cleaning out my closet

Dress ERide a Cock Horse from Yoshiko Tsukiori’s ‘Stylish Dress Book: Wear With Freedom’ caught my eye for many reasons – not least the opportunity to utilise nursery rhyme themed fabric, sourced from Heavens to Betsy’s stall at Eroica Britannia.

For the dress fabric proper, I went on a fabric trawl in Abakhan Manchester  with my friend and fellow blogger Twinks. Buying by the kilo proved a temptation too far, as my instinct was to pile my basket up, enticed by high quality remnants at a fraction of the usual retail cost.

An hour in to our epic shopping adventure, I had a re-think and returned the majority of my magpie finds. Inspired by the clean lines realised in Yoshiko’s patterns and an increasing yen to streamline, I restricted myself to fabrics for which I had a pattern in mind and picked up over 2 metres of Vintage Farmhouse by Kim Diehl for Henry Glass & Co for a mere £6.

Whilst orgwpid-2015-08-17-22.39.37.jpg.jpeganised is my first, middle and last name, this quality always seems to get lost during sewing preparations, with my compact and bijou flat soon becoming a pin-strewn health and safety hazard. So for this project I adopted a new approach, making sure I had everything cut out and to hand before embarking on a sew-off.

My continuing adventures in stitch have had unforeseen consequences.The propensity to create has usurped the desire to acquire and whilst consumerism has by no means released it’s grip, more and more I am questioning the value of things.We are constantly being urged to move on to the next level – expand, make money from our creative endeavours, compete and gain accolades. I’m regularly asked when I’ll be making clothes to order and applying for the The Great British Sewing Bee. The inferred compliment is most welcome but I also feel a resistance – is the simple joy of creation not enough?

Two dresses in and there’s no prospect of me escaping my Japanese smock loop for the foreseeable. I’m hooked on their simplicity, elevated by signature details – in this case tucks, gathering and for me the pattern deal breaker of patch pockets. Having cut my teeth on Dress T, I was prepared for the succinct instruction and execution was straightforward. My only adaptation to dispense with the capped sleeves in preference for a bias binding finish.

A series of unfortunate events with a friend of long-standing tenure has caused me to reflect further.  What and whom do we hold on to and why? Whilst I’ve always heralded loyalty, I’m increasingly appreciating the need for that which we surround ourselves, to enhance our day to day. And sometimes, longevity alone isn’t reason enough – some relationships need calling time on.

So, I’m cleaning out my closet in more ways than one – uncomfortable and cathartic in turn. Which brings me back to Dress E … unexpectedly beautiful from the inside out …  an aspiration for any future acquisitions.

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7 thoughts on “cleaning out my closet

  1. how fabulous – the finish is perfect also, it looks like it can be worn bot ways. The smock style suits you well. I got a laugh out of the enquiries on your application for the sewing bee…..its a great program but part of me watches in horror at the pressure and cameras. good idea on your organisation, if I can, I try and cut out the evening before, but this doesnt always work out. Years ago I shared a flat, and a dressmaking pin was found in the dinner. I though nothing of it as no-one actually ate it, but my flat mate was not of the same mind. we didnt fall out over it but some new house rules were agreed!

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    1. Thank you as always – it’s such fun sharing with people who are as enthused as I am. This was a treat to make and I’m already working (mentally if not physically) on my next smock creation. At some point I’ll try and master more fitted garments but it will be no time soon! I’m totally with you on the sewing bee – sewing at my own leisure in the comfort of my own home is a world away from that shenanigans. I watched it for the first time last series and although the reality aspect irked me, I did enjoy it and was really glad with the outcome. Love your pin story! Some time back (after an age of wishing I had more space and a dedicated creative room) I decided to convert my whole living space into a sewing studio and I haven’t looked back. The sewing machine is constantly out as are boxes of notions and fabrics. It’s fair to say I live alone!!

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  2. It looks reversible and if not it’s a design for another dress. The pin tucks are a great addition and show that it’s all in the detail when you are using a plain material. The a line and smock offer limitless opportunities as you have demonstrated. Your creations are beautifully crafted works of art and thumbs up for rocking the wooden horse motif.

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    1. Thank you so much – you are my number one fan! Really enjoyed making this one – the pattern was simple and the patch pockets are my new favourite! Already got another smock creation in mind with a little twist I think you will approve of. Watch this space!! x

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  3. The usual wonderful mix of creativity and philosophy! Agree that cleaning out the friendship closet can be helpful. But have recently re-acquired a couple of old friends, lost partly out of laziness, going in different directions, and one lost through anger and serious disagreement. It’s a joy to have them both back after a very long gap, and am the wiser for it.
    And hurrah for smocks. One of my faves from the first time around in the 70s. Flattering and comfy in a way that elasticated waist trousers aren’t!

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  4. I couldn’t agree more Denise – cleaning out the closet to make way for friends old and new :). I’ll have to fill you in on the back story when we finally meet up again – it involves someone we both know of old! How’s that for a teaser. Glad to hear friends re-uniting has brought good things your way. Loving the elasticated waist trousers reference – it’s smock a go go round mine – just working on my next creation. One day am going to have to challenge myself to something more fitted but it’s probably going to be no time soon! Thank you for the kind words – much appreciated. Xx

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