what to blog for…

This is going to be a very text-heavy post, sorry in advance ūüėČ

When starting this blog back in 2011, I blogged about everything that came to my mind. Predominantly sewing and crafting, because that’s what was and still is one of my favourite things to do. But I also posted photos of my walks around our village, things I did during the day, I wrote texts about climate change and politics. I wanted to blog about myself, my life.

Soon I realized that this wasn’t possible. I am no important person, I do not travel the world, I have no extraordinary hobbies. These blogs do exist, but they do need a good working online-network of friends and followers and they need something that makes them better than others. A good writing style, an extraordinary sense for fashion, home decoration and the like, photos worth looking at…

I had nothing of these. I am a member of some sewing boards, but I was never kind of a chatty person (at least not digitally). I help, I answer questions, I utter my opinion, but I hardly participate in neither board games and questionaires nor in serious discussions online. So I had no peer-group that was to read my blog, only some friends I met in real life or very few I got to know online.
My writing style wasn’t very distinct and appealing, I fear in english it is even more sober. My photos were embarassingly bad, I had no clue how to edit my pictures, I had no photoshop and a bad camera.
The projects I showed were unfiltered. I just wrote about everything I created, no matter how simple it was, no matter how boring it would be for my readers.

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pile of garments to be repaired, originally posted in july 2012

After some time I made a decision: I will strictly limit my blog to certain topics. If I want my blog to be appealing to a larger group of people who follow my blog because I write interesting things and not because they are my friends, I had to focus on at least something, I needed a thread to follow myself.

My decision was clear: I would limit my blog to a historical complex of topics. Still, sewing was to stay the main focus, but I also included things like antiques shopping and cooking, as long as it was dating from a time you could at least call “retro” (and I am still arguing with myself if a 1980ies pattern would be too young to fit into). And I would force myself to use the large, the better camera and edit the photos before publishing them.

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detail of my 1904 velvet cape, originally posted in june 2012

I had searched for an advantage, something I can give to you, because for me, a blog isn’t a diary (I know for some it is and that is perfectly ok), it is a place to share things with others, things I want to share and things that you hopefully want to read.

I know (and read the blogs of) people who sew better than me, who can create magnificent robes in the blink of an eye, who can do magic with their fingertips, who can name a 17th-century garment and date it to a decade without any hesitation.
Well, I can’t

But I can sew, I can do research, I know about technical background like weaving and pattern design. I do have direct access to a lot of antique robes and other stuff due to my job, and though I can’t share photos with you due to copyright reasons, I am so very happy to share my knowledge with you.

1950ies silk, pattern "imprin√† sur cha√ģne", originally posted in january 2013
1950ies silk, pattern “imprim√© sur cha√ģne”, originally posted in january 2013

Unfortunately, to blog about this background isn’t as easy as it seems. First, because it can be kind of dry to read, additionally many things can be found in the internet already and I am very cautious when it comes to pictures that weren’t made by myself. So the only theoretical excursions I do at the moment are included in project-posts, where I can illustrate the information I want to give with my own photos (a good example for what I mean is my sewing-machine-supply-box-post).

Another thing that annoys me a little is my lazyness when it comes to time periods. I announced this blog as one filled with historical topics. Last year the earliest project dated from 1942, this year I even managed togo as far as the 19th century, but not with something to wear. So though I am holding my “all centuries, no limits”-sign up, in fact nearly all my projects gather around something you would call “vintage sewing”. Now, this is what I do at the moment, so it is ok for me. But still I fear it gives a wrong impression of my goals, of what I want to do with this blog.

1942-culottes, originally posted in august 2013, still with my old blog-adress
1942-culottes, originally posted in august 2013, still with my old blog-adress

These two things, false impression and my blog’s goal, lead me to my conclusion of this post:

Blogging about fashion, textiles, clothing, sometimes make me fear to appear superficial. As if I cared for nothing but beautiful dresses.
This is not the case. In fact, I am absolutely aware of the world we live in and, in large part, it repels me. I hate the willful ignorance, the mindlessness, the addiction to capitalism and consumption.
I am not as naive as to join in the “everything used to be better in the past”- chorus. But cooking with old recipes, reading old newspapers and sewing with old patterns shows me, how simple everyday-life can be. That we do not need fusible interfacing and invisible nylon zippers to sew something beautiful, that leftovers and dry bread can make an exquisite meal, that there was a world before our plastic planet, and this world wasn’t glorious or romantic, but it was aware of the resources given and needed, it was possible to live without take-away-sandwiches from the supermarket, disposable plastic bags and aluminium cans. I don’t want to say that the standard as it was, eg. in the 19th century, ist something to wish for today, I really don’t believe pollution in the early industrial age is something to revive, but there is inspiration we can draw from these times, for me it is the constant search for alternatives, not to be controlled by the systems that keep all this living as we know it alive.

