All’s Well That Ends Well, but Please, Don’t Put Your Wool in the Washine Machine

 

 

 

viola outfit 2

 

At one point, I considered not writing this post at all, because I’m pretty embarrassed about how this skirt got to the point where it needed remodeling in the first place.  But in the end, there was no way to not write about it, especially since I ended up wearing this once-shameful skirt to dressy Flagstaff event (maybe the only dressy Flagstaff event? We always joke that people here wear jeans to everything) . . .

I made this skirt, as near as I can figure, about 10 years ago!  This was a time before I knew much at all about wool, other than the basics; it comes from sheep, it’s been used since ancient times, people say it’s lovely, etc.  It may be worth pointing out that this was also years before I had felted anything, on purpose or otherwise.  You probably see where this is going.  I put a sample of the fabric though a normal cycle in the washing machine.  Nothing happened, the fabric looked just about the same as when it went in.  “Great!”  I thought.  I made up the skirt using the Folkwear Walking Skirt pattern, one I love and have used a lot.  And, I continued to wash it in the machine.  It never went in the dryer, thankfully, or what happened next probably would have been a much shorter process.  As it was, the fabric continued to look like nothing happened, for many years, for dozens and dozens of washes.  But eventually, all that agitation inevitably started the fibers felting together.  By last winter it was impossible to ignore.

 

pinstripe skirt remodel 1

 

Since I now know quite a bit about felting, once I could look past my obvious horror since I had ruined some lovely fabric, I found it fascinating that the places on the skirt where small parts of the fabric were stitched to each other (the waistband, hem, and back placket) were still unfelted, while the big skirt pieces were noticeably felted, thicker and fuzzier.  Actually, it was the contrast between the two parts that made the skirt look weird, especially the unfelted hem, which looked almost gathered against the felted skirt.  My current theory is that since the hem and placket fibers couldn’t move as much, they couldn’t interlock to felt like the others did.

The skirt sat in my to-fix pile until I figured out a plan, actually a pretty simple one, which I think is essential to not spending inordinate amounts of time remodeling something.  I would cut off the not-as-felted hem, waistband, and placket, fit the remaining felted skirt to a wider and lower waistband facing, make a new placket, and re-hem it.  Above you can see my chalk lines for what to cut in the back, I continued the line of the wider side of the placket down to the hem, and cut a symmetrical amount from the other side of center back, to keep the back pieces the same size.  I got little pieces of felted fabric to use for my new placket from the extra cut off below the old placket.

 

viola outfit 3

 

While I working on this project, I was also trying to figure out what I would wear to the Viola awards.  They’re Flagstaff’s yearly art and science awards for teaching, exhibits, and community outreach, and they throw a big Oscar-like party to give them out.  Bryan was nominated for one this year, for the exhibit of his In a Big World Wandering work, for which we also made the giant silk cyanotype.  I’d never been before, and I wondered what would everyone wear, what should I wear, should I borrow something, is it more like a costume party, should I wear something shiny?

I am not a shiny person.  In the end, I decided not even to go to my friend’s and try on formals to borrow, but instead to wear something that reflects who I really am.  Not only that, but I realized I could actually wear the lovely tailored skirt I was working on – if I went ahead and finished it!  I took the photos of my outfit right before we left, and I think you can tell I was pretty thrilled with my decision.  If what we wear tells everyone we meet a lot about who we are and where we stand, shouldn’t it be even more important, at an event where people are actually paying attention to my clothes, for me to wear something that shows my values and my heart?

 

pinstripe skirt and top

 

So I wore the rescued skirt, in it’s newly tailored glory!  Note the buttery folds.  And a nubbly cream silk tank top I made to wear to a wedding last year (same copied pattern as this linen one) which has proved more useful than I thought it might.  The shawl is something I started knitting for our wedding, realized would never be done in time, and eventually finished later.  (It’s a longer and wider version of the Fiber Trends Cocoon Lace Wrap, in a wool/alpaca blend lace weight yarn.)  It’s drapey and surprisingly warm, enough to keep me comfortable outside while I took the photos.  The pin holding it closed was my grandmother’s.  I didn’t make the tights or shoes, but I still love them . . . topped off with my winter coat, and I felt like I had stepped back to the ’40’s.

