Sewing for the life you have now

I’m standing in the middle of the road with my pants behind me. This is the lyric that my hubby heard from that song, and it never fails to crack me up whenever it comes on and he sings it that way. And here’s how it applies to sewing for the life you have now.

Yes, that famous (and not accurate) lyric from The Pretenders (I’m standing in the middle of life with my plans behind me) is often heard as “past behind me”.

Today, my spouse was recounting something about ad ad campaign and that (ex-friend) agency did the work. Two things popped into my head “of course they did” and “I am so glad that past is behind me”

Yes, I used to own a marketing agency. Somewhere near $1M in annual sales at our zenith.

And I don’t miss it one bit! What I DO miss is having a place to wear my favorite outfits (not kidding, that’s the only thing I miss!) I have a few friends who are in the agency business still, but most have long exited it for other opportunities, myself included. I now run a web design & marketing tech training business that I love, and my side hustles of vinyl graphics for the marine business grew to the point that it’s 50% of my annual sales for not that much physical work. The agency biz is a never ending treadmill of larger and larger projects, to feed an expensive payroll, overhead (because you’ve gotta LOOK the part, too), and then managing that. The assets of the business walk out the door every night at 5pm.

It was relentless. I loved it, I hated it and I’m so glad it’s over! I get to choose what clients I want to work with. I make more (easier) money from the vinyl graphics business than I ever did from agency life, and I sell stuff when I’m not at work, when I’m on vacation, when I’m sailing or biking. I fulfill orders on my schedule (9 to 4). Overhead is low, profit is high. I never take meetings before 10am, and I rarely have more than two in one day. I take an hour or more for lunch. It’s a good gig.

And I wear whatever I want… but the things I loved to wear, I don’t wear much any more. This last thing was the one thing that stuck in my head last night when my spouse mentioned it. I work at home. I work standing up with kevlar gloves and tropical rock music on the speaker. For some of my work, I can work from anywhere, including beaches, bars and boats*

These days, the fanciest I would like to be is jeans and a blazer, and while I can certainly wear that at home, it’s a little silly with the kevlar gloves on. What I did realize is that I need places to GO that I can wear that – and that includes evening outings with my spouse (breweries, or date night dinners.) I have to switch where I think I’ll wear those outfits. Instead of an office blazer, a date night blazer.

In changing my outfits and sewing more casual clothes, I do note I do not have to always wear jeans to be casual. Here is a roundup of some of my recent sewing patterns that are both casual and chic and suitable for a work from home lifestyle. If you’re retired or work from home, these are terrific casual clothes that aren’t jeans and a tee shirt.

The Wave set from Know Me’s Handmade Millennial. I’ve already sewn this in a woven and a knit. It’s fun, it fits well (sized one full size DOWN) and it offers a chance to use up larger scraps.

The rest of these you can see in my YouTube video below, or in the photo grid below.

New Look cape in red fleece – my next up sewing project.

Vogue wardrobe, the quarter zip top. I like the rounded placket for insertion of the zipper.

Mile End Hoodie & Crewneck – the sleeves on this run SHORT, so measure from the neck to your wrist and lengthen accordingly.

Vogue casual wardrobe (includes the rust set AND the blue cropped set too) – I’m really into the knit sets these days and these are upscale. I’ll probably make the sweater just meet the pants as I don’t do complete cropped.

MimiG anorak, pants and poncho – this is going to be sailing/skiing wear.

Megan Nielsen Hovea jacket here

Know Me midi skirt and cropped top – for now, under a cozy cardigan with boots but come spring without. I’ll probably make the top meet the skirt.

Slouchy Coatigan. Hot Patterns moved to Etsy this past year, you can get everything there.

Nexxus Tee Shirt Dress. Faux wrap, ultra comfy. It feels like a nightgown but looks super chic. I dress this down with sneakers or Uggs.

Know Me midi dress & flare pants. I plan to omit the zipper and waistband on these pants and make them in ponte knit, under a cotton lycra dress in this exact color! I’ll wear it with sneakers and pointy toe ballet flats.

Sewing for the life you have now requires that you ACCEPT and LEAN IN to the life you have now. If you work from home all the time, and the fanciest you need to be is on Zoom, invest in making some great casual garments that you’ll actually wear on Zoom. If you’re retired, what do you want to put on each day? Make some great me-made versions of these.

My LFS recently posted they got in some great patterns from French sewing pattern design label Maison Fauve. And they have wonderful, casual designs with an ooo lalala French flair – along with some really nice details to sew. I am on a mission to get rid of any polyester print blouses in my wardrobe in favor of natural fiber print fabric blouses that I can wear with casual bottoms – shorts and skirts in summer, under cozy cardigans in the fall and winter. Think rayons and cotton lawn prints, or even lightweight twill prints. The designs are casual wear – but the details are definitely upscale. After all, if you’re going to wear cargo jogger pants, don’t you want some really awesome ones? This is the kind of upscale casual that gives the sewist something fun to sew and a little bit of a challenge, but at the same time fits in with a casual today lifestyle.

Same, too, I love American company/French design Ann Normandy patterns for their lovely details in simple garments designed for new and vintage linen and similar fabrics.