Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Can we talk about sewing for our lifestyles?

Many times someone leaves a comment or sends me an email with some semblance of this phrase in it..."you really know your style and sew for it." It is true but it's true because I have one rule that I abide by when I sew.

IT MUST WORK FOR MY LIFESTYLE!

So a few givens:
  • I love a dress. I'm happiest wearing one and feel most confident in some combination of a dress/cardigan and/or jacket.
  • I believe that a straight up and down look works best on my frame. The more it elongates me, the better I look.
  • Use as much color as I can manage for my workplace.
  • Add details - details set my garments apart from my co-workers since RTW tends to skimp on the details.
  • Stay just within the confines of what's acceptable for the conservative atmosphere of my workplace.
...finally make sure that I abide by my five rules above. However, when I'm surfing the sewing blogosphere and I see some of the amazing things my fellow sewists are making, my creative side comes bounding to the surface pleading with me to sew just one of those things.  


Truly I'm tempted. To take just one giant flight of fancy ~ plan some awesome artsy dress, coat, pair of pants or use a pattern that I normally wouldn't use and I think about fabric, color, embellishments. I'm pretty far down that creative road when I come to a screeching halt because I ask myself the question, "Where would I wear it?"

Seriously just like that I'm shut down...down...and out for the count! Because at this point in my life my sewing time is limited...therefore very precious to me. I don't want to spend weekends sewing something I won't wear. I'm not thrilled at the infrequent times it does happen. So while I'm sure that I'd enjoy the creative sewing journey but if I won't wear it in the end, what's the point? Why did I make it?  Why did I waste my valuable sewing time? 

These are the thoughts that go through my head...but what about you?  Do you sew for the life you lead or the one you want to lead? Are you influenced by the amazing garments you've seen on the internet?  Do you buy a pattern because of another's success with it, even though you know it won't work for your lifestyle? Or is it something different?  Is it because you haven't quite figured out your style so you emulate others? Trying on different hats/styles/patterns hoping to make them work for you?

Talk back to me because this is the "Question of the Day!"  BTW, I've listed a few of the amazingly, wonderful, creative garments that's been rocking my world lately!


...always more later!




42 comments:

  1. Good question! I am often inspired by what others sew and by how "I think I should" dress and look at my age. I do spend too much of my limited time try to make something I wish I could wear fit -- it usually doesn't end well. g

    ReplyDelete
  2. Like you I can't see the point of making something that neither I or a loved one is going to wear. I also don't like to spend more on the fabric and notions to make a garment than it would cost me to buy ready to wear.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I believe I need a balance of "lifestyle" makes and "creative" makes. To be completely honest, my most-worn garments are the knit tops I whip together in about 2 hours. If I ever get around to making my own jeans those would also get heavy use. It's just the most practical uniform for my work right now. I don't know if it is the way I "want" to dress - I mean, it is comfortable, and I'm trying to be more stylish than my jeans + t-shirt + hoodie combo of 10 years ago, but I still don't think it has evolved quite to where I want it to be. I definitely need to get the hang of accessorizing - I just always feel fussy when I add extra pieces. Putting time/effort into my hair and mastering the art of make-up (I can't figure out how to put it on my face without looking like the 5 year old who went crazy with colors from her mom's make-up drawer) probably wouldn't hurt either.

    Back to the topic of sewing - my favorite makes are definitely the ones where I let my creative side go to town. I still love my snake print trench coat - I'm super proud of the construction and details - but I have rarely (well, basically never) found a good occasion/outfit to wear it with. I think I have a problem figuring out how to style a piece that is a bit much for a trip to the grocery store, but not sophisticated enough to wear for a dressy evening event. It is an orphan garment, but I love it. I need to figure out how to wear it so I can make it some siblings. Anyway, the projects I get excited about are definitely the special ones that will take hours of work and let me explore my creative side. The ones that I wear most often are usually the ones that require minimal effort and can be mixed/matched with other pieces in my wardrobe. A bit of a dichotomy there, but without the creative makes I probably wouldn't be as excited by sewing, and without the fast/easy/wearable projects I would probably loose motivation due to all the effort.

    The skating costumes I create are definitely the best of both worlds - I get to design any crazy beautiful thing I want AND I have a need for it in my wardrobe (or for other skaters wardrobes). Maybe that is why I gravitated to it so much at the start of my sewing journey?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Okay, you only paint portraits, Ms Rembrandt, but I don't think anyone is calling you out for your housepainting deficiencies.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My work environment is not very corporate and I feel free to wear a variety of different clothing and if it is too sexy for work, I will make it anyway for the weekend. But I do not sew short skirts, even though I am tempted when I see other sewists making them. I remember how uncomfortable they are to wear and always be worrying about not bending over and sitting properly. So yes, I definitely sew for my lifestyle and only what I feel comfortable living in..