 

bryan and tasha viola photo booth

 

Proof that we went and I wore this outfit!  If you are curious what others wore, or what the event looked like, there are lots and lots more photos on the Facebook page for the organization.   We didn’t win (Bryan’s photo exhibit was up against the opening of the Discovery Channel Telescope!  And the winner, a recycled art exhibition that’s been going strong for 10 years here) but it was a really fun party, and I got lots of compliments, especially on the shawl.

 

pinstripe skirt remodel 2

 

But back to the skirt, and I might as well confess one more thing, I feel slightly guilty but I can’t help it; I like this fabric more now than I did in it’s new/intended state.  It’s so soft but with so much body, and it tailors like a dream.  In fact, making the new placket and waistband gave me the itch to sew with wool again, it’s just a pleasure to work with.  This has got to be the flattest-laying, easiest-pressed-in-place placket I’ve ever made.  And the buttonholes – I made them by hand with a single strand of waxed black cotton sewing thread, and it was as if I sealed the cut edges with a magic wand.  Not only can you not see the stitches here, I couldn’t see them in my studio while sewing in broad daylight.  Note the pockets!  Another benefit of me-made formal wear.

 

pinstripe skirt remodel 3

 

I also thought about how much I’ve learned in the last ten years.  I was able to add several refinements to this second round of the skirt, including using rayon ribbon on a lot of the edges to reduce bulk, adding a contoured waistband that fits my figure, and using catch stitches to secure the hem and placket so they wouldn’t show from the outside.  Now that it’s on a strictly hand-wash-only plan, the new and improved version should last me another ten years at least!

 

viola outfit 1

 

Morals of the story: please wear your heart on your sleeve, especially to formal events.  Sometimes a silk purse is lurking inside the sow’s ear of your mistakes.  And people please, no wool in the washing machine!

 

 

Update: How to Fix a Small Hole in Knit Fabric

kitchener stitch 6

 

When I published this post about fixing small holes in sweaters and other knit clothes, I realized I didn’t really have pictures of repairing a hole in the middle of the fabric, not near a seam, and I said I’d add some if the opportunity came up.

Well, it did.  One of the lovely things when word gets out that you work with a certain material (in this case recycled cashmere garments) is that every now and then, someone just gives you some.  The best thing about this as far as I’m concerned, better than the free stuff, is that I have absolutely no obligation to use the donated items for business purposes unless I want to.  Therefore, when someone gives me not-yet-felted cashmere sleep pants (thank you thank you Lauren!) I get to yell “Cashmere SLEEP PANTS!” try them on immediately, and wear them myself!

They also had one small hole, a perfect example to fix.  It was perfect but, um, fuzzy and a little hard to see (who’d have thought, right, fuzzy cashmere?) so I also snipped a hole in my sample from the how to pick up a dropped stitch in knitting post, fixed it, and included those pictures as well.  Click on the link above to see the updated post.

Here’s to enjoying the materials life gives you!  And happy mending!

 

fix sleep pants 3

 

Me-Made Purple Corduroys—How Life is Like Fitting Pants

purple cords 1

 

Where to begin?  I think I could talk about these pants and all their glories and implications well past what you would read.  Well – I think I’ll begin with why they are purple, which will lead right into why they are fitted, which will lead right into why they are the best pants I’ve ever had.

