Monday May 22
I wore my brown cotton blouse, my long brown skirt and my brown jade and ocean jasper necklace.
Mr Rat wore his first Hawaiian shirt.
Tuesday May 23
I wore my new black wool vest (reviewed here), my peter-pan collar shirt, and one of my black simplicity 7880 skirts. My brooch is a vintage sterling silver Taxco rose.
Wednesday May 24
I wore my bandana print dress.
Thursday May 25
The weather turned cold and windy and when we went walking I imagined myself on the moors of Haworth with the Bronte sisters. I wore my long brown skirt, my black wool cape, and a large black scarf that I crocheted for myself two winters ago.
Mr Rat wore his grey worker’s shirt.
Friday May 26
I wore my brown smock dress, my homemade red jasper necklace and a thrifted vintage shawl. Is it unseasonal to like to wear autumnal shades year-round?
Saturday May 27
I wore my black dress, my yellow-ochre jade hand-made necklace, and a thrifted wool shawl that I originally thought might be Ukrainian but turned out to be Japanese when I finally located its label.
Sunday May 28
I wore my tan striped dress, a vintage wool scarf and vintage brown leather gloves that, interestingly enough, were made in the American zone of Western Germany. When I read that on the inside of the gloves, I found myself holding them for a while, lost in thought, pondering their age and history, the tumult in which they were made. I wonder what woman bought them there, and how they came to end up in Northern California, soft with wear.
Monday May 29
This may be repetitive, since I already wore this dress several times this month, but my bandana dress was too perfect for our Memorial Day picnic to not wear it again. This time I wore it with my red jasper necklace and a blue shawl I found at the thrift store a while back.
Tuesday May 30
I wore my new tan striped shirt and one of my black Simplicity 7880 skirts.
My reflections on a month of wearing homemade: In some ways, it wasn’t challenging. I already wear my homemade clothes every day, and the only things I missed wearing were my few basic button-up shirts and my vintage jewelry that I’ve thrifted over the years. I have a few embroidered tops I wear on special occasions, and the rest of my non-me-made clothing are mostly sweaters, my single pair of jeans, and some jackets and coats. I do need to test out more of my jacket sewing patterns. It would be nice to have more homemade outerwear.
In other ways, though, it was surprisingly challenging. I had been looking forward to May, feeling excited to plan my outfits and make new combinations, only to find that emotionally the month was exhausting, the weather was unpredictable (rarely cold enough for my coldest weather homemade clothes and rarely warm enough for my warmest weather homemade clothes), and besides that, I was often too anxious and too busy with day-to-day needs to do much more than wear what I usually wear anyway. It was difficult finding time to take a photo every day, and sometimes I missed the chance to get a photo of Mr Rat wearing his homemade clothes.
Looking over the photos, though, it does make me realize a few things: My most common daily outfit is a shirt or blouse tucked into a full skirt (with long sleeves getting favored over short), I like wearing dresses, but rarely wear my full length dresses anywhere but church (perhaps this is a confidence issue, since they are not any less comfortable than my midi-length dresses), and as I wrote before, I need to sew some more jackets and maybe even a coat. I also realized that I favor my darker colored clothing and my white shirts more than anything else in my wardrobe.
So, Me-Made-May was helpful in its way. I think I have more direction now for my sewing projects for the rest of the year. I also finished sewing my vest this month, which was one of my new year’s sewing resolutions. It is always satisfying to achieve a goal, and satisfying, too, to have completed a challenge.
Did any of you participate in Me-Made-May this year, or during previous years? What have you learned from your experiences?
Sorry for the delay, everyone---I’ve been having some trouble getting internet access. Usually I go to the library to make my posts, but I’ve been blocked off from getting there in the mornings by road construction. The roadwork looks like it may go on for a while, so my posts may be a little erratic, but I’ll put them up whenever I can!
