30 Days Of Photos With Strangers


The tenth anniversary of Me Made May has drawn to a close. Some of you will be silently raising a cheer of relief; others will be reflecting on their wardrobe choices. It’s an initiative that both divides and bonds, which I feel is just as it should be. How boring if we all agreed.

In 2019, I took part for the first time in eight years. I couldn’t quite let the anniversary slide with no acknowledgement. I mean, it’s a big deal and a massive achievement on SoZo‘s part – and says a lot about the online sewing community. We’re here for the long haul, man!

I decided to repeat my Me Made May experience of 2011 and add a twist – to be photographed with strangers each day because – you know – fun! I didn’t try to wear different outfits every day; I reached for whatever I fancied pulling from the wardrobe.

Which means we all now know how much I love:

The Ogden Cami from True Bias

The B6178 Culottes from Butterick

The Myosotis Dress from Deer And Doe

The Charlie Caftan from Closet Case Patterns

All great and highly wearable items. But my choice to be photographed with strangers also raised a few unexpected highlights.

First, what is my advice for approaching 40+ strangers in 31 days? (Some people declined and I missed one day.)

  • Look for an open and friendly face.
  • Don’t tackle people who are busy.
  • Avoid feeling insulted if people turn you down. (I mean, I’d probably turn this down!)
  • Expect to be surprised.
  • Stay spontaneous. I made it a rule not to go back once I’d walked past someone.
  • Have a cute, ice-breaker dog with you.
  • Be sensible.
  • Be respectful.
  • Bend the rules if you want to!

I loved the diversity of people I engaged with – it’s what I’ve always loved about London. If you didn’t follow along on Instagram, here are some of my personal highlights from the people I met:

Who could have imagined that I’d spend day 8 learning how to ring a church bell with David? The bell ringers of St Mary’s Church in Walthamstow were so welcoming and kind, Ella waited patiently at the foot of the stone steps and I nearly scared myself silly. Check out the video!

Several people suggested I wouldn’t be able to top this, and I was pretty concerned they were right.

Day 14 is where I bent the rules. Michael‘s not a stranger, but a fellow Walthamstow resident – who just happens to be homeless. This Instagram post elicited over 40 comments as we discussed life in London in 2019.

I love this photo so much; Michael and I had a hug after it was taken.

Day 28 allowed us to have a good old debate on the topic of babies – or lack of them. Paola was two weeks away from her due date; my body has long passed the baby-shaped window of opportunity. Do read the comments – they’re lovely.

Finally, I’ll mention this image from day 9 as I’ll never forget how much we were laughing as these photos were taken. Billy was such a good sport!

Did you follow these adventures on Instagram? What did you think? Maybe I’ll try it again in another eight years!

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13 Responses to 30 Days Of Photos With Strangers

  1. I enjoyed your photo journey very much!!

  2. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Thank you for a lively, lovely month of IG surprises! 🥰

    • Carol Reynolds says:

      I enjoyed your Me Made May pictures, I always love pictures of Ella of course! Thanks to your photo’s my husband and I visited God’s Own Junkyard (we now have his and hers souvenir t-shirts to prove it) on our recent weekend trip to London, I would never have even known it existed if I hadn’t seen it on your blog… So now you can add tourist guide next to author on your list of accomplishments! 😁👍😎

  3. Leslie says:

    I loved your series of photos with strangers! One of the best things I’ve seen!

  4. Loved it – and your text accompanying each picture was often so thought provoking.

  5. What a great way to engage with people. Jo xx

  6. Cat says:

    I loved this!

  7. LaineeMakes says:

    This is wonderful, a great idea that I might steal next year. I’ve been sporadically pursuing a photography project called 100 Strangers for several years – similar idea, approach, engage and photograph strangers – I’m up to about 40, but never thought to combine it with my sewing. It would give me a whole new impetus. Thanks for this.

  8. Jacana says:

    Your offering for ‘me made May’ is by far my favourite yet. Such fun and what-the-heck if you broke your own rules a couple of times. I love how your sewing connects you with others in so many ways and does not just focus on the techniques of sewing (although that is important) but is the means by which you interact with the world at large. Your posts are always a treat. Thankyou.

  9. Lisa G says:

    I remember your first round of photos with strangers… how was that eight years ago?! I very much enjoyed your posts and the stories behind them. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Loved following this on IG. It showed such warmth, creativity and commitment. Simply marvellous.

  11. PoundCake says:

    This is such a fresh way to approach MMM! I’m not in IG but I’ll have to scroll through your series, what a lovely idea.

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