Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic on Sewing and Style

Today in my series of interviews with sewing bloggers on their connection between sewing & style, I’m delighted to feature Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic. I love what Carolyn has to say about sewing for her lifestyle and she definitely puts the creative into “creative corporate” style! I’m delighted to share her thoughts on the connection between her ability to sew and her personal style.

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My name is Carolyn and I blog at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic.  I’m a plus size blogger who loves designer fashions and interpreting them to fit my lifestyle. I’m also passionate about the art of sewing and want to encourage sewists to continue in our craft. I’m a fabricaholic, who loves an amazing piece of fabric and I’m happiest in my sewing cave creating something new.

Describe your style.
I work in a very corporate atmosphere so I call my style, Creative Corporate.  Mostly because I use a lot more color and a few prints that the other women in the office don’t wear.  There’s a lot of black and gray in my office and I just try to riff off of the corporate culture but with a twist…so Creative Corporate.

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Describe what you sew.
I make a lot of dresses.  I like dresses and am comfortable in them.  They look professional and work well on my figure. The fact that I sew so many dresses has been described by some as “Another Boring Sheath Dress” but I sew for my lifestyle.  I don’t understand sewing clothing that I wouldn’t wear. So a lot of dresses, in a variety of fabrics with embellishments and interesting techniques that work with my lifestyle.

What inspires or influences your style?
I like designer gear (Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrara and Michael Kors being favorites)  I’m also highly influenced by these RTW retailers; Ann Taylor, Talbots, Jones NY,  Anne Klein, Donna Karan, Lafayette 148 and St. John.  There are enough different and interesting pieces that I can interpret for my body and that encourage me to sew. Although I’m also greatly influenced by seasonal changes – winter to spring and summer to fall with the influx of color are also very inspirational to me!

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How does your passion for sewing enable your style?
My passion allows me to sew many garments that aren’t designed or sold in my size.

What about over time: Has your style changed with time? Have your sewing abilities changed with time? 
When I was younger, I experimented a lot trying to figure out what worked for me.  Many times I wore a style or a trend that wasn’t me but it was hot & new and I wanted to be that!  Now, I know what garments work for me and my lifestyle so I pretty much stick to sewing them.  Of course my sewing abilities have changed over time – with anything that you do constantly, you get better at it.  So I can fit myself better, choose the appropriate fabric for a garment or style better and understand the properties of working with the fabrics more.  I’ve tried almost every sewing technique and I don’t feel a need to add all of them to a garment to prove that I can do them.  Although I will admit to being obsessed with piping and use it A LOT! *LOL*

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What about in the beginning: Did you learn to sew so that you could have a certain style?
I was 11 when I started sewing.  So when I understood that I could sew for myself and not just my Barbies, I realized that I could make all the things my mother wouldn’t buy me. It was kind of freeing! No more hearing, “No you can’t have that cause we can’t afford that!”  The arguments then became, “No, I’m not buying those expensive Vogue patterns when a cheaper Simplicity one will work!”

Does your style require that you are able to sew?
No. I could cobble some looks together from the plus size retailers but I wouldn’t have the Creative Corporate look that I like.

carolyn of diary of a sewing fanatic on sewing and style

Anything else you would like to say about sewing and style?
Personally I think it’s really important that as sewists we learn our own style and sew for it. It would save us all from wadders.  I’m sure that it makes for boring blog reading when bloggers sew the same thing over and over.  However, I believe that after all of the work that goes into creating a garment, it should be one that you will wear with pleasure, as well as, being the style that makes you comfortable. I also think that no one should dictate what you wear.  If you’re happy sewing and wearing vintage – no matter the decade – then sew and wear that!  If you’re a jeans and top woman because that’s your lifestyle then sew that!  Or if you just love sewing Chanel-type jackets, then sew them!  That’s what sewing offers us, the ability to sew and wear the styles and colors that we enjoy wearing and that give us confidence as we make our way through our days.

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Comments 10

  1. Love your style. I’m so glad to see you included your “Fat Quarter Challenge” dress with your photos! Neat challenge, and fun to see everyone’s end results.

  2. HI Carolyn. Love your sewing. Your grey pinstripe above is so striking and elegant, a really nice look for you. Well done!

  3. Thanks so much for asking such thoughtful questions! Most especially though thanks for wanting me to participate in your series…I’m honored!

  4. LOVE your style! It looks very attractive on you! I went to your blog “Diary of a Sewing Fanatic” and couldn’t find a place to sign up & follow you… Please will you share which pattern you used for the sheath dress?
    THANKS for agreeing to be a guest w/ Seamstress Erin!

    1. Ms. Barb – the first three dresses are from my TNT dress pattern – a pattern that is long OOP. The final green linen dress is Vogue 8895. HTH!

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