Monday, July 3, 2017

Simple is Best


Over the last several months, I've made a conscious choice to embrace simplicity on a deeper level than I have previously.  I have always lived simply - smaller home, smaller car, buying second hand instead of new - but taking a more mindful approach has had a tremendously positive effect on my health.  Choosing to worry less means less anxiety.  Choosing to be 'unbusy' means less guilt and physical pain.  Choosing to accept myself as I am means less depression.  Honouring my core priorities means I spend my energy on people and hobbies that are important to me.   I am happier and more content than I have been in a long time.

Have you read Fringe Association's article on Sonya Philip?  I highly recommend taking the time to read it - it's excellent.  Sonya discusses her famous 100 Acts of Sewing project and how it has impacted her both personally and professionally.  When pattern drafting, she states that she really "distill[s] a garment to its most basic form. I do this very purposefully, making a pattern appropriate for a complete beginner, but then someone with a little more experience can modify it to make it their own."  That statement really resonated with me and is one of the many reasons Sonya is one of my handmade heroines. There is much beauty in simplicity.

My personal pattern workbook contains simple garments with minimal closures, elastic waists, and minimal tailoring.  As my energy reserves are limited, when I am able to sew,  I want to set myself up for success.  This can be seen by my new practices of tracing patterns (I recommend this tracing paper), making muslins, shopping locally for supplies (often second hand), and really enjoying the slow process of garment making.

This dress is a perfect case in point.  I thrifted the fabric a few weeks ago for around $5 for almost 2 metres.  It's a lovely lightweight embroidered chambray that feels butter soft and drapes beautifully.  I originally thought that I may make a pair of cropped pants with it but I needed a simple sundress more.

I didn't use a pattern - you really don't need to with a dress this simple.  I cut a rectangle that was 1.5 times larger than my hips and sewed French seam up the centre back to make a giant fabric tube.  I added elastic at the bust and waist for shaping and used my bias tape maker to make ties.  The pockets are from Simplicity 1080, otherwise known as the Dottie Angel Frock, and my favourite pocket pattern.  Adding the contrast bias tape is one of the things I love about it - a small but simple detail that doesn't distract from the overall garment. 

I wore the dress to my brother and sister-in-laws' home for a Canada Day party and felt wonderful!  Looking at these photos, my first thought was to lament at how much weight I have gained.  Then I reminded myself to be gentle and accepting.  Extra weight doesn't detract from me as a person.  I'm still fun, creative, loving, and loyal.  My health has been very challenging over the last 3 years and I've changed because of that, physically and mentally, and that's OK.  Yoga will make its way back into my life when my body is ready.

In knitting news, I'm making great progress on my So Faded sweater (I love it!) and my daughter has asked me to knit her one in pinks with some glorious hand dyed gradient and speckled yarns from my stash.  Did you notice my new bag?  It's the Portable Yarn Bowl from the Home Row Fibre Co. and it's fantastic! Rochelle makes such beautiful things and I love the bear print - it reminds me of my husband.

 If you're thinking about simplifying your life, I really enjoyed this article about why it's OK to want a small, slow, simple life.  For me, it's the ultimate bliss.

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Now, how about you satisfy my nosiness and let me know what you're working on right now?  What have you finished lately?  Any projects you're really excited about?

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