Readers, do you ever sit down and think about how you go about choosing and carrying out your sewing projects?
Some of you make your choices primarily based on legitimate wardrobe needs. For others, maybe there's a contest on Pattern Review that sounds like fun, or an online sew-along you want to participate in. Perhaps you're making a gift for somebody's birthday or creating an outfit for a special event you're attending. I've made sewing choices based on all of these.
Often my original idea comes from a movie I've watched, a pattern I've picked up on Etsy, or even something I've seen someone wearing on the street. I can also be inspired by a cool accessory like a pair of vintage shoes, a mink stole, or a hat. And fabric, especially fabric. Whatever it is, it sets my mind spinning and from there all the pieces fall into place. If it sounds rather arbitrary, it is. This is not "Little House on the Prairie" sewing. I could never sew another thing for myself and I'd likely have enough clothes to last me till I'm ninety, though I might run out of boxer shorts.
|Unique vintage flea market fabric inspires a shirt for Michael.|
For me, sewing is really about exploring new ideas and pushing my creative boundaries. I think most of us enjoy learning a new technique, sewing with a fabric we've never tried before, or making a garment similar to one we've admired in a magazine or store window.
Here's where my creative process led me last night: I have all that pink and black chiffon, right? Well, I happened to be exploring patterns on Etsy late last night checking out what had recently been posted (dangerous, I know), when I saw this dress pattern from 1966.
Now 1966 is not my favorite period in fashion by a long shot but it was a big moment for chiffon. I consider Simplicity 6570 to be a variation on the Liesl dress, you know, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, moonlit gazebo, Rolf, etc.
Somewhat closer to the classic Liesl would be McCall's 6853 below, especially the version with those puffy sleeves.
My Simplicity is only slightly different, but the minor changes, particularly that lovely cowl-like neckline, make the dress much more sophisticated, don't you agree?
If you're of a certain age, you remember that nearly every female celebrity who was ever a guest on The Ed Sullivan Show or Hollywood Palace wore a swirly chiffon dress at one time or another: Totie Fields, Debbie Reynolds, Lainie Kazan, all the big stars!
You would not believe how much yardage this dress (which has a chiffon overlay) calls for. With the underskirt, try eight.
And so the wheels start turning...
You may be wondering what happened to some of my earlier project ideas that you have yet to see finished. Cathy's 1939 dress is nearly done and waiting for a winter thaw to be modeled. I still have plans to make myself a bomber-style wool jacket, but that will probably have to wait till March (perhaps my first Mood Sewing Network project, which will definitely be menswear). The Cyd Charisse dress? I haven't forgotten.
I try to honor my process, by which I mean I try to follow through on my ideas and ride the crest of my enthusiasm while it lasts. But sometimes I do change my mind; I'm human, after all.
Readers, where does that initial creative spark usually originate for you? A wardrobe need? A sew-along? A whim?
Are you able to support yourself through your project, or do you sometimes lose steam before things get underway, either due to lack of time, patience, self-confidence, or other constraints?
Do you see your sewing as part of a larger creative process or just a fun hobby to fill the holes in your wardrobe, or both?
Is your sewing more creative than practical, or more practical than creative?
(Chiffon-skirted Debbie Reynolds lends her voice to the Sixties protest movement!)