Monday, September 30, 2013

On Being The Same And Being Different

Fall has arrived, not gradually with ever cooling days and fading sunshine but suddenly, like a blast of cold wrapped in blistery clouds. Once again, I haven't prepared. There's no fall jacket hanging in the hall closet, no selection of colorful cardigans in my wardrobe. I'm already behind and as I flip the calendar over into a new month, I'm not going to bother thinking about about why it is this way, yet, still, once again. It doesn't matter. I want to DO something.

I want to sew with a focus on clothing that is definitely fall and winter as opposed to multi-seasonal. I've decided it's boring - because it is - to have clothing that I wear year round. I think there's a certain energy in putting away one wardrobe and bringing out another that I'm not currently experiencing and would enjoy. It's a huge shift in thinking because while it's probable that in my childhood or early adulthood I had seasonal wardrobes, it's so far back that I can't remember - which - wonderfully - also makes it an exciting new adventure.




Friday night, I went snoop shopping to look at the new fall lines and two words came to mind - boring and repetitive. When clothing made from multiple fabrics first appeared on the market, it was fresh, creative, and interesting but now the stores are full of these garments and everyone is wearing them. For me to also wear them feels like choosing to become a carbon copy. Not. One thing I love about sewing and about life at my age is the ability to ignore whatever trend I don't want to participate in and to do my own thing.




All of the pictures in this posting are from Peruvian Connection, one of my favourite inspiration sources. What I notice (once again) with these images is my preference for simplicity, clean lines, and texture and the similarity between the garments that attracted me and the patterns in my stash. The Flora Pima Cotton Tee - $89.00 - is a version of my T & T t-shirt pattern New Look 6735 while the Essex skirt - $179.00 - is easily sewn with Burda 8213.




The Legacy Lace skirt - $349.00 - above is very similar to Simplicity 5914 and the Miranda Lace dress - $269.00 - below is an incredibly common shape for me fitted through the bodice and waist before flaring out from the hips. There are a good dozen patterns in my stash with this shape. I even sewed a version out of a denim blue lace for my birthday in 2012 that except for the color is very similar to this image.




The style lines of the t-shirt, the skirts, and the dress are familiar to me and often repeated in my wardrobe choices.  I remember buying, and absolutely LOVING, and wearing endlessly, a sage green, baby cord, skirt just like the Essex, just like Burda 8213 when I was sixteen. The styles drew my eye once again because of these particular fabric choices and yet at another time, in another season, with difference fabric choices, the same style lines would still draw my eye because they're my lines which leads to a discussion we've had before on being the same and being different - as in how to reinterpret "old" lines in new ways. It is - to me - a fascinating topic.




The Bergama Cardigan - $259.00 - is virtually identical to the black cardigan I've worn almost every day through spring and fall for the past five years. All that's different is the fabric choice - a print versus a black rib... which is good... because that's easy to re-create... which is good... because mine is about to wear out and I LOVE THAT SWEATER.




The ability to identify our favourite styles lines and to reinterpret them is a wonderful advantage of sewing. Take for instance the Cotabamba Jacket - $289.00 - and its similarity to Marcy's Vogue 8430. Because I sew, I'm neither restricted to purchasing it in this fabric nor to sewing it in Marcy's choices. I can recreate it in my own way. We all can. That's such a gift to explore - to connect the words fall and winter with waterfall cardigan with fuchsia sweater knit with bound edges with... with... with... To connect all the dots and choices to create our fashions our way.




I was intrigued with Juliane's comment on Friday that she'd written down fourteen Myrna methods for putting back together a squiggly line down center front. Those kinds of exercises are so fantastic for our creativity even if we never actually sew that squiggly line. In our mind, we sewed it. In our mind, we thought through an issue and developed and grew and should we chose to follow through with sewing, we'll grow in new ways as I did when the idea I had for the ties on the purple t-shirt didn't work out the way I'd hoped.

Sometimes, the ideas that appear are ideas that keep reappearing. When I look at the Shadow Lace Tee - $79.00 - I see Katherine's Vogue 8691 and while it'd be easier to achieve a similar look through fabric choice what immediately comes to mind for me is surface design using stencils and stamps. Surface design is an idea that is constantly jumping up and down, getting more and more vocal, more demanding, more insistent on being explored. And I've started working on that.

In her book Creating A Life Worth Living, author Carol Lloyd talks about having two journals - the Feelings Journal and the Adventure Book. On page 27, she writes: Your Feelings Journal can function in much the same way most journals do: a place to vent angst, joy, sorrow, frustration, and the vaguest of longings (being a movie star, winning the lottery, feeling like a brilliant creative genius). Your Adventure Book will be the place where you chronicle your weirdest creative ideas, your madcap moneymaking schemes, your annoying tasks and routine actions. Don't worry: writing them in the book doesn't mean you are committing to them. Indeed, if you really use this book, you will probably have enough ideas in the first two weeks to last you for two years. But the Adventure Book - unlike the Feelings Journal - engenders proactive dreaming rather than passive peeving.

