2017 has been a weird year for me regarding sewing and knitting. On the one hand, I have been super productive: I’ve made many test garments and prototypes for Deer&Doe (including three Luzerne trench coats!), gifts for my family (a second Archer shirt for my sister, a Burda robe for my mom, and even a tablecloth), and lots of baby clothes (the Deauville/Brighton pants and suspenders and the Flax Light sweater have been this year’s MVPs). On the other hand, I haven’t been very motivated to sew for myself. I finished way fewer projects than usual, and published only 13 blog posts this year. I’m not putting myself down though, I know I still have to get used to my new lifestyle which includes spending 4 months a year in France, away from my sewing room, but I miss sewing just for fun. I’d like to experiment a bit more, and take the time to explore techniques or project types I am not used to, without setting hard deadlines or goals. So here’s what I’m excited about for the year to come 🙂
1. Diving into my fabric stash
Over the years, I’ve amassed a sizable fabric stash: I’m counting roughly 50 different fabrics, plus some remnants from older projects, all fitting nicely in my giant Ikea boxes. It’s not really the size of my stash that bothers me, as long as I have the storage for it, but the fact that it’s stagnating a bit. On the one hand, I have a dozen pieces of fabric that I love, but that I’m afraid to cut into in case I ruin them completely. My favorite is this hot pink cotton voile, with a border print including flowers, leaves and random roman coins. I found an off-cut at Toto tissus last year, and of course it would be impossible to get any more were I to mess up, so there’s no room for mistakes…
On the other hand I’ve been clinging for years to some other fabrics, that I like well enough, but that I had bought with a specific project in mind whose pattern+fabric association I’m not excited about anymore. So I’ve been pushing back using them, because I feel stuck, when I could just start from scratch and pick another pattern – I don’t know why, but it feels a bit like admitting failure. Do you get this feeling too?
Anyway this year I’m looking forward to diving head first into my fabric stash and using all of these lovely fabrics, and if that makes some room too, good! Ideally if I could reduce its size by, say, twenty pieces, it would be great, but that’s not mandatory.
2. Taking advantage of my PDF subscriptions
After the fabric stash, let’s talk pattern stash. I subscribed to Seamwork last year when the Elmira cardigan came out, because I wanted to get the front wrap bonus version that I fell in love with… and I never made it. Now every month I get an email reminding me I have like 30 unused credits, and I feel like I can’t unsubscribe because I would lose all these credits (the terrible “sunk cost fallacy”), but so far I haven’t been interested by enough patterns to use them all so I keep paying for nothing “just in case”.
A similar thing happened with the Wear Lemonade patterns: I subscribed for three months (the minimum duration) to get the pattern for the Fiona overalls, and I downloaded all the other patterns that were available at that time. And again, I haven’t made any… well except for the Chiara dress, which annoyed me so much that I never actually finished it, but I’ll post about it eventually.
I don’t know exactly what’s holding me back: a disappointing first experience with Wear Lemonade, bad reviews of the Seamwork patterns read left and right, I guess all of this has discouraged me a bit. I think now that I’ve been sewing for a decade my standards for fit have gotten pretty high, and both Seamwork and Wear Lemonade patterns feel very “ready-to-wear” to me, in that the garments worn by the models don’t fit them exactly right (too big for Wear Lemonade, often too tight for Seamwork), and have folds and drag lines all over the place. However I like the idea and style of many of these patterns, and I’d like to have an informed opinion of them, even if this means unsubscribing once and for all. It would also be a good opportunity to sew a few basic and quick garments and use some more of my fabric stash!
3. Facing my fear of pants
Aside from my Safran jeans and a clown-ish first try when I first started sewing, I have never made a proper pair of pants… and more importantly, I don’t own a single ready-to-wear pair! For years I’ve been wearing jeans only, and I can’t recall the last time I bought an actual pair of pants in a store. Back then, before I learned how to sew, it was really hard to find a pair that would fit both my waist and hips, so I gave up a long time ago on wearing pants outside of stretchy skinny jeans.
Yet I’m dreaming of a high-waisted, wide-legged pair of pants, which would work great with my style: Pauline Alice’s Sorell, Simplicity 3688, or even this pair from 10/2011 Burda magazine. Even crazier, I’d like to make a pair of comfy pants, in which I could sit all day working at my computer, for instance the True Bias Hudson that I got in some PDF bundle a while back. This year is the year!
4. Filling my wardrobe my maxi-skirts and dresses
Deer&Doe – Closet Case Patterns – Burda – Vintage Simplicity
When I was looking back at this year’s Me Made May, I thought to myself that I wanted to wear more maxi-skirts and dresses. I really enjoy wearing my Fumeterre skirt in the summer: I find the coverage very comfortable, especially when my legs are not spotless, and it creates a very elegant silhouette. This year I also loved wearing my rayon Reeta dress, with its two long side slits, which flows gracefully with each step.
