Hands up, baby hands up. I did it! Yeppers, I declare Me-Made-May 2014 to be a personal success. {For those unfamiliar with Me-Made-May, you can read more about it here.} Remember the beginning of May when I pledged to wear a me-made article of clothing a minimum of three days per week? Well, I managed that and then some. I wore something handmade every day. I can admit it now…that was my hope intention. You may recall my concerns about publicizing my pledge, how I feared that setting the bar high would surely backfire leaving me with no choice but to pen about my wah-wah failure. But here’s the thing, MMM isn’t defined by a pass or a fail. There isn’t a right way or a wrong way. Surprisingly, for me the challenge became an opportunity for appreciation, both for myself and for the wonderful online sewing community.

But, why the effort? Well…um…to be honest, I mostly just wanted to see if I actually liked anything I’ve sewn. Whaaatttt? I know! Yes, I am exaggerating somewhat, but you might be surprised how often I actually reach for jeans and a t-shirt {explanation to follow in next paragraph.} How would I feel wearing homemade clothing on a daily basis? As it turned out, pretty dang good, thank you very much! Now, the month wasn’t without a few longing glances at some of my ready to wear clothing, but for the most part MMM ’14 was pretty smooth sailing. There was one epic fail that involved the satisfying scissoring a garment to bits. And. There was one surprise didn’t know I’d ever wear that and like it moment that happened on nearly the final day. Shall we start at the beginning…

For the most part, I’m a lazy dresser. Meaning? One sec. Can I just preface this by promising I’m not a complete slob? But. I do have this annoying habit of not hanging up my clothing at the end of the day. I fold. Mostly. Or drape. I’m really good at draping clothing over a chair. It makes it super easy to get dressed the next day. errrrr….Honestly, between you and me, I can easily wear the same t-shirt and jeans for most of the week.So sad. So lame. So true. Now. How was May different? Well, this merry month of May was dedicated to wearing clothing I had sewn by myself, for myself, so I pulled fresh finds from my closet daily. However. {{{SIGH}}} Nightly. Things remained alarmingly familiar. With the exception of my dresses, which I always hung up, all my other clothing ended up on that dang chair. It was a. really. big. pile.

My biggest aah ha moment? T-shirts! I love simple, good quality t-shirts, yet I have a grand total of zero me-mades. And. They are one of the very few items of clothing that I buy retail, brand new, full price. So, um, hello? I have no me-made t-shirts why?

The great debate: sewing versus thrifting. Would wearing me-made clothing all month make me loathe to buy anything second hand ever again, or, would I seriously question why I bother to sew anything at all? Neither! Whew! There is, and always will be, room* in my closet for both. It’s no secret…I don’t sew to save money. But nor do I shop in thrift stores and consignment stores to save money. I find them both to be creative pursuits; I consider both pastimes to be hobbies and I will continue buying second hand as well as sewing one-of-a-kind garments.

*I say there is room in my closet for both, but really, there is almost no room in my closet for anything. period.

Another little concern going in…I sew what I want to sew, that is a fact! But the fact is, I rarely seem to sew practical clothing. Allow me to put this another way. I have waaayyy too many dresses. At least that is what I thought at the beginning of May. The good news is that I discovered how much I like wearing dresses, and I decided that special occasions are not a prerequisite for wearing a pretty dress.

A word about jeans! I love jeans, and if this challenge had been in January, I might have had a little cry every time I didn’t wear my jeans. Will I sew a pair of jeans? For the moment, I’m undecided. Seriously, there are racks of jeans in thrift stores. Already distressed and ready to go. So? Sew? I don’t yet know.

I can say that I’m looking forward to stitching some t-shirts. I can continue to sew dresses to my heart’s content. And not feel any guilt about buying thrifted clothing. It’s all good! Oh! Almost forgot! First row, second photo from the right. That would be May 5th. The day dawned cool, and I decided to wear my Annie Hall inspired pants. Wore them all day at work, and could. not. wait. to get out of them. Blech! I hacked them to bits and felt quite a bit better for it. Errrr…that sounds a little disturbing, doesn’t it? Really, I am a gentle soul. And my pleasant surprise? Well that would be my Dorothy goes square dancing in a tablecloth dress. Um, yes. I think I wore it once, maybe twice, last year. I was pretty sure, even before starting MMM, that it was going to end up in the donate pile. It’s there, bottom row, third photo from the right. It was May 30th, and the only handmade garment I hadn’t worn. This was the challenge in the challenge. I styled it with a denim jacket, my scarf from Suzanne, and a cute pair of flats. I loved it! And that, my friends, was one of the beauties about the Me-Made-May challenge. It nudged me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to see my wardrobe in a fresh, new way!


