Banishing Fear

A classical beauty I am not. A twisted spine, hair perpetually in transition, hands like Nosferatu and a nose that my father in law has generously called ‘aquiline.’ My smile is rather pleasing, but it doesn’t photograph well. You had to be there.

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But I wouldn’t mistake honesty for complaining. I like the way I look and the Laird Hamilton also seems happy with me as I am. But photographing these features can be tricky. So I started with the hands. I mentioned Nosferatu earlier, but they really are very Weimar Berlin. And so I’ve channeled that famous image of Sylvia Von Harden. When I first saw that portrait, I loved her androgyny and those angular limbs. But the hands are the most compelling.

Weirdly, I’ve felt unworthy of being photographed for nearly two decades, shying away from the camera and always trying to find my skinny angles if I’m forced to say cheese. Yet, the images of other women that I find inspiring are rarely perfect. They embrace what the subjects probably grew up believing were flaws.

I have a feeling that this blog is about to get a whole lot…sharier. Being open is something I’ve long been concerned about, as has displaying my own image. In fact, I’ve allowed barely a dozen photographs to be taken of myself in recent years. An entire haircut and subsequent growth passed with only a single selfie.

However, as part of my Samhain ritual, I banished a few things – eight, to be precise, as this is the numerological value of ‘banish.’ While I’ll pass on attempting everything that currently frightens me, being more open online is something I’ll make an effort towards. For instance, I’m an avid knitter and a tentative sewer. I’ll be making room for these creations on here, and photographing myself wearing them. Because sticking a cardigan on a hanger is bad for the wool, you understand.

My major interests at present include a Second World War novel that I’m writing, knitting, witchery and vegan cooking. A tangental interest has been Weimar Berlin, which has proved influential for my book. With all these little fragments, I’m having trouble coming up with a cohesive theme for my blog. Not to mention all the random thoughts that I have and feel compelled to write about. The thought of getting things too scattered has concerned me, as it might confuse readers. As a reader myself, though, I have come to enjoy lots of subjects being covered by individual bloggers, and relying on company blogs for single-subject compendia. So, in short, I’m just going to write like I talk and snap what I look like.

 

3 thoughts on “Banishing Fear

  1. I love this photo and find it incredibly beautiful and compelling – your features are unique and striking and your quiet inner and outer beauty shine through in this photograph. πŸ™‚

    I can relate to feeling unworthy of being photographed, I’ve avoided cameras for years and have always struggled with self-image, self-esteem and self-acceptance. I too am trying to get to a place in my life where I can banish these negative thoughts and embrace myself for the woman I am, imperfections , flaws and all.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing your knitting and sewing and hearing more about your book – Weimar Berlin is a big fascination of mine and I’m really interested in WWII as well, so your book sounds amazing and right up my alley – if you’re ever in need of beta readers, sign me up! πŸ™‚

    No matter what you post, I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts and learning more about all the amazing things you’re interested in! πŸ™‚

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    1. Hey, lovely! Thank you for your kind words. It sounds like we’ve been on a similar path, then. I’ve been trying to write that I hope your self-love journey goes well, but everything I’ve written sounds a bit tawdry. I’ll have to leave it there and hope that you understand my meaning.

      As for the book, I would love for you to be a beta reader! I’m not very far along, but I’ll let you know when something worth reading is completed. Weimar Berlin is such a fascinating time period to me, too.

      This is maybe a bit personal, but I’ve been reading your blog, too, and your dolls recently have made me want to share my current sewing project with you. I had a Gene Marshall doll when I was little, and I’m trying to recreate some of her clothes for me. Do you do a lot of vintage sewing? I’d love any advice!

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      1. Aw, I completely understand your meaning and I hope the same for you! ❀

        That sounds wonderful! πŸ™‚ I really hope that the writing is going well! I used to write a lot (poetry, short stories, stuff like that), but have been struggling with writers block for some years now. I still really enjoy any writing I;m able to do though, even if it mostly seems to be in the form of blog posts these days! And I love reading, as I see you do too – I read your post where you mentioned having to narrow your book collection down to four bookcases! – and always enjoy helping out fellow writers whenever and however I can! πŸ™‚

        Don't ever worry about saying anything too personal! πŸ™‚ I'm so happy you want to share your current sewing projects with me! Gene Marshall dolls are gorgeous and I don't blame you for wanting to recreate your doll's clothes for yourself! The majority of the sewing I do is vintage, whether it's clothing for myself made from vintage sewing patterns or sewing dolls from vintage doll patterns, vintage items are definitely my favourite things to sew! I only really started sewing a few years ago, but would be happy to help in any way that I can!

