Thursday, 5 January 2017

Always Forward.

I had actually had the majority of a top 5 post written up but decided to delete it instead. I gotta say, love reading everyone else's reflections on the past year, though.

To keep this post from being overly wordy and/or boring, I'm throwing in some unblogged garments I've made. Fair warning--some of the picture quality is shite. Deal with it.
Linden sweatshirt. Sized down to a four (Much more flattering). Arms pieced together (so I have enough fabric for another). Fuzzy-backed poly knit (i.e. it actually keeps me warm), with ponte bands.
What made me delete the post? Well, I read these two posts (here and here), and, in a lot of ways, they have summed up how I've been feeling about the sewing community we are in lately. When I first started sewing and reading blogs, I was so impressed by how supportive the community seemed. I would comment and e-mail people, and, if I was lucky, get a response, but that was it. Not much reciprocation.
Cotton jersey Hemlock, for a friend.
With every link round-up, every pattern testing round-up, every guest blogger, and every comment, it was beginning to feel more like a "cool girls club", which I clearly was not a part of. The same bloggers would be showcased across the web over and over. What happened to the "we support everyone" mentality that was supposed to exist? Why do I feel like I am back in high school?
Kwik Sew 4172, drastically altered, for a friend. Navy rayon jersey. In-seam pockets. EXTRA swishy.
As a blogger, you start to equate your blog with yourself. After all, isn't this little piece of web a reflection of yourself? Why aren't people following my blog? I make stuff too! It can be nice. Maybe it's not from the hottest indie pattern? Maybe they don't like my writing? Maybe I'm not posting fast enough? Maybe it is not interesting enough to comment on? Let's enter this contest so I can get more people to like my stuff! I'll make this indie design and then send them a link with the hopes that they will maybe put me on their Pinterest board if they feel I'm relevant enough. As one of the posts I link to above state, you start to equate likes and follows to self-worth, and for me that is a weird feeling because even in high school I just accepted my weird self and did whatever I wanted.
Terrible quality! But, you can see the bands used instead of lining it.
When I read those two posts, they really resonated with me. Why the f*ck do I keep doing this? In an effort to seem "relevant" I would buy patterns from indie companies that I knew would look like shit on my body type. I overlooked terrible drafting, instead thinking that if I just did enough adjustments, the garment would fit right and that it was somehow my problem it didn't. And when I knew that something had been drafted carelessly and then proceeded to contacted the designer to point it out, I just assumed that the designer was too busy to respond when she didn't. It's as though, in some ways, the online sewing community is a bad boyfriend, you just keep on making excuses for them, secretly lying to yourself about the fact that deep down, you know it's not a healthy relationship.
I started sewing because I needed a creative outlet where I could work with my hands to physically do something. I wanted to create unique garments that fit me better in styles that weren't readily available. I wanted to blog to be able to share the experience and to connect with others who have similar interests in a meaningful way. More than this, I wanted to have a positive impact on the environment and stop pretending that a $20 dress from H&M didn't exploit a worker in another part of the world.
Scout wearable muslin in crappy suit fabric. I don't remember the size and you can't make me go upstairs to find out.
I remember when sewing blogs used to be critical, honest, and slow, focusing on the process over the product. I want to get back to that here. I work full-time. I have a husband and a dog and friends and family and a house that all need my attention. I simply can't churn out garments at the same pace as many other bloggers are doing--at the same rate as fast fashion is doing. So I won't. If you can't stick around because of that, cool. If you can, awesome. So, how do I move forward from here?
First of all, I purged my Bloglovin' reader. No more people giving uncritical pattern reviews for freebies, no more "cool girls club". There are a select few people on my reader that are genuinely kind, who are actually interested in having a conversation, and those are the types of people I would like to be around in real life, so they stay (Thank you for being actual human beings who are genuinely lovely to talk to! You know who you are! xoxo). There are a few other blogs I've kept who don't really reciprocate too much, but who are always an endless source of inspiration, and hey, at least they don't mindlessly promote, promote, promote. After that, it is time for me to make some legitimate goals to work towards for the new year.

Blog Goals:
1. Be more critical. If I try a pattern and I think it sucks, I will say so. Sorry I've sugar coated a bit more than I should have in the past.

2. Post whenever I damn well feel like it. If this means I post two times in 2017, so be it. I don't want to pressure myself to produce more, more, more (!), when I could be taking my time with a higher quality instead.

Sewing Goals:
1. Take my time to really plan, fit, and sew my wardrobe. I want to focus more on creating a timeless wardrobe that works well together and that will last me a long time in fabrics that are natural and sustainably sourced. This one may take a few years to get to though, and you may think that I gave up on the sustainably sourced fabrics part, but I want to use what is in the stash first. More than anything, when I pick out fabrics and patterns to try, I want to do so because they work well for me, not because I think it is the newest trend and it will get me noticed.

2. That brings me to #2, no more fabric. I was actually mostly good about this this past year. There were four new additions (a linen knit, some wool coating, a small piece of quilting cotton [in a dog print, I mean come on!], and some tencel denim), that I actually purchased. I used a giftcard for another purchase of cotton sateen, and any other purchases were purely for other people's projects. Everything else I used was from the stash. Now that I have the wool for my coat, I hope that I can more or less make it through the year without more.

3. Make a quilt. This will likely be the only exception to #2. Ever since we adopted Sweet Dee, I've wanted to make a quilt for the local humane society to raffle off as a way of saying thank you. I think I found the perfect pattern. I hope to have this finished by the end of the summer.

4. Incorporate embroidery into a design. I really like the idea of being able to take all that time to embroider something and then be able to wear it afterwards. I have a few ideas for things that I may like to try. This one may end up on the back burner, but what are goals if not a starting place?

5. Finish a coat. I've put this off for a few years, but my current coat won't last another year so there's not much choice here. Not after the money I spent on my wool, anyway.

6. More sewing time, less Pinterest/Bloglovin' time. I think that the purge will help this one out. I just find that I spend WAY too much time eyeballing what I could be making instead of actually freaking making it.

And that is it really. Sorry if this came off as a bummer of a post, it wasn't really meant to be that way. I've just been repressing these feelings for a long time and now that others have put it into words, I have been able to state much more clearly how I have been feeling.

I am breaking up with my bad boyfriend because I deserve amazing, quality, comfortable, hand-made garments that suit my style and body without feeling pressure to get more likes and follows from people I don't know.

It's over.

And you know what, it's not me, it's you.


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