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Jan 28, 2010

Why, oh why can't I?


Poor Judy must have been over the rainbow when she put this outfit together and it didn't help that she weighed about 85 lbs at the time.  But there's a certain bold chic to it that I admire, regardless.

One of the things I enjoy most about sewing is the freedom it gives me to try most anything no matter how (potentially) foolish: the wildest fabrics and the wackiest period patterns.  I've never felt so connected to my own creativity as I do making my own clothes.  I can really let my hair down. In the worst case, what?  It hangs in the closet (or I look like Judy).

For much of my life I've battled between authentic self-expression and the fear-based desire to lead a conventional, risk-averse life.  Getting older has made it easier to free myself, but it has been a long  struggle, with some breakthroughs and many setbacks.  I can easily focus on "wasted years" and "if onlys."

The support I've found in the sewing world has been tremendous -- and wholly unexpected.  I stumbled upon Pattern Review entirely by chance, and I didn't get involved until I entered the Beginner contest last summer.  A few months later I entered the Little Black Dress contest, won by none other than evil Elaine, the Selfish Seamstress.  Seeing her patio shots of impeccably-styled day and evening looks, I knew instantly I had to participate.  Enter cousin Cathy.  Luckily Cathy is up for anything, especially on modeling shoots.  She's like a size 8 Divine.

Yesterday I got two books in the mail I'd ordered on Amazon: "Make Your Own Dress Patterns" by Adele Margoles, and "How to Make Sewing Patterns" by Donald McCunn.  Both are classics.  My goal is to start to draft things myself rather than pore over every vintage A-line pattern for sale on Etsy.  It feels like the natural next step.

I love this path I'm on.  As a sewer, I no longer envy those "happy little bluebirds" flying over the rainbow.  At last, I feel like I'm one of them.

15 comments:

  1. Yes, not her best outfit but I bet she could still rock a pair of ruby slippers.. your third paragraph strikes a chord. Sewing is helping me out of a similar period and sparking new creative interests - slowly but surely! I really look forward to seeing your creations and admire your daredevil approach!

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  2. What a lovely post. It is nice to be able to immerse yourself in a craft that allows you the freedom to be yourself and to design outfits that suit your feelings at any given moment.

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  3. I think all sewists feel as you do - the opportunity to take your sewing in any direction is very liberarting!

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  4. Looking really critically at Judy, the only item that really jumps out as an OMG is the specs - everything else works for me. One of the wonderful things about sewing is that no matter where you are along the continuum, there is always something new to learn. I've been sewing for, ahem, almost 50 years now and I just got into drafting. You will love it. I wish I can discovered it so many years ago - I would not have all the boxes and boxes of unused patterns and UFOs around if I had! But I suppose I can always consider them to be 'resource material' eh?

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  5. I've just found your blog (through the Selfish Seamstress) and I love your work. Your willingness to have a go is enviable. I'm interested in what you will do next.

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  6. Wonderful post! I have a 70s edition of the Margolis book, and it is my favorite book on patternmaking EVER. You are going to love it, I promise. :)

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  7. Also. I'll say it: LOVE those glasses on Judy.

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  8. Glasses? What glasses?

    It's the whole thing: Black Sharpie eyeliner and brows, spectral complexion...

    Still, one is riveted.

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  9. A agree, the Margolis book is great -- although it's not a bad idea to get the edition from the era you like best design wise, some of the 80s suggestions in the dover edition terrify me! Her books are generally amazing, I've been accumulating them in the past few months and they've really helped me make sense of things like no other books ever have. Her fitting book is still better than anything else I've read -- if it could be reissued with photos it would be the best book out there.

    I also have the McCunn book, but I haven't actually looked at it -- let us know what you think!

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  10. I got the Adele Margoles book as a Christmas gift and I love it! I hope you will find it every bit as useful and wonderful as I do

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  11. Oh, Peter, you are so funny. Please do not ever stop blogging. You are an inspired writer as well as a wit.

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  12. Peter, I discovered your blog via the Selfish Seamstress as well and I've really enjoyed reading your posts. It's inspiring to learn that you've found a creative outlet that's allowed you to abandon the fear-based life. Yay for self-expression and yay for authenticity! You are so talented, I'm looking forward to seeing more of your creations and reading more about your sewing adventures.

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  13. Welcome, everybody. Great to have you aboard!

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  14. "it has been a long struggle, with some breakthroughs and many setbacks. I can easily focus on "wasted years" and "if onlys."
    -So VERY GLAD & happy for you, Peter!!
    With much sincerity & hugs,
    Rhonda in Montreal

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