So, on the final day of the month, it's time for a review of my experience of Me Made May. To recap here's the pledge I made:
I, Julia Laing, sign up as a participant of Me Made May 2019.
I endeavour to: prioritise wearing me made clothes and accessories, mend and improve all my existing clothes, so every item in my wardrobe is wearable and make at least one new outfit, using materials I already own, in May 2019.
And how did I do...? Quite well to be honest. Most days I managed to wear at least one handmade item, or something I'd mended or refashioned. I dived into the mending pile which had been growing steadily taller for months, if not years.
When I was wearing one of my small handful of handmade garments for the 3rd or 4th time and I didn't know what I could possibly wear it with, I would delve into the inner recesses of my wardrobe and there was always something hiding at the back, I'd forgotten about. All it needed was a bit of thought and planning.
I enthusiastically charted my progress on Instagram stories, for perhaps, the first week, before the novelty of taking ridiculous 'posing' selfies wore off.
Best of all I started to think more about clothes and how much fun they can be. Before this getting dressed in the morning had become a necessary chore that had to be endured before the business of the day could be started. I'd taken to wearing a uniform of jeans, t shirt and jumper, day in, day out and was underwhelmed by the contents of my wardrobe. Admittedly, most of my clothes are old. New clothes aren't something I want to spend much money on. I've worn charity shop clothes all my adult life, and I think it's more important than ever now, when fast fashion is having such a devastating impact on the environment and on textile workers, to be mindful about what you buy and what you wear.
This is an outfit I feel very comfortable in. I made the bolero jacket a couple of years ago from gorgeous teal boucle wool, I'd found at a car boot sale many moons ago. I wear the jacket a bit like a cardi in the house, just for an extra layer.
This beaded cashmere jumper, started out as a polo neck, but I took the scissors to it, used some bias binding to stabilise the edge, then stitched on all the beads individually by hand. I really love how it's turned out. Makes me feel a bit more glam, but it's still incredibly soft and warm to wear. I'm on the look out for more charity shop polo neck jumpers to customise the same way...
Cord Per Una skirt shortened - by this stage, as you can see, I was slightly delirious about tackling the mending pile at last.
These charity shop Mary-janes were made wearable again, by sewing velvet ribbon onto the elastic straps, so they were no longer so stretchy. Then just for fun, a dash of orange stitches.
And finally, I made a dress. It's Simplicity 1284, which is a 1960s vintage reproduction. I had to adjust the pattern to fit, so this was really just a test run. I'm planning to make this again but cut down to a tunic and will definitely be adding pockets, which I find pretty hard to live without.
There's still some mending to do but I feel like I'm on top of it now. I'm also planning a couple of simple skirts now I've found the right pattern.
It's been a fun challenge, as well as helping me sort out my wardrobe, I've loved seeing what everyone else has been making and wearing over on Instagram. I've collected together a few of my favourites, which I'm sure you'll agree are all stunning! Clicking images will take you over to their Instagram profiles where you can see more of their makes: