Well, I started this year off with grand plans…. And I’m pretty sure my blog followers know that they’ve pretty much fizzled out due to the crazy busy year I’ve had in all other aspects of my life. But, does that mean this challenge was a total bust? I don’t think so. I mean, sure, I’m still working on achieving that mythical “wardrobe of dreams” but I think there were lots of other things that we’ve learned from this year-long journey, so let’s take a look back at it all.
Last year I put forth the massive effort of writing up the Sew Your Kibbe blog series, and I took that inspiration to the next logical conclusion – starting the Sew Your Kibbe Challenge! While I got fairly far with planning – I’d done a decent self-analysis, settled on a color palette, and, after considering many options, settled on my final plans for the year. I started out strong in March, making the New Look cardigan from my list, but completely fell off the sewing wagon at that point. I mean, not completely; I was finishing up the last of my commissions, but I didn’t have any time to sew for myself. I got back to it with a pattern that was new this year – McCall’s 7975 – which would have totally fit in with my Kibbe plans had the pattern existed when I was making them. It was a nice addition, but ultimately the last really “Kibbe” planned garment I sewed this year. I instead have been focusing on finishing up my Forever UFO – a teal Burda trench coat I started in 2016, and have been feeling the desire to complete as this decade rolls to a close. With any luck, I’ve had time to work on it over the holiday week and might have something to post soon…
So, for myself, I’d have to consider this Sew Your Kibbe challenge a fail on the execution front. But I will consider it a success in terms of learning to identify patterns that will work for me, which has helped considerably with my pattern buying habits. I no longer feel the need to buy it just because I like it. I now really have a much stronger sense of “will it work for me?” I also feel like I’ve learned to use the tools at my disposal to make better sewing plans. So, in a sense, this was a year of learning for me. I think that means next year I have to focus on making it a year of doing?
This was also an interesting year to examine the online Kibbe sewing community – Kibbe himself started a blog but didn’t really follow through with it as much as we had all hoped. There was also a bit of a dust up in the community between the Facebook Kibbe adherents who are learning directly from the man himself, and the rest of us internet peons who were reduced to learning from a decades old book and several YouTubers’ interpretations of his writings. I’ve discussed this at length in some of my monthly wrap ups (August and September), and ultimately culminated in my expressing my exasperation in my 95 Style Theses post. In hindsight I’m a bit ashamed of how flustered I got, but it’s a bit difficult when all of the resources you’ve gathered start going to war with one another. This all ultimately resulted in Merriam Style (one of the more prominent YouTubers who has grown a typing business out of her channel) breaking off and starting her own “Body Geometry” system, which she pairs with her “Artistic License” color system. To me she has really modernized the systems Kibbe was writing about in the 1980s, and has tailored this system to the sensibilities of the Millennial and post-Millennial generations. She also focuses much more on the pure physical presence of things and removes a lot of the poeticism from Kibbe’s work. In a very odd way, this really is a microcosm of larger trends of the world becoming more scientific and analytical over time. In a weird way, Merriam Style’s approach to Kibbe and now her own system is much more in line with how I’ve approached the topic, and her adherents seem to be much more welcoming than the community of Kibbe followers on Facebook. It makes it very tempting to simply shift over to the new system and ignore all of the chaos in the Kibbe sphere, and the sense that there is constant judgement over how one comes to understand the system. However, when I look at everything I’ve written, it also feels a bit daunting to completely shift over from the Kibbe system to a new naming convention. So, I’m a bit undecided where to go from here.
I’m also a bit undecided how much Kibbe writing I will be doing from here on out as well. I’ve really enjoyed exploring this style system, and I think doing the monthly wrap ups has been really insightful in seeing how, despite all over trends, there’s always something that would be acceptable for each Kibbe type. Granted, some months it’s easier than others, and I can honestly say that 2019 was a bit of a rough year for Romantic types as far as fashion trends go, but I think there was a lot to be gained from having that sort of monthly insight. I did rather like having the monthly recaps, though choosing the patterns for all 13 types was pretty labor intensive.
I guess what all this leads to is me trying to figure out how much time I have to dedicate to things moving forward. I’ve kept up with the blogging, but to some extent this was time that I didn’t spend sewing. And I’ve enjoyed writing the Kibbe series, but I’m not sure that I want to have another year-long project dedicated to it. I will say that I’ve got at least one more Kibbe related post/series in the works, but I’m not sure when I will have the time to get it posted. So I think Kibbe might be one of those topics I post about when the interest strikes, but I can’t say I plan to dedicate as much time to writing about it in the coming year. I feel like I might pull back from the blog a bit (not completely, but a bit) to see if I can’t find more time to spend on sewing moving forward.
I’m not planning any grand challenges or schemes for the next year, and instead really want to focus on finishing things that I’ve started. I want to sew fabrics I bought for specific projects, make things that have been on my “to sew” list for forever, and just generally give myself time to wander and explore my stash and fabrics and sew where the mood takes me. I’ve been thinking a lot about the projects I’ve really wanted to make but haven’t gotten around to over the past decade, so I may post a Make 9 to Instagram, but I’m not going to officially announce anything here on the blog. And, if I don’t get around to them, that’ll be ok! I’m going to be confident in the fact that I’ve spent the past 10 years learning and honing my eye and my skills, and be confident in the knowledge that this will help me make better choices moving forward!
And, finally, dear blog readers – please leave a comment and let me know what you enjoyed most about this year of Sew Your Kibbe! What do you feel you learned? What do you think you will take forward? If you had one request for a future Kibbe related post, what would it be? Does having a stated challenge work for you or does it just spell doom and disaster in terms of sewing productivity? Please discuss your year of Kibbe in the comments!