This week we are super lucky to bring you the first half of an interview with Zoe Edwards, renowned sewing blogger and creator of Me Made May! Here she talks about what inspired her to start the self-sewn fashion movement and how having kids has changed her approach to sewing.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name’s Zoe and I blog all about my explorations into sewing and refashioning. These passions form a big part of my desire to live a more sustainable and authentic life. I also aim to inspire and assist others in making/remaking their own clothing. I currently live in Eastbourne with my husband and our daughter Dolores and our son Frankie.
I am a self-employed sewing teacher, and although I’m currently on maternity leave, I usually teach classes at The Village Haberdashery and Tilly and the Buttons’s HQ, London, and MIY Workshop, Brighton. I firmly believe that sewing and creating can have a fantastic impact on mental health, and am also convinced that enjoying sewing needn’t break the bank.
What exactly is Me Made May?
Me Made May 17 (#MMMay17 on social media) is a challenge designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to wear garments and love them more. The me-made and self-stitched challenges have been taking place for eight years now and they work on both a personal and community level. This challenge is all about improving your relationship with your handmade wardrobe, and perhaps also learning about yourself and your creativity.
What made you decide to go about setting up MMM, and how much has it grown/changed over the years?
I didn’t ‘set up’ Me Made May as such, it kind of evolved from a personal, solo challenge I set myself in 2010 whilst I was living in Barcelona, Spain. I wanted to see if I could really rely on the clothes that I’d been making myself, so I decided to wear only me-made things (excluding bras, socks, tights and shoes) for the duration of March that year. It was a really illuminating experience and I want to try it again in a slightly warmer month, so I asked via my blog if anyone wanted to join me (specifying their own challenge) and I was surprised that about 80 people decided do so! And the rest, as they say … Last year we had at least 800 people ‘officially’ taking part. In more recent years, participants have really taken to social media to connect and interact with each other, although that aspect is entirely optional. The challenge is trying to fulfill your own pledge, taking outfit selfies and sharing them is in no way compulsory!
How has it affected your sewing career?
It’s hard to say. I guess more people have heard of my blog because of Me Made May, which has allowed me to semi-fund my sewing and blogging activities by having sewing-related companies sponsor my blog for a modest fee.
You’ve released several of your own sewing patterns in recent years – has the popularity of MMM helped with that or was designing and releasing your own patterns always part of the plan?
Ha! There’s definitely no ‘plan’ to the stuff that I do! I work on what interests and inspires me. Luckily, I have been able to forge a small income through some of those things that lend themselves to making money, like teaching or selling my sewing patterns.
You’re a mum of two now – does that impact on your personal sewing in ways other than restricting your time?
It has definitely helped me streamline my sewing efforts towards making garments that I can wear at a play park rather than in a cocktail bar! I also love making things for my children. It’s so satisfying to use up cute scraps and small pieces of fabric that would probably otherwise end up in the textile recycling bank and make adorable (and hopefully useful!) little garments for my kids and their friends.
Next week we hear more from Zoe about precisely how you can get involved with Me Made May this year.