Me-made top at Darmstadt

Sewing (& knitting) rundown 2018

I can’t quite believe I’ve been sewing for nearly three years now! I feel I’ve reached a pretty good place with it this year. It’s still a bit stressful (still hate anything to do with patterns and cutting out) but I feel it’s become more part of how I live. I’m feeling the clothes I’m making are generally turning out well – and consistently more flattering than stuff I could buy – and this year I don’t think I’ve actually bought any clothes for me at all that weren’t demanded by too-short timelines for gigs (which yielded me a pair of black skinny jeans that made me try a new silhouette that actually I rather like!) – exception for underwear, socks and shoes. This feels like a really great achievement.

MADE

  • 2 Union Street Tees with elbow-length sleeves
  • 1 Inari Tee Dress
  • 1 pair Peppermint Wide Leg Pants, plus a muslin shorts version
  • 1 Lou Box Top (scoop neck, knit)
  • 1 pair Hudson Pants
  • 1 Venus Kimono
  • 2 Adventure Tanks

so that’s 10 things – 5 tops, 3 bottoms, 1 dress and 1 throwover thingy. NOT BAD. Plus with the exception of the shorts version of the Peppermint pants (which are significantly too big and have really dodgy pattern placement so I’m still thinking of dying them black in order to able to wear them even in the garden) all of these are at least well on their way to hitting that magical “30 wears” number. The kimono and dress and one of the tees have also been worn onstage, and for both trips to Australia most of the clothes I’ve packed have been me-made. Also several me-mades came along to Darmstadt (which really highlighted how desperately I needed more summer clothes!).

LEARNED

Not so much this year as the past two years, but then I’ve largely kept to tried and true patterns or simple shapes. But it’s not been a year without learning and I now know how to:

  • add clear elastic to a shoulder seam to stabilise it
  • shorten the rise on a pair of pants
  • shorten a zipper
  • make a fly front!
  • do french seams
  • do a rolled hem

I’m also starting to experiment a bit with styles I like the look of but never really thought would be possible for me – the sack-dress style of the Inari Tee Dress, the cropped wide legs of the Peppermint pants, the free-floating Venus Kimono. It’s been really amazing to try these things out and find new silhouettes that I actually can wear, and it makes me think more about what I’m wearing with these things too, so I’m finding new combinations with shoes and tops too. It’s giving me more confidence to just try making things I like and not worrying so much about whether it will ‘suit’ me because I’m discovering that alterations often fix the problems I’ve traditionally had with things like sack dresses (obscures my shape entirely) and cropped trousers (usually come to the ankles so everything’s out of proportion). Possibly it’s time for another round of Wardrobe Architect?

COMING UP

My main sewing goals for 2019 are to (a) work on trouser fitting and get some nice trousers into my wardrobe for each season so I actually have more than one choice for various combinations of weather and event and (b) master bra-making so I never have to traumatise myself trying to buy those ghastly instruments of torture ever again. Small goals 😀 I’ve nabbed the Sew Over It Ultimate Guide to Sewing and Fitting Trousers online course (+ the accompanying Carrie & Ultimate Trousers patterns) for half price in their post-Christmas sale, and I’ve bought the Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra pattern too, and am planning to buy at least one kit for that before I leave Australia to get me going. I’m also thinking about trying to sort out the last fitting issues on the Peppermint pants by making up a wool or wool-blend version for the end of winter/beginning of spring. I’ve loved my duck-egg-blue ones so much I’m absolutely wearing them to death.

I also have grand plans to make another Inari Tee Dress, and to try that in a woven, to make more Adventure Tanks because those two tops have been a huge success and they’re just super-easy (and, I suspect, layerable for winter wear!) and I’m hatching a plan to finally make up a Rigel Bomber jacket. I think it’s time. But the trousers and underwear are my main focus for the year.

KNITTING

has been low on the priority list this year, with so much travel. I’ve very nearly finished the cowl that was half-finished this year, and since my hair was cut I’ve worked out how to wear the slouchy beret it goes with, which is nice. I’m about halfway through reknitting my mother’s chunky Wisp which got lost last year. That’s about it. I discovered that the bag the shrug was in had been against a window and gone mouldy with the condensation so I’m a little concerned about the state of that project but haven’t had the guts to even look properly at it. Maybe in 2019???