I really am a greenie. I shout at the woman in the shop, when putting my goods in a plastic bag without asking, I refuse to use liquid detergent and I try to avoid buying from large world dominating companies, I hate the system of trade as it is today (nothing against globalisation up to a certain point, but do we really have to ship the shrimps from the north sea to asia to have them processed there and then sent back?). At the same time I request myself to act not too short sighted. If possible I go for local fruits and vegetables, despite an organic alternative, I hardly ever buy tropical fruits. I do not eat meat, because this factory farming makes me sick, but I do wear leather and buy old fur because the alternative would be made of plastic.

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tea made from apple peel as read in a 40ies magazine. not yet published

The occupation with old patterns and styles somehow links to this. Of course I am simply smitten with the elegant lines or styles of bygone eras, no doubt about it.
But for me, it is another way of escaping this system. Establishing my own style means to become independent from ever so quick changing fashion. Shopping patterns, fabrics and haberdashery at flea-markets and in charity shops is pure re-use and recycling.

This leads to my second point: What do I want to do in this blog, with this blog, what is my goal?

When scrolling through the feed of my read blogs there are namely three types of bloggers:
Those who want to recreate a bygone era, trying to be as authentic as possible, maybe even to participate at reenactments.
I don’t belong to these.
Those who just like the styles and recreate something from here, something from there, change some details, play around with history, stereotypes, fabrics, styles etc. to wear their creation to a photoshoot, to an event, to carnival, at home for fun.
I don’t belong to these, either (though this is certainly how it started).
Those who try to recreate a classic look (talking about 20th century and vintage styles now) with modern means. Who shop at the large clothing companies and combine their bargains to something resembling a historic style. Or who buy modern reproductions and interpretations of classic silhouettes.
I definitely don’t belong to these, though of course every now and then I do buy a new dress and still the majority of my wardrobe is store-bought. But that isn’t because I want it, but because I don’t have enough time and motivation to make everything myself and because there are things I need but don’t want to sew (jeans, eg.).

the last (new) h&m-dress I ever bought, outfit originally published in may 2012
the last (new) h&m-dress I ever bought, outfit originally published in may 2012

This blog wants to turn the last idea the other way round. I want to create a wardrobe that is wearable, beautiful, based on historical patterns and styles, a wardrobe that is independent from Highstreet-fashion, that looks modern and elegant at the same time. That mixes different periods to create a unique style.
A wardrobe without spending much money, without buying Bangladesh-made fashion and without wasting our resources.
A personal wardrobe, a wardrobe representing me, using 2nd-hand-items and selfmade ones, a wardrobe that suits me, that maybe seems a little out of time every now and then, but that is never inappropriate.
A timeless and sustainable wardrobe.

simply the fact that I didn’t manage to find a photo me wearing only self-made and 2nd-hand-clothing that would match the “wearable and timeless”-guidelines shows, how far I still have to go to reach this goal.

These are big words and high demands to myself and I am not sure if I will be able to meet them ever. But still I would like to keep them as a goal behind all the other stuff, behind showing how beautiful the past is and what it still can bring to us, behind chatting about my sewing capers, flea market finds and cooking.

Now, this was a “brief” look into my inside and what kept rumbling in my bowels for quite some time.

See you soon, love

ette

2 thoughts on “what to blog for…

  1. Super! Ich bin bei dir. (Hatte erst heute gemerkt, dass sich dein Blogfeed ge√§ndert hat.) Die Sache mit der Oberfl√§chlichkeit hatte mich auch mal eine Weile besch√§ftigt – also dass mich Leute f√ľr vollkommen oberfl√§chlich halten k√∂nnten, weil ich √ľber N√§hen und Kleider schreibe. Bei Menschen, mit denen ich im echten Leben zu tun habe, ist das aber nicht der Fall, also ich glaube intelligente Menschen verstehen schon, dass das nur ein Interessensgebiet unter anderen ist.

  2. Oh, nun hat Lucy hier schon geschrieben, h√§tte ich mir ja fast denken k√∂nnen. Ich w√ľrde √ľbrigens gern √ľber geschichtliche Themen aus deinem Beruf auch ohne Bezug zu Selbstgemachtem lesen. Es gibt da nicht so viel Gleichgesinnte im Textilbereich (vor allem nicht deutschsprachige). Ich benutze oft gemeinfreie Bilder und Fotos z.B. von Wikicommons, von Museen und digitalen Archiven die das (vor allem im englischsprachigen Raum) erlauben, solange es zu reinen Informationszwecken und nicht kommerziell erfolgt. Vielleicht ist es ja doch ein bisschen m√∂glich “to blog about this background”, w√ľrde mich freuen.

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