the best of my #mmmay16

Time flies, so while there are more thoughts to be had, lessons to be drawn and whatnot, here’s my subjective and not necessarily all that insightful look back on Me-Made May.

  1. First up, a pick of my favorites:
Laurel dress in a rayon print a little out of my comfort zone
Beignet skirt with Plantain/Tonic tee and a handknit cardi (based on the Shapely Boyfriend Cardigan pattern)
Beignet skirt with Scout tee
Rooibos dress plus handknit cardi (Featherweight Cardigan with a feather-and-fan patterned button band)
Hazel dress in chevron quilting cotton
Anna dress in that rayon print

There’s no real order of preference to be found here. I put them in chronological order to reflect the fact that my clothing choices are completely dependent on the weather. I’m not one of those people who can laugh in the face of the cold and the heat in an outfit they’re hell-bent on wearing.

That’s why the beginning of the month was all about pants and tees. So why are just two of my me-made tops on the favorites list? Because of the pants. They distract me from the perfectly enjoyable tees. I really want to tackle making my own pants but I need a pep talk. I’ve cut two patterns (B6183 and NL6231) and so far we’re in a staring contest.

2. The unseen favorites

The blog is really making me feel shy about what I actually consider a perfectly normal part of life and wardrobe: undies and broadly defined intimates. What can I say, writing about them can feel too private. But let me break my awkward prudish silence for a moment for what was, hands down, the most worn garment of Me-Made May:

Almada robe (posed here with Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed)

I love this robe. It makes me feel happy and stylish even when I’m otherwise feeling crappy.

The other unseen winner is also a Seamwork pattern: the Geneva undies. As much as I hate sewing in elastic, I will make more of those because they are just great. If you’re not sure whether me-made undies are a good idea, I encourage you to give that pattern a shot and find out. I’m a convert. Another pattern I might try is Zoe’s.

3. Thoughts on the challenge

I will come back to Me-Made May in later posts. Documenting what I wore each day, though tedious at times, did give me a lot of ideas for planning my sewing, as well as a better sense of silhouettes and pairings I tend to go for. Not to get too exhaustive, though, here are some things that have jumped out at me instantly:

  • as I already mentioned: my total dependence on the weather and the season. Now that it’s hot, I’m all about dresses. I don’t care whether that registers as “overdressed” to onlookers, I guess I’m more non-conformist when I’m melting;
  • I’ll say it again, I really feel the need to tackle pants-making, especially pants for colder weather
  • I’m more likely to reach for a rayon top than one sewn in cotton; whether it’s a solid or a print seems secondary
  • needless to say, Colette and Seamwork patterns dominate my wardrobe. Not a bad thing, given the back fitting problems with that McCall’s dress. In fact, I should study those successful patterns a bit more closely to figure out why and how they work for me. Easier said than done. Things that don’t work jump out at you immediately (I can’t move my arms in this dress!) — it’s tricky to map things that do
  • wearing me-made clothes every day wasn’t that difficult. But that’s actually more a testament to how old and worn most of my RTW clothes are at this point than a testament to my sewing skills. I have a lot — A LOT — to learn about fitting and sewing. I try to be precise and patient, so sewing has been great for working on those traits as much as on garments

4. May sewing

In my pledge, I bound myself to making at least three garments for myself. I almost didn’t meet that goal. And that’s okay. My mad dash to finish the Anna dress was a bit too mad, to be honest. Next year I might rethink sewing goals.

What I made for myself (successfully, ekhm):

Rooibos, Plantain/Tonic tee, Anna

5. Lucky me: I won a giveaway, and what it means for my sewing plans

It was a really awful day, and then an email from Zoe appeared in my inbox and I did a little happy dance. This is my first time winning a sewing-related giveaway. I don’t want to boast — it’s luck and random number generator after all, isn’t it — but I’d like to share with you the four patterns I won, because they’re lovely and you might want to sew them, too:

Zoe’s patterns: Anya shoulder bag and Dolores batwing top, tunic and dress

While batwing isn’t the shape I usually go for, I think I’d like to give that pattern a shot. It would also be great to make a bag, finally!

Two patterns from Jennifer Lauren Handmade:

Brontë top and Dalloway dress. I swear, I chose these two not just because of the literary names, though I do like that about them, too.

I really want to make all four patterns, but when?… The sewing list needs to be shredded, and then compiled again.

OK, I’m done rambling and I’d love to hear from you (um, not necessarily about anything I posted here, I’m curious about your Me-Made May or what’s new on your sewing table).


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I write about sewing, knitting, and may sometimes be tempted to talk about books.

16 thoughts on “the best of my #mmmay16”

  1. Oh, so much to comment on, where do I start? Pants – go ahead and do it. Basic pants are really easy. Getting a good fit can be a bit harder. I found one pants pattern that fit pretty good but it didn’t have pockets and I didn’t like where the waistband came to on me so I modified it until I got it the way I wanted and now I’m stuck on that one pattern and never try any others. One more thing about pants, I stubbornly and unfashionably put the zipper on the side. It’s easier to sew, more feminine and makes for a smooth front under t-shirts.

    Dresses – I love them and I’m so glad it’s finally warm enough to wear cool, breezy summer dresses. For a while it looked like this was going to be a Year Without a Summer.

    I love that last t-shirt. I might have to make myself one of those.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, Lynn! Thank you so much for the encouragement about pants-making. I do take risks in my sewing but before I do, I try to minimize them by learning as much as I can. So I’ve been reading a lot about pants fitting. But I’ve been stalling on the making part, put off by the warnings about how difficult getting the right fit can be. I really need to take the plunge finally!

