Thanks for your incredible responses to my question, "Are you a book-person or a pattern-person?" It was so fascinating to read your perspective. Many of you said you utilize both and, in hindsight, I probably gave short shrift to patterns. As Taran says, "We shouldn't have to choose! And neither do you! "
But your comments got me thinking. Roobeedoo might have hit it on the head when she wrote:
I am a real sucker for the "lifestyle" that the photographs in a book portray - so I spend hours at my sock-knitting pattern books, ogling the model's pyjamas / cushions / mugs / garden instead of getting on with my knitting!
I thought, "Yes, that's exactly it!" I'm totally a sucker for lifestyle, or put another way, the style and personality images express. I can daydream for hours in this universe that's been half built by the author and illustrator/photographer and half built by me putting myself in the clothes (fast-forwarding to them actually being sewn, it is my fantasy after all!). Speaking of pretty photographs, I've been oogling Japanese sewing books (like Scruffy Badger) and Burda Magazine (like Solvi) for a while, but if I were to procure them, it's quite possible I'd get no sewing done at all.
Patterns can offer style and individuality but largely through sewers, in my opinion. That's why I love the blogosphere. I typically turn to other bloggers (you!) for inspiration. I love seeing the possibility of patterns, how a single pattern can be interpreted numerous ways. It's just so damn creative. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a project on one of your blogs and thought, "I'd never think to pick up that pattern from the envelope illustration but it's lovely made up!" or "What an unexpected color choice that totally works!" or "Wow, this is a totally new take on this pattern." Or simply, "You go girl!"
See, the thing is, I fear I'm not very original. I envy all of you who can look at a pattern illustration or sketch and dream up your own unique vision. Like Karen, I just love the photos that books and blogs offer. She wrote:
I guess my imagination just needs some help! Of course the danger with that is it's harder to imagine variations in color or fabric (like in Twinkle Sews which I LOVE I get one variation stuck in my head and it's harder to think how it would look in, say, a different weight or color of fabric).
Yes again! Twinkle Sews, unlike my other sewing books, does not offer variations on patterns. The first project I'd like to make is this Skyline Skirt, far right:
And guess what I'm making it in? Navy and black and white houndstooth.
Oh, and there's the Rooibos pattern on the way to me, and guess what I'm thinking? Navy blue with white trim. My excuse is that I've got it in my stash, but the truth is I haven't been able to get it out of my head since I first saw this photo. And the list of imagined projects that don't stray far from the original photograph goes on and on.
Something about this feels like shopping the hard way. Or sewing sans agency. Me see, me likey, and then try to replicate is exactly.
I hope this is part of the maturation process of sewing, that the more I sew, the more chances I'll take. I'll get a better handle on my own personal style, fabric choice and be more courageous to concoct what I don't see. And perhaps I won't always need variations to very obviously see what appeals in a range of options.
What are your tendencies on this issue? How do you dream up original takes on patterns? Where do you find your inspiration if it's not in the pattern itself? Books and blogs serve this function for me, but perhaps its fabric or magazines for you? And do you care about making each piece "you"?
By the way, through Karen, I discovered the Crafty Book Challenge, an opportunity to actually use your craft books in 2011. And I promise sewing-related posts to come, I've got two quick pieces to share with you.