Me-Made-May ’13: Let’s Talk About It!

Guys.  I’m SOOOO happy that Me-Made-May is over!  Don’t get me wrong– it’s lots of fun, and I love seeing all of your posts, and I even love wearing my me-made clothes, but there’s something about feeling obligated to wear them that makes me want to not do it!  What can I say?  I’m a born rebel!

Days 1-5 (click on the images to view full size, if you’re so inclined)

May happened to be a really crazy month at work for me, so I opted to just post camera phone selfies on Instagram and skip the weekly roundup posts.  I’m glad I did it this way– it took lots of pressure off me!  Unfortunately, most of these pics were taken in the bathroom at work, but it’s kinda funny that way.

Days 6-10

So what did I learn this May?  Lots!

Days 11-15

Lesson #1: My casual wardrobe doesn’t do a great job of reflecting my personality and style.  I didn’t really feel like myself this month!  I wore quite a few things that aren’t my favorite, but that pad out my me-made wardrobe.  I want to work on sewing weekday clothes that are more my style.

Days 16-20

Lesson #2: I don’t have any casual skirts or dresses!  I only have one dress that I felt comfortable wearing to work (my Lola dress)!  I also wore my NL6022 dress once, but I hated how I looked that day.  Also, I don’t have a single skirt that I can wear to work!  This is mostly due to the fact that I’ve only recently started working in an office.  My old job was casual, physical, and outdoors in all weather, so I never really wore me-mades to work since they would just be hidden under layers of outerwear or gunked up with sunscreen and sweat.  I need to work on garments that fit my new lifestyle.  I just cut out the Grainline Moss Mini skirt pattern tonight so I’ll be adding at least one practical, stylish skirt to my wardrobe soon.

Days 21-26 (I forgot to take a photo one day… I was wearing my green dolman top AGAIN)

Lesson #3: As it turns out, I don’t really wear “outfits”!  Every day I wear jeans and a top with sneakers of some kind.  I’d like to have more fun accessorizing, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be a really good dresser.  But at the very least I’d like to add some more woven tops to my wardrobe so I’m not wearing a knit tee and jeans every single day.

Days 27-31

Lesson #4: I hate cardigans.  Seriously.  I hate them.  I feel frumpy and square in them!  My office is really cold (which you already know if you followed my Instagram posts because I complained about the temperature basically every day), so I was stuck wearing a couple of cardigans that I’ve had for years but never really liked.  I’d like to come up with some layering pieces that I actually like to wear.

So yeah.  I think my takeaway this month was that I need to step up my game a bit so I can feel a little more stylish and fun at work.  I’m really grateful to Zoe for organizing such a fantastic project.  It really was informative and fun!  What about you guys?  What did you learn from Me-Made-May?

110 responses

  1. It’s fun when you get to the point in sewing where you are worrying about the suitability of your wardrobe and not just trying to figure out how to get the zipper in something. Although, I still have those moments.

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    • You’re so right! I think that’s a bit of the source of my me-made wardrobe dissatisfaction– most of my early garments were things that I *could* make, not necessarily things that I would’ve purchased in a store. I was so excited just to make, say, a shirt that looked like a shirt!

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      • Exactly! I’ve been thinking of that a lot lately too. Would I actually even be drawn to this kind of garment in this kind of fabric? Or am I just making things to make things.

        And I LOVE your awesome faces in your selfies. You might not have been having tons of fun this MMM, but you could have fooled me!

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  2. Thanks for the pics and your thoughts on MMM 2013. Like you my job situation changed, I went from a dressier job to jeans. I need to expand my wardrobe,too. Maybe we should do a July “jump up you wardrobe” LOL

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  3. You may feel frumpy and square but from here the cardigans look cute. Also that outfit with you holding the mood bag? Seriously want! I’ve been trying to figure out if I can pull off knotting a button up shirt like that…not sure I have what it takes. I loved your bathroom “selfies” on IG this month. Major congrats on pulling off a full month of me mades, I seriously doubt I could do that!

