Happy May Day, and welcome to this glorious month where for 31 days I’ve pledged to wear one item each day that was handmade by moi. I’m so elated to participate in the Me Made May challenge and today I’m featuring my first Me Made outfit. You may recognize this chambray-inspired dress as being refashioned from hospital pants I scored from a free box last fall. I say chambray-inspired because while it looks a lot like chambray, it’s actually stiff blue cotton that you make hospital pants out of. I remember pulling the pants out of the box and seeing a challenge that I couldn’t wait to start splicing. It’s still one of my favorite dresses to date, but now that the weather is warmer, I feel much more empowered to wear it and show some skin!
I’ve been excited for Me Made May since, well, April. If you haven’t heard of Me Made May before, it’s pretty simple: Bloggers and sewists pledge to wear the stuff we’ve made during the month of May, at whatever rate we feel we can participate. I chose to wear one item each day that I made. To me, that could mean wearing a dress, a belt, a piece of jewelry, a blouse, whatever. The point is to draw attention to the stuff that we’ve made, feel a sense of pride around our skills and creativity, and to celebrate the spirit of making.
My favorite part about Me Made May is what So Zo What Do You Know says in the explanation around the challenge, “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 or Pinterest 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.” I LOVE that Me Made May isn’t a fashion or popularity contest. It’s a personal statement.
I will be posting photographs when I can and when it’s right for me. I might post a few at a time and label them by day. What’s really important to me, however, is to stick to the challenge and actually wear my handmade clothing. Part of what is most important to me about Sweet Potato is showing people the importance of handmade versus fast fashion, and that garments can be saved well past what most people in the United States consider the expiration date for most of their clothing. To me, clothing is just fabric shaped to fit bodies, and fabric is one of the most moldable, workable materials in the world. I’ll alter a garment several times before I’ll give it up. That garment might stay in my wardrobe for years evolving as I evolve my style.
I often reflect back on what our ancestors thought about clothing. Back when our great-grandparents were around clothing was less consumable, people had less but they had better quality. While I understand that fast fashion means that one can transcend social barriers purely through their dress, I also worry about the how our hunger for cheap clothing is damaging our environment, exploiting workers in post-colonized countries, and contributing to landfills. These are some of the more epic reasons why I’m so passionate about making and altering clothing. And this is exactly why challenges like Me Made May are so important. Through this challenge I feel like I can show the people I’m close to that it’s completely possible and affordable to have a handmade wardrobe.
I’m also stoked to see what other people have made and are showing off. We all have such different styles, and we all love to make different things that reflect our individuality. I find so much inspiration in other people’s work, and this challenge is exactly what I need to get a fresh breath of air this month.