Make Thrift Mend: My Fashion Fast


Have you heard about Me Made May? It's a social media movement that connects folks who make their own clothing by using the hashtags #memademay #mmm15 and #mmmay15 over on Instagram or Twitter. It's pretty great! I'm having a bunch of fun posting my garments this month and finding other folks who do the same.

It's open to anybody and you could even still make something before June and join the fun or share something you made a few years ago. Even an accessory counts. Participants just post a self-portrait wearing their handmade garment and then other crafty folks can network by searching the hashtags. The idea is to bring awareness to our wardrobes, to encourage creatives to make their own clothing, and to take pride in what we've made.

But there's something else that's really great about Me Made May and that is the community. Isn't that when social networks are the most fulfilling? Not when we fall down the hole of endless scrolling or comparing our selves to other folks (especially folks who use social media as their full-time profession and have models, stylists, and pro photographers and then we just feel so much worse) but when it's actually creating a community, a network, a meeting ground. Win, win.

It's been almost two years since I started my Make Thrift Mend project and began my fast fashion fast. I had no idea how this project would change my work, my wardrobe, or my shopping habits. What started as a yearlong commitment to making, mending, and buying used clothing has turned into an overhaul of how I purchase garments and how I think of fashion. It's also turned into a love affair with mending, natural dyes, and the slow fashion community.

As my studio time is still very limited while I care for my newborn son I have given myself the challenge of finishing this one dress for Me Made May. I had the torso sewn before my son was born but it still needed French seams, binding, pockets, and a hem. I'm now just pockets and a hem away from being able to wear it. It started with the Have Company Dress Along using my dear friend, Sonya Philip's very dressmaker-friendly pattern Dress #1 from her brilliant project, 100 Acts of Sewing.

I'm realizing that as I round out the second year of this project I'm upping my stakes. I don't just want to get better at reading dress patterns, acquire new mending skills, or commit to supporting secondhand clothing shops. I also want to make beautiful clothes that I love to wear. And so refining what I think is beautiful, why I think it's beautiful, and studying what I actually want to wear are now coming into the foreground.

That might be the biggest lesson I've learned yet--it really isn't about fashion trends or what's hot in the sale section this week but it's really about discovering what I love to wear. And then building the skills to make clothing that I not only feel proud of for the technical skill but that I feel excited about wearing. And that become part of my everyday wardrobe. And that celebrate the handmade life I'm seeking. This thinking feels more sustainable than any runway trend that might come and go next season.



  1. Your hand work is so incredible. I don't do very well at hand work because I don't do the "slow" thing well - I'm always in a hurry. I really want to figure out how to change that. :-) Darling, darling dress. - Dori -

    1. My love of hand stitching was not instant at all. I used to prefer machine sewing because it was faster and seemingly more durable. But I was never satisfied with the top-stitching or finishing work by machine. So I turned to hand stitching. And as I practiced more I got faster, learned sturdier stitches, and came to really appreciate the slow and steady rhythm. But, of course, I still machine a bunch of things and especially the bigger seams too. You can do it, Dori! (Thanks for visiting here.)


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.