Thursday, August 30, 2012

Seam Allowance

Seam Allowance is the project, initiative, challenge and movement (yes!) started by Kristine Vejar of A Verb for Keeping Warm.   Verb (for short) is her studio/shop in Oakland, full of fabric, yarn and spinning fiber (much of it handdyed by Kristine herslf with natural dyestuffs) books and equipment, every single thing a gorgeous inspiration.  Seam Allowance is a proposal: a different way to approach our wardrobes, choose to wear, what we make or choose to consume.

The idea (please go to the Seam Allowance blog to read Kristine's thoughts in full) is for the goal of 25% of your wardrobe to be handmade.  In similar ways that (esp in the San Francisco Bay Area where we live) there has been a real turn towards considering where your food comes from, it is about using the making 25% of your own wardrobe to be the frame through which to think through where your clothing comes from. 

I. Love. This. Challenge.

I am so excited to participate because it is bringing up so many ideas around which I want to think about making clothes, to ring about the themes of craft and consumption:

Making pieces that become a part of your daily life and not impractical artifacts of your skill. Letting go of the preciousness of the handmade object and trying to incorporate the handmade into your dailywear.

Make your own style.   If you can make it yourself, then you can make your own style.  Yes.  I think about Sonya Phillip's 100 acts of Sewing where she has one form/structure and is exploring the infinite creative possibilities of creating a visual vocabulary within the constraint of the dress.   Creating a style that is personal and distinctive, through play within set rules.  Love.

Making clothes that have a transformative lifespan rather than discarded after they are out of fashion.  This would mean to me remaking clothes that dont work for me anymore, or making clothes for my daughter out of old clothes of mine own.  In Little House on the Prairie, were some of Laura's clothes made from Mary's old calico dresses?  This I remember for some reason, whether real or imagined, and is what I mean for the transformative life of the fabric.  

To make visible for my daughter in our home the work involved to make (fill in the blank here.)  That when we are out in the world she understands the true labor that it takes to make a thing. It doesnt magically appear in a store. Even in factories, a person uses their own hands and cuts and sews this piece of clothing. There are hands on and making and a persons life/work in even the cheapest shirt at a big box store..

In thinking about it, 25% is actually not as overwhelming as it seems.  Right now I am wearing leggings, a dress, or a cardigan or shoes. (OK, I'm not counting shoes because I am eagerly awaiting a pair of handmade ballerina flats from Elske.)  Making any one of these pieces would be a start, and leggings made from a stretchy knit using Cal Patch's Leggings pattern.....there you go.  25%.  

I hope the Seam Allowance project is inspiring to you as it is to me!  Now off to get to work...

(Best Jacket ever spotted at a Stitches West past.  Not handmade, but the flag I will be flying around these parts.)

For more info on check out the Seam Allowance blog or the community forum on Ravelry. (You will need a Ravelry account to access the forum).   If you are in the SF Bay area, you can attend the inperson salon every 1st sunday at 530-730, for a small fee per meeting participate in amazing conversation, learn new sewing skills and get inspired!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the 100 Acts of Sewing shout out! I have so many of the same thoughts and love reading your perspective. And you know what, you are absolutely right about work in the world visible at home. That's how I was raised and it's how I am raising my children.