Yet until recently I only rarely wore this length, mostly because my husband hates it. This year I decided to go for it – it’s my favorite silhouette right now. I’ve already sewn a second Fumeterre skirt in red linen for Halloween, and a tropical jersey maxi-dress that I’m looking forward to wearing in the summer. But I’d also love a 100% rayon maxi-skirt, and a floral rayon maxi-dress with a V-neckline, like the ones from Reformation :
5. Knitting a sweater in intarsia colorwork
I’ve already knitted several projects in stranded colorwork (I loved knitting this snood a few years back, and I’m in the middle on knitting the Bubbly right now), but I’ve never really tried intarsia. Last year, my mom made this penguin sweater for my sister and it’s just awesome, so I really want to make myself the same one for the next holiday season. I also really like the Oh My Bear and the Emmanuelle, as well as this lovely minimalistic Panda sweater. Plus my husband, who never wear sweaters, asked me to make him an ugly Christmas sweater for next year – he wants something maybe like this, but worse. Plenty of great options! 🙂
I could keep going on and on, but I should probably stop there… What are you excited to sew or knit this year?
I enjoyed reading this roundup. A couple of things sprang to mind as I read:
1- cut that fabric! You’re a talented sewist. You GOT this. That beautiful floral border print is going to look FABULOUS on you as a garment.
2 – That thing you mentioned about buying fabric for a particular pattern and then later feeling meh about the pattern? I do that ALL the time. Sounds more like success to me when you find the pattern that excites you. It’s not a failure to stick with a plan you know isn’t going to make you happy.
Okay, that’s it for my two-bit advice. Lol. All the best in 2018. You’re going to SLAY.
Thanks for commenting, you gave me such a great boost! I can’t wait to cut into these fabrics 😀 😀
I hope you have a really great year too 🙂
Happy new year Camille! Number 2 really resonated with me…. I too have oodles of seamwork credits. Thanks for giving my irrational fear a name! But for your information, about a year and a half ago my credit card expired and I didn’t update the new info on their site for ages. When I did, my credits were all there. So conceivably, one could get a bunch of patterns, close membership and eventually start again if there are patterns one likes. Having said that, I see the same issues with their patterns as you. I guess part of the deal of such cheap patterns is not having them fitted very well on the model and probably not tested in all sizes, like the better indies aka deer and doe etc;). Wear Lemonade – well, I never did the pdf thing, but I bought a few of their patterns over time and found the couple I made up to be very strangely drafted. And the fit on their models – let’s not go there.
Pants! Ha. I do wish D&D would issue a nice wide legged pant pattern….. hint hint! In the meantime, I have tried many different patterns for this silhouette, long before it came in now – simply because I love the 30s pants look and line. The Big Four have loads of patterns to choose from in the recent collections, especially Vogue. And at last, they are not “Drafted to fit one inch below the waist” rolleyes….. If you decide to indie, Decades of Style do a great pair. I tried the smooth sailing and the eva dress 40s pants and couldn[‘t deal with the drafting. But the latter have now been issued by Simplicity (8447). I can tell you from experience that the type of pant you want is usually the easiest to fit for an hourglass shape:). The Lander is very cute but would take more fitting. I have but haven’t yet tried the Nina Lee pattern, it seems well drafted and the pleats will make ti easier to fit to a proportionately smaller waist.
This year I actually made the Hudsons in a wool jersey to wear at home with a big jumper or cardi and am blessing them. Never thought I would make myself glorified sweatpants but there you are. I also made myself more than one pair of wide legged cropped to the ankle pants with an elastic waist – inspired by Elizabth Suzann. I love them. Made in linen, linen an wool, wool suiting, and silk. I grew up with a snobby attitude to elastic waists – if they had to be there, then they should be covered by a belt…. I’ve suddenly gotten totally over that and love the comfort. I think the secret to flattery is to use wide elastic – at least 1.5″.
Picture sweaters:)….. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/nocturnal-pullover.
This is in my queue. Very minimalistic but soooo cute.
As for the husband, if it’s going to be something he’ll only wear on Christmas day, why not buy a sweater and tart it up with stuff? The preview of this book inspired to make one this year:)))
Wow – long response – sorry!
Ha please don’t apologize I love reading your comments!!
For Seamwork, that’s great to know, I figured the credits would disappear when the membership is cancelled. I think I’ll download everything I like now and then deactivate for a while!