Won’t you please follow me on…


  • Reply Sheila June 5, 2014 at 6:50 am

    That's so inspiring, Sue! Congratulations on your accomplishment!

  • Reply M @ My Closet Catalogue June 5, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Oh, Sue! This really resonates with me! You've articulated exactly what I think about when I think clothes: it's a creative outlet and so all the concerns about budgets and socially conscious shopping and brand name elitism and sustainability and quantity versus quality all pale into the background when I'm trying to fulfill a challenge or satisfy a jonesing for decade dressing.

    Kudos to you for MMM! When I grow up, I want to be exactly like you! Now all I have to do is teach myself not to be afraid of the sewing machine.

  • Reply makingtheflame June 5, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Love this post! Really enjoyed your thoughts on the creative process of dressing. Congrats on finding a success in your makes — it more than makes up for the pants you didn't prefer. 🙂

  • Reply amy mayen June 5, 2014 at 8:16 am

    I love sewing Tshirts- they're so easy to draft. I wear them most days too:) I'm so picky about my jeans fit- I'm vain so they have to make my butt look right. For me it's Miss Me jeans and Rock Revival. They cost a lot more than I care to spend, but one pair will last my entire life. I have a few, and it's my only vice. Well, jeans, cowgirl boots & hats, and belts. I will likely never attempt to sew jeans because I am so content with the ones I have. Sounds cliche- but a few pairs and you'll never have to buy jeans again. Some of mine are eons old. Anyways, I'm dying for you to make some Tshirts, but I'm so glad you won't be steering away from your lovely dresses! Congrats in ROCKING MMM!

  • Reply sabine June 5, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Hello Sue,
    what a bunch of beautiful outfits! Seeing them I find my denims boring. I think a woman can never have too many dresses. There are so many oportunities for wearing a dress and so many pretty fabrics and patterns waiting to be worn. I admit there are days I want to use my garment only to be dressed. But to dress up is more fun.
    Sabine xxx

  • Reply Gabrielle at Find Me Those Heels June 5, 2014 at 11:23 am

    This is so inspiring! You made a part of each of the outfits seen above? That's incredibly impressive and something I don't think I even dare to dream of doing! Well done! 🙂


  • Reply June 5, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Your beautiful outfits remind me just how subdued my usual black and white looks! Congratulations on a successful completion of MMM 2014! So creative.

  • Reply Suzanne Carillo Style Files June 5, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Loved this Sue! Your writing is hilarious.

    Hooray for you keeping your promise to yourself and doing it so brilliantly. I'm delighted you managed to wear the scarf I picked up for you : )

    I think my personal favourites are the gingham pants, the peplum top, the glorious fit and flare dress in orange floral.

    I too have to admit that I have no room in my closet for anything. But like you…will this stop me from augmenting my collection? Ha. Nope.

    We must plan your visit to Toronto soon : )


  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 5, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Thank you Sheila. I failed to mention in my blog post that I had a lot of support from other participants through a Flickr group.

  • Reply bellemegan June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    I loved seeing your fabulous outfits each day, & I'm glad you're not throwing out that dress, it's too cute! You have an amazing style & knack with colour – I think I'll have to stick around to see if any of it wears off on me! 🙂 Well done for MMMay!

  • Reply arish June 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Has superado un reto importante al vestirte cada día del mes de Mayo con algo hecho por tí. Estupendo reportaje. KISSES.

  • Reply Flo June 6, 2014 at 5:04 am

    I just want to say that I really enjoyed reading this post, it was fun, and so honest. Like you, I have way too many clothes, so I really try hard to “rotate” what I am wearing. And I also have a nice mix of clothing that came from thrift stores that I enjoy every bit as much as anything else in my closet.