So, a few years ago now, my aunt got this pair of purple corduroy pants, and for some strange reason I fell in love with them at first sight.  I’m not usually into purple, or brightly colored trousers, nevertheless I’ve wanted my own pair ever since.  I found 1 1/2 yards of, get this, lavender hemp and organic cotton corduroy on the NearSea Naturals clearance page!  (It had a “stain” on it, which washed right out.)  Update: although I love love love the idea of this fabric, the color of this fabric, and the resulting pants, the fabric is just not sturdy enough.  I got about a year of good-looking wear out of these before the corduroy pile started coming out, even with washing them inside out and not once putting them through the dryer, and that is just not enough for something I made.  If anyone knows of a source for sustainable, long-lasting fabric, please let me know!  The good news: all the work I did on fitting (keep reading) is already transferred to the pattern and waiting for me to find the next fabric! 

I thought this was the perfect amount of fabric.  I planned to make another pair just like my grey pants, even though I wasn’t sure that wide leg would be the best look for purple corduroys, I would figure out that fit first, and save more close-fitting pants for another day/next fall maybe.  Well – it turned out that all the wide leg pattern pieces would not fit on this much fabric.  To fit them in I had to narrow the legs quite a bit.  Well.  I just tapered the tops of the pattern pieces from the grey pants into the narrower legs, cut them out, and this is what I got.

 

purple cords fitting

 

Clearly those fabric saddle bag areas on the sides had to go straight away, that was the easy part.  Getting a better fit through the seat/inner thigh area took a lot more work.  Every day for weeks, my sewing time consisted of: ripping out and re-basting in a slightly different position some part of the crotch seam and/or inseam and/or side seam, trying the pants on, deciding what to rip out next (often the same part).  Although I worked on these only a little bit each day (partly to keep myself from getting frustrated and doing something hasty/stupid), I thought a lot about how life is like fitting pants.  The baking equivalent might be yeast bread, or even macarons.  There are a lot of variables, and each one seems to affect all the others, so that a small tweak in one area can change all kinds of things I would not expect.  But, if I just keep plugging away, trying things, seeing what happens, I will eventually reach a place where I am very happy with the results.

 

purple cords side

 

Well – I really could not be happier with this result!  Although I have tweaks to make in the next version (pants are clearly a journey, not a destination) they are the first pair I’ve ever had that really fit and flattered my figure, they’re incredibly comfortable, and I’m ridiculously satisfied with myself when I wear them.

If it wasn’t for the fact that things need washing, (Ok, and I do love skirts, and some days are for grubby clothes, etc.) I might conceivably wear these straight through until they wore out.

 

purple cords sewing table

 

Some sewing and fitting things I figured out while making them:

I took out all that extra I added to the back inseam of the grey ones, and then some.  Clearly a different fit requires a different shape.

See that diagonal wrinkle across the back hip in the first fitting?  I tried all kinds of things to get rid of that; letting out the side seam, unpicking the waistband and pulling the pants up, but nothing worked, until I saw something in Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph-Armstrong (which is one of my all-time favorite sewing books, expensive but worth it, I asked for it for Christmas one year).  It was one of my cousin’s textbooks at FIT in San Fransisco, and it shows you how to draft a pattern for just about anything you could ever want to make, plus all kinds of construction techniques.  It’s designed more for the fashion industry that for home sewers, and there’s not a lot about fitting, so I guess it says something that there is a section on pants fitting, where I found an illustration of a similar wrinkle with this note, “insufficient dart intake for dominant buttocks.”  That’s not how I’d like to think about my derriere, but the part about the dart totally worked!  I had been leaving that dart alone since I fit it in the last pants, but clearly it’s not a good idea to start think of any part of the fit as “finished” when I am changing the rest.

 

purple cords back

 

purple cords edgestitching

 

I used my edge stitching foot for the first line of top stitching (with a size 100 topstitching needle, moving the needle slightly to the left), and it worked great!  It was much easier to get an even stitching line with that little guide riding right on the edge.  I am now trying to figure out how I can use a similar guide for for the second line of topstitching, further to the inside..  Anyone know of a foot like that?  I used two colors topstitching and I really like it, one pair of Bryan’s jeans has that look and I decided to try it out.

 

purple cords inside

 

I trimmed a bit of the waistband lining before applying the rayon ribbon to the bottom edge, next time I’ll trim a bit more, but I like this finish.