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    • Ooh, that outfit caught my eye too! I think it’s your long maxi dress, right? Total good idea popping on a chambray top to make it more public-wear vs beach-wear!

      Now I’m thinking you need a bright pink skirt–something between coral and watermelon!

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      • Yep, it’s the Mission Maxi dress… it’s a bit low-cut, so I don’t wear it everywhere. I’ve been thinking about a sheer maxi skirt with some kind of midi-length lining, but I can’t decide exactly how I want it to look…

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  4. Your facial expression in these photos makes me smile (and you need to get the blokes in your office to put the loo seats down)!!! I cannot believe you have so many garments that you’ve made – that’s amazing to me.

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  5. Hmmm…I know what you mean about the cardigans- I keep wondering if I make some if they will be cuter. I am always cold! But you always look great, even with the cardigans. I had so much fun with MMM, I had no idea it was so huge! 6,000 photos in the Flickr pool and I think I looked at every one!

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    • Wow, 6000 photos?! It really felt huge this year, but that is way beyond what I had imagined! I didn’t have time to be very active on Flickr this year (I couldn’t access the MMM group on my Flickr phone app), but I wish I had because there were so many fun outfits!

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  6. How about some wrap cardis that emphasise the waist cause they have a tie or are wrapped at the waist so its not as square as a standard open cardi. 🙂

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    • That’s a great idea! I’m realizing that I don’t like the look of a cardi that’s gathered into a waistband– I don’t really like that blousey effect. A wrap cardigan sounds lots more flattering!

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    • Thanks, Helena! I’m a tomboy, so I just don’t gravitate towards cute outfits or accessories, although I made an effort to wear more jewelry during MMM just so I wouldn’t be so completely bored!

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  7. As you already know from my boring M-M-M posts I’m totally a jeans and t-shirt for work kind of girl too, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s nothing wrong with that! You look lovely in all your outfits, and I reckon being comfy and happy in them has something to do with that!
    Love your checked banksia by the way, perfect top for with jeans! Congratulations on making it all the way through!

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    • Thanks, Fiona! I actually need to sew a new plaid Banksia, I think– the shoulder are really tight on this one and it’s not very comfortable to wear, boo. But it’s one of my favorite tops, so I think a new one is in order! I liked all your outfits, too– you’re so good at putting together cool ensembles!

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  8. The bathroom pictures were the funniest. I know what you mean. Wearing uniforms. I’m a jersey dress girl, it’s jersey all the way. I feel my wardrobe it’s almost there. I got to stop getting side track on new pretty patterns and sew only frosting. Things that make me feel million dollars. I hate cardigans too.. That’s why so many if my makes are long sleeves

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    • I need more long-sleeved tops! I have a no-cardigans rule for going out or special events (that and “no flats”… heels all the way when I’m dressed up!), but I need to find something to replace them for everyday wear. I’m thinking a couple of Victoria blazers, perhaps! Bought some awesome fabric for my first one, but I can’t decide what to use for lining!

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  9. Firstly I love all the dresses you wore – your stripey one with the blue shirt especially. The peplum top and stripey Renfrew look fab! I know what you mean about the samey look if wearing jeans and tops all the time. This is exactly why I wear mostly skirts and dresses as I don’t like looking frumpy in trousers and a cardi. So glad you’re going to sew more skirts and dresses now – my faves! I love your post – a monthly round up is so much better and I do like how I can click on the pics to make them bigger so I don’t have to squint!

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    • I was boring myself with my photos, so I didn’t wanna subject everyone to weekly posts– ugh! 🙂 I felt cute and not overly dressed-up in the Lola dress, so I think I need to make more similarly casual dresses for work. You’ve got great style, and so much of what you wear would be great for work! I looked back at some of your posts the other day and your Miss Chalmers skirt had me thinking that I need one of those (or Simplicity 2451, which I have and looks really similar).

