Me-Made-May 2016, Ready & waiting

Me-Made-May 2016: The summary

The first week of June is already gone. I also can’t wait to show you all the new me-mades, but I kind of want to do this right, and figure out what I take away from a month of only wearing clothes made by my own two hands…

I wore 19 me-made garments during the 27 days I managed to keep up with the challenge:

  • 7 dresses;
  • 3 skirts;
  • 3 trousers;
  • 6 tops;
  • and 3 bags (1, 2, 3).

I decided to take a look at what I enjoyed wearing, as well as to look at the thoughts I had after last year’s Me-Made-May.

Dresses

In 2015 I wrote: “I think I have enough dresses at the moment, although I tend to wear them a lot, so I will allow myself to make more if I feel like it. I might also give that jumpsuit idea a go this year.”

Since 2015: I have made a total of 5 new dresses since this time last year, no jumpsuits still. Unfortunately none of those 5 dresses are really suitable for everyday wear, which is why they haven’t really made an appearance during MMMay.

Now I need: Everyday, comfortable dresses that I can wear in all (London) weather conditions.

Skirts

In 2015 I wrote: “I think I wouldn’t mind having a few pencil skirts that allow me to cycle in them, but to be honest I am not in urgent need of any new skirts.”

Since 2015: I made one new skirt that I don’t particularly like, but I’m cool with that since I didn’t think I needed any more anyway…

Now I need: I really enjoyed wearing the lime green A-line skirt this year, and I would like to make a few similar ones of lighter materials for summer.

Trousers

In 2015 I needed: “More of the comfy summery kind. It’s a shame that I am so scared of making trousers, as they are the best option for summer cycling and not that hard to make at all.”

Since 2015: I have not made any new trousers. I have also decided to get rid of the ill-fitting black one that I made using an experimental, self-drafted pattern.

Now I need: More trousers!!! I am taking a pattern cutting course at Morley College again, now learning about the trousers block, so hopefully I will be able to improve on this soon.

Tops

In 2015 I needed: “More tops, obviously. Sleeveless ones for summer, a few more crop tops, another shirt, the perfect white T, and maybe some woven basic tops. I just need more tops. Simple and wearable ones!”

Since 2015: I have made two camisoles that I quite like in theory, but they aren’t the obvious choice to wear in most occasions. I have also just finished a shirt which I am very pleased with.

Now I need: More tops! I probably need to go back to the Wardrobe Architect project and finish it, before I start making things that don’t work with the rest of the wardrobe. I have a few ideas already though, and after the trials and tribulations of making my second shirt, I think I enjoyed the process just as much as I enjoy wearing it, so I’m up for making more!


Last year the aim was to not only wear one me-made item/day, but to wear them head-to-toe, and I am pretty happy about managing to do it. The plan now, is to do a deep clean in my wardrobe, ideally by the end of summer, and get rid of all the clothes that I don’t look forward to wearing for some reason.

If I manage to do that and streamline my collection of clothes so that I only have comfortable, good looking and versatile garments that I enjoy wearing, then I will definitely wear only me-mades in May next year again… 😉

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Me-Made-May 2016

Me-Made-May 2016: Week 3

Week 3 has been and gone. It was one busy week! On Monday (Day 16) I went to work straight from the train station, so I was wearing pretty much what I wore to Paris. By this time I obviously couldn’t wait to get the stuff off me, otherwise those pants are made for long days! Unlike Saturday’s (Day 21) black, experimental silky pair…I am so getting rid of those. For getting snacks from the shop next door it’s just alright, but I am in constant fear of ripping them, they pull at places  and there is that weird flap on the front. It’s everything I don’t want my clothes to be.

Wearing the kimono dress with the military jacket on a great day out on Brick Lane yesterday, was one of those things that remind me why I’m sewing in the first place. 🙂

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Day 16

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Day 17

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Day 18

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Day 19

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Day 20

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Day 21

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Day 22

  • Dress: The kimono dress (self drafted)
  • Coat: The military jacket (refashioned)

As I am getting closer to finish Me-Made-May I started wondering what I should do with the clothes I did not pick up  to wear, or those that don’t fit me quite right.

Do you give up your unworn me-mades for charity, sell them or  recycle them?

