Next month (August), my local lifestyle magazine, Carlisle Living, is running a small feature article on me. The focus of the article is not just on my sewing and my blog (although that is a prominent part of the article), but on my life, career and education. I was asked to pick eight items that have a special meaning to me and explain what that meaning was. It was not that easy to find eight items, let me tell you!
Anyway, it may surprise you to know that quite a number of my friends/ acquaintances don’t actually know that I make my own clothes, or write a sewing blog. It will probably come as quite a surprise to lots of them….and now I am not even sure what I was doing agreeing to be featured! I would describe myself as a confident woman, but I don’t advertise the fact I make my own clothes to all and sundry. I figured that the timing of the article would be good as I am hoping to teach local sewing classes after the summer.
Lots of people don’t understand why I chose to make (most) of my own clothes. Initially, it was a creative outlet for me at a time when I needed it. I was a new mum, back at part time work, and also studying a fairly intensive distance learning program for a diploma in medical toxicology. The sewing was a way for me to be creative and expressive.
After that it became something to fill the quiet (winter) nights. My husband works evenings and my daughter would be asleep by 7:30pm. Obviously I couldn’t leave the house, so I would go and sit in my sewing room near her bedroom and sew for a couple of hours in the evening with the TV on in the background for company.
But now it has become much more than that. I find sewing my own clothes very….empowering. I don’t have to fit in with the industry standards in terms of size. And that applies to all women whether you are petite or plus size….we don’t all just fit into the standard measurement models that the Ready to Wear Industry uses. I also enjoy the fact that my clothes are individual and perhaps have a special story or meaning behind them.
Another thing that people don’t understand is why I don’t sew clothes for other people or for money. Well, being perfectly honest with you, I just don’t enjoy it, and I don’t want to spend the spare time I have doing that. All us sewists understand the time it takes to make an item….something that non-sewists don’t perhaps appreciate. I enjoy making clothes for myself….any other sewing time is pretty much exclusively reserved for my husband and daughter.
And of course, now I have my blog, and through that I have “met” some amazing, supportive, talented people both virtually and in real life. That’s YOU, readers 🙂
So, I bet you are wondering what the eight items I picked were? In short:
- A handmade quilt I made for Kezia when she was 2 years old
- My PhD thesis
- An oil painting of Pultney Bridge in Bath, the place where I had my first full time, permanent job after getting my PhD and which holds happy memories
- A book commemorating 75 years of OXO (yes, that’s right, the gravy granule cube), published about 25 years ago. Whilst I was at school I entered a competition to design a tin commemorating 75 years of the OXO brand, and I won a highly commended prize…part of which included this book
- A saree that I wore for my betrothal ceremony the night before I got married to Philip in India (10 years ago at the end of this year)
- A carved wooden box that was one of the last gifts my father gave me the year he died (in 1994)
- A photobook I made for one of our favourite ever family holidays to Kefalonia in Greece…beautiful, beautiful place
- The white eyelet dress that I made using fabric from Paris. I picked this one because everytime I wear this dress I am reminded of our trip to Paris and how magical it was for my daughter meeting Cinderella and seeing the princesses dance.
So, what were the reasons that you started sewing? And does everyone know that you sew or write a sewing blog? Or is it just me keeping secrets and being a dark horse (I admit I always have been one to keep my cards close to my chest)?
Until next time….