No matter what kind of sewist you are (future, newbie, expert or otherwise), Me Made May is a great time to find inspiration and tips from fellow sewists. What is Me Made May? It’s an annual celebration of self-made clothes created in 2010 by Zoe Edwards where thousands of handmade garments are shared online at #memademay. For this year’s celebration, we asked teammates to select a sewing pattern from Seamwork, Peppermint’s Sewing School or an independent maker of their choice and share their process photos and (if completed) their finished garments. Keep reading to see what substrates, patterns and designs they chose along with what new skills they picked up along the way. As sewing can be a continual educational journey, we’re forever inspired by the new things our teammates (and community) try every day and hope you are too!
Why did you choose Cotton Lawn for this project? The pattern recommended a medium weight fabric such as a cotton or cotton blend. I chose Cotton Lawn, as it has a nice light feel with some drape.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? It had been three years since I last made a garment, but I surprisingly picked it back up without much issue. I had never done a curved hem with a facing piece as this pattern called for. I couldn’t figure out how to attach it, so I just winged it and made a fold-under hem!
Why did you choose Organic Cotton Sateen for this project? I decided on sateen because it was recommended for the pattern. I also knew I was looking for the lightweight comfort that Organic Cotton Sateen offers.
What drew you to these designs? I was originally drawn to Poppy Flowers // Large Scale by dropromance because poppies are my favorite flowers. I also love picking designs I usually wouldn’t when doing these challenges. I was looking for a design that would transition between spring, summer and fall. I think this is a perfect fit.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? As far as changes I kept to the pattern but decided to forgo the drawstring. I don’t like the bulk the tie gives. This pattern offered a different method of applying a collar that was new to me. I lean on my sewing community that I have curated over the years when I need support.
Why did you choose Cotton Spandex Jersey for this project? I have always been obsessed with butterflies. There was a fabric that caught my eye a few months ago that had watercolor butterflies. When I searched for it, it came right up.
What drew you to this design? I have always been taught to keep the design simple and let the fabric speak for itself. I did just that. I knew I wanted to do something long but still fitted. So, I came up with a long bodycon dress, with one shoulder strap and a ruffle.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I created my own pattern from an old dress that I owned. I changed it a little by just adding length, taking away a strap and adding a ruffle.
Why did you choose Lightweight Cotton Twill for this project? I chose it because it has a nice structure for a more fitted dress like Seamwork’s Dani.
What drew you to this design?I loved the preppy style and shape of the dress as well as the fact that it has pockets!
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I made the waist more fitted after sewing it and trying it on (before hemming). I love using Frixion pens (which iron off of fabric) to mark where I want my adjustments to be while I am wearing the item.
Why did you choose Organic Cotton Sateen for this project? With a few summer weddings, social events and vacations coming up, I knew I wanted a fabric that would be beautiful while helping me stay cool in the North Carolina heat. I did some crowdsourcing among coworkers and other sewists on the team, and Organic Cotton Sateen was a clear winner for its lighter weight and subtly smooth sheen. This was the first article of clothing I’ve sewn myself, and I loved how easy it was to use this substrate!
What drew you to this design? One of my fondest memories growing up was picking blueberries with my family in the summertime. There was nothing better than adding freshly picked berries to our waffles on a Saturday morning! Knowing I wanted my dress to feel seasonal and bright with a burst of color, I fell in love with Nancy’s jumbo print design.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? There were a couple of sew-along videos on YouTube (one from Sew Happy and another from Elbe Textiles) that I found extremely helpful as a new sewist! I learned that a good pair of fabric scissors are a must. The seam ripper also became my best friend after an imperfect French seam (right on the front where everyone could spot it, of course) and an incident with sewing one of the straps to itself (oops).
Why did you choose Linen Cotton Canvas for this project? Linen Cotton Canvas is my favorite Spoonflower fabric. Its weight and durability make it a great option for outerwear, and it softens beautifully in the wash.
What drew you to this design? I went hunting for something terracotta in the Spoonflower marketplace and found the beautiful abstract pattern Delicate Dotty Fans – Brick and Cream by michele_norris. It’s exactly what I envisioned for my jacket!
