What did we learn from our Frida Sewalong?
Personally I got a huge kick out of it. I learned
- much more about Mexico. I am now very keen to visit the country and have a plan (although not a short term one)
- more about Frida. I am reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver.
- that I love Mexican and fiesta type music
- that colour, and abundance, and round shapes contribute to joy
- that making things, music, dancing and collaboration stimulates community and teaches children and young people about the benefit of working together on an exciting project
- that colour is related to our habitat and weather as well as our natural beauty
- that simple shapes are really fun to work with – the huipil, long skirt and shawl have both a temporary and eternal feel to them
- wearing unfitted clothes is freeing
- one size can fit all
- embellishment is a fun activity, allowing endless variations and individuality
- that showy, lively, colourful items like a yellow, painted huipil can play a role in an ordinary wardrobe, when paired with jeans or a plain skirt. These ladies made beautiful Huipils to mix into their wardrobe without going the whole hog. Look at what NowSewing has done!
- there is a role for shawls, and I find myself knitting one.
- we need to wear more things on the head – flowers, pom poms, head ties, hats, fancy hair styles.
- There are lots of ways to bring a little bit of Frida into your normal outfits
- Pom poms are always fun
Using my pom pom makers I wrapped thin slices of linen and other fabrics to create large fabric pom poms. These charcoal linen balls hang above my desk, complemented by feathers I picked up on walks.
- Frida is now a brand and some of the mechanise is wonderful. I am grateful for CoreCouture Ruth who very kindly brought me a little bag back from Mexico. Let the Sewing Begin blogger Jen from Rochester, NY visited us recently and kindly brought me a special Frida mug (and some lavender hand cream, which means I think of her every time I use it). Both of them were so kind and thoughtful.
And finally I learnt again that sewalongs – international collaborations of women who are full of ideas, and style, and talent, and exuberance – are the best fun ever. Everyone had their own take and, while we all pushed our normal boundaries a little, everyone produced a very wearable look. I am so grateful that so many people gave it a go, and put a look together with jewellery, head-dresses, shawls and even little monkey (Sue) or a penguin (thanks DF).
Those are my reflections and learning! How about you?
100% agree! The colour and abundance thing reflects why I love our living room so much, and why we both ADORE our eclectic, vibrant Xmas tree to such an extent we leave it up each year now until the spring flowers arrive.
Thanks so much for organising this, I would never have tried for that look but have had loads of compliments on the photos.
So nice to hear this Elaine – and yes there is a reason why we love fireworks and Christmas decs, especially when there are so few colourful flowers around! Confetti! Smarties! Patterned fabric! A box of paints, coloured felt tips, mis-matching crockery. You looked great in your outfit and I really liked the way you organised the fastening. xxx
I hadn’t planned on joining in with the sewalong, not knowing a great deal about Frida, and deciding it wasn’t really my look, but curiosity got the better of me and I tried a huipil for size. Perfect project – quick and simple, great way to use fabric scraps and no fitting issues. I made two, and have worn them constantly since. They look great with jeans or a plain short skirt. So I’m now considering other more unstructured garments rather than fitted ones.
Lots of reflections around identity and culture. And I’ve certainly learned more about Frida. I have also realised that a nudge in a dfferent direction can lead to surprising and colourful results, and sometimes more (embellishments, jewellry, accessories) is better.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this sewalong (despite my initial ambivalence) and much of that was down to the interaction and encouragement between the participants around the world. The pompom making in particular was so much fun!!
Thanks again, Kate, for pushing me a bit further.
How lovely to read this feedback Michelle. I too have wondered how I feel about fitted, versus unstructured looks. I know fitted suits me and emphasises slimness, but hiding the body shape a bit is also freeing and pleasant. Also I just like the idea that the fabric can be itself, not having to be chopped into small pieces and fitted closely around every bump in the road. Like knitting, fabric can now be more easily recycled.
I rarely wear necklaces but found wearing three at once I felt more Frida or Coco actually than just one, which made me feel middle aged and dated.
The whole event has been a lot of fun to witness. I love your charcoal pompoms with the tattered crow feathers. Possibly to honour Frida’s darkness. I have some Frida pictures I want to send you but can’t seem to find your email address. I wonder if you would post it or send it to me directly. Thanks.
I had an interesting time looking at your potential Mexico plan – wow, what a grueling itinerary! I’d really suggest picking a couple places and staying longer in each place, maybe with day trips – a week in Merida and a week in Oaxaca perhaps? But then I am of the “absorb the atmosphere” vs the “see it all” school of travel. And I know you aren’t leaving tomorrow anyway. It would be a great February trip…..now I’m tempted!
I can’t help but think all things are linked! In May 2019, my son Benjamin is going to Mexico for a cultural and social project as part of his college studies in humanities. He will spend 3 weeks in a small village and then he’s planning to tour the country by himself for an indetermined period of time. We are all learning Spanish at home right now! This culture is so rich and captivating – too bad the country has to put up with the cartels right now – but Frida’s exuberant style perfectly sums up this lively culture. Thanks again for hosting this great sew-along Kate! Hope you can soon materialise your travel project.
It’s been so enjoyable following along with this challenge (and I follow most of these sewists on IG, too). Love all the variety in the personal interpretations of Frida and her style. I’m intrigued by just how delicate and pretty she really was – her self-portraits are not so flattering, although they certainly express her pain. And it was so lovely to meet you.