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      • Ah thanks. You should totally make the Miss Chalmers’ skirt. I made mine nearly 2 years ago and the 2 blue ones I wear all the time still. I love Simplicity 2451 too. I bought the Lola, Hazel AND Anouk in the recent Victory sale (PDF’s) – not sure why it took me so long to buy them but I can’t wait to make them up. Love those patterns!

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  10. You have the cutest expressions. Are you an early bird or a night owl? The toilet seat is up in half the pics which tends to indicate one of those two tendencies. Great MMM!

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  11. I flicked through the pics first and was thinking… “but all those lovely, bright, mad dresses where are they?!” then I read the text. I’m sure you could inject a bit of bright and quirky into your day/work wardrobe so that your personality shines through all the time.

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    • Yeah, I think you could too! Though I’m also sensitive to knowing that you have a woman-unfriendly workplace. Totally do what feels right–it sucks to get judged out as incapable because you look womanly.

      Host a brainstorming party with some other local sewists who know you personally and you can all brainstorm for together about types of garments that fit the niches you’re each missing. (i.e. For you: how to feel vibrant in your work clothes without getting followed around by teamsters. or laughed out of the office by flannel-clad boys.)

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  12. MMM was intense for me. Hmmm. What did I learn??
    I need more colour. 80% of my wardrobe is black or dark.
    I need more casual me mades ie jeans trousers/pants, skirts and tops. I have loads of me made dresses.
    I need to be more organised before I take such a challenge on again.
    And on a more positive note;
    Loved your photos!
    Loved looking at people’s me mades. Especially those who referenced their patterns. I now have several Indie designer pattern in my sewing space. It was a real challenge. I missed one days photo. And I was pleased when it was over ( so was my husband – he was well and truly over it by week 2 😳)

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    • It really is a challenge, which is funny because I didn’t think it would be very hard this time around since I’m wearing me-mades more often these days.

      It’s funny that so much of your wardrobe is dark-colored! I wonder why that is– do you gravitate towards color more in RTW?

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  13. Looking fab! I Maybe should should make a lightweight jacket or casual blazer you can wear around your office instead of cardigans. Or even a knit blazer- that would be super comfy and still look a bit different to cardigans.

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      • I’m thinking a knit blazer would be awesome! I have a RTW knit blazer that I love, actually, and I’ve been thinking about replicating it for a long time. I love jackets! They’re much more fun and sharp than cardigans, in my opinion.

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  14. I feel pretty much the same way about MMM for myself. And I discovered the woolen (non-itchy) fitted undershirt which has done away with most of my cardi’s, thankfully. I love the pictures. It’s like a planned photo shoot if they are always in the same place!

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  15. Oh, you’re such a cutie anyway, goof! Who cares about “outfits,” per se. What you can do is think about what you like, what is comfortable, and what is a chic/good look on you, and start to push your wardrobe limit that direction. I’ve definitely seen you push your fashion boundaries considerably in the last 12 months. It’s kind of fun too (when it’s not making you want to burn all your clothes and give up).

    I’m also totally into the blazer idea that Carolyn mentioned–that was my first instinct too. They’re such classy, flexible wardrobe items. The drawback for me is ever finding one that fits, so if you could self-fit perfectly and line it in some outrageously sassy silk, you’ll feel like a rockstar.

    Cardigans are sometimes great and usually not. I’m into either really lightweight wrap ones, or supersized mid-thigh versions with giant pockets. That said, I have a totally different job than you and need to put shit I confiscate from sheepish little people in my pockets all day (and, of course, I have to bend or squat a lot and never want to worry that my undies are sticking out the back of my pants–not that I would ever AHEM find myself in that undignified state wearing such ill-fitting clothing…).

    Go you! M-M-M can be a way to alter your garment plans, at least for summer, so you have some more wearable yet more-dressed-up options.

