Why I Failed the Me-Made-May Challenge & What I Learned


Me-Made-May is a month long, set your own level, challenge for people to wear their self-made clothing.

My Me-Made-May ’17 challenge was to wear one me-made item every day and to mend/alter eight items from my mend/alter pile so I would have more me-mades to wear before the month was out.

Well, it wasn’t a complete FAIL but I’d say it was up there.

Let me go back a couple months to paint you the big picture.

2017-5-bg-m-m-m-wrapAfter the big closet clean out I did for Style School in the fall I only had less than a dozen me-made items, a couple wearable as they were and six that needed to be altered. Style School had me rethink what I was wearing and what I liked to wear. And when Style School was over I was wearing what was left in my closet, mostly jeans, boots, sweaters and knit tops.

A couple months ago I made a small miscalculation. I simply thought: What I’m wearing now = What I want to wear tomorrow and beyond.

Sounded logical so I thought and planned and sewed up a few knit tops; a category of garments I was wearing a lot of. I sewed a short sleeve kimono T in a lightweight solid and in a print of heavier weight, two raglan long sleeve tops; one color blocked like a baseball jersey and the other in a pinstripe so small it appears to be solid, and a dolman sleeve top, striped like a classic French Sailor’s Shirt.

2017-5-bg-m-m-m-wrap-5It went to my head a little. I congratulated myself on what a great job I did, thinking the sewing through before I bought the knit fabric, the patterns and before I took the time to sew them all. I obviously made the right choices because I now had multiple items that I wore daily with ease, which fell into my existing wardrobe seamlessly. How clever and smart I was.

And then the curtain was pulled to the side.

On the 21st of May, I woke up sick and tired of wearing the knit tops I made. I did have some me-made woven tops but, honestly, I didn’t feel like wearing them either and I think it was because I always wear them with jeans. My me-made skirts were still in the mend/alter pile except one, in a print that clashed horribly with the woven tops and most of the Ts I made.

2017-5-bg-m-m-m-wrap-6So the last 10 days of May I just wore what I wanted to wear, me-made or not, mostly not. And I had only fixed two items from the pile. A me-made woven top and a store bought tunic dress. Motivation to alter the other items was not to be found.

So, that’s pretty much a fail. But…

I always try to remember that if I learned anything from a failed project or challenge, then it wasn’t a complete failure. At least this is what I tell myself.

And I did learn a few things.

2017-5-bg-m-m-m-wrap-7First of all, I re-learned the lesson from Style School: wear clothes that support who you are and how you want to feel. Clothes can make us feel a certain way when we wear them. Some clothes make me feel comfy cozy, some make me feel confident and energetic, and some make me feel “blah”.

Putting on my, not so stylish to begin with, jeans and a T was starting to make me feel, well, not great. So I stopped wearing clothing based strictly on who made it and instead put on clothes that helped me feel how I wanted to feel. If it happens to be a me-made I considered it a bonus.

Second I learned, that putting time into planning my sewing is smart. It’s my nature to be impulsive but planning the knit tops meant I bought patterns and fabrics I used, almost right away, and sewed items that work with what I have. However, for myself, stepping away from the plan and letting a little time go by would ensure that the plan itself is not an impulsive decision.

2017-5-bg-m-m-m-wrap-8Third, it’s okay to change your taste and it’s okay to change your mind. It’s not a personal defect or a character flaw. You’re allowed to think you’re going to like a pattern or a fabric but not like the garment when it’s done. None of us, well maybe some of you do, have a crystal ball.

Just like when I felt high on my horse for making “right decisions” about sewing the knit tops I feel down on myself when I see patterns and fabric I purchased years ago, that I haven’t sewn yet and now have no desire to sew. I’ve changed or my taste has; that happens. It’s not a mortal sin.

2017-5-bg-m-m-m-wrap-12Besides, these minor decisions about, patterns, fabric, clothing, and style are not lifelong, irrevocable decisions. Which is why we hold on to old patterns we didn’t use. One day, we might decide that pattern is exactly the one we want to sew.

(Of course, I find that lesson the hardest. Making decisions is my Achilles heel.)

Fourth, I learned I am not keen to do the mending or altering. I avoid it like I avoid making decisions. The solution for me, I think, is to pick one piece out of the pile and put it on the work table at the beginning of the week. It will get done by the end of the week because I will see it and my brain will start figuring out what needs to be done to it. Like a good puzzle, I’ll be drawn to solve it.

2017-5-bg-m-m-m-wrap-15And lastly, I learned that color blocked, raglan sleeve knit tops, aka baseball jerseys, remind me of being in middle school. Although the top I made fits well, is comfortable, and is in colors that I not only like and wear but that also bear no resemblance to the team colors of my one and only miserable season in softball, there is something about that jersey that needles me.

When I wear it I’m right back in seventh-grade. Believe me when I say that although seventh-grade was not evil, it’s just not where I want to be in my head all day.

The baseball style jersey is one of those garments that I wanted, I even planned it, but it didn’t really work for me. And it reminds me everytime I wear it that, yeah, this isn’t you, at least not anymore, now that you’re beyond your tween years. Way beyond.

2017-5-bg-m-m-m-wrap-31All in all, Me-Made-May was a big lesson in listening to myself and slowing down a bit. And yes,  my Cheap Trick radio station was constantly calling to me all month. So I played it, a lot. Middle School, not always about good choices, am I right?

How did your Me-Made-May ’17 do? What lessons did you learn? What music did you love in middle school?


Can you spot the Me-Mades?

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