If the legs look a bit long, I left them that way on purpose.  I keep noticing that the hems of cotton pants tend to creep up just a bit over time with washing, usually after I fix them just how I want them.  I’m not sure what the shrinkage of hemp is, but if these don’t get any shorter after a while I can always hem them up a bit more.

By the way, the above shot of the inside waist is probably the closest I got to the actual color, for some reason this purple seems to be hard to capture.

That’s about it, I guess, unless of course you want to talk some more about sewing, body image, and the power of DIY, etc. . . . if you see me around, I’ll be wearing these pants, and feeling happy!

 

tasha in purple cord pants

 

 

Holiday Hat Giveaway

6-18 months 2

About time, don’t you think?  I have two more of my fuzzy little Fiddleheads hats to give away!  They are made from recycled cashmere, super soft, eco friendly, and easy care.  These two will fit most kids from 6 to 18 months old.

Winning is easy!  Just leave a comment saying which hat you’d like and one thing you like about it – be creative!  You can get additional entries by mentioning this contest on your own blog, facebook, twitter, etc., just leave another comment with the link.

6-18 months 1

This contest is open to anyone around the world, although delivery in time for Christmas outside the US is not guaranteed.  I will keep it open until midnight Saturday (Dec 8) mountain time, and choose a winner using a random number generator.

Good luck!  Hope you’re having a great start to your week!

Update: this contest is closed now, but you can still get your very own custom hat from my Etsy shop!

Half My Wardrobe in Detroit, and What I Did About It

Not as much as I would have liked.  But, contrary to the impression you may have gotten from this space, I did squeeze in a little sewing for myself the last time we were home.  When we leave the truck somewhere in art show land (otherwise known as the Midwest) and fly back home to get some r&r (or maybe embark on some crazy giant new project) I leave a bunch of my summer wardrobe out there.  This last time, I kind of did it to myself on purpose, packing even fewer of my summer tops than I reasonably could have fit in my luggage, hoping that it would motivate me to sew some new ones.

First, I finished a top I had been working on during the visit home before this one.  I wear a lot of tank tops in the summer, and I have been thinking about how to make some woven ones as well as the usual knits.  This one is a copy of a silk top, the cups of which I found flattering and comfortable.  During Me Made May, I fell in love with linen all over again, specifically this one mm green linen skirt, which is getting to the super soft and drapey stage of life.  I had this natural linen leftover from a long-ago project and thought I would try it out.

 

 

I lined only the cups, with thin soft cotton, catching them in the midriff seam and folding under and hand sewing the other sides, I like how it came out.  The original top has a scalloped satin stitch on the edges, and I decided to try something similar.  I also had some thick linen thread which I loved with the fabric, but no amount of coaxing and bigger needles would convince my machine this was a reasonable thing to work with, so I ended up using a narrow zigzag to hold in on the surface.  Both of the edge treatments are softer and more subtle after a few washings.  I made the straps using a thin piece of fabric from the selvage edge, wrapping it around a thin ribbon.

 

 

I wanted to make sure it came out long enough, and I may have overdone it, but the tunic length is working alright so far.  Funny how I don’t notice things in the original (like the back riding up) until I copy it.  Sigh.  I’ll also check out the front wrinkles before I make another one.

Next, I pulled out some pink knit leftover from another top to make a tank for yoga, of which I desperately needed more.  I had some narrow fold over elastic in my stash which should have been perfect, but for some reason every step of this project fought me tooth and nail and used up WAY more of my precious sewing time than was reasonable for something so simple and small!  I ripped a lot of seams.  I tried adding a self-fabric section for the hem which absolutely refused to look decent with any type of stitching.  Plus, when I tried the top on it seemed too tight and clingy, and I already have one round of tops made from this pattern (a heavily modified Kwik Sew 3524) which are NOT too tight and clingy!  Finally I realized that if I ripped the stitching from the little bit of elastic I had used as a test, I would have just enough to put around the bottom as well.  Which I did, and without even trying it on again, put it in my closet and wore it to yoga the next day (keep reading for a picture).  The top stitching on the elastic is beyond wonky.  But I needed it, I made it, and I was wearing it, and some days that just has to be enough.

