Sometime near the end of April a website that I have purchased fabric from advertised “Selfish Sewing Week.” I really loved the idea of throwing myself into some of those sewing projects that were(and always are) swimming around in my very crowded head. But, alas, Monday quickly became Friday and my week of selfish sewing had been filled up with client sewing projects instead. The last week of April is a tough time to do “just for fun” projects of any kind, as a seamstress that does alterations, the Spring season quickly fills up with prom gowns, bridal party gowns and new warm season clothing purchases that need some customizing. And while I enjoy all the variety of things passing through my sewing machine, I very much miss that pleasure of turning one of the handmade creations filling up my thoughts into a reality.
When April turned to May and “Selfish Sewing Week” had come to a close, I felt a little bit of disappointment that I had not even achieved one newly sewn item from MY list. And so, to treat my bruised creative muscles I turned to reading a few sewing blogs in hopes of living vicariously through their successes. It was through this dose of “medicine” that I stumbled across #MMMay16 or Me Made May 2016.
The idea of #MMMay16 is to take a pledge of wearing your memade wardrobe for as many days in the month of May as might be achievable, with the idea of finding the “holes” in your memade choices. Not holes that need fixed but the garments that you haven’t made for yourself. In taking the pledge, and posting pictures of the items on Instagram or personal blogs, the participants have a visual record of their handmade items and can quickly realize the kind of clothing or accessories that they may want to add to a project list.
As always, I started off strong. May 1 fell on a Sunday and, as I am now coming to realize, most of my memade garments are special occasion clothes, so going to church in an outfit made by me was easy.
Then several days in that first week I was able to wear and post a few more items.
Week two began with the dress from above. I had hoped to finally get some personal sewing done during week two, but once again other priorities consumed all my waking hours. I did get two new items cut out with the hopes of getting them sewn before month’s end.
I have learned a few things in this two weeks of participating in this challenge:
1. Selfies are awkward. 👀
2. Most of my handmade garments are for dressing up and going out.
3. Selfish Sewing time is hard to come by…😕
After reviewing my lessons, I can explain number 2. Being a frugal kind of girl, when shopping for clothes or fabric I have a spending ceiling or floor depending on the situation. I find it impractical to spend two hours making a t-shirt that I can often purchase for under $10. By the time the fabric is purchased and the shirt sewn, I have invested much more than that $10. But when I am searching for better garments, the ready made price points are higher. When price tags go above $25 the challenge to duplicate the garment and for less money motivates me to begin a new fabric search.
Week three of #MMMay16 began with any example of this theory.
The gingham skirt is one of my creations. A straight skirt like this goes together quickly and requires just one yard of fabric(possibly 1 1/4 if working with 45 inch fabric). The money and time invested is below what I would have had to spend purchasing it ready made. But the chambray shirt I purchased just this week on sale for $14.99, if I had to purchase the fabric, interfacing and snaps to duplicate this garment would have cost more than $15 and I still would have a couple hours of labor putting it together.
In one amazing #MMMay16 post a participant of the challenge showed off her memade shirt, skirt, knitted sweater, underwear, and shoes! Yes, she made her leather sandals too! 😮 Impressive!
It would be fun to experience the feeling of self-reliance that would come from hand making an entire outfit or two…but for now I will take pleasure in the memade creations that are hanging in my closet, enjoy this #MMMay16 challenge, keep working to find selfish sewing time and fill my wardrobe with handmade items that can also fulfill my practical ideals.