Another year of sewing come and gone. I bought my sewing machine about two years ago, with the only goal of making skating costumes. You can read about the journey here, but suffice it to say that this year more than last year has truly been the “start” of my sewing obsession. Where I once only wanted to make costumes and frivolous things, I now want a wardrobe of “me-made” items (and, no, I won’t be participating in Me-Made-June because I would litterally have to toggle between three shirts for a month. Eww. Maybe next year?). I plan on doing pattern/fabric stash stats at the end of the calendar year (I have been stashing a lot for fall/winter clothes), but I will give a rundown of second year accomplishments and third year goals. In January when I do my stash stats, I plan to do a 6 month check-up on the goals and review my favorite pieces of the year (since most of my favorite pieces haven’t been reviewed yet – I know, I am a slacker).
Second Year Accomplishments:
(1) I made real clothes that I can wear in public!
(2) I made pants!
(3) I made two lined coats!
(4) I found out what Burda is. I found a way to order individual Burdas. I traced a pattern and made it. I fell in love with the drafting on Burda patterns.
(5) I realized that there are sewing books and they are useful! And, there are a lot in used bookstores to be had for cheaps. Some methods work better than my self-devised processes, some not so much. Reading books has helped a lot with my sewing progress, though it has slowed it some because I was doing a lot more reading than sewing for a few months.
(6) I found the sewing blog-o-sphere and PatternReview! So many great places for inspiration, fun stories, stash confessions, tips, tricks, and tutorials. More than the books, it has opened my eyes to how technique and quality can and should be achieved.
(7) I am learning about fabric! This is a work in progress, but I can now run my hand over a bunch of haphazard bolts and stop at the ($5/yard) silk. I am slowly learning about quality of fabric and why it matters to the outcome of a project. With skating costumes it was all about the look, the sparkle, and the stretch. Dealing with real-world cloth is very different. I am still drawn to the bright (and shiny) but I am also learning to appreciate the other fabrics in the store, and their uses.
(8) I am learning to like online fabric shopping! Obviously, in-person shopping is much better. Touch, see, drape the fabric. It is more fun. It is much easier to see if you want to buy it. However, most of the sewing stores near me do not carry a wide range of good (read: non-polyester) fabrics, and the one that does charges very very high prices. I live in a quilter’s paradise, but the home fashion sewer – not so much. I was very against online fabric shopping, but so far my online purchases have been fabulous. I either get swatch samples or the stores have great return policies, and usually I am very happy with my order. I will only order interfacing/underlining(silk organza) online because the quality is better and the prices are lower. Finding hair canvas in person? Pft. Yeah right.
(9) The previous two lead into this one: I am growing a stash! Of the fabric variety, that is. My previous stash was 99% lycra spandex. It now has more varied options. The stash has come in handy more than a few times this past year, and I really love having one.
(10) I am learning about fitting and pattern adjustments! And, of course, growing a pattern stash as well. This too is fun. I go shopping in my virtual theoretical closet of patterns and then the fabric stash and then (usually) have something fun and fabulous to wear (that actually fits!). I loves it!
Second Year Failures:
(1) I had my first UFO (unfinished object). It was a costume, which I was working on for an event I didn’t end up going to. It was a not happy time, and I just lost the desire to finish the costume. It is in a bag, and waits to be completed. I am not sure I love all of the fabric I have waiting for it, so we shall see what happens. The UFO was the transition from costume sewing to clothing sewing, so maybe it was really a good thing? In any case, I want to make it, but I just don’t know if I want to make it right now.
(2) I had my first real wadder experience. Simplicity 4014 was not happy in so many ways. I had been planning this dress for about 4 months, so the failure was sort of tragic. However, the resulting second dress is fabulous (one of my favorite sewn objects so far), so oh well. The fab dress will be revealed and reviewed after the wedding. And I got to use/learn about the invisible zipper foot. So that is good.
(3) I had a skating costume total fail. When I make practice costumes, I don’t expect perfection, because I am usually trying something new. However, my competition dresses have usually turned out really well. But I overestimated the stretch of a black lace fabric, and, well, it just wasn’t useable. I think if I remove the sleeves, it can be a practice dress, but it was just not suitable for competition. I also usually start with a vision and the dress gets made and life is good. My other competition dress did not want to be made into my vision. I loved the fabric (love the color), and the style was great, but it just wasn’t working with my decorations. I ended up buying completely different rhinestones, and doing the design after I had made the dress (I like to have the whole thing planned out first – so the beading makes sense with the style of the dress). But again, all’s well that ends well? I love both of the dresses I have ended up with, even thought they aren’t exactly what I wanted in the first place. These will be posted after the summer skating meets.
Goals for Year Three:
(1) I want to make more pants! Especially from Burda, now that I have the sizing figured out, and muslin fabric. This includes making jeans!
(2) I want to make a fully tailored wool winter coat for my sister. Recent toy purchases (my ham and
sausage, er, seam roll), non-polyester fabric, and a summer of sewing should make it possible.
(3) I want to order more fabric online, so I can work with better quality materials. After using “the good interfacing” I understand why some people seem like such fabric snobs. I don’t think I am there yet (don’t know if I will ever be), but I do want to use special/good materials for special projects. Sometimes good enough is good enough, and sometimes it isn’t.
(4) I want to make more shirts and clothes I can wear during normal days.
(5) I want to make something with boning (a corset or a dress).
(6) I want to make more jackets and coats! I have been wearing sweatshirts since forever, and I want to progress to a more “adult” (aka non-undergrad) look.
(7) I want to make some sort of costume now that I know more about pattern fitting and techniques. I want to make something that is solidly constructed, and doesn’t start ripping at the seams after two wears because of poor construction and fabric choice.
(8) I want to make a raincoat. I don’t know if it will happen this year. But a raincoat would be more useful than many other coat variants, even if the other ones are more fun.
(9) I want to make pajama pants! I know, I know. Easy, right? This is like everyone’s first sewing project. I usually just want to make more fun things. But right now all of my current sleepwear permanently bags at the knees, falls down the waist, and is starting to look threadbare (the little elastic fuzz is sticking out of the fabric). They are all about six years old. They need to be done. Hopefully soon.
(10) Read, learn, sew more!