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May Discoveries

Are you wearing all handmade for Me-Made-May?

10 Years of Handmade Clothes

Ten years ago, Zoe had an idea that would grow to change the way that many sewists get dressed in the morning during the month of May.

Me-Made-May started as a pledge to wear as many handmade garments as possible in May, to help you focus on the importance of your craft. After all these years, Me-Made-May continues to build momentum, with new sewists joining for the first time, and other makers reflecting on all their past pledges.

As makers, we are in a unique position in fashion. We create our own clothes, but we rely on materials produced by others. We’re starting to ask more questions: Who made my fabric? How can I resist fast fashion? How can we spread this movement? Zoe herself is motivated to sew her own clothing to remove her support for fast fashion, but she acknowledges that it’s a small effort against a very large problem:

“I feel that, as someone who makes the vast majority of my own clothing and never buys fast fashion or RTW, I don’t think that I am in any way part of the solution to the problem of garment workers’ horrendous working conditions. I’m sure that garment workers would not thank me for opting out of purchasing RTW clothing, although I do think that in terms of sustainability, making your own wardrobe can make better sense than purchasing clothing if it is done with care and thought —and hopefully taking part in Me-Made-May can help lead to that.”

This year, Zoe teamed up with Josie from Fabric Godmother to create a Me-Made-May 2019 pin, with 20% of proceeds going to Labour Behind the Label, a non-profit organization that works to improve conditions in garment production and empower workers.

“I’ve never known quite what to do to help make an improvement for garment workers, so by donating a chunk of the profits to a charity which knows far better than I could how positive change could be achieved, seems a way to have a small impact.”

Wearing this little pin will encourage us to dig a bit deeper this Me-Made-May and ask some critical questions. How you approach this yearly pledge is up to you, but no matter what, you’ll be among an entire army of crafters, textile artists, patternmakers, fabric shops, and activists working to change the way our clothes are made.

Me-Made-May Tools

Me-Made-May challenges you to improve your relationship with your handmade wardrobe, by setting a pledge for the month. Zoe has plenty of ideas to get you started, from wearing your handmade clothes as much as possible, to finishing that hem on a dress you are mending, or simply connecting to others for inspiration and motivation. If you’re new to Me-Made-May, head over to Zoe’s blog to read more and pledge to join.

Saki Jane has been sewing for over two decades, and in her article in this month’s issue, she explores some of the movements that support Me-Made-May. With an event so focused on sustainability, it’s the perfect time of year to reflect on your impact and how you can address some of these more significant issues within your craft. Don’t miss her essay in this month’s issue of Seamwork.

Labour Behind the Label is a non-profit organization that campaigns to improve rights and conditions for garment workers across the globe. They have campaigns for living wages, worker safety, resources for what brands should be doing, advocacy for homeworkers, and information about working conditions. Visit their website to learn more about their mission and how to get involved.


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