After that, I made a pair of dainties, partly because I didn’t have much time left and they were cut out already, and partly to prove that my beloved Bernina and I do actually have a good relationship with knits.  Which in fact we do.

 

 

On our “real” return home for the fall a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make one more tank top before moving on to fall/winter sewing. I had a tee shirt with a hole in it that I had been meaning to convert into a wearable top for ages.  Unfortunately, it was cut so far off the grain of the knit that I couldn’t just use the the original hem, as Zoe suggests, and I had to cut the back and front shelf liner in two pieces each to get them to fit.  But I did use white top stitching, which I liked on the original shirt.

 

 

I liked this picot edge elastic, but it was not exactly soft, so I sandwiched it between the layers, sewing it to the liner first with a zigzag, and then the top layer with a twin needle.  For the straps I used a similar idea to the ribbon wrapping, but using plain elastic, zigzag, and the twin needle again.  This time everything went smoother, and start to finish, including experiments, took less than three hours.  That’s more like it!

 

 

See me being all zen about the pink top.  See how much clingier AND drapier it is than the blue one?  Crazy fabric difference.  I checked and the previous versions have stretched out with wear as well.  I might make the next one just slightly wider to start with.

Next up for my sewing, pants!  What are you making for the coming season? How do you figure out what fabric will do before you sew it?  I’m, um, still figuring that part out apparently. . .

 

A New Month, A New Challenge – Spark Your Summer

The thing I love about setting a particular goal or participating in a challenge is that it can push me to take something I am vaguely thinking about doing and make it something I am actually doing and concretely thinking about.

I loved participating in Me Made May’12 this last month.  I was surprised by how much pride and self-sufficiency I felt wearing at least one me-made garment every day, even though I didn’t make anything new for the challenge!  It also got me thinking about what I really wear and how I want my style to evolve.  Although I’m not sure I would want to spend as much time thinking about my wardrobe all the time as I did in May, it really pushed me to better define my style (see this post), to figure out what I really need to make (pants!), and to meet some other sewers/thinkers/bloggers, all of which has been wonderful.  In another unexpected spillover, after MMM ended I found myself coming up with new combinations of my not-self-made clothes to better fit my style – bonus!

 

 

So when my new friend Alessa, along with Ali and Sarah, announced a new challenge for June, I was pretty much in at the word go.  Plus, this one is a little less involved, you just sew one special garment in June, something you’d like to wear all summer.  It’s good timing for me, since I have fabric I batik dyed last summer that’s supposed to become a dress in time for a special event which starts June 20!  I’ll be making my self-drafted sundress, with a few modifications from the first one.  And, I’ll be home late tonight!!  One thing I have really missed during MMM is my studio – sewing starts tomorrow!

 

 

Again, it seems to me that there’s no reason you have to sew to set yourself a helpful challenge for this month.  What about a cooking one?  An art one?  What are your broader goals and how can you set a specific goal to help you get there?  What would you like to do more of?  Why not set aside a specific amount of time for that every week?  Whatever you decide to do, I’d be willing to bet you’ll get some unexpected lovely side effects.

Personal Style, Me-Made-May, and How the World Sees Us

Oh, never mind the fashion. When one has a style of one’s own, it is always twenty times better.

~Margaret Oliphant

I’m so excited about this post, because I’ve recruited some awesome fellow participants in Me-Made-May’12 to share their photos and their thoughts about personal style with us!  I was so inspired by clicking through the Flickr group and checking out everyone’s photos, and by the thought-provoking comments they sent me!

I’ll start with my own style, which is definitely still a work in progress.

