Do you think before you sew?

in needleworkmonday •  3 months ago

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Naturally we are all thinking constantly, while eating and walking, while reading and baking and while sewing. Contrary to some meditation teachers our brain cannot stop to think while it is alive. Nevertheless, although I am alive during sewing (mostily) my sewing is not always well considered.
In my dreams handmade clothes should follow the guidelines of a minimalistic and curated wardrobe. Meaning I only sew garments which fit, let me feel beautiful, are practical and more over harmonize together. I could summarize this as: my phantasy handmade wardrobe is the opposite of my real one :-D
But wait… two thirds of my clothes are already handmade… ups. What happened, you will ask? Why don’t you follow your own ideals, you will ask? I will answer with a photo of my fabric stash – tada!

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You see a box full of funny patterns and colors. Every fabric on its own looks lovely (in my eyes) but all together – gag. And this weird mixture has a reason. As you all know I am fairly new to sewing and I am a slow and timid learner. I make so many mistakes and I find it especially hard to adapt clothes to my body type. If I dare to tackle a new garment type for example a simple dress with a wide skirt, I always need several attempts to change the sewing pattern so that it fits my body. And sometimes I fail completely. As I already know this, I mostly use bargain / scrap fabrics for my sewing attempt, so the monetary loss is not too big. Hence the weird fabrics in my box. They are the best I found for less money.

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But when does this learning stage end? When will I am be able to sew the perfect dress or blouse? After a year of sewing I am still feeling completely incompetent to handle the characteristics of my body. Do you also feel like this? And is there a strategy you can recommend tackling this feeling (or my incompetence)?

The next problem of my Kraut and Rüben (this translates into ‘cabbage and turnips’ and describes an overgrown ill-fitting chaos) wardrobe is my love of colors. Yes, I love them all, but seemingly I am not able to plan the mixture of my beloved colors. I have made so many knitted and crocheted cardigans over the years and I love them on their own, but mostly they only fit with black…. And not with the funny fabrics you saw in my stash.

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This color harmonising problem I cannot explain as easily as the fabric problem. Perhaps I get carried away by colourful wool? Perhaps I do not have a good memory of my own clothes? Am I too lazy to plan?
Help please!!! How do you plan your handmade clothes?


Thank you @crosheille and @crystalize for hosting the #needleworkmonday. If you want to see more beautiful projects with yarn, fabric and most of all needles, follow @needleworkmonday. Or even better grab your needles and keyboard and join the #needleworkmonday community.


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Hello! I can see several colour fabric/knitwear combinations that would look lovely together, but I know what you mean. I was astonished once when I went on a fabric/wool buying trip and found I had selected complementary materials. So often that is not the case.
I don't how to remedy this unless you do a full Trinny/Susannah (two horrible harridans who tormented women for their underwear and clothes sense) makeover. They had women write down lists and carry a little notebook with them when they went shopping ...
Actually, I have had an idea - just treat your stash and already made garments as you would your painting colour palette. Maybe take a garment (or a fabric) and try different other garments/fabrics/yarns with them until you get a mix/proportion that you like and design an outfit. But I think you do this anyway without realising :)
PS there is a treeplanter voting circle today if you want to join in :)

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Uhhh I researched Trinny/Susannah 😆😆 Very funny, but I think they do not mean it ironic....😆
And with the painting /colour matching idea, this is a good one. Because after thinking about this, I again noticed how much of my problems perhaps do not originate in my wardrobe, but in my brain. It seems possible for me to match garments for the photoshoots and I often like the results I get of the shoots. But if I wear the same outfit in town, I feel complete different. I must think about this.
But nevertheless, perhaps I also need more of the notebook-shopping attitude.

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I was laughing about the notebook idea ... we already carry so many!
I agree about feeling differently about the same outfit in different contexts. When I go into town, I tend to be "discreet" in appearance, I don't draw attention to myself, I want to slip away about my business without being noticed.

This is really a problem for me :) I often knit from yarn that I was given. Buying yarn in Israel is very expensive.I like your fabrics and what you already knitted. It is very colorful and beautiful. black skirts help me out :)))

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With the expensivness of yarn it is the same here. Mostly it would be cheaper to buy the item than to buy yarn and knit it.
And I favor your black skirt solution 😆

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Yes you are right! Ready-made clothes are much cheaper

Perhaps this is why I only ever knit accessories? Trying to make something that I would wear on its own is scary! I'm constantly in awe of your work and how fun it turns out, you dive right in and usually come out with something that you can actually wear. :)
It may be that I overthink larger pieces to the point of never choosing a pattern to start... there are so many choices... it is easier to make a hat.

