A reader mentioned recently that my sewing patterns tend to be for warm weather and casual clothes. Hmm, looking back, that’s probably right. It’s easy to explain. I design clothes and sewing patterns that I want to wear, and here in the Cayman Islands, we rarely have call for either cool weather clothes or formal clothes.
There have been several blog posts in the last 6 months about building a wardrobe of basics and classics, and sewing what you actually will wear. So do I sew what I wear? It’s an interesting question and quite different from asking ‘do you wear what you sew’?
So I took a brief survey of three things:
- what’s in my wardrobe?
- of that, what did I make?
- what did I wear for 2 weeks?
The results were probably not much of a surprise to most people who sew their own clothes. What we make or buy, and what we wear most often, are often very different things. My trips to the fabric store are always fun, but I still tend to favor buying fabrics that are ‘flashy’. Big bold prints, bright colors, or gorgeous dress fabrics such as lace, velvet, satin, embroidered and so on. As much as I love to hoard these fabrics and sometimes sew them into beautiful things to wear, much of it is rarely worn. Not because it doesn’t fit, or I don’t like it, but purely because it doesn’t fit my life style.
If I look at my hanging wardrobe, I feel ashamed to say that actually, I hardly ever even go there! It’s full of some lovely clothes, some bought, some sewn, but those clothes are for special occasions, or perhaps for wearing to the office, and I don’t have an office job any more. So most of it never sees the light of day. I’m embarrassed now when I look at it -what a waste!
What do I sew? Actually its been a good mix of formal, office wear and casuals so I don’t feel too bad. As I am still new to sewing I’ve tried out a fair few different projects and fabrics, although I see I have a tendency to sew dresses, and add them to my hanging wardrobe. To admire them, want to wear them, but never have the right places to go.
So my survey into what I wear, in descending order:
- t-shirts of all kinds including the gathered front t-shirt and the summer drape top
- shorts, still loving the Pink Bubblegum Velour shorts I made
- my own sewn underwear, including many copied from my favorites and never written about
- leggings, for around the house and exercise wear
- my fleece hoodie, comes with me on my dive trips to keep warm between dives
- the Wear Everywhere Dress, whenever I need to look a bit nicer, suits every occasion
- the skirts I made for the Sew A Skirt Series, especially the mint green eye-let one and the floral print, usually paired with a plain t-shirt
- my cowl neck top paired with the classic straight leg knit pants, for dinners out
- my reversible apron, for dinners in.
So, mostly casuals – t-shirts, shorts, leggings. Only casual dresses. Even ‘going out’ in Cayman is a very relaxed affair. An event where you can’t wear shorts and flip flops is rare indeed!
So, this leads me to re-evaluate my stash. I have quite a bit of fabric gathered up now, but why is it when I want to sew, I can’t find anything suitable? Because I buy the wrong fabrics, I buy the wrong patterns, and I sew for the life in my dreams rather than my real life!
That changes now, and I’ll try to concentrate on sewing more casuals, sewing things that real people actually wear most of the time. I’ll try to develop patterns that I think you will want to sew over and over. Ball gowns are lovely, but why spend 50 hours sewing a dress you’ll wear once in your life, when you can spend 2 hours sewing 2 or 3 casual t-shirts you will wear the hell out of!
This whole exercise now at the end, just feels like it has been an excuse to demand more fabric! I need to buy more solids, more knit fabrics, more colors I actually wear and less than I love but don’t suit me. Most of my every-day wear is knit fabrics, and I’ve got a feeling I’m not alone there, so I’m going to continue to concentrate on these kinds of casuals for the future.
So what about you? What fabric do you like to buy? What projects do you mostly sew and how does it compare to what you actually wear most? Do you want to sew beautiful clothes, or do you want to sew clothes you’ll actually wear everyday?