When I was in home economics in high school we had to make a jumper. I loved it and fell in love with sewing and making clothes. All I could think about was becoming a fashion designer. All through high school I made most of my own clothes. I would spend hours at the fabric store sifting through patterns the way Sheldon and his friends sift through comic books at the comic book store. Then off to the isles of fabrics and ribbons! At that time cottons and calicos were popular. Polyester was coming into fashion. I could whip out a dress in a day from beginning to end. If there was a new event I was going to, I had to make a new out fit.
Most of my creating was from patterns. I had no formal training. All patterns were not exactly my size so I had to make adjustments. I didn't know exactly how to do it but just did it. Somehow they came out. I always added my own spin to the design. Being a designer was all I wanted to do. I was going to open my own dress shop someday.
After high school I went to a business college that said they had a fashion program. I was very naïve back then. I wanted to attend fashion school to design. The school led me to believe there were secret creations in this one building. When I got there it was just a classroom :-( The school wanted to teach me fashion merchandising. But that's not what I wanted to be...I don't understand what that is!!!! I had no clue about this industry and instead of asking more questions, I left college. I was always going to go back to Fashion school but never did.
When I entered into the adult work world I began to feel "homemade" wasn't good enough and when I got a good job I started buying my clothes. I wasn't always happy with the way they fit and many items were worn once or twice and tossed by the way side. By this time I had been away from sewing so long that I did not go back to making clothes for myself.
I got married and went back to college for Occupational Therapy. The sewing machine basically sat idle except for sewing children's clothes or mending. I eventually made dolls. I created clothes for them and thought...oh, maybe I can be a doll designer. I sold a few but it didn't last. Still I did not make clothes for myself.
The dream was still inside and someday I was going to have that shop and sell my designs. I began to knit and crochet and eventually found my way to wool applique. I "designed a few applique patterns and had them published...maybe I will be a wool applique designer. I also designed a shawl and won second place in a design competition....oh! maybe I will be a knitwear designer. I read books on designing and writing knitting patterns. I took online courses for fashion design and pattern making. But I kept wondering "what is a designer anyway". What is the true definition of a designer?
Merriam Webster defines a designer as: a person who plans how something new will look and be made : a person who creates and often produces a new product, style, etc.
UREKA!!!! Well don't I do this. Don't I take something and plan how to make it look new and different? I always push myself to do something different...asking what if I do it this way....maybe combine this and that. Maybe I have been looking at it all wrong! Maybe there are different types of designers. I know the people on Project Runway and other fashion shows call themselves designers. I can see and read about designers lines in magazines. But maybe a designer does not always have to be world famous to be considered a designer. The definition says it's just a person who plans how something new will look and be made.
I'm at a place in my life where I am finally relieved. I have come to the conclusion that I am and always have been a designer since I made that first jumper. Every time I put my own twist into what I am doing and making it my own, I am designing. Some creations are one of a kind and some become patterns that I can sell to others. Either way they were born from me.