Sashiko embroidery on a tunic top that I made, and gave away when it shrunk…. sob…

8 years ago blogger Zoe set up a challenge – wear something ‘me made’ every day for the whole of May – #MeMadeMay was born. Last year I was a knitter who sewed sometimes and I thought that I would love to have a go, but unless May was cold enough to wear sweaters every day (or warm woolly socks) I would struggle.

Late last year my beloved overlocker, Joey Janome, came into my life and began to reignite my passion for dressmaking. I was able to make the sort of clothes that I was more likely to wear: t-shirts and tunics, sweatshirts and soft tops, and at the same time I found a few on-line patterns from independent designers that really dinged my bell. I have never had a happy relationship with the conventional pattern companies (Butterick, New Look, Vogue etc) – I don’t like that flimsy tissue paper, the sizes are weird and they appear to assume that I want to dress like a housewife from the 1970’s or a supermodel prancing down the catwalk. Shirt-dresses? No thank you.

This May I was able to wear something MeMade every day without too much of a struggle – sometimes I got to wear more than one thing I’d made. I didn’t record pictures of myself on Instagram (if you want to look at the awkward selfies other people took the hashtag is #memademay), for me it was a personal challenge (and I don’t like seeing photos of myself in any case!).

A month of wearing what I’ve made made me realise a few things: my style is pretty androgynous – I don’t really do flowery, and skirts? Nope. My ideal silhouette is baggy around the top and snug around the legs – I rarely deviate from this format and maybe I should? I don’t like spending money on clothes or rather, I don’t like spending money on clothes if I don’t love them and I rarely love things that are available in the shops. The final thing is that making clothes for me means that I have a much more kindly attitude to my body.

The flowery blouse that is the exception to my no-flowers rule!

I’ve rarely met a woman that loves her shape: too thin, too fat, too saggy, too, well, you know the score. And trying to force your non-standard shape into a range of standard dress sizes in over-heated changing rooms (with mirrors that allow you to see every crease and bulge) is unlikely to help. But dressmaking does help, and so can knitting and crochet. Your wardrobe is made to fit you – not the other way around. And that is a hugely liberating feeling.

By the way I am still knitting, it’s just that I have finished anything for ages….. sigh. WIP update next time and hopefully I’ll have some photo’s of finished projects!

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