Interview with Me Made May Creator Zoe – part 2

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This week we bring you the second half of our interview with Zoe Edwards, the mastermind behind Me Made May. Here she talks about what it’s all about, how you can get involved and where you sign up!

Who can participate in MMM? 
Anyone can! Even if you’ve only been making clothes for a week and only have one solitary self-stitched garment or accessory, you can take part by setting a challenging but do-able pledge to wear that thing more than you otherwise would. Hopefully that experience would lead you to figure out how you’d be able to spend your future making time more usefully, and make you feel proud of your achievements.

Do we all need to have a wardrobe full of beautifully stitched, handmade clothing? 
No. The participants decide the specifics of their own challenge, so that the month is appropriate and challenging for them. For example, a very common pledge is for a participant to aim to wear one self-stitched or refashioned garment each day for the duration of May 2017. But you can pledge to do whatever you like, no matter how new you are to sewing or knitting. How about pledging to wear two or more self-made garments a week? Or maybe to try making a new type of garment by the end of the month to wear on the final day? Perhaps you could pledge to finish all your UFO’s (unfinished objects) by 31st May.

Can we see how other people are getting on? Where can I go for some MMM inspiration?
Some participants choose to document their challenge photographically (it’s not compulsory for taking part though) and share them with others on social media. Lots of people choose to write about their challenge of their blogs if they have one, and/or share photos via twitter and instagram. Google searches and hashtag searches (#MMMay17, #memademay) should open up a world of inspiration!

What will your pledge be for this year? Do you have a standard set of self-sewn patterns you go back to for each MMM or do you like to mix it up? What do you wear more of in everyday life, self-drafted, other designer’s pattern or shop–bought clothing? 
I’m still considering how best to set my own pledge specifics for this year. I tend to think about how my lifestyle has evolved since the previous year, and consider what I would like to improve on (like wearing my self-made skirts more, or improving my mix-and-match game) and make a suitable pledge based on that. My current wardrobe is about 90% me-made and refashioned items, with 10% secondhand (often donated from my best friend!). I still buy bras, socks, tights and footwear new, but one day when I’m no longer breastfeeding, I’ll have a go at making bras too.

We're taking part!

Sounds like we’d better get making …
You can but MMM isn’t a reason to make lots of new clothes (unless you want to). This challenge is about wearing the items that you have already created, not about stock-piling more makes. However, if you want to use taking part in the challenge as the kick in the butt you need to finally hem that half-finished skirt, or rework an ill-fitting garment, then great. Remember, this challenge is meant to be fun, and panic-making isn’t fun! So please people, NO PANIC-SEWING/MAKING NECESSARY OR CONDONED!

Where do I sign up?
All you have to do is copy the pledge below and paste it into the comments section of my MMMay’17 post, having adapted it to include your details and the personal specification of your challenge, before 1st May 2017:

 ‘I, (insert name here and blog address/instagram handle if you have one), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear………………………………………………… each day for the duration of May 2017.’

So if you’re feeling inspired to get making or show off what you’ve already made, sign up here! And don’t forget if you’ve made anything with our fabric, you can enter our super duper Me Made May competition for a chance to win some fabulous sewing prizes. For more information, click here to see how to enter, and if you want to see how our own MMM wardrobes are working out, you can find us on Instagram under @emporiafabricandcraft and @lottejamiesoncrafts.

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Interview with Me Made May Creator Zoe – Part 1

 

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.

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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!

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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.

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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. 

Me Made May Competition Time

May is coming very soon and you’ve only got a few more days to sign up to the Me Made May and pledge to wear your self-made garments throughout the month – Clair and I are raring to go, so we’d love you to join us and thousands of other sewers, knitters and refashioners around the world by signing up too! If you still don’t know what MMM is yet (where have you been?!) then check out our previous posts on the blog, or pop directly over to So Zo’s site and take a little look at precisely what’s involved – we promise you’ll be glad you did.

Monday 1st May 2017 is a very special day – not only is it a bank holiday (hurrah!) but it’s also the first day of Me Made May and therefore also the very first day you can take part in our MMM competition! Now if that doesn’t get you more excited than the prospect of eating badly cooked sausages from a neighbour’s barbecue while standing in the cold/damp/wind of normal May bank holiday weather, then I don’t know what will. Every year we run a competition throughout May to celebrate our participation in Me Made May and how much we enjoy wearing clothes that we have made, or refashioned, ourselves. And we also really enjoy seeing what you lot out there have made too, so much so in fact that we think you deserve a little reward.

