Friday, January 17, 2014

Happy Endings - Update on the Epic Fail


One of my most popular blog posts of all time is about my "Epic Fail" jacket or, what I referred to as the "Ladybug Lab Coat".

I posted this jacket a little more than a year ago, in early January. It hung in my closet, unworn, for months. Last September, during the FabricMart competition, I pulled it out and started wondering if I could refashion it somehow, to make it work better.

Nothing came to mind.

After the competition was over, I put it on my dress form so it would be constantly in view. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out what I could do to improve it.

Nothing came to mind.

When I was packing for last weekend's workshop, I decided to throw the ladybug coat into the car, along with the other garments I was bringing to show.

Once I arrived in Santa Cruz, the jacket was laying on a table in the classroom. (Or maybe it was hanging on the rolling rack, I can't remember.)

Margy spied the jacket and put it on.

It looked good on her.

Really good.

She ended up wearing it for awhile.

Later that evening, I was sharing the garments that I'd brought. Towards the end, the Ladybug Jacket was mentioned, as I hadn't talked about it. I mentioned that it didn't look great on me, but I sensed disbelief in the room, especially after they had seen how great it looked on Margy.

Margy had taken it off so that I could put it on.

So I did.

There was no mirror, but I did not need a mirror.

In an instant, I was able to absorb the expression on most every face in the room.

I might describe the reaction as "polite shock."

This cracked me up and confirmed my belief that this jacket really does not look good on me.

I sent it home with Margy.

She was happy.

I was happy.

It turns out that last year, I thought I was making myself a jacket, but I was actually making a jacket for a treasured friend.

And now I don't have to cut it up.

I am not really a refashion-er at heart, anyway.

Margy has been busy lately, but in the next week or two she will hopefully have some time to post and, just maybe, she will include some pics of herself wearing the Ladybug Jacket.

You will be amazed at how the same garment can look so good on one body and so bad on another.

Too Many Clothes

I recently participated in an exchange in one of my online sewing groups. A couple people asked if I would mind sharing my thoughts in a broader venue, so here it is:


It bothers me when sewers say that they can't justify making more garments, because they have enough jackets/tops/pants/coats.

So what?

My grandmother was an artist of the painting variety. She never sold a painting in her life. When she passed, her house, and her attic, was full of paintings. I say, good for her. Does my daughter, who writes poetry, write too many poems? Does my other daughter, the dancer, perform too many leaps?

Once we pass, it's a lot harder to sew/craft/paint/sing/dance/create. :)

My clothing is my art. So what if it's all over my house. I do give clothing away to various friends/charities, but I reject the notion that I shouldn't sew/acquire things because I have "too many". (Though, sometimes my mojo insists that I clean up, but that's different.)


And, sometimes, I give things I've made to friends and that is pretty great, too. :)

36 comments:

  1. Love all this. First of all, that the same exact thing can look good on someone and terrible on someone else -- our bodies are all different:) Secondly, thanks to giving the boot to false guilt. There are too many instances of this on the internet, whether it's about dietary choices, how we sew, whatever. If it's not a moral issue, don't turn it into one;)

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  2. Here here! Sewing is not only my creative outlet but a life therapy as well. Not only is fabric a valid art medium, but we get to wear our creations (most of the time ;) --bonus!

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    1. Yes, it is definitely therapy for me, too.

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  3. I'm glad that the coat found a good home.

    For process seamsters, you are totally right. But, product may outweigh process in the value systems of others. Viva la difference. They can use their time for something else.

    I'm firmly in your camp. I do have problems with a full closet and sewing studio. Like you, I've been giving my stuff away to friends who wear the same size.

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  4. I loved to read the story of what happened to your coat. It was also intesting for me to read your views on having "too much" :) I strive constantly to live with less (including clothes), as lots of 'things' about make me feel tied down. I like to spend a lot of time outdoors and the more stuff I have the more time I have to spend caring for it...it's so interesting to read another viewpoint and not one I see often. Maybe I will feel less guilty next time I sew another not strictly essential item!

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    1. I guess that's why I mentioned it, Philippa. It's not a viewpoint I see often these days, either. I do think there is much merit in doing with less, especially if one is feeling tied down by material things. Finding the right balance for oneself is key. I am not claiming that I have found it, by the way. :)

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  5. We are all given talents to share. Women who love to cook, cook for others and give it away, women who quilt, quilt for others to give away...why shouldn't it be the same for sewing? Gardeners take cuttings and end up with too many baby plants...they give them away...isn't this all so natural in the best scheme of things? So happy your darling ladybug jacket found a new home!

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  6. I like the concept of the lady bug coat and don't think you look so bad in it. I would love to see a pic of Margy in it to make a comparison, however.

    As for having 'too many clothes'... There's no such thing! There have been times when my closets simply couldn't hold anything more. That's when I thinned out and gave bundles to homeless shelters or shelters for abused and/or abandoned women and teens. It's a great way to make room for more and to help someone who is really in need.

    You can never sew too much. For some, it's the best way to maintain balance and sanity in a sometimes insane world.

    Happy stitching.

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  7. I agree completely! This is the only area where I allow myself to be a bit of a hoarder (does anyone ever tell an artist she has too many tubes of paint?). It's about more than just clothing. Its about passion, the feel of a beautiful fabric, the hum of the machine, the smell of the iron. I need this little escape to keep me from going insane.

