Hello, fellow sewers. Hopefully a bit of discussion post here: what do you do – dress for fashion, or dress to what suits you? A combination of both? And what do you make? Do you plan your handmade items? I was cleaning out my wardrobe earlier today and started noticing the types of clothes I wear, the types of clothes I wish I wore more, and the types of clothes I have made.
When clothes shopping, I’ve always gravitated towards bright colours, and pinks and reds have been dominant in my wardrobe for years. During uni, I would often wear layers of brightly coloured clothes and I barely had any black or white in my wardrobe at all. People expected bright colours on me, and it felt like my thang; I felt happy in them. In the last few years, I’ve started thinking there may be such thing as “too much colour” and have recently developed a bit of a crush on neutral-coloured clothing. When is it time to “grow out of” colours? Is there such a time? I’ve only recently realised that the garments I have sewn are not neutral at all – I’ve made bright green, bright pink, bright florals… Two of my more recent makes (not yet blogged) are the first time I’ve settled into more wearable colours – a pale blush dress with a little lace bolero, and a cream/navy skirt. I already immensely prefer these two items over everything else in my handmade collection!
Earlier this year I went on a bit of a shopping spree at H&M (shame, I know) and it really hit me that neutrals, creams and other pale colours were all the rage. I bought a grey top, a pale pink top, a beige beanie, light-wash jeans… I probably look “fashionable” when I wear them, but also probably kind of washed out. The fact is, I have light skin, I don’t tan, and pale washy colours just don’t look great on me. I like the idea of lovely neutrals – cream and beige and a touch of grey, black and white here and there, simple and elegant and surely you can never go wrong… but I have always avoided wearing them because I’ve so often been told “oh, Katy, red is Your Colour!”. Then again, is there an argument that neutrals can look good on anyone? Are they always tasteful, no matter what? Or is it just a current fad?
I guess the point I am trying to make is, I’m now trying to be sensible about what I sew. The first few garments I made, well, I simply don’t wear them anymore. I actually dislike them. I guess they have served their purpose in teaching me certain techniques, so it’s not so bad if I never wear them again. Recently, I’ve planned only to make things that look like the kind of thing I would buy if I saw it in a shop – and I usually only buy things if I really, really like them (apart from my H&M splurge where I wanted some basics). Hence, my sewing has consisted mainly of “Hmm, I would really like a new X for Y event. I’ll make it”, and that’s been good. I no longer want to spend my time sewing items of clothing that I simply won’t wear. I also want my handmade clothes to look less, well, “homemade”. I think avoiding bright crazy prints is definitely one way to do that.
As the second part of this “smart sewing” resolution of mine, I have decided to limit myself to sewing with what I have in my (small) stash and really making the most of it. It’s good – it leads to decluttering and using up old bits of perfectly good fabrics. Seeing unused pieces makes me feel guilty for wanting to spend money on something more useful. So if I use it up, I can justify buying more. And when I do buy more, I’ll be sure to have planned the project first instead of just buying crazy bright colours because I’m drawn to them in the fabric shop but will probably never wear.
I did up a little plan of my next few sewing projects, and worked out how I am going to use up what I have. I guess this is a sort of pledge – if I write it down here, then I have to stick to it 😉
Of course, there are some pieces that I just can’t think of what I might make with them, so they might stay in the stash. Or get donated. When and where and how am I going to wear bright green gingham? And of course, there will be a couple of exceptions to only using stash fabric – I have a bridesmaid dress coming up that I will need to buy fabric for – but overall I am really determined to diminish my old stuff before planning new stuff. Ultimately, I would love to have a wardrobe that consists almost entirely, if not completely, of handmade items. I know that’s a long, long way off, and would certainly take a lot of planning, but I believe it’s possible. It’s just about being smart with my sewing. How do you plan your makes? Are you torn between sewing for fashion or simply sewing in your favourite colours? Do you make things and never wear them? What about the time of year – do you let the seasons define your wardrobe colour palette? Please, share. I’d love to know how you do it 🙂 Katy xx