Today I found myself wandering through some handmade markets surrounded by fabric sewed into bibs, children’s clothing and pram blankets. If something could be turned into something else with bright, colourful fabric then it was there on someone’s stall being displayed and sold.
My mum kept pointing out how many of the things there I could have sewed myself. The only barrier being the appropriate pattern and a whole lot of time.
I guess what struck me about this whole set up was just how handmade everything looked. Don’t get me wrong their stuff was stitched beautifully - trust me, I looked. So I guess the thing that got me was the choice of fabrics. So much of what they were were selling was made from cutesy quilting cotton. Which I love, I do. In fact I’ve got a whole lot of dresses lined up in some bright quilting fabrics for summer because I find them really fun and individual to wear. But it made me stop and think that maybe when people see me wearing what I’ve sewn they think the same thing? There goes that girl swathed in cutesy quilting cotton. Bet she made that herself.
I think this was all brought to a head by sitting down to watch Project Runway straight after. I see these incredibly talented designers heading into a fabric store and walking out with different stuff to what I would choose. I see them turn a concept into a finished product and what they end up with is something commercial and incredibly expensive looking no matter how much they spend on the actual fabric.
What I’m trying to say is that whether I’ve seen it along the way or not my sewing is changing. I used to be so incredibly excited just to follow a pattern and end up with something wearable that I hadn’t stopped to think about the editing. The editing! The Tim Gunn moment when you really evaluate what you’re making, how it’s going to look when worn, whether the fabric is true to what you’re making and what you want to achieve, whether the silhouette works for your body type.
I find myself pinning pictures on my Pinterest boards like this one of all the clothes I want to make. Then I find myself online shopping for fabric because it’s cutesy or a bit different or because I’ve never seen it in a store before.
What I’m noticing now is a gap. Between what I want to make that I’d realistically wear in my wardrobe, and what I actually buy fabric for. There is a notable divide between fabric I will buy to make things out of and what I actually want to sew up for myself to have a versatile and on fashion wardrobe.
I’m not sure if this happens to you as well. I’m not sure if I’m the only one struggling to bridge this gap. I’m also not sure that I’m going to stop buying funky, cutesy fabrics because they’ll make my things look handmade.
I think this is just my moment to recognise that my sewing has turned from a fun little hobby to a way to project who I am as a person, who I want to be and how I want people to perceive me whether they know I’ve made the garment or not.
Is there anyone else out there who sees that gap I’m talking about? Does it bother you enough to change your fabric purchases? I’d love to hear from you!