Saturday, 30 April 2016

Me-Made-May 2016: Why I'm Cutting Back This Year

Hello again! I feel like I'm slowly emerging from the cave that is the library and finals and getting used to seeing some light again.

I've also realized that every single time I post, I say that it's been forever and I will hopefully have something else up on the blog soon... but I've just had possibly the craziest, most stressful few weeks of university so far and blogging hasn't exactly been a top priority.

But... I'm now done! I had my last exam Monday morning, and I've been spending some quality time relaxing, catching up with friends, cleaning my apartment, and spontaneously dying my hair red! I've also FINALLY been doing some sewing (including finishing my Ginger jeans and then having a little mishap the first time I wore them...)

I actually have a few blog posts lined up right now, but I'm going to take a little aside to talk about Me-Made-May!

The past two years, I've loved participating in MMM! Two years ago, it was a great challenge and a fun way to find the gaps in my wardrobe.

Last year, it was actually quite easy because I was already wearing me-mades almost every day!

However, I'm actually stepping it down a little this year, for a few reasons:

1. I have a job working in a lab!

I've mentioned before that I've been volunteering in an immunology lab this year, and in the spring, I was awarded a SURA (Science Undergraduate Research Award), which is a grant to work on a research project of my own over the summer. It's a little difficult to explain without some background knowledge of immunology, but I'll be looking at how group 2 innate lymphoid cells regulate IgA production by B cells. If you understand that, awesome! If not, don't let it worry you :)

Anyways, the lab that I'm in is very laid-back and casual, but there are still some basic rules about what you should wear in a lab for safety. Long pants and covered shoes are a must, and I feel a little more comfortable in long (or at least 3/4) sleeves. Over the winter, I wore skirts with tights, but this summer in Montreal, it'll be far to hot to wear tights to and from the lab!

So, this kind of limits my options for MMM! Practicality really is key, and so far my only homemade pants (the Smooth Sailing Trousers, version 1 and version 2), aren't really that practical for lab work. I just imagine them getting in the way!

2. My body has changed a lot over the past couple years, and lots of my homemade clothes sadly no longer fit.

I've had to deal with a changing body over the past couple years, which has made sewing for myself really difficult. I (unwillingly) lost a lot of weight during my first year of university, kind of the opposite of the usual freshman fifteen! I've gained it back (plus a little more) now that I'm not relying on cafeteria food, and although I'm still definitely on the small side and gaining a little weight is not a problem, a lot of my me-made clothes no longer fit. This has led to a HUGE mending pile that I really need to get started on...

3. I feel like I need a bit of a 'wardrobe overhaul', as my friend put it!

Right now, I'm feeling like I'm definitely in need of some big changes in my wardrobe. Lately I've been feeling as if so much of my clothing just isn't 'me' anymore! It feels odd (and almost a little embarrassing!) to admit it here, because my blog has always been about creating classic, sustainable clothing, and right now I just feel like giving a lot of it away and starting anew!

When I first started sewing my own clothes, I was really drawn to girly, vintage styles, like lots of full-skirted dresses and florals. Now, though, I feel like I'm sick of always being 'cute' (not to mention being mistaken for a pre-teen...) and I'm much more drawn to styles that are a little more laid back. I'm trying to find some ways to re-work my old me-mades and make them more wearable!

My 'Pledge':

All these factors combined, I really can't commit to a 'strict' MMM pledge (not that they're ever really that strict to begin with!). Having said that, I've really loved participating in MMM the past two years, and I'd really like to do so again, so here's a reasonable, achievable, stress-free pledge that will make me think a little about what I'm wearing, and the gaps I really need to fill in my wardrobe:

I, Shannon of Adventures of a Young Seamstress, pledge to find new ways to work me-mades into my wardrobe and identify the gaps that I need to fill. I will do my best to wear something me-made every day, but if I don't, that's okay - I'll just learn from it what I need to focus more on sewing!

