I've thought a lot about my sewing resolutions for 2014. I've been sewing for almost two years and have come to some important conclusions that I think will really improve my sewing in 2014.
Improve Sewing Skills
I just bought Underneath it All: Guide to Interfacings, Linings & Facings, 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know and Sewing with Silks from Craftsy. As it turns out, all of the nitpicky techniques that sewists like to rush through are actually really important. I've learned a great deal with these classes and they're all 50% off right now. I also learned that I am a visual learner - things that I've only read about make so much more sense now that I'm seeing it through the classes.
Always Make a Muslin
Grr. I really hate making muslins. I realize they are very important, and I know I should do them, but I just hate them. But, they are a necessary evil that prevent a wasted garment. I think Christine's post really sums up the importance of muslins. I won't repeat everything she said, but I've decided it's crucial to muslin new patterns so that I can then make them repeatedly more easily.
Buy Fabric When Needed
It is no shock that sewists have extensive stashes. I am making my cousin a Chardon skirt and we're trying to pick out a wool boucle. We found two swatches, and she likes them both. Thus is the plight of a sewist. We see a beautiful fabric that we love and we have to have it. We haven't even considered whether or not it's climate appropriate or whether we have a pattern suitable for it. I've committed to sewing through my current stash and what I'm finding is that I have many things I bought with no plans. Now I have to somehow match them to a current pattern and hope it works out. I've decided that in 2014 I'll buy fabric only when I have a specific project in mind. This will be hard, but I'm hoping it will save me money as well as time trying to match up things later.
Take Your Time
Man I love a quick project. I've made 10 Laurels from Colette Patterns. They take 2 hours and 1 1/2 yards of 60" fabric. But occasionally you want to really tackle a more complex project, like a coat or blazer. I really want to take the time it takes to finish a very special project like a blazer, coat or even a lined dress. It requires patience to try new techniques as well as time to muslin and make proper adjustments.
Be Realistic about Climate and Lifestyle
I live in Coastal Georgia, right near St. Simons Island in Brunswick. It's nearly 80 degrees as I type this. I work part-time as a tutor and am very involved in our church and local volunteerism. I have no need for a winter coat despite my strong desire to sew one this year. This also means I probably have little need for heavy wool fabric, despite finding several I'd love to have. Simple dress styles work best for our hot and humid summers and I wear jeans in the fall with sweaters. So, I'm going to try my best in 2014 to do some serious editing when it comes to which fabrics I'll actually be able to wear.
Sew What You Love
I made a list last night of my favorite patterns and I'm committed to sewing these in 2014. Many of them I've made multiple times and I love them. There are always new patterns coming out and sewists never lack options of what to sew. I feel like it's taken 2 years to fully grasp which styles I like wearing and what colors flatter me. Knowing what works and what doesn't is so important when you sew - otherwise you're just overwhelmed with options all the time.
Sew with More Silk
I don't have any handmade silk garments. I've recently ordered swatches from Mood Fabrics, NY Fashion Center and Fantastic Fabrics, mostly of 4-ply silk crepe. Silk fabric is expensive. I've concluded that 4-ply is the way to go. The lighter varieties with require linings and if you tally the cost of the yardage plus the lining, the cost almost equals a yard of 4-ply silk crepe. Since silk is so expensive, I'm spending time swatching and narrowing down my color choices (there are SO MANY!) plus taking the Sewing with Silks class by Craftsy which is really helpful. Even though linen and cotton are more practical where I live, I really want some "everyday luxury" items. I'll let you know how my silk projects progress!
Focus on Fit
I read a lot of sewing blogs. I really admire a lot of bloggers for their technique, style and abilities. Others, though, post poorly fitted garments over and over again and never seem to realize how bad their garments look. I really want my handmade items to look better than anything I can buy RTW. This requires a lot of the aforementioned goals, but it also revolves around proper fit. And this requires muslins! Oh I love how everything is interconnected.
I've signed up for Sarah's RTW Fast Challenge for 2014. This means I cannot purchase any clothing other than shoes, underwear and socks. Eeek! This makes me nervous but this will be an interesting challenge. I don't shop too often anyway, but this will be a fun challenge!
I think that's all! It's exciting to write these all down and then have them on the blog to keep me accountable in 2014!