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was only considering this recently. It seems to me that I have spent my time sewing things - dresses and "dressy casual" wear - that I wear only half the time. Very casual things - jeans, shorts and active wear - that I wear for work not much at all. This is something I am lining up as my New Year's resolution for 2015.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I also can't see the sense in sewing something that I know I wont wear, my sewing time is too limited to do that. Being tantalized by others is part of the day but if I can take a technique or idea away I am happy.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Aren't you selling yourself short by mainly sewing for the workplace? You could wear that awesome artsy dress or amazing vest for dinners with friends, to birthday parties or family gatherings. I do sew for my lifestyle but sewing is also my creative outlet so I carefully mix sewing day to day wear and sewing fancy dresses and jackets. It never hurts to have a beautiful outfit ready for that unexpected invitation! Or I just create a suitable event, like dressing up to get a haircut :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm with you, Carolyn! If I can't see myself wearing the garment in my everyday life, I won't sew it or even buy the pattern. Period. Like you said, what's the point of spending time and money on something that will just sit in your closet? I buy just a handful of patterns each year and make multiples of them with slight variations.

    As you mentioned, I think a big part of being able to do this is identifying your style and/or what clothing works with your lifestyle. When I get tempted to sew something pretty but impractical, I try to incorporate some element or detail from that pattern into my everyday garments.

    Keep doing what you're doing! Your garments are always stunning. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I used to sew willy nilly, just because I liked something. I turned out so many flops. I couldnt figure out what I was doing wrong, I figured that if I liked it I should be able to make it work. I have learned so much from YOU about sewing to fit your shape and your lifestyle. I am reasonably intelligent so why had I not thought of that before. Just because you like it does not mean it will work on you...DUH, or that it is appropriate for your lifestyle. Thanks to you, I now ask myself these questions.

    ReplyDelete
  11. i know you don't always believe me, carolyn, but i DO sew for my lifestyle. i think that is the ultimate goal of being someone who sews - to know that what you are creating has a genuine place in your day-to-day life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's the thing, if anyone asked me, I would definitely say that you sew for your lifestyle because you have the freedom to dictate your work wardrobe. I, on the other hand, have a very detailed page in our Employee Handbook that spells out what I can and can't wear. Even what we should wear on special meeting days. Believe me when I say that I'm pushing the color boundaries on some regular days! *LOL*

      Delete
  12. I like a bit of both. I know what I need to stay credible at work, but my foolishness creeps in!!! I dont want a clothing museum, so I keep the shapes 'adult' and let the fabrics be my goofiness!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "...but my foolishness creeps in!!!" <3

      Delete
  13. I know what you mean about other's creative projects. I actually gasped and online window shopped for garter belt closures when I saw Gayle's vest. That is the coolest thing ever but so not realistic for my lifestyle. I can't wait to win the lottery and retire ;) so I can dress the way I want.

    ReplyDelete
  14. same. same. same.
    I love dresses and skirts but do not wear them M-F (which, obviously is the majority of the time). My job does not allow for them and the climate I live in doesn't either! For weekends, once the mercury dips below 45 there is no way I'm putting on a dress or skirt (save for things like holiday parties, of course).

    I have FINALLY stopped myself from buying dress pattern after dress pattern; they just aren't useful for me.

    Also, I get mildly annoyed when I read criticism of "fast sewing" but you know what, those are the things that I am going to wear day in, day out. A pair of pants, a knit top. Maybe a cardigan or a simple jacket.

    e.g., I'm not going to spend 10 weeks sewing a tailored jacket because that is not appropriate for my lifestyle.

    ReplyDelete
  15. We all deserve a flight of fancy occasionally.........don't we?

    ReplyDelete
  16. To answer your question, "Do you buy a pattern because of another's success with it?" YES! I purchased M6886 because of your posts about this easy peasy pattern, and finished it today. Turns out you are right: it is a great Tried and True pattern, and it looks very polished and classic. Thanks! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well ain't I just flattered now! *smile* I'm glad the pattern worked for you!

