Yes indeed my friends, here it is! 2014's official Me-Made challenge that celebrates all the love and hard work that so many of us put into crafting unique, special handmade clothing and accessories. If you want to improve your relationship with your me-made items, then this challenge is for you!
What is MMM'14?
Me-Made-May'14 (MMM'14 for short) is a challenge designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to actually wear and love them. The me-made and self-stitched challenges have been taking place for over four years now and they work on both a personal and community level. The participants decide the specifics of their own challenge pledge, so that the month is appropriate and challenging for them (more on this below). A very common pledge is for a participant to aim to wear one self-stitched or refashioned garment each day for the duration of May 2014. The participants can also choose to document their challenge with daily photos (though this is in no way compulsory for taking part) and share them with other participants (more on this below).
What isn't MMM'14?
- The Me-Made-May challenges are NOT all about taking daily outfit photographs. However, many participants do choose to document their challenge with daily/weekly/as-often-as-you-like photos and share them on their blog if they have one or on Flickr if they are a member. The challenge is about wearing your handmade clothing more often than you usually do, if you choose to take documentation photos, then that is fabulous and we'd love to see 'em, but taking photos isn't necessary or compulsory and really isn't the point of the challenge.
- MMM'14 also isn't reason to panic-sew/knit/crochet/refashion etc. This challenge is about wearing the items that you have already created, not about stock-piling more makes. However, if you want to use taking part in MMM'14 as the kick in the butt you need to finally hem that half-finished skirt, or rework an ill-fitting garment, then great. Remember, this challenge is meant to be fun, and panic-anything isn't fun!
- A competition. It doesn't matter how many self-stitched items you already have or haven't. You can take part even if you just have one solitary self-made item! You just need to set your pledge to make it challenging for YOU, no matter what criteria other participants have set themselves.
Ohh, there are squillions of reasons why you might choose take part! They may include:
- 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've taken part in these in the past, why should I take part this year?
Did you enjoy it last time/the previous times you took part?
- If the answer is 'Yes': Then you'll have lots of fun again this year, whilst challenging yourself in a different way and learning something new about yourself and your style/skills/preferences/wardrobe. You just need to think about how you can alter and/or amp up your pledge specifics to get the most out of this year's challenge.
- If the answer is 'No': Well if that's a 'no' because the challenge you set yourself was too hard, then that is easily rectified this time round; set your pledge so that it is tricky but do-able. If it's a 'no' because you didn't enjoy the pressure you felt to take photos each day, then simply don't worry about documenting your challenge with photos. You'll learn lots of lessons and get satisfaction from taking part in the challenge and completing your pledge, not from the documentation of it (although some participants have found that seeing the daily images of themselves has really helped them figure out what suits them and what doesn't work so well). If you'd like to do a little bit of documenting, then why not just photograph your favourite outfit/garment you wore at the end of the week, or some other version that doesn't make you feel under pressure. But seriously, if you didn't like taking part in it and don't want to try again, fair enough!
Ok, you've convinced me, how do I sign up?
All you have to do is copy the pledge below and post it in the comments section of this post adapted to include your details and the personal specification of your challenge before 1st May:
'I, (insert name here and blog address if you have one), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear......................................................... each day for the duration of May 2014'
Points to consider when creating your pledge:
- This is YOUR challenge, write the pledge any way you want, just remember: IT IS A CHALLENGE and not meant to be easy or what you do usually. In the past I have received the odd comment saying 'Oh, I already do this so I may as well sign up', however those people had clearly missed the point which is to challenge yourself, and therefore they would be unlikely to learn very much or feel much satisfaction at the end of the month.
- THIS IS NOT A COMPETITION. It is a personal attempt to achieve a better relationship with your handmade creations, which you may or may not choose to share with the creative online community. What I mean is, don't set a pledge that you've seen other people make that sounds good but in reality is unobtainable for you and your lifestyle. For example, if you have to wear a uniform for work each day, you may prefer to pledge to wear self-stitched items at the weekends or days off only.
