Earlier attempt at sewing that did not catch on….
I love participating in challenges. I’m even one of those people who will post every day. I did notice that once you’ve done a challenge with prompts they all tend to blend into eachother as there are only so many sewing prompts possible. I really like what Wendy Ward is doing this year with MIY (make it yourself) March. The theme is sustainability, like it was last year, but with a focus on getting more in-depth than you usually do with these challenges. Every week has a theme and you can think and read about that theme and post your own thoughts on it.
Wendy poses a few questions for this week and I’m going to write down my thoughts on those questions here. I’m going to start with question number two and then swirl back to question 1.
2. What are your main motivations for sewing and making?
One of my first makes was this Colette Moneta when I was four months pregnant.
I started sewing over five years ago out of frustration with fitting clothes in changing rooms and finding that my body and the clothes in most stores were not made for eachother. I am tall and large. Nothing is dainty about me. Clothes in stores were too short on me and never fit me properly. They might fit in the waist, but not the arms, fit on the hips, but not the bust etc. They made me feel like a freak even though I was and am happy in my body. I felt that there had to be a way out of that frustrating cycle and vowed to learn how to make my own clothes and never return to a fitting room (I haven’t). I had tried to learn before, but when I didn’t turn out to be the next sewing wunderkind immediately, I had given up. Now, fresh from the changing room, my motivation was high and I was determined to stick with it. I taught myself with the help of books, video and online tutorials. The Colette Patterns blog and book were really important to me when I started.
When I learned how to sew I also learned that there are a lot of things I like about the process. I enjoy the mathematical part of it, the creative process, the slowing down (I sew literally very slowly, my machine has a slider for speed and it’s the slowest possible) as well as the end result. I like the tradition of sewing, the many techniques to learn, the tactile experience, the community, the freedom, the way it allows us to express ourselves in a world that has become more and more about sameness in products like clothes.
One of the first things I made for myself after pregnancy.
1. Why is sustainable sewing important to you?
The amount of wardrobe space I’m working with.
When I just learned to sew I had just gone through a lot of weight changes (health related) and didn’t fit my small clothes (never will again) and then after I went down again I didn’t fit the larger clothes either. That’s the point where sewing came in. I had the opportunity to sew an entire wardrobe of clothes and I did. It was a lot of fun. But now my wardrobe is full. I share a three door wardrobe 50-50 with my husband and that’s the space I’ve got to work with. I gave away a few things that didn’t suit me, but on the whole I have made smart choices and made my clothes to last, which they do. I have taken into account my weight fluctuations and have sewed clothes that will fit my body throughout those fluctuations. There hasn’t been anything yet that has been so worn out it needed replacing. This is when I realized I don’t enjoy having stuff I’m not going to use a lot. It makes me feel uncomfortable now to make new things that might not get worn a lot. I’m clearly not a maximalist though I’m not a minimalist either. My wardrobe is pretty much done for now. I like what’s in it and I don’t want to get rid of perfectly good clothes just so I can make more. I try to wash my clothes as little as possible and mend them when needed. I slowed down considerably over the past six months after filling up my last wardrobe gaps and have made some decisions about slowing down even more. I’m opting out of sewing challenges and I’m quitting testing after fulfilling current obligations. I haven’t bought a lot of fabric since the start of 2019 (most of it has been for Wybe and Hanna) and am planning to stop accepting free fabric too (got one project left to finish). The fact that this has an added bonus for the environment is really good, it’s part of why I don’t feel good owning too much clothes. It’s also good to come to conclusions that are natural to me and don’t feel like deprivation, but more like spiritual necessities for me. I am not a person who throws away things easily, I love what I have and have a bond with the things I have made. I learned how to mend and am looking forward to exploring more ways to mend like darning.
I’m not always sure what me sewing my own clothes brings the world. I still have consumed more than my fill. Sewing my clothes does not make wages go up or provide better working conditions. I try to use up every part of my fabric, but I bought so much fabric in my first four years of sewing and not all the good kinds of fabric either. These are all areas for improvement.
So much fabric…. this does include part of my scraps and items to refashion…
3. Why are you taking part in MIY march?
I enjoy the community sewing brings with it. I like these challenges for connecting me with other people.
4. Share with us your most worn and least worn makes.
It’s my By Hand London velvet Anna dress. It has many things that I love: it fulfills one of my teenage goth dreams, it has embroidery, it’s warm and it feels very me. I wear this when I need to wear a blanket to get me through the day and it never fails to cheer me up. There has been one week where I only wore this. It has easily had over 30 wears, which is an important criterion to me.
My Colette Moneta in a black and white viscose jersey. This is me. Easily ticks 90 wears or more. It might actually have 30 wears on instagram as I like sharing the daily wearing of my clothes. Good for wearing during at least three of the Dutch seasons. Another dress I reach for when I need my armor for the day ahead. Fit and flare is my jam. So is stretch.
The newest addition to my wardrobe is the cardigan that I knitted to have the dimensions of the kindercardigan. It seems to go with absolutely everything and I have worn it a lot since finishing it in January.
I’m a big fan of wrap dresses and that’s not the problem with this dress I only wore half a day. It’s the fabric. I love peonies, but I don’t love pink and didn’t feel like myself in it. I wanted to try, but knew that I might end up with something I wouldn’t wear. By making this pattern I ensured I had good pieces to work with to make two dresses for my daughter and some underwear for myself. The leftovers ended up in a pouffe.
So those are my thoughts on week 1!