Sunday, October 29, 2017


For nine years every stitch of material I've worn has passed through my hands as I assembled it. Some designs I've made once. Others I've tweaked and remade in variations.

• Blankets, sheets, pillowcases.
• Towels and washcloths too.
• Necklaces, earrings and pouches in which to store them.
• Cloth totes and leather satchels.
• Belts. [I do love a belt!] I've made a variety, from a tool-belt design to corset belts (long before the one put out by Prada last year--oh ask me for a critique of that design) and others.
• Waterproof mittens with liners. Scarves. Rain pants.
• Wool felt & straw hats. Sewn silk hats with wide brims. Rain hats (the favorite lost outside a bus station). A faux-fur extravaganza that took a month to engineer, creating a frame of millinery wire and buckram handstitched between the lining and faux fur to support the heavy material and keep the brim horizontal.
• Toys: bunnies and bears, elephants and turtles.
• Half slips and full. Camisoles. Underwear. Warm long johns. Bras and corsets.
• Nightgowns--a favorite made in linen, remade when it wore thin. Then a third. The current version has been patched. (Oh dear.) Pajamas.
• Day dresses. Special occasion dresses. Mini skirts and full-length skirts.
• Tees, sweatshirts, turtlenecks, blouses.
• Leggings and pants. A raincoat and jackets.

Much of the clothing I've worn for years with joy reflects who I was. Putting on a dress I have loved and gazing into a mirror, I appear to myself to be dressed as a child. Not literally a child but a past version of myself. It feels stagnant.

We evolve. To make space and clear the decks from this nine-year endeavor I have put my serger and a sewing machine in storage where they can hibernate. The bulk of patterns I've made are there too. Who I am and, more significantly, who I'm becoming, will inhabit a different design framework.

I need styles that break free from the design vocabulary I've developed and to which I'm accustomed. ('Need,' a powerful word, I use cautiously.) Some garments I've made over the years are eternal: bloomers--better than any underwear I've ever bought. A blue dress I may have into my nineties wearing it with as much ease then as now. A nightgown I love that is almost more me than myself naked. And pajama pants as comfortable as can be, a basic, developed from a pattern I used when teaching sewing. Though I continue to imagine garments I'd like to design and make, I want to explore from the outside.

Seven years into my Slow Style project I thought about taking a sabbatical. I entered clothing shops in New York for the first time in years. I was untempted by what I found. In one distinct moment I carried a few garments into a fitting room. After trying them on and finding none appealing, I put my own clothes back on: a long navy blue pinstripe bustled skirt and a white linen blouse with a wide neckline, puff sleeves at the shoulder that tapered into a narrow column from bicep to wrist. Leaving the dressing room I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. These clothes were utterly unique in contrast to the homogeneity of the department store’s merchandise. Grateful to be dressed in a style more authentic to myself, I contemplated a sabbatical with less conviction. In another fitting room I found myself studying the construction of a pocket in a dress I tried on, thinking about how I might modify a one of my patterns to incorporate similar pockets. I wasn't ready to be a consumer; it was enough of an exploration at that moment.

Two years later, a full nine years of Slow Style completed, the sense there are other projects on the horizon persists. To resist the urge to gentle veer from this course is to deny what may come of exploring. It would betray the authenticity I’ve cultivated. Here in this tiny pocket of the web, I declare I am easing away from one thing toward another.


  1. I hope your new adventures fill you with joy! If you choose to post about them here, they will be followed with the same pleasure as have your sewing adventures. Thanks for the inspiration over the years.

    1. It means a lot that you enjoy the blog! Thank you.


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