About a month ago, I wrote a post called What’s Next. You can read that post which is directly related to this post, or you can read this haiku–
I want to sew all
of my own clothes and wear them
each day of my life
I had to change every to each to get the syllable count right, but you get what I am saying.
In pursuit of this idea, I am taking the month of April to create a personal “runway collection” based on the sewing patterns in my stash. As I have mentioned before, I just discovered the indie sewing pattern culture on the web, and I have flung myself off the high diving board even thought I am a terrible swimmer to join them.
I have always had a vintage pattern collection. The dumb thing is most of them are not my size. And of course, my personal pile of patterns from all the years I have sewn. Some of my original 1980s patterns are now vintage!
I know the indie patterns are what is cool right now, but Marcy and Katherine Tilton’s long time dedication to the home sewists can’t be ignored. Plus they just might be the reigning queens of KNIT.
Now for the really scary, I mean, fun part.
For the month of May, I am going to wear only the clothes I have made. Everything but the under and the outer I am making and wearing.
I got the idea for this part of the adventure from reading about Me Made May. This is an online project where sewists are encouraged to wear what they make for the month of May in whatever capacity they feel comfortable.
In that same What’s Next? post, I also wrote about being influenced by several contemporary artists who are using clothing as a form of social protest. As my oldest son would say, I am picking up what they are putting down. Wearing my own clothes for the month of May is my teenie weenie contribution to that conversation. Can I do it?
Last year, I was awarded a Rasmuson Fellowship to take my patchwork off the wall and onto the garment. I wanted to use repurposed fibers and quiltmaking skills to create clothing with a sub-arctic aesthetic. Since I wrote What Next? I have seriously been trying to sew garments by exploring a wide variety of fibers and techniques. Consequently, I have discovered even more things I did not know.
- This is HARD to do. Another way to put is What was I thinking?
- My rock solid quiltmaking skills are helpful, but garment construction is its own bag of tricks.
- You have to know how to make jeans before you can draft a pair of jeans.
- Learning how to draft patterns takes time–people go to school for years to learn this skill.
- In the world of garment construction, manipulating woven cotton is kind of kindergarden. Sewing with silks, wools, or oh-my-goodness knits is a skill worthy of the Olympics.
- Using re-purposed materials is its own variable/complication.
When I started making quilts I used a pattern and perfected my construction skills. Yesterday, I watched a thirty minute video on ironing for garment construction. WOW. I’ve never used a clapper before, have you?
Once I got real about my strengths and weaknesses here. I needed to revise my plan and move forward. I really wanted to have a final project–a real demonstration of what I did with my Fellowship and this it.
Part of me is like WHAT? The Rasmuson Foundation awarded you a Fellowship to make and wear your own clothes. Are you dreaming this stuff up? Nope. I am not. It is for real. And in the process I will improve my garment construction skills, create with an assortment of new and used materials, learn some drafting and pattern modification techniques, stitch and wear only my own clothing, and, well, who knows what will happen next.
But, it all starts now.
Do you have a stitching adventure planned for April? Don’t be shy, it is good to share.