When you are at work, even if you are quite senior, the tasks that you must carry out are largely predetermined.
The accounts need issuing. You must carry on producing more and more widgets (or homes if you work in housing like me). Your customers need their services delivered reliably day and night all year long. The Board needs papers, the staff need information, the data needs collating. If you work full-time a great deal of your waking day is accounted for, especially when you factor in travel, eating and getting yourself ready for another day at the office – sleeping, dressing, doing the housework. You hopefully can spend an hour or two relaxing or enjoying your family each day and most of the weekend. But hobbies like dress making do not have an agenda, or even a definite rhythm, so we always have a choice about what to sew, and this can be challenging.
Why I sew
Currently I will be stimulated by any one of the following prompts to make an outfit (roughly in order of importance)
- seeing and buying a nice piece of fabric (eg navy coat fabric)
- making an outfit for an upcoming event (eg silk dress for my holiday)
- needing something in my wardrobe (eg lightweight, summer jacket)
- making something from fabric I have made in my printing class (eg knives print and white beetles)
- members of the family asking for something (Esme needs a new summer coat and Gus would like a linen shirt)
- seeing something I like in a shop, magazine or on the internet
- occasionally wanting to try a pattern or technique
What I sew
What I think both Lesley and Sophie are saying is that they like sewing adventurous challenging items – often in fizzing prints – but that they prefer to wear relatively boring basic clothes – black skinny jeans, grey jumpers, soft T-shirts. Years ago I showed my tutor drawings I had done of a multi-coloured satin patchwork jacket, designed with a full length bias dress as a bridal outfit. My tutor suggesting I made it up. When I expressed astonishment as I would never wear such a dressy item she said – “make it and wear it with jeans.” I made it and while I didn’t wear it very often it did look great with denims, which ensured it didn’t look “try too hard” or frumpy. It actually looked quite cool.
I have so many ideas for great outfits I want to make, yet I don’t want to make purposeless, joyless things.
For me it is about a versatile wardrobe of lovely items that both get worn a lot and do indeed “spark joy”. I don’t want to waste time or make things that don’t fit, don’t feel nice or don’t flatter me. For this reason before I start sewing again I want to think very carefully about how to decide what to make, then I can commit to making it.
Bottom line – making 11 items in six months (as I did in the SWAP) is a good number and is probably enough new clothes for a whole year. If I restricted myself to just, say, six further items between now and Christmas I think that would be more than enough. And if I am rationed to just six – what would they be? Would they be things I really, really want and am prepared to work hard to make? And how about you – do you just go with the flow or do you plan your sewing? If so what restrictions do you impose?