Monday May 15
I wore my black smock dress, reviewed here. Monday was a day of unusual luck----I was walking to the library when I saw this lovely 1946 Singer 15-91 in a big heap of trash and furniture someone was throwing out. My friend helped me get it back to the apartment, where I gave it a good cleaning and smiled all day in astonishment over my rare good fortune. It’s going to need to be refurbished before it runs again---there are a few small parts that need to be replaced, a missing power cord and foot pedal, and the wiring is poor condition---but Mr Rat is confident we can fix it all ourselves, with the help of the Singer 15-91 manual we printed off the internet and a sewing machine repair book I got for my birthday last year. We’re both excited to order the parts and start repairs. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to find such a lovely machine, much less for free! I’m sure we’ll be posting about the repair process, so stay tuned.
Tuesday May 16
I wore my brown cotton blouse, one of my black Simplicity 7880 skirts, and a brown jade and citrine necklace Mr Rat made me as a gift two Christmases ago.
Wednesday May 17
I wore one of my favorite white blouses, my long brown skirt, and a long rose quartz and silver bead necklace I made earlier this month. My Indian wool shawl is a thrifted find.
Thursday May 18
Thursday was a hard day, and although I started the day in a home-made dress, by afternoon it was hot and I was tired and weary so I changed into one of my favorite thrifted white shirts and a home-made skirt, and by evening it was cold, so I put on a vintage sweater. It wasn’t my best outfit for keeping with my pledge of only home-made this month, but some days are difficult like that.
Friday May 19
I wore my cream cotton and lace pullover dress. We had a picnic at the park---Gia’s attitude towards picnics is “why can’t I have that?” every time we pull something out of the basket. She got plenty of snacks and treats, so don’t believe her attitude of sadness in this photo.
Saturday May 20
We had a marathon afternoon of babysitting for a friend, and by the time we got home in the evening I just wanted to change out of the homemade blouse and skirt I was wearing into my most comfortable homemade dress.
Mr Rat wore one of his Hawaiian shirts. He wore more of his homemade clothes throughout the week, keeping up with his pledge, but we missed photographing them.
Sunday May 21
I wore my new rayon blouse (I’ll post a review in my next post), my long black skirt, and my homemade tiger-eye necklace.
Monday May 8
We walked to the library in the evening to make last week’s update on the website and stopped at the pond to watch the ducks floating by with their mates. I am wearing my pink blouse, reviewed here, and one of my ubiquitous Simplicity 7880 skirts, which hasn’t ever had a post of its own, I think, even though it has been in many posts. I am wearing rose quartz jewelry that Mr Rat made for me last Christmas.
Tuesday May 9
Mr Rat is wearing his grey broadcloth shirt, reviewed here.
Mrs Rat is wearing her bandana print dress, reviewed here. My jewelry is made of sodalite. Tuesday was a hard day for me.
Wednesday May 10
I am wearing my black v-neck dress, reviewed here, and a necklace and earrings made of indian adventurine and chyrsophase. I was very grateful to have a quiet day of work behind me and be sitting down to a peaceful dinner with my husband. When you have pretty dishes, good food made from scratch, and lots of healthy, green house-plants to surround you, eating at home is nicer than a restaurant.
Thursday May 11
Mr Rat is wearing his blue denim western shirt, reviewed here.
Mrs Rat is wearing her peter-pan collar shirt, her navy blue skirt, and her sky blue cape.
Gia insisted we go to the park with the redwoods that evening, because she wanted so much to frolic in the cool grass. You can see it in her face---she was extra mischievous.
Friday May 12
I am wearing my black dress and a vintage sweater and wool scarf. When we went out for grocery shopping, I put on my black wool jacket (it was so cold and windy), and carried my home-made grocery bags, which I have never posted about.
Saturday May 13
I am wearing my brown long skirt and my navy blue jacket, reviewed here. The scarf is vintage, and even though you can’t see it in any of these pictures, it has little white rabbits all along the back edge.
Sunday May 14
I am wearing my long black skirt, which hasn’t had its own post, but was featured heavily in this post, and a new striped blouse that I just finished sewing last week. I will write a review about it soon, but if you are curious about it already you can look at my review of my brown blouse here, which was made from the same pattern. There are a few small changes, but much of the construction was the same. My necklace is made of graduated black agate beads.
