Me Made May ’12 – Jumping in at last orders!

I left this one to the very last minute, didn’t I?

Well, it’s that time of year again folks! Time to ditch the mass-made wardrobe and join Zoe for Me Made May 2012. Without further ado, here is my pledge for this year:

I,  Elena, from Seamless sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’12. I endeavour to wear at least one item of me-made clothing for the duration of May. I will attempt to avoid repeating any outfits, but as it’s exam time, I won’t stress out too much! I will also blog daily for the duration of the month.”

I know what you’re thinking… only one garment! Seems like a bit of a cop out, I agree, but to avoid unnecessary panic-sewing, I decided this would be the best route to go for to ensure I see the challenge through this time!

Also, as mentioned in the pledge, May is more or less EXAM HELL, as the pressure ramps up towards the end of my journalism course. By middle-ish June, we’ll no longer be trainee journalists, how surreal is that?

The blogging challenge seems contrary to this, but I’m hoping blogging daily will keep Seamless updated even while I’m neck-deep in revision. They’re likely to be short and succinct posts, mind you!

My plan is to focus on one garment each day, whether it’s me-made or not.

Zoe said it best when she explained how this challenge is all about achieving a better relationship with your handmade creations. For many people, clothes nowadays go beyond just a necessity – they make a statement about you, they have history.

Whether you’ve made something or not, most of you favourite items in your wardrobe have some sort of story behind them.  My only pair of jeans have been to Germany and back, I still treasure the very first scarf I bought as an employee at Lush and I’m still refusing to get rid of the jacket I bought especially for my Cardiff interview, despite having mended it about five times by now.

These clothes don’t exactly make my memories, but they play a fairly big part in some of them. Even before the pledge, I was the kind of person who would wear clothes to death and keep them for as long as possible, holes or no holes. If part of Me Made May is reevaluating your relationship with your wardrobe, I can’t think of a better compromise without panic-sewing!

Starting May 1 (gah! Tomorrow!), I’ll get going on my wardrobe’s story. I already know where most of it came from, maybe it’s time I let you know what they’ve done since arriving in the U.K.

So, who’s taking part this year? Do let me know, I want to make sure I keep track of the pledgers taking part. If you’re on Twitter, I’ll be tweeting from @elenacresci using the hashtag #MMMay12 (seems concise enough!) so do join in!

So Zo… What Do You Know? Interview with Zoe Edwards

I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview one of my favourite bloggers, Zoe Edwards. Zoe has been blogging about sewing at So, Zo… What do you know? for a few years, and currently works with TRAIDremade, the textile recycling branch of the charity TRAID.

The online sewing community is brimming with talent. Whether you’re posting your projects on BurdaStyle or taking part in the vintage sewing movement on Sew Retro, the internet is full of sewing inspiration.

Zoe Edwards Colette Patterns leopard print macaron

I’ve been reading Zoe’s blog for some years now –  she was a Brit living in Barcelona, at the same time as I was a language assistant in Germany. Her projects always blew me away, and I’d always pop back to So Zo… for a catchup on her sewing adventures.

Yet Zoe’s blog isn’t just about sewing. At the heart of So Zo… is the challenge to live sustainably, free from fast fashion. It’s been about five years since Zoe discovered the Wardrobe Refashion pledge, a project she says changed her life.

Anyone who has taken the Wardrobe Refashion pledge in the past or who have just started with the Seamless pledge will know how difficult it can be starting out! Living in Spain brought an extra challenge for Zoe, where charity shops are rarer and dearer.

After challenging herself to go a month wearing nothing but clothes she had made herself, Zoe decided to throw open the challenge to her readers with Me-Made-May. 80 participants signed up to the first challenge, and 2010’s Self Stitched September (which I took part in!) attracted over 160 pledgers!  The Me-Maders and Self-Stitchers kept an eye on each other’s progress through Flickr and Facebook, as well as posting daily outfit updates on their blogs.

On top of this, you’ll often find some really thought provoking posts on So Zo… which really get to the heart of the problems with fast fashion. 

Now working for TRAIDremade, Zoe continues to fight the sustainable cause. Thankfully, making sewing her job hasn’t detracted from her enthusiasm for self-stitching!

What began as a decision to avoid fast fashion has turned into a complete overhaul of shopping habits; Zoe’s said goodbye to buying new fabric and new shoes, and she’s always looking for ways to take her sustainable lifestyle to the next level.

The Seamless Pledge is all about challenging yourself – my life would be so much easier if I could just pop into a clothes shop to buy myself a dress if I fancied it, but where’s the fun in making things easy for yourself? Whenever I worry about being able to pull this off, Zoe’s blog is one of the first places I click for inspiration and is one I think any Seamless pledger  should add to their reading lists.

Big thanks to Zoe for letting me interview her! As for you guys, what do you think? Has she inspired you to shake up your shopping habits?

Challenge Accepted.

pincushion

Three years ago, I saved my sewing machine from the attic and taught myself how to thread a machine and wind a bobbin via the wonders of the Internet. Since then, I’ve used the bustling online sewing community to navigate the ins and outs of home sewing.

So I like to think I’m a dab hand with the sewing machine, even if sometimes I can’t quite manage to sew in a straight line. Let’s not even get started on the evils of buttonholes.

You’d be forgiven for thinking my mad skillz with a needle and thread (but not buttonholes) mean my wardrobe is full to the brim of self-stitched clothing. In actuality, my self-made items take up only a tiny part of my drawers. I’d estimate I made or refashioned about 5% of my wardrobe.

There are plenty of excuses I could give for this, but it’s a pretty poor statistic for someone who goes on about stitching as much as I do. Lately I’ve fallen into a sewing rut and back into my lazy clothing habits, and our generation is pretty lazy when it comes to clothing. “Make do and mend” was the motto during the second world war but nowadays we’ll settle for something which will fall apart in a matter of months if it’s colourful and cheap enough. Fast fashion reigns supreme on the high street and in our wardrobes, and mine is no exception.

Yet across the blogosphere there are plenty examples of people who have put down the shopping bags and picked up their needle and thread instead. Take Mena Trott of The Sew Weekly. In 2010 she took on the hefty challenge of filling her wardrobe solely with clothes she had sewn herself. A year on, she’s encouraging a whole communityof sewers to do the same.

Then there’s Zoe of So, Zo…, a seamstress very much concerned with sustainable fashion. You name the garment, she’s probably made it. We’re talking coats, dresses, jogging tops and even pants. In March, May and September she challenges her readers to join her in a month of wearing nothing but self made garments.

simplicity 2591

In more productive sewing days...

As for me? For the past few months I’ve been in somewhat of a sewing rut, to the point where I’m at the risk of edging out the me-made side of my wardrobe completely. This will not do!

So I’ve set myself a bit of a challenge.With the Interwebs as my witness, I plan to spend the duration of my postgraduate diploma at Cardiff, which ends in July 2012, sewing or refashioning all of my clothes. Under no circumstances am I allowed to purchase ready-made garments from any shops unless they are bonafide vintage or second-hand.

This blog will serve as evidence I’m keeping up with my pledge meaning you can all tell me off if I end up slacking. If I fail miserably, then you’re all entitled to point, laugh and tease until you’re red in the faces.

So what can you expect here at Seamless? I want to explore the avenues outside of mass made clothing, whether that’s through sewing, knitting, trawling through charity shops, gawking at vintage wares or using good old eBay. Wish me luck!