Me Made May 2022

meg wears a black wrap top and stands by the window
meg wears a black wrap top and stands by the window

Many of us come to sewing and making to escape the wasteful, unsustainable cycle of fast fashion. Not only does fast fashion make us feel bad about ourselves and our bodies in order to sell us more clothes, but it also has a deeply destructive carbon footprint. Breaking free from that by slowing things down and making them with our own hands is a small step we can take.

Me Made May is a great opportunity to reflect and recenter our sewing practice, to become more intentional about what we wear and what we plan to make in the future. To continue to make our personal sewing practices align with our values, both environmentally, as well as personally.

What does it mean, on a personal level, to go beyond a sustainable sewing practive and move towards a regenerative one?

This might look different for each of us. Personally sustainable could mean having a functional sewing space (Meredith has a cutting table for the first time, and it has made sewing a hobby she can sustain more easily, now that her back doesn’t hurt every time she need to cut something out), only using fabric already in your stash, spreading projects over several days to conserve physical energy and increase intentionality, etc.

Regenerative, on the other hand, could be doing something that truly lights you up, calms you, or makes you feel better. This Me Made May we are asking how you can take your sewing from a personally sustainable practice, to a regenerative one. What would it feel like to have a sewing practice that truly renews you? What kind of making would fill you up? (And would a personally regenerative practice actually end up being better for the Earth? My guess is that the two are often connected.)

I’ve had a tenuous relationship with the word “sustainable” for a long time. To sustain technically means to keep doing the status quo, so things don’t get worse … or better. This concept makes me feel, well … tired and uninspired. Yep, I can keep on keeping on, making like I always have, or I could change something for the better.

Honestly, I think I’ve grown weary of the trendiness of the word.

I wonder if, in the name of sustainability, many of us (myself included) can get swept away by the prospect of revamping our wardrobes with quick thrifted or sewn projects. It’s a fast pace, a desire for a quick “style win,” even if it can be labeled “sustainable,” depending on the fabrics we choose, whether secondhand or ethically sourced natural fibers.

But I’ve found that projects made in haste, without the proper thought, intention, preparation, fitting, etc., are the ones that I end up wearing the least. It’s the ones that I’ve really took my time with that best reflect my style and values, and that I end up wearing the most often. (Like my handsewn black linen Hinterland Dress hack, shown above.)

Also, as my children grow and I sense my time with them under my roof ticking away – any sort of rush in my making practice is no longer sustainable, because it just makes me a darn grumpy mom. I want to feel rejuvenated by my sewing practice. I don’t want to just settle for an OK creative practice – I want to thrive. I want to feel refreshed after handling needle and thread, ready to parent, ready to connect, ready to take on any challenge with my self-care cup filled to the brim.

So I am slowing it waaaay down, in order to tap into the meditative side of making. I’m doing the previously unimaginable (to myself!): hand-sewing an entire dress.

Our personal goals

Meg

This Me Made May, I want to continue to wear those old pieces that I’ve loved for years and years, but I have a personal challenge: to only hand-sew this month. I have a Hinterland camp collar dress hack in mind, but I don’t want to say I’ll complete it by the end of the month, because I likely won’t. I just want to relax and feel the fiber running through my fingers. Meditation with thread and cloth is what I’m going for.

I am very curious how this rejuvenating – not just sustainable – personal practice can also translate into a more rejuvenating production for the Earth, as well. I will be using linen fabric and thread, so at the end of its (hopefully long life) as first garment, then quilt, then rags … this dress will be compostable, returning to the soil to nourish new life.

I’m excited to see what #RegenerativeSewing means to you, and how you experiment with bringing your creative practice closer to your values this Me Made May!

Meredith

I am already worried this goal is too ambitious, but this Me Made May, I want to focus on a hand quilting project, which has become something of a chore I feel like I’ll never finish. I want to take the pressure off of this project, by embracing its slow nature, and working on it just a little bit each day. I am hopeful I can get halfway through the quilt by the end of the month, but more than reaching a certain point on it, I just want to appreciate what my hands can do with a needle and thread. As far as my wardrobe, I am going to pick 15 items to style throughout the month, focusing on things that I wear less, so I can figure out how to integrate them into my wardrobe in a joyful way.

