Thursday, June 30, 2011

Last day of MMJ'11, and some thoughts

Yeah, so inwardly I was cheering as I set up to take my last daily photograph for this challenge.  I might look kinda calm and faraway here, but on the inside I'm throwing a party!
(for those who like to know: 10C-18C and quite quite windy today...)

Top; (just the end of the sleeves can be seen) the top part of Burdastyle magazine 08/2009, dress 128, charcoal marle wool-mix details here  (I have since removed the zip as the fabric is slightly stretchy and the top can just be pulled on...)
Skirt; Vogue 7303, bottle green cotton velveteen, details here
Coat; McCalls 5525 view B, charcoal wool, details here
Tights; Metalicus
Socks; handknit by me, details here
Shoes; Francesco Morichetti, from Zomp shoes
So, as promised I do have a few thoughts on how this month-long challenge went, which I shall now attempt to summarise in a clear and coherent manner, ahem...
Firstly and most importantly, I think the Me-Made challenges that Zoe organises are a fantastic idea.  On a roughly seasonal schedule, she sets up a Flickr group where seamstresses, seamsters people who like to construct their own clothing can all join in wearing their own creations for the month and share in the creative inspirational aura of "the group".  I have found everybody involved to be constructive in their comments, and very supportive of each other's efforts.  It can be difficult to make oneself wear one's own clothes... often people feel their stuff isn't "good enough", or that other people might judge their (real or imagined) less-than-expert construction or finishing details on their handiwork.  So any plan to get us out and proudly wearing our own stuff has to be a good thing.
However, there are some negatives... I'm not going to dwell on the eventual exhaustion of taking one's own photograph on a daily basis, everybody who has tried to do this challenge will be well aware of that.  For me the honeymoon was over at about the middle, when I had a few very busy days and found it hard to get into it.  Then I got a new little burst of enthusiasm for a few days, which then waned, then waxed, and waned again...
Another negative was the creeping suspicion that I was turning into a fashion blogger, an unsettling thought.  I never set out to be a fashion blogger, and have very little desire to become one.  True, I love fashion with a passion (hehe, I'm a poet, etc...)  I love playing about with my clothes, and trying out new and different combinations of matching different pieces together (simply because it is fun)  and the picture-taking process has proved an unbeatable tool for seeing how an outfit really and truly looks.  Everybody who has tried taking their own photos in this way knows that the outfit you dreamed up in your head doesn't always look super wonderful when you actually put it on.  Even your own image looking back at you in the mirror might appear pass-able, but then when you look at a photo of yourself, walking out and about in the real world, you might suddenly notice some problem that you didn't before.  You have a sudden flash of insight; hmmm, those jeans; way past their use-by-date, or what?!
So taking your own photo can prove useful in this way...  But still, fashion blogging doesn't sit super comfortably with me and I lived in fear that I would be spotted taking my own photo and mistaken for one.  One can only hope the fact that I made all my own clothes with my own hands somewhat alleviates the shallowness of documenting one's outfits...  and ups the interest factor just a touch?
As far as my wardrobe went, I coped fine with my all-me-made pledge, and only resorted to RTW tights, and most days a camisole or a scoop-necked Tshirt underneath, for thermal purposes.  And one particularly windy and cold day I wore gloves.  Yeah, I do have me-made gloves, but I had a lunch and shopping date with my son for his birthday, so I wanted to look smart, and my me-made gloves did not fit the bill.  Occasionally I had comments noting that I was not dressed warmly enough for winter, but I wasn't sure if those commenters realised that A. I was limiting myself to all me-made clothes and couldn't just pop on a few extra (visible) layers without breaking my pledge; and B. winter in Perth probably isn't as cold as people might think.
The usual lack of me-made tops made itself felt; if I am going to do this again I should concentrate on making more tops.  And especially white tops.  I wanted to reach for one of my small collection of white tops, like at least three or four times a week.  What can I say?  I'm a white top lover... so I am going to get onto that one.  I also wanted to wear my little brown hand-knit cardigan a lot, and I wore my trench coat on a daily basis as a dressing gown substitute, as my real dressing gown is not me-made.
My favourite, bar none, aspect of the challenge turned out to be that I chose this spot to take each and every photo.  I just love that I have this little daily snapshot of the winter weather; reflected in the sky and the river.  So glad I stuck with that plan...  The light might not always have been great (like today) for taking a good photo and I am usually a perfectionist in that respect, but meh.  That's the nature of light.
So that's it.  Would I do this again?  Hmmm, dunno.  Right now I'd say no, but ask me again in another few months...