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Me-Made-May 2015, Ready & waiting

Me-Made-May 2015: The summary

I will keep this short and sweet as there are way too many warm weather clothes in this post, which might be an unwelcome reminder to those enjoying the beautiful weather we have. 🙂

I wore 17 me-made garments during the 24 days I managed to keep up with the challenge: 5 dresses, 5 skirts, 3 trousers, 3 tops  and a bag. I decided to take a look at what I enjoyed wearing as well as to look at the resolutions I’ve made after last year’s Me-Made-May. (Quoting myself looks and feels really stupid, but without the quotation marks last years findings don’t make much sense. To me at least. 🙂 )

Dresses

In 2014 I needed: “At least one more backless dress, simple dresses in solid colours. Wrap dresses, and dresses made of knit fabrics. I don’t own any jumpsuits yet, but they should be a great alternative to dresses for summer, so I am planning to give them a try.” – Since 2014: I made a backless dress in a solid colour, and another wrap dress made of a knit fabric. No jumpsuits yet…

Now I need: I think I have enough dresses at the moment, although I tend to wear them a lot, so I will allow myself to make more if I feel like it. I might also give that jumpsuit idea a go this year.

Skirts

In 2014 I needed: “More simple skirts in solid colours, from interesting fabrics.” – Since 2014: I made another velvet skirt and altered a thrift store dress into a skirt. I got the dress because I thought the fabric was really interesting, and you really can’t beat velvet in this category, so I think I’ve done well.

Now I need: I think I wouldn’t mind having a few pencil skirts that allow me to cycle in them, but to be honest I am not in urgent need of any new skirts.

Trousers

In 2014 I need: “Well fitting comfortable trousers that work for summer. Try a palazzo style and a slim fitting one.” – Since 2014: I did make a pair of trousers that are comfortable and they fit well too (kind of), but unfortunately I got oil on them and I’m not sure if I can do anything to make them wearable again. No slim fitting trousers though.

Now I need: More of the comfy summery kind. It’s a shame that I am so scared of making trousers, as they are the best option for summer cycling and not that hard to make at all.

Tops

I need: “More tops, obviously. Sleeveless ones for summer, a few more crop tops, another shirt, the perfect white T, and maybe some woven basic tops.” – Since 2014: I made a crop top out of a thrift store dress, but it does not fit very well and it’s a little short. Apart from that, I made another attempt to modify a blouse, but I got stuck and I don’t think I like it enough to spend time on figuring out how to finish it.

Now I need: I still need more tops. Simple and wearable ones!

It’s a bit of a shame that I couldn’t/didn’t engage too much with others this year around and I think that was the bit I missed the most, but hopefully next year I’ll be able to be more active in this area as well as wear handmade stuff from head to toe!

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Me-Made-May 2015

Me-Made-May 2015: The last week

All good things come to an end, right? This is what my last week of Me-Made-May looked like…or more accurately this is what I looked like.

TheSecretCostumier - MeMadeMay - Day 25TheSecretCostumier - MeMadeMay - Day 27

Day 25: Wearing my scrap bodysuit on Bank holiday Monday. I spent the whole day at home, so normally I would have stayed in PJs all day long, but we had my cousin’s family over for lunch, so I made an effort. A little one.

Day 27: It’s hardly visible, but I’m wearing the bias cut camisole underneath that black top. We were allowed to wear jeans to work as the kids were off school, so even though I don’t usually wear them, I decided to go for it after much struggle in front of the wardrobe. I think my face says it all…it’s just not me at all.

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Day 28: Wearing that Burda(style) dress again with a vintage kimono. I guess you can tell by now how much I love this dress.

Day 29: The newest addition to my me-made family! A wrap dress made of a very thin jersey. The pattern is from Burdastyle and I still like it a lot after making it up the second time. You can’t really see it but it actually has violet dots on a white background.

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Day 30: Wearing my self drafted trousers to pop down to the shop on a day spent by sewing. This was the only time I wore them this year, which might be because of the chilly weather, or because I need to adjust it here and there slightly…

Day 31: Aaand for the final day I decided to go with my favorite dress at the moment (the draped backless number). The top is a RTW see-through knit top which is similar to the one I’m attempting to knit from the reddish mohair yarn I got last year.

I may have to bore you a little more with this Me-Made-May madness as I think I need to take a look at what worked and what didn’t, now more than ever (or last year to be precise). Once it’s all wrapped up, I’ll probably get back to blogging maybe even more regularly as I kind of developed a habit of just getting on with the sewing and I have also tried a lot of new techniques recently. So watch this place! 🙂

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Me-Made-May 2015, Ready & waiting

Me-Made-May 2015: Week 3…or 4

I know this is a general theme among those who are doing Me-Made-May (and any living human beings really), but I’m just as surprised as everybody else about how quickly this month has gone by! I managed to wear something me-made for 6 days last week, although I felt like I was cheating a bit when I “wore” the backpack I made on one of the days. Still, I’m going strongish…

TheSecretCostumier - Day 18TheSecretCostumier - Day 19

Day 18: Wearing my green velvet skirt and a crop top that I have not blogged about yet. It was made by cutting a thrift store dress in half and modifying the top bit so that I can wear it backwards. It is not one of my better alterations as it is too short for my taste and it’s choking me to be totally honest, but I haven’t given up on wearing it just yet. 😉

Day 19: Ah, this yellow skirt again. It is still not quite finished, as you can see there are only 3 snaps holding it all together. I’m not in a hurry to finish it off though, as it’s a little too bright for my usual mood.