    Regardless, I’m impressed!!

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    • Bad little kids! What do you confiscate from them? Anything good?

      I like slightly longer, straight-fitting cardigans like the Aidez cardigan I knitted (although it’s such heavy, itchy wool that’s it’s not super comfortable, but I love the shape). Cropped, buttoned cardigans that gather into button bands aren’t my favorite. I might have to try a wrap cardigan– could be a fun change of plans!

      Bring on the summer sewing! Make a list of what you want to sew this summer and we can encourage each other!

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    • I know, isn’t it terrible? I love the shape of my Aidez cardigans, but I’m realizing that I much prefer that straighter shape to blousier cardigans that gather into waistbands.

      And the Simone top! I actually really wanted to wear it, but the weather was very odd and finicky all month so I didn’t have a chance! 🙂

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  16. I love your expression in your photos!

    I feel the same way about cardigans. I view them as a necessary evil since I’m always cold and I don’t like having to pull sweaters over my head when I get too hot. Belting the cardi like you did with the pink dress/white cardi combo looks good and not frumpy! I guess a wraparound cardi will also avoid the frump-factor.

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    • Heeheehee, thanks! “Necessary evil”– that’s exactly it! I’ve never really worn them before as I just added or subtracted light jackets and zip-up sweatshirts for my outside job. But a wraparound cardigan sounds like a nice solution to the cold problem without looking TOO frumpy!

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  17. Awesome MMMay reflections! And I have one word for you – BLAZERS!! (what an awful word…) But really – I’m perpetually cold, especially indoors, even during the summer (wtf AC) and my answer for looking less square, warm, put-together, and somehow more professional all in one go is blazers. They look good over knit tees, they look good over woven tops, dresses, really, everything. I plan on making one or two this fall.

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    • I’ve got to get ON that! I have fabric picked out for the By Hand London blazer pattern, although I’m nervous that it won’t really suit me since boxy isn’t really good for a straight-as-a-board gal. But maybe I can take it in enough to make it look cute! Or, maybe we can peer-pressure Jen into publishing her blazer pattern! How cute is this: http://hounddesign.com/product/morris-blazer

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  18. The toilet pictures make me laugh! Congrats on finishing. You look very happy even tho it was a busy month! I agree about blazers… They just make every boring outfit cooler but they also help with the miserably cold TX a/c.

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  19. yeah anytime i sign up for a challenge i’m pretty much guaranteed to hate whatever it is by day 3. i find them exhausting. and yet i still do one every once in awhile. i must be a glutton for punishment.

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    • Right?! I tend to do too much of that sort of thing at once, too (like my whole new running kick, which I’m on right now, with a new “no pop/soda” thing, and trying to eat veggie/healthy lunches) and then I feel like I’m sucking all of the joy out of my life and I’m not doing anything except following rules! I’m definitely a glutton for punishment. How do we kick that habit?

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  20. What good lessons you learned! I am TOTALLY with you on the cardis. Nothing makes me feel frumpier. My alternatives are wraps, like someone else said, shrugs and boleros since they show the waist, and cute jackets. Melissa Fehr just did that Burda ruched cardi which has a lot more shape, too. (http://www.fehrtrade.com/gallery/724/a-gathered-merino-wool-cardigan) Honestly, when it comes down to it, I’d rather wear a big textured chunky knit than a meh cami.

    Oh, and when you are done with a few skirts, why don’t you do some print or colorful jeans since you seem to get a lot out of them? (OK, I’ll stop telling you what to wear now. 😉

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    • I do need to make some fun jeans! Thanks for the suggestion! I’m just being a real weenie about it because I’ve had difficulties fitting pants in the past. I need to just nut up and do it!

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  21. Congrats on participating! I thought about doing it too, but I only have 3 finished sewn pieces so far (I’m a newbie to sewing). I didn’t think I’d have much to show this time around. I’d love to participate next year though. Frumpy or not, I love cardigans, because I’m always so cold! lol!

