Me Made May 18: Thoughts, Stats and Graphs

Hey everyone. I hope you’re all having a nice week. I’m sitting in my sunny garden on my lunchbreak as I write this so everything feels pretty good at the moment. Nice weather makes such a difference doesn’t it?

Anyway, I’m here to get all navel gazey and introspective about Me Made May. Complete with graphs! God, I love a graph. Let’s just dive on in shall we?

How did I do?

I have mixed feelings about how I did this year. On the one hand I don’t really feel like I did that well. Because my pledge was only to wear me made when I left the house and I’m a strange hermit person I only participated on 19 days, which doesn’t feel like enough. But on the days where I did take part I wore a lot more Me Made than RTW. Excluding repeat wears I wore 21 different me made garments and 7 RTW garments.

I was just shy of my goal to wear completely me made for more than 50% of my outfits. I managed 9/19, which works out at 47.7%. So that’s not too bad really.

I do think that this year probably better reflects how I actually dress than last year. I didn’t repeat any outfits but I repeated more individual garments. If I hadn’t had a week off there probably would have been repeated outfits though. There were a couple of days where I wanted to put something on that I’d already worn but stopped myself. I must admit, I found thinking so much about what to wear quite draining and I was happy to just wear whatever I felt like on the 1st June.

What I wore

Graph time! Here’s what handmade clothes I wore by garment type. The blue is the number of times I wore that particular type of garment and the green column is the number of different garments.

I wore far fewer dresses this year and a lot more top. Knit tops was a gap I identified last year and I now have a couple of them, which got a fair bit of wear. I’ve also added two Ogden camis to my handmade wardrobe since last year and recently made some knit skirts (also identified as a gap last year) which seems to have given separates a boost over dresses. My handmade cardigan collection got a lot of wear too.

And the ready to wear graph:

The first thing that I see with this graph is how much less RTW I wore, which is good. I wear leggings quite a bit and I haven’t actually counted them in most of my stats but I put them on the graph. I don’t think I can be arsed to make leggings. Obviously, I have the Helen’s Closet Avery leggings as I’m a fangirl and if I ever stumble across suitable fabric I might make a pair but I don’t hate RTW leggings.

As with last year, the RTW trousers are jeans as I still haven’t made any. I just can’t seem to get anywhere with the fitting and I get so disheartened every time every time I try. I need to find some sort of real life jeans/trouser fitting course to go on I think, I just can’t seem to figure it out by myself.

Colours

I’ve had a little look at the colours I wore and I’ve made a pie chart of them.

That a lot of blue! No matter how hard I try to step away from the blue fabric and try other colours I just don’t seem to be able to do it. I just realised there should be a slither for red as well as I wore my red cardigan once.

Prints vs Solids

I counted up how many prints and solid coloured garments I wore and overall it was an exact 50-50 split with 14 of each (not including repeat wears). What I found more interesting was how differently solids and prints were split when between RTW and handmade.

As you can see, I wore faaar more handmade garments with prints than RTW garments with prints. That one print RTW garment is a striped t-shirt.

The split is more even with solids (43% RTW, 57% handmade). But if you look at RTW on it’s own 87% of the RTW garments I wore are solids. Which I think means that I have a wardrobe gap for handmade solid coloured garments.

Top 5 most worn garments

1. Wembley cardigan – 5 times
=2. Grey Blackwood cardigan,  – 3 times
=2. Aqua Blackwood cardigan – 3 times
=2. Winslow palazzo pants – 3 times
=5. Geometric print Ogden cami – twice
=5. Ballet tee – twice
=5. Scoop necked ballet tee – twice
=5. Pink blackwood cardigan – twice
=5. Bibi skirt – twice

I don’t think I’ve done that leaderboard correctly but I wore too many things 2 or 3 times, making it a right pain. I was shocked by the Wembley cardigan being the winner as I don’t really like it that much. It is really handy for spring/summer though as it’s nice and lightweight and goes with everything. I’ve got some white viscose jersey that is too thin for the t-shirt I intended it for so I might use that for a cropped Blackwood cardigan to have another option.

My favourite outfit

I’m torn between my Winslow culottes and scoop necked ballet tee and my knit pencil skirt with New Look 6096.

Instagram’s favourite outfit

Tilly and the buttons Bibi skirt with my ballet tee.
Tilly and the Buttons Bibi skirt

Most versatile garment

I don’t think I had a wardrobe MVP this year. Last year my Alex shirt dress was the clear winner (and what made me add this category) but nothing stands out this time.

Things I learned/random thoughts

I don’t find Me Made May easy. I saw a lot of people say that they wear me made everyday anyway and it was just the photos they would find hard. I’m lucky to have somewhere I can leave my tripod set up all month so the photos aren’t particularly hard. (Apart from some body image issues I was battling at the beginning of the month.) I don’t wear handmade every day though so Me Made May isn’t a case of business as usual for me. It’s effort and thought.

I don’t think I care about having a 100% handmade wardrobe. There are things I just don’t see the point in making and it was never my intention to make everything I wear. It’s not a practical goal for me as I’m not a prolific sewer and I’d rather concentrate on making things I can’t buy.

God, my wardrobe is dull. When you look at my MMMay outfits all at once, it’s just bland and dark. I wish it was brighter and more colourful. Alas, I just don’t think it ever really will be.

Why is there not more pretty viscose jersey available in the UK? You can get some awesome woven viscose fabric but you see very little exciting viscose jersey.

I really want some pink trousers. Not that I think I’d wear pink trousers but I saw loads of awesome ones on Instagram during Me Made May it made me think I want some. I even ordered pink linen swatches but I haven’t succumbed to ordering any. I may think about a pink linen skirt instead, it’s less of a fabric commitment.

Over the last few years I’ve very much gravitated towards the skinny jean/trouser with a loose top silhouette. I think it’s time for a change. My two favourite outfits this month are both a bit more fitted. The pencil skirt outfit more so but even though the top I’m wearing with the palazzo pants is floaty it looks more fitted in that outfit. Maybe I need to make some more fitted tops for tucking into things.

Gaps and conclusion

I don’t think I really identified any huge gaps. The only thing I’ve pushed to (near) the top of the sewing queue is another pair of Winslow culottes. Oh and I really need to replace my red waterfall cardigan. I’d like to make some more colourful things – that aren’t blue – but I also want to sew my stash so I’m limited there. I also want some white tops to wear with patterned and colourful bottoms. I’ve got a few metres of white viscose in the stash that I intend to turn into an Ogden cami, a tie waist SOI Penny dress hack and some other top I haven’t chosen yet.

I spent some time over the month thinking about the handmade clothes I have but don’t wear and why that might be. More importantly, what I could possibly do to fix it. I’m thinking of turning this BHL Anna maxi dress into a skirt, harvesting the skirt fabric from this BHL Flora for a top and I’m definitely cutting this New Look 6096 into a top.

All in all I think this was a successful Me Made May. I find it really interesting to look at what I wore and I’m thinking about doing it again in a cooler month.

A slightly belated 2017 review

I’ve mentioned a few times before that I’m a massive spreadsheet nerd. Well for the past couple of years I’ve maintained a sewing stats spreadsheet where I record my makes and various things about them. Like what sort of fabric I use, whether they’re printed or PDF patterns and I’ve just added a column for whether it’s a new to me pattern or one I’ve made before.

I also have a sheet for my “stash maths” where I record the fabric I buy and the fabric I use each year to see how much I reduce or increase my stash. Spoiler: it’s always increase.

Anyway, I love reading that sort of stuff on other people’s blogs so I thought I would share a nerdy, graph heavy post on last year’s sewing for anyone who is interested – and for myself obviously.

