Do you ever wonder what your “niche” is in the sewing blogosphere? That signature thing that sets you apart from other people, that means you are contributing something useful to the community?
I have fun thinking about what defines each of us, and why everyone is awesome. For example:
- Oona = powerhouse of crazy colour and print
- Heather = best dressed stay-home mama with speed sewing skills
- Leila = clothes with a playful sense of theatre
- Clare = hella stylish chameleon
- Morgan = eco chic that is never boring
… and so on!
So what’s my niche? Colourful comfy basics made again and again!
Which is why I choose to play to my strengths this Me-Made May…
Repeats! All the time, and on purpose! I would have worn these patterns again and again anyway during the month, so I figured that if I chose one pattern to highlight each week it would seem more purposeful and less dull… and maybe (hopefully!) inspire some other sewists to get the most from their TNT patterns!
Week 1: 8 pairs of Sewing Cake Espresso leggings. (How tired was I when I made the collage that I typed “7”?)
Top Tip: 4-way stretch is the best for leggings, no matter what the pattern says. For me, 2-way stretch just cannot accommodate sitting and bending without sagging through the day.
Week 2: 7 versions of the Jalie Raglan Tee
I hadn’t sewn a single raglan top before I got this pattern… then they became so addictive that I’ve made all of these versions in just a few months!
Top Tip: Buy Jalie! I can’t say enough good things about Jalie – well drafted, a huge size range, Canadian, and very ready-to-wear! They remind me a lot of Style ARc in how reliably drafted they are… but with kids-to-plus-size-adult in each pattern and good instructions!
Week 3: 6 pairs of Style Arc Elle Pants (Although I did wear a few more the next week!)
Getting my wisdom teeth out meant that I wore (unphotographed) me-made pjs for a few days. C’est la vie!
Top Tip: For pull-on stretch pants like these, the right fabric is really important. I like 30% stretch, which lets the pants be snug but still comfy.
Week 4: 7 days of Jamie Christina Mission Maxis (and one day of breaking my own rules!)
Top Tip: There are lots of similar tank-style knit dress patterns – and I bet they are all great! What I like about the Mission Maxi is that even with my 46” hips, I can cut a dress from 1.5m. There’s also a very dramatic curve from the bust to the hips, which means it fits snuggly over the bust but has ease over the hips, without being tent-like. For all of my versions I’ve added quite a bit of width to the racerback and shoulder straps, and used bands to finish the edges instead of the turn-and-sew recommended by the pattern. I like my alterations because it means my bra strap is always covered (and therefore I can wear them to work) and the bands give more resiliency to the straps so the weight of the skirt doesn’t pull everything down.
Looking back at the month, here’s what I notice:
- I still really stick to my wardrobe colour palette! The kimono fabric that I used as a backdrop this year was part of the original inspiration for my palette, and I’m happy with how it coordinated with almost all of my outfits. Those colours are the ones that make me feel happy and pretty, so I’m glad they are the backbone of my wardrobe! (If you haven’t figured out your own palette, or want to reconsider it, here’s my tutorial on how I made mine.)
- I could have included other patterns I’ve made many times, like Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tees, Cake Tiramisu dress, or Sewaholic Renfrew… but I’m happy with the four patterns I picked. I felt stylish, modern and myself each week.
- Maybe it’s time to try another pants pattern. Maybe.
- I’m really happy that most of my pictures are completely unedited, thanks to what i learned in the Craftsy photography course! In past years it took a lot longer to process photos every night but this year was quick and easy because I was taking better pics to start with.
Oh, and in case you are curious, here is my photo set-up for the month – complete with all the mess that comes from #sewdontclean!
I left the tripod out all month, left the backdrop hanging (to cover the ugly radiator), and hid my camera in a nearby cupboard every day so that they cat wouldn’t play with it or knock it over! (Ask me why I fear that…😉 I used my dress form as a stand-in for myself so that I could pre-focus the camera on where I would be before moving her and jumping into frame. I have a camera remote, which meant I could take the pics myself during the morning rush to get out the door. In our apartment I find the best spot to take pics is between the two windows in the living room – it gives a better, more balanced light than facing the window or being lit from one side only.
And that’s a wrap! I’m really glad I joined in again this year (I very nearly didn’t – the end of the school year is so stressful, and on the last night of April I almost bailed!)
Now come on, be brave – What do you think your sewing niche is? Your signature thing that makes you awesome? (‘Cause you are!)