I’m excited to bring a guest post by Katja of Of Dreams and Seams in my continuing series of guest posts exploring individual connections between sewing and style. I simply adore Katja’s many recycled creations wherein she cuts apart old garments and uses them for imaginative and stylish new clothing and I can’t wait to share her take on sewing and style.
I’m Katja and I have a blog called Of Dreams and Seams. I actually want to include a lot more fashion sketches, which are supposed to be the “Dreams”-part of my blog title, but I never have enough time to give my drawing the attention it first needs before I want to publish it… My “Seams” however can be seen plentiful, recently a lot of recycled garments are popping up, because I love the idea of using resources to their max, I hate causing a lot of trash and my sense for sustainability is growing and growing. Sometimes the clothes I sew are limping behind the clothes I want, when it comes to quality and style, but at least I’m getting better at sewing things I actually wear. That wasn’t the case for quite a while!
Describe your style.
Casual yet sometimes funky, definitively unusual and not much off-the-rack… People have always told me that I have a cool clothing style but I never purposely tried to be different than everybody else. It just happened that way because I always wore what I liked, and not what was stylish and fashionable at the moment. As much as I like cute things on other women, I feel silly wearing anything with ruffles and sparkles. I like clean-cut things and have been seen in guys clothes every once in a while…
Describe what you sew.
Oh, anything! And never enough! I always have at least five projects lined up in my head, but never get a fraction of them done before new ideas take over. I used to sew up a lot of vintage things, I have beautiful magazines from all the way back to 1890s. The inspiration is great, yet I realized I never end up really wearing these clothes. So now I changed it up a bit and sew things I end up wearing – strangely this is something that took practise! It all depends on choosing the right fabrics and patterns, as well as knowing yourself… Recycling has taken up a lot of my sewing time and I enjoy it a lot!
What inspires or influences your style?
It can really be anything. Things I see in stores as well as second-hand clothes, fashion documentaries, movies, but also myself: meaning my lifestyle, my profession. I know I won’t wear supertight skirts and sensitive fabrics, so I very often ask myself: what would I PERSONALLY love to wear right now? And then I look at what I have in my stash and start sewing. Those usually end up being the clothes I’ll wear right after finishing them.
I look at every day as a chance to play dress-up. How do you play dress-up?
Oh, that is very interesting. I don’t really see it that way. I see dressing as expressing my personality, and “dress-up” to me means to portray something that I might want to be, but really am not… The fact that I am a singer/actress makes a big difference, too. Dressing up is my job, so to say, so I really enjoy putting on my own stuff in everyday life. In fact, I have to dress down a lot, just because it can get dirty during rehearsals and you want to be able to move around and breathe freely. However, when I go see a show, visit an opening night or the likes, I enjoy putting on something nice.
How does your passion for sewing influence your style? enable your style? hinder your style?
I look at clothes completely differently than 5 years ago. I have much more appreciation for good quality clothing. When I see cheap stuff I always think I can just as well make it myself, but then, the really great stuff is often too expensive and I think: oh, I’ll just make it myself. So I am really not buying much anymore. But then I get disappointed when I am not happy with my sewing… I wish I could make technically perfect, amazing clothes all the time, but I’m not quite there yet.
Does your passion for sewing influence/enable/hinder the style of those around you?
Hm, I don’t think so. Theater people are pretty unusual in their style anyway. But I think I have encouraged many to try sewing something themselves at one point or another…
Has your style changed with time?
Well I have definitively become more stylish over the years of my sewing. The first things people sew usually have this home-sewer-style. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice on some people and I love individuality, but I wanted my clothes to look more professional. So I had to learn what it is that makes a garment look stylish, fashionable, instead of just groovy alternative… What I want to wear and therefore want to be able to make certainly improves my sewing, because I am not happy with just “sewn-together”, I want a very crisp, clean look on my things. I basically want people not to see that I make my clothes and be super surprised when they find out.
What about in the beginning: Did you learn to sew so that you could have a certain style?
Not a certain style, but just certain clothes. I didn’t have much money, and sewing up my own stuff was a cheap alternative, since I usually just took fabrics I found at my moms, or I bought it cheaply. Luckily, in the beginning, I didn’t really see my own imperfections, I was just thrilled by the fact that I could put on something I made myself. I sometimes wish I still was that easy on myself!
Does your style require that you are able to sew?
In a way, maybe. I want to have a unique style, a very personal one, and sometimes it is hard to find such things. I can’t go to the big department stores, I dislike labels that people only wear because they are labels, and designer clothes are expensive…
Anything else you would like to say about sewing and style?
I found that making things is a cure to buying too much. We all buy way too much stuff! I recently took a shoemaking class in London and made a pair of shoes, and it gave me such a thrill that I decided I want to make everything myself now… I will actually follow up on that a bit and put together an outfit that I make entirely: underwear, socks and accessories included. There is so much more gratification in making than in buying. I’ve been flying on that high for a while and might soon be able to stop buying any clothing for a whole year. I’m in a bit of a trial state, observing, but if I am honest, I probably have enough clothing fort he next five years anyway…