We are in the middle of Me-Made-May 2020, and as you might have noticed if you read the blog or follow me on social media, I have not engaged with it at all this year.
I have been working from home for the past 8 weeks and frankly, I do not feel at all like posting pictures of what I wear everyday. My working from home wardrobe was very unappealing and boring to me and I did not want to impose that on my grid either.
I also feel that after 5 years of pledging, I have nothing new to contribute to the Me-Made-May pledge. I am wearing as much of my self-made wardrobe as I will ever be at this point. I feel that artificially increasing that percentage is not only cheating but counterproductive, as I will be reaching even less for these items going forward.
However, this is not an issue of making clothes, but of curating my wardrobe and how much of what I have reflects my personal style and my lifestyle. I have been sewing for more than 10 years now, and I can definitely tell you I am not the same person as I was back then.
So this made me think about the mirage of the 100% handmade wardrobe and how this is both unattainable and unnecessary. At least for me.
The mirage of the 100% handmade wardrobe
Why a mirage?
Well, it seems to me that the 100% self-made wardrobe is this big prize that seems to dangle in front of us ever since we learn how to sew and decide to take part in the sewing community.
Many times I got the feeling from social media and blogs – maybe it’s just me – that the 100% self-made wardrobe is that one goal that we should all be reaching towards. Hand-made is good, RTW is bad. And we should immediately replace the latter with the former as fast as we can possibly sew.
I wrote before about this dichotomy between the two. And I still stand by my beliefs that it’s not a competition.
But in the back of my mind, the 100% handmade wardrobe mirage is still there.
I can’t help feeling like I am failing in some way when I am not wearing at least one handmade item every day. And that happens more than I’d like to admit.
Making vs wearing
Why is it unattainable?
Because the goalposts seem to be always shifting. For me, it’s not a matter of volumes, but of desirability.
SAVE THIS FOR LATER ON PINTEREST
For example, let’s look at the rate of replenishment vs removal in my wardrobe, I take out as much handmade as I do RTW. And even though I have not been buying clothes for 5 years now, so I sew all the new clothes that make it into my wardrobe, the overall percentage difference between the two is not increasing as fast as I would expect.
And that is because the rate of attrition of handmade is also fairly constant. I part with handmade as easily as I do with RTW. It’s about whether those clothes fit me, excite me or are suitable for my life.
I also have been sewing for 10 years and there are so few things I sewed back in the day that I still like. I definitely did not go through the ‘quilting cotton’ dresses phase, as I never liked prints, but I did make some howlers that did not definitely stand the test of time. Thank goodness I am not sentimental.
If anything, as I have been constantly purging RTW for years, many of the items I do still have are the ones I absolutely love and wear all the time. Whereas for handmade, the hits and misses are more likely and I will end up with items I don’t absolutely love or that did not come out as I imagined. And they just don’t get worn.
The shiny object syndrome
Why is it unnecessary (for me)?
I seem to be suffering of this in relation to my handmade wardrobe so much more than I do with shopping.
Ok, admittedly, I now shop very very little, so that does not apply. Maybe I have transferred all my ‘shiny object syndrome’ manifestations to sewing. In fact, I’m pretty sure I did.
So, the way I look at it, the more I sew, the more chances there are for me to run after shiny objects, aka new patterns, new fabrics, and end up with a garment I do not wear. So, in the quest for the 100% wardrobe mirage, I will end up with a lot of clothes I don’t love and therefore never wear. And that to me is the ultimate fail.
The antidote? Thinking about my wardrobe as a whole, looking at things that I need and the gaps. And filling them in with the right piece, whether second-hand or thoughtfully handmade.
So my pledge for a Me-Made-Year? To love all my clothes, repair, restyle or refashion them so that I can wear them as much as possible and no less than 30 wears.
DID YOU TAKE PART IN ME-MADE MAY THIS YEAR? AND HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED THE MIRAGE OF THE 100% HANDMADE WARDROBE?