Hey folks, thanks for your beautiful comments on my Balikbayan dress. I'm still waiting for the weather to warm up so I can wear it! Things have been harried here in the best possible way; things are just falling into place in every aspect of my life. However, it also means I haven't been getting a lot of sewing done and I'm still trying to keep up with my blog-reading after the Me-Made-March frenzy.
But I've had two things on my mind lately. The first is the irony of wanting to have a sustainable, quality wardrobe (promoted by things like Me-Made-March and my personal Fashion on the Ration challenge) and being an avid sewist who loves to create new things. They sometimes seem like the antithesis of the other. While one focuses on having less, the other is about creating more. Where do you stand on this?
Some like to think they're updating their wardrobe, piece by piece. A new beautiful piece displaces an old not-so-fabulous one, or perhaps new pieces are created to fill in the gaps of a current wardrobe. Others simply feel that there is always room in their closets for me-mades and still others that derive the most pleasure in the process of sewing (rather than the wearing of the garment) and that the accruing wardrobe is a manifestation of a crafty life.
I'm not sure where I stand on this, and perhaps it will shift with the season. But I began sewing seriously a year ago, when my life was very different, and I've now arrived at a place where I feel my wardrobe is more than sufficient. It could be more beautiful, but it does adequately equip me for my everyday life. Though I'll always fantasize about new things, I find myself now wondering how I can improve the things I already have.
Put another way: Perhaps the biggest benefit sewing has given me is not new items in my closet but a better sense of my own body and the skills and confidence to adapt existing items (garments and patterns). So I've become better at making choices about what cuts and colors flatter me and I've pared my closet accordingly. Rarely do I wear something anymore that I just hate and makes me feel self-conscious.
Another life change is that I've just bought my first bike in about a decade. When I lived in the capital, I bought a cheap roadbike with drop handlebars and zipped 1.5 miles to work through bumper-to-bumper traffic. But I'm so easily dissuaded. Mid-Atlantic humidity, the weight of my pack, the clumsiness of carrying the bike up and down stairs and locking it up. By the end, I left it on a pole to be picked for parts.
I'd sort of sworn off bike commuting after that. But this whole sewing-thing has delved me into a more Yes-I-Can mentality. Case in point, I've also discovered some staying power with the things I've always recognized as worthwhile pursuits but never had the tenacity for: Supporting local businesses, eating seasonally and locally, and composting. So why not bike commuting? I live in an awfully bike-friendly community and the commute to work is all flat with nearly no cars for 3 miles each way.
I'm posting this here partly because I believe in the power of public intention (and accountability). A year ago I wanted to be the kind of girl who could take ownership of her style through sewing. Today I want to take ownership of my body and my days this way.
And also true to my sewing tendencies, I thought about what is really going to make me comfortable? And is it quality and stylish to boot? So I bought a Public Bike J7, a locally designed, lightweight steel bike with European flair. And of course I needed a basket like I need pockets on everything.
But if I can stay on the road, this marks a life change and every change seems to find its way to my wardrobe, too. When I returned to working in an office, my wardrobe became much more formal. In fact, it was liberating: I could sew pretty things and actually wear them. And though I bought a bike that's meant to be ridden in skirts and dresses and heels, I'm guessing pencil skirts are off the table. Perhaps it's time to revisit my knit stash: clothes that are meant for movement.
What about you? Does your transportation method and/0r daily environment affect your wardrobe?
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