- There's no rush to sign up immediately, as long as you do so before 1st May. Have a think for a while about your current relationship with your creations, then think how you might want to improve that relationship.
- If you have taken part before, or already wear a fair amount of self-made clothing and/or accessories, think how you can up the ante from the standard 'one self-stitched garment a day' pledge. How about wearing two or more self-made garments each day? Or pledge to try making a new type of garment by the end of the month to wear on the final day? Or pledge to finish all your UFO's by 31st May? Pledge to focus on wearing your 'meh' garments to see if you can fall back in love with some of them? Pledge to only wear separates to force yourself to get creative with your mix-and-matching? Pledge to only wear each garment or garment-combo once? Pledge to wear an outfit including one sewn or knitted garment AND one refashion each day? There are near-infinite ways to amp things up for yourself.
I've signed up, what do I do now then?
Nothing in particular until 1st May 2014, except let an underlying sense of excitement brew! You may decide to finish up that UFO, but please people, NO PANIC-SEWING/MAKING NECESSARY OR CONDONED!!
If you would like to advertise your participation on your blog if you have one, why not treat yourself to the addition of the MMM'14 widget/gadget/button? The code can be found at the top of the right hand column of this blog's home page. The widget/gadget/button not only looks cute, but it shows other participants/potential-participants at a glance that you are taking part this year. Plus when clicked on, it will ping you to this sign-up post so others can read what this whole damn thing is about without you needing to go into too much of an explanation yourself. If you aren't sure how to apply/insert a widget/gadget/button code, check this post for explanations for Blogspot/Blogger and Wordpress blogs.
How do I interact with other participants throughout the challenge?
If you would like to see what other participants are up to throughout the month and/or show others how you are getting on then there are several ways to do so.
- Blogs. If you have a blog, then why not tell/show your readers what you are up to? Reading about others' experiences of these challenges is always so interesting and often useful. If you'd like to discover some blogs of other participants, you will be able to find lots by looking through the comments section of this sign-up post. Some participants like to post their outfit photos on their blogs, and remember if you want to do that but don't have the time or desire to post daily, you could post more manageable summaries once or twice a week (which I prefer to do, BTW).
- Flickr. If you wish to be a part of the MMM'14 Flickr group, head over there and request membership. I'll 'let you in' within two days so you can begin posting your outfits/garments from 1st May. If you wish to start a discussion over there before 1st May, please feel free to do so! If you choose not to sign up to the Flickr group, you will still be able to see all the photos added by other participants and read the discussions being had over there, however you will not be able to comment on the photos or add to the discussions. The Flickr groups are always heaps of fun and such a lovely way to see lots of participants all in one go participating in different countries and climates. Plus it can be a fabulous way to discover new inspirational bloggers and blogs to follow, and generally make some new e-friends!
- Pinterest. New for 2014, we have a Me-Made-May'14 Pinterest board that has been kindly set up by the lovely and very helpful Jennifer from Jennifer Lauren Vintage. To pin your garment/outfit pictures on there, you will need to 'follow' the board. It'll take up to two days for you to be allowed access, so don't panic if you can't pin on there immediately. Please add the #mmmay14 hashtag to your pins.
- Twitter. It would also be totally ace if Twitter users discussed the challenge using the #MMMay14 hashtag.
Anything else I should know?
HAVE FUN!!!! This challenge is meant to be explorative, illuminating and beneficial, but above that it's meant to be fun! Getting dressed can often be fun, and if you haven't felt any clothes-based fun for a while, why not see if this challenge can help inject some of that back? 'Hanging out' online with the other participants can be a big part of that fun by seeing what they are wearing (either by visiting their personal blogs or through the Flickr group, Pinterest board or via Twitter) and by sharing your own unique take on this challenge.
If you are concerned or confused about any aspect of this challenge, please email me at sozoblog (at) g mail (dot) com.
Let the signing up commence!!!!!