Are these the pants you’re talking about? http://wearinghistory.clothing/e-pattern-smooth-sailing-1930s-sports-togs-pattern-misses-size/
I keep getting confused between Wearing History and Decades of Style…! I forgot about the Smooth Sailing pants but now I remember having seen a lot of really great versions online. Although I had been a little annoyed at the other Wearing History pattern I’ve made (the sailor shorts) so I’m not sure I’d try them. LOVE the Simplicity 8447, the shirt is great too! I’ll try to snag it in a JoAnn sale sometimes 🙂 I’m glad to hear you like the Hudsons, I trust your taste and judgment on patterns so that makes me feel confident about trying them.
The owl sweater is so cute! I like your suggestion of adding tacky things to a store-bought sweater, but honestly the reason for knitting one is mostly selfish: I’d really really like to make a colorwork sweater for my husband (this one is my favorite: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/716—shawl-collar-sweater love this one too: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/735—sweater) but he hates sweaters so much that he made me promise to never knit him one as a surprise. So when he asked for a christmas sweater I figured it was my only chance hehehe
Just found your blog, and wanted to thank you so much for sharing your Trello ideas. It is a lot of work to post all that. In an effort to reduce clutter and make better use of digital storage (not to mention wanting to know yardage requirements etc, when I am away from home), I just started using Trello.
And Lori is so right, cut into it, and I too am going TO CUT INTO THAT FABRIC! How exciting to have all these ideas. Thank you again. You are an example of what is good about the internet and the generosity of the human spirit. Very Happy New Year.
p.s. and after letting my DDIL use some of my credits, I’ll cancel my Seamwork subscription…LOL then maybe I’ll subscribe to BurdaStyle again. LOL LOL Always the optimist. 😉
Wow, thank you, that is so nice of you to say! I’m really glad you have enjoyed the Trello posts 🙂 Happy new year to you too!!
It’s a shame that Seamwork and Wear Lemonade haven’t quite delivered on their promises. I loved the idea of Seamwork when it started, but never signed up (my money was already going to a knitting subscription) and increasingly it feels like a bullet dodged, with so many folks saying they had to make huge changes or their garments ended up in the recycle pile. I’d love to hear your take on them, though, if those patterns ever move to the front of your queue.
On the maxi front, what’s not to love? You have the height to make a maxi skirt or dress really shine. Can’t wait to see more!
Which knitting subscription did you have? Was it worth it?
I’ll definitely update you on Seamwork! I’m hoping to try one of their patterns very soon, I just need to get back to my sewing machine (right now I’m stuck in Virginia, my flight home was cancelled because of the blizzard!).
A very happy new year to you 🙂
Points one and two (and three, really) resonated with me. I’m terrible at using the fabric I own and feel a bit overwhelmed when I look at it all – I think I have 31 pieces, and I’d like to get to 15 this year, but due to overwhelm and non-sewing stress, last year I only made three things, so this will be a challenge.
With patterns, I don’t feel like I can justify buying something new and shiny until I’ve tried the ones I have, which is really silly, because I mostly own dress patterns, and I really don’t need that many new dresses… This year I’m going to focus on reducing the fabric collection, and just buy a new pattern if I don’t have something suitable to use with stashed fabric.
That sounds like a great plan! There’s really enough stress in life already, you don’t need to add any more by feeling guilty about buying a new pattern if you’re using it with stashed fabric!
I couldn’t see a way to reply to a specific comment, so I’m replying to the thread. 🙂 I have a subscription to CustomFit, a program created by knitwear designer Amy Herzog to generate custom set-in sleeve sweater patterns using your measurements and your gauge swatch. It offers pullovers and cardigans, and you get to choose design details like neckline style, body shape, and hem treatments, then customize lengths and ease. If building a sweater from scratch is too overwhelming, you can choose from one of Amy’s designs. There are also other designers who have created “recipes” for CustomFit that include the options you need to select in the program to achieve a basic shape, and then provide additional instructions for more elaborate design details that the program can’t (currently) calculate. My only issue is that I’ve been earning credits faster than I’ve been knitting, but the credits don’t expire, and I’m happy to support such a cool idea!
Oh I love the concept!! I’m subscribed to way too many things already but I’m writing this one down for when I’m done with my knitting queue 🙂
Hi Camille, just came across your blog and love it! I think Francesca meant this pattern https://www.decadesofstyle.com/products/4004-1940s-empire-waist-trousers
Lisa Comfort talks about them in her vlogs
Oh it’s really nice! I’ve never tried Decades of Style patterns but maybe I should get to it…
I am in the same position as you regarding Seamwork. I have lots of unused credits. Did you know that you can pause your Seamwork subscription? Then you can keep your credits without having to pay and collect more credits.
Francesca mentioned it in a comment, I didn’t know before! I should definitely do that but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Thanks 🙂