What I made

I made 34 things last year. 33 were sewn and 1 was knitted – though I also part knitted 2 other things that still need finishing. The jumper I did finish knitting could also do with me undoing the sleeve cast off and adding about another 3 inches to each of them but I can’t face it yet.

Now let’s hit the graphs. This first one is to show what garment types I made.

Tops and dresses being the most common is fairly consistent with previous years but the surge in cardigans is all thanks to the Blackwood cardigan pattern. I made 5 different versions making it my most made pattern so far. The love affair is certainly not over yet either.

Knit v Woven

It’s been a fairly even split down the middle this year. Knits were given a boost by my Blackwood cardigan obsession. I might have a little play with my spreadsheet to try to get it to show me the proportion of knit and woven for each garment type.

Printed v PDF

This is definitely the year that I realised I’m very much a PDF girl. I’m such a bodyweight yoyo that I can’t not trace patterns if I ever want to use them again in the future and I HATE tracing. I’d far rather sit on my living room floor in front of the telly or listening to the radio with my paper cutter, a Pritt stick (never generic glue sticks) and a cuppa. I can assemble patterns quite quickly now and I find it sort of soothing. I’d far rather reprint and reassemble than retrace. I’ve even almost bought a couple of patterns I already have printed versions of in PDF format just to avoid tracing them but so far I’ve resisted.

Indie v Big 4

I’ve made hardly any Big 4 patterns this year. Only two and of those two only one was even for me. It wasn’t a deliberate choice as I would like to try a few more Big 4 patterns. I think it’s a combination of exposure to more Indie patterns via Instagram and blogs and preferring PDF patterns. I bought quite a few New Look (6212, 6414 and 6507) and McCall’s (7387, 7534 and 7537) patterns when they were on sale and I hope to use some of them this year. Perhaps I should set myself a week where I trace at least one pattern every day as there’s loads of paper patterns I want to make but keep putting off.

Pattern companies

a graph showing

This one is a bit cramped sorry and some of the company names got chopped. You can clearly see which companies I’m a fan girl of though. For Helen’s Closet it was the five Blackwood cardigans and a Suki Kimono that I made my Nan for Christmas. The Sew Over It patterns were a bit more varied but there were two Penny dresses and two Alex dresses, the other two were a Nancy dress and an Ultimate shift dress.

Fabric choices

It’s no surprise to me that more than half of the things I made contained viscose in the fabric. It’s my favourite fabric to wear. I was surprised that I had used so much polyester but it was things like sweater knit, ponte and crepe so it shouldn’t have been that much of a shock. The wool was yarn not fabric, I still haven’t sewn anything with wool.

Stashbusting

This is only my second year of tracking the stash so I don’t know for certain but I suspect it’s probably my worst so far for overbuying fabric.

I bought 56 pieces of fabric totalling 107.4 metres.

And I used/cut* 48 pieces of fabric totalling 68.95 metres.

*Not all of my cut out garments have been made yet.

So the stash increased by 38.45 metres.

This is something I really want to work on this year. I think I’m going to go for a one in, two out policy. Though I’m already losing on that as I’ve bought two bits of fabric already – some beautiful Cotton + Steel rayon for a Chalk and Notch Fringe top/dress and some flannel for a wearable toile of the Grainline Archer. I remain positive though. I’ll settle for breaking even.

So that was my year in graphs and numbers. It’ll be interesting to start doing this every year and see how things change if at all. I suspect that the main change will be fancier graphs. Does anyone else track their makes or am I just a daft nerd?

Me Made May 17: Thoughts

So there’s this year’s Me Made May in all its glory. The first thing that strikes me is that I haven’t really moved away from the old blue, green and monochrome colour scheme that I had last year. There is definitely a bit more colour – a decent amount of red and a little bit of pink. I did a wee colour palette thingy, a la Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow, picking out colours from my photos.

The bigger ones are the neutrals, the greige (grey-beige) on the left came from my floral Scout and I think it’ll work better for me than a more yellow beige. I’ve put two different shades of navy in because that came up a lot as well as various other shades of blue. And well… It’s a bit bland isn’t it?

