Tools of the Seamstress/Tailor Trade
Craft vs. Crafts
Consider this: Would you start a small business that was built around making a piece of home decor? Maybe, but what if the item was made only of construction paper, glue, glitter, beads, buttons and bobbles? Hmmm, maybe not. Now ask yourself is that same piece of home decor sustainable, useful or lasting? If your child made this piece of decor you would cherish it and assure it keeps safely for years to come; however, it is doubtful it would make for a suitable income for the person(s) making it. This activity is known as "crafts".
Let's scale up the home decor mentioned above. A carefully cut design is on the front of fine grade card stock, drawn and cut with precision then attached to a beautiful background card with specific adhesives.Skills and specific tools were used to cut with precision, knowledge of the grades of paper was used, the adhesives specifically selected and finally pulling it all together for a greeting card to be sold. Would you consider this a trade that is marketable? Most likely, yes as this is a "craft".
My work is that of an artisan. The skills I have learned and carefully developed over the years have earned me the right to be called artisan, tailor, seamstress, dress maker or simply, artist.
As I begin my small home business in Custom Sewing and Handmade Gifts
I am aware that my business could be at risk of becoming an unfortunate, unintended casualty of use of the English language.
Lately, I've noticed I am not taken seriously as a professional and I believe it is due, in part, to the use of one letter, "S". Many DIY, and How-To sites are dedicated to making "crafts", but not using a skill or specific "craft". I do not make or do "crafts", I am an artisan.There it is, the "S".
One letter makes a canyon sized difference between two uses of one word. One means a creative activity, the other is a skill or trade.
The letter "S" makes a large difference in what is classified as something sustainable, made with keen skills versus those items made for hobby purposes.
Lacey Bolero I designed (which many patterns are now distributed) and the strapless dress was redesigned into dress casual attire.
The word craft, by definition, means a skill or trade as an artisan; however, it seems to have evolved with the addition of the letter "S" to point primarily to hobbyists and their creations. The true definition is becoming lost into an idea and category more than a specific defined skill. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/craft
Allow me to illustrate my point. Most social media sites I am registered with have my profile lumped under "crafts" (note the "S"). There is no category for Seamstress, Dress Maker, Tailor, or other specific names that point to my skills and art. I can find "designer" but going further into that title, it asks me to choose architecture or web designer.
| |It's Not Just a Title
Maybe you are thinking, "Is the title all that important? Big deal about one little letter!" It is a big deal. It makes a large difference to online search results for those of us who have honed our skills in trade with earning potential and are making a go at creating a small business. A "craft" is not a hobby, it's how people making their living with their craft or trade.
A seamstress (or tailor) by trade will possess and use many tools for our work. Some have certificates of schooling in the matter, others have life education and years of experience. We know how to get by in a pinch with the basics, know fabrics and threads by site and texture and never let an item leave our hands until it's done to perfection (after all our work is our reputation!). We love color, texture, design, lines and see a bigger picture on a piece of fabric which is our canvas.I am a seamstress, passionate and serious about my trade. Call me snobby, but only after you recognize I have earned the title of seamstress, tailor, artisan, artist.
With genuine wishes of success and inspiration today and always,
"Fabric and yarn are my canvas, threads are my paint and notions are the tools I use to create works of art." Sher Marchman-Day
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I need space when I create or work and need it to be simple; nothing surrounding me which in my mind is clutter. Items need to be useful to the creative process, providing inspiration. I need my space filled with objects that allow harmony to flow and ideas to be free. Am I safe to assume you need a similar creative space?
Albert Einstein functioned in a similar manner with his 3 Rules of Work: Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of of difficulty, lies opportunity.
I am not so uneducated as to believe Einstein was speaking to the creative work spaces; however, these 3 simple rules are an excellent approach to life, views, attitudes, work and more.
Out of Clutter, Find Simplicity.
Whether it's the writer's desk, the seamstress' work room, the carpenter's shop or an artist's studio there is beauty and simplicity in what another person would call clutter. Carving out your own work space into what makes sense to you, not someone else is vital to your creative process. This includes your office cubicle. Clear out of your space what is cluttering your thoughts and distracting to your eye. Surround yourself with space or space filled with the objects that allow harmony to flow and ideas to be free.
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From Discord, Find Harmony.
