S: Like your jumper, most of us have that special item of clothing that we feel absolutely great wearing. I love how you write ‘feel like me’. Isn’t that what all of us really want? To wear clothes that express our authentic selves? I had a linen dress I bought from a charity shop and it was really what started 100 Acts of Sewing. I loved wearing it and my dream was to make one for practically every day of the week.
I’ve talked about creating a uniform as a way of taking out all the indecision about what to wear each day. Since I’ve started making my clothes I no longer worry about clothes or stress that I have nothing to wear. My wardrobe might be uniform in the stylistic elements, but since those building blocks are taken care of, I can then be free to have fun with the patterns and colours. How women are commodified by fashion is hopelessly narrow. Dressing for yourself? Not to express status or seduce? In this way, the liberation and the fun are subversive.
how to write methodology in research paper examples Reclaiming the body through thoughtful acts of making
F: With Wovember we are keen to highlight and reveal the often-invisible labour that goes into producing woollen textiles. We celebrate wool and the people and animals that produce it, and aim to raise awareness about the skills required to bring it into being. I’ve found that familiarising myself with wool and its supply chain has radically changed how I feel about buying brand new clothes from the high street – particularly those that are marketed as wool and are in fact made 100% from acrylic. I feel that marketing non-woollen goods as wool only succeeds as a corporate strategy because of the profound disconnections that exist between producers and consumers of wool. We are focusing obviously on the ones surrounding wool, but there are many other disconnects along the supply chain of fashion; I feel that your projects – especially in your wonderful clothes-making workshops and your enormously empowering dress-making patterns – you aim to address disconnection in a different and related way. Could you talk a little bit about that… about making garments as a source of confidence, empowerment and connection?
S: The companies selling new clothes directly benefit from a disconnected consumer. If a person knows what they want to wear and demands only that, how could they be convinced to buy? Making my clothes is a way to create something I wasn’t able to easily find. Since I know how much work and time was put into each garment, I am more invested in the care and upkeep. If there is something I don’t like about it, I can change it by moving a pocket, changing the hem or shortening the sleeves.
Instead of searching and making do with things that are almost but not quite what you were looking for, you could create clothes that were comfortable, colourful and expressing your own personal style. That the skill and creativity used to make the clothes is your own – that is where feelings of empowerment and confidence come from.
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F: I love your style on Instagram so much and how your outfits, made by you, shine with personality and colour. You inspire me so much with your accessible making projects, and I can confirm that dress pattern no. 3 works very well in a 100% lightweight wool fabric! I wonder if you could reflect on the role that your woolly handknits play as key elements within your handmade wardrobe?
S: I firmly believe that sewing and knitting are the very best bedfellows. The two crafts really compliment each other on the level of labor. With sewing, a garment can come together relatively quickly. I like to work in batches, cutting out several projects one day and then sewing them the next. But sewing requires space and ideally, a block of uninterrupted time. Both of these things are often in short supply. Then you have knitting, where you are actually creating the fabric and it proceeds at a comparatively glacial pace. However, I can usually bring my knitting project with me or get several rows done in the evening while watching television. As for what I wear, my handknits play a major role. I love to wear cardigans and shawls, the sewing in many ways acts as a way to fill in the blanks around those two elements.
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F: I saw a most beautiful photo of you on Instagram with a lamb earlier this year. In my case, meeting sheep farmers and sheep was a starting point for wanting to make more of my own clothes. Now I am trying to learn skills that will enable me to do that and to utilise the wondrous stuff that is growing in this land in which I live. I wondered if yours has been a similar path, or whether your curiosity and love for the materials with which you sew and create has eventually drawn you back to the farms from whence they came?
S: I learned to knit while my oldest son was attending a Waldorf School and their emphasis on natural materials greatly influenced me. In those early days as a knitter, I would go to yarn stores and purchase yarn company magazines along with the yarn to knit up the patterns. Wool was this generic catch-all term. Now I’m a more discerning wool buyer and mostly make purchases because of personal connections. I actually have a friend who named a sheep after me and I am really looking forward to one day using the wool! More recently I’m thinking about fabric in a similar lens of supporting makers and local producers. What is also on my mind, is making what I have in the way of fabric go further, in addition to seeking out and supporting domestic textile manufacturing.
Thanks so much to Sonya for taking the time to talk to us and for giving us all so many ideas about how we might express ourselves more authentically in the things that we wear. I hope we can keep the conversation going on Twitter and Instagram using the #woolbodypositive hashtag!