me made may // moving to the midwest edition!

you could say this post is six weeks late or you could say it’s never too late for self reflection. Let’s go with the latter, interspersed with some instagram photos!

a prime smudgy-mirror kickoff selfie: a Wiksten tank dress on May 1, + 2 cats who had no idea what was in store for the month
a prime smudgy-mirror kickoff selfie: a Wiksten tank dress on May 1, + 2 cats who had no idea what was in store for the month

if you found this wee little sewing & crafting blog then I’m guessing you already know about me made may: a monthlong sewing challenge to take your self-made clothes out of the closet and into the street. This can mean head-to-toe handmade or one garment per week — a choose your own adventure community event. I challenged myself to wear something that I made each day, and I absolutely loved connecting with so many other makers on instagram (using #memademay15 and #mmmay15 and sometimes other derivations thereof).

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I ambitiously entered the month thinking I would keep a digital log of what I wore each day, not always on instagram (too self conscious for that many public selfies) but at least jotting down a quick note about how I felt in each outfit using Evernote. That lasted about a week. In part because this May I was on the move — to Minneapolis!

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yup, me & my cutie packed up our cats, our couch, and a carload of stuff (ok, yes, I shipped more boxes of fabric and sewing supplies than I’d care to admit) and moved 2000 miles while listening to T Swift’s 1989 album, and not even ironically by the end of it all. But why? DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH IT SNOWS THERE? That is the general sentiment we received (and kind of still receive) while sharing the news.

instagram outtake before dinner with family in Berkeley, perfect for my new Alder shirt dress

well, a few things converged, like Jenn getting a truly incredible opportunity for a master’s degree program, both of us having family roots here (a mix of past & present), a certain amount of job burnout (more on that maybe another time), concerns about the cost of living & tech bro takeover in the Bay, and a thirst for adventure! (icing on the cake: indulging in some instagram stalking of inspirational MPLS creatives)

Nell blouse in feral childe cupro that I wore to a job interview

so back to the me-made part of May. For me, the month was split into 4 major transitions: the last week at my office job, apartment & job hunting in Minneapolis with a quick family visit stopover in Denver, packing and saying so long to friends in Oakland (along with obsessive amounts of cleaning because we really needed that security deposit back), and road tripping. (Not the sight-seeing, quirky detour through Americana kind of road trip, more like let’s drive 80 MPH for four days straight with 2 cats in the car and hope our relationship survives kind of trip).

I wore this Scout tee a lot and only once did it look this regal (at an Airbnb in an actual mansion)

all told, this put my wardrobe versatility to the test and while I wouldn’t say it passed with flying colors, it was fun and fairly stress-free. My overall takeaway is that my me-made pieces are for the most part my favorite clothing items, but I’m missing a few core items of clothing (and maybe accessories?) that allow me to style them in a way that feels authentically me. And I think my explorations in making clothing are helping me realize what those key pieces are. In fact, I would say I felt most limited in my me-made-may participation by my RTW closet staples – vestiges (and proportions) of past shopping frustration.

a little hemlock shell top  on a backdrop of jasmine (the wafting blooms were my favorite part of evening runs)

I thought I would take beautifully posed, cross-country photos of my makes, and that I would have a detailed, insightful journal entry to inform my sewing plans and Wardrobe Architect styling, and then when I arrived here I would use my funemployment to write awesome backlogged blog posts and sew to my heart’s content. Instead I mostly wore the same pair of cut-off jean shorts with a rotation of rumpled handmade tanks and tees, that were captured in instagram outtakes dutifully taken by Jenn, and then when I arrived I spent most of June trolling Craigslist for furniture while waiting for my belongings to be delivered and my job to be secured. I could say I fell short of the former, but upon reflection, I have to say I’m pretty proud of the latter, and I’m glad I made the effort to tackle it all during my first me-made-may.

my third-ever hand-knit sweater debuted on the first day in my new apartment, on the last day of me-made-may

p.s. in case you wondering what 4 days in a car with cats looks like, they were actually great on the drive — it seemed to lull them to sleep (in their plush crate). But at night in the hotels full of new smells and hiding spots, that was another story…

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Jess

making things & asking questions

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