I haven’t participated in Me-Made-May for a couple of years. In fact the only time I recall joining in is a few years ago when I first joined Instagram and discovered the amazingly inspiring sewing community there, the existence of which I had no inkling of! I had never even heard of ‘indie’ patterns.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of the #MMMay phenomenon, it’s a challenge created by Zoe of So, Zo… What do you know sewing blog, and you can read all about it here. It’s not about sewing new things, but ‘improving your relationship with your handmade wardrobe‘. Some people might make the effort to wear me-mades that have been lurking in the back of the wardrobe for a while, or try pairing separates in new ways in order to fall back in love with an older garment or just to help figure out their personal style.
Today is May 1st and it’s kicked off well for me. After days of cold and rain, the sun is out. I made pancakes for the children and sent them off to school, before getting out early for a bike ride in the beautiful Sussex sunshine. Early, because I’m not doing school runs anymore! When I got dressed after showering, I reached for my high-waisted black culottes, and a cropped Linden in a mustard ponte roma. I think I look good. But I feel amazing! The culottes are the comfiest thing imaginable – the fit is perfection and they are satisfyingly swishy. Until a few weeks ago I had never even considered shorter tops. I always want ‘coverage’, but I love high-waisted skirts and trousers so now this look makes me happy.
The thing that is most interesting, is that I’m not going anywhere today. No school run, no after school clubs, no coffee with friends. By the time my husband comes home at 7pm I’ve often changed into a pair of hudson joggers for imminent eating and lounging! Therefore, I conclude that I dress only to please myself. And even though the only people who might see my outfit today are my children, it still makes me feel awesome.
And that, essentially, is why I love to sew. I have never, ever, felt this happy with an outfit or garment that I bought on the high street. There was always something not to love. Even if a pair of jeans or trousers look ‘ok’, or ‘flattering’ on me, they were never as comfortable as the ones I can make for myself. I suffered years of cheap jeans, which always had a low-rise because it wasn’t ‘fashionable’ for them to sit at your natural waist. I’d spend days pulling them up, wearing longer tops, and suffering the unflattering ‘muffin-top’!!
My #MMMay18 pledge is two-fold. Firstly, I’m going to have a cull. Anything which I don’t feel good in, me-made or ready-to-wear, is going to charity. If this leaves gaps in my wardrobe, then I’ll fill them with me-made beauties.
The second part of my pledge is an ‘unselfish’ one: to share the me-made love with my daughter.
I bought her a few new summer clothes recently and the fit of some of the items was appalling – in particular a wide-leg jumpsuit which fit nicely on the hips but gaped indecently on the top half. I took the time to unpick the straps and replace them with my own shortened elasticated version. I also took in the sides of the bodice. When she tried it on afterwards she looked fantastic in it, and more importantly she looked happy and confident, in a style which is new for her, but which she chose herself.
She’s about to turn twelve, which is a tricky age, confidence-wise. She and her friends are on the bottom rung of the high-school ladder and there’s peer pressure to grow up fast. She’s surrounded by girls who are trying too hard, embarrassing themselves by rolling their school skirts up until you can see their underwear, wasting time perfecting their pouting selfies, and finding all the worst influences on social media. If that’s what gives them confidence then let them have it, but I’d like to help my daughter find her own style, and boost her confidence, by sewing a few items that she’ll love wearing all summer. She has already chosen some fabrics and patterns – I just need to sew!
Watch this space for an update later in the month, and follow me on Instagram @needleswift