So I totally started writing this post in January, and then life got in the way... But actually I think this "re-sew-lutions" post will sit nicely here in February. Not to bring too much of my personal life into what is essentially a craft blog, but last year, or the end of it at least, was pretty shitty for me, and funnily enough that didn't magically go away the minute that Big Ben chimed 12 and 2014 rolled around. So I'm now accepting January as a bit of a write-off, and February is now what I'm counting as the start of the new year! (It's the start of our fiscal year at work too and considering that my job takes up most of my time I figure that's a good enough justification too.)
Anyhow! I thought I'd come up with some "new year's" resolutions/mini challenges for myself to stretch myself and try and improve my sewing ability in 2014. So here are 14 things that I'd like to acheive (sewing-wise) in 2014!
As you can see in my first post, I received the Claire Schaeffer "Couture Cardigan Jacket" book for Christmas. Although the prospect of sewing a Chanel-style jacket, largely by hand, using couture techniques, seems incredibly daunting at first, I've read through the book and the instructions break everything down into clear, manageable chunks. It's definitely a time and labour-intensive project, but not a particularly difficult one by the looks of it.
2. Make my own underwear
I can't say I really have a need to make my own underwear - I'm perfectly happy with my current store-bought undies (TMI?) - but gosh aren't the patterns from Ohhh Lulu gorgeous! I think making some of these up would be a perfect excuse to buy myself some more expensive fabrics than usual, like some nice Liberty prints, and to practice sewing with more luxurious materials like silk.
3. Make another pair of trousers (or several)
I went to a trouser-making class at Sew Over It towards the end of last year and successfully made a pair of well-fitting trousers, but haven't made any more since. I want to make at least a couple more pairs from that pattern this year as it's perfect for work, and try out some other trouser patterns too.
I love leather. My leather jacket is one of my most prized possessions and I've just bought not one but two new leather skirts which I'm sure will get worn to death. I've sewn with faux leather before - both pleather and faux suede - but I'd like to learn how to sew with the real thing. The idea scares me because I'm a bit of a stitch, unpick, stitch again, unpick some more kinda gal, and there's no making mistakes with leather! I think it will challenge me to slow down a bit and to make 100% sure I'm happy with the fit before sewing.
5. Draft my own pattern blocks
I got the book pictured above, Patternmaking by Dennic Chunman Lo, for my birthday last August, looked at it a couple of times and it's sat on my shelf ever since. I love the idea of being able to dream up my own garments and sew them from scratch, so I should probably learn to draft! My first challenge to myself, after drafting my own basic blocks, is to use them to sew a perfectly fitting shift dress. I love shifts but can never find RTW ones that fit properly as I'm different sizes top and bottom. Being able to sew a load up that fit me perfectly would be amazing.
6. Learn to fit better
See numbers 4 & 5. I'm terrible for fitting things properly. I'm terrible for sewing things up without fitting properly first, then trying to bodge the fit later and then ending up not ever wearing what I've made because I'm unhappy with it. This has to stop. I'm going to start making toiles (which I never do), and hopefully my new adjustable dressform will make fitting a hell of a lot easier. I'm probably just making excuses, but faced with the prospect of stabbing yourself numerous times whilst trying to fit a piece of clothing on your own body, who else would give in and just hope for the best? The next project on my list though is the super-fitted Georgia dress from By Hand London, which definitely needs to fit properly, so hopefully I'll learn a lot whilst sewing her up (after first making a toile, of course!)
I've never sewn a buttonhole. Or a proper collar. These are two things I want to learn to do this year, mainly because I want to make an Archer shirt. Well, several Archer shirts actually.
8. Sew my own swimwear
I don't like bikinis that come in a set because as previously mentioned, I'm a different size top and bottom. Bikinis that come as separates are often hideously expensive. The vast majority of bikinis come in colours that look great with a tan, and terrible if you have skin the shade of vampire that mine is. All bloody good reasons to make your own swimwear I think. Also, I like a one-piece swimming costume, but the majority out there in the shops are frumpy, it has to be said. I'd like to make something like the American Apparel one pictured, but without y'know, the horrible horrible fit.
9. Learn to screen print
I'm a huge fan of the printed/slogan t-shirt and I'd love to be able to design and make my own. Print Club London do one day workshops where you can learn to screen print on fabric (or paper, if you're more of an arty type.)
I've been pretty obsessed with Spoonflower since I stumbled onto it last year. It's a site where you can upload your own designs and prints and have them printed onto loads of different types of fabric and paper. It's pricey, but the results seem worth it. I told my Dad about it and he got some wrapping paper made up for Christmas with pictures that he took of the ceiling of Canterbury Cathedral, which looked amazing and really special.
11. Sew something in Liberty print fabric
I used to think that Liberty prints were all the classic twee florals, which aren't really my cup of tea, but since reading sewing blogs I've discovered the amazing variety of prints they produce each season. I've now got my eye on several prints with tons of projects in mind using Liberty fabric. I'm a big one for procrastinating and leaving things unfinished though, and the price of Liberty fabric means I definitely couldn't leave it to waste! I definitely want to make at least one finished project with a Liberty print this year.
12. Successfully insert a "proper" zip
I can insert an invisible zip no problem, (well, sometimes with a small amount of problem,) but a lapped zip? Not a clue. Not everything looks good with an invisible zip, and those little buggers can get expensive, so it's time to suck it up and learn to put in a "proper" zip.
I've got a few vintage patterns, both recent purchases and a few I "borrowed" from school and never returned, but I've never finished making anything with them. I think it's largely to do with my not fitting things properly issue, as obviously vintage sizing can differ widely from modern proportions. I have some lovely old patterns though, so I definitely want to use at least one of them this year.
14. Make something for someone else
I'm a selfish sewist. I'm not the speediest at sewing, and so if something is taking me a lot of time and effort (and pin-related injuries) then I want to reap the rewards myself. But this year I'm determined I'm going to sew something for someone else. This will also force me to put a lot of effort into finishing it to the highest standard, because whilst I'm willing to wear something ,myself that's a little on the dodgy side, I'm definitely not going to give anyone a gift that isn't the best it can be.
and one bonus one...
15. Blog regularly!
Yeah, it seems that this one might be a challenge... But no, in all seriousness I've missed blogging, and writing this post has been so fun, so I'm determined to make more time for it from now on!