        Since from what I've read, the clothing style of the Gene Marshall dolls are greatly inspired by the fashions of the 1930's-1950's, I'd recommend having a hunt around for vintage or vintage inspired/reproduction sewing patterns, to start. Sometimes you can get lucky and find vintage patterns in thrift/charity shops, and you can also definitely find them online on sites like Etsy and eBay. Butterick, McCall's, Vogue and Simplicity all have vintage reissue or vintage inspired patterns that they tend to come out with every season – Simplicity tends to do more in the way of vintage reissues than the other three. The upside to these modern reissues of vintage patterns is that they can sometimes be a bit cheaper than buying true vintage patterns online, and that each pattern contains multiple sizes instead of just one single size (vintage patterns tend to come in single sizes). The main downside to the modern reissues tends to be the enormous amount of ease added into the patterns, so they can come out a size or two bigger than intended once made, so it's always best to check the measurements printed on the pattern pieces themselves with modern sewing patterns, and go from that instead of the size on the pattern envelope. With "true" vintage patterns, whatever size is on the envelope is what you will get once it is made up, so if your measurements correspond with the measurements on the envelope, it will fit and you won't swim in it! Where added ease and difference in sizing regarding the finished garments starts to change is in patterns from the 1970's, so when I sew 1970's patterns, I typically buy one size smaller than I normally would and it tends to work out just fine. πŸ™‚

        There are independent sewing pattern companies that reproduce vintage patterns as well, some in printed pattern format, others in PDF and some a mix of the two. In the last year or so I actually interviewed a number of women who create vintage reproduction sewing patterns – or design their own vintage inspired sewing patterns (you can check the interviews out here: https://theprettyandthekitsch.wordpress.com/emily-kitsch-girl-reporter/). I haven't had a chance to try each of their companies out yet, but I have used patterns from Evadress, Vintage Pattern Lending Library, Sewcialite Studio, Lady Marlowe (who was too shy to be interviewed, but I've reviewed one of her printed patterns before and it was quite good, you can find her shop here: https://ladymarlowe.com/) and How To Do Fashion (who I also haven't interviewed, but have reviewed, you can find her shop here: https://www.howtodofashion.com/ She makes very nice 1950's inspired patterns!) I can definitely recommend all of their patterns, though with the Sewcialite Studio patterns, most didn't include instructions at the time that I was testing them, so they can be on the tricky side! Lady Marlowe, Evadress, and Vintage Pattern Lending Library all have reproduction patterns from the 1930's-1950's (as well as other eras). πŸ™‚ Most reproduction sewing patterns come in single sizes like the original vintage patterns did, but some are multi-sized – Wearing History makes multi-sized patterns, as does Sewcialite Studio, How To Do Fashion, and Folkwear Patterns. Folkwear patterns can be tricky when it comes to ease – I've attempted one of their patterns but haven't been able to finish it to review it properly, but their patterns seem to have similar ease to the majority of modern commercial pattern companies, but don't give finished garment measurements on the envelope or patterns, so it makes it hard to know what size to sew in their patterns and turns things into a bit of a guessing game. They do include patterns inspired by garments from the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's that are really pretty, as well as a plethora of other eras, but yeah, figuring out the sizing can be a gamble!

        Typically, the indie vintage reproduction or inspired sewing pattern companies are the same or similar to vintage sewing patterns in terms of ease, so you don't normally have to worry about doing a bunch of sizing down, etc. And all the women who run indie sewing pattern companies that I've interviewed or spoken with in the past have been incredibly helpful when it comes to any questions you might have, giving tips for sewing the patterns, etc, they're all really lovely women who don't mind helping when they can, which is a big plus!

        I have to say though, I think my favourite has to be sewing with true vintage patterns, there's just something so special about using them, the history, knowing that once upon a time they were probably used and loved by a woman from a previous generation. The feeling of carrying on a tradition and putting these gorgeous vintage items to use makes me really happy, which is part of the reason I also prefer sewing with vintage sewing machines. There's just something about it and the immediate physical and emotional connection to history and the women of the past that is just so special and precious to me.

        Hmm…I've been talking just about patterns so far, but have rambled on for ages already! I don't know if any of this was helpful or what you needed, but feel free to ask me any questions and I'll do my best to provide answers! I love vintage sewing and am always happy to help and encourage others to get into it and will help in any way that I can! Also, I would love to see the Gene Marshall doll clothes that you're hoping to recreate! I might be able to help track down similar style patterns, or at least point you in a good direction! πŸ™‚

        Oh! And something I'd definitely recommend is checking out some vintage sewing books, they go into a lot of wonderful sewing techniques and are amazing to read! You don't have to start buying a ton (like I've done in the past, my poor wallet!), since some should be available through the library, and if not, there are a number that are actually available online! I highly recommend checking out archive.org / openlibrary.org, for vintage sewing books, and if you check out this page on my site, under "vintage books" there are links to download various vintage sewing books for free!

        https://theprettyandthekitsch.wordpress.com/free-sewing-patterns/

        And as I said, if you have any questions, fire away! I'm happy to help if I can! πŸ™‚ Sorry if this was a bit disjointed, my cat has gotten very talkative all of a sudden and keeps breaking my concentration, so I'll go give her some dinner and some attention, but I'll check back in in a bit! πŸ™‚

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