Dibs nominated me to answer the blog hop questions doing the rounds at the moment. I hope you’re not sick of them yet – I personally find them fascinating. But I’m a nosey so-and-so and love to learn about the people behind the finished items and published posts. It’s also made me write again, which is something I’ve missed doing! So, here goes…
Why Do I Sew?
I have always liked making things. Before sewing I was into cards and scrapbooking – paper based pursuits. It sat really well alongside photography and I love taking pictures (as long as I’m not in them). It’s a love I inherited from my Dad who used to develop photos he’d taken in our bath at home and would earn extra money as a quantity surveying student working for one of the best photography studios where I grew up. Let’s just say he has a good eye! I guess that need to be creative against a very precise job (I work in an enforcement role) is something we have in common.
My favourite class at school was graphic design – the aesthetic considerations being of just as much importance as the practical. I guess sewing your own clothes is a (possibly stretched) extension of that. You have the aesthetics of the fabric, colours and print against the amazing engineering blueprints of the patterns. What intrigues me and challenges me after learning to follow that blueprint is that those blueprints are really springboards. There are so many possibilities stemming from some lines on a bit of paper. The possibilities are vast (and sometimes overwhelming!) and there’s always something new to learn. A new technique, a new style line, a new fabric.
One of my most treasured sewing possessions is my copy of ‘Fabric for Fashion’ which is a swatch book of a myriad of unbleached fabric samples. It’s a fabulous resource for learning about fabrics without getting distracted by the ‘ooooh, pretty!’ effect a good print can have! Dad, with his construction background, saw it as a great reference tool to help understand the suitability or not of the materials you intend to use to follow the blue print (and yep, Mum and Dad bought it for me – it’s not a cheap book!).
The other reason I learnt to sew is because I wasn’t short changed in the bust. Seriously – to get clothes that fit my upper torso means that they are around 2-3 sizes bigger than anywhere else on my body. I hadn’t really realised this until I had Boy when all those hormonal changes increased that disparity even further. I was sick of wearing clothes that drowned in one place whilst straining in another. I felt self conscious enough, trying to wrap my head around how my body had changed, without the disaster that RTW was and is for me.
Sewing started out as cushions with my Nanny’s old Elna (a solid metal workhorse with those cams for different stitches), and then bags. I followed a link from U-Handbag to one of Gertie‘s posts and the rest is history. My focus switched to garments, my skill set grew (as did my blog reading list!), my clothing began to reflect who I was rather than what was the least offensive thing that fit, and I became a part of this amazing community. You guys are part of the reason why I still sew – I wouldn’t have half the skills I do without you all sharing your knowledge so freely or providing me so much inspiration on a near daily basis!
What Am I Working On?
Currently, my Papercut Patterns Milano Cape. It is so very nearly done and has involved a load of new techniques that I would never have tried a short time ago. Pad stitching, re-drafting, bound buttonholes, welt pockets, bagged lining, drafting… I can honestly say that the pattern has been an excellent jumping off point for me to make something that is perfect for me. It’s not changed out of all recognition, but I’ve definitely put my own stamp on it beyond the usual fitting and fabric choices. It’s also only been possible to make these changes because of the help I’ve had from fellow bloggers (Maddie and Emmie in particular!)
What am I going to sew next is a far harder question to answer! I’ve got a wrap dress cut out and ready to go so I should make that up really, but I also want to make a Kimono. I’ve had the fabric with that in mind sitting around for far too long. There’s also a bag project I’ve started, Zo’s ‘Dolores’ top that’s recently come off the printer, and some hacked ‘Day to Night‘ tops that will fill a fairly massive void in my current wardrobe! I also have an Elisalex hack that will be perfect for some events in December (and I have nothing else suitable for them so I’ll have to make it!). Add the fact that fitting is like trying to hit a moving target at the moment, and my lack of ability to focus or stay awake beyond 21:30 and who knows what will come off the machine next! Or when!
How Does My Sewing Process Work?
I’m not sure that I could ever call it anything like a process! Sometimes I get ‘see-it-want-it-isis’ when someone has shared something they’ve made and I neeeeeeed it. It could be the silhouette, the pattern or the fabric. Other times I’ll see a fabric and it has to come and live with me and eventually I’ll find a pattern that it’s ideal for. Other times I’ll have a pattern and then obsessively hunt down the fabric I’ve pictured for it (My maxi Annalex was one such combination).
I can’t say that my pattern purchases have any logical reason to them. Some will be love at first sight, others will need to grow on me through repeated exposure (hello blogland!!), then there are the ones with an interesting detail (such as the Deer and Doe Belladone). I’m not a pattern drafter – whilst I’d love to have the skills and am pretty sure I could develop them, my spare time is at a premium. Rather than working from scratch I’m much happier paying a designer for something I like and then tweaking – it’s much faster than starting with a blank sheet of paper!
What Keeps Me Motivated to Blog?
You guys. My interaction with you all through this space, Twitter, Instagram, keep me sane. I think you also keep my Husband sane so that he doesn’t have to listen to me talk about sewing (just pretend not to see the mess I make). My skill set has grown, my ambition and ability has grown and my circle of friends has grown. All because I decided to do something a little reckless and very brave (for me) by hitting publish on that first post.
I’m never going to make a career out of this (and have no intention to do so), my writing is to infrequent and haphazard for that! I’m also never going to be an expert or a professional – enthusiastic / slightly obsessive is where I sit. I blog because I get to share what I’m doing with you all.
Sewing is quite an introverted thing to do – you don’t need a team of people around you, you don’t have to put yourself into new social situations unless you choose to. Go to a meet up, or not; you can do what is right for you and share your sewing and your life on your terms. Letting people in as much or as little as you like. I’ve learnt about countries and cultures I have never been to and may never visit. I have friends on every continent who all share a passion with me. Through this blog I have people who will send me an email just to check up on me if I’ve been a bit quiet. You all inspire me in some way or another, you’ve encouraged a shy and introverted person to interact on a global platform and travel to a capital city to meet people that I’d only previously met on the inter webs. You’ve broadened my horizons, educated me and inspired me. So I blog; in the beginning for my own records and now because I love having a conversation with you all and going ‘wheee! Look what I made!’.
At this point I’m supposed to pass this on to two other bloggers, to find out what their take on the questions is! So, I’m going to ask Sonja at Gingermakes if she fancies having a go at this one, as well as Amanda at Bimble and Pimble. Both of these bloggers have awesome style, sew up a storm and regularly inspire me whilst making me laugh all at the same time – that’s a pretty hard combination to beat!!