When I first started making my own clothes, quite a few years ago now, I chose what appealed to me most, (if you don’t want to know how much of a nerd I really am, please skip to the next paragraph) which was mainly historical styles.  If no one cared what I wore, I could happily wear long skirts, petticoats, 1940’s style dresses, etc. every day for the rest of my life.

But what I wear does affect how people see me, and how seriously they take me.  Sometimes what I’d like to wear doesn’t broadcast the message that I’d like people to get when they see me.

I still love historical clothes, and wear lots of long skirts in the winter, but now I look for ways to incorporate silhouettes I love with more timeless, modern designs and details.  I’d like what I wear to say, “I am unique, interesting, capable, beautiful, feminine, grounded, elegant.”  As I said, it’s a work in progress.

 

My first new friend for this project is Alessa.  I love the playful element her outfits have.  Check out her lovely blog of her handmade adventures by clicking any of her photos, or here!

 

 

 

She says:

I wouldn’t know to put a name to it, but there’s definitely a trend there. I think pretty and comfy sum it up best. I like dresses, because they are less constricting than jeans and I guess I also don’t like to be part of the “uniform” (jeans and t-shirt) wearing masses. Also, they make my stumpy legs look longer. 😉 A lot of people put labels like “nice” and “cute” on me, which I guess I generally am, and which is also reflected in a large part of my wardrobe. I like that I can also dress up to other facets of my personality, though, like “girlishly nerdy” (skirts and sciency graphic tees) and “playfully sexy” (that would be a black polka-dot dress with a red belt, red lipstick and a bowler hat).

 

Next is Oona.  I love how much body language is in her photos.  If you need a laugh in your day, you MUST read her blog!

 

 

 

 

She says:

i’d say my style is schizophrenic, vivacious, and a bit colorblind.  i like to think i make other peeps smile when they see me, especially strangers.  as a whole i don’t feel we dress up anymore, and peeps seem to take happy note of bright colors and thoughtful (if clashing) ensembles.

 

Finally here’s Sallie.  I love how sleek and put together her outfits are!  There’s lots more pictures and witty comments about the outfits on her blog.

 

 

 

She says:

I think personal style is really complicated because it involves a certain amount of self-awareness. Sometimes the things we love, sadly, don’t love us back. For me this translates into my love for vintage, an unrequited love that I think I’ve finally given up on. But the great thing about fashion and making your own garments is that the possibilities are endless. So instead I’ve focused on more modern looks that make me feel lady-like and put together. I like my clothes to fit well and to maybe have a touch of drama – like playing with texture, color or volume/structure. I think other people see me as someone who always looks laid back, but still elegant, and maybe a touch prissy – I’m taking this from compliments and comments I’ve received over the years (and I just asked my husband and thats what he said! haha!).

 

I can’t help feeling like I don’t have much to add here!  These ladies have summed it up and given me a lot to think about.

One last thing I will say, I know many of us who sew (or make anything else for that matter) do it at least partly so we can have just what we want, what’s not available anywhere else.  It’s a great feeling when you can be creative, and make something that you’re proud of, something that broadcasts the message you want to send.

So, how does the world see you?  What would you like your style to say?

Me-Made-May Thoughts So Far, and my Cartoon Summer Wardrobe

Ok, I realize that it’s the middle of Me Made May, and I haven’t said anything about it!  I have been thinking about it a lot though, and keeping a daily log of what I wear and my thoughts.  So far I have met my goal of wearing one me-made article every day, and on only one day has underwear counted.  (I have one sundress, not a me-made, that I wear when it’s just too hot to wear anything else.)

 

 

I wanted to make some kind of visual record so you could see what I’m thinking about for this project.  I loved Tilly’s photo collage of her me-made wardrobe, although photographing mine during several days of camping didn’t seem very practical.  But one of my goals for this summer is to draw more, a perfect activity for unplugged time.  Then I saw the book Information Graphics on Brain Pickings, and was inspired to make my own graphic for Me Made May.

