Tag Archives: me made may ’12

And I’m spent.

Me Made May is over, and I’m officially spent. I finished up the month in style yesterday, by completely forgetting about the challenge. Duh! But whatever. I know my brain, and frankly, that I made it to the end of the month before I forgot is an absolute miracle!

But I did have a great time, and it was really fun to get to wear some pieces that haven’t seen the light of day for yonks.

Here’s an inexpertly-made collage of all the outfits I managed to photograph:

Me Made May: The End

There are a few things that I didn’t wear – another thick jumper, a thickish sleeveless tank, and another fancy cocktail dress. Oh, and the crochet cardigan that defied my gauge swatch and came out sized to fit a nine year old, but that doesn’t really count.

With the temperature swinging wildly between 10-25℃ in a matter of days, it was practically impossible to keep up with the vagaries of the British climate. This is why my wardrobe is so full – it’s just never worth putting the winter clothes away. It’s clear now that I need considerably more light, layerable items that can take me through the whole year… if only to make the most of my shared wardrobe space.

Colour-wise, I think I got on ok, though I did notice that my reliance on black as a base colour was quite heavy (my ‘normal’ wardrobe is more balanced with brown). That’s possibly a legacy issue; I started knitting before I really started looking critically at colours – both how they looked on me, and how they fitted in with the rest of my wardrobe. As I work through my more recently-acquired stash, I’m hoping that will even out.

This month has also been inspirational for my making; with two finished objects, and two mostly finished, this has probably been my most productive month this year. Hand-made has rarely been far from my mind, and it’s been really good to have an actual goal to get me to finish up an item with which I’ve been having difficulties (see: floral shirt WIP posts 😉 ).

So, just to finish up the process, here’s the recap of the last few days:

Day 28: FORGOT WHAT DID. Er… hmm. What did I do… I did the shopping, and I did some sewing, and I made some rhubarb compote… but I have no idea what I was wearing to do so. Sorry. Cheat day?

Day 29: Newly finished floral shirt. Must remember to FO post about this. *instantly forgets*

Me Made May: Day 29

Day 30: Double up! Black pencil skirt (again) plus my Shetland Shorty, which is something that tends to disappear into the depths of my wardrobe to heighten the pleasure of re-discovering it. Rav post here.

Me Made May: Day 30


And we’re done. I hope you all had fun, and even if you didn’t *officially* do Me Made May, that it at least inspired you to keep on making and wearing your hand-made stuff.

Me Made May: Week 4

I did a really poor job of photographing last week’s outfits. As in, I didn’t take any at all. I was also seriously caught out by the weather; after the previous week’s shiveringly cold finish, it suddenly shot up to 24-25℃. Good job I’d saved all those warm jumpers.


On Friday, I fudged it by spending the end of the evening in a hand-made ball gown. On Saturday, I was panicking. I called in a cheat day, but couldn’t bear to wear the socks for even a minute. So I shrugged, reminded myself that I’d tried, and rocked a bought sundress instead.

So I guess the learning point from this week is:

If things go wrong, don’t beat yourself up. Expecting the unexpected is a philosophical hole into which you need not be sucked.

I couldn’t have expected the end of May to be nearly 10℃ above the average. I was momentarily peeved, but I knew going into this that I had a hole in my hand-made wardrobe. A top- and light-layering-items-shaped hole, to be precise. So I’m actually going to pat myself on the back for the twenty-odd days on which I did succeed.

And it’s worth remembering that MMM is an artificial set of restrictions on my (your?) wardrobe. I already have four or five sundresses that rarely get worn. There’s no point in making another one, just so I can have a hand-made one. I want my hand-made clothing to be a part of my wardrobe, not a replacement for it.

With that in mind, here’s the recap:

Day 21: Flowery tunic dress again, but with jeans.

Day 22: Updated purple shirt. I bought this shirt in a sale without trying it on… only to discover why it was on sale. It was enormous. So I increased the size of the darts, cut a huge chunk off the sides, and I think I shortened the sleeves. It is also 100% cotton and claims to be dry clean only. What? I mean really, what?

Me Made May: Day 22

Day 23: Double up! Flouncy skirt and new lace top, with a big belt to stop myself turning into one enormous flounce.

