Self-Stitched September Conclusions

September has come and gone, and I would like to share a few insights from my first experience participating in Self-Stitched September. I don’t have anything earth-shattering to share, but I want to put my thoughts in writing nonetheless.

  • I wore handmade items 16 out of the 30 days in September. This isn’t too bad, but it’s not as many days as I thought I would reach.
  • It was easiest to put together an outfit that included something I made when I was going to work. I enjoy making dresses and skirts the most, so this makes sense.
  • It was also easier at the beginning of the month when it was warmer. This is definitely due to the fact that I have a lot more time to dedicate to sewing during the warmer months of the year because of my schedule as a teacher.
  • I’m not sure that this is my goal, but if my goal of sewing is to never need store bought clothing I would need to sew more casual clothing like jeans, knit shirts, and casual jackets or cardigans.
  • I’m also not sure if I’ll be participating in a self-stitched or me-made month again in the next year or so. It got tedious to photograph myself every time I wore something I made. I’m not a big fan of modeling for my own photos either. I also probably won’t have enough new items to show off to keep it interesting because I’m not a super-prolific seamstress.
  • Even though this could have happened during any month, I am very glad that I was able to inspire a few of my students to give sewing a try during Self-Stitched September.
Bye-bye, September! Hello, October!

SSS: 9/22, 9/23, 9/26 & 9/28

I’m in the last week of Self-Stitched September, and I have to be honest that I’ll be a little bit glad when it’s done. I started off with a lot more enthusiasm for this little challenge than I’m feeling right now. I’ve started to repeat outfits, so there’s really nothing new here. It might be put together a little differently though because it’s been chilly and rainy the last several days.

Thursday, September 22nd: Here’s my black and white jacket layered over a dress and accessorized with a gray scarf. The weather has been consistently chilly and a bit rainy, so I’ve been throwing on scarves with just about every outfit. This, to me, is a sign that fall is here and summer is over.

  • Jacket: Simplicity 3628, made in May 2011
  • Dress: purchased from Ann Taylor Loft (a lovely, unexpected gift from my sister)
  • Scarf: purchased from Target
Friday, September 23rd: I didn’t manage to get a picture of me wearing this, but I do have a great story. During one of my classes, I heard some girls whispering. I asked them what was going on and they said they liked my “wardrobe”–they actually used the word wardrobe. I thanked them and plugged the stitch club I co-lead at school by saying that they should come so that they could learn to make their own clothes. It actually worked too! I got several more girls to sign up for the club. Our first meeting is next week, so I hope they are still interested by then.
  • Scarf: Another lovely gift from my sister
  • Dress: Simplicity 2365, made in August 2010
Monday, September 26th: This dress is another repeat for the month. It’s just so comfy. Unlike earlier in the month, I had to put on tights to keep my legs warm. (And you can see the waistband bunched up in the photo. It looks so tacky, but I honestly didn’t realize it until I was editing the picture. Another side note–I have started to notice that by the end of the day when I normally take these pictures I don’t stand up as straight as I should.)
  • Dress: Built by Wendy sheath dress pattern with modifications, made in February 2011
Wednesday, September 28th: This dress got me another compliment from students. They said I should be a designer and sell my dresses for $24.99. I laughed to myself when they said that. Everyone who sews knows that their work is worth much more than that! I didn’t tell them that though. I just reminded them that if I was a designer I wouldn’t be their awesome Spanish teacher.
  • Cardigan: purchased from Lands’ End
  • Dress: my design, made in May/June 2011
  • Tights: purchased from Marshall’s

SSS: 9/19 & 9/21

Monday and Wednesday turned out to be outfit opposites. (I promise I haven’t been planning my outfits so that my posts are themed; it’s just worked out that way.) Both outfits include light grey, a shade of purple, a similar skirt design, a solid top and a cardigan.

Monday, September 19th: To start the week off, I wore an outfit that is very typical for me–skirt, t-shirt and cardigan. There isn’t much else to say about this day or this outfit. It was very routine.

