For those of you who don’t know, Me Made May is a challenge where, throughout the entire month of May, crafters challenge themselves to wear their handmade clothes each day throughout the month. At this time last year, I was just learning how to sew and I had just finished my first two handmade sweaters so I couldn’t really participate. This year, though, I have really stepped up my game.
I don’t have a ton of handmade stuff, though, so this has also really been an exercise in accessorizing to avoid feeling like I’ve repeated outfits. I thought that would be annoying, but it’s been really fun to pull out old jewelry and scarves in order to liven up an old outfit.
I have to say, so far this has been really fun. I’ve been struggling to find my true style for a long time. I like to say that this has been since Emily was born and my body completely changed, but this style journey was actually probably started when my friend came to my college dorm before I was supposed to start student teaching and threw my Birkenstocks in the garbage. I fished them out, but the point was taken – I needed professional clothing for my professional job. There was a time there that I only wore collared shirts and trousers because that was the only way I knew how to “look professional”… until my students made fun of me. I hit a good groove with t-shirts and cardigans before Emily was born, but then my body changed so much that the t-shirts didn’t flatter my figure like they used to.
I often say that making my own clothes – whether knitting or sewing – has helped me love my body, and that is true to an extent. I can grade patterns from a small size on the top to a larger size on the bottom and, because they fit well (and because there are no size tags for me to pout about), they make me feel good. But this process has been more than that. I’ve been able to tap into a network of people who have the same aesthetic (read: professional but also a little bit hippie) and ethos (read: I have the crazy idea that people shouldn’t die and, in fact, should make a living wage making my clothes) that I have, and so I have been able to make clothes that make me feel proud and good in every sense of the word. This challenge has really started to help me realize what my style is again, which – added bonus – is also going to help me simplify my closet even more, and now that I’ve found that, I am starting to feel really great about my clothing choices. On top of that, I see that there are holes in my wardrobe that need filling. I have a lot of sweaters and dresses, for example, but not a lot of t-shirts and tank tops. It’s been cold, so that has worked out, but the end of the month is going to be tough if I don’t get some of these things made!
I’ll be doing a roundup each week of what I wore with links to the patterns in case anyone wants to try their hand at a creation. Here’s week one!
May 1 – Luckily, May started off pretty cold in Chicagoland, which gives me even more variety in my style. This was my Indian Summer sweater. This is the first sweater I ever knitted, and it might be my most-loved, too. I love the stripes and the lace touch on the bottom, I love the colors I picked, and I love how it’s baggy but still classy. You can also see a great shot of my Espe Boots from The Root Collective here. I wear these guys probably 3-4 times per week.
May 2 – Still cold, so I wore my Lesley Sweater. This one is fitted with an awesome wide neck. Also, as you will see this month, navy is my go-to color for all the things, so this one gets a lot of wear in the winter.
May 3 – For the senior awards night, I busted out all the stops. (Is that the phrase? I feel like I got that wrong.) This is my newest addition, the Panama Tee Dress paired with my Lodestar shawl (in yarn from WeeChickadee Woolery, who I have to mention because I LOVE THEM). No joke, I sewed this dress earlier in the day to wear that night. I love it, and you’ll see it again this month, for sure. The necklace is an OLD purchase from New York & Co.
May 4 – STILL cold, so I’m in my Toaster Sweater. This is so comfy, but I feel like the cut works for work or weekend. There’s also an Emily sighting here! She’s in a hoodie I made for her. That pattern is great – super easy, and unisex!
May 5 – No handmades, only handmaids. This was the day after the House passed the AHCA, which lists c-sections as a preexisting condition (and like 50 other ridiculous things that no one should ever have to worry about paying for), so I wore this shirt along with an old, red cardigan and my red Toms. But, hey, the purchase of that shirt sent a book to a community in need, and buying Toms sends shoes to those in need, too, so this outfit was a win.
May 6 – Date night! My mom came over to let Tim and me get out of the house for a little bit, which was awesome. So I stepped it up a little for a Saturday, wearing my Hemlock Tee (FREE PATTERN!) (There’s that navy again…). The necklace is from Mata Traders, and my bracelets are from HP Supply Co. and Alex + Ani.
May 7 – A lazy Sunday in a shirt refashioned by me. I liked the way the top of the teal shirt and the bottom of the striped shirt fit, but not the bottom/top respectively. So I cut them up, sewed the parts I liked together, and ended up with a super cute top. You can also see me working on my She Persisted cardigan in that picture, which you will see in all of it’s glory next week!