Austerity or Abundance?

I was at a social gathering over the weekend wearing my Red Ruffle Dress when a friend made reference to my year of


Now, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but I thought this was an interesting choice of words for I’ve felt anything but austere. Based on some of the definitions and synonyms for austerity and austere, I suppose the word can be applied to my abstention from buying ready-to-wear clothing for a year.


1. Economy measure

2. Severity or plainness

3. Enforced thrift


1. Suggesting physical hardship

2. Unsmiling

3. Plain and without luxury

4. Plain in style or design

Sewing clothes rather than buying clothing  is  an economic measure, and  maybe  to some, sewing suggests physical hardship and  is often without luxury, but to me this has been a year of








It’s interesting to think about how our lives are perceived by others. While I am thoroughly enjoying myself, my friend pictures deprivation.  My friend, a kind and sensitive person, didn’t intend criticism nor did I take it as such –  rather the comment provoked thought on my part.

For the first time EVER, I’ve been completely inspired upon reading the latest issue of Vogue, hardly a measure of austerity. Giving up clothes shopping during the last five and a half months has filled my closet with new colors and new styles through new ideas and new energy.


ps…… Thanks to Dorcas at Art Attack for bringing the word abundance to my attention :)

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25 Responses to Austerity or Abundance?

  1. Art Attack says:

    Wow…great post! I can see how this adventure is changing lives…who knew? I would use another “a” word…Abundance…

  2. I like your word so much that I’ve changed the title of my post!! Thank you, Dorcas – the word is spot on!

  3. Karen says:

    Either the person who made the comment of asterity, is uninformed as to the meaning
    ie.: “Amish austerity”, or there is a tad bit of jealousy there. You red ruffle dress, and the way you look in it is anything but austere. You have added so much fun, color, creativity as well as good
    quality (not available in RTW) that the comment is just plain silly. My friend and I talk and enjoy your posts so very much. You inspire us in a very un-austere way.
    Karen from Los Angeles

    • Thank you so much for the supportive comments, Karen! I doubt the lovely (and smart!) woman who commented on my “year of austerity” was uninformed to the word’s meaning or jealous. She just sees life differently and has some fine qualities that I lack. Oh well, her description of my year presented an opportunity to express myself between sewing projects – now, back to my life of enforced thrift and economic measures filled with color and resourcefulness!!

  4. Carolyn says:

    I agree this is an interesting post. This however will not be the last time that you run into a non-sewist’s perception of your talent. I’m glad that you weren’t offended and are celebrating the new dimension that sewing has brought to your life!

  5. JoanneM says:

    I am replacing with another word: ASTUTE.

    Place all your “savings” from not purchasing RTW clothing into a jar, and at the end of the year , take you and your “austere” (tongue in cheek) ways, and celebrate with a trip to Paris.
    Celebrate your abundance, both in $ saved, and in accrued sewing learning and happiness, in style.


    NOT austere. :)

    • I am definitely saving money from no clothes purchases. Moderately expensive fabric, patterns and notions do not compare with the price of RTW!
      This challenge is truly proving to be worthwhile in many ways – thanks so much for your comment!

  6. reecie says:

    My grandmother was a beautiful seamstress and tried to teach me. I never had the patience so really am in awe of anyone who sews. Definately creative!!

  7. Elaine says:

    It is interesting to see how those who don’t sew perceive those who do sew. LIke you, I see putting pattern, fabric, and inspiration together as an artistic endeavor even if the planned garment is just something simple. I am not nearly as accomplished as you at sewing, but it surprises me how often I will choose the knit top I made over the one I purchased.

    Paris is a great idea and as long as you’ve crossed the pond, why not Milan too?

    • Thanks for your comments, Elaine. I’m really not that accomplished – average as a matter of fact. I have tried on so many clothes over the years along with watching my girls do the same that I think I’m getting better at matching fabric to patterns and picking patterns that are flattering to my body type.
      I agree with you – once I’ve made something I really like I’ll often pick it over my RTW just because………
      Paris, Milan……. I’m ready!!

  8. Valerie says:

    Well I think it is Admirable what you have Achieved in the last five and a half months and the Accounts are tipping in your favour!

  9. Hilary says:

    Hi – I have just found you blog via The Vintage Sheet Blog – your project is so inspiring, and your creativity in re-creating dated clothes has me itching to get some of my old favourites out and see what potential they have!! Thank you for sharing. Hilary :)

    • Many thanks for writing, Hilary! I love re-creating clothes – the challenge is usually finding there is not enough fabric but when it works it is such a worthwhile endeavor. Can’t wait to see what you do!

  10. Pauline Droy says:

    It’s crazy what people think, I am probably in the best position financially that I have ever been in and like you have not succumbed to buying any RTW outfits for quite some time now – I just love looking at the RTW and and then putting my own twist on something, or delighting in the fact that I have produced something at a fraction of the cost.

    I wander into some stores and look at the garments and some of them are really not so well made, and at least I can get mine to fit.

    Continue what you are doing – like the rest of us creative people, they are the strange ones not us :-)

  11. Em says:

    This is a very interesting post….I am in the process of making a career move and it’s from one of relatively high paying -high stress one to a job that pays less and has minimal stress. While my husband and I will in no way be hurting for money, I am referring to this as a time of austerity. I probably won’t be buying a new car this year, and I will think twice about spending on the wants. However…what I’m really looking forward to is having more time to do the things I love…take care of my family, try to grow a good garden, maybe actually read a book, and of course, SEW!!!! All I have to say is…Bring on the austerity!

  12. Heather says:

    Only someone who doesn’t sew would see it as austerity rather than being creative. My close friends recognise my sewing as a passion and a skill and if they make a throw away comment I don’t take offense. Often they ask me if I have made something when I have spent good money in Selfridges. When someone makes comments and they are just an aquaintance I smile benignly and inside think a fairly rude UK expression “cheeky mare”!

    • Many thanks for your comment, Heather.
      I absolutely was not and am not offended by my friends comment!! ……… and I get asked if I’ve made garments that are costly too (I wish..)
      But what I love most about your comment is learning a new expression – CHEEKY MARE !!
      That’s just great!

  13. Margaret W. Edger says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. A. Maggie

  14. Gabrielle says:

    Very interesting! I think too that the more you sew, the more you become excited by the choices open to you – you don’t have to accept a dress that doesn’t quite fit or that you’d prefer in a slightly different fabric.

    I do wonder what the non-sewists think – some seem quite bemused!

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