TheSecretCostumier - Day 20TheSecretCostumier - Day 21

Day 20: I love colour matching different garments and even though it feels a little bulky around the waist worn like this, this dress works pretty well for layering.

Day 21: So does this. Although I feel like I look a little too comfy with the baggy jumper and loose skirt, this is one of those outfits that are great for a regular boring day sitting at the computer at work for 6 hours.

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Day 22: I knew I’d be cycling all day after work, running to see a friend in the city, then to see another one at the other side of town, so comfort was a priority. Instead of going through my me-made clothes, I decided to pick the Berlin bag for the challenge.

Day 24: We attended a christening/1st birthday party on Sunday so I finally got a chance to wear the kimono dress in public. For real. The baby loved the dress, he enjoyed chewing on my shoulder more than his cake. 🙂

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Me-Made-May 2015, Ready & waiting

Me-Made-May 2015: The first 15 days

Aaand I’m doing Me-Made-May too! Well, I’ve been doing it very privately up until now, but it’s time you saw my pledge and the photos documenting the first half of the month. Yeey! 🙂

‘I, Etemi of The Secret Costumier, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear me-mades as many days as possible during May 2015’

I must admit I was way more excited doing it for the first time – last year, but that might just be because now I have so many handmade clothes that it doesn’t feel like a big challenge anymore. Also, while I really don’t mind repeating outfits, it’s not very exciting when I think about sharing photos of them. For next year I will hopefully be able to pledge to wear me-mades only, which should make things more exciting.

TheSecretCostumier - Me-Made-May 2015 - Day 1TheSecretCostumier - Me-Made-May 2015 - Day 2

Day 1: Wearing a refashioned thrift store skirt on the first day. I love the jumper (RTW) and pretty much every outfit including it. The skirt is a pencil skirt that can be unbuttoned all the way to the top, so that I can cycle comfortably in it.

Day 2, 3 & 4: Bank holiday weekend spent at home. Leggings made in 15 minutes from an OTT stretchy material bought for testing patterns… Joy. 🙂

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Day 5: Wearing a draped dress, with my favourite breton top. This is a pretty versatile dress which happened to be my second attempt at draping, but the invisible zipper needs to be replaced urgently!

Day 6: It’s barely visible, but that’s one of my 3 velvet skirts. It’s a jade green colour in case you were wondering…

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Day 7: This is the second version of the backless dress which is a modified version of this Burda number. It was not quite time to wear it in its full backless glory yet, hence the 90’s styling.

Day 8: The latest addition to my velvet circle skirt family – a black one.

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Day 10: Wearing the velvet scrap top (made from the leftovers of the velvet skirt – Day 14) and the refashioned jeans. I’m not loving the top, but it makes me feel kind of good that I could save that much fabric from going into a landfill.

Day 11: It was pretty chilly, and I felt uninspired, so opted for the good old military jacket.

TheSecretCostumier - Me-Made-May 2015 - Day 12TheSecretCostumier - Me-Made-May 2015 - Day 13

Day 12: Oh those red pants! I’ve just gotten some oil on the legs while cycling to Brighton :(. In other news, it fits really nicely straight out of the washing machine, but gets about a size and a half bigger by the end of the day. It’s either plain weird or I’ve cut the waistband on the bias and I shouldn’t have. You be the judge.

Day 13: This marks my first attempt at cutting a pattern on the bias (on purpose)! It’s a copy of my sister’s beautiful little camisole and it turned out quite nicely. It’s made from some poly remnant and was supposed to be a muslin, but I realized that I can actually make it work with some bolder pieces like this skirt/trouser loveliness that I bought in Thailand recently.

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Day 14: Velvet skirt numero 3 – or the number one, in the prettiest rust colour out there. Still my favourite (I think I am overusing this word now, so forget the others this is the actual fave)!

Day 15: Attempting to cycle to Brighton from London. I have worn this outfit during the first week already, but I thought it deserves another mention as it took me from work, to cycling through forests (thanks for the misguidance Google) and since I got oil on those red trousers, it took me straight into the many pubs of Brighton too.