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Thank you so much for the compliment. But believe me, despite the what the funny photos tell, I am often very insecure about my body. I would so love to wear much bolder/funnier things, but I seldom feel good when I do it. But not because I do not like it, but I think because of a mixture of ingrained ideas of how an older woman without a model figure should dress. I must cut this thought s out of my brain...
And with the hats: tada... I read you comment and thought 'well, she is right' and I started a scrap hat
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So, look, the colors are nice on the photo, but we will see how they will look on my head 😆😆😆😆😆

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The best part about hats is... someone will wear it even if you end up hating it! Those will be fun colors, enjoy the making of the hat!
Once a woman is past a certain age... probably 30... she can damm well wear whatever she wants. Before 30 she can wear whatever she wants... but without cussing. I am only constrained by a deep desire to not be noticed and to be ignored so I can get on with my life without dealing with other people. :) So I don't usually wear too much that is outlandish or bright unless I specifically want to draw attention.

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it is ready and I do not hate it :-D But it is a more attention seeking color combination :-DDD Going unnoticed with this hat will be difficult...
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Perhaps I will write about it next Monday. I wish you a good journey <3

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It is beautiful! Not too bright at all!

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That's a lovely hat, @neumannsalva ! Ideal to be spotted by car drivers in dark evenings... Honestly, I always get rather disappointed when people don't wear 'more easily seen' clothes' in dark winter evenings ...

I do some planning to replace worn out favorites or for a special occasion. But most of my sewing/knitting is me looking at a fabric or yarn and letting it tell me what it wants to be. Sounds silly, but sometimes I pick up a fabric and just know it can become my next favorite dress. My engineer brain gives up to the artist brain until the actual sewing begins. Then the engineer makes what the artist envisioned. Lots of fun!

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OHHHH I want to borrow your engineer brain!!! Could you please wrap it and send to me 😆😆😆😆😆
I am sadly not too good at considering the bigger picture. I often fall in love with fabric or yarn and I also can imagine what to do with it, but I seldom have my wardrobe in my mind (or perhaps I simply ignore my own advices, to better match things)

I nodded many times ;) I have now two boxes (small :D) of fabric ... I have an opposite problem to your color harmonizing problem, I make/buy too many navy, black, gray items.

Talking about getting used to sew clothes according to one's own body shape, I'm still on my way ... More than 25 years have past since I started learning sewing from my grandma. I didn't sew at all few years though. So I regard it as a life long process. Finding patterns and making adjustments is a kind of life work. I wish I can manage 90% of my clothes by myself until in the end of my life :)

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I am sure you will manage <3 You show so much patience and consideration in your projects I may be a little bit envious. Perhaps we should hug and then your more muted and fitting color choices would mix with my weird contrasting hues 😆😆😆😆😆
And with the fitting, this is a real challange, to learn which kind of pattern work or how to adapt. I am not there yet.
How beautiful, that you learned from your grandma!!!!

For a while now I haven't bought clothes for myself, @neumannsalva... With two of my children at uni and one still at secondary school, there's just too many things to spend my little money on... I make do and get their 'cast offs' :D which is funny.

I love the look and feel of fabrics (and yarn) and get truly tempted to buy too. If I make something it won't turn out great, but then if I buy clothes, they are not (don't fit) that great either so... in the end at least it's your own creation.

I would also just say keep what 'truly' makes you happy and you can combine with existing garments.

If not, you can always give some of your garments away and make someone else happy.

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Missing money is 💩💩💩 And I can imagine that it is tough with three children. I think living in Germany is cheaper especially in the area I live in... low rent as nobody wants to live here :-D I still dream that we will get needlework-millonaires 😅
And with the clothes buying or sewing... both are tough. I need since last year a new winter coat (I may have had a little rant on discord yesterday and poor @muscara was the victim) and it seems impossible to buy one for my figure. The coats are all so wide at the top and much too small at my lower parts. Or they have sleeves which are much too small... haaateeeeee. And I do not want to pay for a coat or parka I cannot close over my bottom. And sewing a coat is far beyond me.
And with the giving away: we do this very regularly. I have two girl friends who in addition to bought clothes are the recipients of my 'desaster skirts' 😆 They are both a bit thicker than me (new mamas) and I have made some many skirts with a too wide waistband and which are not tailored enough for me. They are now in loving hands.

