Today in my series of interviews with sewing bloggers on their connection between sewing & style, I’m delighted to feature Heather of HandmadebyHeatherB. Heather may tell you she sews all sorts of thing, but let me let you in on a little secret – she has sewn a lot of jackets/blazers/coats and I have a crush on every single one. Fortunately for her, she’s a different shape than I am, so she doesn’t have to worry about me inviting myself over and stealing things from her closet! I’m delighted to share her thoughts on the connection between her ability to sew and her personal style.
Hello there, I’m Heather a stay at home mom who sews to stay partially sane. My family will vouch that I was only partially sane to begin with. Over on my blog HandmadebyHeatherB you can see what garments I’ve been sewing and maybe giggle at my silliness. There are also occasional glimpses of my son “Cat Boy” and my sewing assistant Froggie. He does hems for cookies.
Describe your style.
My style is a constantly mutating thing, dependent on my current whims. I’m sure that I was a total pain in the ass to dress for most of my childhood. “I liked long shorts last summer” *derisive snort* Right now I seem to have a seasonal split to my style. Fall/Winter is Faux badass or Faux cowgirl and Spring/Summer is Quasi Retro. Yes I made all those descriptions up.
Describe what you sew.
What don’t I sew! Ok I don’t sew swimwear, underwear or exercise clothing. All those items are pending for a moment when I feel like sewing something crazy. Anything else you can name I’ve probably done it. I like having a couple different types of projects going on at once, so that I can bounce between them according to my mood. I love bold graphic prints and any type of bright flora on a black background. I might also have a huge stockpile of gray and black solid fabrics. We Yankees love our sober/chic uniforms. Black is the new black honey.
What inspires or influences your style?
I’m a sheeple that is easily influenced by other sewers. Hey did you just see so and so’s new dress/jacket/giant antler crown. I want one! However at this point in my life I pretty much know what works on me and what doesn’t. This often nips my copycat ideas in the bud. The other 50% of the time I just get distracted by something new and shiny. New Patterns, yes!
I also like to keep up with current trends in fashion if I think they suit me. Pinterest is great for that, you can just skim out the bits you like and add them to your wardrobe. I love vintage patterns a lot, but have to tweak them to work for me. 100% vintage on me just looks like a Halloween costume. Trick or Treat!
I look at every day as a chance to play dress-up. How do you play dress-up?
About 90% of what I sew is practical clothing that fits in my current lifestyle. When I get in a sewing rut, then I play a little dress up by sewing up fancy cocktail dresses or using a really crazy print. Those garments remain unworn in my closet, but I don’t regret making them. Sometimes you need a bit of impracticality to spice up your sewing life. I recommend working with a googly eyed lobster print to make all your cutting that much more fun. *lines CF up on the right googly eye*
How does your passion for sewing influence your style?
I’d say that my sewing and my style go together like peas and carrots. I have the advantage of know how to draft patterns, which makes sewing a wide open space of possibility. Maybe that accounts for my style being an amorphous thing, I’ve rarely felt constrained. I am hindered by that pesky problem of storage. There should be some sort of law against any sewist having to share a closet with her husband. I need more dress room people! Let’s not even talk about my shoe situation.
What about in the beginning: Did you learn to sew so that you could have a certain style?
I learned to sew as a kid so I could make cool clothing for my stuffed animals. During college I sewed for a grade, design degree things were not completely wearable. It really wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I starting thinking about sewing for myself. I like having the freedom to sew what I want. It doesn’t matter what size or shape I’m currently at, I can have stylish clothing that fits me. To be honest, it’s taken 35 years for me to feel like I can dress myself. Now I’m the overdressed mom in the grocery store and I don’t give a damn.
Does your style require that you are able to sew?
Yes it does. Otherwise I’m constricted by my giant butt which makes most RTW fit oddly. Oh and my forward shoulders, tilted waist, low bust…I’m a freak show people. Happily with sewing I can fit all these problem areas and get the kind of clothing I want to wear I also really like being able to pick fabrics for specific garments. This is why I have an insanely large stash that is threatening to smother me at night. I should get some bin locks to keep it in it’s place.
Anything else you would like to say about sewing and style?
I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with making your own clothing. It certainly makes having a giant wardrobe feel pretty virtuous. And if you suddenly decide that a garment isn’t your style anymore it’s no big deal. You still enjoyed spending the time making it and it frees up some space in your closet for something new. My husband asks me when I’m gonna have enough clothing….um never. How else am I gonna be able to keep buying fabric? :)