My Sensual Patchwork Love Affair

by:   |   Feb 25 2014

Patchwork Girl flat

When media bigwigs finally decide to make the made-for-TV version of my life (something that’s bound to happen eventually), it’ll have to be called “Patchwork Vibes.” And I don’t want to ask for too much, but I’d love for the theme song to be a janky rip-off of Wu Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M,” containing the lyric, “Patchwork rules everything around me.”

My relationship with patchwork started early, and turned into a complicated, life-long love affair. As a baby, I rocked a lot of “Holly Hobby“-style outfits, a few of which even included the bonnet. My mother was a hardy crafter, and there was a lot of quilting happening at home: She made everything from baby blankets to Christmas ornaments to homemade jumpers. In my teens, when I started thrifting and collecting vintage clothing, I came to realize that I was a TRUE patchwork fetishist. Anything that was homemade and featured some quilting immediately got my attention. Taking these pieces home from the Salvation Army felt a bit like rescuing stray cats, since no one else wanted these ridiculous frocks.

In the 90s, my friends and I were wearing outfits that basically looked like you’d pulled them out of a dumpster. We were into ripped T-shirts, stained grandpa sweaters, and Docs, so my desire for a  maxi patchwork dresses seemed pretty out of place. But I didn’t question it—I knew my connection to this fabric was beyond my control, and I kept on collecting, knowing deep down that some day it would (hopefully) all make sense.


So what is it about patchwork that’s so dang appealing? Maybe it’s the utter homey-ness of it. My inner feminist is screaming at me, saying that it’s evidence of the rich cultural tradition of sewing that women have carried on for generations. And while that’s partially true (someone did have to spend time sewing all those fabric pieces together by hand), I think I mostly love the fact that it’s time-consuming and rather obsessive work. Well, that, coupled with the fact that patchwork usually breeds colorfully insane fabric combinations. Those little bits of fabric come together to tell a story.

Years later, I’ve really come to embrace this love—I now have a substantial collection of weirdo patchwork gear that continues to grow. (I’m also in the process of photographing this collection, and I will share photos with you soon, don’t you worry.) After all these years, I’m finally comfortable with my role as the mother of “The House of Patchwork.” And if I ever do decide to become a professional vogue-r, I’ve got some spectacular outfits at the ready. Who’s with me?


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Creative Director of G.A.L.

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