Yes indeed my friends, here it is! 2013's official Me-Made/Self-Stitched challenge that celebrates the hard work and man(or lady-)hours that so many of us put into crafting unique, beautiful and special handmade clothing and accessories.
Yeah, but what exactly is MMM'13?
Me-Made-May '13 (MMM'13 for short) is a challenge designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle/insert-other-creative-discipline-here garments for themselves to actually wear and love them. The me-made and self-stitched challenges have been taking place for over three years now and they work on both a personal and community level.
The participants decide the specifics of their own challenge pledge, so that the month is appropriate and challenging for them (more on this below). 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 2013. The participants can also choose to document their challenge with daily photos (though this is in no way compulsory for taking part) and share them with other participants, through either their blog if they have one (having your own blog is by no means necessary to particpate), or the MMM'13 Flickr group which has been created for this purpose.
I haven't taken part in any of these before, why should I take part?
Ohh, there are squillions of reasons why you might choose take part! They may include:
- Many participants find the results of their sewing/crochetting/knitting/upcycling/refashioning often get left in their wardrobe rather than worn as part of their everyday wardrobes. Some people would like to start integrating those self-stitched items into their daily life but feel they need a bit of a nudge to do so.
- Some challenge participants want to discover the 'holes' in their wardrobe so in the future they are able to focus their precious garment-creating time towards making things that will be more useful.
- Others feel what they tend to wear, day-to-day, doesn't really suit them or represent who they are, and want to spend a month focussing on getting out of their rut.
- Some participants enjoy the push they find these challenges give them to finish off lingering unfinished projects to add some more self-stitched weapons to their garment-arsenal.
- Others (myself included) may find they need a reason to integrate their newer self-stitched items into regular rotation, or even want to see if they can get by all month entirely without shop-bought garments (often with undies or outerwear as notable exceptions, but not always!).
- There is also guaranteed to be a lovely online community of fellow participants to give support, advice and inspiration.
I've done these in the past, why should I take part this year?
Did you enjoy it last time/the previous times you took part?
- If the answer is 'Yes': Then you'll have lots of fun again this year, whilst challenging yourself in a different way and learning something new about yourself and your style/skills/preferences/wardrobe. You just need to think about how you can alter and/or amp up your pledge specifics to get the most out of this year's challenge.
- If the answer is 'No': Well if that's a 'no' because the challenge you set yourself was too hard, then that is easily rectified this time round; set your pledge so that it is tricky but do-able. If it's a 'no' because you didn't enjoy the pressure you felt to take photos each day, then simply don't worry about the photos part. You'll learn lots of lessons and get satisfaction from taking part in the challenge and completing your pledge, not from the documentation of it (although some participants have found that seeing the daily images of themselves has really helped them figure out what suits them and what doesn't work so well). If you'd like to do a little bit of documenting, then why not just photograph your favourite outfit/garment you wore at the end of the week, or some other version that doesn't make you feel under pressure. If it's a 'no' for any other reason, I can probably objection-handle all day...! But seriously, if you didn't like taking part in it and don't want to try again, fair enough!
Ok, you've convinced me, how do I sign up?
All you have to do is copy the pledge below and post it in the comments section of this post adapted to include your details and the personal specification of your challenge before 1st May:
'I, (insert name here and blog address if you have one), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear......................................................... each day for the duration of May 2013'
Points to consider when creating your pledge:
- This is YOUR challenge, write the script any way you want, just remember: IT IS A CHALLENGE and not meant to be easy or what you do usually. In the past I have received the odd comment saying 'Oh, I already do this so I may as well sign up', however those people had clearly missed the point which is to challenge yourself, and therefore they would be unlikely to learn very much or feel much satisfaction or pride at the end of the month.
- THIS IS NOT A COMPETITION. It is a personal attempt to achieve a better relationship with your handmade creations, which you may or may not choose to share with the creative online community. What I mean is, don't set a pledge that you've seen other people make that sounds good but in reality is unobtainable for you and your lifestyle. For example, if you have to wear a uniform for work each day, you may prefer to pledge to wear self-stitched items at the weekends or days off only.