Day 24: Flowery shift dress again, but with flip flops.

Day 25: Ballgown. Nearly FO post here. Only worn for about an hour before bed, but that totally counts. Right?

Me Made May: Day 25

Day 26: FAIL I mean CHEAT DAY

Day 27: Updated purple shirt with different top under it. I think.

OK. Four days left. Home stretch, here I come!

Me Made May: Week 3

Week three started nervously, soared to a high with a timely FO, and continued in the same excitably vein with some unseasonably cold weather that allowed me to get out some proper knits.

I was struggling to think of a learning point for this week, but I think I’ve got it; seize the day. Or:

Seize the knitwear. And the weather forecast.

The moment there’s a nip in the air, dig out that enormous jumper. If the sun is trying to peek through the clouds, haul on a hand-sewn sundress. Don’t leave things in the wardrobe, just because it’s not *quite* the right temperature for them, or you’re worried what people will say. Or because you’d rather avoid the hand-washing that goes along with hand-making things.

Eh. Not exactly an earth-shattering revelation. It’s just interesting how this month is making me *really* think about things that live deep in the depths of my wardrobe. I’m realising that quite a few of them are being ignored, and quite unfairly.

Anyway, here’s the recap:

Day 14: Open-fronted cardigan with a WIP post here, and a Rav page here.

Me Made May: Day 14

Day 15: Second outing of 3/4 circle flowery skirt, this time with a jumper (which is almost cheating, but not quite.)

Day 16: My FO of last week, the lace-trimmed top.

Me Made May: Day 16

Day 17: An oldie – Isabella, which is lost in the mists of badly-organised blog pages, but has a Rav page here.

Me Made May: Day 17

Day 18: A really oldie – this is a customised T shirt from back in my obsessive-gig-going days. This is The Duke Spirit, Cuts Across the Land era. I started buying gig Ts, like the dutiful fan I was, but quickly became tired of the so-called ‘girly’ shirts barely stretching below my navel. So I moved onto buying bigger Tshirts, but quickly stopped as the pile of ‘must get around to that some time’ shirts became unmanageable.

Me Made May: Day 18

Day 19: Tubey! There is an FO post, but all it does is point to the Ravelry page. I love this jumper, but it’s so rare that I get to wear it.

Me Made May: Day 19

Day 20: The inverse of the open-fronted cardigan, the back-Laced tunic, which has a kinda WIP post here, and a Rav page here.

Me Made May: Day 20

Me Made May: Week 2

Still going well, though it’s starting to get a bit more challenging.

I’m into the repeats, though I’ve managed to mix up the outfits a bit so they’re not identical. I’ve also called in a cheat day; I was hoping for a new item to be completed before the weekend. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Sort of happily, though, it did lead to this week’s learning point:

However long you think it will take you to make something, double it. Or, however much time you think you have to spend on something, halve it.

This is applicable to… probably everything in life. I was caught out this weekend, thinking I could throw together a new top before we went away. Sadly, it wasn’t the case. It was a combination of over-estimating how fast I could sew, and under-estimating how much time I’d actually spend sewing. Laundry, lunch, the gym, and yes, procrastination all ate into my sewing time, leaving me with a half-finished top and nothing to wear on day 13.

Annoying, but predictable. I’d set aside the day for sewing, so mentally, I was considering the available time as 8 hours. More than enough time to finish a simple top. But, when you take out the necessary (and unnecessary) distractions, it’s probably closer to four hours. That’s going to take some serious speed-sewing.

Lesson learned: from now on, I’m going to be assuming I’m slower and procrastinating more than I think I am.

Now for the week 2 recap:

Day 7: Self-drafted flowery shift dress. Bank Holiday Monday, and I was feeling a bit fancy. Again, no FO post, despite this being probably the most exciting thing I did all of last year. *sigh*.

Me Made May: Day 7

Day 8: Retro Femme Empire Waist crochet top. Ravelry page here.

Me Made May: Day 8

Day 9: Vine Lace Cardigan. Ravelry page here.

Me Made May: Day 9

Day 10: Second outing of black pencil skirt, this time teamed with a short-sleeved shirt.

