MIY March 20 Week 4: What Now?

miy march 20

Pictured: me, wearing Fulwood top made in Faberwood Ikat fabric.

Well, what a month for this year’s MIY March. Who could ever have guessed that the world and our lives would be so radically changed over the course of just one month.

I hope you enjoyed the slightly different format for MIY March this year, I realise it required a bit more of a commitment from those who wanted to join in for the whole month, but I hope some of you also enjoyed dipping in and out.  It was lovely to see so many new and familiar faces.  I also hope that towards the end of the month it provided some small distraction from the horrors that slowly took over most of our waking hours.

It’s an interesting point at which to reflect on the wider issues of sustainability beyond just sewing, fashion and textiles though don’t you think?  The sudden enforced lockdowns happening across the globe and the inevitable shrinking of our day to day realities, but perhaps the broadening of our horizons as we realise that none of us regardless of nationality, wealth or status is immune from this pandemic is all very thought provoking.

At my house we are suddenly appreciating the delivery service that our local farm shop is offering and it’s been a reassuringly sociable time in the neighbourhood – we have a neighbourhood WhatsApp group, dog walks often involve long conversations from opposite sides of the road and neighbours are chatting across walls and fences. I definitely think, as my partner pointed out, that “social distancing” ought to be renamed “physical distancing” as all I’ve experienced so far is the pulling together of local communities.

It’s reassuring, scary, unsettling and normal all at the same time.  Normal because I spend a lot of time at home working anyway, so for me that’s manageable and years ago I learned the hard way all the pitfalls of never getting dressed, never going outside, not having a routine and daylong gazing into the fridge….!

But back to the distractions that MIY March can offer (despite it now being April). Here are the questions I’d like to pose for the end of this year’s event:

  1. What have you learned over the month?
  2. Have you discovered more about why you sew?
  3. Will your motivations change in future?
  4. Have you got to know your style better?
  5. What will be your takeaway message from this month?
  6. What’s your next project going to be?

I have a feeling there are going to be some really interesting answers to these questions….

Do feel free to post all or any of your response in a blog post or on social media for us all to read and chip in with. Leave a comment with a link to your blog post and be sure to tag me @thatwendyward on Insatagram.  I’ll kick off with my responses:

1 – What have you learned over the month?

That I’m a finely balanced machine that doesn’t really like change all that much. That teaching in-person classes is a precarious way to earn a living! That space is my main dictator of how much I sew. Whatever I do sew really has to work hard to deserve that precious space. That sustainably produced components – buttons, zips, tapes, interfacings, etc. are really hard to find. I have a blog post planned with some recommendations.

2 – Have you discovered more about why you sew?

I thought I found sewing relaxing…..however, when sewing is your job that really does change. While I’ve seen what feels like the whole of Instagram take to their sewing machines to sew through worldwide lockdowns I found myself avoiding mine. I just haven’t had the focus or concentration for it. I’ve found much more solace in my plants, my garden and the surrounding countryside where I live.  No bad thing, but I’m hoping I want to get back to my machine soon. 

3 – Will your motivations change in future?

I’ve always had a mindful, sustainable approach to my sewing, I don’t like to generate lots of waste and I don’t like to churn out things that aren’t going to be used or worn. These past few weeks have ramped that up to maximum. The craft industry is just as reliant as the fashion industry on global (and to my mind) unsustainable supply chains. I’ve shopped local, I stayed local and I cut back. 

4 – Have you got to know your style better?

Ha ha, the more comfort the better right now!! I’ve always placed comfort at the top of the list for my sewing requirements, but it may now be 1, 2 and 3!!

5 – What will be your takeaway message from this month?

It takes more time and effort to sew in a sustainable way, but it’s definitely worth it and it’s worth putting things away and revisiting them. I made this dress from old shirts around 10 years ago and hadn’t worn it much. On a whim I decided to overdye it and now I love it and am looking forward to wearing it this summer.

6 – What’s your next project going to be?

I’ll be starting lots of small projects as part of the big project I’m currently working on which is my next book. Here’s a sneak peak at something I was working on before the madness started:

We have a great gift this week for the most thought provoking post thanks to Lucy at Sew Essential….miy march 20

A complete set of Gutermann 100% recycled polyester threads.  There are twenty 100m spools of thread in there. I’d love a set of these so lucky person whoever has the best post this week! I’m looking forward to reading them….

2 responses to “MIY March 20 Week 4: What Now?

  1. Oh, I love what happened when you overdyed the shirt dress. Eyerything is better in indigo, right?
    Also, didn’t know that Gutermann made recycled poly thread – because I don’t get out much hahahaha.


    • Thanks Anne, me too, it’s like a completely different dress. I’ll definitely be doing more overdyeing!! I haven’t tried the recycled Gutermann thread, but it’s really good to see it out there.


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