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Weekend: Photographer or Seamstress?

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Have you ever felt divided between two versions of yourself? Over the past year, I’ve seen my skills in photography grow a lot. Part of it is because my day job has me using my camera all the time. Seriously, all the time. Put it this way, people ask me where my camera is if it’s not around my neck, and there are some people I have an agreement with that I’ll never take a photo of them (they’re camera shy). Another reason my skills have become better is because I attended classes and workshops at local photo/arts colleges and centers. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on my images and now, I am asked to take engagement photos, baby photos, portfolio photos, event photos, etc. Slowly, I’m becoming known as Maddie, the photographer. Funny thing is, it’s not my passion.

Don’t get me wrong, I love photography. Did you see the images featuring the very little black dress I made on New Year’s Day? I was planning that shoot for weeks, and on Monday of last week, I was so excited for Saturday to roll around. I love creating sets, vignettes, and stories for the things I make. I live for that shit (sorry for the vulgarity). But it’s not my passion, sewing is, and as much as I love snapping away, I love making a dress even more.

Maddie, the photographer, or Maddie, the seamstress? Which one I will become has been on my mind lately, and I’ve kept going back and forth between the two.

Then Colette launched The Wardrobe Architect, and even though the series is about building a wardrobe, it has helped mentally construct who I will be. You see, creating a personalized style involves an amalgamation of several things – location, job, history, body, etc. Well, maybe the definition of Maddie involves a combination of many things as well, photography and sewing included. Why do I have to chose between one or the other? Can’t I combine the two and create a unique artisan called me. Yes, I think that’s what I’m going to do… so silly of me to think I had to choose one. That’s like a mother choosing her favorite child.

Have you ever felt the same? Maybe you’re a working girl, but also a mom and struggle between filling two roles? Or maybe you have a day job, but also a side one that is pulling you in two directions?


  1. Reply


    Maddie – I don’t see why you cannot be someone who encompasses all the creative pursuits that you enjoy, as different facets of your true self.

    That is how I view the fact that sewing is a vital part of my life as is jewelery making. I design and make cloisonne enamels and design and make my own clothing as well – both are parts of my personal economy, as I make things for others and am beginning to teach.

    I think that limiting ourselves by a definition is not useful unless it springs from personal truth; some folks really do only have one passion, and others have many, and both are equally valid

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I agree with you and it’s funny how I thought I had to choose!

    • Reply

      Amanda Russell

      very well said! 🙂

  2. Reply


    i think you should do both, and even add something extra every now and then 🙂 that’s how i live my life, at least.. sometimes i go from digging skeleton of bronze age man, to working backstage on fashion week to camping up in the mountains to sewing a sequined party dress, all in one week, and i wouldn’t have it any other way

  3. Reply


    An emphatic yes.

  4. Reply

    Amanda Russell

    I think it’s a natural and organic part of being a creative person that you will be always growing and redefining who you are, but that doesn’t mean it has to be limited to one thing (nor should it). Every new thing you learn adds to your skill set and can definitely complement your other skills. Look how photography has complemented your sewing and blogging – without it you would be missing a very important aspect of these, and they go well together, like chocolate and coffee 😉

    I definitely understand this phenomenon… I’m a graphic designer/illustrator as my career, and part of that is always constantly learning new things and adding new skill sets. In my ‘free time’, I’m a fine artist (painting, etc), and of course also passionate about sewing and many other creative endeavours, (I’m ALWAYS adding new ones!) – there is definitely not enough time in one day to devote to them all – but that means every day is different and I’m never bored 😉

  5. Reply

    Carlee McTavish

    I feel like so many times our society tries to make us this or that, one or the other. Everything is very black and white, no grey space allowed. People aren’t comfortable with grey space because it is much easier to define people by one thing. And if you can define people, you can certainly have a considerable amount of control and power over them. But the fact is everyone is in the grey area! So Maddie the seamstress, photographer and blogger? Why not!?

  6. Reply

    Kristy Chan

    I’m trying to improve my photography to get better photos of my creations, but the more I learn through courses and reading books the more I’m learning that the photographer’s eye is good for everyday life – looking for the beautiful in the mundane, trying to find different perspectives and always trying to refine and improve your skills. So I think you can definitely be more than one thing, and in some ways those different roles help us grow in all different aspects of our life

  7. Reply


    Especially in your case it seems like the photography is really helping you to better express and present your sewing. You are building skills that help you build your own blog and brand, which is something I would like to work harder towards. Things that I never thought I would want to do like learning how to build a website, have become an option because it saves so much money to do things yourself. As a working girl do I feel torn between expressing the aesthetic that I have to create at my job, and my own. I would like to find more tome to dig deeper into what I am really passionate about for myself!

  8. Reply

    Meg the Grand

    I love to think you as a blend of all things beautiful and creative. Your photography shows off your sewing skills, and both of these connect us (your readership) to you. We cheer for each sewing success, we experience your weekends through your eyes. Both ways, and both fantastic skills, give us the ability to understand you, so I love them both equally.

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