Adventures in Dressmaking: On creating: inputs and outputs

Monday, March 26, 2012

On creating: inputs and outputs

I've had this post in draft for a while, but just recently I heard this interview on NPR and it got me thinking again.  The interview is more about finding the muse, but definitely corresponds with my general feelings that you'll read in this post--finding the balance between work and relaxing, and having that relaxing time as fuel for creativity and productivity!

Sometimes when I haven't been sewing up a storm the the previous days or weeks, I just get an aching to make something ambitious and awesome!  (Which usually results in me cutting out a dress.  They really are my favorite kind of project.)  But, do you know what I mean about that feeling?  The urge to create, to make something new rather than scroll through Pinterest again or look around the house at old (existing) things.
Via my Instagram... getting ready to cut!
When I was a kid my mom taught me her philosophy about being a producer versus being a consumer. When I would watch hours of One Saturday Morning or play my Purple Moon girl-focused 90's computer games, I was consuming materials someone else had created. And that's fine, for a while; we all need to do that sometimes to recharge. But when I did an art project or even when I went to ballet class or day camps during the summer, I was generating something new--producing, art or dance or crafty macaroni frames. And it's nice to have a balance, my mom would argue. Being a very creative person herself (she's created an amazing small business!), she felt unbalanced when she consumed too much and didn't use any of that recharged energy as drive to generate something new.


This metaphor can only go so far, I know; I'm not advocating against bettering yourself with literature or wine tasting or anything, although you could argue that those are productive activities too because in addition to consuming something good, you're building your tastes and mind. BUT, my point is, I have as a personal value that making something original is an accomplishment. (If you couldn't tell. I have 697 published blog posts and most of them are original writing about something I made or changed--and I keep this blog everyday! I'm not telling you anything new, am I? ;) )

So, sometimes its hard for me to sit down with my magazines and consume for a while. I think, "Shouldn't I be using this free time for something more productive?"  But it's important to refresh my mind, my idea-builder, with new inputs to inspire and inform. I always come out of reading my monthly little stack of magazines or linking through Pinterest totally inspired!! (I tear out pages and make note to emulate my fave pieces they promote--I never go out and buy the $300 Rebecca Beeson dress or the $100 color block top, but I get excited to make my own!)

Don't you?



So my statement today is, find those things that inspire you--maybe it's Pinterest, or InStyle, or going to the mall and looking at the newest pretty things, or even going to a nature park or people-watching at a coffee shop or something, gosh, I dunno! Whatever it is that makes you come home all jazzed and excited for your next project. Because we can't just go on like little factories, making, making, making. That balance is important for your sanity and, probably, for the quality of your work!

What do you think? Do you know how I feel? Hey, and what are your favorite places for sewing and clothing inspiration??

16 comments :

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  1. I need to get back into being more of a producer. In college, all I did was make things (part of it was a requirement for my major). I got really burnt out and stopped sewing for a couple of years. I do a sewing project or a craft project maybe every 2 months now, but I know I could do so much more.

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    1. I can totally see how that would happen--getting burned out or feeling like it's your job to do the fun, creative stuff. No worries, though; there are times in your life producing and times for other things!

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  2. I absolutely agree. The balance between producing and consuming is one I need to learn. Lately, I've gotten back into it. I recently made a rag rug from a how-to on Pinterest(love that site). I think you made your point clear and well understood.

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    1. Thanks, glad you liked the post. Congrats for actually doing one of the DIY ideas you pinned--not sure I've made it that far yet!

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  3. I totally agree. I get that urge to create all the time, but lately I've been so busy with work and school that when I finally do get to the project, I'm not patient enough to put in the quality details I had in mind...like making a nice pressed hem instead of just using my serger. I'm making more of an effort to be happy with my end result because I spent the right amount of time working on it...but it sure is hard to wait to wear them!

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    1. Good point, sometimes I cut corners in a hurry, too--no good! Much more enjoyable in the end if you do it right the first time!

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  4. I think about this all the time, but usually frame it for myself a bit differently -- in terms of production versus process. I work hard to keep myself grounded in the creative process, to enjoy the journey -- but at the same time, I'd hate if I only lived in process and never once completed something.

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    1. That's a great way to think about it, I like that! I'm impatient so I don't always enjoy the process--unless I have a solid, dedicated block of time and everything goes to plan, haha! Though on the other side, there are definitely people out there who never finish things and that would be frustrating, too.

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  5. *Sigh* I totally understand. I certainly get inspired through Pinterest, and when I find something I really like, I post it to my Sewing Inspiration board. I also enjoy cutting out patterns because it gives me an excuse to watch Doctor Who without feeling totally guilty since I am "multitasking" ;)

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    1. I watch fave TV shows during all my sewing sessions! Great way to rewatch old fave shows. And I cut out during new stuff because it's not noisy. Always multitasking... ;)

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  6. I bully myself all the time for not using my free time to sew as much as I would like to. It feels like a mental block sometimes when I just can't make myself do something. On an unrelated note, I have awarded you the Versatile Blogger award here :) http://sorbetsurprise.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/my-first-blog-award.html

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    1. Thanks so much, so sweet of you! Best of luck with the mental block. Power through! =)

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  7. Yes, I'm all about living life "real" instead of virtually or through other people. Virtual is easier, real is much more rewarding.

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  8. I consider those little trips out, the browsing of fashion sites, the petting of yarn/fabric to be a key part of the creative process. Without the ideas that those things spawn, I wouldn't be making anything at all. So I agree, that balance is really important.

    What I also value is having some time *outside* of that in which I can kick back and stop thinking about making things altogether. Computer games are particularly good for this. Mash buttons, kill pixels, and give my brain a bit of a rest. With any luck, my subconscious is still whirring away underneath it all and will have something to surprise me with when I get back on it! :D

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    1. Sounds like you've found a good balance! It is nice to get inspired but it can be overwhelming. I wish I were better at the vegging out part. I tend to feel guilty for not working! I should just kick back and relax!

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