May Day, A History
The first of May is significant in Western Culture in a few ways. Traditionally, those in the Northern Hemisphere, celebrate the arrival of spring on this day with singing, dancing, and cake! Yum! In the late 19th century, however, a peaceful protest for labor rights in Chicago turned riotous when a thrown dynamite bomb resulted in the death of seven police officers and four civilians. Countless others were injured. This event – which came to be known as the Chicago Haymarket Affair – sparked a huge movement to establish a universal, eight-hour, work day, and thus, May first also became International Worker’s Day.
A New Tradition
However, within the sewing community, the beginning of May signifies more than cake and labor rights. It also represents the start of the Me-Made-May movement, created by Zoe Edwards. In 2010, Zoe was avidly making her own clothing, and began thinking about the meaning and motivations behind creating a handmade wardrobe. She wanted to test herself and see how well she could rely on the items she had made, while also pushing herself to make garments she had never before attempted. She decided to make it her goal to wear a handmade garment everyday during the month of May and pledged as much on her blog. Her idea spread like wildfire, and now, nine years later, sewers all over the world participate in Me-Made-May.
As Zoe says on her sewing blog So, Zo…What Do You Know? , “Me-Made-May is a challenge designed to encourage people who make their own clothes to develop a better relationship with their handmade wardrobe. You set the specifics of your own challenge to make it suitable and useful for YOU. However, one very common pledge is for a participant to aim to wear one self-stitched or refashioned garment each day for the duration of May. “
Come to think of it, Me-Made-May does have a lot to do with celebrating and labor rights! Sewing your own clothes is all about empowerment. By investing time and energy into personal garments you fight that faceless Goliath known as Capitalism. You, the unexploited laborer, have complete claim to, and can therefore enjoy, the finished product. Plus, you can eat all the cake you want now that you know how to make your own clothes!
Spring into Action!
I am just starting out on my personal sewing journey, and have not yet made enough garments to fill an entire month. So, instead of wearing something handmade everyday, I am going to do my best to sew daily instead. The Confident Stitch’s most Confident B*!@%# Bonnie and Kate, on the other hand, have countless beautiful hand-made garments and are ready to take this May by storm! Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to see their Me-Made-aMAYzing garments.
If you would like to participate the 10th Annual Me-Made-May project you still have time! Follow this link to Zoe’s Blog to sign up. Happy sewing! May all your endeavors be marvelous!