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Sunday, 1 May 2022

Me Made May

Today marks the beginning of Me Made May. I’ve never participated before, as watching it on Instragram, it seemed the purpose was to wear something different that you’d made, every day, for a month. My autumn/winter wardrobe doesn’t extend to 31 different outfits, let alone my handmade one.

To be fair, I have started to sew clothing again in the last year or two, I’ve knitted a couple of items for myself, and I happen to be doing an open sewing class during May this year, so it prompted me to take another look at Me Made May.

It turns out a fashion parade of me-made items isn’t the point at all. Instead, it’s about making a commitment to wearing your handmade wardrobe more or differently. Personally, once I’ve made an item, I don’t need additional encouragement to wear it, so I thought about other ways I might be able to participate.

In late 2014 I essentially stopped buying new clothes. I’d just been studying textile sustainability and I was shocked at what I was learning. You can read more about that journey here. In the intervening years, I bought underpants, leggings, a pair of jeans, a pair of summer pants and a cardigan. I also had a jacket and two skirts made for me locally. That's not a lot for five years.

By the end of 2020 though, there were pieces in my wardrobe that were getting beyond their use-by date. And I’m not talking ones that can be fixed with a darn or button. I’m talking tops that are so threadbare they’re see-through. There comes a point where items are going to wear out completely or only be fit for gardening or painting in (insert whichever other stain-attracting hobby you’re into).

Given I couldn’t sew for half of last year though, I ended up buying a handful of items. Now that I am back at the machine, I can be more mindful about what other pieces I add. I also need to be realistic about what else must go. It was all well and good slopping around in threadbare clothes at home during 262 days of lockdown, but it’s not going to cut it back in the real world.

So, my commitment for Me Made May is to do another wardrobe audit. That, and tackling the mending drawer. By the end of the month, I’ll have let go of some pieces, put some back into rotation and made a list of what needs to be added, including pattern ideas – if I’m going to add to the wardrobe, I’d prefer that the items from here were handmade.

Let’s see how I go.

And since I'm normally about the quilting here, this is a little infographic I created back in 2015 about the cotton industry (that provides all our quilting cotton).

1, 2, 3, 6 and 9 To Die for – Is Fashion Wearing out the World?, Ch 7 – 'Picking at Cotton', Lucy Siegle, Fourth Estate, London, 2011
4. Cotton Campaign, http://www.cottoncampaign.org/about.html
5 and 10 The True Cost, movie http://truecostmovie.com/, Direct quote from Vandana Shiva
7. WWF Global, http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_freshwater/freshwater_problems/thirsty_crops/cotton/impacts/
8. 3Fish, http://3fish.com.au/whats-the-drill-with-organic-cotton/

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