Many people have one journal that is a blend of the Feelings Journal and the Adventure Book and many artists feel that a sketch book is an essential tool. Because I'm so completely honest about what I write in my journal, I shred those pages daily which means they aren't the place to store creative possibilities. I've tried keeping a sketch book before and it hasn't clicked - rather it seemed like a huge chore and a distraction from the actual work BUT... the Adventure Book sounds less formal, more doable, a place to dream, to make up lists of fourteen Myrna methods, to virtually sew squiggly lines back together, and to lead to proactive dreaming and positive action. Since I'm determined to do less thinking/feeling and more doing/adventure, it could be good.

Today, I am going to pick a decidedly fall and winter fabric and the Burda 8213 pattern and sew a skirt.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - feeling lighter

10 comments:

  1. I love pieces that work year-round, but there's nothing like opening my stash of supersoft sweaters to get me excited about the change of season. This year, I found myself missing corduroy pants of all things, so I bought a piece of wine-and-black printed corduroy and am determined to find a pattern and fit that work. Here's to apple cider, and hunkering down with warm fabrics!

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    1. I imagine I'll eventually end up with a mix of seasonal and multi-seasonal clothes. No idea. We'll see. I definitely need some super soft sweaters. It feels like all my clothes have worn out at the same time - and suddenly.

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  2. I had the oddest thought when I read the line that you wrote: "To connect all the dots and choices to create our fashions our way" that paragraph left me with the idea of using dice to come up with design ideas, in the way that gamers use them in their complex scenario games... there could be one die with different types of garments on each face, one with various embellishment techniques, one with types of fabric, etc... I have no idea where this came from in my brain, as I am not a gamer, but I thought you might find the idea as interesting as I do...

    Our autumn came in with a sudden big whoosh here, with several days of high winds and driving rain, branches down and power outages. All is well here at Acorn Cottage, but sewing by candlelight was not really functional. Power back on today is what I am grateful for...

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    1. Roll the dice... or Mr Potato Man... or crank the cube... or those flip charts where you match heads and torsos and feet... all fun ways to generate ideas. The Adventure Book is one more way. So is writing ideas on a slip of paper, putting them in a jar, and pulling one out when you need the push. Whatever works right ! ! !

      Sewing by candlelight does not sound like fun. Knitting possibly. Glad you're safe and the power is back on. We had rain and wind up here but not as strong as you had.

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  3. I also lived through that big storm over the weekend. We, fortunately, did not loose power.
    I rather like having a mixed wardrobe with some seasonal and some not. I think the mix depends more on the climate in which you live than anything else. I used to live in Michigan and I had completely different wardrobes for each season. Now that I am in Seattle, the seasons sort of morph together and more of my wardrobe is year around. I do enjoy the putting away shorts, etc. in fall and bringing out heavier clothes. If they have been stored away it is almost like gaining them anew. I also feel this way about bringing out the Christmas decorations every year.

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    1. With mild storms... there's something calm and comforting about being tucked up warm and dry and safe in my studio with my book or knitting or sewing. It's cocoon-ish.

      I hadn't really stopped to consider the impact of climate change on wardrobe choices but - now that I have - I've lived in Kamloops for forty-four years and the weather has changed significantly over that time. Now, there are huge portions of the winter where if I'm travelling a short distance I don't worry about boots, gloves, or a hat and wear more of a fall type coat than a winter one BUT... I wouldn't have done that years ago and I imagine that change in outside choices has influenced the rest of my clothing. VERY interesting.

      I'm just about finished my definitely a fall/winter skirt. When I popped into my closet to measure a hem earlier, I thought about packing away anything that is two or more years old and taking a break from those garments. It seems like a fun idea but I'll need enough other pieces to replace them before I can get that adventurous. I don't wear shorts but I do have a few definitely summer and definitely winter garments - they just never get packed away because I have a more than big enough closet. Perhaps I will pack them away this year.

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  4. well, you've done it again, Myrna... you've fueled up my flagging sewing mojo! I recently pulled a couple patterns from each of my "category" bins... now I'm heading to the bins with colder weather fabrics. I really, really like Alison's idea about the gaming dice... It could be even more simple ...just little pieces of cardstock with the categories... each category a different color border or color cardstock... pick one of each! Thanks, Alison!

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    1. YEAH - I finished the skirt and it's fabulous. Can't wait to make something to go with. Good luck moving in the same direction. WE can do it ! ! ! !

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  5. A Feelings Journal and an Adventure Journal. What a brilliant concept. I'm definitely doing this. I already do it, but instead of a journal I have scraps of paper all over the place with brainwaves on them. Time to corral them into one spot. Thanks for this!

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    1. I know. It's such a simple concept and yet it clicked for me. You're welcome for my sharing but it's Carol's concept. I think you'd find the book interesting. The focus is on doing the work as opposed to discovering it.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.