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  22. My (work) wardrobe is kind of like yours, tee, jeans/slacks, sneakers & a hoodie. I wear my hoodie like all the time unless it is dirty. My work place is causal, but I might dress up if there are big wig visitors or laundry day (week).
    If you are not a fan of cardi, maybe a blazer or jacket. I think they always add something extra to an outfit.

    I am kind of a tomboy fashion wise myself, I like comfort dressing. However, I still don’t think I dress in style.

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    • Ahahahahaha! Whenever I’m dressed up at work, it’s always because I haven’t done laundry. I start to get desperate and dig up whatever’s clean! 🙂

      I think I need to make a couple of light blazers that are suitable for work. I’ve never really worn a blazer, either, but I guess it’s time to grow up and start dressing my age!

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  23. Try belting a cardigan for a more hourglass look. You won’t feel or look as boxy. The dress you said you didn’t like might look better if it was a size or two smaller. I think its a really cut dress in a very simple way but the fit is off. Its a little too big. Its a great color on you though. Show that cute shape of yours! The dress kind of hides it.

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/CurvyTiffy

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    • I’m loving the discussion your MMM experience has spurred! I struggle with both cardigans (especially blousy ones, ugh!) and blazers so it’s interesting to read other people’s perspectives. I think I’d like to try the BHL Victoria as well! And I’m pumped to see your Moss Mini!!

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    • Yeah, this isn’t the most flattering dress I’ve ever made, and since it’s linen, it gets kind of saggy and baggy throughout the day. Maybe I will add some fisheye darts to the back or something to make it more fitted. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  24. I, too, am sooooo glad MMM is over. And I am not a cardi fan either. They never look quite right on me unless I’ve tied them at the waist and that’s not always super comfortable–and there’s this large knot. . .
    But, I’m impressed that you’ve made such a functional wardrobe so far! Not everyone (me) can say that!

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  25. You did a really great job with MMM, it shows what a prolific sewer you are. I wish that I had sewn enough to participate. I really need to step up my game this year!

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  26. You did great Sonja, don’t be so harsh on yourself lady! Great that you’ve learned loads though, I bet you’re super bumped with ideas for future projects though ;o)

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    • Awww, thanks Marie! I am really excited about future sewing– I made a (ridiculous) list of summer sewing projects last night, and I can’t wait to get started on them! 🙂

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  27. Congratulations on completing MMM’13, Sonja! I’m so glad I did this too. I learned I need more bright colors for cool weather. The first two weeks of May were cool in SC and most of the clothes I wore were neutrals. This just didn’t feel right in May! ……. and I was dying to wear a RTW colorful long sleeve dress….. Otherwise I really enjoyed my clothes once it warmed up.
    Good job – loved seeing your Me-Made-Clothes in action 🙂

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    • That’s a great revelation! Bright colors definitely perk me up, especially when the weather’s not so nice. I love seeing you in bright colors, so I’m glad to hear you’ll be sewing more!

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  28. I loved seeing your MMM posts on Instagram. You always looked stylish to me! It’s good to have a project like this to really give you an inventory of your me-made clothes. I hope I’ll have enough casual items to take part in it next year! (That means i have to stop making so many dresses…drat!)

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    • Thanks, girl! It’s hard to make yourself sew casual clothes when you can make party dresses! 🙂 They’re just so much fun to sew! I’m hoping to make some more in-between items– not plain tees, but not cocktail dresses– so next year’s MMM will be more well-rounded.

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  29. interesting to read your MMM conclusions. I have realised that if a skirt or dress or trousers lacks pockets i don’t want to wear them. I need to sew more trousers if I want to have a more complete Me made wardrobe. I need to get to grips with doing a fba and really tackle fit.

