Sunday, 17 March 2013

A Thoughtful Plan

Having resolved to treat my patterns and fabric properly from now on, I've been thinking a lot about other ways I've been sabotaging my sewing before I even turn on the machine. I'm realising some projects are doomed from the very start, simply because I tend to sew on a whim. I don't want to think about how many times I've thought 'I like this fabric, and this pattern's nice, so mixing the two can only be a great idea!', just to end up with a denim ballgown or something.* Even more of a problem than mismatching fabrics and patterns, though, is that I've had a tendency to sew garments that have nothing to do with that I wear on a day-to-day basis. This is actually something Sarai Mitnick talks about a lot in The Colette Sewing Handbook, which I haven't seen mentioned in many other sewing books. Knowing what you like and need, and sticking to it, is really important when you think about it. Thinking 'ooh, I don't have one of those!' or 'ooh, I love floral dresses!' does not necessarily a happy sewing adventure make. Thinking 'ooh, I love floral dresses AND I don't have enough', on the other hand, means you're off to a pretty good start.

In that spirit, I've been thinking a lot about what I like and what I need. I already have quite a defined style, but, since I love making lists and I was bored, I can now treat you all to a quantified guide to my tastes.

via modcloth

Colours: navy, black, grey, cream, leopard print, teal/turquoise, red, marine colours, jewel colours.

Silhouettes: 40s, 50s & 60s, clean lines, mostly fitted, emphasising either waist or legs.

via anthropologie

Fabrics: cotton, jersey, drapey silks, corduroy, denim, linen, lace and sheer fabrics.

Prints: block colours, polkadots, leopard print, stripes, plaid, floral, toile.


I like to play with mixing colours and shapes, don't put much thought into mixing textures and don't like mixing prints.

I definitely recommend making a list of several of your favourite colours/fabrics/prints to wear when going fabric shopping. What would previously send me into a whirlwind of indecision and temptation suddenly seems really easy now! Similarly, thinking about different silhouettes you like and feel good in really helps stop those regretful impulse buys whenever there's a pattern sale.

via collectif

Of course, I can't keep making fitted teal 50s style dresses (for reasons that seem unclear to me now). Since I'm young and innocent enough to only just be entering the thrilling world of office jobs, the gaps in my wardrobe are becoming increasingly obvious. Unfortunately, most office clothes seem boring as heck to sew,  and I hate the idea of putting all that time and effort into making a beautiful garment, only for its life to consist of nothing but work and rush hour. So, I sat down and made another list (yay), this time of a few items that would (a) look professional enough for work, yet (b) whimsical enough for play and (c) could be worn with plenty of things I already owned. Here's my list:

1. Navy meringue skirt with cream detailing (I'm currently thinking of sewing the facings to the outside with cream piping in the seams).
2. Black clover trousers in some medium-weight fabric that isn't suiting.
3. A pastille dress in a jewel coloured fabric.
4. A cream lace cardigan (OK, this one will be knit rather than sewn, but I see no reason why I can't blog about it anyway). I'll be using this pattern from Stitch Nation.

*OK, I've never actually made a denim ballgown, but now I really want to.

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