Day 11: Second outing of peacock eye cardigan, this time with skinny jeans (OK, it’s jeans again, but they’re a different cut and therefore this is not a cheat. :P)

Day 12: Flouncy Skirt of Flouncing. An actual FO post here.

Me Made May: Day 12

Day 13: Cheat day! Double Heelix.

Me Made May: Day 13

Right! Back to work to produce my wardrobe for the rest of the month. 😀

Plugging the gaps.

I have 20 more days of wearing hand-made clothing to get through.

I probably have fewer than 20 wearable items left.

I also have a stack of unused patterns.

Can you tell where I’m going with this?

Fear of running out of outfits: falling. ;)

Originally, I was planning on using this month to get a good picture of my wardrobe (hand-made or otherwise), so I could work out what sort of things I should be looking to make. But I’m feeling impatient, and I had one of those moments when I suddenly realise that the internet is not just a place you go to look at amusing pictures of cats; it is also a place you go to when you need to buy something, and are too lazy to leave your house to go to a real shop.

So yes, I’ve just bought a stack of fabric to go with my stack of patterns. I was just supposed to be getting some notions so I could make something of my existing fabric stash; but you know how it is. Idly browsing through the store and all of a sudden I qualify for free shipping. It’s ok if it’s for my art, yes?

(also, if anyone has any good tips for matching thread to fabric you’ve not seen yet, I’m all ears. Probably should have thought about that before clicking the ‘check out’ button.)

Me Made May: Week 1

Going strong! Here’s a recap on my first week, wordy bit first then pics with links to FO or Rav posts where available.

So far I’ve had no repeats, no cheats, and have not started panicking or considering wearing things upside-down just to get another day out of them. But it’s only the 7th, so there’s time yet. 😀

One of my main hopes for this month was to learn something, so I’m pleased to be able to share this, the first learning point sparked by Me Made May:

Don’t forget to actually write about your FOs. And for the love of yarn, be specific when mentioning them.

For someone with a main focus on knitting and dressmaking, I don’t seem to post about many of my finished objects. Either that, or I refer to them in such ambiguous terms, buried so deep in unrelated posts that there’s no way on earth I’ll ever find them again. This is… a bad idea. Titling a flickr item ‘dress’ is one thing, but when the only mention on this entire blog of a finished object is ‘awesome cardi’, without a picture or link, right at the bottom of a post about music, I’m doin it rong.

So, learn from my mistakes and be clear and specific about your FOs (and WIPs, for that matter). And never mind SEO as a tool to help people on the internet find your blog; use it so you can find stuff on your blog. Keywords, links between posts, posts about posts… make that stuff work for you. Because you don’t want to be browsing through 400+ posts only to find that you never actually posted about your first knitted cardigan. Sadface.

And now, the photos. Note that I didn’t take photos for a couple of days, so in a couple of cases I’ve cheated and taken the original FO pictures, and fed them through the ‘gram to keep the visual theme going. I also experimented for a couple of days with using my webcam to take the pics, but that turned out to be a horrendously bad idea. You live and learn.


Day 1: 3/4 circle flowery skirt. Blogged about this one already.

Me Made May begins!

Day 2: Peacock Eye Cardi. FO (finished object) blogpost here.

Me Made May: Day 2

Day 3: Black pencil skirt, outfit 1. WIP post here. Looks like I never posted an FO post for this one, so when I wear it next, I’ll do a retrospective on it.

Me Made May: Day 3

Day 4 (this is where I start cheating with pics): Flowery tunic dress. Again, never blogged about this one even though it’s one of my favourites. It’s quite short now. That’s what happens when you don’t pre-wash your material.

Me Made May: Day 4

Day 5: Leopard Print Cardi. Here’s the Ravelry page as the only WIP post comes from when it was five rows in. I don’t wear this often, but it’s just right for when I’m feeling a bit silly and need something to match my mood.

Me Made May: Day 5

Day 6: Diamond-ribbed cardigan. Ravelry page here. Worn two ways on the day (short- and long-sleeved T-shirt underneath), so I get to repeat one of them later in the month (heehee).

Me Made May: Day 6

How’s MMM going for you?

