I don’t mean that in a “Lawks, what have I done to him??” kind of a way, more in a “What have I actually done“, as in sewn, way. I wrote my first blog post 6 months ago and time has gone FAST. I thought it might be a good idea to take stock of what I’ve achieved so far in the world of sewing as it will no doubt point me in a few specific directions going forwards. Therefore, this post will probably be of interest mainly to… well, ME, but hey, feel free to peruse my summing uppery.
Well, this is interesting for me already. I feel like I’ve sewn quite a few women’s garments, but actually, I’ve sewn: 4 baby’s garments, 1 men’s garment, 8 bags/accessories and only 7 women’s garments! One of those doesn’t really count (the fawn inside-out skirt at the end of Row 2) because it was a simple little skirt to try out French seams and is wayyyy too small. So that’s pretty much one per month on average. I’ve also added the crocheted items, which is questionable – but they are garments, so I thought I should in the end. It definitely seems like I’ve made more, but then, to be fair, I have a couple of items I’m finishing and haven’t blogged (Fancy Tiger Crafts’ Sailor Top and Fen dress, Grainline’s Linden sweater) and I do have a couple of items I’ve started and put aside for various reasons (wrap skirt, Named Inari dress). I also spend a lot of time just thinking about what I’d like to make, so that probably adds to the feeling. Don’t we all?
I’ve taken 2 real-life courses: one I’ve blogged about at Made Sewing studio here in Seattle, and one I haven’t, which was a 3 part course at Drygoods Design. This is where I have been making some of the garments mentioned above, so I will mention the course in those posts. I also subscribed to the online League of Adventurous Dressmakers course, which I’m enjoying very much. Since my post, we’ve covered gathering and pleats, and have moved onto fit, which will last a few months. I also signed up to a simple Burda intro to patternmaking course, but found that I felt a little too inexperienced for this. Even though it was just an intro, I didn’t feel familiar enough with patterns themselves to discuss how to adapt them. I’ll come back to it though. Besides these, I have done a WHOLE lot of reading and internet browsing, through which you definitely pick up all sorts of tips and ideas – and really just get a better picture in your head of what it’s all about.
I’ve tried to learn something new each time with the sewing I’ve managed to do (which wasn’t too challenging when starting from zero) and I’ve done quite a few bits and pieces:
- Different ways to mark and cut fabric
- Seams and finishes: straight, zigzag, French, serged, pinked, basted
- Gathering using thread and elastic thread
- Setting in sleeves
- Moving a bust dart
- Making bias binding and sewing it around a neckline
- Sewing in a neck facing
- Fabric stenciling
- Working with types of elastic waistband
- Working with a lining in bags and garments
- Adding a zip to a bag
- Working with stretch and ease in knits
I’m really quite satisfied with that little lot. What I do need to do is to consolidate some of these things by a) making some copies of my favourite garments and b) practicing them some more on scraps
What for the next six months?
I have some fairly clear goals that I’d like to build towards in the next six months. I have absolutely been dabbling here and there and all over the shop so far – not necessarily making things I would choose in a RTW shop, but because they were part of a lesson, or taught me a skill. That is absolutely fine , but I’d like to try and work towards:
- A planned wardrobe: Even in my clothes shopping, I have a habit of picking bright colours and prints that don’t always go that well with what I already own. Over the years I’ve streamlined that a little, but if I’m going to the effort of making clothes, I’d like to make sure I’m going to wear them. I’d like to undertake something along the lines of Colette’s Wardrobe Architect or similar thought process to help with that.
- Make some solids and basics. In line with what I said above, I KNOW I need some more solids and basics in my life so that I can actually wear other colourful separates. Therefore, I’d like to make at least two or three plain (but beautifully tailored, bien sûr) garments for this purpose. The overall idea is to end up with a small capsule wardrobe of sorts with a variety of pieces that work together.
- Make a few more baby garments, both for Joe and other kids. I’ve found quite a few nice children’s patterns now and it’s a great way to practice skills on smaller garments that don’t take so long! Since my kids’ post I’ve also tracked down a copy of Ottobre 01/16 and it’s great! Not sure about the women’s editions – anybody have any experience of them? What did you think?
- Get more involved with the community. I’ve delved into the community a bit – met some lovely people via this blog and had some great conversations. I certainly want to foster that – I really love seeing other people’s work and hearing their opinions on all things sewing. I’d also like to see if I can meet some local sewists in person. Seattle looks like it has a nice mini community here. In addition, I might try some challenges/sewalongs/pledge type of things. I’ve always liked a challenge to get me focused! 🙂
- Make a couple of knitted pieces: I find crocheting a nice relaxing activity I can do in front of the telly, and I’d like to get back into it. (After my upcoming nuptials I’ll have more time). I’d also like to knit at least one thing as an intro. Probably a short cardigan or similar.
As you can see, none of these goals are super-specific, but more of a general direction I’d like to take, much of it building on what I’ve learnt these last six months. You never know how much you’re really going to enjoy something new when you start it, but I can definitely confirm that I’ve greatly enjoyed this foray into sewing – and I’m looking forward to the next six months!