I have been enjoying and really admiring all the Me-Made-May selfies popping up on my Instagram lately. It is inspiring and reassuring to know that that could be me someday, not too far in the future.
I love the idea of a me-made wardrobe! I often romanticize about that simple dress, the one that I’m gonna sew for myself with organic linen that I will hand dye using avocado pits or something. Oh and that oversized cardigan I will knit in nice, rustic, all natural wool. Knowing I made it by hand. Having control over the fabric. Knowing it is traceable and sustainable. Having the peace of mind that no harm was done to the environment or to anyone in the process of dressing myself. I couldn’t be more on board with this, and so I dream of a closet full of handmades!
And then the guilt creeps in, every single time.
Because there was a time, not long ago, when I was a different person entirely. One who didn’t ask too many questions and didn’t care where her clothes came from or who made them and how.
To give you better insight, my parents have co-owned several clothing stores for years now. The stores range from your everyday apparel to high fashion brands. And what this has really meant for me, and why I’m even mentioning it, is that I have, for years, “shopped” at these stores for “free”. Why quotation marks? Because I’m not sure you can call walking into a store, grabbing bags full of clothes and taking them home shopping. I used to bring back an entire suitcase full of new clothes, shoes and handbags every single time I visited my family in Armenia.
Shameful, I know.
As a result, I own more outfits and pairs of shoes than I can ever hope to wear, and I haven’t used a single one of my handbags since my daughter was born. (A backpack full of diapers and wipes is how I roll these days.)
It’s true that I have put an end to this kind of behavior ever since stumbling upon Slow Fashion October. Much more conscious of my consumerism, I have since stopped buying things for myself, and I’ve been clearing out my closet instead. Somehow I still have a full closet, only about 10% of which I wear on a day to day basis.
So, you see, my struggle with a me-made wardrobe is this: how can I justify making myself new clothes, when my closet is overflowing already? Why would I get rid of stuff, only to add more stuff? If we are advocating for me-made with the purpose of reducing waste, ensuring sustainability and safe practices, then, surely, I shouldn’t rush to throw away what I own, regardless of its source, simply so I can say I made my own clothes.
Of course, on the reverse side, I feel like a fake, advocating for all this without a single thing to show for it.
These struggles and dilemmas aren’t often a problem when it comes to sewing my own clothes. Since I’m such a novice at this craft, I don’t feel the urge to make a new piece of clothing all day long. Knitting, however, is an entirely different story. Knitting is my real passion. But because of all these moral arguments with myself, I haven’t knit a single thing in over three weeks now. Yes, three whole entire weeks without knitting. I’m having a really hard time here. I love the process of knitting, and it makes my hands itch not having at least one project on the needles at any given time. But, after a year of too many spontaneous cast-on’s and more frogged projects than finished objects, I made a decision to be more mindful and intentional with my making. In other words, I decided not to start projects that looked cool or that would be fun to knit, but instead to make things I would actually wear and use.
I felt really good about this decision, excited even! I spent a few days on Ravelry, made several boards, and favorited hundreds of projects.
That was two weeks ago, and I still haven’t cast on. It could be that I really don’t “need” anything to add to my already large wardrobe. Or maybe it’s because my yarn stash is comprised of random fun looking skeins, no two of which are the same. And let’s be honest, I can’t use this excuse to go out and buy more yarn.
So, what do I do, friends? Do I cast on projects just to use up my stash? Do I de-stash by selling all the one-off skeins I own? Do I just suck it up and knit for the fun of knitting, and forget all about mindfullness? Is that even a word? Do you see the chaos that is the current state of my brain?
And so I sit here daydreaming of that linen dress and that oversized cardigan instead...