I’ve got my work cut out for me

Well, not literally, yet!  After seeing Zoe’s Me-Made-May ’12 challenge the other day I was thrilled and hesitant at the same time. I have not participated in many of the me-made challenges because, quite frankly, I do not have me-mades enough to get me through 31 days.  The June and September challenges that I have participated in have been a little more challenging than I thought they would be as I tried to find me-mades in my closet that were weather/life appropriate.  And I am quite intimidated by the wardrobes and styling of most of the participants – like Claudine or Carolyn.  Which isn’t the point, I know, but when I see wardrobes of almost all me-mades and so beautifully styled, it makes me realize how much is lacking in my own closet.  Well, maybe not my own closet, but my styling ideas are woefully few.  Having said that, blogging about my me-mades has helped me in the area of what goes well together and what doesn’t go well together.  Nothing like a photo op to glaringly show up what works and what most definitely does not.  You see, I initially started sewing because my mother sewed and it looked like something fun to do.  Then I discovered Vogue magazines and read them religiously as a young teen and really really wanted to dress like that, every day, all day, regardless of the appropriateness of a Chanel-style suit in high school.

mmm12 So I started to sew up designer Vogue patterns as a 12 year old – particularly the old Individualist line they had years ago.  I guess my mom thought it kept me out of trouble and she liked to see her daughter dressed better than she was able to dress during her teens.  And my dad was quite happy because I saved him a lot of money.  I have one distinct memory of him telling me he was so happy that I sewed so well because he would never have been able to afford to dress me the way I dressed if I didn’t make my own clothes!  Needless to say, I stuck out like a sore thumb in high school, and by the time I hit university, I was totally “way out there somewhere”.  bridal shower

I mean, you can’t walk around university campus in stilettos, although you may be able to walk around a high school in them – like I did.  And I grew a bit sideways, too, when I moved out on my own, which meant that my entire overdressed wardrobe didn’t fit anymore.

So I quite sewing for myself except for the really pricey concert gowns or office attire that I couldn’t afford to buy.  It is still more economical to make a ball gown than to buy one.  In my size, anyways.  Sample sales are only good for ideas in my curvy world. grad gown

Then I discovered Pattern Review and the world of sewing fanatics like you all, dear readers, and was amazed!  There were other people with my crazy love of fabrics and sewing.  Although, I do confess, I was more discouraged than encouraged for a long time – you are all so very talented and it was quite disheartening to read and learn and read and learn more until I realized how little I actually knew about garment construction!  And let’s not even start talking about fitting….linen suit

It has never been my intent to sew all of my clothing.  I am quite happy to by RTW t-shirts or hunt eternally for that pair of jeans that finally fits, and I have found a couple of labels that fit relatively well straight off the rack, albeit at a pretty chunk of change.  I have made up a couple of casual items over the last couple of years, but they are the items that I wear the least and eventually end up giving away.  I feel more comfortable in a RTW tee than in one I’ve made myself, and I haven’t bothered to analyze why. 

And then there’s the reality of my lifestyle.  Believe me, I would love to be one of those SAHM’s that is glamourous all the time.  But it takes a lot of time and work, quite frankly, to try to look fabulous all the time.  Honestly, if I’m not out running errands or driving children to appointments, then I’m usually at home in old turtlenecks, yoga pants or jeans doing SAHM stuff that is most definitely not conducive to dressing up.  I mean, for goodness’ sake, do I really want to add a stack of silk dresses, wool pants or a ball skirt to my already overflowing laundry room?

silk print

I guess I’m a slow mover – I’ve needed to mull over just why I sew and what I’m happy sewing and then actually wearing – and I’ve come to the decision that I’d really like to work on sewing up my stashed fabrics and patterns in a leisurely and pleasurable way that results in garments I wear out because I like wearing them so much.  That said, I’d like to commit to Me-Made-May ‘12.  Hopefully I’ll add a few bottoms and a couple of shirts to my wardrobe before and during this challenge, since those two items are sorely missing in my me-made collection.

I, Tia Dia of Mezzo Couture, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’12. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item of clothing each day for the duration of May 2012.

