Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Me Made May Superhero

Since my first Me Made May challenge in 2010, I have found it increasingly easy to fulfill my pledge to wear something me-made every day. You want to see what I wear the most?

Me-made-May is really good for pointing out the obvious.  I should focus my precious time on stuff that is truly useful for my real life, instead of what's fun (shiny, new) and will garner lots of pageviews.
I have worn this flannel robe every night in our dreary month of May.
I made this in 1997 and this robe hung on a hook in our bathroom in LA from 1998 to 2014. That bathroom had a skylight, which faded some of the parts of the robe.
This is a good time for a digression on buying quality fabrics. Do you ever wonder what makes some fabrics worth 50-100% more than others that look similar in the store?
See how badly faded the windowpane plaid and the small floral are compared to the geometric?
Why do some fabrics fade more readily than others? It's the quality of the dye.  If you are making something out of cotton for the long haul, buy only fabrics with fiber-reactive dyes.
The inside facing shows more fading on the part that got more sunlight.
For this robe, I pieced a bunch of blue fabrics into a long strip to trim the collar band.  Notice that the right and left, which got equal amounts of sun exposure, shows drastically different amounts of fading?
Right and left got the same sun exposure, but the results are different.
The geometric fabric is what is sometimes called "quilt-shop quality", which means it was made specifically for quilts, which tend to get more sun exposure than clothing (which is put away in the dark when not being worn).

The blue with pink flowers fabric is what I call chain-store or Joann's quality*.  It looks the same at the store.  But, once washed, you can tell that it is printed on lower quality cotton.  The thread count is not as fine.  The cotton is not as long staple, so they have to add chemical finishes to make it feel smooth in the store.  The dyes are cheaper and not sun-resistant.

If you have enough money, buy quality.  If you don't have the money, find someone with good taste in your area who is de-stashing.  ;-)

I gave 3 bags of fabric and patterns to one of Iris' classmates who is learning to sew.  Amazingly, I still have more.

* Joann's now sells "premium cotton" prints which are discontinued old stock "quilt-shop quality" cottons.  The selvedge will state the artist and fabric mill/company info and a copyright date that is 3-5 years past.  Pass up the stuff that says made expressly for Joann's.


  1. I want to make pretty new shiny stuff, but what gets used every day are: pajamas, potholders, pillowcases, t shirts, a robe, my swimsuit cover-up/sarong and Jim's Hawaiian shirts. Boring, but useful. Oh, and my quilted couch throws.
    I gave bags of the chain store fabric away too. It just doesn't wear as well.

    1. MMM has really helped me to assess my life and my wardrobe realistically. There is a time and place for 'just because I want it" shiny stuff. But the things you really need and use should come first.

  2. MMM has made me take a reality check on quality fabrics ad my choices. You're right about using good quality fabrics. Last year during MMM I gave away at least 5 bags of clothes because they didn't fit well; were poor quality; my sewing techniques were still developing; or my choices (fabric and/or pattern) didn't suit me. But it was the cheap fabrics I used that really showed through.


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