Having only discovered the world of sewing blogs this year (and subsequently lost about 50% of my free time to reading them), this month marks my very first participation in Me-Made-May. In spite of counting up my me-made clothing items and working out I could in theory manage to wear a different one every single day in May, I also realised that in practice I was probably going to have to reign myself in slightly, unless I was planning on spending every weekend prancing about in cocktail dresses (tempting as that is).
So I made a pledge to wear something me-made at least five days per week, meaning Monday-Friday. The pledge alone made me wake up to something about the handmade portion of my wardrobe – it doesn’t ‘do’ weekend casual. The first weekend of May I spent on the North Sea coast, and managed to wear a gorgeous Rowan knit, in delicate striped kidsilk haze – for about five minutes, before I got too cold. The second weekend I spent in Cambridge, clutching down a circle skirt so that innocent passers by weren’t subjected to a sudden knicker-flash (see tiny pink-clad figure in image above).
Seriously, I don’t make practical clothing. I barely even buy practical clothing; it’s just not on my radar. I buy and make for ‘my fabulous life’, forgetting that in fact 90% of this life is made up of not-so-fabulous, popping-down-to-Sainsburys ordinariness.
Is this a problem? Well, perhaps not. I like sewing because of the creative process involved in choosing fabric, envisioning the right shape and style for said fabric, then magicking up a one-of-a-kind, look-at-me piece of me-made history. I’m not just creating an item of clothing, I’m conjuring up costume, a ‘look’ with which to go out and wow the world. (Ok, so obviously a lot of the time it doesn’t work that way – the world is not going to fall over itself in amazement every time I leave the house in a gathered cotton skirt.) But to illustrate my point, I own about 15 pairs of RTW trousers, and wear about 1 pair a week, because I simply don’t know what to do with outfits that don’t make you want to run up a hill with arms outstretched, like a surprisingly gorgeous singing nun.
The opposite of Cinderella, I am in a permanent state of readiness for the ball. Tragically, balls these days are far and few in between (ahem). Perhaps one of the reasons I’ve shied away from buying a useful collection of ‘basics’ is because normal basics don’t really do it for me: they feel boring. BUT me-made basics might fix this! For a start, I could man up and overcome my fear of sewing with knits. Then I could take a Nettie bodysuit and add a contrast trim, or a bow detail. I could widen the neckline of Grainline’s Hemlock so it falls off one shoulder (mmm, schmexy). And I could make a whole bunch of Granvilles with fancy pants buttons…And perhaps instead of trying to dress down to match my life, I should keep dressing up and hope that life catches up with my wardrobe, or we at least meet somewhere in the middle. After all, one of the main points of being your own dressmaker is surely that you don’t have to go along with the high street’s sometimes restrictive distinctions of ‘glamorous’ vs ‘sensible’. So in that spirit, here’s to another 15 days of me-made-marvellousness!