Last June, Ciara was our 1st ever blog contributor with her post about using MyBodyModel with her bullet journal to plan her summer sewing. Now, a year later, she’s back to share her epic Me-Made-May project: 31 days of outfit sketches using her custom croquis from MyBodyModel!
For Me-Made May 2019, I decided to participate in MyBodyModel’s #sketchmystyle challenge by sketching my outfit everyday. I also set a secondary goal of making it through the entire month without repeating a garment. I didn’t plan my outfits in advance or even tally up my self-sewn garments to see if this was a realistic goal. I’ve been making all of my own clothes since 2013 (though I’ve gotten rid of a lot of what I made in the first few years due to fit/construction issues, or evolving style preferences). I just crossed my fingers & hoped I had enough. And I did!
I supported the MyBodyBodel Kickstarter & received the beta version of my croquis last summer. I worked with a local printer here in Portland, Oregon to have my croquis turned into a 5” by 1.5” rubber stamp. Every morning, I took a full-body selfie on my porch using the self-timer on my iPhone. I stamped my croquis into a little 6” by 4” Pentalic sketchbook using a light pink ink pad. I sketched in the details with pencil & went over everything with a black 005 Micron. I added color with Tombow Dual Tip brush markers. I eventually made a little cheat sheet to remind myself of the colors I preferred to use for my skin, hair, shoes, etc.
Me-Made May Outfits & Sketches
May 1: Sew Liberated Patterns Metamorphic dress in lipstick Kaffe Fassett shot cotton (2019); Sew A Little Seam Patterns Movie Night Pajamas henley top in black cotton rib knit (2018). Socks from Sock Dreams, shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 2: Sew House Seven Patterns Burnside Bibs in gray linen (2017); Blank Slate Patterns Blanc tee in Art Gallery Fabrics Yuma Lemons Mist cotton jersey (2018). Patch hand-printed by J Rae Disaster. Socks from Sock Dreams, shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 3: Cashmerette Patterns Lenox shirtdress in teal Cotton + Steel Stack O’ Cats quilting cotton (2018); Muse Patterns Jenna cardigan in yellow cotton hacci knit (2017). Shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 4: Sew House Seven Patterns Tabor tee in Art Gallery Fabrics Indie Folk cotton jersey (2019); True Bias Patterns Hudson pants in black Telio speckled French terry with pink cotton French terry trim (2019). Socks from Sock Dreams, slippers from Halflinger.
May 5: Sew Over It Patterns Anderson blouse in Art Gallery Fabrics Sunday Clippings cotton voile (2016); Closet Case Patterns mid-rise Ginger jeans in indigo S-Gene Cone Mills denim (2018). Shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 6: McCall’s 6966 shirtdress in pink gingham seersucker (2016); pink leather sandals made in a workshop with Rachel Sees Snail Shoes (2018).
May 7: Muse Patterns Jenna cardigan/Kitschy Coo Patterns Lady Skater dress hacked knit shirtdress in Riley Blake Cottage Main cotton jersey (2016). Shoes from Klogs.
May 8: Blank Slate Patterns Blanc tee in black cotton jersey (2016); pa’u skirt made from tutorial in “Threads” magazine #185 in Hawthorne Threads Mariner border print cotton (2016); blue & black Cloth Habit Patterns Harriet bra (2018). Shoes from Klogs.
May 9: Butterick 6344 tie-shoulder maxidress in yellow gingham seersucker (2017), pink leather sandals made in a workshop with Rachel Sees Snail Shoes (2018).
