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Mistakes, Problems & Solutions
Handmade Life with FINK
Ahhh – the reality of creating = mistakes galore.
When I say mistake I mean this: something happens that you had not intended to happen and it’s problematic.
This happens to me all of the time. Practically every day. I find it most challenging to avoid fighting the mistake and try instead to see it as an opportunity and work towards a solution.
I am a self trained seamstress. I taught myself how to sew on an old Singer sewing machine by making clothing for my daughter (when she was a baby and couldn’t complain about my weird creations), vintage hats (from patters) and then eventually making my own hat patterns. As I was learning to sew there were times I was brought to tears – seriously – crying at the machine and saying “forget it…I hate this”
But I kept doing it. Daily. Since 1999.
I realized how much I hated using sewing patterns during the early years – I felt so limited by the patterns – and the minute I stopped using them I enjoyed sewing so much more!
I was not my big dream to make clothing. I went to art school (wearing all thrift store clothing…I still wear thrift store finds mostly + FINK) and focused on printing (mono printing), painting, sculpture and photography (learning to process/print). I did a screen print in high school but found it kind of boring since we did the typical – one image printed on the front of one shirt.
It took awhile to get to know myself as a printer – I absolutely love it and the process is intense and so rewarding. I use a variety of techniques to create my fabrics including screen printing, painting and block printing. All of my screens are made from my hand drawn artwork, I free-hand carve each block I use and paint using every tool I would use to paint on canvas.
I struggle with “gilding the lily” and can absolutely take things too far and beyond repair sometimes. I overcome the feeling of defeat by using the “mistake” for other projects like decorative neckline and that kind of thing. I am a no-waste designer and try to use every piece of fabric down to the last inch for garments and accessories and if they don’t prove useful for those things I use them for the FINK tags I sew into each FINK garment.
Sometimes, if I get stuck – like “what the hell do I do with this mess?!” kind of stuck – I put the piece aside and come back to it later. Sometimes it works and sometimes not…and sometimes it turns out to be an all time favorite
(see example below)
I originally cut the body of this top out to be part of a long sleeve simple top. I wasn’t “feeling it” so I put it aside and found it later and decided to experiment a bit with block printing and this is what came of all that.
Each FINK creation is a discovery and I am open minded about what the outcome will be.
So yeah, I make everything up as I go along.
These days I allow plenty of room for mistakes since that is really where the magic happens.
It can be harsh to spend hours on a print, love the print then cut out a piece (I always free hand cut my creations from my imagination – I never ever use sewing patterns for my clothing. ever) and have it be a catastrophe. Finding solutions for cutting problems is really the most challenging thing I do. Some of those mistakes sit for quite awhile before I come up with solutions and it’s very exciting when their day in the hot sun arrives!
I allow the quirky things to happen and show since they are part of the handmade beauty & show the creative process. I don’t want to try to be quirky since that is really transparent. If that happens (and it does) that I have clearly had an idea and made it a reality and it’s a bit too…uh…intentionally “clever”…I deconstruct those pieces and start again.
I’m a quirky chick – no question about it – if you know me in person you will be nodding your head haha…if you don’t, it would be instantly obvious. I am energetic, chatty and well, quirky. So there is no way for me to avoid quirky oddities in my creations and they are part of my natural process. That being said – I take great care with construction and sew each piece to be sturdy…I want these pieces to last and be everyday wearable.
btw: I don’t ever want to make “perfect” anything since a) perfect is not real b) what’s the point? world already has masses of “perfect”-ish clothing in malls and stores all over the world. We don’t need more.
Sturdy and well made: yes
Store bought /factory made fit and styling: No
Unique, expressive, soulful, One of a Kind: yes
That brings me to this: I love creating. LOVE it. I need it. This is my life.
But I want to create things that bring true joy to your life without contributing to a world that really does not need anything else…so I will keep it slow.
Speeding up production times and/or cutting corners to lower prices is for fast fashion mass produced items – NOT for FINK.
I prefer to use quality materials, spend endless hours on each piece and put my heart and soul into each and every creation so that I can offer the world these things that came from a soulful place and not a factory.
Thanks for reading all of that! I was sewing this morning and had all of that on my mind as I was dealing with a piece that has been more than a little problematic lol