Last May (which was quite a few months before I started this blog), I started noticing lots of people I follow on Instagram posting about "Me-Made-May". I had never heard of this before, and while I understood the general premise I wasn't sure how all these people knew about it. Turns out, Zoe from "So, Zo...What Do You Know?" came up with this great concept that "celebrates all the love and hard work that so many of us put into crafting unique, special handmade clothing and accessories".
She sums up some reasons to participate by saying:
Do your handmade items often get left in the wardrobe rather than worn as part of your everyday wardrobe? Participating in this challenge can give you a bit of a nudge to help you to integrate your self-stitched items into your daily life.
This challenge may also be useful for discovering the 'holes' in your wardrobe so in the future you are able to focus your precious garment-creating time towards making things that will be useful.
If you feel that what you tend to wear, day-to-day, doesn't really suit you or represent who you are, this challenge is a way to spend a month focussing on getting out of your wardrobe rut.
You may enjoy an excuse to focus on finishing off lingering UFOs (un-finished objects), or to start a project you've had on your mind for ages.
If you have been creating clothing for some time and already wear a lot of your me-mades, this challenge might help you to bring newer self-stitched items into regular rotation. If you tend to make all kinds of garments, you may even want to see if you can get by all month entirely without shop-bought garments (with undies or outerwear as notable exceptions, but not necessarily!).
There is also guaranteed to be a lovely online community of fellow participants to give support, advice and inspiration.
I was very intrigued but also felt really intimidated to start a handmade wardrobe. I thought to myself: "Well, it's nice that all these people are doing this, but I could never participate because I can't really sew and I have no idea where to begin". At that point, I had only knit or crocheted a few scarves and had refashioned some wide-legged jeans to be skinny-legged ones. Starting a whole piece of clothing from scratch seemed beyond my skills.
My mom and I at Fancy Tiger
But after a few weeks of seeing all of the me-made things flowing through my Instagram feed, I felt inspired to learn those skills. Some of the pieces I saw seemed pretty straightforward (and maybe even easy!), so when my parents came to town in June of last year, my Mom and I decided to check out Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver to see if there would be something easy I could try my hand at. We found April Rhode's Staple Dress pattern which seemed perfect for a first-try-at-sewing-clothes-pattern. A couple days after my parents left town (and before I lost my nerve!) I started on making the dress and less than 2 days later I was finished! From that point on, I was hooked. My sewing skills have slightly advanced since then, and while I know that I have a lot yet to learn, I'm enjoying making mistakes and learning as I go.
My first dress!
When I really think about it, that dress and all the inspiration that came from Me-Made-May last year played a pivotal role in my path to start this blog by giving me the courage to try something new that intimidated me. So with all that in mind, here is my pledge for Me-Made-May 2015:
'I, Stacey of 'The Modern Domestique', sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavor to wear as many me-made & me-mended garments as possible for the duration of May 2015'.
I have added one little thing to the pledge that wasn't originally there: Me-mended.
To me, mending is just as important as making. In my post on why sewing is important, I talked a little bit about how if we learn to mend our clothes instead of throwing them away, we would be reducing the 14.3 million tons of textile waste that happens every year which would be a huge step towards living in a more sustainable society. I think that mending is also a great way to start your relationship with sewing because you're working on something that already exists - Mending will help you get acquainted with the garment, the needle and the thread which might be inspiring to take the next step and sew something easy from scratch. Extending the life of a garment is just as relevant as creating something from square one.
All the cool kids are doing it. source
Throughout the rest of this month, I'll be posting about different things I have sewn or mended. If I have time, I might even try to whip up a new dress. If you're interested in participating but don't know how to sew, try mending something that hasn't been worn in a while because of a missing button or a hole in the seam. If even that intimidates you, leave a comment below with a mending or sewing question and I'll write a blog about it to help you start on your own mending/sewing journey!