November 6, 2010

Confession of a sewing addict

First of all: thank you all for the nice comments on my leather jacket! I really appreciate it.

Now, on to the matter at hand: did I really need a fabulous, edgy, original, new leather jacket? (even if it's made from used material) Of course not. In fact, apart from motorcycle gear, I can't imagine a set of circumstances in which one would really, REALLY, need a leather jacket...
And yet, I'm happy having made it. Even though it may soon be too cold to wear it outside, and I personally think leather is usually too warm to wear indoors, I'm still happy with it.
It's an achievement. In design, in execution, in style. It suits that 'ideal me'-dress up doll in my head... not to mention my inner perfectionist seamstress...

Coming to think of it, I've done this sort of thing before, and I will most certainly do it again.
These are some of my best loved creations from the past two years. I still love all of them, but I haven't worn them that much (they're all either too warm or too formal for my every-day life): My first jacket from re-used leather, my lovingly tailored tweed jacket, the 'tsarina' jacket with its labouriously made fake-fur striped edges and the heavy wool block-y jacket which was a triumph in use of the fabric and has my first self-drafted raglan sleeve.
I loved designing these, drafting the patterns, checking and fitting them with muslins and finally sewing them. And I love how they look. Even if they don't really have a place in my day-to-day wardrobe. And it's not just jackets either. Some of my more spectacular summer dresses fall into the same category (shelf-bust dress, anyone?).
And then there's a whole seperate category which deserves the title of "experiments which may or may not work out". Things like my free-form top or my recycled and draped silk shirt.
Fortunately my track record of succes in these endevours is rather good and many of these items make it from experiment to wardrobe staple. Or something to 'achievement project' (see above)...

To sum up: Yes, I am a sewing addict and I freely admit it. Although I sew my entire wardrobe and I try to sort of plan to sew what I will need, I am easily distracted. I love to go for projects which allow me to test or expand my skills or to try out new shapes and looks. I sometimes feel silly for making things I don't actually need, but I can't help myself. Fortunately, I am adventurous enough in dressing to wear all these things out at least sometimes...

What I'm wondering now is this: What is your view on this? Do you sometimes make complicated things just for the sake of making them? Or so can look at them from time to time and feel proud? And if, in doing so, you learn and love it, was it really such a waste of time, effort or material?


  1. I absolutely understand your line of thought on this... i do make such outfits which are complicated or rather make it complicated just for the thrill of it, and yes the proud feeling you get whenever you see that is inexplicable....

    You have an amazing collection of Jackets...the weather here in Chennai does not let me even dream wearing a Jacket... and hence its my excuse of not having attempted one...

  2. I'm with you on this, turning a 2D limp flat material into a fully wearable fitting 3D garment is so thrilling, that I too have made a lot of stuff to better my skills and have a closet full of garments I hardly ever wear. And I love it. As CreativeMama said, the feeling is inexplicable...

  3. Sewing is a hobby for most of us, therefore its first task is to make us happy. The fact that it also clothes us is just an added bonus!

    But then, I am guilty of having half my closet full of stuff too formal, impractical, or just dang costume-y to wear on a regular basis. And it all just makes me *happy*. (And I didn't even make most of it... I am trying to keep my sewing every-day and practical... for now)

  4. Normally I choose projects that I think I might actually want to wear... but my problem is that I see so many things I like that I tend to focus on those rather than planning what I need. My weakness is fabric... if I see a beautiful fabric I buy it and then try to think of a project I might use it for.
    I am also a project collector addict... My favorites list is never ending... I think I would need to quit my full time job to be able to sew all I want (BTW I finished your drape top! Thanks again for the pattern)

  5. No, at this stage of your life, increasing your repertoire of skills and exercising your imagination is a great use of your time. I did that before I had children and a market job on top of that.

    Now, I sew mainly what we need to keep us clothed (and endless mending and letting out of hems). Someday, I will go back to sewing stuff just because I want to see how it is put together and to see if an idea will work.

  6. I think a true sewing addict knows exactly what you are talking about. I love to sew for the challenge on certain projects. I love to sew basics too. Sewing allows so much creativity and growth. You can take it as far as you want to go and I love that about sewing. The only things that feel like a waste of time are the ones that don't turn out, but I guess even those you learn something new on. Enjoy your exploits.

  7. I'm starting to make things that I normally wouldn't buy just because it is more difficult to make. Which is giving me a high respect for them.

  8. I've been thinking about this since I had a health scare that made me stop and wonder what my loved ones would say cleaning out my closet of a decade plus' worth of clothes sewn with passion. Would they notice that some of the best items in terms of material and design were hardly worn, while others paid for themselves many times over? Once I finished treatment, I was back at it, sewing far more than I need, and loving each adventure. Who's to say why? Savings? Not at this point. Hope? I think so. Many items are expressions of the woman I want to be, how I hope to see myself, where I might want to be.

  9. I can definitely relate to this. I like to challenge myself on a regular basis too. But lately I'm trying to make more useful things that will go with other garments I already have. I re-use patterns a lot, but I also branch out into new ones a lot... I guess I'ma bit of both, and just love sewing and fashion full stop!!

  10. I went to FIT in NY and the majority of students end up wearing black jeans and a white T shirt to school (or a version thereof), while creating the most amazing garments. You make what you like, it doesn't need to be practical. You may find that if you only make practical (or saleable) things you won't enjoy yourself anymore.

  11. Learning is never a waste of effort. Self-guided learning is especially thrilling for a lot of us. Too often, we fall into the trap of believing the end result is the point; not always. We don't always need to know "what is it?" (or, in this case, "where would I ever wear this?") just to create. So I'm with ya. (Like Sewing Princess, I tend to fall for a fabric and then make something ridiculous out of it. But there's even sooooo much fun in that.)