Thursday, January 03, 2013

the year of sewing

Oh, hello.  Well, so much for announcing that I would be starting over with a new blog in my last post.  I'm going back on my word now, oops.  I'm going to rework the layout and organization of my posts here, and the content will shift a little as I was saying in my last post, but I'm not going to move to a new blog.  I realized that the main thing I hated about my blog layout was all of the "recommended links" to older posts that I had at the end of each entry.  Those links were random and would often be really old and irrelevant and just things entries that, while not necessarily bad, aren't reflective of my current goals, abilities, topics, etc.  So I took those out, took out the "most viewed posts" sidebar, and will be reworking the sidebar categories.

That being said, now that you know about my Year of Bread, I want to share my second big goal this year, which I call my Year of Sewing (see a theme here?).

The honest truth is that I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember.  I’m fortunate to have a mother and grandmother who are excellent at sewing, and little by little, they’ve taught me so much.  I also minored in family and consumer sciences (the newest, most modern term for “home economics,” which was once called “home science”) when I was an undergraduate student.  I took a handful classes on sewing, textiles, and the fashion industry!  There really weren’t enough classes offered on the subject to satisfy me.  To complete my minor, I also took classes in nutrition and food science, another key interest of mine.

As a child, I remember assisting my maternal grandmother with sewing projects when I would go to visit her.  She still sews a little now, but due to arthritis in her hands she doesn’t get to sew as prolifically as she did when I was younger.  I learned all about sewing with patterns from her, as you can see above.  Aren’t we adorable?  My grandmother would sew me at least two dresses every year: one for Christmas, and one for Valentine’s Day.  How sweet!  I still remember all of the compliments I would get on those dresses.  My mom always sewed Halloween costumes for me and my brother.  Two that I remember in vivid detail were a Miss America costume for me (no, no, I was never a pageant girl!) and a Ninja Turtles costume for my brother (separate years, but those just stick out to me).  I can also recall a Dorothy costume (Wizard of Oz), Raggedy Ann, and a poodle skirt.

Growing up I hand stitched a lot of things, just little ideas that I would come up with.  I did have a child’s sewing machine (see the photo above!) but I remember it being a little too persnickety to use without assistance.  On my recent trip to my parents’ for the holidays, I found the Clueless-inspired muffler I mentioned a few entries back.  It did not disappoint!  Although the stitches were not very even, and the seams were left raw, I was quite impressed with my 9-year-old ingenuity.  I also loved my fabric choices (sorry I forgot to photograph it, but I’ll do so next time I visit) which were two mis-matchy floral prints…exactly the kinds of pairings I love now!  I can also recall sewing a Beanie baby knock-off by hand before I had any real ones.  It was a purple ladybug and was filled with pennies.  Yes, pennies!  It probably comes as no shock that I had no PVC pellets at my disposal, but looking back I wonder why I didn’t just ask my mom for some dried beans?  I know why, though.  And I know why my construction could have been a little more finished-looking on these two projects but isn’t: I did not want to ask for any help!

When I turned fifteen, my grandmother gave me a very nice White sewing machine.  It is still my machine today and I do not anticipate having to replace it any time soon!  I love it.  At that age, I really started to think about the design of the things I made.  I was not interested in being really trendy but just wanted to express my creativity in my pattern and color choices.  I made lots of purses and tote bags because following sewing patterns wasn’t my favorite thing.  There always seemed to be one step in a pattern that didn’t make sense, and misinterpreting it would practically ruin the whole design.  My craftsmanship slowly improved.  I knew what I needed to do to make a good object, but impatience sometimes got the best of me.

When I took my first sewing class my first semester of college, I really started to put more effort into having great craftsmanship.  I remember my professor grading very strictly!  I can appreciate that now, because it helped me grow so much. 

I used to have this dream, the dream of being able to sew all of my own clothing.  I would always add a someday to the end to make it sound less serious when I would talk about it because I know it’s not the most common dream to have in the 21st Century.  I would say, this is my dream someday when I have more time, someday when I have more money.  Etc.  Common excuses for most goals we can come up with.  I’m glad I didn’t get started on this dream too terribly soon, because I know my tastes would have still been evolving.  But now feels like the perfect time!  I’m approaching this goal extremely realistically, but also very seriously.  I know I won’t have my own handmade wardrobe in one year’s time, and I doubt I'll ever make every single piece of it.  But I am going to start making steps (maybe leaps) in that direction.  I must be the luckiest girl because I received a serger for Christmas!  I have long wanted one and I am so thrilled.  It will make this goal even more feasible.

So I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I’m going to put enough time into sewing to sew fifty projects in 2013.  That’s slightly less than one per week.  To make this goal most doable, only 25 of those projects have to be clothing.  The other 25 can be accessories, things for my home, gifts for others, or something really fun like a stuffed animal.  I’ll probably edit this list more once I start sewing, but for now I think a nice breakdown would be:

10 blouses
5 skirts
5 dresses
3 jackets
2 pairs of pants

Pants are for dead last, after I gain more experience…I know they will be hard!  But I really want to get to that point.  I've also seen a lot of sewing bloggers lately blogging about making their own...undies! ha.  And now that I have a serger, I thought, why not, and ordered the special elastic needed.  So yeah, that's happening too, and I'll report on my results.

And my goals while sewing are:

-         -  Take utmost care to make quality garments that will last.  This is more important than meeting quantity goals.
-         - Use good quality materials.  Thrifted materials are a plus, when they are good quality in a color or pattern I would pick normally.
-         - Sew only with colors and prints that I love and know I will wear, as well as patterns that I’m really attracted to.  Find a balance between bright colors and prints versus neutrals.
-         - Sewing for special occasions is nice, but most of this year’s sewing should be for everyday wear, both casual and professional.
Learn new sewing techniques at a fun, relaxed pace, not one that overwhelms or causes frustration.  Keep reading sewing books and blogs for inspiration and information.

I'm hoping you don't think I'm crazy if you made it all the way through this post!  Thanks for reading.  I can't wait to start posting entries about all the things I have sewn.  I started this mustard-colored a-line skirt yesterday, so that should be one of my first finished items!  Just something simple to kick it off.  Last month I sewed a button up shirt and it was complicated!  Can't wait to get better at that.

What are your goals for the year?  Any goals to create something?


Callie said...

You forgot to write that you also sewed your jr/sr dress senior year! :) Great post. I'm excited you're blogging more!

Kristen said...

I just realized I forgot to post about that! Maybe that will be a separate post.

I'm glad I'm blogging more too! Staying motivated with lots of projects while I'm looking for a new job... :)