- There's no rush to sign up immediately, as long as you do so before 1st May. Have a think for a while about your current relationship with your creations, then think how you might want to improve that relationship.
- If you have taken part before, or already wear a fair amount of self-made clothing and/or accessories, think how you can up the ante from the standard 'one self-stitched garment a day' pledge. How about wearing two or more self-made garments each day? Or pledge to try making a new type of garment by the end of the month to wear on the final day? Or pledge to finish all your UFO's by 31st May? Pledge to focus on wearing your 'meh' garments to see if you can fall back in love with some of them? Pledge to only wear separates to force yourself to get creative with your mix-and-matching? Pledge to only wear each garment or garment-combo once? Pledge to wear an outfit including one sewn or knitted garment AND one refashion each day? There are near-infinite ways to amp things up for yourself.
What do I do now then?
Nothing in particular except let an underlying sense of excitement brew!
If you wish to be a part of the MMM'13 Flickr group, head over there and request membership. I'll 'let you in' within a few days so you can begin posting your outfits/garments from 1st May. If you wish to start a discussion over there before 1st May, please feel free to do so!
If you would like to advertise your participation on your blog if you have one, why not treat yourself to the addition of the MMM'13 widget/gadget/button? The code can be found at the top of the right hand column of this blog's home page. The widget/gadget/button not only looks cute, but it shows other participants/potential-participants at a glance that you are taking part this year. Plus when clicked on, it will ping you to this sign-up post so others can read what this whole damn thing is about without you needing to go into too much of an explanation yourself. If you aren't sure how to apply/insert a widget/gadget/button code, check this post from last year with explanations for Blogspot/Blogger and Wordpress blogs.
This year I haven't created a Facebook page, because there didn't seem to be much actual interaction on the Me-Made-May'12 Facebook page. But if a decent amount of people leave a comment saying that they would like one this year too, I'll happily rig one up and announce it's existence before 1st May.
Other than those optional things, there's really nothing to do until 1st May 2013! Although you may decide to finish up that UFO, maybe a skirt waiting to be hemmed or the blouse that needs the buttons stitched on! But please people, NO PANIC-SEWING NECESSARY OR CONDONED!!
How do I participate and interact throughout the challenge?
That's totally up to you. As I mentioned above, you may choose to document your challenge with daily/weeky/as-often-as-you-like photos, which you could either then share with the readers of your blog if you have one, or on the aforementioned Flickr group (you have to sign up to Flickr to upload photos and comments to the group, which is free). If you choose not to sign up to the Flickr group, you will still be able to see all the photos added by other participants and read the discussions being had over there, however you will not be able to comment on the photos or add to the discussions. We need to do this I'm afraid as Flickr sadly has the odd troll that may make inappropriate comments, and we'd like to avoid that. But don't let that put you off joining up! The Flickr groups are always heaps of fun and such a lovely way to see lots of participants all in one go participating in different countries and climates. Plus it can be a fabulous way to discover new inspirational bloggers and blogs to follow, and generally make some new e-friends!
This sign-up post's comments has lots of blog addresses of participants if you'd like to find some new blogs to visit and bloggers to 'meet' that way.
A couple of extra notes about photos: If you want to take documentation photos but don't like being photographed yourself, there's always the options of re-creating that outfit on a tailor's dummy, hanging the garment/s up or laying them on the floor to photograph. If you have a blog and wish to share your outfit photos on it but don't have the time or desire to post daily, you could post more manageable summaries once or twice a week (which I prefer to do, BTW).
It would also be totally ace if Twitter users discussed the challenge using the #MMMay13 hashtag.
Anything else I should know?
HAVE FUN!!!! This challenge is meant to be explorative, illuminating and beneficial, but above that it's meant to be fun! Getting dressed can often be fun, and if you haven't felt any clothes-based fun for a while, why not see if this challenge can help inject some of that back? 'Hanging out' online with the other participants can be a big part of that fun by seeing what they are wearing (either by visiting their personal blogs or through the Flickr group or Twitter) and by sharing your own unique take on this challenge.
If you are concerned or confused about any aspect of this challenge, please email me at sozoblog (at) g mail (dot) com.
Otherwise, let the signing up commence!!!!!