Reflection / Sewing

Top 5 Reflections on 2012

I’m continuing the Top 5 list awesomeness with my reflections on sewing in 2012!

1. You guys have helped me a lot
Wow. Anytime I need to learn a new technique, deal with bad pattern instructions or make an adjustment to suit my body type, one of you fantastic bloggers has already written a tutorial on what I need to know. What generosity! What a good use of the internet!

Also, I’m grateful for your encouragement and the inspiration you provide. I love seeing what you’ve made and sharing what I’ve made. Finishing my Minoru and being able to share it with a community that appreciates how much of an accomplishment it was for me was a high point in 2012!

2. Slow is just fine
I’m a plodder. Through most of 2012, I consistently had a project or two in flight, but I couldn’t join Sew Weekly any time soon! I admire bloggers who produce beautiful garments once a week, and eagerly read their blogs. But this year I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m on the slow track, especially since starting school this fall. I’ve learned that I make things that are more likely to see use if I just slow the eff down and address problems as they arise. Easier said than done, but I feel like this year saw me sewing more slowly and cautiously than in previous years.

3. I’m ready for different fabrics (and some thoughts on new vs. thrifted fabric)
For me, sewing is an arena for me to experiment with sustainability! I began sewing almost exclusively on thrifted sheets and quilting cotton. While I still think that this is a fabulous source of fabric for woven cotton and a really good low-stakes way to learn to sew, I’ve gotten the urge to expand my repertoire to other fabrics. I dabbled a bit in silk and knit fabric as well as thicker cottons like canvas and twill this year, with pretty good results.

crab&bee Alabama Chanin camisole

Alabama Chanin camisole in progress

I know that creating textiles is a water- and chemical-intensive process, but I also think that sewing my own clothing (even with new fabric) is preferable to buying RTW for a lot of reasons; my construction is sturdier and lasts longer, I’ve cut out some of the waste associated with retail (packaging, transport, etc), and ideally I end up with a garment I love that fits me well. As someone who needs to create, it’s a way to direct that energy towards something useful.

I think 2013 will see me using a mix of new fabric for special projects (and perhaps researching more sustainable fabric?), looking for better sources of thrifted fabric and attempting more refashioning, as well as putting my scraps to good use. As a side note, I’ve been really inspired by Alabama Chanin lately! I received Alabama Chanin Studio Style for Christmas from Nathan’s parents and have begun a project using thrifted men’s t-shirts.

crab&bee

I <3 ease

4. My style is changing
I shared some of my creations from my pre-Crab&Bee days here. What was most astounding to me is how my style has evolved in two short years! Not so long ago, I preferred tighter, shorter, more feminine clothing. I think two things are at play here: I’m learning how to make a garment flattering without merely being tight, and sewing has permitted me to experiment with a lot of silhouettes I might not have otherwise played with.

On second thought, I can’t really tell how much of this is me and how much of it is fashion. I do know that I won’t be able to go back to short and tight clothes now that I’ve experienced the kind of comfort that 2+ inches of ease with a reasonable hem can offer! Prude alert!

5. I need the right mix of challenging and fast projects
My Minoru brought me into the uncharted territory of making a jacket (with a lining to boot!). After that, all I wanted to make were knit shirts and dresses and makeup bags. When I’d completed a few of those fast projects, I was ready to try something new-ish. That balance was really nice, and made me think; since sewing is something I do for fun, the project I’m working on should be appealing to me! Sometimes that will mean tackling a challenge, and sometimes that will mean something easy.

Next up: top 5 inspirations from 2012!

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8 thoughts on “Top 5 Reflections on 2012

  1. Great top 5 reflections. Your mixture of challenging and fast projects really speaks to me as well! Also it was interesting for me to do a tally of everything I've made (be surprised by the list) and then try and work out what exactly I had bought RTW. Having been someone who loves to shop before, this has been a bit of a revelation to me. Next year I'm going to keep a better list to see exactly what I am buying. Because right now I can't think of much I did buy. Looking forward to your top 5 inspirations!

  2. Ah I loved this post! I totally agree that making your own clothes, even if the fabric you use is brand new, is definitely more sustainable compared to RTW garments. All those plastic covers, hangers, hang tags, labels and so on that you are avoiding as well as, as you say, all the transportation. Plus the relationship you'll have with the garments that you put so much time and love into creating will mean it'll probably hang around for years longer than a RTW garment. I've realised it's high time to have a long hard look at what self-made garments no longer work, which is something I used to do on an almost weekly basis when my wardrobe was entirely RTW. I love that you have also figured out a way to keep creating and keep enjoying the process by fluctuating between more challenging and more speedy projects. I'm going to take that on board myself!Thanks for being an inspiration throughout 2012! I'm really looking forward to seeing how you wear your more recent creations this May! Happy New Year xxx

  3. It is pretty interesting to keep track of RTW purchases! I kept a running tally this year, just in my head, of what I bought new. I felt like I bought next to nothing new (I'm a pretty rabid thrift-shopper), but I think it was ended up being around 7 things.

  4. Thanks so much, Zoe! The feeling is mutual, I'm always inspired by your commitment to sustainable fashion and your glorious refashioned pieces.

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