    I have to admit that I gasped when I read that you “killed” the Annie Hall pants–and then laughed like crazy! I have done the same thing. I've always believed that life is far too short to wear uncomfortable clothes-or shoes. I had a pair of shoes that I had dubbed “The Cruel Shoes” after wearing for them one time to a wedding. Instead of getting rid of them, I stuck them back in the closet and then for some reason forgot why I didn't like them–until I decided to wear them to work one day. It's the only time in my life that I walked in the front door, to the garbage can and promptly threw a pair of shoes away.

  • Reply Judith Hamid June 6, 2014 at 5:41 am

    Well done! What an impressive number of hand-made garments. I know what you mean about sometimes spending so much time making something and then not being confident about wearing it – I seem to do that most of the time! I was considering doing MMM but I don't really have enough to keep it going – maybe next year! Judy

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 10:15 am

    There were definitely repeats and mixing and going on, but that's how I usually dress, so I was keeping it real. There were participants able to wear a different outfit everyday which was pretty impressive. Not that I aspire to do that, but still. So maybe next year for you too Judy!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 10:16 am

    hahaha…and the satisfaction you felt! I know! Not even good enough for goodwill, sez you and me!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Thank you Arish! I'm happy you like my story.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Tee Hee! You always look lovely in your classic colours, but you are more than welcome to jump on my train!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 10:21 am

    My scarf is an easy fit in my wardrobe, thank you again! And I love putting my flower on my straw hats. I know, I'm going to have to figure a way to get Toronto onto my itinerary!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Black and white can be so graphic and stunning! If it feels right on you, enjoy it immensely!!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Thanks Gabrielle!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Ah, but denims are so comfy! And you wear many dresses, I”m sure.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Hey Amy! I am actually pretty stoked about sewing t-shirts. I just hope my seams are smooth and not wrinkly….sometimes a risk with sewing stretchy knits! I'm glad we're on the same wavelength about jeans. It's about the butt!!! Your favourite accessories sound very cool!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Ah, thank you so much for your lovely comment!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Thanks Maricel! I can see through your posts that dressing is an art and a creative outlet for you! Keep it up as long as it's making you happy! I always love reading!

  • Reply barbarajanemade June 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    What a wonderful and colorful collection, you've certainly lived up to your tag line. I also have a bulging wardrobe but won't stop making, just love the challenge and creativity of it. For me its my hobby and a totally absorbing one. By the why I finally tacked the exposed zip, not sure its totally me, another skill though.

  • Reply Merche Martinez June 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I enjoyed watching your photos every day,
    Yes, we all come to the same conclusion: more tops, separates, t-shirts…
    Pretty dresses are,well…pretty! Fun to make, but a pretty dress also deserves, in my opinion, a nice hair-do (not a ponytail) a bit of make up on, and a certain amount of heels…and that is something I could never find the energy to achieve at 7.30 in the morning, to take the kids to school..
    It has been a very good month!!

  • Reply Cathy B June 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Congrats Sue! I love your comment about shopping a Thrift Stores because of the creative potential. I feel exactly the same way. I refulse to dress like I live in a futuristic Sci Fi world where we all wear matching uniforms! Boo black yoga pants…Boo shirt of the week at H&M! Life is short…Wear some colour, wear some print, wear something you just HAD TO HAVE!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    lol…don't get me started on lulu everything, everywhere. Thanks for stopping by Cathy!!!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Just a slight disagreement….You look gorgeous in everything Merche!!! Even flats and a ponytail, 🙂 Always an inspiration for me! xo

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 6, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Ooooh, good for you Barbara! I bought a more decorative zipper to try the exposed zip in the back of a dress. But, I think I chose one that is a little to stiff. As you say, it's good to try these things, if even to hone our skills!

  • Reply Connie June 7, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Good Morning, Sue!!!! Oh if I could only sew like YOU!!!! Are you really going to make a pair of jeans? Holy Levi Straus I am impressed! Thrifted t-shirt. A true story. I bought an absolutely cute-as-can-be striped t-shirt at a thrift store. It looked spotless but every time I wore it, it emitted the most astoundingly awful BO!! Now I have flirted with “natural deodorant” in my time but I know my own body odor and this was not mine. It was like Jerry's car in the smelly car episode of Seinfeld. I washed this t-shirt a million times and I could get rid of the terrible smell. I will never buy another thrifted t-shirt ever! I can't give much advice about sewing but I can give advice about second hand t-shirts.

