Thursday 26 April 2018

Love to Sew Podcast and Fashion Revolution Week

(image source: Love to Sew podcast)

My experiences, thoughts and views are getting a bit of an airing this week, as I can be found in other parts of the sewing community, rather than just my own regular corner. Firstly, I am this week's interviewee on the fabulous Love to Sew podcast. As you know, I'm a big fan of podcasts generally, and I've hugely enjoyed diving into this one since I came across it a few months ago. I actually listened to about five episodes virtually back to back one day recently whilst I was stuck in bed with a stomach bug! I've been soooo impressed with the quality of this crafty podcast. The presenters Helen and Caroline always get gold from their interviewees, and the episodes where it's just the two of them talking are always so well researched, thought provoking and inspiring. 

Anyways, they asked me to chat to them for an episode, specifically about Me-Made-May, this blog, sewing with and for kids, and sustainability. I must admit, I was super nervous about being recorded, but I'm really pleased with how the episode came out. I've been receiving some really lovely comments, mainly via Instagram, from people who listened and felt that some of what I talked about resonated deeply with them. If you're interested, you can take a listen here

Second up, I was interviewed on the Schnittchen Patterns blog as part of a fantastic blog series they are producing as part of Fashion Revolution Week. You know all those pictures that pop up with people holding signs saying 'Who Made Your Clothes?' or 'I Made My Clothes'? That's thanks to the Fashion Revolution Week initiative. I was asked to be part of this series because I have written many times over the years about some of the ethical issues surrounding the fashion industry and home sewing. I'm pretty intersectional like that. Damn, they were some tricky questions Silke sent me! I did my best to answer them with the level of depth that they deserved. You can read the interview here. Do check out the other blog posts in the series as well. 

I've got a lot more to say about the ethics of fashion and sewing, and I have promised one particular reader that I'm going to revisit this topic very soon, probably after the dust has settled from #MMMay18. 

If you have any comments on, or responses to, anything I discussed on either the podcast episode or blog post interview, please pipe up. I'd love to keep these discussions going. 

Sunday 15 April 2018

My Me-Made-May'18 Pledge: Plus, A Shout Out to Crafty Businesses

Well, the sign-ups for this year's Me-Made-May (#MMMay18 for social media interactions) are coming in thick and fast. It's so fascinating and inspiring seeing how people have decided to challenge themselves for a whole month. I particularly enjoy reading the ones that include a little explanation of why they chose their specific pledge and/or what they are hoping to get out of the challenge.

So, I've been thinking for a couple of weeks about how I might be able to improve my relationship with my own handmade wardrobe, and now I'm ready to make my pledge:

'I, Zoe of 'So, Zo...' blog and @sozoblog on Instagram, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '18. I endeavour to wear only me-made clothing (with the exception of bras, socks, tights and footwear) with no outfit/clothing-combination repeats throughout May 2018'  

I intend to document my challenge photographically, although possibly not daily, as I've found that photos help me judge the success of my outfits. I will post weekly(ish) updates on my blog about how my challenge is going and what I'm learning along the way. I will include occasional updates on my Instagram account.   

I'd say that my current selection of clothing is about 90% to 95% me-made, so wearing me-mades and excluding my RTW won't be a challenge. However, pushing myself to create 31 different combinations within my me-made wardrobe is where things are going to be tricky. Like many (most?) people, I tend to reach for the same garments in the same combinations day after day. But I really want to make myself try out new combos to get the most out of my sewing efforts.

Last year I has a massive clear out and donated a big chunk of my clothing to charity, as both my personal style and my body shape have changed a lot since having children (not to mention what my lifestyle requires from my wardrobe - bye bye cocktail dresses!). I've been populating my wardrobe with great pieces that fit my style, body shape AND lifestyle requirements, but I don't think each piece is being utilised as fully as it could. It's kind of an extension of how I feel about all my belongings in general, I don't want to own anything that doesn't see a decent amount of use/wear, at some point during the year at least. I think this pledge will help me achieve that within my wardrobe.

On to the shout out. I've been having a big ol' think about how to celebrate Me-Made-May this year. During previous years' challenges we've hosted giveaways for participants to win clothes-making related goodies from a variety of wonderful and generous crafty businesses. However, it always seemed to me to be a real shame that only one lucky participant got to benefit from each giveaway.