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14 thoughts on “I’ve got my work cut out for me

  1. I love this post and hearing about your history of sewing. You make some lovely garments–really full of love and expressiveness. I think I was drawn to your blog because of the unique patterns you choose (that I can’t find/see anywhere else). I’d definitely celebrate your earlier adventurous sewing and style–what drew you to sewing in the first place! I so wish I’d saved photos of some of my makes from the 80s and 90s (I just dove into all the designer patterns). So much of it was indeed “impractical” and sometimes slapdashed together but it was so so fun and I had my fashion fix. Blessings on finding your challenge and what you’d like to focus on in this season of sewing. There’s still that dramatic artist in there, though… she’ll never go away…

    That ball gown is fantastic!

  2. This is a very interesting post; I think that determining why you sew and what you like to sew is really important. I would think that those things would evolve both with your skill set and your changing lifestyle… as you’ve proven 🙂

    I started out sewing recently because of the lack of RTW garments that fit me, and my wardrobe is sadly lacking both basics AND special garments so for me, deciding WHAT to sew has been very challenging, as I’m still just developing a skill set. I want to make things that I like and want, and need… but it’s important for me to do certain kinds of projects in order to learn the skills.

    Needless to say, I am still very slow and have only made a couple garments thus far, none of which would be appropriate enough to wear frequently (or good enough IMO), so I would not be able to participate in MMM even if I wanted to. However, looking forward, I know I will be able to in the future and that is a pretty cool goal to look towards 🙂

  3. Great post! It’s interesting to see your style evolve and your “sewing arc.” I am looking forward to seeing what you wear this May:-)

  4. I am so glad you are going to participate in MMM12. I will look forward to seeing your creations, and we can give each other some styling support 🙂 I live a pretty casual life and this challenge is a way for me to add some nicer outfits. I love your pictures above-what a gorgeous gown!!

  5. Me made months always interest me but I don’t participate because a long time ago I decided that the clothing I make fits me better and are in silhouettes & colors that I really want. It definitely takes time to end up with an entirely made by you wardrobe. And I think it’s easier for me because I decided to only make my work wardrobe since that’s what I wear the most. So I understand your challenge as a SAHM but maybe this challenge will allow you to truly think about the pieces you want to sew and give you direction in your sewing. I just hope that it doesn’t take the joy of sewing from you by making you think that you HAVE to sew things that you don’t want to. Because truly I own more RTW cardigans and tanks than I do made by me ones…

    1. And you are one of the sewists that I am continually amazed by! I love seeing what comes out of your sewing room and how you glean ideas from the designers and make them into your “own”. In trying to have me-mades along the lines that I usually wear schelpping around, I did lose the joy of sewing for a while, because I really truly enjoy the fiddling details in a big project.

  6. You know, I was SO disappointed when I got to uni in the things people wore… all the really interesting fashion just disappeared. /sigh. Of course, a few months in I realized *no one had time for that any more*.

    I didn’t initially set out to have a me-made wardrobe, but I found I could justify buying more fabric if I wasn’t buying any clothes… so that’s how it happened to me ;). And, well, it feels exciting and special to wear stuff I’ve made. I definitely do better on the outfits for photo shoots than I do in every-day, though.

    I’m going to sit out MMM this year—the point is to challenge yourself and I just don’t have the oomph for that right now. I’m sure I will be utterly green with envy the whole time, though! 🙂 Can’t wait to see your go at it.

    1. Ha! Yes, I do the same thing around justifying fabric purchases! I’m disappointed you’re sitting out MMM this year – I always look forward to your style savvy posts! That said, I’m ra-raing for you on your other commitments (thesis?). We’ll share the envy, because I’ve always wanted to do a post-graduate degree or two, and haven’t yet!

  7. Ha, ha ! you´ve got the ball rolling! I´m in too! Let´s see what comes out of this… At least we will be getting some new items in our wardrobe and even for a month well get out of the comfort zone and be stylish! See you there!

  8. The pictures of your past projects are wonderful. Your comments about stilettos in high school remind me of why I stopped wearing skirts and dresses – footwear. The flats that I wore as a kid seemed too childish, heels felt more like a teacher (and I really wasn’t so good at walking in them). So as much as I liked dresses, they went to special occasion wear until I started working.

    Mulling time is never wasted time in my books. So long as you come to a conclusion at some point.

    1. Hmmm…. yes… the conclusion part is a bit elusive sometimes! But I have decided that I’m happier making up things slowly and doing the job well with a LOT of hand sewing in each garment!

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