Hi, I’m Helen and I normally blog over at Grosgrain Green. My focus there is pretty much exclusively sewing, and it’s what I am most passionate about writing about, which is why this post has a sewing angle. I promise not to get technical on you, though.
I recently took part in Me Made May, which if you are unfamiliar, is a month long initiative to challenge the individual to wear their handmade clothes. Now, if you are not a sewer, that may appear to be a bit redundant. I mean, if you choose to spend hours stitching up garments, then the point is that you wear them, right? Well, not always. Zoe, the creator of the challenge, explains it much better than I, but essentially people don’t always wear what they sew. This is quite often because people like to sew (for example) pretty vintage style dresses in novelty prints, which look beautiful, but are not practical for their day to day life. Or it could be because the fit of the finished garment isn’t great. Or because it doesn’t go with anything else in their wardrobe – a wardrobe orphan, if you will. So, Me Made May was invented to encourage the sewer to wear their “me-mades”, and thus discover new outfits, new ways of wearing things, rediscover old favourites and identify “wardrobe holes” to provide more of a focus for a sewing plan for future (i.e. sew things you are going to wear!).
I don’t strive to have a complete handmade wardrobe, and I don’t sew for ethical reasons like avoiding fast fashion. I sew because I love the process of sewing. However I enjoy Me Made May (MMM) nonetheless. It has thrown up some gaps – stripey tees, trousers, jeans – but I have these in RTW (ready to wear, i.e. bought from a shop) form, so I’m not truly lacking them.
What I found interesting this year about MMM, though, was how I feel I’ve had a style shift. To give some background to those who don’t know me, I had my second son just over a year ago, and I am currently still on Maternity leave. I guess this in itself partly explains why my style has changed: I have spent the past year off work, and therefore in jeans, with not much occasion for pencil skirts or heels. But it’s more than that. And strangely, I remember something similar after my first son was born.
My aesthetic varies, but generally I fall into the “vintage inspired” camp but with a side order of modern and practical thrown in. So, full skirts, pretty dresses in floral prints, coloured tights and ballet pumps, but also skinny jeans with breton tops and peter pan collar blouses, and Converse.
I’m not saying that I would’t wear any of the above again – actually not true; I’ve binned some of these already – but I definitely feel a shift away from this type of look. Whereas I used to think that lace collar was a cute 60’s inspired detail, it now literally does nothing for me. Instead I’m wearing (and wanting to sew) looser fitting tops, peg shaped trousers and no dresses. Instead of the florals which feature quite heavily above, I’ve been preferring geometric shapes. I’m sticking with my beloved breton stripes though:
Maybe it’s better explained by the type of sewing patterns I am coveting. Whereas previously these were the patterns I was lusting over:
I’m now all about:
Maybe this is just a shift in line with fashion, although I don’t really read fashion magazines and don’t shop that much. Maybe the move is informed by the huge volume of sewing blogs that I read, which covers a wide range of asthetics, styling preferences, personalities and body sizes and shapes. Maybe it’s because I turned 40 last year. Maybe once I return to work and I have little need to spend my days chasing after a crawler, or sitting on the floor building Lego, I will be straight back into my fit and flare dresses, and my pencil skirts. I know after I had my first son I felt very similar. Full skirts felt stupid and childish since I had become a “Proper Woman With A Child”, however as you can tell from the first set of photos (all made after I had my first son), I soon switched back, albeit the hemlines had dropped.
Who knows? I don’t really mind too much. I’m happy to see where the journey takes me, and to sew accordingly.