The Complicated Relationship Between My Fashion and My Sewing

This is part of a series of posts on my thoughts about fashion, sewing, and my life. You can read more here.

Sewing has never been something I do for my everyday clothes. Sure, I make a top or pair of shorts here or there, but, for the most part, I stick to costumes and dresses I’ll never wear to school. I guess a lot of my dresses get worn to speech and debate competitions, which could count as part of my functioning wardrobe, but not my everyday clothes. Not really.

In my last post in this series, I looked at how my fashion style has evolved and came to the conclusion that I like the clothes I wear. Today, I’m going to be looking specifically at those clothes, comparing them to my sewing, and finding deeper meaning from there. Sound good?

Okay, let’s start with …

Basic Style

In clothing and in sewing, I like clean lines.

I veer toward more put-together rather than less in both, I guess, though I feel it more in everyday clothes. When I pick out outfits in the morning, I feel very conscious of the image I’m putting forward of myself, making sure that it’s neat overall.

In some ways, this translates into my sewing. Looking at my recent projects holistically, I think they can all be described as clean, neat, put-together. But I feel like I approach that basic need for order very differently in my sewing. I focus more on every little thing—because I have the power to fix every little thing—rather than the larger aspects.

Silhouettes

This is where things start changing.

Most, if not all, of my outfits involve low-rise skinny jeans (or short shorts) and a looser top. I don’t like tight-fitting tops. I honestly just don’t find them that comfortable, for one thing. And they make me feel exposed, “slutty”, unprofessional. (Not that I think wearing tight clothes makes you any of those things. In fact it really kinda bothers me that I feel that way.)

I tend toward sweaters, layering, and blouses. I like them to fit loosely, but to fall no more than a few inches below the waistband of my jeans (which sit on my hips). Any longer and I feel like I’ve shrunk three feet. If I’m wearing a longer cardigan, I’ll tuck in whatever shirt is underneath it.

But in my sewing, I need my garments to be fitted. It’s a defined natural-waist or no waistline at all. I’m much more comfortable with fitted tops and poofy skirts in dresses. If the fit isn’t tailored right, I feel like I’ve messed something up.

IMG_3038

(BTW: all pics link to overviews of the projects)

However, in both of these silhouettes, I’m looking for the same things: to not look shorter than I am, to look thin (whether through tailoring or draping), and to be comfortable.

Colors

This is where the two worlds overlap the most. In everything, color is my defining characteristic.

In outfits, I need a color scheme. I need my watch and shoes to match that color scheme. If I’m going to put a clip or something in my hair, it needs to match. Even if it’s just something as simple as greyscale-with-a-pop-of-color, I need both the pop of color and the cohesion.

And in my sewing, color is where I start. For my Gertie Giveaway dress, I started with the fabric and pulled out the red for the contrast. I spent five minutes in Joann fabrics staring at the cottons going back and forth between different reds, trying to decide which one pulled out the colors in the plaid fabric the best.

gertie 6

For my Jasmine costume, the main reason I haven’t gotten around to making pants for it yet is because I can’t find a coordinating fabric that I like. I’m absolutely stuck by my need for color balance.

jasmine

 Thoughts

So what does that mean?

I guess it shows that my sewing and my fashion aren’t as different as they would seem. They exist in parallel universes, following the same rules and guidelines, but in different ways. Even though I would never wear my Jasmine costume to school, I can see my aesthetic in it. Even though I will never make a dress with a low-waist (ever), I can see the same end goal in the silhouettes I do choose.

I like both worlds, I’m comfortable with both of them, and I understand them. Honestly, I think just recognizing the similarities between them is the most important thing. Sticking to and expanding that overlap (even if it remains parallel-universe-esque) is something I think I should work on, rather than trying to make them match perfectly.

I’m wondering if you all have encountered this same problem. Do you have this same two-world fashion-sewing system? Do you sew mainly for your wardrobe? Never?

Thanks for reading 🙂

–Samantha


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