I’m a late adopter of trends. Which maybe seems suspicious since I work in Fashion. I don’t mean clothing trends necessarily, you see, but in other things… none brought me more criticism and attention than the fact that until last Spring I wasn’t moved to convert to using a smart phone. I had my old Samsung flip phone for years. I treated it kindly and it supported me well. The battery life was over 24 hours. I was completely focused on tasks at hand, having no dependency on my phone to tell me what was happening in my life. I have a strict policy of not taking work home with me, which was made easy by an inability to look at emails when away from a computer. When I travel for work they furnish all the smartphones or blackberries or laptops I could desire, so that wasn’t an issue. I just didn’t have any need for a costly, oversized, fragile and invasive device in my life. For a while people found it charming. Then they started to think I was weird and kind of boring, having no agility in engaging with social media on the scale smartphones have enabled. One day I woke up and realized I was getting bored of me, too. So comes the turning point in a late adopter’s life when the scales finally tip.
It wasn’t an instant game changer. I didn’t know what to do with it. There were all these options and possibilities in my hand but I couldn’t even gracefully answer an incoming call… has anyone else out there of the left-handed pursuasion noticed how right-handed the engineering is on a smartphone? I had the device about ten days before spending a night out on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. That weekend changed my life. That night, my friend Liz introduced me to Instagram.
I don’t know anyone who loves Instagram as much as I do. To me, Instagram is the modern interpretation of the magazines I obsessed over as a girl, but made ultimately more democratic and engaging based on individual selectivity. We can become the editors of our own lives. Using Instagram makes me feel the same sense of excitement and curiosity I felt every time I had a glossy, new, untouched issue of a magazine awaiting my perusal in the mail box. Except it is an exponentially greater pleasure now, because the nature of technology makes all of the sources behind my interests not only more plentiful but also interactive.
So here I have come to the crux of today’s post. Me Made May this past year was far more fulfilling and engaging than I ever imagined it would be because it connected me to so many other people around the world. I have been exposed to so many more ways to share and enjoy my sewing activities with others. I’ve come across a number of opportunities for contests, meetups, blog sharing and the like, which sent me off into this tailspin of over-ambitious absorbtion. What can I say… it’s the slow time of year at my day job!
On a deeper level, the desire to engage in every potential opportunity I find on my Instagram radar is related to a realignment of priorites, and a long term change I would like to effect in my life concerning how I spend my time, and what I am contributing to society…. I know, I sound like such a Millenial right now.
And yet, I’ve found that I can’t devote every spare waking hour to my sewing (even though I really, really want to!) and at the same time mix in all the social media activity I would like to connect to it. This was news to me! I’ve kind of reached the limit of my ability to still enjoy sewing while still being good at my actual day job and frankly…. my thumbs can’t take so much scrolling and double tapping on my smartphone.
So, one of the blogs I got introduced to through my Instagram feed is The Monthly Stitch. It’s a consortium of sewists and bloggers who engage in monthly challenges with special themes. Contributing requires some special linking and management of the posts back to my own blog here, and as much as I would like to work it out right now, and as much as I would love to follow and be followed by all the other contributors, joining in the many interesting and inspiring conversations I’m so sure would suck up my brainwaves, I kind of need to be on a media detox of sorts right now. It’s exactly the behavior I always frowned upon when interacting with friends of mine who seemed obsessed with the little smartphone devices in their hands… I have become one of Those People.
So, here I present you with the best I can offer for the time being, here on the home front. Acting on the theme for July from The Monthly Stich, I give you what I prepared for the theme “Spots and Stripes.” Both of these are based on BurdaStyle’s Paneled Tunic Top. It’s a fantastic project for using up remnants in your fabric stash, or working through some creative pattern mixing.
In this first version, I made it from the pattern as-is. It’s my interpretation of the “Stripes” theme.
In fabric development you often receive samples of the work you produce that are anywhere from 1/4 to 1 yard in length, a.k.a. really not useful pieces. We keep them for emergencies (if a designer needs to drape a new sleeve or collar) and for reviewing against production for consistency. We might develop as many as 180 samples a season. Over time that’s a lot of fabric cuts. I wish I could say they all serve a purpose in the end. We donate and recycle and archive as much as possible, but I’d be lying if I said they all wind up in good homes. It’s a conundrum, and an environmental burden, but at the risk of this post being a treatise on raw material waste and the need for comprehensive upcycling, I will just cut short and admit that there are a good amount of textile orphans that make their way out of the rubbish bin and into my fabric stash. So this version of the tunic is a shining (literally, being silk charmeuse) example of fabric salvation.
The second version I adjusted, making some alterations to the bust area and shoulders to change the fit. I think there could be a few more tweaks to get it right if I went for a third version. This one is in polyester georgette with little heat set foil dots scattered across it – my version of “Spots.” This is not a salvaged fabric, but one I actually bought off the bargain rack to use as a test fabric for the pattern adjustments. It just made me so happy to have a little sparkle that I gave her some legitimate seam finishes and wear her for real.