April 11, 2007

A Way To Enjoy Sewing

Cutting up & restructuring a cast-off garment is much less intimidating than creating something without or even with a pattern. So much less intimidating that it's really fun. It's fun, & materials are plentiful in the form of thrifted garments. It's therefore cheap to practice & experiment with this sort of garment construction which leads to ever increasing ability to realize what I envision. I didn't anticipate this, because I've never felt quite so much freedom to whack clothing up & experiment. If the armsythe is too confining, next time I'll know to cut it deeper in back, etc. It's actually easier to fit someone this way than it is using a commercial pattern.

This isn't an entirely new concept - although the current reconstruction or recycling trend bears little resemblance to its previous incarnation. In the past, people used up their belongings. Garments frayed & worn at the edges were recycled into smaller garments using the remaining good yardage. I have an illustrated WWII pamphlet detailing how Americans could 'do their part' in the war effort by using old worn garments to create new clothing. The pamphlet shows several possible pattern layouts to ensure the least possible waste.

I've had several 'special' pieces of fabric for years. These are sizeable pieces intended for a basic garment; a special piece of wool, or linen. I cannot bring myself to cut into these. What if the garment doesn't fit well? I really have no desire to sew on these fabrics. Anything made with them would have to be essentially perfect. The margin for error is zero. That insures disaster, since disaster is anything shy of perfect . What is perfect? I have fewer disasters than I ever have, but 3 yards of black cashmere? That's stress. Cutting & sewing with my shoulders all crunched up & my jaw clenched? Pass. When my grandmother gave it to me, my mom said fabric like it couldn't be purchased anywhere now. Maybe I'll hang it on an empty wall.

I have approached many arts/crafts by working toward technical mastery. Read the instructions, find the 'best way', understand why, use the method, etc. There is a lot of value in technical mastery (control), but it can get pretty stagnant. The mushrooming interest in crafts in the last few years has really demonstrated the value of experimentation. Sometimes a very experimental approach distinctly lacks technical mastery - it is not tied to 'the method'. New ideas are developed. Being exposed to this creative energy & having access to varied & affordable materials really adds to the pleasure of making things. It has become less about affording materials & mastering technique. It's much more exciting to try to conceive a new & interesting use for something. Its just engaging my mind in a different direction.


Grace said...

Oh, my! These projects are amazing! Your choice of color and design is really inspiring, and the work looks very high-quality! I am really, really inspired and impressed!

I am so glad you added me as your contact on flickr, otherwise I may not have found you. Thanks!

Sadie Lou said...

I really like the Tee with the trees. Very nice. I'm in awe of your skills.

fun_is_always_in_style said...

Thanks Grace, for your very nice words. My daughter & I found your pictures & blog yesterday & we enjoyed looking at just about every single picture.
Your daughter's smile is over the top cute. She smiles with her eyes...

fun_is_always_in_style said...

Thanks again, doink.
You should see my nunchuck skills.