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I did a narrow shoulder adjustment and also ended up making the collar smaller, though not on purpose! (I made a mistake and had to redo that part.) This pattern is a boxy fit, which means it’s forgiving when you mess up; there aren’t a lot of fiddly fit issues. So instead I used it as an opportunity to practice my flat-felled seams. My number one piece of advice for those is always always iron carefully and you’ll save yourself from a ton of angst.
Why did you choose Cotton Lawn for this project? I chose Cotton Lawn because I have always loved how light it feels but have never sewn with it. Organic Cotton Sateen is usually my go-to for woven tops, but I wanted something lighter and more drapey for summer.
What drew you to this design? Soft green and pastel pink are having a grandmillennial moment, and I am a big fan of their paired charm. I knew that a tossed or ditsy pattern would look best on a top that has a lot of volume, and I fell in love with the fresh block print of Danika’s pattern.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I did make some mods thanks to Instagram suggestions in the tag #peppermintpaddingtontop! I lengthened the torso about 3″ (7.62 cm) as I prefer a French tuck to a crop. I also switched from a neckline facing to a bias-bound finish. Finally, I cut the back of the top on the fold to skip the button closure—it’s a true throw-on-and-go top! I’ll definitely make this pattern again, trying the buttons and perhaps swapping the elastic sleeve closure to bias cuffs.
Why did you choose Belgian Linen for this project? It is such a rich and beautiful fabric. It softens up nicely after just one wash yet stays sturdy. It drapes beautifully.
What drew you to this design? I loved the touch of bright color in the design. It will pair nicely with neutral and bright colors. I had favorited the design last year as it’s part of the Support Ukrainian Artists collection; I am thankful I did that and was able to find it this year. I could not be happier with my design choice.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I did not add the belt or the belt loops, as I am very high waisted and knew I would not use the belt. I did lengthen the jacket an inch; it was needed, but I felt like it would hit better in the back with a little extra length. I also had to make the collar in two pieces, the seam lines up with the back pleat. I had chunked my fabric and served it before washing it. After doing that I did not have a long enough piece for the collar. I was happy that I chunked it into two pieces for washing. I also washed it with my sheets, so the fabric would not rub against itself and potentially streak the design.
Why did you choose Organic Cotton Sateen for this project? For this gown, I required a durable yet pliable material. Organic Cotton Sateen was the perfect balance of a lighter weight substrate, with a minor rigid quality (achieved from the saturated design).
What drew you to these designs? I used two designs for this project; a darling heart design and complimentary pinstripe. My goal was a vibrant gown with mild playing card and harlequin elements. Both designs were perfectly whimsical for the mood I was wanting to portray.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I drafted my own pattern for this project as I wanted to take on the challenge of incorporating historic inspiration for the gown from scratch. The primary inspiration was taken from the Robe à ĺ Anglaise dresses of 1720-1782. This was a dress that could be worn by any class, some were adorned with numerous ruffles while others were left more suitable for day-to-day work. In order to achieve the iconic rigid front, my bodice was boned with industrial zip ties; a great alternative for standard boning or reproduction baleen. The biggest challenge was adjusting the back seams that connect to the arms. They can easily become bulky, making a proper fit very difficult. My best resources were fashion plates/painting, as well as historic garments found in museums.
Why did you choose Poly Crepe de Chine for this project? Poly Crepe de Chine is a really lovely apparel fabric—it’s great for lightweight garments with some drape, and I wanted my blouse to be summery and just a tad sheer.
What drew you to this design? Like most Spoonies, I have thousands of favorited designs. Each Me Made May truly induces some analysis paralysis—but, I’m a sucker for anything with retro vibes, and this retro floral print called to me.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? Normally I do end up making some modifications, but I was pleased to find that my muslin fit without any adjustments. For this shirt all I did was shorten it a tad! Adding waist ties were tempting—perhaps I’ll add some on version 2.0.
Why did you choose Satin for this project? I chose Satin due to its luster and also because it is suitable for any weather, summer or winter and considered a luxurious fabric!
What drew you to this design? I wanted this for a day robe for summer, so I chose this fruit-themed fabric.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I tried to make a reversible day robe by playing around with plain and printed fabric. I had to sew it in a way where no seams were visible.
Why did you choose Dogwood Denim for this project? I’ve always wanted to try making something with our Dogwood Denim! It’s super sturdy and softens nicely over time.