This year, I thought it would be nice to encourage crafty businesses to generate discount codes or offers for customers that are open to everyone as a more inclusive way to celebrate the challenge. Participants of Me-Made-May frequently find that taking part helps them discover holes in their self-stitched wardrobe. Therefore, we'd like these discounts/offers to run for the final week of May (24th to 31st), or at least part of that week (the weekend of 26th/27th May perhaps), to help this year's participants to buy what they need to fill some of those newly-uncovered holes.

If any owner of a crafty online business would like to support and celebrate the MMMay community this year by generating some kind of offer or discount code, please email me the details (ideally by 14th May) to sozoblog (at) gmail dot com. I will publish a post with full details of any MMMay related discounts or offers during the third week of the challenge. Thanks in advance for your support!

Sunday 1 April 2018

Me-Made-May '18: SIGN UP HERE!!!

Welcome to the sign-up post for Me-Made-May'18! This challenge is in it's ninth year, and it's all about improving your relationship with your handmade wardrobe. By setting your own challenge specifics, you can focus on whatever aspect of your 'me-mades' that you want, but by taking part you'll probably take away some great insights about your personal style, preferences and creativity as well. 

What is Me-Made-May?

Me-Made-May'18 (#MMMay18 for social media interaction) is a challenge designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to wear and love them more. This challenge works on both a personal and community level. The participants decide the specifics of their own challenge, so that the month is appropriate and challenging for them (more on this below), and aim to fulfil that pledge for the duration of May 2018. Some participants also choose to document their challenge photographically (though this is in no way compulsory for taking part) and share them with other participants.

Taking part in #MMMay18 can help you...
  • to start integrating your self-made items into your regular wardrobe rotation.
  • get out of a wardrobe rut by focusing on your lesser-worn items and creating new outfits that include them.
  • find out what the 'holes' in your wardrobe are so that you are able to use your garment-creating time more usefully in the future.
  • begin wearing the clothes that you really want to be seen in, rather than the same old things you usually reach for most mornings.
  • enjoy the excuse to finish off any lingering UFOs (unfinished objects), or to finally start a project that has been on your mind for ages.
  • discover what the rest of this large community of makers has created and is wearing in their day-to-day lives, and enjoy the support, advice and inspiration that they will provide.

What isn't Me-Made-May'18?
  • A photo challenge. You might have seen heaps of Me-Made-May related pictures posted on blogs, Instagram etc. during previous challenges showing participants in their awesome handmade creations. Many like to document and share their challenges in this way, which is obviously amazing, but COMPLETING YOUR PLEDGE is the actual challenge; taking and sharing photos of what you wear during it is ENTIRELY OPTIONAL. I cannot emphasise this enough: you do not need to take any photos. At all. But please do if you want to. 
  • A reason to make lots of new clothes (unless you want to). This challenge is about wearing the items that you have already created more often, not about stock-piling more makes. However, if you want to use taking part in the challenge 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-making 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.

How do I sign up?

All you have to do is copy the pledge below and paste it into 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/instagram handle if you have one), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '18. I endeavour to...........................................................................May 2018'

Ideas for your pledge...

Remember, this is meant to be challenging (i.e. NOT what you usually do), so take some time to think about how to get the most from the challenge before writing your pledge.

Many participants pledge to wear 'one self-stitched garment per day', but don't feel that you have to follow suit, particularly if that would be too tricky or not stretch you enough. Try to think up a pledge that will be difficult (AKA challenging!), but not impossible, and most of all USEFUL to you! There are near-infinite ways to tailor the pledge to your own requirements. Here are some ideas:

  • pledging to wear things you made a year ago or more, to see if you can bring some of them back into regular rotation, or if it's time to let them go.
  • pledging to only wear separates to force yourself to get creative with your mix-and-matching.
  • if you'd like to wear dresses (or whatever) more often than you current do, pledging to wear each of your self-stitched dresses at least once during the month.
  • pledging to wear each of your self-stitched garments only once during the month, perhaps to see what didn't make the cut and to therefore not make any of that type of garment again!
  • pledging to finish all your UFO's by 31st May if the sight of your UFO pile has been weighing you down.

If you have a blog or social media accounts, why not re-post your pledge there so your readers and followers can see what you are up to and be inspired by your endeavour? If possible, please include a link to this post so others can also sign-up if they are interested. If there's one thing I've learnt from these challenges, the more people involved, the better the party!

If you would like to advertise your participation on your blog if you have one, why not treat yourself to the addition of the #MMMay18 widget/gadget/button? The code can be found at the top of the right hand column of this blog. 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.

I've signed up, what do I do now then?

Nothing in particular until 1st May 2018, 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 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!!!!!
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