About 18 months ago, after years of my mum always telling me I should sew my own clothes because I had so much trouble finding what I liked, I finally found my dream pattern and took the plunge. I’d spent a lot of time browsing instagram and following plus size sewists. A whole new world had opened up to me. People who looked like me, wearing clothes that actually fitted and looked great. Then about a year ago I decided I wanted to start sharing my own makes, and contributing to pattern hashtags so that other people with my body shape might find inspiration too. This was how Jess Terracotta (not my real surname) was born. You can now find me on Instagram under @jessterracotta.
I hadn’t long been on instagram when I started seeing “Me Made May” popping up everywhere. I knew straight away I wanted to be involved. But since I’d been sewing garments for less than a year at that stage I didn’t have huge amount of wardrobe options. Certainly not a month’s worth. But I decided to give it a go anyway so I could get a few more photos up on my grid.
My pledge was to wear at least one me-made item on each day of May. Some were crochet, some were sewn, and when desperate, some were ready-to-wears that I had altered in some way.
Day one was great. Here I am! The first dress I ever made seemed appropriate for the first day of Me Made May.
But by Day 2, the outfit I wanted to wear I had only shown on my grid just a few days earlier! So I knew I didn’t want to just post another photo of the outfit. As an avid baker, I’d seen a bunch of dessert flat lays doing the rounds as a fun new thing, and had made them myself too. Here’s a dessert flat lay if you’ve never seen one.
So I decided to try a flat lay of my outfit. I live in a one bedroom apartment with no balcony, and little floor space. I also have no photography equipment apart from my phone. So I grabbed a creamy white blanket, put it on the floor and started arranging my clothes on it.
I started with the dress. I made a tie belt for it so wanted that in there too. In this particular case I decided to tie it around the middle of the dress, like I would wear it, but synching it in because I wanted the dress to take up about a third of my photo. Then I added my folded jumper, and matching scrunchie (Big fan of scrunchies!). Because it looked a little boring still I added my earrings for this photo too. In terms of lay out I wanted about 2/3 to be clothing and 1/3 to be the space around it. So I just folded until the shapes looked about right.
This is what I ended up with. I’m not a professional so of course it’s not perfect and the lighting is pretty bad. But you can see the clothes. In particular you can see the me made items (dress and scrunchie) which would have been almost entirely covered if I’d just shared the below photo of my outfit: Me about to walk out the door.
I really enjoyed making the flat lay and also the variation it added to my instagram grid (I don’t have much repertoire in model posing and was getting sick of my own face).
I ended up doing a flat lay every few days. No strict rules, but basically when I had to re-wear an item of clothing, or it wasn’t easy to show my makes in the photo (It was a cold autumn in Melbourne and sometimes all you’d see was the jumper or jacket and not the dresses underneath) I would make a flat lay. You can see here how the me made items becomes more highlighted in the flat lays.
Each time the principles were the same for me. I tried to keep a border of the background (sometimes with a dress I let it go off the screen at the bottom) and I tried to just have two “rows” or items. Sometimes you can’t even really tell what the item is, but I almost always shared a photo of me wearing the outfit in the next slide.
In the last week of May I finished about 3 new things, which was a nice boost to my feed. May became a really good month of inspiration and a motivation to finish some things I’d been taking my time on. This year I have quite a few more outfit options in my wardrobe so I’m hoping I wont end up with as many repeats as last year.
I hope this post inspires you to give flat lays a go if you’ve never done one before. It’s easy and versatile and makes you look kind of fancy too! Happy sewing!