An intro to Vitamin Circus: Everyone in the company plans an activity for the day, away from our desk and from our usual tasks. It can be anything we want and we are encouraged to stretch it as much as we can — as long as it benefits the studio in one way or another. This day means a great opportunity to learn something new and take some time away from the screen.
I think we all tend to get absorbed by our different devices and I, personally, feel like every kind of work I do can’t be achieved without one. So for this Circus, which was my first, it was important for me to choose an activity that was away from my screen, and I really wanted to learn how to make something manually.
It’s been a while that I have wanted to learn how to sew and make my own piece of clothing… although a bit clueless on the subject. The idea came pretty naturally as wearing Vitamin branded items is a must. I also thought this would be a good way to explore a more sustainable option rather than using synthetics material; to give a second life to pre owned pieces of clothing. The idea was simple (in appearance) : learn how to sew and make new branded clothes with old pieces.
My original plan was to teach myself how to use a sewing machine, and begin by making one garment for each person in the London office with different logos and tag lines (to then maybe expand the business).
The only problem? I don’t own any of the above, and it turned out to be a bit beyond my financial investment set for Circus. So naturally I made it simpler, found organic thread online, a bamboo embroidery kit and thanked Youtube influencers for their online teaching videos.
My first artwork was our Push The Possible slogan. Step one to the process was to print it or draw it, then to iron it on the shirt. But again, I don’t own either a printer or an iron so I had to improvise and as you can imagine, transferring the drawing on t-shirt was a bit tricky.
Expectation vs Reality
I thought that because it was my first Circus, I hadn’t planned efficiently enough. But seeing my colleagues presentations, I noticed that unexpected elements are unavoidable, delaying or making them rethink the goal of their plan.
On my personal project, I think I was a bit ambitious about the amount of pieces I wanted to get done. It took me the whole morning before actually starting to sew, and after a few hours I realised that stitching every point one by one was — ironically — not really a sustainable option, and made the process that much slower. At that point, I had to rethink my initial goal, because I wasn’t even sure I would be able to finish my first piece on time. This is where I got after 4 hours sewing:
I know the point of Circus is to set a realistic goal and preferably manage to finish on time on that given day, however it was impossible for me to stop there. I started bringing this piece everywhere I could and would keep working on it when I was able to. It did take me weeks to finally finish it, but at least I was able to witness the end result.
I obviously under estimated the time it would take to sew everything by hand, and did not meet the target I had set for myself and what I was meant to have at the end of the day. However, as I said, I think one of the reoccurring situations (and what makes Circus interesting) is to see how people can overcome the unforeseen elements and what we can take out of it. Nonetheless, I still managed to meet some of my personal objectives, making my debut Circus a success through its different learnings.
I mentioned having difficulties banning time spent on screen. It’s not that I struggle finding different activities that take me away from it, but rather always find myself caught in something. Therefore the difficulty I find is achieving a good balance and setting some rules. This project made that easier because I honestly wanted to get the work done before presenting to be able to see and show the result. What I also enjoyed with this was discovering a practice that allows you to completely disconnect and focus your mind on something drastically different.
It also trained me to enjoy the actual process rather being focus too much on the end goal. I tend to always think of the outcome and get frustrated when I don’t get there the way I want, or feel like I am losing time. Here I was really able to enjoy the process despite the long haul that was awaiting me — or perhaps it was thanks to it the obstacles that I was able to let go of the final idea and still be proud of both the process and outcome.
The only down-side to this is that I almost immediately lost the shirt which I spent so much time working on... I have two theories for this: A) It looked so good that someone stole it. B) The universe is sending me a sign that I have to make more. Both cases lead to the same results; it means it was a good enough start for me to keep going. So I now have to learn more about sewing, and I can’t wait to see how everything turns out !
*Update: I found the shirt!
This article was written by Oriane Schadegg, UX and UI Designer at Little Vitamin; a team of Shopify experts who create sleek, simple, effective websites to help you and your brand get online with a truly personal experience.