The space we have in the truck for clothes is quite limited.  Every year I try to pack less, leaving out the things I don’t end up wearing much, but a little more of the most versatile, the things I can wear a lot of different ways and the things I know I wear all the time.  This also leaves me with a small enough wardrobe that my drawing project seemed practical.

 

 

I circled the clothes I made in yellow.  Somehow, this didn’t seem to represent the amount of effort that it feels like goes into what I wear.  So I circled things I had dyed or otherwise substantially altered in green.  Due to the careful selection of these clothes discussed above, there are only a few things here that I haven’t worn a lot.  I circled them in blue.  All four of these I included this season as a change from wearing mostly the same clothes I did at art shows last year – too much of that and it starts to feel like a uniform, which makes me start to hate even clothes I really like.  Still it looks like I have a little tweaking to do to make these pieces fit, and a couple of them may not fit in my summer wardrobe.

I was surprised to see how many tops I had in relation to pants and skirts, especially since I have been thinking I need to make some more.  I even have one about half done at home, based on the shiny top but in a linen fabric more suitable for every day.  Then I remembered that all three of my me-made tank tops are not exactly spring chickens, in fact, they are getting to the only-suitable-for-camping stage.  I circled everything that is wearing out in red.  After that, I does look like I could use a couple more basic tops, and sundresses, I live in those when it’s warm and it would be great to have a couple more.

One of my favorite things about a challenge like Me Made May is that it asks us to take a look at what we are really using and what we need.  For example, you can tell that pants that fit are the hardest thing for me to find ready-to-wear.  And making my own is still a journey, every time I wear those grey ones I think about what’s wrong with them, but I also get inspired to make better ones this fall!  In fact, with the cool weather we’ve been having so the past week or so, I’ve renewed my vow to make pants I like.

I’ve thought a lot the past few weeks about how what we wear is a compromise between what we’d ideally like to wear, what’s available (due to funds and time), and circumstances like the weather, what we have to wear to work, etc.

What do you think?

What’s in your closet?  What do you need, and what do you have but don’t wear?

 

Recycled Elisabethan Shirt

 

 

Note the “s”, we’re not talking the era of Queen Elizabeth I today, but rather fabulous upcycled clothing made by my friend Beth!  She has been my confidant and mentor in the world of recycled fashion for a while, and when we saw her last week at the Fiesta Arts Fair in San Antonio, I decided it was high time to add a piece from her Elisabethan line to my own wardrobe.

I totally love this shirt!   The design is what makes it for me, those flattering and interesting curvy seams, and the fabric choices.  Me Made May is coming up fast, and while I didn’t make this shirt, it exemplifies what MMM is all about; making choices that reflect who we are and who we want to be.  It’s sustainable, made in USA, and did I mention fabulous, and comfortable?  Head on over to the Elisabethan site for lists of stores and shows where you can get your own!

Me-Made-May 2012!

What is that, you ask?  It’s a fabulous idea from Zoe of the blog ‘So, Zo…’ wherein participants make a pledge to wear one or more self-made garments every day for the month of May, and/or to interpret the challenge in their own way.

 

 

What I really love about it is the idea of spending a month thinking about what we make and wear and why.  Does what you wear suit your personality and what you want to say about yourself to the world?  Why do you choose to make things?  Do you wear/use the things you make?

My pledge for May is to wear at least one thing I made everyday, and document my experience here in a way that’s also relevant to those of you who don’t sew, and addresses some of the interesting questions above.

If you do sew, I encourage you to head on over to Zoe’s blog and check it out!

If not, what about coming up with your own Me-Made-May challenge?  Maybe pledge to cook one new recipe or make one up yourself each week, or finish your woodworking project, or even the mending!  I think anything we make has the tendency to push us towards, as Zoe puts it “a more self-sufficient, sustainable and authentic life.”  I love that phrase – I couldn’t have described my own goals better!

The last part of my personal pledge for MMM’12 is to make more friends in the blog world and reach out to the other creative types out here, so I’d love it if you let me know your ideas, and pass on the spirit of Me-Made-May!