The extra long read.
Happy New Year! Another year has been and gone and we find ourselves looking at a fresh new year, perhaps with a renewed sense of optimism. I personally relish the New Year, it feels like a clean sheet of paper. I’ve bought my new moleskin diary and I’m ready to go.
I read a book over Christmas that has affected how I’m visualising my own year - The Coat Route by Meg Lukens Noonan. It has tapped into the exact nerve that compelled me to study fashion and start my own business and it’s very simple; it’s the bringing together of beautiful things in order to create something even more beautiful. It’s sourcing fabrics that spark emotion, designing something that is JUST right and stitching a garment together with care and intention.
Reading this book has connected some dots for me. Since closing my previous business Henri, I’ve felt petty disillusioned with the fashion industry. It is the 6th most polluting industry on the planet and one that has enormous social question marks, so much so that it can feel quite overwhelming. The issues are so enormous and complex and it’s hard to see how small fry like me and you can make a difference. I felt a bit helpless and drowned out by the big players and I’ve questioned what’s the point in making more STUFF for people to consume. The home sewing world has been a welcome breath of fresh air but I was still left feeling disappointed and confused by the apparel industry (and I still am to some extent).
This book has reminded me of the reasons that the fashion industry was (and is) inspiring. What brings it to life for me is the rich history its rooted in; the cultural, geographical and political histories that span thousands of years. From the discovery of silk from a silk worm falling in a cup of tea in China 4000 years ago to the shepherds in the Andies who collect individual ox hairs left on trees and bushes to spin fabric with, people have worked continuously to develop textiles and tailoring to create clothes to protect our bodies but also to be outlets for human expression. Each morning we get dressed in clothes that have had extraordinary journeys for many thousands of years and we have the luxury of choosing these outcomes of history to best identify and express ourselves in todays society.
So where does this dot connect with the Modern Sewing Co.? The state of ‘designer mode’ is why I do what I do. All of this history inspires me and the productive outcome of this is that I design clothes, source beautiful fabrics and stitch garments together. And with the Modern Sewing Co. every customer has the chance to be in this ‘designer mode’. When you make your own clothes you’re not just a consumer at the end of the chain, you’re the most active part of the process. You can choose a fabric that stirs emotion for you and choose a design that you feel connected to. Then you get to enjoy creating a garment with your own two hands.
This process takes your into a special headspace that’s different to your usual daily modes (I know this because sometimes it’s impossible to get into that headspace, it really is a different zone). It’s an amazing antidote to the other automatic modes of modern life. The get up and go modes, work mode, housework mode, exercise mode, relaxing mode. It require a different part of your brain and it’s so important (if you personally feel the desire) to use these parts of your brain. I find it’s good for my mental health, it’s a distraction but also a time to process.
With this in mind home sewing is more than just sewing your own clothes, it’s about becoming your own designer. It’s a very special mental and emotional space and it’s available to absolutely everyone who wants to try.
It's quite satisfying to finally realise that my favourite part of my job is what I'm handing over to you. The curation of your own garment, the moments of being in 'designer mode'. This might sound obvious to you but it took me a while to get there!
So with this in mind, how does your 2023 look and is there space for sewing in it?
If you're a little unsure of how to get into ‘designer mode’ there are a few questions you can ask yourself to get started. As Meg says in The Coat Route, the job of a tailor is to fit a person’s mind as well as their body so tapping into your own psyche is a good starting point.
How does my brain feel? What is my emotional state?
I think this is interesting to think about. Clothes have the power to alter how we physically feel and I think it's interesting to think about the relationship with clothes and mood.
How does my body want to feel and how can my clothes boost that?
What kind of design do I need?
What sort of fabric will work with my chosen design and help my brain and body to feel good?
Do I have the skills to achieve the outcome?
If the answer to this is 'no' you might want to check out our online workshops!
I'd be keen to hear if this is something you'd interesting in reflecting on. Any thoughts or questions please send my way!
What you made in 2022...
I couldn't resist sharing some highlights of 2022 makes! There are so many beautiful ones to choose from but I whittled it down to one lovely make per style... I hope you enjoy the browse and maybe get an idea or two for 2023!
@tanglesandstarlight | Worker Trousers
A beautiful pair of Workers.
@zuzstories | Over Shirt
Made from an old table cloth, love it!
@theres.nothing.there | Unisex Shirt
A lovely short sleeve hack.
@knitxxor | Frida Shirt
Emelie has made an entire Modern Sewing Co. wardrobe, you can catch up here!
@raemunda.leigh | DaphneTrousers
A lovely pair of Daphnes with added front pockets from the Worker Trouser pattern.
@agnesperny | Potters Jacket
I love this amazing jacket, following the pockets hack that I did (saved on our instagram stories)
Such beautiful topstitching on the Jesse Jumpsuit!
@the.social.fabric | Classic Shirt
Another one of Nisan's beautiful makes.
@gabby_sews | Celia Dress
A beautiful fabric choice for the Celia Dress.
Cosy in the full Loungewear Set!
@schleppegrellssweatshop | Spring Trousers
I love this incredible outfit INCLUDING matching sunnies, epic.
@calexan4 | Cara Top
And a very lovely Cara Top to finish with..!