August has flown by and it has been a really interesting month for me. I wrote earlier in the year that this fall would be a time of transitions, and this seems very much to be the case. I’m still recovering a bit from the intensities of traveling this summer (I was gone for 5 weeks judging skating competitions), and my entire work/life schedule balance is also in flux because I started a new job this month. The job has been alright so far, but the commute is kind of kicking my ass. I’m not exactly sure how to fit in all of the things around this job; I think I’ll be in transition phase for a while. I keep intending to do a lot of things after work, but I’m always really tired. It might be better if I try to flip my life in the other direction, by going to bed early and doing sewing for an hour before work each day? I don’t know. Right now I’m just tired all the time and I feel like trying to force myself to have energy for my hobbies isn’t really going to help. Of course, maybe starting a project and being somewhere in the middle of it would entice me to get myself in gear. I really feel like it’s been a month of me recovering from my travels and settling into my new routine, so I don’t have anything exciting to post (yet again) in the sewing realm. (I’m really failing at my own challenge over here!) But I will say that I’ve at least been trying to get back in the sewing room. I just need to figure out what sort of routine will let me get back into the rhythm of creating again.
In the meantime, here’s what’s been going on around the sewing blogosphere…
- Merriam Style’s YouTube channel continues to provide interesting Kibbe related content including:
- Watch Me Glow Up has a new video on the Energetic and Sparkling ethereals.
- David Kibbe has taken to writing weekly blogs! This is a fantastic resource, especially for those who cannot afford access to the book, and even in the first post David alludes to the fact that much of his original text is outdated.
- Style Syntax has been posting quite a bit lately, and has some very interesting thoughts about the Kibbe craze that is sweeping the internet.
- The #sewyourkibbe has even more posts on Instagram!
I’m still terribly behind in my blog reading, so if I’ve missed your posts or you would like to be included in my future Kibbe round up posts, please feel free to leave a link in the comments!
With David himself updating his website and writing blog posts that speak to the modern reader, it is a bit easier to see how this system has evolved for him over the past 30 years. What’s more interesting is that, for me, it really cements that this is something of a living system and is really more about self-discovery than prescriptive style advice. Style Syntax’s blog post about “How to Tell If Someone is Wrong About Kibbe” also strongly emphasizes that anyone who hasn’t kept up to date with Kibbe’s changes and is still relying heavily on the old text is essentially wrong and not to be trusted. While I find the tone a little strong, I can also see the point, especially if you have been one of the “in-crowd” in the Facebook groups. I must admit, I am guilty of several of the “Kibbe Crimes,” most especially the continuation of the use of Natural, Classic, and Gamine. I have been grappling with how I feel about this, especially since I’ve been knowingly “spreading out-of-date information.” On the one hand, I don’t really want to stop offering content that could help my blog readers, but, on the other, I don’t want to blatantly disrespect the man who created this system either. In a weird way, because I’m not in the Kibbe groups and haven’t heard it directly from him, taking the book as the main source might be considered more “pure,” though in the modern day and age of the internet I think that can also be criticized for being rather short sighted. In some sense, I guess me discussing Kibbe with any sort of clothing suggestion goes against the spirt of honing your own sense of style; yet on the other hand I’m not sure how any of us can ever get dressed if we keep it all as this purely theoretical exercise.
In regards to Pinterest, yes, me using the title “Kibbe Soft Natural” as a way to save inspiration pictures for myself is probably not as apt a title as “Things I Think Might Look Good On Me If I Style Myself With Kibbe Soft Natural Recommendations,” but there is something to be said for brevity. I suppose it could be misleading to some of my Pinterest followers, but I don’t think a lot of my followers are there for my Kibbe boards, especially since I’ve only made them for styles I thought might apply to me or my sister. Let’s be honest, I’m sure you’re all really there for my 1500+ sewing room inspiration pins, am I right?
