The thoughts below were included in my most recent newsletter. Sewing is so much more than connecting two pieces of fabric with thread. From time to time I like to share what's on my radar with textiles, sewing and the making community. I love to hear your thoughts, so please join the conversation in the comments or on Facebook! If you haven't yet, join our newsletter so you don't miss any of our updates!
How many times have you made something (or bought something) and realized that you just don't like it? Maybe you loved the print, but you didn't love it on you. Or you picked a new style that's super trendy but turns out it doesn't go with anything you have in your closet.
If you're like me, you just cast it aside or returned it but didn't give too much thought to what that meant for the next thing you made or purchased.
I have a wardrobe full of clothes and closets full of bags that I just don't like. Maybe I was obsessed with the fabric design and the print and I just HAD to turn it into a shirt. But liking the artwork of giant flowers does not mean that I want to wear them. So I put it aside and when the next giant flower came my way I would think "Well, maybe it would be better with this pattern" and so I'd make another shirt. And so on.
I wasn't taking the time to figure out what my style was. I just kind of assumed that if I liked a material then I would like the final product made from that material.
Clothes and I have always had a very tumultuous relationship. I had major clothes (and accessories) insecurities until very recently. I was always sure that I wasn't wearing something right, or something didn't look good on me and I just didn't realize it. I was paralyzed when it came to buying things like shoes or sunglasses and just wanted to keep my style under the radar so I wouldn't make any style mistakes.
Then about 18 months ago I had to buy a pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses purchases are one of those things that gave me anxiety (did they look okay on my face? was I trying to hard to pick up a trend that I couldn't pull off? I'm telling you all, major insecurities here!). But there was a glorious pair of mint greenish sunglasses. Anyone who has been in the studio knows I have a weakness for that color. But a bold color on a pair of sunglasses? On my face? There was no way I was prepared to do that. Yet I did it. And people either didn't care, or I got compliments on them!
Then a few months later I saw a pair of turquoise converse online (so clearly I have a color thing going on here, but I'm ok with that). I bought them without thinking and then I wore them without agonizing over it but I was pretty sure I looked a fraud-- I definitely was not cool enough to pull these off. But someone I know well said "Those shoes are so you." Typing this all out sounds more than a little ridiculous I know, but it's true. Finding your style can take courage but it can also be a really empowering thing (especially for those of us who are style challenged!).
I still had issues with the clothes I made. I didn't have a ton of outfits that gave me confidence and made me feel like a million bucks. I still frequently made shirts with fabric patterns that I loved as art but not on me. Or sewed patterns that were super popular, and I knew I wouldn't wear, but still made just because. So this past month I signed up for Seamwork's Design Your Wardrobe Workshop. It was eye opening and empowering.
Without giving away too much, you start by making a Pinterest board of styles you like. I started as expected and picked out some fashion pictures. Mostly I was drawn to simple, casual clothing in beautiful natural fabrics with small interesting details. I loved every item on my board, but in no way did it scream "This is you!" at me. I wasn't getting the feeling I got when I bought those sunglasses. So I went back and found photos that I loved. There was also a very clear theme there: 1950s retro mint green, turquoise and shell pink, pops of color, and quirky patterns. Seeing the combination of the clothes and the "style" photos all of a sudden made a lot of sense. And it gave me a very clear direction for making clothes that I'll want to wear and feel good in.
So now I can think in concrete terms when I start to stumble on selecting fabrics. It doesn't mean everything will be a home run or that everything has to fit the style board guidelines I set, but I have found that making things that really reflect YOU and not just what you see on a pattern package, in magazines or in blogs is the best way to end up with something you love.
One of my favorite parts of the Seamwork's DYW workshop was the Facebook Group. Everyone would share their Pinterest and Mood Boards and the photos they felt summarized their style so well. Very few people posted things I would have chosen and I loved seeing all the different styles out there. I'd love to see what all of you consider your style-- so join the conversation and be the first brave soul to post your own style inspiration. Or any style hurdles you have had to clear or want to clear but haven't been able to yet!
Thanks for staying and reading and being part of this community!