Every year on my blog I try to look forward to the new year with sewing goals and sewing plans. It isn’t so much about making resolutions; I’m not really trying to create habits, but it is more about having some sort of goal-oriented roadmap for the future.
Let’s see how I did on working through last year’s goals:
(1) Identify wardrobe gaps and fill them. I made my crazy spreadsheet of insanity earlier this year, when I started my wardrobe planning posts. I then proceeded through the wardrobe architect series, and I’m finally dealing with the processing of whittling down my excess clothing. After I finish deciding what stays and what goes, I’ll cross reference my spreadsheet of recommended wardrobe items, and hopefully compile a list of things to buy and a list of things to make.
ONGOING – I’ve done a long series of Wardrobe Planning Posts, with more in the works. I’ve also spent quite a bit of time thinking about the topic of wardrobe planning this year. I’ve not “progressed” in the way I thought I would, at least in terms of actually putting together a planned wardrobe, but I actually feel more confident moving forward, because I’ve taken the time to explore the ideas of how I want my wardrobe to function. I became sort of obsessed with Kibbe styles and seasonal coloring this year. I spent a lot of time reading things on the internet, and even more time compiling more extensive spreadsheets. I’ve read through a lot of resources, and I’ve sort of picked the best aspects of each to incorporate into my plans. I applied the Marie Kondo method to my clothing last year, and I think it could stand to undergo this treatment again. Perhaps this should become an annual ritual? My first attempt at thinking about a “wardrobe” was to compile a list of the most recommended pieces on the internet, but I sort of realized that this would give me stuff, not style. I continued my search in The Curated Closet, which has a great approach to identifying needs, but I still felt I was floundering when it came to choosing colors and styles. There are things I love to look at, but when I put them on, I take them off, and I couldn’t figure out why. Exploring style typing and color analysis has helped me identify why some things just “feel” wrong. All of the style gurus recommend that you find some sort of “archetype” or “identity” to have as an end goal in mind. With that, it should be easier to more easily dismiss styles that just won’t work. What I’ve found is that, after doing all of this work, I’ve been sort of naturally drawn to the “classic” styles and “winter/bright winter” colors that I’m pretty sure I’d be classified into. However, I’ve also noticed that, now that I’ve got a more concrete idea of what this means, I can appreciate other styles without feeling the need to buy/make/incorporate it into my wardrobe. I really experimented with this during the Bee, somewhat intentionally choosing colors and silhouettes that fell into the “bright winter” or “classic” realms and I was incredibly happy with my results. Even more so, I feel as though I better know when I’m “playing it safe” and “taking a risk,” which saves a lot of sadness and frustration if I’m not entirely pleased with the style at the end of a project, as was the case with my ruffled Burda sweater. Plus, as my sewing skills have progressed, I feel better gifting “fails” as they are stylistic and not so much construction issues. Looking forward, I’m hoping that wardrobe planning will feature more into my sewing makes and fabric choices. Ultimately, I’d love to have a cohesive wardrobe full of things I love to wear. I’m not there yet, but I feel as though the research I’ve done this year has put me on the right track, and I’m excited by the prospect of making plans for the future.
(2) Play on Polyvore to help me consider how sewing patterns will fit into an overall wardrobe. As much as I did not want to add another social media platform to my list, I found the exercises creating outfits oddly informative (and entertaining). I’m still not great at looking put together in real life, but I think honing my skill may help me identify the silhouettes I should focus my time on sewing, and also help me consider which patterns would be most versatile in my own wardrobe.
FAIL – I’ve barely used Polyvore this year, if at all. Well, I think I did use it to plan my Wardrobe Sudoku, but nothing beyond that. Now that I’ve got more of a wardrobe direction, though, I think I’ll use it a bit more. I also need to refer back to my previous Polyvore experiments; I loved what I created for the Wardrobe Architect series, so I should really use that as inspiration for plans moving forward.
(3) Attempt to make self-drafted slopers or self-drafted patterns. I’ve bought several books on pattern drafting, and I think it would be interesting to attempt pattern drafting based only on measurements and not just on fudging around on a commercial pattern to get a decent fit.
FAIL – I’ve been getting really good fit from Burda of late, so I haven’t been as motivated to work this out for myself. It is still a skill I want to acquire, but it may not be on the top of my priority list at present.
(4) Sew more Burda. Not that I’m done with commercial patterns by any means! I’ve got such a large stockpile of Burdas growing every year, I really would love to sew more designs from them. I feel like I’ve seen so many great things from them lately, I’d really love to fill my closet with their styles. The backlog of patterns will also be helpful with goal #1 of filling wardrobe gaps without having to buy new patterns.
WIN – I’ve made 15 BurdaStyle Magazine and 2 Burda envelope patterns this year. I’ve even sewn quite a bit from the 2017 issues, especially February and December. Burda is the highest percentage of my makes, and definitely my go-to pattern company when I want to make something for myself. I’m excited to have found more time and motivation to sew myself some Burda, because I love the style and fit so much.
