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Me Made May 2024

I have attempted Me Made May before and failed. This year, I tried to embrace it as much as I could. I gave myself a bit of leeway and thought I could add clothes I have altered into the mix if needed, which I didn't. I also mixed me-made items with my other shop-bought wardrobe staples so my whole outfit didn't need to be entirely me-made. Over the 31 days, I wore 10 tops, 16 dresses, 3 skirts, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of trousers, 1 quilted jacket, and 1 hat. I am pretty sure I have missed some off this list too!

I enjoyed some days more than others. I don't have many items I can just laze around in, which is what you need some days. The practicality of wearing dresses and skirts isn't great when I am biking the kids to school either. I had to pair them with cycling shorts and looked overdressed for a bike ride on a few occasions.

I learned a few things through this challenge. The first is that I probably don't need to sew any new clothes, but I will not be listening to that negative part of my brain. The main takeaway from this is that I treasure every item of clothing I have ever made. One of the oldest items was 12 years old. When I bought tickets to the Butterfly Ball, I knew I had to try and get another use out of a Christmas party dress I made in 2012. It is one of the most complicated patterns I have followed, took days of work, and has only been used once. I was lucky that it still fit and had always been a little long, so I could shorten it and cut some of the party stains off at the same time. I really enjoyed using my Cricut to add some sparkly butterflies. I felt like a princess wearing it and it was very satisfying to bring it out for another red carpet.

My husnabd and I on the red carpet about to attend the Butterfly Ball in my Me Made Vogue dress.
Butterfly Ball Gown

I used the month to cleanse my wardrobe. I have dresses that I deliberately dusted off after neglecting them for several years for various reasons. I rarely fall out of love with the fabric they are made of, but occasionally the fit doesn't feel right anymore. I gave them a second chance to decide whether I am going to wear them again or add them to my Fix It Friday pile (I try to spend Fridays fixing the family's clothes or making alterations). One of these was the cactus dress. I made it as a maternity dress, so it was slightly too long at the front now. Since it has mid sleeves, it isn't a hot day dress, but I don't like being cold, so I also don't like wearing it without tights. The colours just don't work tight-free and make me feel very pale. I am going to shorten it to a top and see if I can get an Alfie-sized t-shirt from the skirt.

Tilly and the Buttons Joni Dress in a white jersey with cacti images from Lewis and Irene
Joni Cactus Dress

I made a few basic shift dresses from a magazine pattern and stopped wearing them. I got them both out this month. They didn't feel full enough; I wanted there to be more fabric around the hips, and the elastic on one of them was too high. I am not 100% sure what I will do with them yet, but I will make sure they get reloved somehow.

I made a very unplanned upcycled top after looking for something for the boys and coming across a tablecloth that belonged to my Grandma. I had forgotten that I had it. It is beautiful but realistically was never going to be used as a tablecloth. I decided to do something brave and turn it into a top. I couldn't have been happier with how it turned out and wore it to the Glastonbudget festival.

Self drafter top made from a vintage table cloth. Worn out at a tribute festival with a scrappy bucket hat.
Grandma's Table Cloth Top

Another dress that I have been hoarding for years, I think for at least 15 years, was an orange polka dot dress I made with some fabric I found in my mother-in-law's attic. It was Linda who showed me how to read my first dress pattern and something changed in me when she showed me her secret fabric stash! Unfortunately, I had always made the dress too small and had never worn it. I used this month as an excuse to do something about it. I unpicked the top and zip, moved the zip down, so I had a separate skirt which I wore out the next day. The top took a couple of attempts to get right. I added a shirred panel in ivory, but the colour wasn't right. Then it occurred to me that I might still have some of the original fabric. After a little delving, I found some and used it to make a shirred panel at the back to make it a crop top. It is a fab co-ord, although not that practical. I wore the top under the tablecloth top, but I will wear it as a co-ord at some point when I am feeling brave.

A line sjirt altered from a dress in vintage cream and orange polka dot fabric
Cream and Orange A Line Skirt

My grand finale on the 31st was my tiered skirt which was self-drafted. It is the only brand new item of clothing and fabric I used all month. I didn't need it to complete the month, but I wanted to treat myself for my birthday. I used to wear this style of skirt all the time as a teenager but haven't done so in years. Wearing a dress and jumper combination earlier in the month inspired me to add one back to my wardrobe. The fabric was from Figo Fabrics; they are one of my favourite pattern designers and have featured several times over the month. Orange and pink together bring me a lot of joy and I know this skirt will live in my wardrobe forever!

Full Length self drafter tiered skirt in orange and pink.
Self Drafted Tiered Skirt

Participating in Me Made May has reinforced my belief that making your own clothes is a truly sustainable way to be. Each piece I create is sewn with care, love, and intention, far removed from the fleeting trends of fast fashion. Unlike mass-produced garments that often end up discarded or donated after a short time, the clothes I make are cherished and worn repeatedly. They hold personal value and memories, making it worthwhile to adjust, alter, and repurpose them when needed.

This challenge has shown me that every item I sew is an investment in quality and individuality. I don't make clothes just to fill my wardrobe; I make them because I genuinely love or need them. This deliberate approach ensures that my creations are not only unique but also sustainable. By valuing each garment and finding ways to make them work for different occasions, it is my way of contributing to a more thoughtful and less wasteful fashion culture.

So, as I reflect on this month of handmade fashion, I feel proud of the sustainable choices I've made and inspired to continue creating pieces that bring joy and practicality to my everyday life. Here's to a wardrobe filled with meaningful, handmade treasures that stand the test of time.

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