A bit like sewing knickers.

A few days ago, I had a conversation with a friend who shall remain nameless in this post, but if she wishes to reveal herself in the comments, who am I to stop her? 😉

We were chatting online, and our chat turned to “The Sewing Blogs”, as we’re both avid blog readers.

I noted that I was noticing an uprise in posts about a “more practical sewing approach” – in short, more and more bloggers seem to realize that pretty sundresses and fabulous frocks aren’t the most practical day to day wear. As a result, they (obviously) blog about their plans to modify or sometimes even transform their wardrobe.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m all for it. In fact, I’m thrilled by the prospect of seeing more posts about makes that could feature in my sewing.

Since I am, however, such a “not even cake, let’s stick with sandwiches” seamstress, I’m a bit amazed at the amount of wonder and enthusiasm I see expressed at the fact that life doesn’t tend to arrange itself obligingly around the tea dresses and silk blouses one makes.

My friend had noticed it, too: “what is it with the everyday wardrobe posts anyway?” She felt that a lot of posts she saw centered around “matching wardrobes”, and why did things have to match?

To which I replied, being old and wise and all that *cough*, that I had been waiting for it, really – to me, it seems these things happen in waves. Something just spreads like ripples, like it happened with vintage dresses and patterns. And it’s great and fun and inspiring, so lots of people join the party. And then the party somehow teeters out, and everyday life takes over. And with it, the everyday wardrobe.

Boom, one day you realize you love all you vintage dresses, and blouses, and most of all the woolen coat you made, and yet here you sit, in front of you laptop, hacking out your latest post – in jeans and a t-shirt. Life just doesn’t arrange itself … or, as I put it that day:

“Last year, everybody just wanted to sew vintage full skirted dresses. Which is fine, I guess, but very few people actually want to wear them all the time.
They think they do, but then … yeah, you just want to pop over to the supermarket, and you don’t want to wear something you have to put make up on for.
It’s a bit like making knickers.”

Huh, how did I get from vintage couture to … unmentionables?? Because there’s a similar hype starting around making your own underwear. Again, I wholeheartedly approve, and love that even Colette has posted about making a bra(lette) and a matching pair of knickers.

Let me be clear here: there’s nothing wrong with sewing fabulous vintage dresses, silk blouses and whatever else your heart desires. And I’m absolutely not suggesting that anybody actually EXPECTED their lives to change dramatically via their handmade wardrobe additions.

What I’m saying is that this fluency, the way people evolve and exchange their ideas and experiences is what I probably love most about the online sewist community. And I’m more than happy to lap up every new ripple, and get inspired and clearer about my own wardrobe vision.

With or without a plan, with or without regards to “everyday use” of your makes: Sew what  makes you happy.

And you might just find that it indeed changed you life – I know it changed mine. 😀

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Author: kokorimbaud

Love all things vintage, especially knitting from the victorian era through to the swinging twenties.

10 thoughts on “A bit like sewing knickers.”

  1. It strikes me that these bloggy fads are like joining the most energetic conversation at a party – even if the conversation is about something mundane, everyone’s so excited about it, you just gotta join in!

    I must say, the sewist blogging community starting to talk about the everyday wardrobe in this critical mass fashion does get me enthusiastic. Prior to that, all the vintage and pretty sundresses did not get me enthusiastic about sewing. I just knew I would never wear that stuff! I didn’t even like half of it. I, like you, am very much plain sandwich – not cake and most certainly not icing. I loved your post about being cucumber sandwich! With all this natter of the everyday wardrobe, it feels like maybe I *can* be a part of the online sewing community… Well, that’s if ever I get around to posting about the things that I sew…

    1. Hm, I’ve never seen it like that, but that’s a great analogy!
      Even tho I know I’m not likely to wear fluffy petticoats and boned sundresses, I still get a kick looking at them, and I do believe that some of the fashion sewing techniques can be helpful in making my more modest wardrobe items.
      Still, I totally agree that I feel a lot more engaged in knicker making discussions (so to speak) – welcome to the sewists community! I’m totally looking forward to seeing you blog about your makes – now you just don’t have any excuses anymore 😉

  2. I’ve found since I’ve started seeing again I’ve started to wear more of the clothes I like. Colours have popped back into my wardrobe, I trotted about town in my in-your-face red polka dot full-skirted Cambie – and I loved it. I do sew what makes me happy, I love my separates and make plenty of them – but I’ve always loved my frocks and I ain’t giving them up regardless of which way the bloggin’ winds are blowing. My mum made my undies as a kid and I hated them so I will never make them 🙂
    Although I don’t eat cake or icing in real life, I certainly love to sew and wear them LOL

