Tag Archives: creative process

The Evolution of Skill: Skill vs. Dreams

I’ve had some time to reflect lately, and some of this post was inspired by the amazing conversations I had with Andrea of Stitch Parade, as I had the great pleasure of meeting her this past Thursday (she wrote a lovely blog post about it here).

We had a great discussion about knowing what styles work on us; not just because of our figures, but our personalities. I thought about this a lot on my travels home that day, and have been since then. That was the main inspiration for this post.

Also, at one point in our discussion, Andrea had asked me how I got into sewing, and it made me think. That was the other part of my inspiration.

My journey to sewing has been a bit backwards. I grew up with a familiarity towards sewing (my mum is an amazing seamstress, and used to make all our clothes, as well as tailor my dad’s suits, growing up). But despite the fact I always had an INTEREST in sewing and design, I didn’t develop the PATIENCE for sewing until I was in my late 20’s, and only began teaching myself just over a year ago.

That’s partly the reason I say I’m backwards, but also because I like to dive in the deep end with things – it’s the challenging, scary stuff that really excites me! As an artist, exploring new genres of creativity is my lifeblood – so this process is not new to me, and I typically learn the skill part of things very fast and then savour the process of perfecting them thereafter.

When I first started sewing just over a year ago, I had in my mind visions of perfectly fitting, stylish, unique and high quality clothes that would reflect on the outside who I truly am on the inside. I’d studied in depth the theory and science of draping and corsetry and had fallen head over heels in love!!

I began with such excitement; so much to learn, conquer and accomplish! And even better; I’d discovered the awesomeness that is this sewing community – a boundless support system of beautiful people, endless inspiration and so much information 🙂

But with so many decisions to make I quickly became distracted… I made garments that didn’t suit me in colours and fabrics that weren’t me. What’s worse, my dreams moved faster than my skills and I found it difficult to achieve the perfect fit and finish I’d dreamed of right away (gee, what a shock! lol)

I soon came to a phase where I was creating really slowly… I just wasn’t excited about my makes. I’d learned a lot in a short time, but my garments went unworn and I started to lose my passion. They were made well, and I was proud of my execution, but I had been more concerned with making garments that would ‘fit in’ and be ‘blog interesting’ rather than garments that reflected my own style.

The first step in the right direction was making my Bombshell Dress. I made it in colours I adored, a fabric I loved, and a style that screamed ME!! The combination of advanced techniques, including having to drape the bodice cups, was absolute aphrodisiac to me… I was in heaven!

I vowed after that not to make anything else that wasn’t me… I wanted to feel excited about sewing all the time! Of course, nothing since has been quite as intoxicating as making that dress, and one can’t exactly go around wearing boned vintage dresses everywhere, but it was a turning point.

So back at Square One, I still had no wardrobe and what little I did have was getting too big, as I was losing weight. I read a post by Steph C of Cake Patterns about creating a capsule wardrobe: carefully choosing a limited colour palette and a selection of garments that could work together. It’s a smart idea, and just what I need to keep me on track, ensuring my makes fit my style and what I’ll actually wear.

Since then a wonderful thing has happened: I’m making clothes I actually wear and I’ve found myself loving the process a lot more. I love planning, I love creating and I love the fact I’m finally building a wardrobe that feels like me. I’m developing MY style, and I’m letting myself sew colours I love without apology. Yes there’s a lot of black and red. I’m ok with that. I can see my skills catching up with my dreams and its pretty rad.

So I don’t participate in community sewalongs or challenges as much – but even though I don’t sport the Seamless badge, I haven’t bought any RTW in months; and though I don’t join in sewalongs or pledges as much, I can still live vicariously through all you wonderful, colourful, spontaneous sewists out there – I’ll keep sewing alongside you though…. in my ‘boring’ blacks and solid colours and simple styles ^__^

Lots of love & happy sewing – whatever your colours and styles! ^_^

And thank you, Andrea, for your wonderful company and for the amazing conversation we shared – I look forward to next time! ^_^