  • Reply Highland Fashionista June 8, 2014 at 1:36 am

    I would agree that is was a success. What a great use of colour! Love.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 8, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Eeeeewwww! LOL! There's something about thrifted t-shirts. Sure, there are a few gems, but as you have attested to, there are risks!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 8, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks Kristin. Yes, if nothing else, my photo collage proves I like to wear a colourful canvas!

  • Reply two birds June 9, 2014 at 6:38 am

    I love this post! I think it's so amazing that you did this! I can't sew worth a lick, so I am in awe of you! I would be amazed at a pair of hand-sewn jeans, and can't wait to see your t-shirts!

  • Reply No fear of fashion June 9, 2014 at 10:51 am

    What a month, what a challenge. Well done my dear. That took quite a lot of energy. I so know the feeling of cutting a sew-garment to pieces haha. And I also have waaayyyy too many clothes and no room in my closet anymore.
    I think you did a wonderful job. And no need to sew jeans. Sewing T-shirts is a challenge as well, as that jersey goes haywire all the time.

  • Reply pastcaring June 9, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    You did it, well done you! I can't imagine having such an extensive collection of self-sewn items to make this challenge doable, but look at you, you did it and then some!
    It's interesting to me that you don't automatically like everything you've made; in a way, I am quite comforted by that, that even a really skilled and experienced seamstress can make the occasional duff choice! I look at the clothes you make, and I am in total awe, Sue.
    So – jeans? T-shirts? Might you give them a go? xxxx

  • Reply The Style Crone June 9, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I'm inspired by your challenge success and by your talent. Leaving one's comfort zone is always enlightening. I am also relieved that there is someone else who has difficulty putting pieces back in the closet at the end of the day. I have the same chair!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 9, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Ah Ah! A kindred spirit! I'm surprised, but delighted, that you have the SAME chair, LOL.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 9, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Honestly, for me, it's the biggest challenge in sewing….having the forethought and being able to imagine how the garment is going to look on ME. I can easily get wooed by pretty fabric, or a raucous print, or a desire to sew something that was on the cover of Italian Vogue. I am getting more discerning and I try to really visualize how a pattern will look finished, and on me…but it's still tricky.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 9, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    haha…yes, I remember laughing at an earlier comment you made about cutting something up, and there I go, doing the same thing! I must have got the notion from you Greetje. Ah, yes the wobbly seams of jersey! Wish me luck!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 9, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks gals! I've got plans for the t-shirts in the works, although finding good quality fabric is proving a bit of a challenge. Jeans? No sure on that yet.

  • Reply RedTagChicLosAngeles June 10, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Wow more power to your sewing endeavors Sue… sure looks like a lot of fun! I think you could do a midi skirt like the one I am wearing in my latest post!


  • Reply Margo B June 11, 2014 at 3:49 am

    I am so behind on my blog reading! I love this post Sue and agree with so much of what you said about MMM! You looked fab all month long. Keep sewing what you want when you want to! AND WEAR IT! cause it looks great on you….just saying.

  • Reply Joni James June 11, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Wow, you are a true seamstress! I had no idea. And your blog looks smashingly awesome! Thanks for coming by and saying hello. It's good to be back, I missed the comradeship and inspirations! I'll be following along!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 12, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Hey Joni, thanks so much for your lovely comment. Yes, I have made some changes to my blog, both content and visually, since you were last on the style blogging scene. It's so nice to have you back!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 12, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Thanks Margo! Hey…you've been on holiday, and that should include a holiday from blogging; writing, reading, the works.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 12, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Thanks Rebecca! I have been thinking of the midi skirt/dress to sew. They are so popular right now and great for summer.

  • Reply dan June 15, 2014 at 8:16 am

    So you reached the goal! You have sewed so many wonderful clothes that I couldn't choose just one as my favourite!
    I can't wait to hear about your next challenge, now!

  • Reply No fear of fashion June 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    I wish you luck… LOL

  • Reply Rosy June 16, 2014 at 3:49 am

    You are a continuous inspiration to me, dear Lady! love your self-stitched wardrobe!

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