  • Cardigan: purchased from New York and Company
  • Top: purchased from Target
  • Skirt: wrap style based on Simplicity 2451, made in May 2011
Wednesday, September 21st: Tuesday I didn’t wear anything I made. On Wednesday I made up for it by wearing two pieces I sewed. I’ve worn both already this during self-stitched September, but not in this combination.
  • Cardigan: purchased from JC Penney
  • Top: Sorbetto top, made in August 2011
  • Skirt: Simplicity 2451, made in November 2010

SSS: 9/15

I’m starting to see where I lack handmade items and how I can fill in those gaps. I didn’t wear anything I made (other than the purse I regularly carry and my yoga mat bag) from Friday through Sunday this week because I have very few casual handmade items. Most of what I make is for work or dress up, and I didn’t need to dress up in the last three days. So, I just have one look to show you for the second half of the week.

Thursday, September 15th: It was very chilly on Thursday morning when I left for school, so I was able to throw on this jacket I made last spring. I also wore a handmade top(picture below). I was on a black and white kick that day, I guess. Both are also Simplicity Threads collection patterns. I was all about a theme on Thursday.

  • Jacket: Simplicity 3628, made in May 2011
  • Top: Simplicity 2614, made in October 2010
  • Pants: purchased from Kohls
Have a wonderful week and look for a post later this week telling about my progress in the Labor of Love jacket. It’s coming together with a lot of patience and hard work!

SSS: 9/12, 9/13 & 9/14

I’m getting to the point in this challenge where near the end of my handmade options. There are still a few things that I really like that I haven’t worn yet and there are a few that I’ve “saved” until the end because they aren’t my favorites. The last three days have been a mix of the two.

Monday, September 12th: This dress falls into the category of handmade clothes that I love. I put of lot of time and thought into making this dress and even entered it in a sewing contest (and came in as a runner-up). I love the style and fabric. However, I don’t think I look the best in it when I see photographs–I look short and stout. Oh well, I can live with that.

  • Dress: my design, made in May/June 2011
Tuesday, September 13th: This top was a time consuming project even though it is a very simple pattern. I decided to do some embroidery around the hem, which took longer than it did to actually sew the shirt. I think it turned out pretty cute though. I especially like to wear this shirt under a cardigan during the winter.
  • Top: Simplicity 3835, made in October 2010
  • Pants: purchased from Kohls (I think)
Wednesday, September 14th: I had to cut my head out of this picture because I was making a horrible face and the picture is still less-than attractive because I’m really slouching. I didn’t realize I was until I looked at it later. I was just home from a rather long day at school when I took it, so I’m sure I was beat. The dress itself goes back and forth between one I like a lot and one I don’t. Sometimes I think the shape of the skirt it too triangular and makes me wonder if I should shorten the dress into a tunic or top. Either way, it’s comfortable and I really love the color. It’s so vibrant.
  • Dress: See & Sew B5065, made in winter 2009
  • Tights: purchased from Target (probably)
PS: I’m sorry there haven’t been any other sewing posts this month. I really haven’t had the chance to do any sewing in September. There was one evening where I did about an hour of sewing, but there is nothing to show for it yet. Hopefully, I’ll get back into sewing this weekend though.

SSS: 9/8, 9/9 & 9/11

Life was busy towards the end of last week and this weekend. I had to stay late at school on Thursday for back to school night. (It’s a night where parents come in and meet the teachers.) Friday was a whirlwind evening for me and it definitely shows in the picture I took. On Saturday I didn’t wear anything I made except for carrying my usual purse. Sunday was all about getting ready for the week to come.

Thursday, September 8th: I needed to be comfortable because I knew that the day would be long, but I also had to look professional to meet students’ parents. I also try to look older, if possible, on these days because I’ve been mistaken for a student before, which is quite embarrassing.

  • Skirt: half-circle wrap, made in August 2011
  • Top: purchased from Lands’ End
  • Jacket: purchased from JCPenney (a loooong time ago!)

Friday, September 9th: I love this dress and always get compliments on it (on Friday I was compared to Mary Tyler Moore and Jackie Onassis Kennedy), even more so when people find out I’ve made it. This always amazes me because it’s one of the simplest dresses I’ve ever made. It is just three pieces and there are no zippers or buttons or embellishments. As much as I love this dress, I do not love this photo of me wearing it. I was in a rush to get out of the house, my slip was bunched up under the dress, I was taking the picture out of obligation rather than desire and I think all of this shows in the picture.

