I still haven’t finished any sewing or miniature projects so far in 2016! This year is taking its time getting its shit together. I have been felled by several migraine headaches & have been sleeping more than usual as a result. (Sleep is the only thing that helps my migraines.) I have utterly failed at my resolution to get up at 6:30am every morning. The upside is that Jared brings Ramona in to see me if I sleep in later than she does. So I get to start my mornings with some quality Ramona cuddles.
I’ve decided to be a little more intentional with my fabric purchases in 2016, & track what comes in & what goes out. Previously, I have viewed this sort of record-keeping as some form of witchcraft. How in the world are you supposed to remember the exact quantities of all the fabric you buy?! & even more difficult: how do you track the quantities of all the fabric you USE, given that the fabric quantities suggested on patterns usually generate lots of little scraps that can add up to half a yard or more? & these calculations become even more confusing if you are grading a pattern to make it bigger, or changing fundamental design features, like shortening a dress into a top, that make a big difference in fabric used.
But then I was like, oh. Duh. I can just write down the quantities of fabric I buy as I buy them. Every receipt lists exactly how much you purchased of each print/fiber/whatever. & if I make some attempt to measure my fabric before I cut it, I can estimate how much I am using in a given project.
So, once I sew up the five projects I have prepped for January (all five of which have been cut & started–edges serged, staystitched, etc), I will have used 13.75 yards of fabric. & so far in January, I have purchased 8 yards. My goal, obviously, is to keep the balance tipped in favor of fabric used. I feel okay about the fabric I’ve bought, because most of it is slated for a set of pajamas, & if there is one thing I can always use, it is pajamas. & it was on sale! I also bought some denim for jeans (also on sale) & some vinyl to make a wallet, both of which are projects I’ve been planning for a while.
Of course there is a little voice in my head saying, “Really, dude? Do you really need to quantify MORE things in your life?” I already write down every step I take every day, every dollar I spent on absolutely anything, every book I read & its page count, etc etc. I often think that I might be a little happier & feel more relaxed if I just lived my life without obsessively cataloguing everything. But…what’cha gonna do.
When Ramona is napping or out with Jared & I am sewing or cleaning or whatever, I like to listen to podcasts. Lately I have been listening to a lot of “Stuff Your Mom Never Told You,” upon a recommendation from Meredith, who runs Wonder Fair, an art gallery/shop here in Lawrence. One of the first episodes I listened to was called “The Secret Lives of Fashion Bloggers,” which was all about the hidden labor that transpires behind the scenes of blogging. For instance, they discussed the time & energy involved in taking 200+ photos just to find a handful to post online.
The whole episode made me think about sewing blogs. I read A LOT of sewing blogs, & more than once, I have seen bloggers talk about the time & effort they put into their photographs, admitting to taking fifty or one hundred or more photos just to find a couple that are right for their blogs. Obviously most of these bloggers end up posting photos that are far superior to the photos that I post, but for every photo I post, I take maybe two? Three, tops? The ones that don’t get posted are the ones that are blurry or where the camera was aimed the wrong way so I accidentally photographed the litterbox instead of my shirt or whatever. Which is to say, for every photo you see on my blog that is actually showcasing a garment…that’s pretty much the only photo there is.
It honestly never occurred to me to stage a full-on photo shoot! I mean, maybe this is why I have like twelve readers instead of 1200, but whatevs. I’m cool with it. I’d much rather spend that extra time sewing or reading or chilling with Ramona or napping or giving myself shitty haircuts. (I recently chopped about four inches off my hair to try to get rid of split ends. Not only do I still totally have a million split ends, but Jared didn’t notice the haircut at all. He was like, “When your hair is like three feet long, four inches really doesn’t make a difference.” But I spent the next several weeks feeling like it was so short because it was only just barely grazing my hips.)
“Stuff Mom Never Told You” also did an episode on beauty vlogs, specifically asking if the YouTube democratization of make-up secrets is changing the definition & accessibility of beauty. One of the hosts was like, “I don’t wear a lot of make-up. Just concealer, blush, eyeliner, mascara, & lip gloss.” Well, that’s five more products than I use. This again made me think of sewing blogs, because so many sewing blog photos feature the authors in full make-up, & some even talk about having gone to all the effort of hair & make-up in order to take photos. Some even mix sewing posts with beauty posts (these blogs generally do not hold my attention for long–I so don’t care about how some random blogger maintains their hair color or whatever).
On the one hand, I am reluctant to be like, “It’s all stupid,” because whatever, people can do what they want. But on the other hand, it’s always a question of whether people are truly doing what they want, or if they feel like they have to go that extra mile because it is expected on some level. Any time someone is doing exactly what is expected of them as far as oppressive beauty standards go, & they say, “Sure, but, I’m doing it for me!” I always wonder how much of that is true & how much is a farce, given that we have all been born & raised in this misogynistic world, marinating all our lives in this toxic broth of feminine gatekeeping & vague affirmations of “choice”.
Of course I also think about this a lot because I have a daughter, & I’m aware that at some point, she will probably start looking to me for cues on how to be a woman. I don’t wear make-up, I don’t shave, I don’t do a lot of things that are perceived by many as just baseline Things Women Do. I don’t want her to think those things are wrong, but I also don’t want her to think she needs to do them in order to be feminine. You know? When I was a kid, my mom was not huge on make-up or shaving or any of that crap, & so, in that respect, I felt like I had the space & support to reject it. But I am glad that it didn’t go so far as to create an environment that was hostile to femininity.