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Jenn from A Jennuine Life on KCW

why I sew: Jenn

Today’s post is bittersweet; it’s at once a post I’ve been looking forward to writing, and also signals the end of my time here contributing at Kids Clothes Week.

Folks, I’ve been thinking about the  question “why I sew?” for weeks.  In the past, my answer might have been something along the lines of how it’s a counterbalance to my analytical mind.  But when I began really pondering my motiviation and writing things down I found that’s not really the entire answer – there’s many reasons why I sew:

Why do I sew

Sewing Appeals to both analytic and creative aspects  Sure, sewing is more creative and that does enable a sort of balance to my left-brained tendencies.  I’m an Accountant, and true to the stereotypes, I do like things to tie and tally in both my professional and personal life.  Sewing is also in itself at once both precise and pliable – it’s a marriage of the two aspects.  So if you are accurate in cutting pattern pieces, and align/pin/sew with precision, you will end up with a great result.  Within that are so many little creative tweaks and nudges that can affect the final product.  Case in point  – the rainbow dress I made for Arden’s 4th birthday – what a heady feeling to get all those curved seams to lay so nice and flat, and the matching across the zip was such a rush!

Rainbow Dress Collage

There’s an alchemy to sewing  From an idea plus pile of fabric to a finished garment, there’s a transformation that occurs with sewing which is greater than the sum of its parts.  Add in drafting your own pattern from a design you’ve imagined, and it’s even more magical!  I also love refashioning to sprinkle some extra ingredients into the equation, like in my REduce, REuse, REFASHION! project I made while competing in Project Run & Play.  The coat is made using salvaged leather from my sofa.

REfashion Collage

Sewing is introspective which also brings in a couple other aspects I wrote down: it’s my happy place and that there are parallels to distance running.  Let me explain…  I used to run marathons, and part of what was great were the long runs and how it was this stretch of uninterrupted time with just my own head.  Now that I don’t have my long runs anymore, working in my studio is the closest I get to that happy place.  In some ways it surpasses the “in your head” time of distance running, because part of what I used to think about while running was things I wanted to create, and now I get to be in that peacuful state while I’m creating.  I love the way it feels to be working on a sunny afternoon with the light streaming in through the French doors, or after the girls are in bed and I’m listening to satellite radio with a glass of wine on my cutting table.


It’s something I can do at home Let’s face it – when you have young children, you’re going to be spending a fair amount of time in your home.  Lot’s of other activities are out when you’re waiting for little people to wake up (or rather, hoping they’ll sleep longer – amiright?) so by turning to sewing, you’re able to use that time to accomplish something.  Something way more fun than say, cleaning house!  I know a lot of my friends began sewing when their children were young, and that’s when I began to get a lot more serious about it.  It’s a way for me to create for the people within my home as well as to outfit my home itself.  Pulling something into your home environment (clothing your family or improving your home) that would otherwise take you out of it (going shopping) is a pretty cool thing to do!

LOL Swing Top

Sewing is an accomplishment Big or small, when I sew I’m CREATING.  That’s an accomplishment.  Learning a new skill?  That’s an accomplishment.  Creating a tutorial to show someone else how to sew something – wait for it… – That’s an accomplishment.  I like having a goal or a finish line to strive towards (see reference to marathons above), so tackling a big project gives me great joy, like the PVC Playhouse & Sunshade I made last summer.  Let me tell you, the sense of satisfaction I get when I see my girls enjoying themselves under it’s shade makes every moment I spent creating it worth it tenfold.

PVC Playhouse Tent Collage

And let’s not leave off simply that I like to create and to see my girls wearing things I’ve made for them.  There’s a satisfaction when friends or strangers comment on something they’re wearing that I’ve sewn.

Maybe not the most succinct explanation for why I sew, but I do think it’s the most honest answer I can give.  Are any of my reasons for sewing the same as yours?

Jenn from A Jennuine Life on KCW

the first garment I ever made for my kids: Jenn

This post is going to be a little different than the rest of the first garment posts shared here by my lovely fellow contributors, as my first garment was not sewn.

Nursery 032

The first garment I ever made for my *future* kids was a knitted cardigan.  I began working on this, which is the cable yoke jacket from Simply Baby by Debbie Bliss, when I was pregnant with my first daughter Arden in 2008.  I cast on before we knew what we were having, and I wanted a gender-neutral color besides.  Orange was the winner!

Arden Jean 087

 This and other knitting projects were my saving grace since I was put on bedrest at the end of my pregnancy for gestational hypertension.  This was pre-blogging, so my creative outlets were shared only with family, friends and Facebook!

October 039

I could not have chosen a better project – this little jacket has warmed both my girls from infancy on through toddlerhood.  With a turn of the sleeve it worked for Arden while still crawling and on through until she was about two years old.  Here it accompanies another Mommy made (and a first refashion) item – the 90 Minute Shirt from Dana at MADE.

October 042

I love the cables on the yoke!  I’m not a fast knitter, and I appreciate some details to keep things interesting as I knit and purl along.  This jacket has it all – seed stitch, cables, a cute collar, and some stockinette for some rest in between the details!

Hadley 4 Months 118

After a stint in storage, the sweater got to come back out to keep Hadley cozy.  Hadley was larger than Arden at the start and was able to wear it from about four months on.  She’s still big for her age and now at two and a half, Hadley is only a few inches shorter and about three pounds lighter than Arden is at five.

Arden's 3rd Birthday 067

Showing off her smoulder.

Hadley's 1st Birthday Party 015

Hadley even sported the cardigan for her first birthday pictures with The Party Dress I made using The Cottage Mama’s free pattern.

Sadly, the jacket is now too small for Hadley to wear, so I’m planning to hang it on a cute wooden hanger in her room as part of a gallery wall in her room.  Maybe some day it will pass on to one of them to dress their children in!

Jenn from A Jennuine Life on KCW

kcw trends: colors

When I started browsing through the project pool to begin preparing this post, I had a preconception that I would find springy florals and sherbert colors sprinkled throughout.  And there were those for sure, but I was a little floored that each page clearly showed the true color trend for KCW Spring 2014: Green and Blue.

KCW Color Trends

From lime green to grass to mint, blending on through sage, aqua and cornflower to rest again at navy blue.  And this was only a sampling of all the hues of green and blue – check out the project pool and see if it stands out to you as well!

And conspicuously lacking?  Radiant Orchid, the Pantone color of the year for 2014.  What are the odds?  So, did you participate in the unofficial color scheme for Spring 2014, or did you do your own thing?