May 10: Closet Case Patterns Charlie caftan in pink strawberry print double gauze (2018). Shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 11: self-drafted short overalls in black Robert Kaufman pindot denim (2016); Itch to Stitch Lago tank in Tetris print cotton jersey from Spoonflower (2017). Shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 12: Kitschy Coo Patterns Lady Skater dress in Riley Blake Fabrics Vintage Market cotton jersey (2015); Muse Patterns Jenna cardigan in sparkly black knit from Hancock Fabrics (2016). Socks from Sock Dreams, shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 13: Jennifer Lauren Handmade Felicity dress in pink striped seersucker (2019); Muse Patterns Jenna cardigan in cream French terry with pink sequined stretch lace applique (2019); self-drafted white cotton underskirt with ruffle & pink ribbon detail (2018). Socks from Sock Dreams, shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 14: Sew House Seven Burnside Bibs in Robert Kaufman railroad stripe denim (2017); McCall’s 7687 pleated-sleeved blouse in pink striped seersucker (2018); pink & black leather workboots made in a workshop with Laughing Crowe (2019).
May 15: Digital Pattern Library belted sweater in black cotton swetshirting (2019); Closet Case Patterns Ginger jeans in indigo Robert Kaufman denim (2016); pink & black leather workboots made in a workshop with Laughing Crowe (2019).
May 16: Sew House Seven Patterns Toaster sweater in gray French terry with a Cotton + Steel panel applique (2017); True Bias Patterns Lander pants in heavyweight pink linen with pink hand-painted floral buttons (2019). Socks from Sock Dreams, shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 17: Kitschy Coo Patterns Lady Skater dress with hood alternation in black Telio speckled French terry (2018); self-drafted leggings in black/hot pink reversible mermaid sequin & black scuba, lined with white cotton rib knit (2016). Socks from Sock Dreams, shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 18: Butterick 6296 Lisette pajamas in navy scattered dot cotton flannel, with burgundy piping & buttons (2016). Socks from Sock Dreams, slippers from Halflinger.
May 19: Patterns 4 Pirates Relaxed raglan (heavily modified) in gray speckled jersey & blue cotton jersey, both by Robert Kaufman fabrics (2017); Closet Case Patterns Ginger jeans in black twill (2016). Socks from Sock Dreams, slippers from Halflinger.
May 20: Paprika Patterns Jasper sweater modified into a zip-front hoodie in black cotton sweatshirting (2017); Jennifer Lauren Handmade Cressida skirt in aqua cotton pique (2016); self-drafted tights in white floral cotton rib knit (2018). Shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 21: Muse Patterns Jenna cardigan with floral appliques (2018); Vogue 1411 pants in indigo stretch denim (2015). Socks from Sock Dreams, shoes from Duckfeet USA, sunglasses from Zenni Optical.
May 22: Simplicity 8342 tie-front top in Art Gallery Fabrics Stamped Grove Daylight cotton jersey (2019); vintage Simplicity 7915 wrap skirt in gray cotton twill (2016). Shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 23: Seamwork Patterns Elmira sweater in pink cotton sweater knit (2019); Sew Liberated Patterns Metamorphic dress in lipstick Kaffe Fassett shot cotton & Amy Butler Social Climber quilting cotton (2019). Shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 24: Sew House Seven Patterns Toaster sweater in black cotton sweatshirting with a Cotton + Steel panel applique (2017); Cashmerette Patterns Ames jeans in indigo S-Gene Cone Mills denim (2018). Socks from Sock Dreams, shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 25: Patterns 4 Pirates Women’s Henley in pink & white striped cotton waffle knit & white rib knit trim (2017); True Bias Patterns in quilted gray cotton double knit with black sweatshirting trim (2017). Socks from Sock Dreams, slippers from Halflinger.
May 26: Kitschy Coo Patterns Lady Skater dress hacked into a sleeveless maxidress in Sarah Jane Magic unicorn print cotton jersey (2017); matching Bluegingerdoll Patterns Pin-Up Head Scarf (2017). Shoes from Klogs.
