As I mentioned in this post, I am taking part in Rachelle's Handmade 365 Project, which involves wearing something handmade everyday for 365 days. Today, 1st December, is day 60 and I am proud to say that I haven't yet missed a day! It's been an interesting process and I thought I'd pause to reflect on what I've learnt from it so far (and also to share a photo, above, of my first ever self-made skirt, made from vintage fabric! Also featuring Blue Eyed Night Owl pin and handmade charm necklace from Toronto.)
1. It's encouraged me to make things for myself - so often I make things for other people and it's been fun to make things for myself, motivated by the search for new handmade things to wear each day!
2. But I can't wear new things all the time - As time goes on, I repeat myself a lot. And so I don't share my photos daily anymore on Instagram (@theowlclub), just when I'm wearing something new, or if I feel in the mood or when I feel it will be an interesting photo.
3. One of the best things is being inspired by others - Even if I'm wearing the same old infinity scarf and pair of earrings, I love being inspired by what others are making and wearing! I've been making quite a few fabric cuffs, inspired by a photo I saw from @fairyandsnail. One of them ended up being featured in a Show and Tell by the weekly digital craft magazine Gathered by Mollie Makes!
4. It's made me think really carefully about what I buy - I'm always looking out for businesses, like Tatty Devine (of the seahorse earrings featured above), whose ethos is "handmade in the UK", or for handmade vintage items (which have always been a favourite of mine anyway). Of course Etsy is a great place to go for unique handmade things to wear.
5. It's also made me wonder what "handmade" means - If I pick up a shirt that says "Made in India" (or Thailand or Bulgaria or...) in Topshop, does that mean it's not handmade? Well no, because very likely someone's hands did make it and I don't want to ignore or disrespect that. BUT it was made by somone in a factory, probably paid the absolute legal minimum (hopefully not less, but possibly) and of course it will be one of thousands of others like it. When hands are being exploited to make generic items, clearly this is not the "handmade" ethos driving the project. On a completely different note, some participants have wondered whether customisation of pre-existing items counts - the response from the group seemed to be "yes"! So it seems to be as much about creativity and an ethical approach to clothing and accessories as it is about, say, the skill of sewing.
6. It's made me want to improve my skills - I long to make clothing now! It's tricky at the moment because, having recently had a baby, and still breastfeeding, I'm not quite sure what size or shape I'm going to settle into yet. But I can really see the potential and I'm so inspired by what others are making. I've seen everything - coats, skirts, leggings, vests, .... even knickers (Mezz, I'm looking at you!) As soon as my Christmas crafting rush is over, I'm determined to up the ante on the garment making front.
If anyone reading this is also taking part, I'd love to hear your thoughts and how it's going for you!