  1. I have really enjoyed looking at your daily outfit and they have been very inspirational for me.I was going to write just about the same as you have on my blog regarding my thoughts on MMJ so perhaps I won't bother now!I am glad that I did it,although the photo taking was the worst part,and it has made me appreciate my own creativity more as I am my own worse critic so that if something isn't"perfect" I shove it in the bag under the bed never to be seen again!
    I think I would do another one if it was a different season and it would be great to see all of your summer outfits!!
    By the way,your weather seems to be identical to ours at the moment and at least you are in mid Winter!

  2. +1, Carolyn.

    I have been really busy with work the last few weeks and started to lapse on the pics. I realized I was still complying with the me-made challenge, but not in any fun or challenging way. I mean, yeah, I pretty much wear self-made all the time, but I guess I feel I've done this and I didn't have the energy to push the envelope this time. I still have pictures in my camera to upload, but it's spotty. I doubt I will do this again soon. Maybe in a far-away time when I have a different wardrobe, or some other challenge that excites me, but I feel "done" for now.

  3. You've been a trooper. I would be waaaay to lazy to contemplate dressing up for a picture every day. I've enjoyed seeing all your creations. You have a lot of depth in your hand made wardrobe.

  4. Actually I love the light in this last picture! I was going to comment on it even before I had finished reading the post :)

  5. I guess challenges like make us get more creative with what we have in our closet! also we spot what we don't have!:)) It's also a test of perseverance - I wish I could get into a challenge like this and keep up with it:))The coat is a great coat to have!

  6. I have so enoyed your MMJ outfits and yourpictures. I really need to participate in one of these, I think you would get creative with your outfits and find what you need to sew. thanks again for all the inspiration.

  7. I've been silently watching your blog all month over my morning coffee and I have to say that I will miss your daily photos and clever writing from the me made challenge. You have truly inspired me to take sewing for myself seriously (not just occasional skirts or knitted hats). I really want to make some of the beautiful clothes that I saw here and even have some of the patterns already. Never did I think of you as a shallow fashion blogger. No, to me, you are a woman close to my age with a fashion sense who has created her own hip wardrobe. Totally cool!

  8. I felt the same way in march- a little shallow looking through all the pictures of myself ;)
    But in reality, these me-made months are so useful for someone who sews their own clothes. You get to see what works, what doesn't and there's no substitute for seeing your clothing items in a photograph as opposed to just in the mirror. I learned so much about my self made stuff and I feel like I have a better grasp on what I should be making now.

    And I enjoyed seeing your photos all in the same spot, too!

  9. I love your coat! And your dedication to wear all me made garments is impressive. As someone who does sew for myself, it has been an interesting experiment, and I echo your thoughts on it (especially the tedium of taking a picture of myself everyday).

    BTW, no offense taken at all on your weather joke yesterday! I'd love to see one of these Me Made exercises done during a northern hemisphere winter to see how best to bundle up with style. :D

  10. I imagine your pictures would be inspirational to anyone who loves fashion however, I think they are especially inspirational to those of us who sew. As I said once before, seeing the same pattern repeated with completely different results encourages us - like working in series - to stretch our boundaries. In terms of waning enthusiasm, I can understand how you feel. I don't start these kinds of projects any more as I won't follow through. I appreciate the time and effort you took to document. Using the same location each day worked wonderfully.

  11. I'm terribly impressed you made it through the month, and your outfits are always very insprirational. As for me, I just really gave up taking photos almost immediately. And I'm not sure if I will participate again - the photo thing is a real sticking point.

