Hi Sewists! I’m Gem, Yorkshire girl, mum to two energetic boys, science geek and owner of Bobbins and Bolts. You can find me over at https://www.bobbinsandbolts.co.uk/blog/. This is my first post over here on the Sewcialists Blog!
As Me-Made May is drawing to a close for this year, I wanted to talk a little about how, to me, May shows off our lovely sewing community at its best. I don’t simply mean in terms of actual items made, although I’m always gobsmacked to see how many different ways patterns are interpreted, I also mean in terms of the level of support people give to each other regardless of their experience and ability levels. I’ve personally been sewing for around 4 years, starting off as a quilter, drifting into bag making and then finally getting completely hooked on dressmaking almost 2 years ago. For me, it came at a time when my high school teaching job was really getting me down, I’d gained a lot of weight so my self-confidence was low and I needed a creative outlet where I could just focus on doing something positive. And what a positive community I joined! Such a refreshing change to how people often seem to behave towards one another.
This has been my 3rd Me-Made May. I finally have enough home-sewn clothes in my wardrobe to commit to a different item every day, so I’ve posted pictures every day this month. The amount of positivity shown towards my makes has astounded me! Although I really shouldn’t have been surprised, since the sewing and knitting communities seem to be some of the most supportive groups of people out there.
I’ve posted my sewing failures as well as the ones I’m happy with, but not once have I had a negative comment. Not even for the items that I personally don’t like or think don’t suit me! Instead, I’ve found that people use those posts to tactfully suggest improvements to the fit, hacks that change it or even to say that they think it actually looks great. The other staggering thing that I’ve seen is no matter what your current skills are, everyone is encouraged along with the same enthusiastic attitude. It could be a simple beginner pattern and people will show their support just as much as a much as a complex tailored garment, because we all seem to know that beginners and experienced sewists need encouragement as much as one another.
I was particularly floored by a post I put up involving my own body issues. I’ve got medical issues with my legs and so normally I hide them or take strategic photos to exclude them. But after almost 3 weeks of lovely comments I thought, you know what? I’ll put a full picture up and show that we all have hang ups. The response was amazing! I had emails and messages from people who I’ve never met saying how they have the same issues and I shouldn’t be afraid to show my legs. I had suggestions of pattern adaptations to help me feel less self-conscious. What I didn’t have is a single person telling me to cover up or reacting badly. How amazing is this community?
Personally, I’ve found that I’ve ended up following the tag #mmmay18 and have checked it several times each day, saving pictures of my favourite items to come back to as inspiration. I’m sure I’m not alone in using the month to follow new people online either! I seem to have gained an extra hundred or so Instagram followers in the past few weeks and in turn I’ve followed many more.
Me-Made May is a great month for getting inspired and finding new people with different takes on my favourite makes. Ultimately though, this month has reminded me that I really am proud to be part of such a fantastically creative and supportive group of individuals!
What have you learned from the sewing community this May?