Sew whatever keeps you sewing!

There’s a great dialogue going on among some of the sewing community over the idea that we sews too much frosting. Frosting include garments that don’t quite fit in our existing wardrobe, either because they’re too elegant for our lifestyle (like my 1912 costume), the print it too much for work (like my Circuit Boards Dress), or basically they’re items that gets pushed to the back our our closets and never get worn, like so many of my dresses. (These 4 dresses I’ve linked to are going to be cut up for other purposes. I’m done holding on to the thought of them and I’m ready for the fabrics to have a better life.)

Cake, on the other hand, include garments that, as I understand it, are more toned down either print or style wise. You can pull out a cake skirt and pair it with 3 of your existing tops and sweaters. Your cake dress is perfectly suited for work and people there actually take you seriously. Your cake pants fit and are snazzy modern and become your every day pant.

As I start writing, I prefer sewing frosting. Not that I needed to clarify that- you all know it. However, I might even say that for me it isn’t so much a frosting vs cake debate; it’s a well fit vs ill fit debate. I don’t wear the stuff I’ve made that doesn’t fit. I will totally wear my frosting if it fits well. For instance, I took the kids to the playground wearing my 1912 costume! It’s one of the beauties of staying at home with them.

Fancy costumes, corsets, and all things considered luxury items, I love. I also like the luxury of time. For instance, altering and muslining before I cut into my precious (aka the fabric) which can take as much time as making the final garment and the extra time it takes to line everything I make.

Cindy’s guest post on 3 Hours Past brought up the book The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction. I think this would be a great way for me to sew everyday clothes, by adding these Bishop bias bands curling around necklines or rolling down a plain skirt. OOh, can’t you see it? Go to Cindy’s guest post for pics and to read more.

I’m late to the party at Struggle Sews a Straight Seam – I love her energy! And she made some awesome Clovers! What she’s offering me is the term bread. Plain as plain can be sewing. Her Clovers are plain but so well fitting! And her top is also plain but it’s really what I would’ve bought in a store.

I don’t intend to use these words to limit or instruct what I think anyone should sew. I like sewing and I hope I keep sewing for a long time. So, to repeat the title of this soapboxy post, I suggest you sew whatever keeps you sewing!

Any thoughts?

7 thoughts on “Sew whatever keeps you sewing!

  1. Bird and Bicycle says:

    I am very interested in this subject as I am confirming to myself more and more I don’t enjoy making “crafts” as much as actually clothes. A huge part of me is frustrated with my huge stash of quilting cottons. Being on a limited budget I find that apparel fabric is even more expensive…

    But I digress.

    I want to make both cake and frosting. I have done some serious thinking and planned out some basic pieces (thank you Colette Patterns for this idea!) because fit is so essential for me. However I also want ridiculously fun pieces too, just fewer of them.

    I analyzed my shopping pattern and realized I tend to buy fancy frosting items and never wear them. I am too practical in my jeans and hoodie combo. But I want to sew the perfect jeans, and the perfect hoodie. I want to spend less money on frosting items that don’t quite fit, and more money on fabric I can’t live without.

    Thanks for such an awesome topic!

    PS: know any good quilting cotton clothes patterns besides aline skirts?

    • Leila says:

      It was freeing when I realized I’m not a crafty sewer…and not being interested in quilting is OK.

      I’ll have to look into quilting cotton garment projects. But really you can make anything. 🙂 I’ve made a vest, a dress…but I really love linens, wool suitings, sateen…oh the list.

      I’m glad to hear you are sewing more garments. Yay

    • Brooke says:

      I love cotton prints and have quite a stash of them too. I have a few really fun prints set aside to make some cute fitted button-down shirts – a little dressier than t-shirts but not completely boring. There are lots of patterns for tops out there, you just have to find one with the lines you like. (I have an off-the-rack top that I traced a pattern from.) I also like making casual sundresses for the summer with cotton prints.

      And just for the fun of it, you can always line a coat or hat with a crazy cotton print! =)

  2. Tia Dia says:

    I love sewing frosting, and if I could wear silk taffeta ball gowns on a daily basis, you bet your blanc mange I’d be doing housework, picking up the kids and grocery shopping in big ball skirts. *sigh* But frosting also means well-fitting, well-constructed garments in lush fabrics that are a pleasure to wear. Cake is the RTW crap that I pull on because I’m too lazy to get dressed “properly” – whatever that means. hehehe

  3. janet says:

    A nice thing about being a handcrafter in this era is that if we don’t want to make wardrobe staples, we don’t have to. It’s not like I have to make the boring black pants I wear every day to work, but I can knit a nice shawl to bling up the clothing equivalent of oatmeal I tend to buy ready-made.

    • Leila says:

      Exactly. I mean, it’s not like we’re in a total depression and I think that definitely reflects in how much you can do with your craft. Good point.

  4. Brooke says:

    I suppose that most of my sewing for myself is frosting. Mainly because I know that if I can buy a basic wardrobe staple for $20 or less, I could never make it for less if you account for the labor time. (I get paid for my time, so I really feel that my time is money.) I also do so many boring builds and/or alterations for film that I really don’t want to make basics for myself in my spare time.

    I love that you wear your “costume” to the park! Bring on the fun period details! =)

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