What is ‘Me Made May’?
‘Me Made May’ is a challenge first created by home-sewer Zoe Edwards. This is the thirteenth year of the challenge – impressive! ‘Me Made Me’ has become really BIG. It is now adopted as a marketing tool by many companies large and small who provide tools, patterns and fabrics for sewing clothing. However, Zoe Edwards’ original intentions were directed more towards inviting people to pay more attention to the hand-made clothing they already owned, to wear it more often and to find new ways of wearing it. In this way, people are encouraged to make the most of their handmade items and live more sustainably. Zoe explains this on a recent blog-post about the challenge (link below) and on an episode on her podcast (link below).
Living more sustainably
As regular readers of this blog know, I am very interested in trying to live more sustainably, in particular with regard to textiles. That makes a difference in my quilt-making. For example, I choose threads, fabrics and wadding from natural fibres, I look out for good-quality used fabric that I can recycle in quilts and offer two quilt patterns specifically designed to use recycled fabric ‘Pinstripe’ (here) and ‘Forget-me-Not’ (here).
Regarding my clothing, many of the items in my wardrobe come from charity shops. I look carefully at the labels and only buy garments that are made of natural fibres. I then wear them for years! Buying clothes is charity shops is a win, win situation: one, the clothes don’t go to landfill and two, the charity earns money to help others. In addition, I get something new to wear. I am appalled by the vast number of new garments being produced each season, some of which are soon discarded. According to Traid (traid.org.uk)
Around 350,000 tonnes of clothes, with an estimated value of £140 million, go to landfill every year in the UK.25 The UK throws away 4.7kg volume per capita of clothing in household residual waste.traid.org.uk
Many new garments are made from synthetic fibres or regenerated fibres (with a synthetic component) or from mixed fibres (for example cotton/acrylic) so they will not de-compose once they have been discarded.
Making your own clothes
Making your own clothes is also a good option. You can choose a sustainable fabric, made from natural fibres, you can ensure a good fit (so you wear it for years) and you can pick a style and colour to suit you. However, in the interests of transparency, I have to tell you that I have had an uneven relationship with dressmaking! My mother made clothes for me as a child (smocked dresses), a teenager (jackets) and as a student at university (ball-gowns). I think I sometimes wanted to go to a shop and buy clothes instead…
I hated ‘Needlework’ at school, which is funny seeing how things turned out later (a Textiles degree and PGCE, plus thirteen years as a Textiles teacher!). I only made a few garments in my youth, but now I am returning gradually to making clothes again. The pivot point was probably when I was asked to make my daughter’s wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses. (If you are interested, you can read about that here.)
My ‘Me Made May’ pledge
So, the Me Made May 2022 challenge is a useful one for me. I will be deliberately choosing to wear garments I have made throughout the month and also avoiding any new purchases for 30 days. Here’s my pledge.
I have two Instagram accounts @amanda_jane_textiles which has mostly quilt-related photos and @amanda_jane_ogden which has mostly art-based photos. The Me Made May photos will be in the latter one here
Here is one of the fifteen garments:
Link to Zoe Edwards’ blog post about ‘Me Made May 2022’ – https://sozowhatdoyouknow.blogspot.com/2022/03/me-made-may-22.html
Link to Zoe Edwards’ podcast about ‘Me May May 2022’ – https://checkyourthread.com/podcast/36-what-is-me-made-may/