Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Lessons Learnt - Me Made May '13


I feel like I've been absent for ages.  Thanks so much for lovely comments on our VW Camper Van trip - we had a blast!  The Isle of Wight was great, the weather was amazing - I may have bought some fabric - I know, hopeless case!

My granny stripe blanket looked perfect in the van - we didn't need it but our friends J&P
were very glad of it in the tent! 
There was crafting - this is J's knitting bag, I took some crochet.  One of the big
advantages of a camper van is being able to craft very comfortably on the go!

Life has been totally manic since we got back and I am having terrible problems with my sewing machine - I think she's on her last legs.  I've sworn, cajoled, cleaned and Googled.  I even sought professional advice, it's not looking good.  I'd planned on taking part in Karen's Pyjama Party - it isn't going to happen.  I have a pattern, stash fabric for 2 pairs (one for me & one for my daughter), a proper plan :(

When do you stop throwing money at trying to fix something and buy new?  And if I buy new what shall I get?  The options are mind-boggling.  She was a non-Valentine's Day pressie from P years ago - I'm gutted :(

So, on a more positive note, I planned to catch up on what I learnt from Me Made May ... this was my pledge

I, Jacq of 'A Good Talking To' blog, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13.  I endeavour to wear 4 me-made or re-fashioned items each week for the duration of May 2013
  1. Seeing the things other participants have made and worn is so inspiring - I'm really glad I was part of this, even in a small way
  2. If I average out my me-made items I totally hit the target - I might have cheated a bit and worn 5 one week to make up for the pathetic 3 the week before but it's the total that counts - right?
  3. I thought I'd have sufficient garments for the weather in May - I didn't!  I realise this is because the weather was unseasonably rubbish (hail stones and sleet - seriously?) but it does show that most of my makes are of the 'fair weather' variety.  This makes no sense given our climate in the UK - none whatsoever
  4. I had several things I didn't wear - that's because I've actually made some progress with my sewing.  This is staggering to me, I haven't made that much but I look back a year and think 'I could do that better now'.  I could be demoralised about this - I'm not, it's spurred me on.  Get me with my 'positive' head on!
  5. I need a plan, my wardrobe needs to work in a more co-ordinated way.  I'm thinking that in future I'm going to ensure I can style everything at least 2 ways to get maximum use out of all of my efforts
  6. Dresses are an outfit in their own right - if only I could master the FBA I'd have instant outfits.  Of course, that would be why conquering my bust is my Sewlution - I should get on with that, I have dillied and dallied, shillied and shallied. 
  7. Apparently I have a 'style' - I am officially gobsmacked (look in the dictionary for a definition of 'gobsmacked' - I'm pretty sure there's a photo of me!).  My colleagues knew when I was wearing a me-made garment and not because it was obviously homemade.  I am bemused but pleased!
  8. Refashioning - I need to get my head around this.  This links to (4), I have things I could wear if I tweaked them a bit.  And I have a pile of stuff that could be made into something else.  I can't abide waste so this makes sense. 
  9. I'm swamped by my 'stuff' - that's why I've joined the Style the Stash Sew A Long.  If I can link this to point (5) then I could tackle several challenges at once.  I've nearly finished my June item - it awaits buttonholes - I know my machine will chew my fabric so I can't finish it
  10. I have lots of beautiful patterns (some could say too many if they were being harsh!).  I need to stop making the same things over and over and tackle something new.  I'm stuck, time to move on
  11. If I love something I wear it over and over.  And I feel good in it.  I should make stuff I love.
  12. This is hard to admit but I need to take photos of myself in my outfits.  Oh boy, was that informative.  Totally out of my comfort zone but really helpful and best at the end of the day so that I can see how it holds up to real life.  If I still love something when it's rumpled and I'm looking knackered then it's a winner!
  13. Orange works for me!

Of course, I need to make a decision about my sewing machine before I can do anything else - any advice would be very welcome ...



  1. I am so with you with the being swamped by my stuff. We're renting and we had an inspection yesterday and whilst I was quite proud of myself for having organised it all into containers, the lady just looked at it and commented with 'you have a lot of stuff' and a slightly disapproving look ... sigh.

    with the machine it might be worth just getting a quote from a repair guy before making any decisions (or did you already do that). What sort of machine have you got? Is it computerised? Not that I know anything having a cheap mechanical one.

  2. Oh I remember dreading inspections when we were renting - I can remember similar comments about my kid's toys, no matter how tidy it was there was a lot of stuff! My frustration is I have my plan and have stalled because of my machine - the pjs alone would have made perfect use of over 4ms of fabric.

    My machine is a basic Silver Viscount, we used to have a big fabric shop locally (sadly closed down 2 years ago because of rent increases having been there for over 40 years) and they stocked them. P bought it as a surprise gift, nearly 10 years ago. It wouldn't be my choice now but I'm pretty sentimental about it.

    I've been to the repair shop, they'll service it for £60, plus whatever it costs to fix the problems, that means I'll be without it for a week minimum. However, we talked about what I use it for/how much I use it and I think it's not really up to the job - I'm asking a bit much of it, especially with the quilting. It's not the most robust machine, I've had it serviced before, it's better for a little bit and then the problems start again, always intermittent so hard to diagnose.
    I think I do need another machine but, having never picked one for myself, am feeling a bit anxious about making the right choice - I'm not good at spending money on myself and this is a major purchase!

  3. Hello stranger! So pleased you had a great holiday, I love the Isle of Wight, and good weather is always a bonus in the UK!

    So sorry to hear about the sewing machine issues. I can't recommend which machine you should buy if you do replace it (my Elna is over 20 years old and it's OK, but nothing fantastic), I would recommend going to John Lewis to look at new ones. The ladies at my local JL are very helpful when it comes to demonstrating and explaining the different features. I'm considering a new machine, but sadly JL don't stock the one I think I want!

    Now onto MMM! I'm glad you did this post, as it reminded me I wanted to do something similar, so I probably will this weekend. I'm totally with you on points 1, 3, 4, 5, 10 and 11. It's interesting that your work colleagues could tell when you were wearing Me Made items because of their style

    1. Hi Sam, I've heard JL can be very helpful. I'm really lucky because there is a small sewing machine shop locally. They're really helpful and have given me advice about my old machine and the options I have with it. Paul bought my overlocker from there for my birthday. My biggest issue is accepting it's time to give up on her! Anyway, I've got an appointment with them tomorrow morning for a chat and to try some machines for size :)

  4. I like your lessons learned from MMM - I think I forgot to include the benefit of the photograph-taking in my list. It was very uncomfortable taking a photo every day, but you're right, it was so helpful! There were quite a few occasions I'd thought an outfit looked great just looking down at myself then I looked at the photo and immediately changed!
    Sorry to hear about your sewing machine. I can well understand the sentimental attachment as I have the same with mine, it belonged to my mum before me. There was a post just the other day re advice on getting a new sewing machine, maybe you'll fine some helpful comments there?
    However I hope your machine is fixable!

    1. Isn't it difficult when you're forced to admit something you're uncomfortable with actually works! Photos were really telling, especially about styling things - I need to make more effort. Thanks for the link, I will have a look :)

  5. Keep us updated on your sewing machine quest-and you know...2 machines are really a necessity.

  6. Mary you are officially an enabler! :)

  7. Wowzers! What an awesome analysis of all MMM'13 taught you! I wish you lots of luck and fun in tackling some of your pattern stash and in conquering the FBA to make yourself some dresses. xx


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