As you may remember, I pledged to participate in Me Made May this year. My pledge was to wear at least one me-made garment, and to take a photo of it. I know that the photo part might sound a little silly, or perhaps a little vain, but I am so glad for that part of the challenge – I’ll explain later. I’ve been posting my outfits daily on my Instagram, where you can see all the pattern and fabric details. Now that the first week is done (or rather – nearly done), here’s a little recap and how I’m feeling about it so far.
So on May 1st, I went out and bought a cheap tripod, and set it up in my living room (on the coffee table, for the height, ha) in front of my large front window, where I get lots of natural light. I set my phone camera to 5-second timer and played around with placement. So every single morning this week, before I leave for work, I pause in the living room and snap a couple “selfies” (they are technically selfies since I took the photos). I leave for work around 7:30, which means these photos are taken even earlier than that (ugh).
Now that it’s the end of the first week, I do have a few thoughts to share about this challenge.
First of all, it was really hard to post these photos. I took these all first thing in the morning. I don’t look all that awake in some of them. If I bothered to slap on mascara before these photos, that’s the only makeup I’m wearing. I managed to do my hair a couple of days, but other days my hair is all over the place, tied back, or even still wet from a shower. But you know what? I don’t care. This isn’t a beauty pageant. And I’d much rather be real and honest with these photos than wait until I have time to ‘primp’ and take some more.
This is me. These photos – they’re the real, day-to-day me. This is how I dress for work, how I do my hair, how I wear makeup, what I look like. There is no facade, no photo editing, no props. (To an extent… more on that later.) Most Instagrams are flooded with edited, cropped, posed, made-up selfies, mine included. The photos I usually post publicly are very carefully prepped for, and selected. Like most women, I’m insecure and struggle with my body image. But these photos? These are honest, open, and bare all.
But, on the opposite note, knowing I need to take these photos has encouraged me to prep a little. Once upon a time (2 or 3 years ago), I worked a job where I felt encouraged to dress up. I started waking up at 6am, and spending an hour or more doing my hair, makeup, selecting my clothes. I dressed to the nines most days, I wore red lipstick, I put my hair in hot curlers. Mostly, I played with a vintage aesthetic, and explored the side of me that always wanted to be a 50’s housewife. But I felt great. I loved dressing up, I loved being all done up. I felt no pressure to do it, but I did feel free to do it. Then I moved, and started a new job where my coworkers would ask if I had a hot date every time I wore a pencil skirt. It was a jeans-and-tees kind of office, and I fell in step. I missed my red lip liners, and my hot rollers, but I just didn’t feel comfortable dressing up in the slightest. Two years later, when I switched jobs again, I was already in a lazy slump. At my current job, I am perfectly free to wear darn-near whatever I please. I’m the only woman in my workplace, so I feel no encouragement to wear a dress, makeup, or even straighten my hair. No one here notices no matter what I wear, so I just wear jeans and tees most days. That’s fine, and I’m comfortable with that, but sometimes I do open my closet and whisper to my thrifted vintage dresses that I miss them. Okay, tangent over! The point is, there were a few days this week that I did feel encouraged to dress up, to straighten my hair, to put on a touch of mascara for the sake of the photo. Most days I slept in too late to do much, but maybe this challenge will get me back into the habit of actually getting ready in the mornings. Whether or not anyone around us notices, I do believe that dressing up every now and then is good for our souls.
One of the big things people talk about with this challenge is that it helps you ‘find the holes’ in your me-made wardrobe. In April, I looked at my me-made collection and thought I don’t have any holes. I have an even spread of tops, pants, dresses, layers, a couple skirts… Well, I’m already feeling a couple of holes. Basics. I don’t have enough basics. I don’t have enough grey, or black tees to wear with my loud pants. I don’t have enough plain-coloured cardigans to wear everyday. I have yet to make a pair of pants I can wear all the time. I have tried to Sew With A Plan, so that my garments go well with eachother, but there are still a few oddballs in the group that I have a hard time pairing. And maybe I do have a top that goes with those shorts, but it’s too dressy for where I’m going. I’ll try to work on some more basics throughout this month, now.
Okay, so there are all of my thoughts. If you want to know all of the details about my outfits each day, read on: (Warning, I’m wordy!)
Sunday, May 1st – I wore my Jalie jeans shorts (Jalie 2908 with pink stretch denim) with a RTW t-shirt. Sundays are my lazy days, where I usually get some housework done, maybe run errands or buy groceries. I have a handful of t-shirts that I’ve had for years that really only ever get worn on Sundays. This is one of them. I picked it because the pink lettering matched the pink shorts perfectly. Also, yes, I can see the multitude of crotch fitting issues. These shorts were supposed to be my wearable muslin. I know what I need to fix, but I don’t really want to pull them apart and attempt to fix them just yet.
Monday, May 2nd – I wore my modified Colette Sorbetto (cotton shirting from JoAnn) with my new Lisbon Cardigan (t-shirt knit with snaps) with a pair of RTW jeans. My job is pretty casual, so I usually wear a blouse with jeans, and always have some sort of layer, because my boss is a huge fan of A/C. This Sorbetto was one of my first garments, I made it last June. I thought inverting the pleat would look great, but in reality, it just creates a boob pocket, and there’s a lot of extra space around my stomach… I have vague plans to pull this shirt apart and fix them. Someday.
Tuesday, May 3rd – I wore two of my earlier garments. The pink cowl neck blouse is Simplicity 2554 (pink polyester knit from JoAnn), and the waterfall cardigan is Simplicity 1961 (navy ponte from JoAnn). I used to wear this sweater nearly everyday, until I made another one in a different fabric. Now that one gets a ton of wear. Clearly I just need to make more of these cardigans.
Wednesday, May 4th – It was gorgeously hot out, and my usually casual job required me to dress just a little, so I wore my Straight Stitch Designs Wedgwood (cotton chambray from Century Textiles) with a RTW blouse. After I finished this skirt, I went back to the store and bought more of the chambray, planning to make a nice summer blouse with it. It’s sat, untouched since, but wearing this skirt reminded me of it, so that night I pulled it out and starting cutting a Hey June Cheyenne.
Thursday, May 5th – I wore two more of my early garments. These pants were the first ever pants that I tackled, and the shirt was my first t-shirt. The pants are StyleArc Barb pants in stretch poplin from JoAnn, and the top is a MariaDenmark Kirsten Kimono tee in a sheer lacy knit from Fabricland, which are actually both free patterns.
Thursday, May 5th part two – Thursday nights are dance nights for me and my husband, so I changed into another partially me-made outfit and snapped another picture. I had just finished my Grainline Maritime shorts (cotton/poly eyelet underlined with cotton/poly broadcloth), so I paired those with a RTW t-shirt. In case you’re wondering, we’re part of a West Coast Swing group here in town. West Coast Swing is a very casual style of ballroom dance, and we meet up a bar once a week to dance socially. It’s always hot and sweaty, and you’re moving a lot, so I usually wear flowy tanks, open-back shirts, or shorts. Anything to keep cool and still look great.
Friday, May 6th – The smoke from the fires up North finally blew into town Thursday night, so Friday was looking pretty gloomy. I wore my latest top, a Patterns for Pirates Slim Fit Raglan (cotton/lycra from KBSD) and a soon-to-be-released pants pattern – the Alyse Pants from DesignerStitch (made in snakeskin print stretch twill from Fabricland).