Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Outfit

One of my goals for this year is to make over my wardrobe from store-bought to hand-made clothing. I can hardly believe that I am even able to think about this since not that long ago I was afraid of sewing clothes at all, preferring to stay within the confines of my two dimensional quilting. While I still do love quilting, I got to a point where it just wasn't challenging me anymore.

Now that I have gotten better at sewing my own clothing, I find that these are the garments I am turning to when I want to look and feel my best. I have been increasingly unhappy with the clothing offered in the stores for their lack of good fit, quality, and uniqueness. We all have to spend good money on our clothing, so why spend it on something made with cheap fabric in a sweatshop that looks like everybody else? It does take a lot more time and energy to build a wardrobe this way, but it also has made me stop and think about what I wear, what I want to wear, and the idea of voting with my money.

But enough about that. On to the outfit...

Both pieces are from Colette's line of patterns. The top is the Jasmine pattern and the pants are the Juniper pattern.

I went with the recommended bust measurement for the top and it came out perfectly. I am always worried about the shoulders being too big, since mine are narrow, but this was just fine. I did have to ease from 5/8" to 1/4" seam allowance in the sleeves as my arms are apparently much larger than average. This is a common problem for me...whatever. This was my first time using a cotton lawn fabric and I am hooked! It was a bit of a splurge but so worth it. Not Liberty, though, since I still can't stomach the thought of $30/yard for cotton fabric. The top is cut on the bias and the stretch is equal to a light weight knit. I'm glad I took the time to trace the pattern since I will certainly be using it again.

The trousers are fantastic! As with the Clover and Iris bottoms, these needed no adjustment for me. The one change I did make was to remove the pockets, but you can't tell!

Pockets in pants just add bulk for not much benefit, so I thought I would try them without. It took some thinking but it all came out right. Perhaps I will do a "tutorial" on this the next time I make this pattern. (Like I know so much!) I love the wide leg style.

The fabric is a brushed cotton twill; so wonderfully soft and warmer than I expected. Hopefully not too warm for later spring.

And a view of the back:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Backward and Forward

It seems I am late in the blogging world with my "year in review" post, but whatever. Obviously I have been silent for a few months (longer than I realized). Our life is in crazy mode right now as we are waiting to find out if we will be allowed to adopt our foster son and all the meetings and emotions that entails. Not that I'm trying to use that as an excuse for not blogging...but it is a good one. Another reason I didn't blog much this autumn was that most of my projects were failures. Everything from sizing weirdness to fabrics falling apart after a make was finished. Really frustrating! So I kind of gave up and spent some time thinking about what my purpose in sewing is and what I want to get out of it. Also, I spent a fair amount of time watching Netflix and crocheting under a blanket in a sulking state of "I suck at sewing". I got over it.

So 2012 was a big learning curve year for me. I started following a few professional sewing blogs as well as non-professional experienced seamstress blogs. I have learned a ton! Some of the highlights that I am choosing to focus on this year are:
     1. Trace patterns, don't cut them. This does add extra time to the process but it is worth it because it is so infuriating to have cut into a pattern, only to find that if you had made the size your instincts told you to then you would not now own a too small pattern and a too small garment.
     2. It is much easier to fuse cut fabric pieces to interfacing and then cut the interfacing, rather than cutting the interfacing from the pattern piece and hoping it matches up with the fabric. I have found that a tea towel works wonderfully for this.
     3. Full bust adjustments are a necessary evil. Hopefully they will become less evil as I perfect this skill.
     4. Slow down and enjoy the entire process of garment construction. Before I started making clothes I made a lot of quilts. My favorite part of the quilting process is the cutting of the fabric. There is something so exciting about using the rotary cutter, watching the squares piling up, and beginning to see the quilt's potential. Cutting fabric for garments is my least favorite and the most frightening part of garment making. I suppose this is because a quilt doesn't need to be exactly perfect in dimensions when it is finished, it still will serve its purpose but if garment fabric is cut incorrectly it is a waste of both time and money.
     5. Don't sew when I'm tired! Staying up late to finish a project that night just to be able to put the sewing machine away is not worth the mistakes that are inevitably made.
     6. Do not obsess over sizing! Part of the cause of so many failures this year is that I have not been honest about my body shape. For example, I have larger than average upper arms (made much bigger from carrying a 27 pound 10 month old). Patterns are not made with this consideration so I need to check the sizing and allow for it in the construction.

2013 is shaping up to be an exciting year for sewing. We have three weddings this summer which will all need to have a dress made. There are at least two baby quilts on the horizon. I will hopefully need to make a tiny little Easter suit! as well as my dress. I am determined to give more thought to my wardrobe and create garments I love and will wear. I hope that by the end of the year most of my wardrobe will contain clothes I have created, enjoy wearing, and reflect my style. I'm starting off with my two favorite designers: Colette and Sewaholic, and will be looking into Lekala's revolutionary and amazing approach to pattern design.

I am off to a good start. I just finished this top. Post coming soon!

Happy 2013!!