I’ve been thinking lately about all the making and why it has become so important to me, why I dedicate so much of my time to it. More than that, I’ve been considering what kind of making I like, what my particular style is, amongst a whole sea of very talented, very unique sewers and makers and crafters.
I can proudly admit that perhaps my biggest inspiration when it comes to making, and in fact, parenting too, for that matter, is Amanda Blake Soule. A dear friend gave me ‘The Creative Family’ when I was pregnant, and after reading that from cover to cover (and then reading through five years of blog archives), I started what will no doubt be a lifelong love of this woman and her way of living.
It was through her that I started reading about unschooling, that I started to think about homesteading and that I started to long for making things of my own on a more regular basis.
The first thing I ever sewed on a sewing machine was last September and it was a Family Heart, and I haven’t stopped making them since (apart from tweaking and changing some things to make them more ‘me’)
But in asking myself if a certain thing is ‘me’ or not, if it is inkeeping with my particular likes and dislikes, I have started to gather a sense of what it is I favour (perhaps you’d think I’d know by now, but it seems I am discovering a great deal about myself this past year or so)
I love simple and understated lines, clean edges. I like things that look slightly old-fashioned or whimsical, that seem wholesome, that have a little magic about them and are perhaps a tad otherwordly (I love making elf hats because it ticks all these boxes). And although I absolutely love bright, interesting fabrics, I prefer to keep the designs they are used in relatively simply.
I’ve always admired people who embody the ‘less is more’ idea, like SouleMama, icons like Jackie Onassis, or the stunning designs of some Japanese quilters . I get that for some people, ‘more is more’, and I love ruffles and frills and twinkly detail on other people’s fabulous designs, but my heart and mind and hands feel most at home making whimsical and simple designs.
So my sewing mantra, it seems, is ‘less is more’, which also coincides with one of my parenting mantras -‘keep it simple’. Before we moved from our last house, we began to ‘declutter’ our things – toys, posessions. Things we had no use for, that perhaps we didn’t even like or that were made with synthetic materials. We decided on what we wanted for Ava to play with and settled on fewer toys but more that were imaginative and open-ended, and made with natural materials.
Most of the things I make seem to fall into this way of thinking anyway. I like simple designs. I love the shape of a garment, the way it hangs, twirls or fluffs out, and when I make something, whether for Ava or a complete stranger, I like to imagine it is a thing which they will get a lot of use out of and which will provide them with comfort, warmth and hopefully a little bit of beauty too.
There are few things as good for the soul as giving. And giving something handmade, something you have dreamed up for someone special and taken to time to make? Well, that feels like a valuable and fulfilling way to spend my time.