Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sewing Sunday: Finding My Personal Fashion

I've been thinking a lot lately about why exactly I like to sew. It's far easier, and often cheaper, to just walk into a high street shop or a charity shop and pick out something to wear. It'll often be lovely and fit nicely and I do often choose to do that. But it won't feel exactly like me.

When it comes down to it, I'm not exactly the typical consumer. I'm 4' 11" and pale as a milk bottle, with short legs, a long torso and a plethora of freckles. I look terrible in pastels and 'mini' dresses often fall to about my knees, and don't even get me started on maxi dresses. I'm not quite a size 8 but a bit smaller than a 10 on top, but I'm a solid 10-12 on bottom, with a 28' inseam. I'm fairly certain my bra size changes from one month to the next.

Because of this, it's not always in my best interests to subscribe to the latest trends. Of course we all pick and choose from the shops and websites the things that will look best on us, but often I'll find that even when I really love something, it will just not look right on me. And that's okay! It's forced me to think in depth about my own personal fashion and what I love to wear most.

More than anything else, I've discovered, is that I like variation. I like leather and skinny jeans one day, then lace and flowers the next. Sometimes I like them together. I wear a lot of floaty dresses and cute shoes, but I also wear a lot of my boyfriends hoodies and shirts. I like 60's makeup and 80's hair, but I hate hairbands and decorative clips. I like short skirts and long socks and big jumpers, combat boots and polka dots and bright prints paired with monochrome subtlety. And somewhere, in the middle of all that, I think I've got a pretty good idea of what I like to wear.

The great thing about sewing is this really. If I want a knee length tartan skirt with leather pockets, I'm going to have trouble finding one that exactly fits the image in my head in the shops. Thankfully I can probably make one from scratch in less than two days. If I want a 60's style shift dress covered in strawberries I can put one together in about a week that I know for sure is going to fit perfectly and look just as I imagined it. Dresses that are too long, pants that fit awkwardly, tops with sleeves that don't suit me at all - I can just about manage to fix all of that to suit my own style best, rather than relying on the high street to cater exactly to my needs, because let's face it, they're not going to. I find it much easier to google a tutorial or look in a sewing book than trawling the shops or internet for days on end to find something perfect.

At the moment, probably about 30% of what I wear has been made, altered or customised by me. I'm aiming to up this in the future, and go for about 60% or 70%. I want to feel comfortable in everything I wear, and I want to be able to walk outside and know that what I'm wearing that day gives an accurate picture of who I want to be that day. When I can do that, I think I'll have properly achieved what I'm aiming for when I'm shouting at my sewing machine and stabbing pins into my fingertips trying to hem fiddle seams.