I will be participating in Me-Made-May for the third year in a row now! This is a sewing challenge hosted by sewing blogger Zoe, in which participants pledge to wear handmade garments during the month of May and, optionally, share their outfits online. Traditionally, I’ve blogged about a few of my outfits and I’ve also enjoyed viewing others’ creations on social media – and that is my plan again this year. So during May, you will likely be seeing some sewing here!
For all that I’m excited about this challenge, I almost decided not to participate. You see, I’ve been in a clothing funk intermittently since my daughter was born. I know this is common for mothers, and certainly my interest and time for getting dressed in the morning is much less than before. However, my malaise has been, not a total loss of interest, but rather an inner conflict: I still love sewing, and I love putting outfits together as a form of creativity, but I feel that these loves are now divorced from my everyday life. Truth is, no one cares what I wear, or even notices most of the time. I’ve even put a damper on my own enjoyment of clothing with my zero waste project; I now know so much about the social and environmental impact of clothing that I have a hard time seeing it as a benign enjoyment. A lot of the time, I just feel guilty about my clothing or any pleasure it might give me.
For a while, I toyed with the idea of a minimalist capsule wardrobe, of vowing to buy only secondhand, wearing the same t-shirt uniform every day, and just scrapping ‘fashion’ from my list of hobbies – and scrapping a lot of sewing, as well. I felt like I had too many clothes, needed to ‘get over’ any desire to find creative expression in them, and needed to just wear what I had and quit thinking of anything new.
As I said, these grim musings were leading me away from Me-Made-May this year, until I remembered something.
Actually, unlike any past time in my life, I now wear at least one handmade garment every day – so in a cinch, I could actually participate in Me-Made-Made without changing anything about my habits. This is because last year, I learned to make bras. I mentioned this on the blog during Me-Made-May last year, I believe, but I haven’t written about it since because I didn’t feel like talking about underwear online. However: Reader, I learned to make bras. I tried a few patterns, took an online video course, and eventually settled on my favourite options and figured out how to fit my figure. These homemade bras are now almost the only ones I wear. They are not perfect, but they are comfortable and much prettier than the nursing bras you can typically buy – if you’ve ever shopped for these, you know what I mean. Not to mention that I span about 3 different sizes, so have a hard time finding anything that fits.
As I reflected with satisfaction on my bra-making over the last 10 months or so, I decided after all that yes, I would join in Me-Made-May, because I didn’t need to feel inadequate about my wardrobe when I made my own bras. This brought me to think about sewing and clothing in general, and what value they bring to my life (if any?). I settled on one experience I have had with sewing:
The wonderful thing about sewing, for me, is that it allows playing with fashion to move away from consumerism and more towards creativity. Creativity in anything ultimately needs input; so it’s easy for a love of fashion to lead to a lot of shopping for, accumulating, and then discarding clothes. Whereas sewing one garment takes a lot of time, reducing time available for shopping but also opening up a whole realm of creative decisions about each detail of the garment. For me, one homemade garment can give the creative satisfaction that it would take three or four store-bought items to supply.
Returning to Me-Made-May, here are my goals:
- First of all, I will have fun.
- I will wear handmade underwear every day, and at least one additional homemade garment five days a week.
- I will take the opportunity to clear out a few duds from my closet and make a few new things that are better, and better suited to my life right now. My priority will be on using fabrics I already have, or which are sourced secondhand.
- I will…dum da dum…learn to make jeans! Frankly, after bras, I feel I could learn to sew pretty much anything. Denim, I ain’t scared of you.
Thank you for sticking around till the end of this post!