Joking aside, I’ve been trying to decide how I feel about the status of the Kibbe community at the moment, and how I fit into it. I’m very exciting to have the written works of Kibbe himself more available to the public. If we are being honest, one of the reasons things are as they stand now is likely because there hasn’t been an update to the book in over three decades, and with the renewed interest in Kibbe’s work, the prices of the remaining copies can be quite high. People who have the book are using it as the primary source, which, in some sense it is because it was written by David, albeit several years ago. Without it, people are reliant on the summaries of others, but with it the prevailing understanding is that you are still wrong because times have changed. It’s hard to know how my Sew Your Kibbe series really fits into this; obviously I was able to find more modern examples that seemed to fit Kibbe’s description of lines, yet those who are more in the know seem to indicate that anything that hasn’t come directly from Kibbe himself is wrong. It’s a bit hard to know how to unpack this in a way that allows for a discussion of self discovery and offers some practical examples without being disrespectful and taking advantage of an idea that wasn’t inherently yours to begin with.
There also seems to be quite a bit of vitriol between the bloggers who have dissected the works of Kibbe and the YouTubers who look at the system with a bit of their own interpretation. While I’m still not sure how I feel about those who go into the “typing business” and make a living off of the Kibbe’s system, I can’t honestly say I haven’t learned a lot from the YouTube videos that exist. Certainly, my own knowledge of Kibbe would be much more limited without these resources, and even if I don’t always agree with them, I do enjoy listening to different perspectives. Of course I would take David’s perspective over someone who blatantly disagrees with him, but I find that the animosity towards the fringes of the Kibbe crowd a bit disheartening. It sort of robs the joy of it all a bit. Intellectually, I can understand why these factions exist, and why they are at odds, but it does call into question all of my own efforts that were really brought forth from an underutilized intellectual curiosity and an over-utilized love of sewing patterns.
So, where does that leave me now? Honestly, I’m not sure. I still want to sew/dress/understand my Kibbe ID better. I still think the system is fascinating. I still want to continue and complete my year of Sew Your Kibbe. But I think moving forward I might change a few things. Out of respect and growing knowledge I will stop including Natural/Classic/Gamine in my monthly round ups (EDIT: See the note below), and I will probably stop offering advice about Kibbe typing in my comments. Not that I ever did that for compensation, and I don’t think I ever promoted myself as more than a fan who has spent way too much time looking into this. But again, out of respect, I think I best leave the journey of self discovery to the reader at this point. But since this is a sewing blog (or at least pretends to be one…), I still want to do my monthly pattern picks for the Kibbe types. Is this “wrong?” Perhaps. But it’s still fun, and I hope it is still helpful for blog readers.
*EDIT: So based off of the comments of my fabulous blog readers, I have decided to include the Natural, Classic, and Gamine types in my Kibbe posts but I will also make sure to note that David Kibbe no longer uses these IDs himself. This way it can be relevant to people who find more utility from these IDs, but also acknowledge the updates Kibbe himself has made.
And, with that long winded ramble, here are my picks for August:
BurdaStyle Magazine 09/2019 #128, McCall’s M7997, and McCall’s M8014. All of these styles have the sort of strong, sharp lines that would emphasize yang features. I especially love the length of the red coat to elongate the line, and the sharp edges of the Palmer/Pletsch top’s hem. The coat dress could be a nice addition to a Dramatic wardrobe if you are into the 2019 trend of trench dresses.
Simplicity S8990, BurdaStyle Magazine 09/2019 #122, and Simplicity S8985. All of these have somewhat exaggerated shapes and lines that work well for Soft Dramatics. I really like how all of these styles are somewhat elongated, but there is enough softness in them to really suit the yin/yang balance of the Soft Dramatic.
New Look N6637, McCall’s M8007, and BurdaStyle Magazine 09/2019 #107A. All of these have a loose, unconstructed silhouette, but I really like these picks because, aside from the jeans, they could work really well for a more formal Flamboyant Natural wardrobe. And I think the top would actually pair quite nicely with the McCall’s jeans for a more casual but still classy look.
