we evolve

Linen Nightgown & Handmade Bedding Photo: Robert Lucy, 2015

Linen Nightgown & Handmade Bedding
Photo: Robert Lucy, 2015

Throughout the summer I had the dreary sensation of being dressed at odds with who I am, with an emerging, transforming self. We evolve. It was demoralizing to wear clothing of the past. As a snake grows it sheds its skin--so do we sometimes shed the familiar as we evolve.

In late August I designed a pair of wide leg pants and a sleeveless top. Rather than draft a pattern or use a dress form, I draped the top directly upon the body (a contortionist feat to do on oneself). The way the back and front of the top meet at the shoulders and the manner the pants wrap around the waist subtly break with convention. All summer long I'd thought "If you were to look at me in these clothes you'd not be seeing me." Wearing this ensemble felt authentic and reinvigorating. The reflection in the mirror was gratifyingly authentic.

A few articles of clothing are eternal in their appeal. A green camouflage jacket purchased long, long ago has softened through years of wear. As beloved as a child's teddy bear it’s as right as ever. A nightgown, one of the first garments I sewed, made out of sumptuously smooth, crisp white cotton poplin, was lovely to put on at the end of a day. Eventually it frayed at the seams, perhaps more from laundering than wear. (Drat spindle washing machines.) It was ready to be retired. One morning, looking at the nightgown in its increasingly frayed state realized: I could simply make another.

From the margins of a linen sheet only worn thin in the center, cut the front, back, sleeves and yoke pieces. Echoing the original this one may be even better. Linen almost hovers over the skin like a cocoon. It is perfectly tranquil for bedtime and very tempting to linger in this nightgown when morning comes. Wondered about throwing on a coat without changing into daytime clothing to walk to the newsstand… Let’s be honest. Have done it. Early one recent very chilly morning met a friend for tea before work. I confessed to having put a sweater on over my pajama top to meet her. She laughed. She had zipped a jacket over hers!