Judith

15 minutes a day of making, just for myself. I’ll have a mix of sewing and knitting, but that 15 minutes applies to making my personal projects. And to further one of my personal goals for this year, I’ll be taking photos with my “big camera” at least once a week, of whatever I’m working on and/or my outfits. Since I’m almost always wearing handmade and thrifted, my intent with this year’s pledge is to focus in on the joy of small but consistent creative practice, and creative growth. 

If you’d like to join us, use the hashtag #regenerativesewing

Show us what you are working on! Works in progress are more than welcome! Each week we will randomly choose one person from the hashtag to receive a voucher for the Learn to Sew course of their choosing! 

We love Me Made May, and however you choose to participate in it. Let’s celebrate the power and beauty of making for ourselves, our loved ones, and the planet. If you are still deciding on your goal for this Me Made May, check out our closet super power quiz. This might help you hone in on your making style and figure out what you need this month.

New to Me Made May? Check out this podcast from the founder, Zoe Edwards, to learn all about it!

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Responses

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  1. Thank you for an inspiring post. You’ve given me a lot to think about, in a really positive way.

  2. Is the wrap around top pictured above a pattern that is available? I could not find it in your pattern choices.
    Thank You!
    Dana

      1. Will this variation be shared on the website at some point as well? If not, will the Hinterland course be something that happens periodically, or just the once? Thanks! -Janine

  3. I love this mindset! What a great thing to refocus on.

    I also love that mustard jumper with amazing pockets at the bottom of the post – can you please share what pattern it is? Thank you!

  4. Well, these last weeks I finally printed out the Aida blouse pattern I purchased eons ago. The fabric I had earmarked seems to be too complicated because of line-ups 🤦‍♀️ I really love the blue woven fabric you have made it up in. Can you share what you used and where I might find it? Thank you

  5. Love these goals – very thought provoking and inspiring! Slowing down and being as intentional as possible with both my time and my aspirations is definitely something I’ll be working on as well.

  6. Thankyou beautiful souls for this, I’m feeling a real need for a balanced ‘life-pie’ at the moment, which includes more walking as well as more (guilt-free) conscious creative time. My hand-me-down serger and old Singer machine are set up, I’ve stocked up on colourful threads for my kit, and petal by petal I’m slowly embroidering flowers onto a silk tie to be made into a belt (inspired by latest artist crush, Gudrun Sjoden)
    Rather than sneaking off to cram in frenzied making (like the folk tale, “The Red Shoes”), I’m choosing some slow stitching, I’m choosing to move my body, I’m choosing to notice my feelings. This feels like values and feels regenerative to me
    xx

  7. You’ve inspired me! I’ve got some lovely olive green lightweight linen & recently discovered your Nocturne set! I’m an over-researcher (Soul Crafter?) but made the decision & bought the pattern today! I’m moving sewing rooms, but once it’s set up, I’ll reward myself with printing & cutting out a summer top of the Nocturne pattern, shortsleeved or maybe with a sleeveless hack. And since I surely enjoy handsewing, I’ll sew the whole top by hand! Hand top stitching is just lovely to look at, isn’t it?

  8. Thank you for sharing this. Transforming sustainable into regenerative takes things so much deeper. I’m exploring slow sewing (as an alternative to my usual frenzied, binge sewing) and each time I stop, I write a little note to my future sewing self, to help me pick up the flow that I stepped out of when I put the work away. I find I need a balance of ebb and flow to ensure that I don’t lose the energy of the project once I’ve put it down. I’m also drawn to hand stitching a garment and I’m curious to see how you approach your stitching, as I’m not yet confident my hand sewing would hold up to the rigours of wear.

  9. This post is really inspiring and speaks to my soul. I‘ve just recently started sewing and my goal is to eventually have lots of handmade items (in addition to the knitted ones I already own) to make up a capsule wardrobe and get rid of the things that don‘t quite fit right.
    Speaking of regenerative sewing, I‘m not at that point yet where sewing can be restorative but it definitely fills me cup to own clothes that fit my plus-size body. There‘s one burning question I have: is the yellow apron a pattern of yours? It looks perfect to lounge about it and store my current knitting project in!

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