This has been an incredible year for sewing, not only because of all the new indie pattern companies, fabric shops and series launched, but because the online sewing community as a whole continues to shift, and keeping up with it has made for an exciting ride. I and I am sure others had hits and misses – me-mades that were slam dunks and me-mades that were a total disasters – but as we close this year, one thing is evident. Sewing is not dead. There are so many talented men and women around the world producing unforgettable pieces with their hands and machines.
Instead of posting the traditional “best of” list, I’m recapping my growth as a seamstress this year and what I hope to accomplish next. After reading, I’d love to hear what you’re working on for 2015!
Unknowingly, The Wardrobe Architect had a profound impact on my sewing in 2014. It received heat for not being a new concept, but it was new to me. While there are an infinite amount of other “find your style” guides, I never actively participated in one. Sarai released her series at the right time. It was when I first began taking a hard look at the clothes I wear and how they have an impact on the image I have of myself and the image it relays to others. On the surface, it helped my find my style as a RTW shopper. Yes, even though I’m on a quest to live a mostly handmade lifestyle, I will always be a shopper. I live in 2015, not 30 B.C. With each exercise, I inched closer to locking down my style. What I discovered was a stark dichotomy. I love intricate patterns and fabrics with a texture – the busier the better – but the silhouettes I’m most drawn to are simple. Flat front, wide leg pants and maxi skirts with no fussy details. It gets even more interesting. When I’m not wearing these vibrant, exuberant patterns, you will find me in the most basic outfit – jeans, a sweater/tee and a Converse’s (what I’m wearing above). My brother says I’m slightly hipster. Thanks, Gerrit!
In conjunction with this, I was also developing basic slopers that I will be able to use far into the future. I don’t mean a sloper like a basic bodice drafted from measurements. I’ve done that and even provide a tutorial. What I mean are basic patterns – a top, a pair of short shorts, a jacket, a skirt and a dress – that are wearable. It took me the entire year, but I made all of them. Mission accomplished!
While all of this was going on, something else was brewing underneath. Questioning the role of clothing in my life, I also started questioning the sewer I am and the sewer I want to be. Do I want to release a bra pattern like Amy? Do I want to concentrate on vintage like Rochelle? What if I wanted to be like Sonja or Lauren and churn out a remarkable amount of me-mades each year? The reality came to me and just like my slopers, it’s a very basic concept – I can’t be like anyone else because I’m not anyone else. Using one of my mom’s parables, “worry about yourself, not others.” Mom, you were soooo right.
Rather than trying to push Madalynne to be something else, why not let Madalynne be itself… naturally? And that’s my goal for myself and my blog for 2015. I want to be very selfish and devote a lot of time to growing my skills not only in garment making but also bra making. I’ve come to like teaching more than I anticipated, and to extend my real world lessons to the online world, I intend to post more tutorials on how I make projects. While on the subject of teaching, I also want to host more bra making workshops. Sarah and I have a summer workshop in the works and Mali and I just started the conversation. Most importantly, I want all of this to happen naturally. While making future goals is a good thing, we put too pressure to meet them, and often push ourselves in a certain direction when life is telling us to go the other. Instead, I’m making a plan, but will roll with the punches when life throws them at me. Life unfolds more beautifully that way.
On a bigger scale, 2015 will hopefully see the release of my book, Portrait of a Seamstress. It is a hard reality when I was turned down by every.single.publisher I pitched it to, but life isn’t always pretty flowers and unicorns. It’s not tutorial based like every other sewing book, but that’s what makes it special and different. Like my sewing prints, it’s supposed to be inspiration. You don’t need it like interfacing, but it’s a daily reminder of the beauty of what we do and the dedication we have for our hobby.
Like Karen said in her Christmas video, I thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you. It’s been a wild ride with the launch of my new site, my online bra making class, opening Madalynne Studios, opening my shop on Society 6, and I’m hoping that 2015 will bring lots more excitement!
So, what do you have up your sleeve for next year?