Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wardrobe Refashion Update

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It’s been almost six months since I took the Wardrobe Refashion challenge not to buy any new clothes for two months. 

With one exception—two pairs of Gap pants in July—I’ve done it.  It was pretty easy, and it made me really look with new eyes at old clothes.   

I’ve posted a few photos of my adventures refashioning my own clothes.  That was fun, but after a while I started feeling limited by not liking how my clothes looked on me.  And that’s another issue altogether.  

Still obsessed with Making Good New Stuff out of Old Icky Stuff, in August I found a book that set me on an entirely new creative path.  I posted about it:  The Sweater Chop Shop, by Crispina ffrench. 

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It’s largely Crispina’s fault that my blog has languished this fall, because I’ve found her approach to recycled sewing completely inspiring and fantastic.  I needed this diversion.  At the same time that I found her book, as most of my readers know, my husband was preparing to move to another state for a job—without, for the time being, me and our daughter.*

Since I can get pretty compulsive facing the Fear of the Unknown, I’ve chosen to throw myself headlong into Crispina-inspired sewing during this time, rather than eating or shopping myself out into trouble.  Yes, it pretty much replaced blogging, because…well, mes bonnes amis, I wanted to be really, completely selfish and mess around with fabric and colors and thread and shapes and textures and not show it to anyone, not feel a single bit of pressure, not feel like a Bad Girl for not visiting my blog friends…blah, blah, blah. 

Anyone relate to this?  I know the answer is Yes. 

My other favorite book (besides Sweater Chop Shop) is The Twelve Secrets of Highly Creative Women, by Gail McMeekin.  This amazing book has a whole section about how we women who want to create must do this:  shut the door, turn off the phone, Be Selfish! was hard, but I did that.  For the cost of a couple of therapy sessions, I set up own Chop Shop and gave myself time to try it.

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Here are some of things I’ve made.  Truthfully, I can’t believe how much time I’ve spent.  Like anything one loves, it can be all-consuming.  I’m thrilled with how much I’ve learned, and how excited I am to get out of bed and do this instead of write grant proposals for the non-profit group that employs me. 

If these items look like they’re being photographed for sale, it’s because I’m opening a shop on Etsy at the end of November.  This exercise in creative abandon is making me seriously question my current career path.  At the very least, to justify playing with wool as much as I want to, I’d like to get some monetary return for my time. 

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I’ve noticed that other blogger friends have also stepped back from the social obligations of blogging to devote time to other creative pursuits.  If any of you are reading, I’d like to hear how that’s going for you—if you want to say.   

*he left this morning, and here I sit, at three in the afternoon, in my pajamas, house torn up with my projects, sad/glad the waiting is over, and knowing good things will come of it all. 




Unknown said...

Good luck on your Grand Opening! I'll be here waiting to hear more. Like wondering what size is the pink button vest/top.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Bravo! On all counts. A great example on how to cut down on consumption - and what fabulous creations! I think your work will be very popular on Etsy, where folks go for all things handmade. It's a lot of work setting up your shop - and you can use your blog to bring traffic to your site. I, for one, can't wait to see it. You are a great inspiration to carve out time for my creativity.

Elizabeth said...

Your refashioned sweaters are lovely! (My favorite is the last one)

Cynthia L. H. said...

You're really great at this, sallymandy! I think that your Etsy shop will be a big hit!
Once again, you have inspired me. I've wanted to do this for years...I've made it so far as to have about ten wool sweaters in the closet that I've felted. :^)
They're waiting.
;^) ;^) ;^)
Can't wait to see your shop!

Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP said...

Good on you for getting all creative and inspired!

I've not been around the blogs as much as I've been working on my new colour system for personal colour analysis, as well as writing another ebook.

Still, it's great to catch up!

Zuzana said...

Beautiful creations.;) You are really talented. I am still so impressed that you managed to stay away from buying clothes for this long.;) Well done.;)

Shelley said...

I am so impressed, I love what you've created and am already feeling better about the heaps of clothing I've failed to discard, thinking they were really craft material.

Thank you also for the insight about selfishness. I can see that this is part of why I've not progressed on the goal of improving my sewing. It's only me that says I shouldn't be so selfish. It's only me that can give me the permission.

I'll look forward to the opening of your Etsy shop. Well done you!

Mervat said...

Sally, You have done so well. After the last couple of months I realised how much creative time blogging did take up. Admittedly I was forced away from blogging due to caring for my mum, who underwent spinal surgery, but in the meantime I have had a chance to refocus and put more energy into my writing. And it feels so good. I still enjoy blogging but it is not the be-all and end-all it once was. Know what I mean?

Stephanie N. said...

Sallymany, these are great! I'm so glad for you!

And as for stepping "back from the social obligations of blogging to devote time to other creative pursuits," it's working out great for me. The thing that made the biggest difference was letting go of guilt when I decide not to leave a comment or not to read everything. I removed about half of the blogs that had been pouring into my Google Reader, and now I skim more more, and comment less. It no longer feels like a burden.

I decided to let my Wardrobe Refashion membership lapse after four months. There were just too many new items I wanted to buy. But I'm so glad I did it! And I'm still refashioning in the same spirit, but buying new when I want to, and more sensibly than before. I'll probably sign on for a couple of months each year from now on, just to get my brain back on track. You're a trooper for staying with it!

Sorry this turned into such a long comment.

aims said...

You've done a fantastic job!

And the wait is finally over and still you are breathing and able to face life. Ahh. Such challenges we endure daily.

Ingrid Mida said...

I love what you have created!!! How pretty and practical!

sallymandy said...

Thank you to all you kind and supportive friends. Truly, being a blogger here and "meeting" so many wonderful people has been a real exercise in learning to let go and follow a creative path. My blog has been (and continues to be) a learning tool for how to live a more creative and authentic life, while having my horizons grow continuously through the experiences of other bloggers.

I appreciate everyone's good wishes.

Lori ann said...

Good luck with all of it Sallymandy, i love your ideas of repurposing. Out of economic reasons we always had to do this, finally it became popular and my girls were happy. New clothing stores are so overrated!

Tracy Watier said...

How fun that you've found this diversion that's kept you so busy. That's the secret to getting through things I think. A bit of denial, a productive project and knowing that, in all likelihood, things will work out for the better even if it's all a little scary. I've gone through quite a transition myself this year and feel like I've spent a lot of my time "underground" sorting my thoughts and finding a new way to do things. And, truth be told, in denial for a good bit of time. I can feel myself coming out on the other side now, and I think I'm going to be okay. It's just an empty nest after all, not really the end of the world.

Relyn Lawson said...

What an interesting concept. It reminds me of a friend of mine who committed to not buy a single thing next year beyond absolute necessities like shampoo and food. Geez! I COULD NOT do it.

Darla said...

Wonderful creations, can't wait to visit your shop.

As for blogging, I'm still at it but have slowed down. I've met some wonderful people through blogging but the excitement seems to have worn off - for me and for many others.


Duchesse said...

Your pieces are so harmonious and lovely, I am sure you'll be a huge success. Whether you can get decent compensation for the time, don't know. Whoever wears these pieces will have a treasure. My only issue with so many Etsy designers is that they make only tiny sizes; hope you make some large sizes for the woman who is often overlooked.