Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Design Outside the Lines and evolution

Lately I find myself clearing my home, my closet, my perennial borders, my studio space of anything that doesn't delight.  I know this means that something new is coming but what it is I do not know.  If I were younger, I'd probably buy a pregnancy test kit.

Yesterday I sat down right here to read the news and have some coffee.  What happened was completely different.  I ended up writing a page of notes to myself which included goals, aspirations and reminders...such as:

clear out more from closet, even though I love it-yellow maxi to travel trailer, pink blouse to GW
stay true to basic silhouette-slim pants, tops, tunics, cardi/jacket; wide pants, shell, slim tunic, cardi; dresses and sandals; skirts (experimental)
don't sew competitively-appreciate what others are doing and don't strive to keep up
sew from the pattern and fabric stash-each pattern and piece of fabric was bought because I saw its   potential; explore this potential
share only those projects which "need" an audience-share for celebration or share for feedback.  Be  clear about why a piece is shared
gather inspiration from my life and surroundings rather than work that others have done-glean ideas 
from others and inspiration from life (avoid copying)
extend my work area to include the basement so I can work on surface design near the utility sink 

And then I wrote:

What projects are speaking to me right now?
dye black linen dress and then silk screen
try quilting by making a table runner or wall hanging  (wow! where did that come from?)
use trim on MT tee for a fall top
home dec: dining room chairs, wall hanging with Guanajuato scenes, table runner, shelves 

And finally:

less is more (production is not art; this is not a factory)
even better (this phrase was given to me at the Design Outside the Lines retreat but it didn't resonate at that time.  It does now.)

This is Simplicity 2370, which makes a great summer top.  I started this last week and decided to try some applique after accidentally slicing a back piece.  That "happy accident" gave me permission to play rather than just complete the top.

I embroidered a bit

and left the edges raw.

I'll keep this on my old dress form for a few more days because I don't think it is done yet.

                                                                         even better


  1. I like your list alot. I think I may have to print it out as commandments- especially about sewing competetively- nothing good ever comes of that for me!

  2. Even better! Maybe I'll applique those words across the bottom of the tunic I just cut off too short!

  3. Oh wow. Love your head space. Coco

  4. Isn't it lovely that you know yourself - looking forward to the day when this will apply to me. Good for you.

  5. So interesting to read about your current thoughts about sewing. "Even better" is a concept I'm not too familiar with, but I can see how it could percolate new interpretations of many things. I love reading your blog.

  6. Thank-you for putting down so many points that I need to take note of myself. I've been thinking many of the same thoughts - just haven't been forcing myself to face them.

  7. Mary , I love reading your blog for your insights like this that make me think more .I do agree about the factory line bit - I already have so many clothes that for the last couple of years I have really slowed down and just enjoying the process of creating something and trying my best with each project . I also love to sew for my Mum and daughters so I can just sew and not add to my overloaded wardrobe which is admittedly overloaded because I can not throw things away - I have clothes over 20years old which are a bit sad. Your new shirt is lovely - beautiful design on the fabric - it looks like it would be buttery soft cotton . I am loving the embellishments so far and the changes to the ties . I am so looking forward to seeing your journey in creativeness. I so lack this - I think I am being creative when I sew a bit of lace somewhere - lol. sorry about the long reply.

  8. I really relate to your list; I've been thinking along the same lines lately. Many, Many patterns were culled and taken to the thrift donation center yesterday. Still more to sort through. Then, some of the fabric stash has to go.

  9. oh. my. What an inspirational post - and I LOVE your "happy accident". The shifts I'm seeing in you are making me seriously consider attending a DOL in the future!

    I melt into every word in this post - thank you :)

  10. That wasn't a save, that was your design idea.

    I'm also enjoying sewing for my Mum and am putting more detailing into my sewing because I don't have to rush and get the basics completed anymore.
    It's a good feeling too.

  11. Have you been reading my mail? Your list is a lot like mine - at least, the one in my head. All great ideas. I especially like the idea of sewing from the stash. I keep buying new, and I do sew much of it. But I have so much in the stash, I really want to cut it down some.
    I also like the idea of not striving to keep up with other sewists. It's easy to get caught up in "production" sewing - making things just for the sake of having them made. I'm currently in the midst of making a bag that I've easily spent 30 hours on, and it feels really good. I'm just into the process, not really looking at a goal line. And if I end up setting it aside for a while, that will be ok, too.
    Great thoughts here. Thank you!

  12. It's great that DOL was so inspiring. I can see you are thinking, and working, at a new creative level. But mostly, I hope you have fun. Sometimes I see the creative journey result in self criticism due to high expectations.

    I love your top - what an interesting treatment.

  13. I like the idea of exploring the potential of the fabric and pattern stash...good for me to keep in mind.

  14. A thoughtful post and timely words again... I am finding my stash overwhelming at the moment. I will keep in mind your admonition to explore the potential of the fabric and my original goals when I bought it.
    Thank you!

  15. What a beautiful top! Lately I've been looking more at "improving/improvising" patterns I have rather than buying more. I even dipped a toe this week into making one on my own. What a wonderful retreat it must have been and a great, clarifying list of goals and aspirations; many I, like other commenters, can relate too.

  16. I love your list -- resonates with me!

  17. Whay a great top and such a creative save! I Have been in exactly the same life place...less, loved and simple. Good inspiration list!

  18. What a gorgeous top. I really like the collar and self-tie on this, and the appliqué fits right in. I am really trying to sew more from my stash this year too. But I have to admit, I couldn't pass up three pieces of gorgeous knit and two of beautiful linen recently. I think my stash will be jealous when they see the new arrivals and say, "Hey, we were here first!" LOL

  19. Great list. I especially like the "less is more" bit - something I struggle with but hope to get better at this year.

  20. Inspiring list, Mary. I especially need to remember not to sew competitively! When I see all the cool stuff people make, I sometimes feel the need to surpass what I have seen, rather than just enjoy. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Thought provoking post... in particular: not to sew competitively, no need to share all projects and less is more!!! Great save on a lovely top...


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