What drew you to this design? I have five peach trees in my backyard! The design perfectly portrayed how the flowers blossomed earlier this year. I picked it as an ode to them.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I added about 4″ (10.16 cm) to the bottom of the skirt and flared it out about 7″ (17.78 cm). With this, it allowed me to make a bigger pocket. I’m not normally a fan of putting in linings and facings, but I’m so glad I put them in this time! I didn’t need to use fusible interfacing for the facings though since the main fabric was so thick.
Why did you choose Chiffon for this project? Its romantic feel.
What drew you to this design? Its French theme.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? With Chiffon, it’s very important to cut it on the true grainline. The Eiffel Tower in this design printed a little off grain, so I made my pattern fit the design I liked. I wouldn’t use a large print again on my robe. It was difficult to get the print and panel to hang straight.
Why did you choose Poly Crepe de Chine for this project? I’ve never worked with Poly Crepe, but I’ve always like how it looked on finished garments others made so I wanted to challenge myself and try it.
What drew you to this design? I knew I wanted something slightly abstract and navy in color. I liked that STITCHED UP (NAVY) by anthea_jacklin looked different depending on how far away or up close you are to it!
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? New things: princess seams, using interfacing for a garment, gathered/set-in sleeves. Sewing a woven garment was also a challenge since I’m more experienced with knit fabrics.
Modifications made: graded between sizes for the bust and waist/hips, took 2″ (5.08 cm) out of the skirt and sewed a larger bottom hem to reduce length even more, and added pockets because it’s a requirement that all dresses have them. The Seamwork pattern had a lot of tutorials and resources linked within the pattern itself, which was super helpful! I also looked techniques up on YouTube if I needed more explanation.
Why did you choose Organic Cotton Sateen for this project? I like the lightweight cotton for a summer garment.
What drew you to this design? This design has been in my favorites for quite a while. I wanted something interesting, but still neutral, to match the majority of my closet.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I used interfacing for the collar and that was a new technique for me.
Why did you choose Dogwood Denim for this project? I made my first pair of pants with Dogwood Denim earlier this year. I loved the structure, how easy it is to cut and how nicely it finger-presses. I ended up having enough left over for a little crop top, and I love how the fabric holds its shape.
What drew you to this design? I’ve always been drawn to symmetrical sewing, and black and white as well. I love the look of color-blocked clothing, and as soon as I saw these two prints from Spoonflower artist misstiina, it was love at first windowpane.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I used Daughter Judy’s Adams Pants pattern, and I loved the fit! I made a straight size 20, and ended up taking in the waist maybe 1.5″ (3.81 cm). Next time I make these, I will probably cut out a size 18 and go from there. There’s plenty of room in the waist, hips, and bum for lots of movement and comfort. I used the free Krissa Crop pattern from Amy Nicole Studio for the top, and I absolutely love how it came out. I’ve already made another one! The small fabric requirements and opportunities for fussy cutting, color-blocking and playing with the angles of the open back edges have me excited to dig through my stash and see what I can come up with.
I tried painting my jeans buttons with nail polish (white, then glitter on top). I think it would’ve worked better if I had been patient and let them dry for a few days before adding them to my garments, but I’m still pleased with them. See also, my wavy stitchlines, pieced-hem facing and two attempts at adding my waistband button. Nothing’s perfect in sewing, folks!
Why did you choose Organic Cotton Sateen for this project? Organic Cotton Sateen was one of the recommended fabrics from the pattern. I knew I wanted a fabric that was lightweight for summer and had a nice drape to it to highlight the changes I made to the pattern. It also has just enough shine on the surface that I knew it would be a great choice!
What drew you to this design? When I was looking for a design on our website, I found Nordic Sky – Blue by cotton_avenue and it really caught my attention. I liked how the designer created the abstract moth design with the branches and flowers throughout the design.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I made two pattern modifications—adding fullness to the skirt and creating a short sleeve! I wanted the dress’s silhouette to mirror the fabric design I chose, so I added more fullness to the skirt to make it a little more A-line. I ended up adding a total of 4″ (10.16 cm) to each of the skirt pattern pieces, which gave it just the right amount of flare to it. I also decided to shorten the sleeve and also give it some flare—I’m really pleased with the changes I made!