So far, so easy.

One outfit down, 30 to go. Still can’t decide on the most appropriate way to document this, so here’s a shot from a proper camera, fed through instagram to make it look like it wasn’t.

Me Made May begins!

The hand-made item here is the skirt; a 3/4 circle, double-layered number with a contrast waist tie. I made this in… 2007, I think, possibly a year or two either side. It pre-dates my flickr account, that’s for certain. It was my first ‘grownup’ self-drafted pattern; I had a pattern for a full-circle kid’s skirt (I think I had a ballet skirt made from it), so I dug that out and traced it onto newspaper, adding a few inches round the edge to fit. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough fabric for a full circle, so I decided not to cut out one of the pieces (!!!). I did realise that the curve of the hemline wouldn’t be right, but said ‘eh, I’ll fudge it later’ and sewed it up anyway.

I didn’t have a dummy at the time, either, so I worked out the hemline by hanging the skirt from one of those hangers with bulldog clips on either end, sort of caterpillar-ing it around a couple of times til I thought it looked relatively even. Because of this, it ended up a few inches shorter than I was intending. Heh. Fortunately, it also hangs a few inches lower on the hips than I was intending, so the two miscalculations cancel each other out.

I thought I’d start with this, as it’s a good, dependable item, and this outfit is one I’ve worn lots of times in the past. It’s probably one of the more successful hand-made items I’ve made; even though it’s a bit uneven, and bits of it weren’t so well thought-out, it doesn’t really show. And when I think of the mistakes, I want to laugh (fondly), rather than weep and hide my face in shame. Also, it’s pretty flattering. Smug ratio: 4/5.

Before I go: I think I wasn’t clear in my first post about Me Made May. The pledge at the start is my own personal challenge, and not the rules that have to be followed by all participants. You make your own challenge, as hard or as easy as you like, and so I don’t want to think I’ve put people off participating by giving the wrong impression. So I’ve edited my post slightly so as to make it slightly less intimidating. 🙂

Me Made May ’12


I hereby sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’12. I endeavour to wear one handmade item each day for the duration of May 2012. Furthermore, my own personal challenge will follow the… following rules:

  • repeat outfits should be limited
  • an outfit that consists of bought clothes and a pair of knitted socks is permitted once per pair of socks owned (i.e. 5 times)
  • re-purposed/re-fashioned items are permitted, as long as the alterations are fairly dramatic (i.e. not just shortening a hemline by an inch)
  • accessories (i.e. jewellery, scarves etc.) do not count separately, but may (should?) be worn anyway.
  • part-days are acceptable, i.e. if I’ll be going out in the evening in a hand-made item, the rest of the day can be spent slumming it in bought clothes.


whoopscareless of the careless gene

There we go. This is my first Me Made/Self Sewn project, so I’ve gone for (what I think is) a nice balance of rules and cheats. I’m hoping that taking the challenge will teach me to make the most of my hand-made wardrobe, help me plan future projects by identifying any gaps in said wardrobe, and let me show off on the internet. Wait, what? Perhaps I shouldn’t have admitted that. Oh, also this will provide a great opportunity to do retrospectives on items I made before I started blogging, or that didn’t make it onto the screen for whatever reason.

I have only two concerns. One is that my hand-made clothes tend to be made from materials that require hand-washing or (gasp!) ironing, so I tend to put it off for weeks. I fear my laundry pile at the end of the month. Also, I’m not sure how to go about documenting my progress. Proper photos, or a quick and dirty instagram snap? On me, or on the dummy? Full outfit, or just the hand-made item? What do you think?

If you’re interested and want to sneak in a last-minute sign up, go to the So, Zo… Me-Made-May ’12 Pledge Page. Make your own pledge, your own rules. I’ve seen pledges from anywhere between entire hand-made outfits every day, to a single hand-made item once a week. If you’re really nervous about wearing your handicrafts outside the house, you could even make it a promise to yourself to wear one item, once, just to get it out there. Seriously, go for it! And when you do, pop back here and tell me about it so I know to keep an eye on your progress. 🙂

(edited slightly 02/05 to make pledge clearer, as I seem to have scared people with my list of rules :D)