About Me

Monday, October 20, 2014

Internet and "on-line sewing"

I read Morgan's last post about her week without internet with great interest. There are times in life when I would prefer to immerse myself in the fantasy world of the internet. Less than two months ago we've been through such a period of time during the war in Israel. Scrolling Instagram, reading blogs and collecting inspiration on Pinterest helped me disconnect for short periods of time from the awful painful reality of our being at that time. We were mostly cooped up in the apartment as missile alarms could go off at any time of the day, and while in our town it was relatively safe our families in other parts of the country had them several times a day. Looking at pictures of other people from the sewing community having normal daily fun and continuing with normal daily sewing activities helped me remember that this time will past and I, too, will able to go back to my normal life. 

This advantage of the internet, helping us get inspired by looking at other people's daily activities, normal routines and achievements, is a complicated one. Of course this sort of inspiration is a good thing, but given the edited nature of the content we consume on the internet, instead of being inspired we can end up feeling bad with ourselves and with our seemingly less glorious lives. Looking at pictures taken at special fun moments may give us the illusion that every moment of every day may look like this for everybody else, while we're stuck in a relatively boring reality. This may result in disappointment with our own lives, even though we may subjectively enjoy it very much. 

Another point is that by looking at what other people are sewing and being inspired by their choice of patterns and fabric, we may sometimes find ourselves wanting to make the exact same thing rather than choose our sewing projects in a way that is most suitable for our lives, workplace, and personal style. This may be especially more relevant nowadays as personal sewing blogs become more professional and photos are better directed and edited. Sometimes I find it hard to distinguish between genuinely liking a garment I see and being inspired to make it myself, as opposed to being attracted to the atmosphere the picture represents; usually this atmosphere has very little to do with the reality of life, and the garment plays only a small part of the scene. I interpret my immediate reaction to the photo as my wish to have the way of life portrayed in the picture. Usually the scene is calm, smooth, bright and peaceful, light-years away from my regular, normal, fun but un-glamorous life. Considering the time I have to spend on my hobby is limited, I would like to spend as much of it actually sewing but sometimes I feel so far away from the pretty peaceful lives portrayed in blogs, that it feels like sewing an actual garment will not bring me closer to experience something that beautiful.

However, the truth is that clothes don't REALLY matter, and having beautiful peaceful life has very little (if anything) to do with what we wear. I love clothes, I love sewing, I feel better with myself when I dress nicely, and I absolutely wouldn't trade the time I spend sewing for anything. But the reason I love my life is because I spend it doing what I enjoy and with people I love, and not because it's perfect. I don't live in pictures but in reality, and this is something I sometimes forget. 

The problem is - I wouldn't be the sewist I am or the person I am today, if not for the internet. The inspiration and information is indispensable (not just for sewing, but in almost every area of my life) and therefore I can't and won't give it up. It is probably more like going on a diet - we all must eat, it's just a matter of quantity, quality, and the fact we shouldn't be controlled by it.

Consequently I've been trying to find a better balance between "online sewing" and real-life sewing. More importantly by making a conscience effort to be more aware of what I like and why I like certain types of inspiration, I'm trying to distinguish between patterns and garment that will go well with my everyday wardrobe, and those that are simply beautiful but probably will not fit in my life. 

I hope that by doing so, as well as by managing my online sewing time better, I'll be able to create a happy functional wardrobe and lengthen my attention span so I'll be able to concentrate for longer periods of time on "real life stuff". Managing time is always a problem (especially for self-employed or those who have very little guidance from their supervisors at work!) and I hope the first steps I'm taking now will help me become better at this with time. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Summer Dress - DONE!

Hi all!

We've just come back after marvelous ten days of hiking, driving, hiking some more and traveling the beautiful villages and cities of northern Greece. It's a bit difficult to return to "normal" life after a vacation, I enjoyed to peace and quite of just being the two of us together without all the "white noise" we all have in our lives. I missed the sewing machine, though. Before living I finished the quilt I've been working on since April and also made the rug, but I didn't hem the black Moss skirt and three Stratchona tshirts I made for myself (and took two of them with me to Greece, un-hemmed...). The night before our flight I also cut fabric for couch-cushions so I do have some WIP I can continue while I ease back into my daily routine. 
One garment I manage to finish before our trip (hem included!) was the black knit summer dress I started two months ago. Fortunately we had a few warmer days before the trip so I wore it a couple of times already, and enjoyed it very much. It was a long process even though it's such a simple dress, mostly because the fear of messing it up made me second guess myself every step of the way. 

I used my self-hacked racer-back sports bra pattern as the base for the back. I used a different dress I have (RTW, almost never wear it) to estimate how much length I should add to the back and front pieces. 

In the above picture the original pattern is demonstrated with the length I added for both the front and the back pieces. The ~1" shorter back pieces is supposed to compensate for my sway-back (a problem I have with most commercial patterns). Since I could only estimate the different in length between the front and the back, and didn't know if I'd like the end result, I didn't trace the pattern and cut the fabric using the above pieces. It's a reciprocal process - I have to use the real fabric rather than start with a muslin because it's a knit fabric, but I feel like I can't cut into the real fabric before I'm sure my measurements are correct. At the end I just decided it would be "good enough for a first try" and cut the fabric. As planned I self-lined the bodice using Sarai's method, just as I did with my sports bra. I cut the pieces for the lining a bit smaller all around hoping the smaller lining will make the seam-line roll inwards. The moment I tried on the bodice I realized how silly I was for procrastinating the project. The bodice fits well, I like it, the seam-lines mostly role inwards as I wanted. 

After making the bodice I re-thought the skirt. Originally I planned using the Lady Skater skirt pieces but I didn't want to complicate things by trying to match the Lady Skater pieces with the waist line of "my pattern". Instead, I traced the general shape of an RTW skirt I have, assuming I could make it work (thankfully, knits are so forgiving!).

I added a lot of length to the skirt (at the end I cut 10 cm from the length I added), and make an FBA (=full butt adjustment) to the back piece, by adding more width and length to the center back. I didn't enclosed the waist seam between the bodice shell and lining as planned, as the bodice was a bit too short and I didn't want to risk it too much. 

Initially I thought the bodice was about 2 inches too short; I felt the racer-back didn't balance the fuller skirt and that more length should be added to the bodice in order for the dress to have better proportions. After wearing it for a while though I started changing my mind. I think the quirky proportions work well for a summer dress, and I can also envision this silhouette in floral fabric with cooler colors for autumn (under a cardigan, maybe even a long one, with boots and leggings). I also have some sparkly black knit I would like to turn into a long sleeve version of this dress (like the Lady Skater, only with the fuller skirt I drafted), but I'm not sure if I can pull off the short bodice in a long-sleeve dress as well. Any suggestions? 

Of course I procrastinated the hem for as long as I could. I started with a blind hem but 20 cm later I realized it was too weak for a dress I intend to wear often, and I was too lazy to continue. It took a few minutes with the tween needle to have a proper hem, and while it is not invisible I still prefer the more durable finish on a knit dress. Have your ever tried hemming a knit garment with a blind hem?
All in all i'm happy with this dress and think the silhouette it worth tracing the pattern and giving it another go.

pattern: self-drafted
fabric: 1.5 meters = 37.5 ISL = 10 $
thread = ~2.5 shekels = 0.68 $
Total: 40 ISL = 10.68 $