Hey, Sonya fans: Great news! Sonya has a brand-new Creativebug video class, Wardrobe Basics: Sewing Shirt No. 1. The class comes with a printable PDF of the Shirt No. 1 pattern, and Sonya’s clear guidance on how to make the basic version and three modifications.
—Kay and Ann
One of the things that started me on the path of making clothes was the idea of having a uniform. Now, my younger self would absolutely cringe at both the statement and sentiment. After spending years flouting rules of what to wear, how could I willingly self-impose them? Uniforms are boring, bland things forced upon school age children and teenagers. A sampling of school-uniforms-I-have-worn include double breasted pinafores, pleated plaid skirts, ties; none of which I’m eager to start wearing again. I think it’s safe to say nostalgia wasn’t the reason behind this desire.
Sonya is wearing: Tea Leaves Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre in a Verb for Keeping Warm Toasted; dress (own pattern); and 100 Acts of Sewing Pants no. 1.
What I was craving instead, was a sense of simplicity. If I could distill the components of what I wore into discrete units, then just maybe I could avoid the daily What to Wear Problem. I will often use the word fraught to describe what the process of getting dressed was like when my wardrobe was made up of store-bought clothes. Having to make decisions, combined with an unhealthy dose of body shame, created a minefield of over-thinking and unhappiness.
February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne in Beaverslide Dry Goods 2-Ply Naturals; Dress no. 1; and Skirt no. 1.
It’s only too easy to find yourself between a rock and the proverbial hard place as far as fashion is concerned. The choice is either keeping up with the whiplash-inducing pace of modern trends or giving up and feeling invisible as a result. It took me many years to learn to dress for myself, not just the physical body I have right now, with its various bulges and peculiarities, but also for what makes me happy. What’s important to me is to feel comfortable, so my clothes are usually loose fitting and made of natural, breathable fibers. My personal belief is that if you feel good, the looking good part is secondary.
Joan Fuller by Ellen Mason in Beaverslide Dry Goods Merino/Mohair 90/10; Shirt no. 1; Dress no. 1 (Modified); and Pants no. 1.
When I determine the shapes and silhouettes, I can then re-make those pieces in different prints and colors. It’s a little like blocking out the composition of a painting or the courses of a dinner party. The elements are in place, those broad strokes, then what’s left is to work out the finer details. The garments act as a container I can fill with anything, saturated color or polka dot prints, creating variety through different yarns and fabric, turning the idea of a boring uniform on its head.
Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig (modified) in A Verb for Keeping Warm Farm Series Yarn; long sleeve stripe shirt (own pattern); Dress no. 1 (modified); and Pants no. 1.
What does my personal uniform consist of? Usually it’s a cardigan, over a dress, plus pants. In some ways, I trick myself into the idea of simplicity. By having a range of sleeveless dresses in various prints, there are still choices to be made, but I’ve created a basic scaffolding from which to quickly create an outfit. Pieces can shuffle around, layer over or under, depending on what’s just come out of the washing machine or the season. This time of year, I still like to indulge in the notion of autumn, even though in San Francisco it usually means stripping off the wool by late morning. I guess there’s something to be said for a few “free dress” days here and there.