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    • Your conclusions are so interesting, too! Your explanation in your blog post about why you need pockets makes perfect sense! My sister is an early education teacher, and mentioned just the other day that she needs pockets because she’s constantly confiscating things from her kids!

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  30. You are so right about sewing to build a wardrobe. I think that is important. Nonetheless it is an acommplishment to have finished the challenge. I hope to take part in some challenge soon. 🙂

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    • I’m realizing more and more that it’s kind of silly to sew beautiful dresses that always hang in my closet unworn! I look forward to your participation in a challenge– I bet you will make gorgeous garments!

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  31. I think you still had an awesome MMM!! I loved your bathroom photos series ;o)

    I think the biggest lesson I learned was the I need to make PANTS! Lol I reach for my jeans (the same three pair even though I own about 10 pair) a lot, and would love to have some actual woven pants (that fit well) to wear.

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  32. Your photos crack me up! As for the cardigan dilemma, how about replacing them with a couple of me-made little blazers or blazer like jackets, the kind that go great with jeans and have a lot more shape to them than cardigans. Just a thought.

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  33. I loved your awesome bathroom photos, especially your facial expressions. I started to almost wish I hadn’t started the challenge too because I started to get so bored with wearing the same few things, but I DID get inspired to make new things and I definitely learned what my wardrobe holes are. I still have to put up my final post!

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    • Thanks, Mikhaela! I got so bored wearing the same things, too, and my month was so chaotic that I didn’t make a single new thing! But I definitely found some wardrobe holes, too, so that’s always good, right? Your wardrobe was so inspiring– you did such a great job of wearing me-mades, especially considering how recent your return to sewing was!

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  34. I started feeling really weighed down by MMM, even though I typically wear something homemade about three out of four days anyway! I really didn’t anticipate feeling so obstinate. You had a great month, though, and I’m glad you learned something from it anyway! Hooray for June!

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    • I felt the exact same way! It started feeling like a chore for some reason. I didn’t even consider doing nice photos as I just didn’t care after a few days. Ugh! I’m glad it’s June, too– let’s move on to new things!

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  35. Well done for finishing the month! I am in awe that you were able to do it. I’m also not a cardigan fan really – I used to work in a TV newsroom full of cameras and equipment so it was always sub zero!

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  36. Hi lady! I’m soooo glad you took part and that you learnt some useful lessons from it. I’m also so pleased that you came up with a way of documenting your challenge in a way that wasn’t too time consuming or annoying. I love Andrea’s idea above of making some cute little jackets to replace your cardi’s. If you made them or lined them in fabric that feels soft against your skin, I bet you’d feel super comfy as well as looking ace.

    Zoe xxx

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  37. Congrats on completing your MMM13, learning stuff about yourself is always helpful. Jackets lots of jackets hehe. I couldn’t handle taking pictures of myself everyday for a month, you go girl!

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  38. I learnt a lot about my me made wardrobe as well, namely, I need more pants! But I think you and I are opposite on the cardigan front, I LOVE them! They are what saved me looking like I was wearing the same thing everyday (which I pretty much was but with a different cardigan each time!). Maybe you just need to find the right style for you? I only own two loose/flowy ones and I need to belt them otherwise I look awful.

    Congrats on finishing MMM13!

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  39. Cute outfits! (And cute-as-a-button faces, too! 😉

    I agree with what some of the others are suggesting – maybe try some blazers or the like instead of cardigans? That new one from By Hand London could look could on you, I think. I found myself wearing more jackets than cardigans this May, it just makes things look a bit more “put together”. (Note to self: must make jackets….)

    My me-made learnings? Must go back and fix up a few things in my wardrobe that are bugging me a bit! (I was ruthless at assessing the garments I was wearing, and half of them ended up on the “things to alter in some way or other” pile during the month. Eek!) Also, I need to make more cardigans/jackets, since I practically live in them and most aren’t me-made ones.

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  41. Pingback: A simple t-shirt that’s changed my approach to sewing | Behind the Hedgerow

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