      Delete
  17. i"m in the process of re-assessing the way I sew and what I sew. I can no longer wear my creations at work--wear scrubs now, yuck. So what I wear basically has to fit in with at home needs--different demands entirely. I miss the other "lifestyle" but am adapting to the new one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. miss catherine p--when i was a waitress (as a newlywed) and had to wear a uniform, i took great pleasure in dressing up for church and occasional evening events. i think it is important that you maintain your sense of who you are and sometimes that means wearing what you want--if that's shallow too bad.--anne

      Delete
  18. I believe you could absolutely work some of these details into your work wardrobe, some Alabama Chanin details, some more cinched waists, off center closures, etc. Being a little more artsy in your details, fabrics and/or more fitted will not make you any less professional, maybe even more so. You'd look more like a fashion designer, not a bad thing at all. I can do it in a law office, and that's a conservative work space. Go for it!! The only one I don't see you wearing at work would be the vest, but you are not at work 24/7.....

    ReplyDelete
  19. I always do my best to sew for me. I have limited sewing time, plus i sew very very slowly, it's heartbreaking to make something and not wear it out!

    I don't worry so much about 'being creative' either. I find that if i really concentrate on making the best, most flattering and functional clothing i can that the creative part gets involved just as a matter of course.

    But it does take a while to figure out your own style, especially if you have an unusual figure, coloring, or personality (i hit the trifecta here). But if you just keep at it your plan will come together. I'm actually fairly hard@assed about being ruthlessly disciplined about sewing to my personal needs, which sounds like a killjoy but really isn't as if i do stay focused i avoid heartbreak. I end up with some clothes i really really love and wear a lot!

    I love the internet! But oh, the temptations. Thank you for a post that helps us tread the straight and narrow Carolyn :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I struggle with this issue constantly! On the one hand, I love experimenting with new styles and fabrics. It's fun to learn new techniques, and I feel like I have to push the edge to keep growing. On the other hand, I don't want to spend days making something that I will only wear for a few hours.

    But sometimes that happens, and I compare it to taking a class- that the point of the class is gaining new skills and knowledge, not the finished product. You never know when that knowledge will come in handy in the future. Sharpening the saw so to speak.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have no need for "office wear" like you do, Carolyn, so I'm free to sew whatever I like. The things I make that I wear the most are tops, tunics and stretch pants. I love comfortable but "artsy" clothes so that's what I focus on. I rarely wear dresses or skirts so I don't make very many. I will never make a tailored jacket or jeans but I do make bras and wear them constantly. Obviously everyone's needs and tastes (also finances and time allowances) are different!

    I think the clothes you sew look very good on you but your latest Muse-inspired dress seems to be heading into more edgy territory. I love it! Perhaps starting to push at the boundaries of your work wardrobe is a good direction for you to explore?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I make one or two push outfits a year. That was my push outfit for this year - and I will probably wear it with a cardigan!

      Delete
  22. You sew amazing dresses for work. I'm curious about your "off-duty" style. Do you sew for your non-work life? If so, what kind of pieces are your favorites?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope. On the weekends I'm in RTW jeans and tops. During the summer I live in maxi dresses again RTW. I sew for work where I spend a good 12-15 hours every day.

      Delete
  23. What you sew should be dictated by your lifestyle and where you want to take your sewing skills to. My life is not filled with gala invites even though I'm dying to make a ball gown, just for the experience. Luckily we have prom coming up, maybe that will satiate the desire. But I also feel that it's fun to step outside of practicality for bit.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I mainly sew to suit my work environment and I'm lucky that my job allows me so much freedom. I need to be comfortable because 6 of my 8 hours are spent in running stride (no kidding here); but I also want to be somewhat stylish. I tend to lean toward youngish and a bit flirty even at my age (shoot me because I'm sure there are some who disagree with my style). I'm not overly concerned about the age thing though. I do like fancy, dressy garments and occasionally will make some of those things too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Faye, I have never thought your clothing was age inappropriate. You are spot on with great style. Just had to tell you.

      Delete
  25. I sew for my lifestyle which is spent majority of the time in a corporate environment. However, over the last few years the office has become laid back in that we have casual Fridays every week. So that gives me the freedom to wear selected items that in the past I wouldn't have worn. However, I try to keep it casually corporate (majority of the time sporting a blazer). Oh heck yeah, I am inspired by garments via the internet, and desire to wear them, but then I think about to where I spend majority of my time and the idea dies. I have purchased many patterns based on another's success, despite the garment being outside of what I would normally wear. My hope is that I could modify it to at least come close to what I would be comfortable wearing.