(5) Sew more from the stash. I really enjoyed participating the Pattern Review Sewing Bee this year. Not just because of the fun and awesome challenges, but also because the time frame forced me to sew mainly from my stash. I love my stash, and I really want an excuse to pull more fabrics from it. I think I’ve done well in terms of sewing from stash this year, and I hope it continues into the next.
WIN – I sewed from stash fabrics for the Bee again this year, and I’ve entered the Pattern Review Fabric Stash contest this month, so I’ve been sewing more stash than normal! I’ve also bought much less fabric this year, which has been good because I’m literally running out of space. I love my stash, but it has grown unwieldy. A definite goal for next year will be to tame the stash and possibly re-organize my sewing space. It’s grown mightily the past few years, and it needs to be tamed!
So, as far as reaching my goals went, I’m going to say I got about 50% of the way there, but I’m really happy with the goals I did achieve.
Goals for 2018:
I’m going to count down to my highest priority, because my #1 goal is a bit extensive and probably will overshadow everything else I’m listing here.
Bonus Goal: I’ve learned that setting goals of making specific items doesn’t usually work for me, but there are certainly some “staple” items that I’ve never made and would like to try, just to increase my skill set. The top three of these being a button-down shirt, jeans, or a corset. I’m also dying to make a few t-shirt quilts. Said shirts are taking up a lot of space in my sewing room, and I’ve never made a quilt before. If I make any of these items in 2018, I’ll consider it an accomplishment.
(5) Sew more exercise clothes. I made myself a few skating costumes this year, but as I find myself more in the gym and less in the rink, I need to shift this focus to sewing other types of workout gear. Luckily, there are two new books hitting the scene – Sewing Activewear by Johanna Lundstrom and Sew Your Own Activewear by Melissa Fehr. I probably have more experience working with stretch spandex than most, but I’m hoping to pick up some new finishing techniques from these books, and perhaps learn cool ways to utilize my coverstitch aside from just using it to hem garments. I also need a new fencing jacket for my Lightspeed Saber fencing group. It’s super fun and doesn’t require as much safety gear as traditional fencing, but I prefer a bit extra protection, and my prototype jacket (now almost 2 years old) is literally coming apart at the seams. This is more of a need to sew than a want to sew item at this point.
(4) Cosplay for Wondercon/Costume-Con. I’ll be going to several geeky conventions this year, and I hope to make a few cosplays to wear. I’ve got a few things in mind, and I’ve already ordered the materials, so hopefully I can get around to them in time!
(3) Improve my embroidery skills. I bought my Janome 500e Embroidery Machine last year, and I love it! It took me a while to figure out the tension issues with the bobbin, but now that I’ve done that I’m so happy with what it can do! I used it during the Sewing Bee, but I want to incorporate it more into my projects, and learn to use the various types of interfacing and threads to full benefit. I’ve also recently sprung for digitizing software! My skills are quite lacking, but I’ve made a few original designs that I hope to incorporate into my projects next year as well.
(2) Finish my trench coat UFO. It’s been sitting on my Uniquely You dressform in my sewing room since October of 2016… It just needs to get done. I’m actually really excited to wear it too! I just don’t seem to find the time to focus on it and make it happen.
(1) 2018: The Year of Sew Geeky!
I used to try to create sewing challenges for myself each year, but really, the only partially successful attempt at this was in 2012 when I made a Tim Gunn inspired wardrobe challenge. The following years I came up with other ideas and other challenges, but I never really started them, let alone accomplish any of the plans I’d made. I considered doing the Burda Challenge for next year (sew one garment from each issue), but I think I’ve more than justified my Burda stash this year – I’ve used over 15 Burda patterns, from both the new issues and the past several years, so I don’t really think I need any extra push to help me jump into Burda. It’s sort of my go-to as far as pattern brands go, and I’m already sewing more than 12 Burdas anyway.
What I do need more of a push, though, is actually turning my wardrobe planning into wardrobe action. I have been thinking very much about my wardrobe in an abstract sense this past year, so I thought a good goal would be to try and plan my sewing with my “style archetype” in mind. I’ve read extensively through many different wardrobe planning books, and nearly all of them suggest nailing down your “style identity” before really trying to create a wardrobe. While some are more nebulous than others about how to do this, I’ve been working my way through Style Syntax’sworkbook, which I think is really one of the more helpful resources available. Not only does she guide you through what to do, she offers advice about how to do it, and gives anecdotes about how she did it herself. I think it is great to use in conjunction with some of the other resources, like The Curated Closet and the Wardrobe Architect, because this PDF workbook helps you nail down specifics, while the other series focus on overviews. It’s really a contrast of generalities vs. specifics, but I think having both as resources have been helpful. By working through the workbook, I’ve settled on the archetype of “Sophisticated Nerd.” Which to me means that I’m going to use nerdy things as inspiration, and find a way to convert this into wearable wardrobe pieces with some level of sophistication. It’s less about playing dress-up as a stereotypical image of a geek, nerd, or librarian, and more about taking the essence of things I love and incorporating them into my wardrobe planning.