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This year we are making our MMM competition even bigger and better than before with three different prizes to be won! We want to really spread the word this year that making and wearing your own garments is something to be very proud of – dressmaking (and knitting, crocheting etc) is no longer a lost skill, it is something that has made a huge resurgence in the past five or six years, and is still growing. It doesn’t have to be about making huge and elaborate ball gowns or filling up your entire wardrobe with everything from pants and socks to jeans and coats, it can simply be a time when you get to sit down, by yourself or with a friend or your mum, and be creative. And that creativity results in you making some comfy pjs or a pretty summer dress, or any item of clothing that you will wear and cherish because you made it yourself. THAT is what we want to make a hoohah about – the joy of sewing and wearing your Me Made makes.

So what do we want from you? We simply want to see what you’ve been up to with out fabrics. At Emporia we are desperately nosy and we really love to know what you plan to make with that spotty turquoise print, or the cotton lawn with the orange flowers. Maybe you bought some of that delicious multi coloured stripe jersey from us ages ago and still haven’t got around to making anything with it yet, or perhaps you’ve been hoarding lots of different prints in your stash and have forgotten they’re there – now is the time to get sewing!

You can enter the MMM competition in three different ways: put your garment made with Emporia fabric on Facebook or Instagram and tag us so we can see what you’ve made; or you can email us a photo of your garment – you don’t have to be wearing it, but it does help us see the dress or trousers or whatever you’ve made at it’s best angle; or you can pop into the shop wearing your garment so we can take a photo ourselves as well as see it in person – again, if you don’t want to wear it, just pop it in a bag and bring it in that way, you still get a chance to win!

Three different winners will be chosen from the Emporia MMM Competition – one by us, one by you, our lovely sewing audience, and a third by the creator of Me Made May herself, Zoe! Prizes include patterns, fabric and lessons so there is plenty to get your hands on as a reward for your heard work. We can’t wait to see what you’ve all been up to!

The Emporia Me Made May Competition takes place from 10am Monday 1st May – 5pm Wednesday 31st May 2017. All entrants must have bought their fabric from Emporia Fabric & Craft (excluding vintage fabric) from July 2015 onwards; in order to enter the competition, entrants must provide evidence of their handmade garment in either photographic form or in person. For more information on the concept of MMM or the competition, please give us a ring on 01233 612278, contact us via the Contact form, or come and see us in the shop.

 

Me Made May 2017 is Coming

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Once again Me Made May is just around the corner and we are getting very excited about what we’re going to make and wear. Not only will the weather be a bit warmer (hopefully) but we will also get to try out some of our lovely new poplins and cotton lawns for ourselves. Plus we will be running our annual MMM competition, and it’s even bigger and more exciting than ever before!

For those that are new to the whole MMM phenomenon, very simply put, it’s a whole month of celebrating all kinds of sewing, knitting, crochet and general upcycling of clothing. Whether you have been sewing since you were four years old and have a wardrobe fit to burst with self-sewn garments, or you struggled to make a simple skirt or pair of pyjama bottoms as your very first makes, you can still take part. Me Made May is all about feeling proud of your creative skills, making the most of garments you have made yourself and challenging yourself just a little bit, to maybe push yourself a bit harder to make more or adapt things to fit you properly.

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Zoe Edwards is the creator of the MMM movement and she’s been running for it every May for eight years; she started it to encourage people to get more creative with their clothing and in their approach to wearing self-sewn or hand created garments. Hosting the annual celebration every year from her blog So Zo, she bigs up all the sewers, knitters, crocheters, upcyclers and recyclers in her celebration of all things me-made. All you need to do to take part is sign up on her blog post with your pledge of how many MM garments you will be wearing during May this year. Then you can share your progress on Instagram or Facebook, and see what others are making and wearing too. From those who can pretty much kit out themselves head to foot, including underwear, in self-created clothing (much like Zoe) to those of us who may want to pledge to wear something for a certain number of days per week, the idea is to challenge yourself just enough to get creative, but not so much that you feel panicked by a sudden and enormous sewing To Do list.

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In fact Zoe specifically states on her blog that she does not condone panic sewing whatsoever, and neither do we. Don’t treat MMM like homework that you have to do – just set yourself a creative challenge that might make you finish off some nearly-done dresses, or maybe make you finally hem those trousers you started last year; perhaps you have been meaning to make some summer tops for ages, but just haven’t got around to it yet. Maybe you have a pile of clothes that you never wear and could easily be upcycling and transformed into something else? Well, MMM is the time to do it! Give yourself a bit of a push to sit back down at the sewing machine or pick up those needles and make something for yourself that you really want to make – all in the name of Me Made May!

We will be running our MMM competition again this year, and for 2017 it’s going to be bigger and better – more details on that to come soon! But if you have bought any fabric from us in recent months and are planning on making a garment for yourself from it, then we suggest you crack on with it now, because by the end of May it could be winning you a lovely prize!

In the meantime, for more information on the whole concept and to sign up with your pledge for MMMay2017, click here to visit Zoe’s blog. And don’t forget to click back throughout April and May for more information on the competition and plenty of MMM inspiration.