Natural (NOTE: This ID is no longer used by David Kibbe)
New Look N6633, Simplicity S8993, and BurdaStyle Magazine 09/2019 #105A. I think all of these would be great options for Naturals! The New Look dress might lean a bit Soft Natural with the waist tie, but the overall vibe is still very unconstructed. The Simplicity pattern is included because I think all of the individual pieces in it would be great for Naturals (even though I might not wear them all together as shown on the model). The Burda dress is a great way for Naturals to do dressed up; I think this simple dress would look great on someone with a really strong bone structure.
Simplicity S8989, BurdaStyle Magazine 09/2019 #115A, and McCall’s M8009. All of these styles hint at the waist emphasis that Soft Natural needs, but also have the unconstructed silhouette that is needed by all Soft Natural types.
New Look N6636, McCall’s M8004, and McCall’s M8006. All of these styles have really sleek, structures shapes that are just a touch towards the yang side of the spectrum. I especially like the New Look coat for Dramatic Classics; the shape is very tailored and streamlined without being too severe.
Classic (NOTE: This ID is no longer used by David Kibbe)
New Look N6632, Simplicity S8980, and McCall’s M8011. I think all of these have the clean lines that would work well for a Classic. The New Look dress and McCall’s jacket would be great for a more casual look, which I think is often difficult to find in classic lines. The vintage look, of course, would be fabulous for a fancier event.
New Look N6642, Simplicity S8992, and McCall’s M7991. All of these have a nice blend of yin and yang lines. The Cardigan would perhaps be best in one of the shorter presentations, as opposed to the full length dress style, but the overall shape has a lot of nice features that are a good blend for Soft Classic.
BurdaEasy 03/2019 #6B, BurdaStyle Magazine 09/2019 #114A, and BurdaStyle Magazine 09/2019 #102B. There were actually a ton of styles this month that would work well for a Flamboyant Gamine. I chose these three because I felt that they really highlighted how you can really stay within your Kibbe recommendation but still have a very unique style; the look in the center is very elegant, whereas the ones on the left and right are much more fun and punk-y. All of these items really created the broken lines that Kibbe recommends for Gamine types, and I think any of these patterns would be great for a Gamine wardrobe.
Gamine (NOTE: This ID is no longer used by David Kibbe)
New Look N6644, McCall’s M7993, and McCall’s M7996. I think all of these have the close, cropped shapes that work well for Gamine, as well as the mix of yin and yang elements that they really need. The New Look pattern has more casual options, whereas the McCall’s dresses could be a bit fancier (or not) depending on styling.
Simplicity S9006, BurdaStyle Magazine 09/2019 #108A, and McCall’s M7992. Ok, so I know the Simplicity pattern is a costume, but the shape of that dress is perfect for a Soft Gamine! For a bit less stereotypical looks (though still good), the other two patterns are also fitted at the collars and/or cuffs, with Gamine details.
BurdaStyle Magazine 09/2019 #112, McCalls M8003, and BurdaStyle Magazine 09/2019 #127. This month the Romantic and Theatrical Romantic looks bleed together a bit for me. The geometric opening on the McCall’s top, the added structure of the Burda tailored jacket, and the length of the skirt all add that touch of yang that work well for Theatrical Romantics, which primarily having the waist emphasis and soft yin details that are necessary for this type.
BurdaStyle Magazine 09/2019 #125B, BurdaStyle Magazine 09/2019 #126A, and McCall’s M7998. I really love the Burda Plus dress for Romantics, though I think all of these styles could be quite nice. The top perhaps could be a bit too unconstructed, but I think the soft draping and clear waist emphasis could work, especially with an appropriate bottom.
And that’s it! Sorry for the long ramble this month; it’s been a time of a lot of transition and a lot of critical discussions, which has made for a lot of introspection, both on a personal level, and as it related to this blog. If you are a long time reader/fan of this series perhaps you would like to weigh in in the comments – I’d love to hear your thoughts about what’s been going on in the Kibbe-sphere and where you think the “lines” are when it comes to the works of an author growing beyond their control. Clearly I’m a bit personally conflicted, and I’m curious to hear the perspective of people who perhaps haven’t gone quite as far down the rabbit hole as I have.
And, as always, if you’ve found any other great Kibbe related content to share or have any updates on your own Sew Your Kibbe challenges please feel free to drop a line in the comments!