  12. I'm forever impressed with the depth and breadth of your me-made wardrobe! You're an inspiration to me, for sure. I'd never mistake you for a shallow fashion blogger, and I've enjoyed the "sneak peeks" into your day and what you wear when you're going about it. And that sky! The water view is a fantastic thing to see first thing in the morning when it's been so dreary and cold here.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you about taking pictures that truly reflect how you look. It's been an eye-opening experience for me as well. Not sure if I'm going to participate in Self-Stitched September, but we'll see. I'm just hoping to be able to wear my summer wardrobe soon! Our craptastic weather has really impacted my choices and that was a bummer this time around.

    And I love that jacket you're wearing! I bought the same pattern awhile ago...may have to get stitchin' on it for fall! It's fantastic in wool!

  13. I have tried to steer away from all sorts of style challenges, because my wardrobe musings are way too fickle for any kind of month-long commitment. I think it really depends on the person if one is up for these types of things.

    You did incredibly well on this challenge, and even if taking your photo every day has been challenging, you've looked stunning in each and every one!

  14. You did a great job documenting MMJ.

    I particularly like your choice to use a consistent backdrop. As a meteorologist, I enjoy looking at the sky and water behind you. Wearing my geoinformatics hat, I applaud you for using a consistent backdrop to highlight day to day differences.

    Have you ever read Edward Tufte?
    You have an instinctive grasp of the principles he espoused in the the Visual Display of Quantitative Information.

  15. Very lovely coat! I also like the combination of those tights and boots - very pretty. :)

    Good thoughts on MMJ. I liked seeing you photos in contrast to the summery pics from the northern hemisphere, and I did enjoy the different ways "your spot" looked during the month, due to different light and weather conditions. But as a MMJ participant and sewing blog reader, on the whole I'm looking forward to a break in taking pictures and seeing outfit posts every day, too... :)

    I'm thinking of taking up something I've seen on a few German sewing blogs, though. They're on a summer break in July and August, but they're doing Me-Made-Mittwoch/Wednesday. I think it might be a good way to encourage myself to continue wearing my me-mades, without the pressure to do so every day or having to wear similar outfits for a whole month.

  16. This is a good exercise for women everywhere. If they spent a month photoing what they wore everyday, they'd see both sides of the coin - what they look good in as well as bad- and would subconsciouly be drawn to recreate the good looks.

  17. Good on you for crossing the finishing line. I really enjoy your MM shots. I think taking a scenic photo in the same spot was a spot of genius.

  18. Hey! its the coat with the sleeves! nice :)

  19. I've really enjoyed your daily posts too. You have interesting outfits composed of garments made in interesting styles. What more could sewist want?!

    And it was lovely to feel part of your day by seeing the weather and reading what those outfits were worn to and for.

    Thanks again

  20. Lori, lilletblanc and sdBev; thank you so much for taking the time to leave such kind and thoughtful comments here! They are very much appreciated, I assure you! If you have enjoyed my creations then I could not be happier and thank you for saying so. If you decide to join in the next me-made challenge then that is wonderful!

  21. Cute coat! I would never think of you as a fashion blogger. I see you as a woman close to my age who is creative with a style of your own. You always wear interesting outfits. I enjoy the way you write and your dedication to the challenge has been inspiring. I agree with you about taking a photo every day; it does become a chore but your choice of location certainly set the scene and allowed us to feel part of your day as we watched the changing weather with you.

    I know if I were to do this again I will difinitely make sure I am up to the challenge by having enough things to choose from.

  22. I have really enjoyed following your MMJ month!

  23. congratulations;. A great month of lovely outfits. Very stylish. I love the same spot idea, the clouds are beautiful, and always different. Siena seems to enjoy gazing out at the river every day. Such a patient lass.

  24. I have really enjoyed your MMJ posts and was impressed the wide range of items you have created. I like the coat in this post - looks gorgeous.

  25. I also appreciate your effort with MMJ. Interesting comments about the fashion blogs - I have a complex relationship with fashion/clothes - I love sewing them and reading sewing blogs but I do not like the way fashion magazines etc can make women feel bad about themselves.

  26. Congratulations on finishing this challenge. I always enjoy seeing how you put your pieces together. You are extremely talented both with your sewing and your fashion sense. Very inspirational!

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