    ReplyDelete
  26. You have inspired me to start sewing for myself again

    ReplyDelete
  27. I rarely wear dresses or skirts since they really don't fit my lifestyle. Which is why I made separates for the wedding I went to this summer. I've worn the top quite a few times and the skirt with a contrasting top and boots a few times which gave it a much less dressy look. If I'd made one of the many dresses I bought patterns for I would never have worn it again. I have learned what looks good on me and rarely make something that doesn't work.
    You do a great job of sewing for your lifestyle, but don't you ever want to sew something edgier to wear on the weekends? Your new muse dress is definitely edgier than your usual and it looks great on you.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh man!! SO much good stuff on the blogs you linked to!! I was only familiar with Carolyn's blog, but now I have so many more to explore.

    I really, really want to work on an Alabama Chanin coat and long skirt, but my barrier is stick-to-it-ness, not work place. You can wear pretty much whatever you want working in a public library. But that is so much work! I also love all of Gayle's Marcy Tilton looks. That vest is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  29. When I was younger, I used to sew things based on how they looked on the pattern envelope, not considering that they would look completely different on short, plump me. Now I'm more realistic about what looks good on me and about only making things that I will be comfortable in. An ongoing problem, though, is that I tend to get really excited about busy, colorful fabrics, to the point that I have nothing plain and simple to wear my busy, colorful jewelry with!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Golly yes!

    As a homeschooling SAHM... guess what? I don't have to *ever* wear a black sheath dress. So I don't make them. (Not a good look for me).

    My wardrobe *does* have to be washable and appropriate for errands and looking decent. I am free to be as figure flattering as I want, I can wear any colors I like. Right now I'm wearing a yellow & green tiered skirt with a lace hem... :D You'd be amazed how much range-of-movement a loose tiered skirt has - I've jumped around on a jetty in this skirt.

    Sometimes I make things that don't suit my life - I have a beautiful wool tailored jacket that I made from Gertie's tailoring class. I wear it perhaps once a year. Too warm for wool here in SoCal, and it's a church or party kind of thing anyway. I'm forever wanting to add more wool skirts to my wardrobe, but ... again, wool is too warm to wear much hereabouts. So when I see someone adding yet-another cute jacket to their wardrobe? I sigh and go back to scouting dresses and skirts and blouses that I can make from cotton or linen.

    As I go along, I am more and more careful to avoid the lines that don't work for me. Everyone wearing that adorable kimono sleeved top? Oh well. My straight shoulders and large bust require a set-in sleeve. Look! Everyone's wearing a ruffled front blouse. Um. No.

    As far as I'm concerned - that's why I sew. So I don't have to go with the crowd and so I can have exactly what I want, what looks best on me, and in the colors that I love (and love me back).

    ReplyDelete
  31. I first started sewing because it was a requirement for my degree in Fashion. After awhile of struggling I realized I enjoyed the process of making a garment from scratch. But I really don't sew for my lifestyle, just for creative purposes, which explain why I only wear a quarter of my clothing.
    I figure at some point I will start making clothing for my everyday chores. Until then I guess I'll be making garments for my closet...lol.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thanks for that lovely shout-out, Carolyn! I guess I am lucky. I work in an environment where anything goes, so I dress to please myself. And I like to sew clothing that one can wear everyday. I am not motivated to sew for special occasions, as I have so few to attend. So I guess my "creative" inclination intersects well with my "everyday needs". I think staying true to your rules makes sense. Sewing something that you will never wear is not satisfying!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm honored to be on your list, Caroline. Thanks for the shout out.

    There was a time when I sewed all my work clothes and "event" clothes but absolutely none of my play clothes. Now I sew what I need, whatever that may be. Sometimes that is filling gaps. Other times it is sewing for a future "event" or holiday, something special. For work we have total freedom and comfort is very important as there is a lot of reaching and bending so structured jackets and blazers, which I love to sew, just won't work. I do like to wear long skirts with boots and a neat top but often my work outfit is jeans, a nice white shirt or other top and some jewelry to spark it up. I do try to bring in the creativity with most of what I sew and that is so challenging and satisfying. Sometimes, however, simple "crack" sewing is just the ticket, as in whipping out the one day ITY top.

    As far as dresses, I think I own one I've made, one I haven't right now. They just don't work with my lifestyle other than for a wedding or such.

    Great question, Carolyn.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Great topic, Ms. Carolyn. For the most part, I sew for my lifestyle. And yes, quite often am I taken my the many, many beautiful garments made by my fellow sewing bloggers. And yes, I do buy a lot of patterns (I need to stop). The bottom line is I wear what I make. Time is precious. As the years go by, it's more precious and I want to enjoy the garments that I invest my precious time in.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Great post! I sew for my current lifestyle. Sometimes I go outside the box if there's a special occasion that calls for it, but really that is still sewing for my current lifestyle. I have a similar thought process to you."What's the point if I'm not going to wear it."

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It is so appreciated.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails