Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sewing for real life and other trials

I can sew whatever I want.  (True)

I should sew whatever I want.  (False, I mean True, I mean--wait--is this a trick question?)

My sewing life goes like this:

I am going to sew this:



and several other vintage pieces.  Plus some gorgeous Tracy Reese dresses.  And in silk.  And lace--yes I definitely need a lace dress.

I should totally do this.  It's completely great--I'll wear these dresses ALL the time.  (Denial)

Fine, I'll just make stuff I wear.  T-shirts and Jeans.  Great.  Thanks.  It doesn't matter what people think when they see me.  Yep, I just wear T-shirts and Jeans (I actually do)  Fine.  I'll never have nice stuff.  But who needs it?  (Anger)

 But I'm sure that I should have some nice things.  I mean, I want to be a nice thing wearer, shouldn't I have nice things?  Of course I should.  In fact, I should probably give up having T-shirts entirely, then there won't be a problem at all.  I could do that.  Yes, I shall. (Bargaining)  

Because I could totally scrub out the tub and vacuum behind carseats in this:

Sadly, I have realized this doesn't work.  What with the small still wet portion of ketchup (nasty!) and the flashing of the neighborhood, I have stopped.   

Right.  So I can't.  So I'll never have nice stuff.  Woe is me.  (Depression)   

So I need to find a happy medium (Resignation).  We all do.  Where is yours?  Do you actually wear what you sew?  Most days?

Yes, these are the stages of grief.  And yes, it's totally what my sewing life is like.  But we all have to face reality some time.

Here's mine.

I don't know about you, but I love to sew fun things.  Like dresses that are fancy, and skirts that are mostly impractical (Hello Marie), things with silk, and lace.   My life is not dresses, except for Sunday and other occasions.  I don't have a job to look professional for.  As a matter of fact being the stay at home mom of 3 rowdy boys 5 and under, the job mostly calls for non-professional attire.  Workout clothes to keep the postpartum depression at bay, T-shirts that are good for cleaning, making bread, working in the garden, and washing the car, jeans that are substantial enough not to get holes after a couple weeks of picking up my kids, looking for stuff under the car and couch, and chasing them around the house.   Let alone the fact that things tend to spill around me (ahem, children) so I can't be really upset when something is stained by grape juice or motor oil or whatever.

 And don't get me started on the shoes I can't wear because they make me topple over when I pick up my baby--or when I have to run into the parking lot to catch a too-excited-for-his-own-good-and-his-mother's-sanity child.

I'm not saying that I can't have nice things, I'm just saying that right now, in my life, nice things are hard to justify--knowing that regardless of the quality of the clothes that I wear everyday--they probably won't be around in a couple years.  But, this part of my life will change and one day I can wear whatever I want whenever I want.  And I love my family, of course I wouldn't change it.

Yes, today I wore flip flops, jeans, and this shirt and the salesman at the door asked if my mom or dad was home. I said no and slammed the door. Hard.  (Anger)  These things are obviously not related.  (Denial)  Yes, the stages of sewing grief are continual at my house:)

So, the long overdue point of this post is that I need clothes that are functional and beautiful and nice.  Or if not, beautiful, easy to wear, and looking more put together than before.  That was actually the point of this shirt gone awry.  It has baby batwing arms (pretty sure this is not a real sewing term--and for good reason).  It has a cowl-ish neck and Cynthia Rowley woven trim sewn down the front.  This trim looks more psychedelic every time I look at it.  Yikes!

How do you balance what you want to sew with sewing for your life?

Oh, and I don't have those patterns in my stash.  And they haven't been cut out.  And I don't have yards of lace.  Or silk.  (cough, cough)  


  1. Oh, I know that state of mind! Most of my sewing up until this last year was costumes---fanciful, frivolous, delightful, and ultimately disappointing because never or rarely worn. When I re-started sewing last year, I vowed to focus on things that were both practical and unique. I would say I've achieved both, although not always together... And I've definitely noticed the inclination to put on an apron, something I'd never felt before, when I wear some of my fancier stuff around the house. Now if only I had an apron. Geez, am I actually contemplating making an apron?!?

    As to the small children... Amazingly, this phase will actually pass. My baby is now 7 (how on earth did that happen?) and I can occasionally go DAYS without getting mystery-gunked.

    Three boys, though, that does sound truly terrifying...

  2. Poor salesman, his attempt to flatter you backfired, didn't it! Yes, I wear what I sew everyday. But the first thing I sewed was an apron! And the second thing. Loads of good apron patterns on the net. See the website "Tie one on".

    Then I made lots of skirts and half a dozen dresses that are wearable at home (ie no designer type fancy stuff, but pleasing on the eye stuff). If you don't sew highly complicated patterns in expensive fabrics, why shouldn't you look cute every day. If you spoil a dress that cost 20 dollars occasionally, so what? But if you choose washable fabrics in nice prints, they can stand up to quite hard wear and look good.

    With the skirts you can wear lots of lovely tops. Every skirt and every top can have different details, fabrics, designs, etc.

    Ditch the jeans. The jeans are the problem. Make a vow to wear them once a week at most and see what happens.....

  3. Ahhh been here before. I do wear what I make. Last time I looked in my closet I think about 90% of the things in there is stuff that I've made.

  4. Laughing...I've been there. Oh, wait, I'm still there.

    Oh, and people mistaking you for a pre-teen is very maddening. That happens to me a lot less now since I usually have a troop of kids following me.

    I agree that finding a middle ground is best for this stage of life. Whenever I try to wear a skirt, I end up on my hands and knees in a parking lot, trying to fetch a toy from under the car . . .

    But sewing for myself has helped me take the t-shirt/jeans uniform up a notch (and I'm still working on it). More interesting t-shirts, fun blouses, maybe fuller skirts that are easier to sit in (and crawl around in). I've yet to wear the two dresses I've made. Eventually....

  5. Amber, you are darling! I still can't get over how you manage to get all these projects done, simply amazing! And you are very creative too, loved the post!

  6. I don't really have much advice to offer, since I'm a kidless single girl. Based on my rather limited experience, I'd say just go with things that work practically for your life, but find ways to make them more fun and interesting. Especially with sewing, there's lots of ways you can embellish the basic t-shirts, with ruffles or paint or whatever. And I'd disagree with ditching the jeans, because I live in them too whenever I can!

    (Loved this post, btw. Very creatively written.)