This week it continued to be challenging taking daily photos, but I also felt newly challenged figuring out what to wear while baby-sitting, doing long drawing sessions, baking, and walking a lot during windy, chilly, fluctuating weather. I’ve been thinking about some of my sewing projects I’ve made but not worn often and am trying to use my experience this month to figure out why: do they not suit the weather? Are there not many other things in my wardrobe to wear with them? Is there some aspect of them that makes them uncomfortable? Did I not make good design choices? Is the fit a little flawed?
I think I will likely give away a few items of clothing at the end of the month. But I hope I will also have a better idea of what patterns work the best, and what patterns I want to try out with the hope they will suit better than some of the ones I’ve tried and not liked to wear after all.
One of the most challenging things about sewing is that you can’t try on a garment until after you’ve made it, to see if you like the shape, or the lapels, or the length, etc. . . . How do you manage this difficult aspect of making your own clothes? I find that I’m starting to sew more versions of the patterns that I know work for me. But trying out a new pattern always brings that risk that I won’t like it on myself as much as I liked it in the pattern illustration. Do any of you readers ever have that experience?
Monday May 1
We had a dentist appointment first thing in the morning and the dentist complimented me on my style and asked me where I shopped for clothes. I make most of my clothes, I replied, and she asked me if I made my jewelry too, since it matched my outfit so well. Yes, I said, I do that too.
Mr Rat is wearing his chambray western shirt, reviewed here.
Mrs Rat’s necklace and earrings are made of yellow-ochre colored jade. I am wearing my muslin square-necked blouse, reviewed here, and my poplin skirt, reviewed here.
Tuesday May 2
We stopped by a local school during our evening walk to take a few quick photos, and found the classrooms all decorated with very mysterious looking signs and symbols.
Mr Rat is wearing his second Hawaiian shirt, reviewed here.
Mrs Rat is wearing her brown plaid dress, reviewed here. Although it is hard to see in this photo, the necklace is made of autumn jasper.
Wednesday May 3
On the hottest day of the week, I am wearing my kimono sleeve shawl collar blouse, reviewed here, and my navy skirt, reviewed here. My necklace and earrings are made of sodalite.
Thursday May 4
Mr Rat is wearing his Patterns Pacifica Hawaiian shirt, reviewed here, and his patched Levis jacket, which I posted about here.
Mrs Rat is wearing her Laura Ashley jumper, reviewed here, and one of her favorite white shirts, reviewed here.
Gia, as always, is wearing her one and only lovely fur coat.
Friday May 5
Mr Rat is wearing his green twill jacket, reviewed here.
Mrs Rat is wearing her brown smock dress, reviewed here. My necklace is made of a mixture of stones left over from other beading projects.
Saturday May 6
I am wearing my brown ankle-length skirt, reviewed here. My sweater and pin are vintage, which I think is okay with my pledge, since neither of those garments are things I know how to make myself.
I’m holding a letter I wrote to my friend on some recently thrifted vintage stationary charmingly decorated with strawberries and matching strawberry stickers.
Sunday May 7
I am wearing my muslin blouse again, reviewed here. I haven’t blogged about this muslin skirt yet, which is made from my trusted 1970s era Simplicity 7880.
The surprise for me about the first week of Me-Made-May is that I didn’t feel as challenged by wearing my homemade clothes and jewelry as I did taking photos of what I was wearing every day, and often what Mr Rat was wearing, too. The lighting is always difficult in our apartment, the weather ricocheted from a heat wave to a cold weekend, Mr Rat doesn’t get home until sunset most days, which made getting non-blurry photos difficult----all the usual problems for anyone trying to document a daily project.
I also had some bad days this week, and couldn’t always manage a smile. Since I am trying to document the whole month, I thought it would be more honest to include those photos than to skip over them and leave them out. I try to keep things pleasant here, and as positive as I can, but I’m sure we’ve all felt the difficulty of those days when getting up and dressed at all is a challenge. I am feeling a lot of uncertainty and anxiety right now, which is one reason why I look to getting dressed as one of the few times when I get to make a choice that is all my own, even if it is just what color blouse or what piece of jewelry I get to wear that day.
Mr and Mrs Rat
Mr and Mrs Rat like to sew