A lot of people ask me where I get my ideas from. A lot of it is runway inspiration, sometimes it’s shopping, clothes I wanted at some point in my life… Sometimes I go through a completely original design idea based off of a building, plant, colour or anything really. Inspiration is truly everywhere.
I find one thing that has really helped my design and creation process is the accumulation of skills. The more you know how to do, the more you’re DIY fashion journey.
Sewing is the most obvious way to make clothes. I don’t really remember the process of learning to sew. I used to make Barbie clothes with my Nonna, and my Mom was a pretty good sewist. When I was about ten my Mom found out that the local quilting shop ran kids classes and those were my first formal sewing lessons.
Sewing has always come very intuitively to me. I’m at a stage now where I’m trying to learn how to do things properly, and it’s really making a difference. The good thing about sewing is, more than anything else, it’s a true life skill. Sewing on a button shouldn’t be something you need to outsource. Being able to mend your own clothes is good for the environment, your wallet, and there’s a great sense of self-accomplishment in it.
Sewing is a bit of an investment. While a needle and thread can get you places, you’re not going far without a machine. I wouldn’t say it’s the most compact, portable hobby either. But… After not having a sewing machine for a year and kind of putting it on the back burner I’m realizing how much I’ve always truly loved it and how rewarding it is.
I’m still a newbie at this- I only learned it last year. The biggest barrier to me getting better at it is that I’m not the biggest fan of embroidered clothes. I do love embroidered home decor though, so I see many, many pillows in the future.
I’ve always been bad at hand sewing, so when I learned embroidery I honestly thought I’d hate it. But… I kind of wanted to have a Jane Austen novel moment so I persevered. It’s made my hand sewing, and honestly every other craft, so much better. There’s something about being able to see every single stitch so clearly and distinctly that makes you pull up your socks a bit and take pride in your work.
I always wanted to learn to knit. My Grandma finally taught me when I was about twelve and I took to it right away. She taught me the knit stitch, and my Nonna taught me to purl (the only two stitches in knitting) so I always think of them when I knit.
Knitting is not a cheap hobby. There’s some really nice bargain yarn out there, but even then it adds up. I honestly don’t think you could make a sweater for under $80. I’m honestly too scared to even think about it in euros. Knitting is also not a fast hobby. When you knit you’re literally making fabric stitch by stitch. The time adds up, especially when you’re working with finer yarn.
I’d say knitting is probably the easiest hobby to travel with. Yarn’s light, and it’s really fun finding yarn all over the world. It’s also a great way to spend time on planes.
One of my favourite things about knitting is that it’s a bit of a passive hobby. If the project’s right you can knit while you watch TV, knit while you chat, knit while listening to podcasts… it’s great for fidgeters.
I want to be really good at crochet. I think because I find knitting so natural I get frustrated that I haven’t managed to pick it up straight away. Eventually, I think I’ll get it, but I need a tonne more practice. My biggest issue is that in every situation I could crochet I find myself picking up knitting.
This is one of the few things I’ve taken an actual, in-person class for. I don’t have a wheel, so I’m on a drop spindle and again, it takes forever. I find myself not gravitating towards it, but when I do it I really enjoy it. It’s definitely the most meditative thing I’ve ever done.
I was working at a school in southern Italy for two weeks and whenever the nuns who ran the school had a minute they would pull out this lacework and make doilies. One of them ended up teaching me. I got the basics and I’m eager to learn more.
I used to be bead crazy. As a kid, all I wanted to do was sit in a room by myself, listen to the radio, and bead. To be fair, that’s essentially all I want to do as an adult most of the time. I love beads. There’s something just so primal about the shiny object attraction. Unfortunately, my massive bead collection didn’t make the move as I haven’t been doing it as much. However, I definitely want to get back into jewellery making of all sorts.
Overall I think I’ve developed an interesting skill set, but I’m always wanting to learn more. Any ideas on what my next big hobby should be?