4 June 2014

Me-Made-May Madness

Woah! May was INTENSE. In a good way. No wait, in an AMAZING way! From the launch of my book to Blogtacular and Makegood, it's been a crazy ride.

And thanks to Me-Made-May, I've documented what I was wearing throughout the best month ever! Me-Made-May, the brainchild of Zoe, is an online challenge whereby stitchers wear handmade throughout the month of May and, if they so choose, document each day. It's a great way of encouraging yourself to wear more of your makes, or simply to figure out whether the things you're sewing translate into everyday life. The project has been going for a few years now and I've definitely seen an increase in the number of wearable self-stitched items in my wardrobe (and fewer fancy dresses) as a result. Me-Made-May even got featured in the Guardian this year, thanks to sewing blogger-journalist Elena Cresci!

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have already seen this, but here's a recap. This month I wore, from left to right:
Row 1: Coco funnel neck + Brigitte scarf / Udon Dress / Scallop-pocket Miette skirt / Nautical Delphine skirt
Row 2: Sixties Coco top / Nautical knit dress / Megan dress / Mimi blouse + Brigitte scarf
Row 3: Colour block Coco top + Delphine skirt / Coco dress / Margot PJs / Ikat Tova blouse
Row 4: Dazzlingly Red Beignet skirt + Bow Belt + Brigitte scarf / Mathilde blouse / Chambray Clemence skirt / Colour block Coco dress
Row 5: Red linen Miette skirt / 1970s dress for Summer / Liberty Mathilde blouse hack / Scallop-pocket Miette skirt
Row 6: Denim Delphine skirt / Mimi blouse + Nautical Delphine skirt / Pussy bow blouse + Yellow Delphine skirt / Coco dress
Row 7: Lobster Picnic Blanket Skirt / Mathilde blouse / Colour block Coco top / Coco funnel neck + Brigitte scarf
Row 8: Colour block Coco top + Delphine skirt / Nautical Delphine skirt / Colour block Coco dress

Looking at these pics make me realise just how much I wear the Coco top/dress and Delphine skirt. I was just about to type that the nautical Delphine skirt (the one with the buttons) is my favourite make of all time, but then I remembered my Sixties Coco top. And my Coco dresses... sigh... Well, at least I know what I like! The other thing I realised during MMM is that I don't have any handmade jeans. I've been wearing jeans a lot recently as I spent three weeks taking huge deliveries to and shipping mammoth orders from the third floor while the lift was broken (ouch) and then another week shlepping stuff in and out of Makegood. Have you made your own skinny jeans? Do you have a favourite pattern?

Here are a few highlights from May:

So in early May, my book came out. Of course I always hoped that you liked it, but I never imagined such an incredible response. Thank you SO much to everyone who has written a review on Amazon, sent me a lovely email or helped spread the word about the book online. I really really appreciate it. You guys are the best! In fact, I talk about Me-Made-May in this section shown above on Dressing Handmade.

The night before the book was released, we had a little party with the publishers, people who worked on the book, family and friends at Drink Shop Do. Here I am with Me-Made-May Queen Zoe; Lilou dress twinsies Marie and Quadrille Craft commissioning editor Lisa; "on brand" tableware and a cocktail called The Dressmaker. Yum.

Photos by Will Ireland, with thanks to Mollie Makes
The day after the release, I headed to the Royal Institution for Blogtacular, a fantastic new conference for creative bloggers. I was there to give a talk about turning your blog into a book, and also took the opportunity to be inspired by the other speakers (kicking off with a keynote from Joy Cho from Oh Joy) and met lots of awesome people. Coco came out to play. Accessorised with a Madonna headset. I love conferences. I always leave with a stack of ideas and a huge sense of motivation.

A few days after Blogtacular, Lauren hosted a launch party at Guthrie and Ghani for Love at First Stitch. It was so much fun meeting all the people who came along. Jenni from GBSB 2 came! It was her birthday! We had matching outfits! We made her kneel down on the floor for photos to make us look less munchkin-like. I think it worked...

And then came Makegood! The festival of creative businesses at the Old Selfridges Hotel was... amazing. It was crazy busy at times, I met so many lovely blog readers who came along to say hi, and was so overwhelmed by all the wonderful things people had to say about the concept of making user-friendly sewing guides for the new wave of modern makers. Even people who never thought about sewing were really enthusiastic about it, which was so encouraging. There was one disappointment - I was meant to be in conversation with Cath Kidston on the Friday, but right at the last minute Cath had to leave because she was poorly. It was such a shame that we didn't get to hear her speak, and I know that no one was as upset about it as Cath herself - she was such a trooper, I can't believe she even turned up in the first place! Fingers crossed we'll be able to do something else in the future - of course you'll be the first to hear if we do. Apart from feeling bad for Cath, the rest of the event was amazing. From my own point of view it was a real confidence boost to see my business out in the world and to receive such positive feedback. I also felt so proud of all the other creative businesses who were also showcasing at the event - I've followed their progress for months now, so it was fantastic to see how far we've all come in that time. 

The book and patterns went down really well, as did the brand new 'Dress Handmade' Fairtrade canvas bags and the 'Sewing is Good for You' badges. Here they are modelled by School for Creative Startups course leader and former Dragon's Den star Doug Richard; Bake Off's Frances Quinn; Lauren Guthrie; and none other than Santa. Lots of you have been asking if you can buy the bags - I'm definitely going to put them in the shop soon, so watch this space...

Frances was such a babe - she baked button biscuits for the occasion and took this super cute photo! I've had a massive girl crush on Frances since watching the first episode of Bake Off and it was cemented by meeting her in public - she's the bestest.

Well, I'm exhausted just looking at my month, and I haven't even told you about all the envelope stuffing and post office-going that took place (unsurprisingly there are no photos from those parts of the month), so I'm off for a lie down. Ciao for now!

[Soundtrack: 'Have It All' by Pharell Williams]