May 27: Sew Liberated Patterns Metamorphic dress in pink Robert Kaufman Fancy Kitty Heads quilting cotton (2019). Socks from Sock Dreams, shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 28: Scroop Patterns Henrietta Maria blouse in teal gingham seersucker (2017); Victory Patterns Madeleine suspender skirt in black twill (2017). Shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 29: Jennifer Lauren Handmade Bronte tee in black cotton jersey with pink buttons (2015); asymmetrical pleated skirt from “Mrs. Stylebook” high summer 2017 (a Japanese pattern magazine) in yellow & white striped home dec fabric from Ikea (2017); self-drafted white cotton underskirt with ruffle & yellow ribbon detail (2017). Shoes from Duckfeet USA.
May 30: Blank Slate Patterns Blanc tee hacked into a tie-shoulder tank in pink & black cotton jersey & re-purposed RTW logo tee (2018); black twill A-line skirt with front yoke & pockets from The Essential A-Line book (2018). Shoes from Klogs.
What I learned from drawing my outfits every day
Sketching definitely got faster & easier as the month progressed. I think my detail work improved bit by bit. My coloring remained patchy & I never really got my shoes to look the way I wanted, but that’s okay. Some sketches were definitely harder than others. The pajamas from May 18 were a nightmare to color, I hated it. The flower appliques on my sweater from May 21 were challenging, but fun. There were outfits that look better in sketch form (the pajamas from May 25) & others that look better on me (May 5).
Even though I wear my handmade wardrobe every single day (I don’t own any RTW anymore), putting together a fresh outfit everyday for a month & drawing it illuminated a few things for me. I realized that my closet is heavy on dresses, skirts, & pants, but that I need more tops. I have at least half a dozen skirts I didn’t wear in May because I didn’t have a previously-unworn top to go with them. I also need to make a few more pairs of tights or leggings, & learning to make my own socks could go a long way toward a fully handmade wardrobe.
Styling-wise, I became a convert of the tucked-in top. I’ve always had a disproportionately thicker waist, compared to my hips & legs, & it became my habit to wear longer, untucked tops to try to mask that. A few years ago, I realized that waist-length sweaters (like the yellow sweater from May 3) look much better on me than hip-length sweaters (like the black one from May 12). I started making more cropped sweaters (the Toaster sweaters from May 16 & 24, the Elmira sweater from May 23) as a result. But I’m also responding well to the high-waisted tucked-in looks I’m wearing–May 22, May 28, May 29. I’m also seeing the ways my wardrobe needs to be updated to accommodate my new size. The Kitschy Coo Lady Skater dress is a favorite pattern of mine (obviously), but the size I’ve been making is too big now & the waist droops too low.
Working with my beta croquis everyday has inspired me to upgrade to the newer version of MyBodyModel. My body has changed in the last year & I am now smaller than my croquis measurements. There have also been some tweaks & improvements since the beta launch. For instance, in the new version, the hands of the croquis extend further away from the body, allowing for more detail work around the waist/hip areas.
I enjoyed sketching my daily looks a lot! So much so that I’m planning to have a new rubber stamp made with my updated MyBodyModel croquis & keep sketching my looks! I picked up a few more of the little sketchbooks at my local art supply shop during a buy one, get one free sale, as well as a larger size to use as a sewing planner–more room for swatches, fitting notes, supply lists, etc.
I’ve been wearing my self-sewn wardrobe exclusively for so long now, I wasn’t sure that Me-Made May or a daily outfit sketch would really be helpful to me, but I learned a lot! Proof that even a pretty seasoned seamstress with a strongly-defined sense of personal style can benefit from these tools!
Ciara Xyerra is an anarcha-feminist who loves to sew. She made zines for twenty years before she embarked on creating a 100% handmade wardrobe in 2013. She lives in Portland, OR with her partner, their daughter, & a very smart tuxedo cat. When she’s not sewing, she’s generally reading political non-fiction, updating her bullet journal, or feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of plastic dinosaurs littering every surface of her house. She blogs at ciaraxyerra.com & can also be found on Instagram @ciaraxyerra.