When I was preparing to launch my blog, I was contemplating how to call it and checking whether any of these domains were available. And my thoughts appeared to spin around the word style rather than sewing. Somehow it occurred to me that if I were to sew, I should be creating something more than individual garments, I were to create some kind of style. Hopefully!
Throughout these two years of my sewing experience I kept on questioning myself – was I just sewing, or was I really living up to my quest to create. Two years anniversary of my sewing journey hits this April. This is going to be the 50th post on my blog. I am working on an extensive project which is a trench coat, and it is taking a long time. It will probably be two more weeks until my next post. And so this time I’ve decided to write a bit lighter post on my recent observations and reflections, hopefully you’ll enjoy this small read! My last post of this kind was about why it is so great to sew for self. It was very popular and apparently resonated with many lovers of this awesome craft. Hopefully, this post will be a continuation of the thoughts I’ve shared back in autumn.
So what did I accomplish during these two years that comprise my sewing journey? Have I reached the point of actually creating the style so that I could proudly feel my blog name being justified? Well, the answer is not too straightforward. I believe, I have learnt to sew quite alright. Starting from the most simple and not necessarily always wearable garments, now I rely on my sewing to dress every day. I still purchase RTW jeans, sweaters and other knits, white shirts, so mostly basic garments that end up becoming the backbone of my capsule wardrobe. However, everything else I mostly make myself. I do not suppose I’ll buy dresses or tops in the nearest future. I do not intend to purchase coats either – do not have patience to go from store to store and still probably not find anything suitable. I have just recently bought a white blazer, and this happened because I just saw it without much looking and impulsively purchased. Sewing blazers is a tedious and long exercise. Since I like having MANY blazers, I might purchase one occasionally, however still, I’ll mostly make them myself. So it is probably fair to say that I’ve now reached the point that I wear something me-made on a daily basis. At times my entire outfit for the day in the office is me-made. Have I reached the point of creating a coherent style? Probably not yet.
Now, what is a coherent style, we may ask. In my mind it is probably a capsule wardrobe, something that looks sleek and polished in pictures. Mine is not that at all. And that’s probably because I still sew very impulsively and in all colors of a rainbow. If I were to take a picture of all the garments I’ve made, that would be an extremely colorful mess! 🙂 However, this does not prevent me from creating nice, season appropriate styles everyday. So yes, even though I’m still quite a bit messy in my sewing results, me-made garments bring me loads of joy and energy every day. And that is what’s the most important, isn’t it?
With this wish of creating a well balanced style, an expectation of sticking to elaborate sewing plans was ruling my mind. But this has never really occured. I still make the most weird project choices, change opinions several times before even starting the project, I still purchase the fabric thinking of one pattern and then would change my mind few times before settling on a completely different one. Like for example, I bought 1.5 m of this denim fabric a year ago, was planning jeans, but the fabric arrived very thick and stiff, so from jeans I’ve slowly drifted to an unlined jacket. This doesn’t sound like a consistent styling process, does it? And I don’t know if that’s ever gonna change. However, after thinking about this intensely, I finally realized, that this is probably my way of creating.
Once I’ve received a direct message on Instagram from someone who is not my follower with a question – Are you a designer? Since I rarely reply to users whom I do not know, I did not reply to this one either. I don’t know if the question was sincere or some sort of line. But it made me think. I am not a designer in my estimation – I am a finance specialist! But then perhaps I am just a tiny bit of a designer too? 🙂 Just a bit. And this thought made me smile ever so slightly.
So how do I decide on what I’ll make next? At times the choice is fabric stash dictated, at other times – some kind of inspiration spotting makes me fixate on an idea. Even though I wrote in my previously mentioned post about how we should not stash up fabrics, it is so difficult not to! I constantly have two shelves full of fabrics. Not more than that, as I’ve promised myself not to increase my stash beyond those two shelves. But still, they never seem to become less packed. And when I think of what garment I’d like to make next, I’d first check this fabrics pile and try to use the fabric from it. I also have dedicated, pre-planned patterns for all of these fabrics – plans, that change ever so often. So if I were to lack an idea what to work on next, there is always a list that I can resort to. This rarely happens though, but that’s an option! 🙂
What happens more often is that I suddenly figure out that I want or need some kind of a garment, and then I usually would know very well what color, style and shape the garment should be of. Like this winter I knew that I needed a coat. Made a winter coat, then proceeded on with spring coat, and as spring (hopefully) progresses, am now working on a trench coat. Coats all over the place this season for me! And when I’m done with this bunch of coats, I’ll turn to something else. For example, I’ve figured the other day that I’d like to have a pair of white wide-leg pants and wear them with silver silk sleeveless top. Might have seen this somewhere or maybe not, don’t remember really, but I’ll make that in due time. Will use already tested wide-leg pants pattern and already have in mind a pattern for the top. Won’t this idea get overlaid by some other exciting idea? Have no clue, but if it does, then it’ll be for good!
I’ve found ways to prepare for my impulsive creativity. That’s necessary because the nearest haberdashery store is 10 km from my home, and the best haberdashery store that has anything in stock is 20 km from my home. I’ve had these occasions of figuring out that for my next unexpected idea I need a zipper in some odd color, and so I’d need to dedicate an hour to go to the store and get it. After several funny journeys of this sort I realized that I should prepare better. There is now a good handful of zippers in any color in my box. I have a bunch of elastic in different widths, threads in different colors, shoulder pads of different thickness. The other important haberdashery item is facings. Gradually I’ve collected an extensive collection of facings of different colors, weights and types. And I have ENOUGH of each one for my next potential project. I used to buy interfacing tape in meters, then realized that this makes no sense and bought bulk reels of few kinds. Interestingly enough, none of these supplies are expensive, so there is no reason to purchase them in incremental pieces.
I guess with this extensive treasure of sewing supplies I’m slowly turning into a hardcore sewist. Still not a designer or artisan, but sewist 🙂 That’s ok, though. I believe that I create variety of styles out of me-made clothes, or should I say, my makes nicely complement and extend my existing style.
However the technical implementation will never be of lower importance for me. The reason why I am not very productive is that, of course, I have a full time job that is very demanding. But also, I don’t make clothes that would be just few pieces of fabric stitched together. I deeply care about the fit, the shape (hence all those interfacings), inside finish and nice hidden touches, like trimmings or labels. It takes so much longer to create a garment that would be awesomely made inside out. And maybe, just maybe, this is something that pushes me one step closer to becoming a “designer”! 😀
This might have turned into a bit light, unusual and self-reflective post. However, I decided to share it regardless. Hopefully, you’ve found one or another thought that may appear interesting or refreshing. While for me it was a nice way to summarize my reflections on my recent sewing experience and make sure to not be too serious about all of this 🙂
Let me also use this opportunity to share that I am FINALLY working on the trench coat for spring. Fingers crossed it will be a hit! It better be, because this fabric is by Oscar de la Renta and the lining is luxurious silk. Yeah, that’s something that works fine for both – sewing and style!
Let it be peace in the world! 💙💛