While many have already participated in the Wardrobe Architect the first half of 2014, the content and self-exploration opportunities offered in this Colette Patterns series are so intriguing and valuable that it could be explored at any one or several point(s) in someones life.
What I like about working through each week of the Wardrobe Architect is that it offers me a chance to collect the bits and pieces and better understand myself by processing through writing. The categories presented by Sarai of Colette Patterns for participants to explore in Week 1 are:
- History: Your personal history and life events.
- Philosophy: Your religion, spirituality, or general philosophy.
- Culture: Your cultural background and the aesthetic values you grew up with.
- Community: Your friends and the people around you.
- Activities: Your interests, activities, and hobbies.
- Location: Where you live.
- Body: How you feel about your body.
History Creates Philosophy
In my exploration of the Wardrobe Architect's week 1 topic, Making Style More Personal, I will share with you how my history, philosophy, choice in jobs and work cultures, activities, location and body affect who I am, what I make and sew, and how I dress today. I hope you enjoy getting to know me and that my exploration inspires you to explore your own style more deeply. Because I am choosing to discuss these topics in greater detail, I will split my week 1 post up into 3 posts.
- History & Philosophy -- Thursday, 8/21
- Culture with a focus on Work Environment -- Friday, 8/22
- Activities, Location, and Body -- Saturday 8/23
I have excellent, high-quality taste (the thing I love is often the most expensive thing in the room) and severely dislike depriving myself. On the deprivation side, I actually plan to have extra food with me where ever I go because I'm afraid to be hungry. I tend to over pack for the smallest of trips, carrying way too much extra weight, because afraid to be bored.
Hmm, sounds like I've had a problem being alone with myself and allowing space for the empty nothingness that is actually a rejuvinator. Well, that's rather true. I've even found that it's taken me more than 10 years to be comfortable with my own company and not desperately trying to find somewhere to be or something to do that is anywhere but home. It's also taken a lot of soul searching and hard work to discover this. If I didn't feel comfortable being alone with who I am, how could I or who would I be with others? I was ever changing, or so I felt.
I avoided these issues with a passion. So much so, that I filled them with the instant gratification of buying craft supplies, "Oh this [fabric or yarn] could be that!" Upon looking at fabric, I can see it's potential and often have a vision of what the finished piece looks like. That potential is intoxicating. It sucks away your spending money though. Out of this, and very easily tied to the rest of the US culture, I was born a consumer.
I have been influenced by the results of my own actions and the actions of the world around me. I do not want to continue to support a world where the government is constantly in debt, retail businesses make more on finance charges than the products themselves, and we over-produce and throw away because it's cheaper to buy new than repair.
Several movements away from consumerism such as tiny house, zero waste, debt-free, sustainable living, buy-local, farm preservation, and so many more affect and influence me, because my ultimate intention and self-realization is that I want to be different than I was and I want my actions to be those of a leader who builds the world she wants to live in. The ideas that fuel these movements are not new. Simply quality concepts recycled. They are simply our generation applying the tried & true methods of past generations with our own twist.
In discovering that I was as much a consumer as those I observed and was around, I realized that none of it was actually fulfilling. I was happy for 2 seconds to a few days after buying, eating, or over-packing. Then guilt and self doubt would settle in. Or I would move on to some new thrill so as not to lose the rush and good feeling.
Realization is only a half solved problem. Next comes the action and change of habits and thoughts. Often I lose momentum at this point. It's hard, it's not fair, I should have that thing, I have to "deprive myself" of things I think I love, blah blah blah quit whining you victim you!
Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. My big, wild dream is to travel the world. I always wanted it, but deep down, never believed I was worthy nor capable of making it happen. So, I bought more fiber and fabric. When travel opportunities came up, I declined due to not having the funds. All of which were my choices and my results. Judging on results is often harsh, but always fair. Through much soul searching, doing the work of shifting my thoughts from fear-based and negative to joy-based and positive, along with many personal development classes, journaling, time alone, and conversations with friends, I now believe it IS possible for me to travel the world through my own accord and supporting myself, no matter what my current circumstances. And so, I adopt the following principles the best I can into my life.
Gwen's Current Philosophies
- Be Happy and have FUN! (first and foremost)
- Make what I need, and make it something I’ll love.
- Spend the money on one really good quality item rather than purchase multiple cheap/throw-away items
- Zero Waste // Buy and Use Only What I Need
- Moratorium on buying unless it is for finishing a specific project
- Re-focus my financial efforts on having ever present freedom to travel at the drop of a hat.
- Sell the quality, collectible things I’m not using, haven’t used, don't need, don’t love, or don’t make me gooey inside or bring a huge smile to my face. Because there is someone out there who is looking for and would love the exact items I am choosing to release.
These philosophies affect my every choice from sewing to food to exercise to playtime. Here are a few things that I do because I choose to be guided by these principles:
KEEP A DONATION BAG
I always have a bag in my apartment to fill with donation items. If I wear an article of clothing that I feel funny in, I give it a good think, then usually toss it right into the donation bag. I keep the bag around for several weeks or months until it fills or until I have a few filled. Then, I look them over and re-evaluate whether I really want to donate the item. Often I ask myself, "Have I worn it in the last year? Will I wear it in the next season? Do I like how I feel/act when I wear it?"
I have a lot of art & craft hobbies and I work in nearly every medium. Some I am always passionate about. And, for some the level of passion and interest ebbs & flows. Since I closed my business, my passion for knitting has waned and I haven't spun yarn since 2011. It's very natural and normal and I'm at peace with my focus on sewing. Instead of holding on to all my remaining fiber and yarn until "someday" comes when I am again interested, I feel it better to offer them up for adoption to new homes. Some things I have are rare and very few were made. I remember how much time I spent searching for indie dyers fiber and how sad I felt that none was available after a dyer's entire shop update was sold out in less than 5 minutes time. It's time for someone else to feel as much joy as I did when using these lovely things.
FIXED REQUIREMENTS: PATTERN VS. FABRIC LEADING
Two of the main influences on my sewing (and even my knitting) are Sewing Pattern and Fabric. Pattern Leading (or using the pattern as your fixed set of requirements) always resulted in more fabric purchases because some how I could never quite buy enough or all the right bits for a project.
Allowing my philosophies and intents to lead meant shifting into Fabric Leading (the fabric is your fixed requirement). In the last 3 months, as I am have chosen my next sewing project, my motivation is to use up the swimsuit material I purchased to make yoga wear. I want super-cool printed leggings. That intent is what unconsciously remained prevalent in the back of my mind and influenced what I chose to sew.
Fabric leading has resulted in 4 pair and 4 unique variations of the Sewing Cake Espresso Leggings. And I'm about to start at least 1 more variation in a fun fabric from Marcy Tilton. I am achieving my goals of using up the stash I have and decreasing the amount of physical space it takes up in my life.