Why did you choose Cotton Lawn for this project? I love how light and flow-y it is and it prints with vibrant color.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I learned a bit more about what it’s like to create a design for our website as well as how to make a seamless repeat in Photoshop. I used a Spoonflower tutorial that I have shared with customers many times and I found it to be very helpful.
Why did you choose Lightweight Cotton Twill for this project? Lightweight Cotton Twill is the perfect every-season fabric! It’s not too heavy for summer, but not too thin for winter. It was so easy to sew with, especially on seam joints that might have been a little thick with Dogwood Denim.
What drew you to this design? I am a proud dog momma and have been obsessed with artist scrummy’s hand-sketch dog print for some time. I love that it comes in so many color options and ultimately picked a fun blue that gives a nod to denim.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? This was my first time using jean hardware and it was harder than I thought it would be! I’m glad I had a few extra buttons to practice with. For pattern modifications, I narrowed the pant legs quite a bit—up to 2″ (5.08 cm) in some places but had to be mindful to keep enough ease for movement (this fabric does not have stretch!). I used French seams almost everywhere to ensure these will hold up in the wash and last a long time. Really fun project, came together so easily!
Why did you choose Cotton Spandex Jersey and Modern Jersey for these projects? Cotton Spandex Jersey was perfect for the cardigan as it’s midweight, comfy and has a great stretch. It also has 50% stretch and recovery, and I love having such vibrant prints! Modern Jersey has a beautiful drape, is wonderfully lightweight for the summertime and doesn’t wrinkle, so it’s great for packing on trips.
What drew you to these designs? For the cardigan, it seems in the ready-to wear-world, cardigans are all solids or stripes, but I wanted one with a pattern. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a leaf pattern on a cardigan before, so was drawn to Spoonflower fabrics to create that one-of-a-kind look. For the tank top, I wanted something that would pair well with solid color skirts as well as jeans. Sage green is trendy in fabrics right now, but this teal green shade flatters me better, and isn’t something everyone else can buy in the big box stores.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I modified the Tidal Tank Top pattern so that instead of adding additional fabric for the neckline and arm binding, I folded it down and did a traditional hem. This saved me fabric so I was able to make this whole tank top with just a yard of fabric.
Why did you choose Modern Jersey for this project? I love working with Modern Jersey because it’s so soft and also forgiving to sew with as well as wear thanks to all that good stretch. I also like that it’s pretty lightweight, so doesn’t feel bulky when you’re moving around in it.
What drew you to this design? I love bright jewel tones and rarely wear white (mainly because I seem to always spill coffee all over everything?). So I chose this design as it allowed me to simultaneously keep the energetic pops of color I love and push myself out of my comfort zone with the white background.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? As a beginning sewist, this was my first make with sleeves, which means I spent some time thinking they were too fiddly and never going to happen due to my own impatience. Then once I slowly pinned the sleeves on to the body of the shirt, I felt triumphant. Sewing them on and wearing a sleeved garment? Pretty darn magic. However, I ended up skipping the sleeve and neckbands because I was a little tight on time. The next time I make this, however, the sleeve and neckbands will be a grand new adventure!
Why did you choose Organic Cotton Sateen for this project? Organic Cotton Sateen is always my go-to for dresses due to its soft hand, medium weight and perfect drape.
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? Yes! This was my first time making a chain stitch to create the little loop my ties went through along the waistline for the wrap dress. I actually had a lot of trouble with this step and ended up watching Melly Sews’ video How to Sew a Thread Chain – Sew Belt Loops or Button Loops to help guide me. I am a visual learner so I often use a combination of videos along with the written instruction to guide me through a new technique.
Why did you choose Organic Sweet Pea Gauze for this project? It’s so breezy! I wanted something light and comfortable to wear through the humid North Carolina summers.
What drew you to this design? I love supporting local artists and follow a bunch of Raleigh/Durham-based designers, so that’s where I looked first. I also knew I wanted something very organic in pattern, not too linear or structured, plus the colors seemed great for transitioning between seasons (pink for spring, mustard for fall)!
Did you learn anything new along the way or make any pattern modifications? I pretty much stuck to my well-trod skills in this pattern, which was just fine! Sometimes exploring a new sewing challenge is fun, but sometimes I just want my hobby to feel like a warm hug.
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