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Oh... yeah... let's dream about that... I'd be happy to be a comfortably 'well-off' needleworker :D so I could afford more books, yarn and trinkets to try, @neumannsalva... For instance, I'd love to try some of that 'punch needle' embroidery technique.
I'm really lucky that a friend gives me old clothes so I can often 'make do' and 'experiment' making things too :D

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I today told my friend Silvia (you know, the artist who often makes my photos) of your career idea: crochet swatch maker. She loved it. We are now thinking intensely of a way to make it reality :-DDD
But without joking, I think it is easier with money/clothes in a bigger city. I live kind of in the middle of three big cities (ok, honestly the whole area is one big city) and here are so many shops with bargains. So, I think people are tempted to buy so many things because you can get ok clothes for extreme low prices, like a jean for 8 €... I for example must admit, I already have a coat, but it is super short and thin, and I dream of a long one. This shorter one was around 20 €. But this opens all the questions about the gruesome conditions of fast fashion (not that I think more expensive clothes are made under better conditions). SIIIIGH!
And in addition to living in this shopping-mall city (joke) I have no and cannot have children, which is super sad, but also it is less responsibility financially. I could not live like this right now if we had children...
So again, I think we have to acquire a #needlework patron :-DDD
Sorry for ranting again...

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No worries about the ranting, @neumannsalva, I like reading your comments. The #needleworkpatrons / sponsors / supporters would be great :D
Currently it's just us supporting each but we're small fish in comparison... of course there's strength in numbers right ?

Looking at the pictures of your clothes, I think you have quite a number of good colour combinations there between your skirts and sweaters.

For example, I think that that flowery skirt with light blue background could go well with most of your sweater colours. Of course, one would have to look at the shapes/lengths as well.
You have enough blue and grey shades in your sweaters to match those blue skirts in your wardrobe.

I recently heard one fashion personality talking about the fact that today fashion is all about the matching of contrasting things.
So if you keep that idea in mind, you could try and work on the matching of seemingly unrelated colours/shapes/fabrics - if done well, it can look really impressive!
Overall, I think, your colour palette seems really harmonious offering many different outfit options.

By the way, I absolutely adore that yellow tartan, beautiful colours!

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I think I am sometimes a bit inhibited with the things I have made myself.... in putting good combinations together. And with the contrasting you are right, but I only loves this on photos or on other people, if I try it myself, I am totally insecure. Perhaps I must work more on my mindset than on my clothes 😅
The yellow tartan was a lucky chance. I love it too, and that’s the reason I still have not made something out of it. I am afraid to destroy it. I want to make a classic box pleated skirt with zipper.....

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Oh, I really understand the feeling of insecurity. I remember the first time I wore something yellow (which wasn't bright at all) I felt totally exposed. But now I just love bold colour combinations :)
I'd say this colour matching thing is like a muscle if you exercise it, it gets stronger - don't stop, just go for it!

A classic box pleated skirt would look lovely made out of that yellow tartan. Just looked up some images on google - there are so many variations! The key is to choose the right one for you :DDD

Oooo I loveeee your fabric collection @neumannsalva!! I try to think before I sew but sometimes I think that I think too much and I end up not sewing because I was too afraid that I will spoil the lovely fabric haha! Then, I found out that during the times when I don't think as much, I actually sew more but of course, it usually ends up with a lovely, long session with the stitch picker :D

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Overthinking is also a sh*** hinderance, not much better than being mindless. I can do both. First pondering all options and difficulties for a very long time and then dumping all thoughts away and making something inconsiderate 😅😅😅 But, after your last tutorial I am sure, you can tackle all problems you will encounter while sewing. The 'fabric-spoiling' is more on my experience level. Ok... while writing I notice... perhaps it is always possible to choose to tough patterns and ruin the fabric. Perhaps sewing is more a kind of character test than a nice hobby 😆😆😆😆

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