I got back from 3 weeks in South East Asia recently, which was undoubtedly the best holiday I have ever been on, and since I made quite a few garments for the trip, I will inevitably flood this blog with holiday photos at some point. So here are a few from the weekend just to warm you up. They are mostly of the area around the Ditchling Beacon (it’s this very steep hill with a nice view) near Brighton, which might not be the most appropriate route for a heavy old city bike and someone who has never ridden outside the city…

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TheSecretCostumier - Ditchling

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TheSecretCostumier-Brighton

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Me-Made-May 2014, Ready & waiting

Me-Made-May-2014: The Summary

   This was my first Me-Made-May ever, and ever since I’ve started sewing about 3 years ago. I pledged to wear something handmade for at least 4 days a week for the entire month, and I managed to do this on 25 days, with some outfit changes wearing a total of 29 outfits including a Me-Made garment. I made one new item (the peplum top) and finished 3 UFOs (pink shirt, silky trousers, asymmetric dress). I took exactly 901 photos, mostly with the help of my sister, and discovered probably over 50 like-minded bloggers I did not know before, doing just the same. It was a bit of a hassle at times, but pretty much the most exciting May of my life so far.

   I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, that I think Me-Made-May is a fantastic idea (thank you Zoe!), it really makes you focus on the usefulness of what you make and gears you towards updating your sewing goals. What I have learned about my style and ways of using garments for more than what they were intended for, will be extremely helpful when I finally get to design a capsule wardrobe for myself as part of the Wardrobe Architect project.

   Reading through other bloggers’ summaries made me realize that we have pretty much all gone through the same challenges: changing weather, changing taste, changing bodies and the lack of certain types of garments (not enough or too much separates/dresses) and I can report on having the exact same issues. But I won’t.

   Just kidding. 🙂 I will of course, even if you are all done with reading these, I feel like putting this all down to  use it later as a reference for when I’m just about to start making something beautiful, that I could wear every 5 years to a friend’s wedding… So here are all the outfits, and if you feel like it, check out the conclusion below the images.

   I pretty much stayed true to the tried and tested silhouettes that I’ve collected for Week 3&4 (Wardrobe Architect project), but I did try out a few silhouettes that I rarely wear. Such was the figure hugging skirt + A-line top combo, or the asymmetric dress, and they both hide my waist and bring attention my legs, so even if I didn’t feel as uncomfortable as I thought I would, I would still avoid making those types in the future. Plus they just don’t work with le bike. From looking over the pictures above, I identified what I need more of and what works already:

Dresses

The third most popular item, the backless dress proved to be extremely versatile, and I always feel a little sexy wearing it, even if it’s layered under tops and jumpers. The wrap dress was made in no time and I really love wearing it, although it does need to be shortened. As for the Kimono dress and the “Dior one”, I only wore them to make Me-Made-May a bit more interesting, otherwise they don’t quite fit into my everyday wardrobe, not even for date nights,  if I’m being honest. I still need to figure out if I just didn’t make them comfy enough, or the fabric is too fancy to pull it off with trainers…

I need: At least one more backless dress, simple dresses in solid colours. Wrap dresses, and dresses made of knit fabrics. I don’t own any jumpsuits yet, but they should be a great alternative to dresses for summer, so I am planning to give them a try.

Skirts

I only have few handmade skirts, but the they got the most use throughout the month. The most successful ones were the pleated faux leather one, probably because of the basic black colour and the interesting texture gives. The other often worn skirt was the simplest item I have in my wardrobe, the burnt orange/rust coloured velvet circle skirt, which ticks all my boxes regarding shape, length, colour and the ability to be dressed up or down.

I need: More simple skirts in solid colours, from interesting fabrics.

Trousers

As for trousers, it looks like fit is everything. The pink ones used to be high-waisted and I liked them like that. Now that I’ve lost some weight they are hanging somewhere between my waist and hip, and the fabric isn’t the best either. The black silky one would have been a good idea, but I really need to take my time to test patterns when it comes to trousers, as a gaping neckline is really annoying, but not being able to sit down in something is really the deal breaker.

I need: Well fitting comfortable trousers that work for summer. Try a palazzo style and a slim fitting one.

Tops

I can’t believe I could wear something handmade for almost every day for an entire month with having only 3 (4 with the refashion) Me-Made tops in my wardrobe. Out of those 4, 3 only work with high-waisted trousers or skirts, and the one shirt I made is a bit less than perfect, as well as pretty hard to pair with anything, due to its baby pink colour. Although I am pretty happy with my basic RTW T-shirts, there is definitely room for improvement in this section.

I need: More tops, obviously. Sleeveless ones for summer, a few more crop tops, another shirt, the perfect white T, and maybe some woven basic tops. 

Well, we are almost in the middle of June and all that documenting somewhat kept me from actually sewing stuff, so I am planning to jump back into it again. Kath, from Bernie and I, had a brilliant idea to keep us all going, by suggesting to make 1 project per week for an entire month. I was going to do it in June, but guess what, I’m running late with finishing the first #1ppw already, but as long as I have 4 finished pieces by the end of June, I will call this a success, so bear with me…

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