Well friends, I am still in this obsessive sewing mode. It’s hard to explain — I sorta thought that, by now, after a straight month off work, I’d be rested up, raring to go, and writing more, working out, doing yoga, doing ceramics, drawing, painting, working on the fiber art, travelling, visiting. But, noooo. I garden a bit, an hour a day or less, and I cook some nice treats here and there, but as for creative juices – they are exclusively devoted to sewing clothes. Clothes! Me, the woman with “a style … but no fashion,” as a college friend put it. I am getting excited about invisible zippers and fly fronts, fusible interfacings and clear elastic. What the … ? Isn’t this all too, too Martha Stewart-y? Well, I’ve come up with a theory of sorts. I think that what I love about sewing right now is the place I am on the learning curve. I am actively learning stuff, all the time; incorporating stuff I’ve known forever (I started sewing as a pre-teen, after all) with new stuff, and oh there is so much new stuff. New products, new techniques, sure, but also just new levels of ability; new precision, dexterity, intuition. So, there are ideas – the engineering side, if you will; measurements, and theories of fit and alteration, and just plain topography. There is the development of intuition, visualization – will these two fabrics work well together, will this needle do the job, will this stuff gather well, how will this hem hang. There is the physical side, the handiwork side of things, the finesse in the fingertips. And finally, there are all the vast resources of experienced sewists who selflessly share their wisdom online. (Maybe you say “sewer,” but written … no, let’s stick to “sewist.”) It’s amazing, the generosity of these online sages, and equally amazing, that there are so, so many of them! And for a while there, it seemed that the handcrafts were in their decline … Yeah, in an increasingly digitized world, we crave the nubbly imperfect touch of the handmade more and more.
Far from an original thought. But I think I see this impulse lots of places. Listening to the PDX Pop Now sampler, it’s like the K Records aesthetic all over again- embrace of the amateur, the heartfelt. Off-key singing, childishly strummed chords, erratic drumming. Sure, yes, I see the inherent flaw in this logic: heartfelt is not necessarily the opposite of finely-crafted, crude does not equal authentic. And the “made by sixth-graders” aesthetic approach often totally fails to touch me. But when it does, it is magic. I still love Calvin Johnson, damnit!
In my personal aesthetic life, I aspire to a perfection of craft – the exact opposite my personal slovenliness and the exact opposite of the lo-fi approach. Hmm, minor insight: perhaps that’s why I have turned away from the fine art world (where I thought I wanted to be, age 18 ) and immersed myself instead in craft: I am addicted to learning, and in the pursuit of technical excellence, you never stop learning. Hah. Sounds plausible.
On to links. Warning: these are all intended strictly for people who sew!
Last night I posted a review to http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/reviewgallery.pl. Check it out to learn a lot and get inspired. Admission: I waste more time on this one site than any other. It has raised my work to an entirely higher level.
F-I is written by Kathleen Fasanella, a very interesting person in her own right. It is NOT geared to the home sewer or hobbyist, but there’s a lot of information to be gleaned here – her slogan is “Lessons from the sustainable factory floor,” and while I’ll admit I don’t always see a lot of sustainability here, it’s part of the mix anyway. Even if you can’t sew you’ll find out a lot about how your clothes were designed and manufactured.
Total eye candy, all in French – “Japan Couture Addicts.”
And this one’s bilingual, Portuguese and English. Maybe not my style but again, so much to learn from an incredibly talented person.
I love this woman – she’s a great, personable writer, she cracks me up, she’s endlessly charming, and she’s international as all heck.
Next time – my favorite fabric stores.