I have just joined this free course “How to Build a Self Sewn Wardrobe” by Andrea Eastin of Fair Fit Studio. The course so far, seems a bit different and it’s really got me thinking – can you smell the oil burning?! Andrea is a fashion designer and lecturer – bona fide and all, as well as an art school graduate – good combo huh?
Lesson 1 which arrived into my inbox this morning, looks at why we want to sew our own wardrobe? I love that Andrea throws ‘economy’ out of the window, it’s always seemed a furphy to me. The ‘featured’ tee below is from K mart btw, necklaces by me because I was panicked at the thought of not being able to ‘create’ while we were moving, the perfect excuse to scatter beads about the floor!
Do we create because we have a need to express ourselves; fabric and thread our chosen medium? Perhaps that more accurately encapsulates my motivation. My darling Princess was always referred to as the ‘sticking and gluing kid’. She always, every time, without exception grabbed pens, pencils and paper every time we left the house – like a toddler’s life buoy. No matter how we tried to rationalise – “we’re just going to the dentist and back”, she’d have a massive tantrum if we prised those accoutrement from her tight little fists. Now she is loving the sketching and design classes in her architectural degree.
Lil’ sis and I preferred to play inside as kidlets, perhaps it was Brisbane’s stifling heat? We had a book called ‘The Do It Book’ and it was the thing we turned to when we needed play inspiration, it was all cutting and glueing! Is any of this familiar to you?
Sewing and making is irrational in some ways. A friend asked why don’t you just buy your clothes? What? And forgo hours of needle stabbing fingers and expletives cast into the air? Sure, I can buy trousers and jeans off the peg, though tops and shirts with less success. But there’s always that nagging voice – “if only it had a pocket” or “the colour was more/less saturated”. There is an undeniable quest to make items unique . Andrea is getting into my head with her questions and a lot of what she has to say resonates.
I like that she has thrown natural talent to the side too. These skills are hewn and honed over many years. ‘Craftsy’ classes downloaded to my Ipad kept me sane on our recent travels, lying seasick on a bunk in the Galapagos! It’s certainly not talent, its considered hard work and frankly, my skills aren’t nearly as great as they should be for the effort. I blame my lack of fearlessness in tackling scary stuff and a lack of patience for repetitive tasks.
I’m a big believer in delving deep. If you think something’s easy, it’s possible you haven’t fully explored the subject. We all know there’s a difference between a well cut garment and something that just fits. Its that teeny tiny nugget of gold between the two that’s so difficult to define.
If our recent visit to Cuba revealed anything, it’s that without co-operation, collaboration and exposure to new ideas, change is slow. On the flip side, perhaps it’s harder to formulate a unique and original idea when bombarded with so much external stimulus, but there was little evidence of originality on our travels in Cuba. Given the same raw ingredients, the Cuban chef makes what he’s always made using the same techniques he’s always used, which is terrific if the result is good. But if it’s not good, it’s unlikely to improve. Collaboration awakens us to unimagined possibilities and as a result, learning happens faster. What’s the point in reinventing the wheel when someone has already done an excellent job of it and can teach it to you. Doesn’t that leave us more room to explore and invent, while still drawing on techniques that have stood the test of time? Don’t travel to Cuba for the cuisine!
Reductionism is passé, Trump’s tweets are a prime example! Come and belly button gaze with me, perhaps we can explore this self sewn wardrobe thing together, I’m sure you’ll be as fascinated by Andrea’s stimulating emails as I have been.