a hint of print: my first instagram challenge

Last week, Sharlene from @sosewdressmaking and Roisin from @soro_roisin_mcmullan hosted the ‘A Hint Of Print’ challenge, where each day saw a different type of print as the theme and it was up to us to find a corresponding item in our wardrobe. The challenge spanned RTW and me-made clothes but I chose to use this as an opportunity to look at how I use print in my me-made wardrobe, whether there are any gaps in there, whether I use and wear print as much as I think I do (spoiler alert: yes, I don’t think I have a single solid colour me-made in there).

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So how did I fare? Well, for starters I actually managed to complete the challenge! I posted a photo everyday (can you believe I actually remembered?!) with the exception of Thursday, because I don’t own a single animal print item. I don’t even think I’ve got any animal print in my stash. What’s that you say? I’ll have to buy more fabric? I know, isn’t it terrible to be me…

I loved this challenge. I loved having a reason to put on something that wasn’t leggings and a giant t-shirt every morning. I loved sharing what I’ve made – some of it years old – with the Instagram community. I loved people’s supportive comments and seeing what other people had picked out for that day’s theme and how clear or tangental the links were. People’s creativity never fails to amaze me. I loved coming up with different outfit combinations to the ones I’d usually wear. I loved that throughout the week I began to feel comfier in front of the camera, and not quite as much like a lemon. I loved that my mum joined in one day with an outfit I’d made for her.

One of the reasons I haven’t taken part in a challenge like this before – and why my instagram feed is almost exclusively makes in progress, rather than the end result – has been my confidence around taking photos. It takes me a while to warm up in front of the camera, particularly when someone else is taking the pictures. This challenge has shown me that actually, whilst these photos might not be the most perfectly shot, immaculately framed images out there, they capture what they’re supposed to and they’re good enough – for a daily insta challenge at least. I know now that I can collar my mum as she gets in from work and share what I’ve made with the sewing community. It feels particularly important to keep engaging online now, when our in person interactions are so limited.

The main thing everybody always says about the online sewing community is how friendly and supportive it is, and whilst I already knew that to be true this week really reinforced that for me. I spoke to people I wouldn’t have spoken to otherwise, received reassurance that my complex about stripes (thanks, Gok Wan) is unfounded, and generally got to bask in being part of a really positive week on the internet. I also learned that I have about a million abstract prints but somehow only one floral, even though my lily-print Lois might be my favourite, and that my mum’s and my style are scarily similar. Same jumpsuit, same culottes, and she has now commissioned her own Brigitte tee. Like mother, like daughter eh!

I didn’t expect this week to be so impactful for me or for this blog post to have turned into a rambling journey of self discovery, but sewing does that to you sometimes, doesn’t it? Making my own clothes changes how I think about my body and my style, and allows me to amplify the things I love while avoiding the things I struggle with. This challenge was just one more way to think about how I choose to present myself to the world, and what my style choices say about me, and I’ve really enjoyed having the chance to consider that. So thanks, Sharlene and Roisin for a brilliant introduction to the world of insta style challenges – it certainly won’t be my last.

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