Why I Sew

1920I used to say that I learned to sew in self-defense because I am fat and like to dress nicely.

While there’s some truth in that, now that I know how to sew well enough that I get compliments on my clothing on a pretty regular basis, there’s more to it. While I probably would buy more RTW (ready to wear) clothing than I do now, I think I would still sew a lot of my own wardrobe because… Well…

I so seldom find anything in a store that truly suits me and my tastes. The style might be right (it’s very hard to go wrong with a well-fitting shell and tailored jacket as a design), but this season’s colors and prints might not be what I like. Or the colors are awesome, but I dislike the design elements. Or, since I prefer coordinating wardrobes because I’d rather just be able to grab stuff from my closet and not think too much about it once I’ve already put my hard-earned money into it, I can’t seem to find pieces that coordinate well to create more than a couple of looks for less than $300.

Accessories help. I spent last winter on a project that left me no time for sewing. I bought five pair of pants (three black, two gray), four skirts (two black, two gray) and two jackets (one black and one gray) from a fat lady retailer that I retailored a little (gotta love princess seams!) and wore with some shells I’d already made and mixed it up with scarves. While a bit boring after a whole winter, I’m good enough at accessories, it worked okay.

I started looking for clothes that would be good for summer office wear and was getting frustrated with what was being offered (what designers are offering as appropriate office wear has me reaching for the smelling salts and clutching my pearls, it really does), and as a bit of a lark, tried look2288ing in the “normal” size departments.

That was also a big bowl of nope (barring suits. You can ruin a suit, but it takes a special effort). The stuff I really like… Well, apparently I have refined tastes, just sayin’. I don’t think of my fashion sense as anything but boringly practical, but apparently boringly practical has one heck of a high price tag.

I think my departure from the fashion industry at this stage in the game is that I can’t afford RTW that suits my tastes as well as stuff I can make.

One Reply to “Why I Sew”

  1. I like to sew but for me it’s usually the same reason I make fruit wines – it’s something I am capable of doing that I usually can’t buy in the store. I usually fit a lot of RTW clothing (well, when I buy pants in the men’s department anyway, silly lack of hips) and I don’t have an office job so cargo pants for $20 a pair are great for work, but that fleece sweatshirt I bought at the discount superstore 5 years ago that doesn’t use ribbing anywhere and actually feels comfortable, except I’m starting to wear out the cuffs and elbows? Yeah, I made a new one in an afternoon from a cute piece of patterned fabric a friend got me years ago, since I’ve never seen one in the store again at any price, boringly practical or not. And I’ll make another one once I dig out more polarfleece from my fabric stash… Those simple rayon or cotton dresses with the broomstick skirt bottom and the ties at the waist that look great on almost any shape? I copied the pattern from one I liked into satin for a formal dress. And have proceeded to wear it to two formal events plus at least one wedding and one funeral… For about six dollars’ worth of fabric. And I hang with a group that does a lot of medieval stuff, so when I’m not in armour? Most of my garb is stuff I made too, mostly making up the pattern as I go along, because you just can’t buy things like that at the store. I tend to use simple shapes that use up most of the fabric, after all, before we had machines to do weaving and knitting for fabric, you sure weren’t going to waste half your bolt of cloth to make something pretty, you were going to use the whole thing to make several somethings that were utilitarian, or perhaps boringly practical 🙂 … now if only I could knit. At least I finally figured out crocheting in my late twenties, but I’m not certain I can follow a pattern, so again with the making it up as I go along. One of these days I’ll figure out how to crochet a sweater and then there’ll be no stopping me! I’ve really enjoyed reading all about your sewing, knitting and fitness endeavours, you even inspired me to start using a timer to limit my internet time-wasting and get some housework done (unf#$*ing my habitat 15 min at a time). Keep up the good work.

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