Midlife crisis sewing

My, how time flies. Sorry, I’m in the midst of midlife crisis, so haven’t had much time, energy, or motivation to sew or blog. It’s gotten so bad that I’ve even considered Kondoing my fabric Stash – never mind new purchases. Can you believe that? Me of try-prying-my-stash-from-my-dead-hands persuasion, thinking of donating / recycling unused yardages – not even scraps, but whole yardages.

Recent years of losses + meeting new people with different perspectives on life had me questioning my clinging on to things & fear of taking risks. Like a house of cards, once a chunk is chipped away from the foundation the rest came tumbling down. Taking a look at the debris, I realised I had boxed myself into a particular narrative of who I am. And what were once invigorating expressions of that identity are now insipid habits & stashes of unrealised dreams, dead weights & devoid of life.

So yeah, much more time have been spent reflecting, figuring out what to do, how to change, & dealing with the emotional roller-coaster of actually trying to change – rather than just fantasising about some rosy future when this is all over. “Yes please!” to less acquisition-fueled fantasies and to more doing / making. I’m also taking baby steps to face my fears, take a chance & try something new. And to be open-minded, curious, & non-judgemental. I didn’t think I was a judgemental person, but I do in fact layer stories of the past onto what’s happening right now, instead of just observing what is & exploring what could happen next if I try this or that. All this is of course easier said than done. Everything takes so much time! But I’m trying to learn to appreciate the Journey.

The only sewing I’ve managed to do in the last few months were…

  1. more cross-body strap bags to replace the knackered prototype,
  2. a mini-skirt waiting for a partner to complete the look,
  3. a failed mohair sweater frosting that would have been the partner,
  4. and a bunch of panic holiday sewing.

1 & 2 were made when I was just beginning to sense something was amiss. So both tried to revive former glories with the tried & tested. 3 was the first attempt to be looser with my sewing, but I fell flat on my face. 4 I’ll write about in separate posts. Suffice it to say it’s my tortoise version of the Great British Sewing Bee: so much to make + so little time = rolling with the punches & a crash course in the new way.

1 Self-drafted Bags with Cross-body Strap

These are replacements for the prototype I made in 2017. I had already cut out rest of the fabrics when I first made the prototype, so this was a production line to make 3 just before Xmas. A friend at work was leaving her safe job to take a punt in acting. When I first joined the team she was THE welcoming committee & had asked about my prototype bag, even wanting to buy one. So I finally made her one as leaving present.

The only things I did differently this time are:

  • Protective clear PVC layer instead of laminating the print. The original RTW bag I modelled after used a clear PVC layer. The laminated prototype was wearing out in places & looking very grubby. So I was hoping PVC would fare better. Now that I’ve used these replacements for a while, I think the problem is the change in dimension – I made my version bigger than the RTW original. So the bag bends around my body & even the PVC will wear out at the point of the bend. But I’ll worry about a fix when it’s time to replace – hopefully not for another couple of years since I kept 2 for myself.
  • Rivets to reinforce strap attachments… because another point of failure on my prototype was strap attachment stitching, and one of these bags will be a gift so I wanted it to hold together a bit longer. I used a hand press kit & bag rivets I got in Asia. Went on like a treat. No more waking up the neighbours with hammer banging in the middle fo the night!

2 Self-drafted A-line Mini Skirt

A case of mutton dressing as a lamb, this is recreation of a mini-skirt I made over a decade ago. The original died accidentally in the tumble dryer – I’m rubbish with laundry. Made with leftover of the same decade old fabric to go with the same cheer-me-up impulse buy 2004 Stella McCartney vegan thigh-high boots. Talk about midlife crisis eh 🙂

2019 mug shotsI had to redraft the pattern using my current A-line Skirt Block. It’s lined & has contoured facing instead of waistband. While the skirt came out alright, I haven’t dared wear it out yet. TBH it’s been too cold & I’m out of practice with heels. Plus the sweater knit I was going to wear this with turned out a total disaster. So the skirt now has no partner in crime against ageist fashion police.

3 RIP NG Self-drafted Mohair Sweater

This was meant to complement & tone-down the mutton-lamb skirt above, but it was an unmitigated disaster. I had no particular design in mind when I bought this sweater knit from Mood NYC a while ago. As usual I was simply seduced – this one by its heavenly caress Purrrrrr.

plan A

plan B

Trawling for ideas in Pinterest, I thought a cowl-neck sweater dress like the one Gigi Hadid wore may go well with the mini-skirt & thigh-high boots. Had such high hope for this frosting. But it was NG – I felt like a pink Big Bird. So I thought maybe I can salvage this by going tighter – like a ballet-style wrap cardi. Unfortunately there really wasn’t enough fabric in the tent sweater. I tried piecing, but it didn’t work with the delicate sweater knit. Worst part is the shedding. You could have sworn I have like 10 cats in the house. Achoo!

So into the scrap recycling bag this went. Sorry Earth, there’s only so much I can handle. Will shop more carefully in the future.

5 comments on “Midlife crisis sewing

  1. Susanna Tham says:

    Yah, midlife crisis … been there, done that. Still doing it, I think.

    I recognize the want to change (just about everything about) myself. I’ve found that accepting my self-perceived flaws first make it easier to make changes, but it’s equally important to appreciate your strengths.
     
    Having a style that suits and flatter and you like wearing isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even if one gets tired of one’s own style from time to time. You can still find, create and do new things while staying comfortable and there is no need to rush, one change at a time should do it.

    Remember, all crisis ebb out eventually. And really, nobody is perfect. 🌼

  2. Susan says:

    So pleased you’re back, it’s always great to read your posts. I hope you work your way through the mid-life crisis and regain the motivation to sew ( and blog!)

  3. Giulia says:

    Let me cheer you up, in the last month I’ve been in maternity leave, finally had time to sew, did 10+ projects that I wanted to do since so long…and still could not wear *any* of them, as there is still a gigantic baby bump between me and them 🙂 if there is a seamstresses hell, this may be an adequate punishment, together with an overlock that continues to need to be re-threaded.
    Always happy to read your posts!

    • Congratulation Giulia! Girl or boy? Will you be sewing for your baby as well? Hope you’ll be able to fit into your new projects soon. And hope you have help & are able to get some decent sleep from time to time.

      • Giulia says:

        It will be a girl but has two bigger siblings so sleeping (and time to sew) is already an optional :). I sew rarely for the kids: they outgrow and/or destroy the items so quickly that nothing that takes more than an hour from start to finish is worth the effort, not to mention the frequent kid flea markets around. But having kids, and my body changing pushed me hard to learn to self draft and sew more professionally so…yey!

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