May is almost here, and I’m girding my loins for the onslaught of posts related to the Me Made May sewing challenge. Last year I was still quite new to the me made community, so I posted pretty much as normal, I didn’t set a pledge, but I did post a few times when I wore my me mades. It was nice to feel like I was participating in something, but I also felt a little overwhelmed by the daily mass posting of images and content. I began to question if my participation was worthy enough, and maybe I should be setting myself a greater challenge. Maybe I should post everyday and try to make everyday and try to push myself to the limits of what I can achieve. This was a challenge after all so I should be trying to challenge myself right?
This time last year was pretty manic for me and many others. Covid had put an indefinite hold on my job, and there was extreme uncertainty of what was to come. I work freelance, and often I’m employed as a costume maker, sitting at a sewing machine for upwards of 10 hours a day. There are deadlines, and you have to work efficiently but also neatly. It can be truly exhausting work. When that work was abruptly halted leaving a void of time and energy, I needed to recalibrate and relearn how to sew in a way that supported me mentally and physically. I learnt that if I was going to sew for myself, I had to remove all pressure to perform. There’s no clock counting down how long a task is taking me, I have some relaxing lo-fi beats playing, I have a steaming cup of tea (that may turn cold from neglect), and a scented candle flickering away. I still set myself small daily tasks and goals, but I truly assess if they are manageable and I leave a wide amount of buffer time in case things don’t go as planned (which happens a lot!).
I think at any stage of the self made wardrobe journey it is possible to have feelings of being overwhelmed, feelings of disappointment in your own progress, it’s more than easy to be incredibly critical of ourselves. I am also slowly learning to engage with the voice in my head that loves to self-criticise. She’s still there, but I’m learning how to balance what she is saying with self love.
Perhaps this is why I’m not going to make a pledge for MMMay. My job is already a sewing challenge EVERYDAY, so it makes sense why I don’t want to join another one. But it’s also because I have carved out an idea for what I want my me made experience to be, and for now I will be sticking to it. One thing that is clear about MMMay is that it is not a challenge with one objective or goal under its banner, we all have the ability to set our own challenge or pledge unique to our circumstances and me made journey. Try to be specific and generous with your pledge, and know that it is more than ok if you don’t meet the challenge you set yourself. No one is going to come after you for not sewing or posting! It is not mandatory to post photos or content everyday, nor is it mandatory to increase your usual rate of sewing.
I definitely understand that this challenge means different things to different people, and in many circumstances it will benefit makers in their process, not just to sew but to understand how to better work their me mades into their daily wardrobe. It encourages experimentation and allows us to focus in on what we have made so far, where there are gaps, and also the pieces we don’t reach for so much. Perhaps this is a time to remake a tried and true pattern in a new fabric. Maybe it’s a time to slot in an alteration or mending of an old garment in between every new make. Maybe it’s an opportunity for you to celebrate and uplift other makers on their journey and let them know if they’ve inspired you in some way. I plan to be following and using the #mmmay and #mmmayfat and supporting my fellow makers, but continuing to post as per usual.
So what are your plans for Me Made May? Have you made a pledge? Or are you going rogue like me or doing a MMMay lite version? What’s your thoughts on sewing challenges?