  • Dress: my design, made in August 2010
  • Belt: purchased from ?

Sunday, September 11th: Again, please excuse the lackluster quality of the photo. I took the picture late in the evening when there was no natural light and had to lighten the picture a lot in order to show the details of the outfit. You can see somewhat better pictures of this tunic here. I was all about town in this outfit and I think it’s the perfect outfit for a busy day. It looks just as appropriate at the farmer’s market as it does at brunch.

  • Dress/Tunic: Simplicity 2365, made in August 2010
  • Leggings: purchased from Forever 21 (my least favorite store, for the record)


SSS: 9/6 & 9/7

On Tuesday and Wednesday we enjoyed more crisp, fall-like weather. It’s been nice to pull out a few pieces that I haven’t worn in a few months.

Tuesday, September 6th: This is a great dress for school. It looks professional, yet it’s very comfortable. The piping and buttons make this dress stand out and I often get compliments when I wear it.

  • Dress: Built by Wendy sheath dress pattern with modifications, made in February 2011
Wednesday, September 7th: Are you starting to see a pattern in how I dress? Comfortable and professional are the two words that define my wardrobe. I love simple shapes with interesting details. This skirt is another example–a basic a-line with unique pockets.
  • Top: purchased from Kohls
  • Skirt: my own pattern, made in fall 2009/winter 2010 (I’m not quite sure)

SSS: Labor Day Weekend

It has been harder than I thought it would be to get a quick snapshot of my outfit each day. I hope to get in a better habit this week, but for now we’ll have to settle for Dora modeling my weekend outfits.

Friday, September 2nd: It was hot, hot, hot on Friday and I work in a non air-conditioned school. I just wanted to be as cool as possible. This outfit lacks excitement, but it kept me pretty comfortable.

Top: purchased from Land’s End
Skirt: elastic waist skirt made from ruined dress in July 2011


Saturday, September 3rd: I was in South Bend, Indiana for the Notre Dame versus USF football game. (If you follow college football, you’ll know what I mean when I say it was an exciting day!) I wanted to support the team, so I wore an ND t-shirt and shorts, but I also carried this purse.

Purse: my own design, made in May 2011

 Sunday, September 4th: The weather patterns changed and it was nice and cool on Sunday. I wore a dress with a jacket over it.

Dress: purchased from Loft (I know it looks like the skirt from Friday, but I promise it’s not.)
Jacket: Vogue 8480 (out of print), made in 2008? (before I was blogging or documenting my sewing, so I’m just guessing)

Monday, September 5th: Finally, a picture of me! Today was chilly and fall-like and I loved it. I wore jeans, my black Sorbetto tank top and a white cardigan. It was simple and easy for the last day of my three day weekend.

Pants: jeans purchased from Kohls
Top: black Sorbetto, made in August 2011
Cardigan: purchased from Land’s End



SSS: 9/1

Self-Stitched September has begun! This is my outfit from the first day of the month. It was in the nineties, so I decided not to photograph myself in this outfit after I got home from school. I was melting. I think Dora looks quite classy in this outfit anyway.

Outfit details:

  • Top: purchased a couple years ago from Target
  • Skirt: Simplicity 2451; made November 2010

Self-Stitched September: Ready, Set…

Tomorrow is the first day of Self-Stitched September. I’m both looking forward to it and a bit apprehensive. I know I shouldn’t be nervous, but there are just so many participants across the web. I just hope I measure up.

I decided to make a little change to the parameters of my Self-Stitched September challenge. Initially, I thought I would wear at least one handmade item a day Monday through Friday. I’ve decided instead to wear what I feel like, with an emphasis on wearing my self-stitched items and documenting when, where and how I wear them. I think this will give me a more realistic picture of what will be useful to make in the future. It should also be interesting to see how often I naturally gravitate towards my own creations rather than store-bought clothing.

Here is my pledge:

I, Beth of Fresa Handmade, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-Sept ’11. I endeavour to wear my handmade clothing as often as possible each day for the duration of September 2011. 

Head over here to read others’ pledges and to learn more about the history of Self-Stitched September.