I have some thoughts that I'd like to share with you today, inspired in part by the holiday break and my time with friends and family. Get ready to get philosophical.
I believe that DIY is more of an attitude than an action, a power that you feel to take your wardrobe, home, menu, whatever it is into your own hands and create what you want or need.
Let me explain. Over Christmas I get to see some family members I don't often see, which is awesome. I made a couple of homemade gifts for some of them (more on that later! I have pics!). They were very well-received, I'm so happy to say--it's awesome when people like the stuff you put work into. Same with me--I don't always love my projects, but it's great when I love them and wear them all the time.
But anyway, these gifts were also received with comments of "wow, you're so talented, I wish I could sew like that!" And neither of these sisters-in-law is untalented, btw, and both have some crafty skills themselves. When they said these things to me, I immediately thought, "but, you can do stuff like that, too--you made that quilt that one time, and you took the embellishments off that sweater..." But they don't think those things are good enough. They see me sewing and crafting all the time and think that I'm doing something they can't do.
I beg you to think of it differently. The biggest difference between me and an occasional crafter who does smaller or simpler projects is that I've built it into my routine and I do it often and think of it often. I am fortunate to be able to have a sewing machine set up all the time, and I have Goodwill and craft store purchases sitting around my house waiting to be turned into something else. I have more practice, yes, but a) I'm not doing anything other people can't do, and b) if you've done the slightest little modification, project, craft, or, goodness-knows-what, I call you a DIYer.
I have an attitude with me all the time that I can make my own of whatever it is--so can you. I DIY all the time because it gives me more options (on a limited budget, for less waste for the planet, and because it feels good to be creative and take things into my own hands). It doesn't really matter what your abilities are or what you've been able to do before, it's just that mindset that you CAN do it yourself.
That's kind of why I enjoy sharing these How to Wear DIY posts I've been doing and loving so much. They're not just outfit posts; they're outfit posts where I show that I can look normal and current and stylish in something I've made. Homemade clothes don't have to just be prom dresses or aprons or tea cozies; they can be actual wearable garments that we can incorporate into our wardrobes all the time. And, yes, you can be proud to say "Thanks, I made it!", but really, regardless of what it is or why, the amazing thing is that you know you can do what you need or want yourself.
I know many of you know this already--that may be why you started reading my blog in the first place. But I get the feeling that a lot of you don't sew for yourselves a whole lot, and like my blog for other reasons (no matter who you are, thank you so much for reading. I am so happy to have you!).
But let me illustrate my point a little bit. I argue that a great DIYer is not necessarily a super-talented seamstress or ModPodge-er, but someone who is open to creating and re-creating. Example: these jeans. I bought them, they fit perfectly. I washed them, they shrank more than an inch in length and were too short. Some people might toss them in the Goodwill pile. Maaaaaybe cut them off into cutoffs. But I gotta say, I am so happy that I said, "isn't there a way to save these?" I did this sneaky little technique to make them longer, and now they're much more wearable and less nerdy! I loooooooooove these jeans. I wear them ALL the time. They fit great, and I am so happy to have them! Just think if I had thrown in the towel when they shrank?!
So here's a How to Wear DIY outfit post that hopefully illustrates my point rather than feels like cheating in this theme. This Christmas, I wore these fave jeans with my (also fave) soft denim shirt and boots that I wear nonstop in the winter (both Target brands found brand new at Goodwill, interestingly), and a super cozy chunky Old Navy cardi. My mom and I take a long walk every Christmas morning, and it includes a stroll along a little creek at the edge of town. This outfit was great on a foggy, chilly Christmas morning!
Sweater: Old Navy. Denim shirt and leather boots: Target via Goodwill. Necklace: Forever 21.
Watch: American Eagle. Jeans: Levi's, and DIY'ed!
So, no, you can't really even tell that I'm wearing home-fixed jeans. But isn't that kind of the point? Being a DIYer means being accustomed to wearing stuff you've made, and not feeling weird or out-of-the-ordinary about it.
Post script--I woke up this morning with these words in mind. I hope you know what I'm talking about and appreciate my concept of DIY! I'd love to hear your ideas about it, too.
And I hope you all had a very merry Christmas!