I also noticed, this year in particular, that my favorite makes all came from the Sewing Bee, where I had a very specific inspiration and goal in mind, and then came up with a look and executed it. I’m hoping that I can use this idea of turning an inspiration into a garment to help me fuel my sewjo in 2018. Using my “Sophisticated Nerd” identity as a jumping off point should help me find inspirations much more easily, and, hopefully, result in more motivated output. I love fantasy, science fiction, and animated films, but as I age, I’m fighting competing desires of being a nerd and being an adult. Not that you can’t do both, and I certainly wear my fair share of geeky t-shirts, but sometimes it’s better to be secretly nerdy rather than running around in a cosplay. It’s about mixing things to find an appropriate level of geek and adult. I suppose this plan is something like bounding, but perhaps even more scaled back than that. Rather than being entirely evocative of a character, I want to stick to my classic lines and bright winter colors, but use books, movies, tv shows, and characters as inspiration and jumping off points for outfits and looks I want to create. With this challenge here are some of my ideas and plans:
- Create 4 seasonal capsule style wardrobes.
- Choose one Geeky Inspiration from movies, TV shows, books, etc. to help me come up with a general “theme” for the collection. Right now I’ve got a lot of possible inspirations to choose from, and I’m trying to narrow it down, and slot everything into areas where I’ll find a good match of seasonal pieces, fabrics, and colors.
- Use the ideas from the Craftsy course Sew to Flatter: Plan Your Best Wardrobe to choose what types of garments to make and what fabrics will coordinate well to sew.
- Choose styles and silhouettes that fit into the “classic” mode, but up the game with details inspired by my geeky fandoms.
- Use the Curated Closet formula to come up with a color palette. I’ll use my Winter/Bright Winter Colors, but choose color schemes that fit with my chosen inspiration.
- Within each seasonal sewing capsule I want to plan to make:
- 1-2 Coats/Jackets/Cardigans/Sweater
- 1-2 Dresses
- 3-4 Tops
- 3-4 Bottoms
- Sew one season ahead, one month in advance. Where I live winter is pretty mild, and I want to take the first part of the year to plan out my capsules and finish up some of my old/current projects, so I’m not bothered that my final “season” gets cut a bit short. If this is working for me as a strategy, I’ll likely continue with it into 2019, and if it isn’t, then it won’t matter that the last segment of this plan is a bit short. That means I’ll be following the following schedule:
- Planning Stages: January 1 – February 20
- Spring Sewing: February 21 – May 22.
- Summer Sewing: May 23 – August 23
- Fall Sewing: August 24 – November 22
- Winter Sewing: November 23 – December 31
- Hopefully I’ll use Pinterest to create a mood board, and Polyvore to play around with outfit ideas, as I’d like to utilize these resources more effectively.
- Incorporate pieces I already have in my wardrobe plans where I can. Although I plan to sew as many of the 8-12 pieces as possible, and the ultimate goal is to have more of a me-made wardrobe that I love to wear, it doesn’t make sense if I can’t also use other things I already own with the new pieces. Items I already have might be considered “bonus items,” but would be included in the capsule planning.
Yes, this plan is quite over ambitious, and I don’t expect to fully complete every single capsule, especially in summer when my sewing tends to slow down. However, participating in the Sudoku Wardrobe Contest, the Stash Contest, and Sewing Bee has shown me that I can have a decent amount of output when I’m properly motivated. I hope that this will give me a roadmap and inspiration, and, at the very least, planning out the capsules should be really fun!
So those are my plans for 2018. A bit crazy, perhaps, but if you look at the goals from this past year, the goals for next year feel like a fairly logical continuation, with a greater shift to focus on cohesive wardrobe planning and fewer random projects. The next few months should be fun with the planning out of the capsules, though it’s going to be a little tricky to pin down exactly what I want to do, since there are so many wonderful nerdy things I love. I think Doctor Who will definitely be a contender, as will be The Magicians, Disney animated films, and many of the fantasy series I read. It will also be tricky, perhaps, to not want to put everything in the “fall sewing” category – I can’t help it, I love fall fashions! So I’ve definitely got some planning to do. This plan makes me excited though, and I think that is important heading into 2018. With the priority shifts and other changes happening in my life right now, it seems like a great time to take on a fun project like the Sew Geeky Challenge. It’ll give me inspiration and motivation, and these are two things I’ll be very happy to have moving into the new year.
And with that I think it’s time to bid farewell to 2017, and move forward. Happy New Year!