Me Made May 2017

Another Me Made May has come and gone. If you remember from previous years, this is an annual event in the online sewing community where we make a pledge to wear more of our handmade clothing. You can set whatever parameters you like for the challenge, but most people, myself included, try to wear something we've made every day of the month. The idea is to get more wear out of the clothing we make, but I get so much more out of it than that. When you wear only handmade clothing for a month, a lot of stuff comes up.

It forces you to to stock of your wardrobe and really think about the clothing you wear, don't wear and want to wear. May is the perfect month for examining your closet, at least where I'm from, because you're transitioning from cold to warm weather. I took note of both what I was bored to death of wearing all winter and what I was excited (or not) about pulling out from my summer things. I realized I rely a little too heavily on t-shirts and cardigans when it's cold, which is at least 6 months of the year in Canada. How boring! I also noticed that I have a lot of tops, but hardly any bottoms. And a few of my sundresses are looking worn and just not fitting well anymore.

Based on that information, I can focus my sewing for the year. Clearly I need to up my warm and cozy game next fall with some dressier pieces and by sourcing some better sweater knits. I also need to get sewing more skirts and pants stat. I always make a couple of new dresses every summer, so I'm not too worried on that end.

Once you figure out what you need to sew, there's no better time or place to look for patterns to fit those needs. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of sewists around the world sharing their creations every day and I love scrolling through it all. Thank goodness for Instagram's new bookmark feature. I saved so many outfits!

All that inspiration is incredibly motivating. It fires up my productivity like nothing else. Even though the 100 Day Project stole a lot of my sewing energy this year, I still managed to sew eight new garments! Three tank tops, sweat pants for both me and my husband, a button-up blouse, a sweater and a t-shirt. Woo! Blog posts coming soon!

Every year the challenge gets a little easier as my handmade wardrobe grows. Daily selfies, on the other hand, do not. Haha! (I only documented 28 outfits, after all.) I think we all suffer through that part. Knowing we're in it together, through the pattern taping, the stitch-ripping, the baby hems, the double needles, and that bloody camera self-timer, is probably the best part of the whole thing.

For a closer look at all of my Me Made May outfits, hop on over to my Instagram. :)

The 100 Day Project

I first heard about The 100 Day Project from Elisa Joy and was immediately into it. Doing something creative every day for 100 days sounds like a really fun 100 days to me! I've been thinking a lot lately about the practice of sewing, like a yoga practice, and this was a great opportunity to explore that concept. It didn't take me too long to think of a task to commit to either — the 111 blocks in my neglected Farmer's Wife Quilt seemed like a perfect fit. I don't know if I would ever complete that quilt without some sort of challenge like this. And so it began. On April 4th, I sewed up my first block and posted it on Instagram with the hashtag #100daysof FWQ. 

I told my husband over dinner that night and suddenly I was filled with doubt. What the heck was I thinking? A quilt block every single day for over three months? Am I crazy? What makes me think I could actually stick to that? 

That's why I've been hesitant to talk about it on the blog — I honestly didn't know if I would be able to follow through. Until now. I'm happy to say that today is day 53, over halfway through the challenge, and I've worked on my Farmer's Wife Quilt every single day. It's safe to say I'm in it for the long haul. 

I have given myself some grace on the block-a-day. I've made 42 blocks so far. Because I have a million other things I want to make, I try not to devote more than an hour a day to this project and some of the blocks are just too complex for that. There were a few that I cut one day and sewed the next. There were some that I completed one day and re-did the next day (or two) because they weren't right. I was also sick for a few days in there, so I did some construction planning in bed instead. I took a day to cut out all the paper pieced blocks. Things like that.

I don't want to talk too much about my feelings or lessons learned just yet. I'll save them for the end. But I will say that although some days are a real struggle, I am enjoying the process. Not only can I see improvements in my sewing and decision-making skills, but ultimately I'm giving greater value to the idea of everyday being a fresh start. Didn't like the block you just made? Oh well. Add it to the stack, you'll make a new one tomorrow.

I'm posting every day on Instagram, if you want to follow along and cheer me on for the next 48. 

Fashion Revolution Week

It's Fashion Revolution week. A week where millions of people around the world will ask Who made my clothes? A week that asks everyone to be curious, find out, and do something. A week to demand greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry. 

This is a cause that I am pretty passionate about but rarely talk about. I think it's because I don't feel well enough informed. So, I've been using this week to learn and to speak up about what ethical fashion means to me. I've been doing this every day this week on Instagram, but I know not everyone is on there, so I wanted to share some of my story here with you as well.

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, feat. Roasted Eggplant with Crispy Chickpeas

What should I make for dinner? 

Ugh. The million dollar question. I enjoy cooking most of the time, once the recipe and ingredients are laid out in front of me. But thinking and searching for recipes and dinner ideas, and gathering supplies for said recipes, is a constant struggle. A privileged problem, but a problem just the same. I can't be the only one. I would bet that even chefs are annoyed by the search for sustenance from time to time.

At the beginning of a new season, I'm full of excitement, busting out all my tried and true recipes that have been forgotten for months. Comfort foods in Fall, barbecue in Spring. But that passion doesn't last long. Within a few weeks, I'm back staring at an empty fridge and scrolling through Pinterest, wondering yet again, what should I bloody make for dinner?

When in doubt, open a book. Cookbooks, in this case. The OG of recipe inspiration. This winter I started checking out cookbooks from the library and making as many recipes as I can from them in the three weeks before their due date. Some books fail hard (I'm looking at you, one-basil-leaf-in-the-pasta-sauce Tucci) but others have multiple wins and multiple renewals as a result. The Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman is a perfect example of the latter. Everything I tried became an instant favourite. Because this book isn't a new release, I was lucky to be able to renew it several times and cook from it for a couple of months.

2015 Quilts: Two Weddings and a Baby

When I redesigned the blog, I found this post buried in my drafts. I could've sworn I had published it ages ago. In 2015, to be exact. Mind you, I still have moving boxes to unpack from that summer, so it's not surprising at all that it fell through the cracks. What is surprising is that I found the time that year to sew not one, not two, but three quilts! Perhaps I'm motivated by extremely limiting circumstances. Or perhaps I sew to survive extremely limiting circumstances. Hmmm.