I Am a Pacific NorthWesterner

robert kaufman plaid flannel shirt back

My love of my new plaid flannel shirt aside, I am a Pacific NorthWesterner at heart. My return to the Seattle area, the city of my childhood, feels like a return home in more ways than I could have imagined. The grey, drizzly winter days feel comforting. The evergreen trees feel grounding. The friendly people feel welcoming. The mountains and water all around feel calming.

In the PNW I am home. We won’t have a house of our own for months – we are living in furnished rentals and housesitting for at least a few more months – and yet I feel like I’m home in a way that I never did in San Francisco, even after 7 years of living there.

Of course my return to the PNW will have an influence on my sewing – I know there are more plaid flannel shirts in order and at least one raincoat. I need some more long sleeve shirts and definitely some more cardigans. I need warmer and drier clothes than I did in San Francisco. I also need more summer clothes as SF doesn’t get a summer, so there will definitely be more sundresses in order this summer. Time will tell if more of the PNW than the weather will influence my sewing.

If I think about it, I’ve already been influenced by the PNW. I’ve seen a lot of plaid here, and even if it’s on trend this season, plaid has always been strong in the PNW. My haircut, while pretty unique in much of the world, is pretty similar to a lot of other hair here – it’s close to the girl version of Macklemore hair (which is all over this city!).

Is there a part of the world that feels like home to you in a way that nowhere else does? Is it where you grew up? Do you live there now?

Does where you live influence your sewing?


Each week this year I’m going to reflect on an aspect of myself and how it affects me as a sewist, crafter, or blogger. It may get deep, it may get emotional, it may get totally silly. It may be something I’m proud of, it may be something I cringe at, it may be something I aspire to. I may say a lot, I may say a little, I may ask questions, I may not answer them. I don’t quite know where the project will take me, but I’m excited about the journey. I’d be honored to have you join me on this journey. Chime in any time this year in my blog comments, on Twitter, Instagram, or your own blog. Join me in my theme for the week or make up your own.

Comments 15

  1. In TX where I grew up, my hair was big and I was afraid to be as girly as I really am. Now, not being afraid to parade about in dresses when everyone around me is in fleece, I feel very out of place where I live in my sewing. CO is the most outdoorsiest place on earth I’m convinced. Me?–I’m psychologically allergic to camping. Still, our weather dictates my sewing choices for sure. Layers and layers are always a safe bet and special attention to linings to block out the wind.

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      It’s interesting to me that you say that you were afraid to be as girly as you are when you lived in TX. My best girlfriend in college was from Texas and would talk about how she felt forced to be much girlier than she really was while in TX. I’m sorry that you feel out of place with your sewing, but perhaps a silver lining is that you know you are true to your own style and your own self when you can stand strong in your own style even when it’s different from those around you.

  2. We moved home just over two years ago, and while it wasn’t a big move in the grand scheme of things, there are so many things that feel just right about it. It’s comfortable; we know so many people and have so much family and support. It’s also a much smaller centre, which on the one hand feels more manageable somehow (I guess I’m not really a big city girl at heart, even if I’d like to be?) but on the other hand feels kind of limiting. Did I trade adventure and growth for safety and comfort? And if I did, do I mind?

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      One of the things that I am most excited about being back in the PNW is being around family again. I live near both sets of my parents, my godparents, 4 godsiblings, an aunt and uncle, and cousins – and it feels so amazing to be able to see them any time I want! I always thought I was a big city girl when I was growing up, but now the city is fun to visit, but I’m very glad that I don’t live in the middle of it. I understand what you mean about a small town feeling limiting – although it feels like a fun novelty to us still to run into people we know at the grocery store! I think we have it just about perfect here on Vashon Island because with a 15 minute ferry ride, we can be in the middle of Seattle, so all of the big-city amenities are easily accessible.

  3. I know what you mean about Seattle. I’ve lived in California for five years now and still regularly debate moving back even though I only actually lived in Seattle for two years. Maybe someday! Seattle feels like home.

    The climates don’t seem that different, but there are really a lot of differences in the kinds of clothes you need. The whole way you interact with the weather in the northwest is really different. In the Bay Area you can mostly ignore it and go about your business, but the northwest you need layers and rain gear. I never thought I’d miss outerwear!

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      It’s really interesting to me that a place that you only lived 2 years feels like home – maybe it’s some special magic about the PNW? I did have an interesting conversation with a friend of my mother-in-law that we met in Bali. She said that when she first set foot on Bali she knew it was home for her and moved there without looking back, so maybe we all have our own “home” somewhere in the world, we just need to find it.

  4. I’m glad you found home again. After living on the other coast for awhile in NYC, I’m very happy to be in Seattle. Its a great and beautiful place. What neighborhood are you in? I’m in West Seattle.

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      We live on Vashon Island. I grew up in Ballard but with out move back to Seattle, we wanted to get out of the city and have a quieter and more rural life (I’m counting down the days until I can get chickens!). My mom has lived on Vashon since I was in high school and it seemed like a lovely place to try calling home.

  5. I’m a PacNW gal too. I live in Tacoma. Lived here nearly my entire life. A short stint in San Francisco and I couldn’t wait to come back. I work in the sewing industry and have the opportunity to see new products (machines, patterns, books, notions) all the time. Hard not to be inspired. ;-) After a long period of time, I am finally getting slowly back into garment construction – been making lots of quilts, wall hanging, embroidered items, etc for years. Feels good to be back to my first sewing love…creating clothes.

  6. Home is Minnesota! (no, I don’t live there anymore) I LIKE winter! Today is was -2 when I walked into work, and it felt like home! I LOVE the water! I spent part of my summers in northern MN, at my parents’ cabin–no indoor plumbing & a hand pump that had to be primed every spring–my siblings & I spent several hours In the water, or ON the water! We learned to swim & water ski there! I love birch bark trees and pine trees– I couldn’t figure out why I was drawn to the Moda fabric, designed by Holly Taylor, until I read that Holly is really 2 people from Minnesota, and that explained why I liked their color choices of greens, blues & browns–a northern MN outdoors look!

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  7. The Southwest is home to me, and I understand what you mean about a place just feeling like home. The air and the light are so unique here, when I’ve been away from home and get off the plane I just want to drink them. I am more of a classic girl in my sewing, but I can whip out a western shirt!

  8. Love your blog and posts, but the big question since you are in Seattle… so you do know Eddie Vedder ??????????have you seen Eddie Vedder???? talking about flannel and all….
    By the way, I live in Texas, Houston in fact. It’s been 80 for the past three days. I would love to sew a warm comfy coat but it would be worn one day out of the year, maybe.
    I love your pictures too, you definitely have an eye for it.

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      Unfortunately no, I can’t really claim to know anyone famous from Seattle and I was too young when the grunge scene was in full boom to have been a part of it. But I did get on stage with the Murder City Devils during one of their shows, so that’s almost cool?

  9. That is exactly how I felt about moving back to California after living in Boston for a few years. California is my home, deeply. Though, I suspect I might be able to adjust to many places west of the Rockies. I don’t really want to try to find out, though!

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