Rather than doing a round-up post every week with my outfits (which I've always found a bit of a hassle), I'm going to be posting outfit photos on my Instagram, and finish off the month with a round-up post. Head on over and follow me if you don't already!

Since my pledge is super vague (and pretty lenient!), I've set myself some more concrete goals/guidelines for the month:

1. Finish my GIANT pile of alterations

Almost this entire pile is me-mades that could be worn with a few mods, so once I tackle them I'll have a little more to work with for MMM!

2. Focus on separates, especially pants!

Both to wear and to make - I'd like to find new ways to wear my homemade tops with pants rather than skirts like I usually would. I'm also starting to get a little more comfortable with sewing pants, and despite a little mishap with my first pair of Ginger jeans, I'd love to try making another pair. I could probably fix the first pair, but the fit isn't great because my size changed since I started them, so I don't know if it'd be worth it. I also LOVE Heather's new boyfriend jeans pattern, and I'm really drawn to those trendy relaxed but still slim pants - I have no idea what they're actually called. I haven't found a pattern I like yet, so I may borrow my roommate's pair and try to copy the pattern!

3. Learn to copy patterns, draft some simple ones, and continue modifying those I already have

Like I said above, I have a few things I'd like to make that I just haven't found the perfect pattern for yet, or I might have a similar pattern that I'd rather modify than buy a new one (with a student budget and all...) I also have a few RTW pieces that I wear ALL the time and I'd love to copy, so this is definitely something I'd like to try this month!

I think that these goals are manageable and achievable, and will give me something to work on and think about if I can't manage to wear something me-made every day while I'm working. I think it'll also be great motivation to tackle my mending pile and find different ways to wear a lot of the pieces that I don't wear often anymore.

See you tomorrow on Instagram! #MMMay16


  1. Congratulations on your science undergraduate research award, I did similar maths research over summer for the last two years and I really enjoyed them both - good luck!

    I think style changes over the years and it is ok to accept that, as you move through different parts of your career you meet new people who influence your style. Your hair looks beautiful too.

    1. Thank you! I'm really looking forward to it. And really enjoying having red hair, too :)

  2. I think the term you might be looking for is "Girlfriend-Jeans". Not that I have a pattern.
    And it's not embarrassing to change your style. You change, and your self expression changes too. Your old pieces might be just the right unique piece for someone else.

    1. The pants I'm thinking of aren't jeans - they're usually made of rayon or something similar with some drape. I've borrow my roommate's to copy the pattern!

      I'm not embarrassed about my style changing - it's more that I just have all these pieces that I've blogged about that I never wear! I'm definitely going to see what I can re-work into something I will wear, though.

  3. Sounds like a fantastic pledge that totally fits with where you are at now in your life and professional development. Congratulations on finishing your studies and I hope your new job is really fun. Don't feel bad about wanting to move away from styles that you previously loved to make. We all change, and keeping hold of garments that no longer feel like 'you' just for the sake of it will leave you feeling bogged down. Why not celebrate the end of all your hard work by buying yourself a couple of new sewing patterns that feel like they reflect where your personal style is heading now? Anyways, wishing you a wonderful May xxx

    1. Thank you! I'm actually not done my studies yet - just finished another year and getting some lab experience over the summer. I'm having fun with MMM and finding some new ways to wear things I've made, and I've been working on some easy alterations to make things a bit more wearable. Thanks for hosting - it's such a great idea and I always have so much fun participating!

  4. I know you posted this awhile ago, but I just wanted to say that I feel the same way too about overhauling my wardrobe. I'm the same age as you and so many of my clothes just aren't me anymore, including things I've made! I'm having similar style issues too, I used to love floaty floral dresses but now I prefer tops and pants in darker colours. I've been struggling to fill the gaps as well as I find a lot of patterns out there aren't young enough or are meant for body types other than my own.

    1. I know what you mean about finding patterns! Now that I'm not into the same styles, it's harder to find patterns for what I'm looking for. Learning to copy patterns is helping, though! If I can borrow or thrift something that's similar to what I'm after, I can try to copy it.

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