in fact every time I sew a project. I will think very carefully about what you wrote. Great advice.

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    2. I'm slowly coming round to your last point in terms of motivation too! Maybe it's a sign of maturing as a stitcher. Although I still look forward to sewing the odd impractical, but beautiful make!

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  31. I don't think this read as negative at all, more a positive reflection on how far you've come. I didn't realise you're only in your third year of sewing, I thought you'd been at it for years! I'm hoping that participating in MMM will help me to figure out what is worth keeping - I cringe when I look at some of my early makes now I know enough to spot the mistakes. I'm hoping it will also motivate me to finish some nearly done UFOs and make a few minor adjustments to make other things wearable.

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    1. Aaaw, thanks! I hope you're having fun with MMM, loving all your gorgeous dresses by the way!!!

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  32. First of all I'm glad your flamingo Renfrew is still a keeper! Part of MMM is to determine what the holes are in your wardrobe so you can focus on sewing clothes you'll actually wear. Clearly you got this out of the way early. It's hard trying to balance improving your skills and figuring out what your handmade style is and you are that much closer to knowing what that is. Hopefully you'll find some inspiration for future makes!

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    1. Thank you Erin, wise words indeed! Luckily I have lots of inspiration for future makes, just got to find time to make it all ;o) And yes, the flamingo Renfrew is still a favourite of mine!

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  33. Good for you! I think it can actually be more difficult to decide NOT to participate in challenges like MMM. Great post for pinpointing exactly what you love to wear. From what I see, you love jersey, rich colours, and classic shapes. I was thinking that you may really like this Maria of Denmark tunic/dress pattern: http://www.shoponion.com/images/items/2017_4.jpg It's just for knits!

    PS: I am a huge Renfrew fan, too!

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    1. I totally agree Sarah, it's so hard watching from the sidelines sometimes as I hate to feel left out. But I'm glad I'm sitting MMM out this year and concentrating on making stuff I wear. And yes, I think you summed my tastes up pretty well...that Maria Denmark tunic/dress pattern looks perfect. I've just added it to my wishlist, my fellow Renfrew lover ;o)

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  34. Great post (not negative at all!) , I appreciate your sincerity. It is the first time I take part in Me Made May and, I must say, it was a last minute decision (for, how should I say, political/ethic and idealistic reasons). We all have to be fair to ourselves and see what time is appropriate to do what.

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    1. Absolutely, well said! Enjoy taking part in MMM, it's a wonderful initiative!

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  35. It's actually very encouraging and interesting to read this post. I couldn't figure out for a long time when it wasn't 'clicking' with me and I think it was frustration over some poor choices. Either fabric, size, or pattern (or some combo), and it was causing me to overall be a lot more sporadic with my sewing than I wanted to be, and not much wearing the things I was sewing anyway. So I finally re-assessed my sewing habits in January and now I'm feel much more zen about it too and am on a roll. So I think it's great that you've been able to do some purging and re-think some of the things you want to sew and wear. Just think about how awesome MMM will be for you next year! :)

    (Btw, I'm not doing it either... I struggled with it since it was finally the first year I thought may have enough to participate and was excited about it, but with remodeling our bathroom and a trip at the end of May it just was too much.)

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    1. Thanks Tasha, I think we've both 'suffered' with similar issues, but it sounds we're finding our way a bit better now! I totally understand your reasons for not taking part in MMM this year, maybe we can both step it up and have a blast with it next year! Yeah!

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  36. I did not find the post negative, in fact I felt it was a positive reflection of how you currently feel about your wardrobe. I have only been sewing since the Summer of 2011 so I don't have tons of me made items but I joined the challenge anyway. My goal is to actually wear each item I made and photograph it. By wearing the garment for the entire day, I am hoping to really determine whether the fit is the best or needs some tweaks. At the end of the month, each garment should be fitted to my satifaction or donated.

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    1. Well done for taking part, you'll love it and you;ll learn so much about your wardrobe along the way too!

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  37. This is such a refreshing post! It's so nice to know that even as relatively experienced sewers, we are still human and still make things that don't fit us perfectly - whether it's the style, fabric choice or actual fit of the garment. I think as sewers (and bloggers) we get this innate feeling that everything we make must be perfect, but it's when we make these errors that we learn.

    This is my first me made may because of the reasons you mention above for not doing it this year. It's taken me a few years to create garments I'm proud of, happy to wear and have enough of them to last me through a month without too many repeats.

    You've obviously done a tonne of sewing over the past year and even though you feel you can't wear them for what ever reason, you at least know you've learnt a lot though out the process and can apply those lessons to future projects :)

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    1. Thanks Jen, very kind and wise words indeed. I hope you enjoy your first MMM, I adore your handmade wardrobe!!!

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  38. Thank you for an interesting post! It's so nice to hear other sewists share their view on not just sewing but on wearing me-made. I was at this point last year, I had participated the year before and felt I had too few items to up the challenge. So I skipped last year's me-made (all of them). This year, I feel I've finally got eunough items to take it one step further.
    I'm very much afraid that it won't be the most interesting posts though, as there certainly will be plenty of repeats... That's part of the reason why I'll do round-up posts once a week =)

    I find it so hard to get rid of me-made's! Even the one's I don't wear. Good for you on keeping just the things you wear!

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    1. Well done for taking part Erika, it will be great fun for you! I only just started culling my me-mades last year...it is hard, but necessary ;o)

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  39. I had an eye out for that flamingo Renfrew too! You have a fantastic assortment of me-mades, but I agree, however pretty something may look on the rack (or even worn in photos) if it's not comfortable or flattering it can feel bad to see it hanging in the closet. The nice thing about me-mades is that we can always try again!

    FWIW I have never considered doing Me-Made-May ... I despise the documentation process and have far too many non-me-made clothing I love too!

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    1. Interesting that you've never considered doing MMM as I imagine you wearing your me-mades daily...you have so many and they are so beautiful. But, it's not for everyone and why should it be. The whole sewing and wearing me-mades process should be nothing but enjoyable!

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  40. Eep! So chuffed that Mathilde and Miette are both in your "always wear" category :) xx

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    1. Hehe, indeed they are ;o) xx

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  41. Brilliant post - I have to agree with you. I think it's fun that in the sewing community there are always challenges and sew-alongs and such but sigh, I just can't. I just don't have enough me made clothes or time (sewing time or blogging time these days) nor the energy to catalog what I wear everyday. I admire those who do however!
    I really just try to keep my hobby fun for myself, even if that means I don't blog for weeks and weeks!

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  42. i think it's great to take a good hard look at our me-mades and see which actually get worn, although it's tough for me to admit sewing-failure and even harder to finally get rid of makes that i never wear. it's a good learning process, though. oh, and i'm glad to see some familiar stuff in the always wear section. ;)

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