When I’m not writing, working the day job, or wife-and-mothering, one of the first places my imagination goes is to the sewing table. I first learned to sew in high school following the instruction of my mom and grandmother. In college, I worked my first retail job in one of the lowest-end fabric stores imaginable–I mean, really–there was no 100% cotton in the whole store. Since then, I’ve have had on and off bouts of sewing obsession. And thanks to former Bad Girl Frances Fowlkes and her wonderful print dresses, I’m in the throes of one, now.
Where writing is mental and emotional, sewing is physical and mental. As a writer, I have a lot of angsty moments: sending off queries, waiting to hear feedback, and the never-ending doubts about the story, direction, and everything, not to mention life’s moments that make me too wound up or pissed off to write a coherent paragraph. There’s something about cutting out fabric, pinning and planning that’s therapeutic. It makes me focus on something immediately in the present, and it’s challenging enough that I’m not obsessing about whatever is bothering me. And then, there’s the potential! The real appeal of sewing for me is taking an idea and making it real…kind of the same thing as writing, now that I think about it! When I think about sewing, I imagine what it will be like when I wear the creation I’m imagining. A cocktail dress for a RWA conference, a gathered skirt for work, a vintage muu-muu maxi dress for patio time this summer.
About 80% of my sewing projects are vintage patterns or reissues of vintage patterns. I’m not a full-on vintage girl all the time, but I like to incorporate the aesthetic whenever I can. Since many of my stories are set in the past, wearing vintage gives me an opportunity to feel what my characters feel–the rustle of petticoats, a nipped-in waist, stockings and garters. Also, the pattern art is the best!
So here are a few of my latest obsessions, finished, planned, and in-progress:
Here’s me in Butterick 6285 (skirt), with a petticoat underneath. I liked this so much, I’m working on a second one!
And, now for the planned/pending stuff! This is Butterick 6318. I’m planning to do this in black and white seersucker for graduation and RWA. And I may have cut my hair shorter based on how much I love this pattern art…
A play suit/bathing suit cover up (I’m doing the short version in an umbrella print):
And, last but not least, the vintage muu-muu for après-swim patio time! This pattern is circa 1967 and it’s almost finished. The plan is to wear it on Mother’s Day while doing absolutely nothing.
So do you sew or have a craft that makes you semi-obsessed? I’d love to hear about it!