      I agree — I do like the look of the side zip, whether that’s currently “on trend” or not 😉

      I popped over to your blog and discovered that you’ve made some gorgeous button-front blouses and tunics. Very inspiring 🙂


    1. Thank you! It turned out I had more of that fabric than I initially thought — that’s what happens when you buy the same fabric twice…

      Before Me-Made May I thought I didn’t have a cohesive enough palette, but the situation’s better than I imagined. I’m slowly getting somewhere with those colors 😉


  2. all outfits shown here are pretty, especialy like the entire outfit of day 15!
    I get what you mean about luck of time, I have also so many garments that I want to make but time is alwayw an issue 😦


    1. Thank you, Aida!
      There is never enough time, is there? I’m not the best at sticking to my sewing list, but I find that making one helps me get at least of the most needed pieces made. But there’s a lot that happens on impulse when I step away from the list 😉

      I like your new pleated skirt. You chose a fabric in a lovely color, and that decorative belt is so intricate!


  3. All the outfits you made are so pretty! I really love the mini-spotted dress and the beignet skirt. Once you start wearing you own clothes it just gets easier and easier to settle on your own style and it looks like you’ve nailed pretty, relaxed and comfortable 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! It is getting easier now to figure out what I want to both wear and make, and those are coming together gradually. Wearing things I’ve made makes me really happy.

      There needs to be another Beignet for sure… and oh so many things. I need another list 😉

      I hope it doesn’t come across too awkward… I discovered your blog when I had just barely made a few garments and it’s been one of my favorite sources of inspiration and motivation for sewing since then. You manage to bring a sense of experimentation together with practicality — that’s something I really like about your sewing. And you have a sense of humor about making, which I think is crucial for not letting perfectionism destroy the fun of it all. That’s something I need to keep reminding myself about.


  4. Lovely post Ms. Kalimak and many congratulations on winning the patterns. That’s definitely something that will brighten one’s day! As I was saying the other day, I love your MMM colour palette and I especially love the Anna dress and Hazel dress – they are both knockouts!! I have the Hazel pattern and also the Beignet pattern and you have reaffirmed why I bought them. As for trousers – well, I am no expert as you very well know, but would say just go for it! I think trousers/pants are soooo individual that nobody can get it right straight away unless they are very, very lucky. What I mean, is that even in RTW, I can generally speaking pick a dress, skirt or top that fits me fairly well without too much trouble. Not perfect, but wearable. Trousers? No way. The length of the leg, the depth of the crotch, the waistband height. It’s a minefield. So you might as well go for it. You’ll do great, I’m sure.


    1. Thank you, Claire 🙂 You know, every now and then I realize I didn’t give my name anywhere here. So let me put it here in this comment as an Easter egg of sorts (not that anyone would look): my username is my name spelled backwards with an added “k” at the end.

      I really love those two dresses. Hazel was definitely easier for me than Anna. I have seen some comments online about fitting issues, so it might be a good idea to muslin. I didn’t. Luckily, I was able to tweak the fit as I went. The two Hazels followed the Laurel as my first successful dresses (after the Laurel there were a few failed projects that had to be completely scrapped). I didn’t yet know how muslins worked exactly, so I guess I was really lucky!

      I have similar problems finding pants/trousers (here I am, clumsily trying to reconcile the linguistic divide ;-)). I hate, hate, hate shopping for them. I guess trying to fit and sew them will, at its worst, be a comparable experience.

      What’s on your sewing table? 🙂


      1. And a very pretty name it is too! 🙂 Well, they both look lovely and thanks for the muslin advice about the Hazel. I do generally try to muslin at least the top half for a dress and my body shape has been so all over the place the last year or too, it’s crucial these days.

        Having said thattttt… (ha), I have two non-muslined projects on my cutting desk. First I started the Weston shorts (Seamwork but I’m sure you knew that) in a teal linen. I hate shorts shopping too and actually I’m not that keen on linen. It’s never seemed to sit that well on me, no matter my size, and the creases… oh, the creases. But I did buy quite a lot of it to make a second pair of Luna trousers and since I didn’t love the first pair (on me) all that much, that’s not going to happen. So I thought, well, let’s make a working muslin.

        The other project is a little more freestyle. One of the lessons in that monthly Whipstitch course I’m doing was about gathers, pleats and the like. The class leader provided us with a little tank top pattern with a kind of bib insert to practice some of the techniques we learnt. So I’m attempting to make a couple of those. One with smocking, one with asymmetrical pleats (hopefully). The reason I’m not muslining those is that the largest size the pattern goes to is around my size, or slightly smaller. 🙂 I’m thinking of this as an exercise in experimentation. And there you are! What’s next for you? Oh, I forgot to say your kimono robe is gorgeous too. I can imagine swishing around in that must be lovely…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It seems like you have the kind of guilt I usually haave when I forego the muslin. As if the small gods of clothing mockups are looking at me disapprovingly… 😉 I think there are good reasons to skip the muslin sometimes. I like having that trial run but I do worry about the amounts of fabric it uses up, to be honest.

          Those shorts are lovely. I would definitely give the pattern a try… if I ever wore shorts. I don’t even know why I don’t. Perhaps in my case hot weather gives sun dresses the power of siren song. So I made a dress I have yet to blog about — without a muslin! — and in a linen/rayon blend.

          I had some worries about linen but the real test came in the wearing. Despite the creases I love that fabric in the summer. Joann’s has a lot of linen/rayon blend fabric — you might give that blend a try if you’re skeptical about 100% linen. I wouldn’t say it necessarily creases less. I think I’ve just stopped minding.

          I’m looking forward to seeing your new projects. Enjoy the freestyle sewing — it can be exhilarating once you’ve shushed the small gods of mockups 😉

          PS: If you’re contemplating making the Almada robe, I say go for it! I didn’t muslin that one, by the way 🙂


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