Are the lines in the cubicle too harsh? Are there little annoying distractions in what you have carved out as your personal space? Not enough space to feel creative in? Or perhaps you find you envy your friend's large outbuilding turned studio? Look for the harmony or how you can create it. Harsh lines can be softened with a plant, a length of fabric that is appealing to you draped in a free flowing manner. Make your too small of space bigger with creative arrangements. Think of music as you create your work space. Music has balance, and though sometimes incongruent in sound, that makes it more attractive and finally comes together in the end to a pleasing tune. There is as much harmony in mismatched colors, shapes and textures as there is in sound.
In the Middle of Difficulty Lies Opportunity.
In the middle of any situation that poses a problem is the chance for new ideas and problem solving. There is no need to spend lavish amounts of money in creating your space. Look for what you can move or rearrange to feel settled in your work space. Add or subtract items that inspire, comfort, excite or motivate you. In the middle of all the clutter, is the opportunity to create.
What can you to today or this week to create your ideal work space? Each of us needs a space to call our own, whether at home or work. Wishing you much inspiration and success today and always,
Good Sunday to YOU! I hope you have enjoyed the first two parts of this short series, How to Live Like You Buy Champagne. If you missed the first two click on either Part I
or Part II
. I mentioned in the first two parts there is no reason to throw away good clothes and no reason you can't look like you buy Champagne. Repurposing your clothes will increase your self-esteem while making new apparel or other items or remaking them for gifts to others.
Part III focuses on making T-Yarn, or yarn from t-shirts. A few tips to note when making your yarn:
- It "snows" a lot when cutting it. You will find tiny bits of the cotton most everywhere when you are working with it. Good news, it cleans up easily.
- Stretch it. Don't be afraid of stretching the yarn as you work with it. The more you stretch the better tube you will have to roll into a ball.
- T-shirts with a side seam do not work with this project.
- It is a time consuming project, but that is also a good reason to make it a joint project with friends, family or groups.
It's time to drag out your t-shirts, gather friends or family and get started on making an array of items! Grab the holey ones, stained, painted on or old tye-dye, as long as it's a shirt you want to keep around even longer or make something useful from. I've listed a few ideas and web addresses for each to get you started on what to do with your yarn. Don't forget those long maxi t-shirt dresses and night shirts as well!
A favorite idea of mine is to repurpose old clothes for those who need them. Two facts: More than 744,000 people are homeless in the U.S. and more than 700,000 TONS of fabric that end up in our landfills each year? Having or not having clothes will not entirely affect whether people are homeless, but having nice clothes can make a difference. What feelings do you get when you wear a new shirt, outfit or other attire? You know when you feel good, you are noticed by others. Getting noticed in the right way may land that job. That job can lead to solid income followed by a home to rent. What a little difference repurposing makes!
If you are fortunate enough to not really be in need of making your old clothes into new ones, why not remake them for people living in shelters who are working toward a new start with their jobs, homes and life? Nothing is more irritating than to see people giving torn or stained clothes to shelters and expect people to wear them in that condition. Why should they wear them? You are giving them away because they are not nice enough for you to wear; please don't think someone else is going to feel good wearing them. Is wearing a stained white shirt to a job interview going to land them that job? Will the skirt that is too out of date or discolored look nice on the woman's first day at work? Take the time to really look over what you donate for shelters or other programs. If they need repaired or remade before donating make it a fun project in your group or family or use the ideas I have provided as a start for repurposing clothes. I believe all of us would like to live like we buy champagne!
Feel free to share the patterns and tutorials in these mini sessions (Please remember, give credit where credit is due).
Wishing you much inspiration and success,
T-Yarn - Made From Repurposed t-shirts!
Free Tutorial in PDF
How's the t-shirt or sweater repurposing coming along? I took a second look at mine and they are rather plain so I made sure to include on the patterns page
a few ideas for embellishments to give your gloves a little extra "Zazz" (Yes, "Big Bang Theory" is a favorite!).
As promised, here is the second installment of three in repurposing an old sweater, t-shirt or other apparel. You can find the pattern/tutorial HERE
or click the picture to the left to download in PDF.
I have a lot of work to do to prepare the third installment in this series so today is a short and sweet post (Great, right?). It would be fun for you to post your results of repurposed items or tips you may have to share with our readers.
Wishing you inspiration and success, Sher