    1. That sounds like you have found your sewing equilibrium, and congrats to that!
      When I started sewing, which was many, many moons ago, I loved to sew super colourful things, and some outright crazy things 😀 One of my fondest memories is a pair of capri trousers I made out of an old ikea bed-sheet … blue and green and red diamonds on yellow background. I looked like a clown, and I loved it.
      I think sewing, just as life, is a fluent thing, and one is bound to go through different phases … maybe? There might come a time where I want to make wild and exciting dresses again, who knows? All I know, it’s not now – but then, I have a whole internet full of them to look at, and all is well with the world.

  3. It is funny how ideas ripple through the blogs and online community. i guess being new and still being in my “50s dress phase” I didnt get it too much, but since discovering jersey I am all for sewing basics. 😀
    It´s odd as like on a day like today I am wearing self made trousers and a top. Nothing fancy but I get the same kick out of it as wearing a self made dress, and why didnt I pick the self made dress today? Well I wanted to feel good, but also blend in a little. 🙂
    Also taking the seamless pledge helped me reconsider my sewing priorities. Do I need another summer dress as winter is approaching? Probably not but a coat or long sleeve top may be good. 😛
    Anyway I am waffling on, yes I like your last point “Sew what makes you happy”. 😀 That is what it is all about!

    1. Yeah, I agree that considering hand-made things as the basis and not the addition might change what you want to make. But that’s just another facet of the beauty of it – these days, nobody has to make their clothes. If you happen do enjoy sewing, you’re totally free to pick which aspect you enjoy. And to change that, if that’s what happens. And change it yet again. Or not 😀

  4. Now that you mention it…. I made a couple ‘cake’ skirts this weekend and hated them both. I realised I really need to just get out my ‘sandwich’ tnt straight skirt pattern and whip up a new batch, rather than wasting more fabric on flights of fancy…I’ve worn the first 7 versions to death…cos they fit and feel great and take me from home to work and out on the weekend….Now I need to discover some ‘sandwich’ tnt tops….(Jalie 2682 is the only one that has reached that status with me). I have a Bra making kit…and old t-shirts stashed for future knicker making ….just to see what it’s like….eventually. Thanks for a well-observed post!

    1. Aw, sorry to hear you hate them 😦 Maybe you can try them at different occasions? I think following the occasional flight of fancy can be a super fun thing, and very inspirational.
      And I have a bra pattern sitting here, too, but I’m a wee bit intimidated by what looks rather fiddly and the fitting problems I imagine might present themselves, lol! Although knickers making is my favorite instant gratification project by now 😀

  5. I think you make a good point and it’s like a trend that people latch onto but there’s still merit in it depending on why you sew:

    Do you sew so you have one of a kind clothes no one else will have? Or because you can’t find commercial clothes to fit your body type? Or do you hate the commercial clothes industry? (If that’s the case you need to be making all kinds of exciting and less exciting items to keep your wardrobe stocked)

    Do you sew for the enjoyment of the act and pride in finishing something no matter what it is, learning new skills and techniques? (Then make whatever you like, cake or frosting or sandwiches, whatever takes your fancy regardless of how often you’ll wear it)

    For people like Zoe at “So Zo…” it’s part of an ethical mission statement so it works for her.

    For me its more about learning skills and channelling my creative energy into something rather than eliminating shopping. Hell, if I make an awesome skirt I don’t want to feel guilty about buying a nice top from the shops to go with it. I probably can’t make one similar due to not being up to scratch, but maybe one day I will 🙂
    And I’d probably only make pants that were silly and fun just to see if I could do it.

    1. Thank you – and I totally agree that looking at your own, personal motives for sewing can provide some interesting insight. I also think that those motives probably change over time.
      When I first started to sew, I was 14 years old, desperately looking to define myself against “normal” society (my life felt very not normal those days), and all I had was a treadle machine.
      Fast forward , and I’m after totally different things. Outlet for creative energy is certainly (still) one of them. Displeasure with the fashion industry (or large parts of it) another, newer one. A much better eye for fit … now, that is a bit of a hen and egg question.
      I could go on with this list 🙂

      That being said – if you just, you know, love to sew, and aren’t inclined to do any sort of soul searching … that’s cool, too. Just having fun is an excellent reason to do things, methinks! 😀

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