“This is your mission, should you choose to accept it.”

Those of you who are sewing bloggers and/or readers of sewing blogs are probably aware of a “survey” of sorts which is quietly and slowing making the rounds of those of us who share this interest. The survey is a simple list of questions which explores the relationship between sewing and one’s blog. I have been enjoying reading other bloggers’ thoughts on this relationship, most recently those of Mel of Poppykettle. Mel is surely world famous by now for her exquisite wedding gown which, of course, she made, as well as the gowns for her attendants. Now, I have never met Mel (although I hope to someday!), but I can tell she is just as charming and fun and genuine as the delightful blog which she writes. Knowing this made it even more flattering for me that she nominated me to expound on these same questions. So, I “accepted” the mission and here goes…

What am I working on?

As the sun-filled days steadily get shorter and shorter here in the northeastern part of the United States, and the morning and evening air begins to shiver a bit, I have mentally packed away my Summer sewing and am switching over to my favorite season of all – Autumn. As much as I love this time of year, I find that my wardrobe generally is sparse for Fall apparel. Last year, I made a Diane von Furstenberg knock-off wrap dress that was – and still is, of course – perfect for Fall.

DSC_1022 So it should come to no one’s surprise that I want to add one or two more Fall-appropriate dresses this year. I have just begun work on the muslin for a silk dress, using a Vogue pattern from the 1980s (which is somewhat of a shock, since I consider that decade, for the most part, a vast fashion desert!) The silk is Italian, purchased from Mendel Goldberg in New York City. This dress should be ideal for Autumn, assuming I finish it before we’ve moved into Winter!

Fabric for my current project.

Fabric for my current project.

Why do I write?

Now that is a good question! Unfortunately for you, my readers, the answer to that has multiple parts, and I hope I won’t bore you! First and foremost, I really, really love to write. I like to put words together. I like to try to make sentences clear but colorful and evocative. (I am not nearly as good at “explaining” procedures or techniques, although I know I need to do so occasionally.)

Second, I love to tell a story. I’m not sure how it happens, but it often seems that my sewing projects have inherent stories to them. Sometimes it’s about the pattern, sometimes it’s about the fabric, sometimes it’s about a long-fulfilled sewing dream of mine (left over from the ‘50s, ‘60s or ‘70s!), sometimes it’s about the accessories, and sometimes it’s a combination of all of these things. Writing and telling stories about my sewing helps to give it another layer of meaning.

Third, writing and sewing are very, very similar. Both involve great expanses of solitary endeavor, engineering (of words or patterns and cloth), creativity, sense of style, striving for excellence of technique, and tenacity. However, both have a friendly and supportive communal aspect to them as well, when shared with others of the same interest. And – both sewing and writing are goal-oriented pursuits, perfect for my personality type!

Finally, I must give credit to my daughter, Susanna, who gave me the inspiration to start a sewing blog. An exceptional writer, Susanna had her own blog for a while, and her encouragement to me made all the difference.

How does my blog differ from others of its genre?

Answering this question reminds me of the beginning sentence of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Except that there is nothing unhappy about sewing blogs! I think my interest in the fashions and vintage patterns of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s helps to differentiate my blog from many others. I really enjoy making connections between mid-century fashions and the fashions of today. The fact that I can make a dress using a 50-year-old pattern (or 50-year-old fabric!) and have it look totally current continues to amaze me – and sharing this excitement hopefully makes my blog just a little bit unique.

How does my writing process work?

I wish I had a magic formula to share! Fortunately, sewing is a slow process, at least for me, so I have lots of time to think about writing while I stitch away. I sometimes make notes to myself (and take photos, of course) while sewing and sometimes I wish I had made notes and taken more photos! I usually try to do a little research on the pattern (or fabric) I am using, to help “tell the story”. I actually often start with a title for my post, which can sometimes take a lot of thought and time. That small detail usually sets the narrative for me, so that I am able to proceed with the story. One thing I try to do is keep my posts to a reasonable length (a guideline I am not following right now…). Because of this, I do a lot of editing during and after the writing process.


Now comes the fun part – and difficult part, too. Fun because I can nominate two fellow sewing bloggers to participate in this same survey, and difficult because there are so many interesting and talented bloggers about whom I would love to learn more. However, two talented dressmakers whose blog posts I never want to miss are my nominees: Janene of ooobop and Brooke of Custom Style. Of course, you, Janene and Brooke, are under no obligation to participate, but I do hope you will accept the “mission”!



Filed under Love of sewing, Uncategorized

18 responses to ““This is your mission, should you choose to accept it.”

  1. Aww thanks for the nomination! I’ve actually been pondering the details of a post of another blogging “game” that’s going around and I think combining it with this would work really well.

    I really enjoyed reading about your reasons and process for blogging! My favorite thing about your blog is the story and history you combine with your projects – always so fascinating! And I don’t mind long posts at all, especially when the topic is so interesting. =)

  2. Great to learn more about you! What a wonderful dress!

  3. So happy that you took this challenge, Karen. Your blog is one I always looks forward to. I love a story!

  4. Mary Lynn

    I, too, love your stories (are you sure you’re not southern? we LOVE to tell
    stories 🙂 You find the most beautiful fabrics and delve into the process of
    creating something fabulous out of them. And…. the best part is that it always turns out stunning and flattering! Thank you for sharing with us.

    • I really laughed when I read your comment. I actually WAS born in the South (North Carolina) – and raised there, too. However, both my parents were from Pennsylvania so I had kind of a hybrid upbringing! I’d love to think that my penchant for storytelling has its roots in my place of birth! Thank you so much for this lovely comment and for reading my blog!

      • Mary Lynn

        Where did you grow up in NC? Love the NC accent? I grew up in Knoxville,TN and sound rather like Dolly Parton! Am in. Raleigh at the moment taking a 3 day class from Sandra BetIna at Mulberry Silk which
        Is a wonderful. Fabric store. Sorry for punctuation errors trying to learn to use an ipad.

      • Am responding to your comment below — I was born in Asheville and lived there for 10 years before we moved to Raleigh. I consider Asheville my home (at least my NC home; Pennsylvania is really my home!). I do not have much of an accent, according to those who know me, but some people I meet pick up a southern “lilt” in my speech. Good luck with your ipad – it takes some practice to get used to the word processing part of it! One of my classmates from a Susan Khalje class I took always takes an annual class with Sandra Betzina – and says she is a great teacher!

  5. The silk print from Mendel Goldberg is fabulous. I can’t wait to see it made up. I checked out the two blogs you mentioned and they are great. Your stories are always fascinating.

  6. So glad you accepted your mission! I enjoy your blog and its lovely to know a little more about the back story.

  7. Hey Karen, sorry for the late reply. I’ve been having boring tecchie issues! So honored that you should nominate me and I would be delighted to accept the challenge! Loved reading more about you and always in awe of your stylish creations 🙂

    • Oh, so happy to hear from you, Janene – and delighted that you will expound on your writing process. Hope those tech issues are resolved – is there anything more frustrating when all you want to do is sew and write about it?

  8. So lovely to read a little more about you – and that DVF dress!!! Such beautiful fabric! 🙂

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