I feel and look better in the more colourful outfits. So I did another palette thingy with more colours. The colours are still picked out from my photos (except the second green, which I just made up because I know I like it) but they’re more supporting colours – they mostly came from the flowers on my Doris dress and the light, not quite coral pink was from the butterflies on my Nancy dress.

I think my Doris dress and my Sewaholic Cambie dress both encapsulate the colour palette I think looks best on me quite well. They both have a navy base, which I think is softer and better on me than black, and then between the two of them they’ve got all the other colours I’ve put in this palette.

Sew Over It Doris dress sewaholic cambie dress

So my plan is to try and incorporate more of those accent colours into my wardrobe. I will always be drawn most to blues and I don’t think you’ll ever catch me in head to toe pink but I think I look alright in a cool pink or dusky rose so maybe I should experiment a bit more with them.

What I wore

Moving on from colours to the graphs I promised/threatened. I kept a spreadsheet of the types of garments I wore and here are the results.

types of garment me made

I tracked the number of days I wore a particular type of garment as well as the number of different garments. So as you can see I wore a lot of dresses and only repeated a couple of them (Alex shirt dress and New Look 6096). Whereas with trousers and cardigans I repeated them a lot. The trousers were my Winslow culottes and I would definitely like another pair for the summer. I’m also planning a lengthened pair of Tania culottes.

I tracked the RTW I wore as well to help identify gaps and you can see straight away that I need more tops, cardigans and trousers, well specifically jeans as that’s the one pair of trousers that I repeated five times. I finally got round to washing some of the denim that was in my stash yesterday so I hope to get cracking on a pair of jeans soon. The tops were all knit so that’s very much an area of need. I need to work on some production line style t-shirt sewing I think.

Top 5 most worn items

  • Grey Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan – 5 times (including putting it on in the evenings on holiday)
  • Turquoise Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan – 4 times
  • Helen’s Closet Winslow culottes – 4 times
  • Sew Over It Alex shirtdress – 3 times
  • Floral Grainline Scout tee – 2 times

Most liked outfit

My shorter New Look 6096 and grey Blackwood cardigan got 170 likes on Instagram.

New Look 6096 & Helen's closet Blackwood cardigan

Most versatile garment

My Alex shirt dress definitely wins this one. I wore it three times, styled differently each time.

So I definitely want to sew some more of these. I think another solid version would probably be nice, as well as the purple version I put in my #2017MakeNine plans. Maybe a soft chambray if I can find one.

Things I learned

  • I really liked looking nice on the days I made a more of an effort and just because I’m anti-zip and pro-comfort doesn’t mean I can’t wear pretty dresses. There are lots of nice zipless dresses out there – Deer and Doe Aubépine and Réglisse dresses and Sew Over It Eve dress are some I have my eye on though I’m a bit unsure of how much I’ll like a wrap dress on me.
  • I would like some more knit skirts. Particularly pencil skirts as the outfit above with my Alex shirt dress and polka dot pencil skirt was one of my favourite of the month. I’m also thinking about making a knit Sewaholic Gabriola skirt a la the lovely Hila’s Moneta-Gabriola love child maxi dress.
  • A skinny belt can make a big difference to an outfit.
  • I am total Helen’s Closet fan girl and proud.
  • I have a lot more Me Made clothes than I thought I did. Though I think I was definitely helped out by the weather in May being so changeable – and going on holiday didn’t hurt. I would be buggered if it had been autumn or winter.
  • Me Made May has added like bajillion patterns to my wishlist. I desperately want a chambray Grainline Archer shirt now and I really fancy the Alder shirtdress as well.
  • I still have no real desire to make loungewear or PJs but some clothes to be dressed while bumming about the house might be nice. Just some knit tops really I think.
  • I’m sooo behind on blogging my finished makes.

What lessons have you learned from Me Made May? I love reading other people’s epiphanies so do let me know if you’ve written about your Me Made May.