I haven’t really written a “reflections” blog on the sewing year before, but I’m finding reading others’ blogs useful for thinking about the future. Thus, here I am trying to sum up the year and move forward. Frankly, 2018 wasn’t a great year for me personally, so perhaps I dove into sewing a bit more to compensate. Here I will talk about what worked, what didn’t, reflect on the ready-to-wear-fast, and discuss sewing goals and plans for 2019.
What didn’t work: Tops and dresses. The torso is the hardest part of the body to fit, especially without a partner/fitting buddy. It didn’t help that I haven’t been honest about my pre-menopausal body. I finish an item and expect to see the svelte 30 year-old, not the body whose midsection is stubbornly clinging to weight. But I really did have misses with tops and dresses.
Or at least I thought tops were a total failure – I made/attempted 11 tops! I had four complete failures (the Ralph Lauren top, the two attempts at chiffon tops, and converting a woven top, B6134 to ponte). Four of the tops were okay – but I don’t wear them often, and don’t know how long I’ll keep them. The color-blocked ponte top (M7600) is comfortable, but not so flattering, as is the red Mandy boat tee. I kinda like the woven version of B6134, but the fit is off and it’s not comfortable to wear. I might make another version. I also kinda like the statement sleeve top, but not sure it’s me.
I wore the Pucci pant with the terrible fit exactly one time, and like other items I made with bad fit, they went to Goodwill.
What I loved: quite a bit, actually!
I fell in love with Paco Peralto! His skirt, his wide-legged trouser, and the big shirt! I made the 8 gore skirt twice and wear them all the time. I made four pairs of the wide-legged trouser – in black linen, purple linen, pink linen (not blogged) and black suiting. I wore the black and purple linen so often I wore them out. The big surprise was falling in love with the big white shirt. It took me a while to pair the shirt properly, but it looks awesome with the black wool suiting wide-legged trousers.
The Pucci shirt was a surprise! I hated it at first: it was too blocky and unflattering on me. I add some darts to add shape, and found myself reaching for it on a regular basis. It transferred into cooler weather well, when paired with a black blazer (which toned downed the loudness a bit as well.)
I pretty much liked everything else I made during the year, but the above were my favorites.
Reflections on the Ready-to-Wear Fast: I participated in the RTW fast over at Goodbye Valentino this year. Basically, no RTW purchases (except lingerie) for all of 2018. I found it relatively easy to stick to the fast – I had no real desire to purchase anything. It could be that we had no major events or travel requiring new clothes, or simply that I have slowly, over the years, filled in some of the major gaps in my wardrobe.
The one thing I did learn was to think more deliberately about what to sew. Like a magpie, I’m drawn the the showy, pretty outfits that get worn once or twice. Now, I think more carefully about how pieces I make will fit with existing items. Two months ago, I spent some time purging clothing (both RTW and hand-made) that I don’t wear, or doesn’t fit, or I don’t really love anymore. Some things I still loved, but simply didn’t have a place to wear or would never fit into again. I was surprised at how liberating it was to let go of these pieces. It’s helped me set up my wardrobe planning for the coming year.
I also enjoyed meeting more men and women in the sewing community. Before I moved to Florida a few years ago, I had a neighbor who would ooh and ahh with me over patterns and fabric. She had an eye for fit and proportion as well. I started this blog when I realized I was going to move and lose her daily advice. But it can’t replace her. The Facebook group has been helpful – even on those days I simply read about other trials and triumphs.
Will I continue to fast? Not deliberately. I’ve always preferred what I make to what I buy, even if my skills weren’t up to par. But some things I don’t care to make – technical gear, such as running clothes, and cashmere sweaters (which I can only wear for a very short season here). If I see something that I love, and it fits/flatters, I will buy, but I will continue to build my own style.
So what about 2019? Cleaning out my parent’s house has been a eye-opening. I didn’t realize how much STUFF they had. I’m sorting through photos, old letters, and other items that we’ll keep. But we’re also sorting through a whole lot of things that ultimately just take up space. Every time I come back from their house, I clean out a closet and make donations.
My stash is huge – fabric, patterns, zippers, thread, buttons. How did this happen? I track my purchases and makes in a spreadsheet, so I know what I have. But I have too much. I patterns are one thing – I collect the vintage patterns. But I need to sew more and buy less!
My goal last year was to reduce my fabric stash – and I managed to sew or give away more yardage than buy for the first time since I started tracking. But it wasn’t a big dent, and wouldn’t have happened without donating 20 yards to my son’s school.
Goal number one: sew more than I buy!
Goal number two: don’t be distracted by what others make and blog!
Goal number three: shop the stash before hitting the online vendors!
Other than that, I would like to keep sewing to add to gaps in my wardrobe. I would like to conquer fit on my torso – shirts and dresses. And, I’d like to reduce my UFO pile.
Last night I wrote down (in about 10 seconds) the items I would like to make in the first quarter of the year. Well, I am ambitious – I’d be lucky to make them all in one year. But here are two pictures of what I’d like to make in the coming weeks: