Saturday, 10 January 2015

Are you making for the sake of making?

Happy New Year everyone! I have no idea where 2014 went, but when I think about it, I didn't make much last year. Now that I look back - I made 14 garments, and blogged about 12. I'm actually ok with this, because I was following a gut instinct, that one that lead me to sewing in the first place.

To be blunt, I saw no point in sewing just for the sake of it. I had most of my needs for my wardrobe fulfilled - why cram it full of more stuff when I had plenty of clothes?

Clockwise from top left: My Miss Bossy Cordova - much appreciated in autumn. My Embroidered Elisalex - a favourite dress for nice occaisions. My Crazy Pants have a gaping waistband and are lurking awaiting a fix, and my Golden Delicious dress is a bit too snug around the waist at the moment.

I started sewing because I couldn't afford to buy the clothes I wanted to wear, and because the thought of the production of commercial clothes left a bad taste in my mouth. So many of my friends had drawers and wardrobes that were so stuffed with cheaply made and cheaply bought clothes that they were hard to shut, and yet most of it loitered in their drawers as the old favourites were pulled out; worn, washed, rinse and repeat week in, week out.

My decision to not make much last year was not consciously thought out at first. My awareness of my unwillingness to sew grew with each weekend studiously spent out of the sewing room. It is only with hindsight that I now understand.

Come December, the sun started shining and my mind turned to summery dresses again. And, still, I struggled. I had a good wardrobe, a large stash, and a very full 'fix or finish' basket; a quick census revealed 29 projects that needed mending or finishing. More was found in the closet in my sewing room. Seeing as I found the notion of sewing new for the sake of it not overly appealing, I resolved to empty the basket - hopefully completely - before starting anew.

Clockwise from top left: My monochromatic dress - a winter saviour. Likewise with my Pretty Pink Pavot - it's gloriously toasty and makes winter a bit more bearable. The Dress for Cyclone Lusi fitted badly, and is awaiting repairs. My ikat dress is a favourite workday garment. I donated its twin.
Of course, no sooner had I decided that than I was inspired to start sewing a long-remembered dress I saw in a shop window, but I'm holding out just a little longer. I have six garments waiting in a plastic bag for next weekend when I see Mama Gypsy, whose wise hands can help.

Look, I get it. Adding to our wardrobe is fun; what girl doesn't like new clothes? Sewing is a skill, and the only way to improve is to keep at it. But I struggle to sew for the sake of it, to fill my wardrobe until it groans and keep adding to it after that.

This is not some puritanical call to arms to only sew what we need, and for each item to be carefully considered for its fit into the rest of your wardrobe. I myself am a bit too left-brained for that (apparently it's an urban myth, but tests show I'm bang on 50/50); I find it restrictive. Likewise - if you love sewing, or shopping - be my guest; I hope it brings you much joy.

IBut consider this some 'wondering aloud' about people's need - be they in the sewing community, a shopaholic, a beer nerd, vino, foodie, mummy blogger, whatever - to fill our lives with stuff. That urge to keep competing with regular blog posts, compliments,  and pursuit of happiness. Once upon a time you could barely keep me out of the sewing room, but these days I've balanced it out, I've awakened my inner bookworm, I'm learning to knit, and I'm pursuing better health by working out more often.

Clockwise from top left: Pixellated tiger print: I love this, but so impractical. I think I've worn it twice?? My red Gillian, however, was the star make of the year. I get bucket loads of compliments for it, and it's warm too! My Midsummer Night's Dream dress is definitely one for my imaginary life, but when I wear it, I feel like a princess. My poppy skirt is a winner too.
I'm publishing this with some trepidation, as I'm well aware it could be read as an assault. I'm not attacking anyone, but merely explaining my current state of mind. Just as I find contentment in a wardrobe that suits my means and is a little frivolous, others will find contentment elsewhere.

But I am keen to hear what others think. Do you feel pressured to sew things just to get a post up on your blog? Do you have bloggers that you love to hate, because they put out more than you and get loads of praise and/or fan girls? Is your wardrobe groaning and, yet, you still sew more because you can? I want to know what you think, to see if I'm a lone wolf, or if many of us are quietly pondering the same frustration of "I need to make something so I have something to blog about".