Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sew Excellent

Unabashed enthusiasm is a hallmark of my personality. Not a bad quality, on balance, though if you need to live, work or hang with me while I'm in the midst of "exploring" something new, I can be vaguely, um, overwhelming.

To wit, my latest "interest": the (almost) lost art of sewing. You may know that my daughter has always been very creative, loves crafts and specifically sewing. I definitely want to encourage her natural talents and put that plastic childhood brain to work. And, of course you know that I love fashion and that I more than appreciate good design, construction and material. While I've never had the opportunity to learn sewing until now - interest and confidence have not converged before - I'm finally on the bandwagon, peeps. Apologies, in advance.

It occurred to me, while explaining to my slightly concerned friend Nicole - a year or so ahead of me on this path - that I am an immersive learner. She gingerly inquired, as I talked (without pausing for breath) about sewing wool jersey drapey tops with cowl necks, if I were the sort of person who was "at all crushed by uneven preliminary results". Let me clarify: I'm not so nuts that I believe I'm going to be able to machine sew even a straight line to begin with. But I can't set my sights on cotton twill makeup bags even if I'm destined to make a few of them. And lots of other easy patterns.

Nonetheless I'm going to keep my eyes on the prize because, IMO, creativity is about reach.
What excites me tremendously about sewing is that it's the next frontier in my love of clothing. Heretofore I have only been able to admire the skill of others in creating garments that drape beautifully, that flatter my frame (and those of others), that apply incredibly gorgeous fabric to dexterous design. No doubt, that's nothing to shake a stick at but what if, someday, I have the skill to create items for myself? What if I can rework stunning vintage garments to better suit my frame? What if I can make lovely things for others? (Talk about a great gift!)

I've spent many years observing clothing as it relates to proportion. Naturally, I have the most knowledge of my own proportions in clothes but I'm a fairly three-dimensional thinker, which is why I've been a popular choice "stylist" of my friends and coworkers and people I meet at parties. And girls on the subway. (What? I'm friendly.)

Unquestionably, I believe that all bodies are beautiful when they are dressed well. And dressing well, IMO, means wearing luxe fabrics with give and ease that drape one's frame elegantly (not too much - or too little - fabric), in suitable colours and shapes. We are all unique. A Club Monaco size 10 top is not going to fit one woman the way it fits another - even if both women are notionally a size 10. The likelihood is that one of those women is going to look better than the other because the cut of said garment suits the woman with large breasts or small breasts or wide shoulders or long arms etc. Most modern peeps have neither the time nor interest (nor natural skill) to understand which shapes they should embrace or avoid - and they've never made anything, which would give them a lot of context.

Now I've never made anything either, but I'm fortunate to have discovered which brands of clothing suit my size. And I have a good tailor. What if I could take the guesswork out of it altogether? What if I could amend the almost, but not quite, perfect mass produced garment to fit me perfectly? And what if, after some concentrated time of exploring that, I could make things from scratch that play up all my assets while playing down the things I'd prefer to hide? Wouldn't that be EXCELLENT??

In my next post I'll address my own personal way of exploring new hobbies - cuz I'm sure that's fascinating to y'all :-)


  1. I just forked over $92 to the tailor and was toying with the idea of taking up sewing myself ... but I just don't have the patience. I admire you for tackling this new skill with such gusto, and look forward to seeing where it takes you!

  2. Very interesting thoughts and really true that things made on purpose for ones body looks a lot better.
    The problem is that it can be very expensive if you haven't the time or the skill to sew.


  3. Most of my manual skills are self-taught. Even the one that has but LOTS of bread on the table for the past 20 years.

  4. What I am saying is, "Go for it. You never know where your imagination will lead you."

  5. you are on fire! and you are going to be a hell of a seamstress, i just know it!!!!

    and i think you will understand this: it drives me out of my fucking mind how jeans are made. the same size rear end pockets go on a size 0 as on a size 10 or size 16 or size 20 or bigger! that is insane! the bigger the person, the bigger the back pocket should be, as proportions must be in check! if you've got a big butt and tiny pockets on it, it looks awful. clearly i have a big butt! ahha ha hah

  6. Excited for you! I love to sew and I LOVE to read about sewing when the sewing and writing is done by people with a long-standing interest in (off-the-rack) clothes and style. The results are always more interesting and inspiring to me than any other kind of strictly-fashion or strictly-sewing post.

  7. How exciting. Knowing what fits you and what you like will only help with the sewing as you have concrete examples of what works. You are just opening up a whole new world of possibilities.

  8. I have been waiting to dabble into sewing as well, one major reason is The A-line dress I love is over $400, but I'm not sure if I have the patience, but I know you can do it, you can do anything Kline...

  9. K. I can't wait to see what you come up with. You have such great taste. I'm sure that in no time flat, you'll be great.

  10. Sal: I can see how that would be a motivator! I bet you'd be excellent with your Capricorn ways.

    Seeker: You hit the nail on the head!

    D.: I have to trust in the power of my imagination - and motivation!

    J: The pocket thing is a MYSTERY! How on earth can they justify that. Although making jeans seems seriously advanced. Seriously.

    Genevieve: Send me some links if you have any good ones you'd like to share. I'd love to find more sewing blogs...

    Mardel: I hope it gives me the edge that experience hasn't taught me yet!

    April: That's what I'm discovering for myself now too :-)

    E: Thank you for the lovely motivation! I'll show photos soon.