I missed out on Me Made May last year, not just because of the pandemic, but because I was so ill that I spent most of that month in bed. I did wear my self-made robe a lot, so maybe that was vague participation, but I’ve worn my robe pretty much every day since I made it in 2018, so maybe not.
This year I’m up and about (hooray), but I have an entirely new wardrobe that only includes a handful of pieces that I’ve sewn (boo). It turns out there’s a weird medical side effect that happens when doctors ignore and/or question your pain until you’ve lost almost 70 pounds: You have to replace all of your clothes. Twice.
Right now, I’m basically working with a capsule wardrobe I mostly sourced from eBay and Poshmark, with a few new things purchased from Target or Torrid. I have never had so little clothing in my adult life, and as I’m not an aspiring minimalist, I find it disconcerting.
I’ve never been so intentional about clothing before, either. My closet may be pretty bland, but at least I have no wardrobe orphans. I carefully picked every garment to work with other pieces.
I’m also in unfamiliar territory. I’m smaller than I’ve been since the 1990s and now fall into that weird region of “most plus sizes are too big, and most straight sizes are too small (or just fit incorrectly).” Despite being more “socially acceptable” to look at, my clothing obstacles have merely changed rather than disappeared. (Please understand that my personal clothing challenges are simple compared to those facing many other people, especially larger fat people. I don’t want to downplay those systemic problems in any way.)
My weight has stabilized for the moment, but I don’t know how long it will last. I’ve lost 40 or 50 pounds several times as an adult, and each time I managed to maintain the weight loss for one to three years after I reached a sort of plateau point. My measurements haven’t varied by more than a half of an inch in any direction since my surgery, so I’m guessing I’m at that point again. I’m not willing to jump in with both feet and say, “I shall never again be another size. Let’s buy every article of clothing I have ever wanted!!” But I do think it’s safe to start sewing a few things again (besides my monthly t-shirt), and I’ll be hitting the thrift stores in a couple of weeks after my vaccine immunity kicks in.
That brings me back to Me Made May. The Me Made May challenge is supposed to be personal and customizable — not just an excuse to post selfies on Instagram. (Although the selfies are admittedly part of the fun for me.) I currently don’t have enough self-made clothing to participate in the same way I have in previous years, but I don’t want to miss another year. So here’s my pledge:
‘I, Sarah L. Crowder (a.k.a. @codenamesarah), pledge to finish the two garments I already have cut out and make my monthly t-shirt in May 2021. I may get around to posting photos of these garments on Instagram, or I may not.’
I’m also hoping to get a simple summer top sewn before it gets blazing hot and address a couple of wardrobe holes (probably by thrifting), but my pledge was already pretty long. We’ll see! Here’s to a very low-key Me Made May for 2021.