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  8. There was no mirror, but I did not need a mirror.
    In an instant, I was able to absorb the expression on most every face in the room.
    I might describe the reaction as "polite shock."

    This had me giggling, and I will probably be giggling all day. I hope Margy posts a photo of her wearing it, so we can see for ourselves.


    I have only recently made the connection between depression/anxiety and being creative. To be more clear, the more I create, the less I feel depressed or anxious. So, you are right, so what if I have "enough" clothes, sewing is better for me than antidepressants, and in some cases cheaper too.


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    1. Your post rings true to me since I had just suggested sewing to a friend who is dealing with anxiety & has been running around looking for a "cure". Thanks.
      Nancy

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    2. Nancy, if you see this, I recommend The Creativity Cure to your friend. Excellent book.

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    3. thank you for the recommendation of the book - I have the same relationship with depression/anxiety and creativity.

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  9. Brilliant. I needed to hear that today! I have NO NEED for any more clothes... but hell, I love making them! Thanks!

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  10. I have a friend that looks great in every sewing project that doesn't quite look right on me. I'm happy that my efforts don't go to waste.
    As for having too many clothes...first, there would have to be more hours in the day! I know someone who is a clothes hoarder, but she's a shopper. I don't think a sewer can really have too many clothes because the acquisition process is just too slow.
    Fabric hoard, yes.

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  11. How great that you passed the Ladybug coat on to Margy, it was clearly meant to be. You are both lucky to have a friend with such a generous heart!

    Oye, so glad the yardstick that I measure my life with is not how many or how few clothes I own. Sewing is my creative love, my business, and I am not interested in someone else opinion about how much effort/output I should produce. Can you tell I am over 50? OK, truthfully, over 60. LOL!

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  12. Can't wait to see Margy in the new jacket! And I loved reading your thoughts and all of the others expressed here. It's a wonderful conversation and I've enjoyed all the points of views shared.

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  13. Peter Lappin had a post about this topic on his blog called cultivating a high-fashion look. Basically it was about how different things look on different people.

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  14. So true, how different something can look from one body to the next. I completely agree with you on not feeling the need to justify to the world or yourself your passion.

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  15. Using having too many clothes as an excuse for not sewing is pretty lame. You can always give some of your wardrobe away. There are plenty of women out there who could make very good use of it. Or, you can always pass things on to a friend.

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  16. Thank you, Shams!!! I agree with Philippa in that I don't like having too much "stuff". While I'm not a minimalist, I feel somewhat claustrophobic if I don't have room to move or grow.
    Sew Maris said it perfectly!!! I'm also over 60 and I do have lots of fabric. How much fabric I have shouldn't bother anyone. What bothers me is when people my age or older lose interest or their passion for creativity in any form.

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  17. A great ending to the ladybug jacket saga!

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  18. How wonderful that your lady bug coat is now with a dear friend of yours that truly appreciates your work and creativity, and who looks fantastic in it. Do you believe in destiny? Your thoughts on too many clothes came at a good time for me. I was struggling with having more than enough clothes, but feeling guilty about wanting to sew more. Guilt is now all gone. thanks!

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  19. I'm so glad your jacket works for Margy! And isn't it great that you can gift things to friends that you no longer need or want. I pass mine along to a less-well-off friend who is always so happy to receive them that I'm a bit embarrassed that I don't do it more often. I'm sure Margy will rock that outfit and sooner or later return the favor with something awesome.

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  20. What a great story about a jacket you *thought* was an Epic Fail. I'm looking forward to seeing a photo of Margy. ;) Thank you for sharing this with us, as well as your thoughts about "too many clothes!" I hadn't ever thought about it in that way, but yes, it is an art form, and therapy, and I also agree with ChesneyKat, who said "I don't think a sewer can really have too many clothes because the acquisition process is just too slow." Great Post!

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  21. Thanks for this post. I had a similar discussion with my husband about my clothes as art. He is a bit of a painter and he had to concede that he is never denied paint or canvasses.

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  22. Sewing really is your art. I hope you get more time to enjoy it. Lucky Margy getting the ladybug coat. I really hope she shows us it on her.

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  23. Oh, your post really made me laugh!

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  24. Sewing is and always has been a creative outlet for me and like my Grandma, hope to do it until I die! I love sewing jackets and even though I retired from an office job where I wore them every day I still make them though they are worn less often. Who cares if they sit in my closet? I love looking at them! Note: Once a year I donate some of these beauties to professional women.

    Karen

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  25. Great to hear your jacket went to a good home! I also love that your friends were honest enough with you to agree that it didn't suit you and is better on your friend!
    I've been thinking alot about how I have too many clothes lately. It seems to be the go to when relatives buy me gifts and I've now asked my mum not to buy me anymore clothes so I can justify making more of my own. I've decided when I do a clear out it'll be store bought clothes that go and not my own creations :)

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  26. Margy looks fabrulous in everything! And you look ready to head to Maui. It's beatuiful - enjoy. Love the organe shoes.

    I hope you don't mind but I copied you 'broader view' comment justifying making more garments on the HCC website today. It resonates with all sewists who just can't resist purchasing another special piece of fabric for a great pair of pants or dress or shirt or......

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  27. I do believe that as sewists we are terribly hard on ourselves. Too much stash/too many clothes/too many patterns. Blah...blah...blah. I think we need to learn to embrace our creativity and the materials we collect to express it.
    And I'm so glad the coat found it's rightful owner. A very happy ending indeed.

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