Thursday, 21 December 2017

2017 reviews: resolutions

Final review post ahoy! We're back from Belgium now, full of hot chocolate and croquettes. Bruges is super expensive but also absolutely beautiful, and we had a lovely time. We even did the horse-and-trap city tour, which I know is a stupid overpriced tourist thing, but apparently under certain circumstances two people who aren't even remotely horsey can enter this strange place of "omg it's a HORSE! And it's pulling us along the street! And it's wearing a special horse Santa hat!" Once we got out I spent five full minutes trying to get a selfie with the horse, then immediately ceased to give a shit about horses again.

This is literally my best attempt. It was a really uncooperative horse.

Anyway, resolutions! Last year's were kind of a mixed bag in terms of results; I was certainly better at sewing more varied and complicated things and at trusting my own experience with the patterns I use, I entirely failed to sew fewer things or work from sources of inspiration, and fitting and finishing are very much still works in progress. I'm quite happy with that - demanding perfect results from my resolutions is never going to get me anywhere.

Here's what I'm thinking for the coming year:

1. I will plan and make two time-consuming projects. The idea of this one is to learn a bunch of new skills and produce some professional-ish grade work that I can be proud of. Currently I have a shortlist of four pieces - trench coat (techniques), black skinny jeans (fitting), leather jacket (materials), insane ostentatious ballgown (because) - and I'll pick two nearer the time. I'll put the first one on my spring plan.

2. I will work out a better way to organise my patterns. I currently have them all in plastic wallets in a stack of plastic drawers and it just isn't working. It's really hard to find what I want, I keep losing and/or ripping random pattern pieces and I'm sure I'm hoarding things I don't need.

3. I will find at least three new go-to patterns. It's great having TNTs, but a bit more variety in my TNTs wouldn't go amiss at all. I want to have at least one new bodice I can whack onto dresses so that everything isn't an Anna, and at least one skirt pattern I'm totally comfortable with. (Also trousers, but that's a bit more complicated since I don't know what I'm looking for and don't know how big a role I want trousers to play in my wardrobe. I'll experiment with it, though.)

4. I will learn at least three new techniques to make my projects look more professional. I would like to feel better about the overall quality of my work and I'm sure there must be numerous ways of going about this. The only thing I already know I want to learn is how to install hardware into clothes because I haaaaate sew-on press studs (it literally only occurred to me this weekend that there must be another way to go about it).

5. I will make some more fun things. I think I can get overly bogged in a level of practicality which doesn't actually benefit me - "well, I should make this knee-length with a sensible neckline so I can wear it to the office job I do not currently have", sort of thing, and then I end up dressed over-formally for running errands and not quite feeling like myself.

6. I will make some more aspirational things. Aspirational in the style sense rather than the complicated-sewing-beyond-my-level sense. I lurk a couple of style communities and often see things I LOVE but convince myself I can't pull off. (Note to self: you thought the Kielo was something you couldn't pull off.)

7. I will use all three pieces of expensive fabric that are currently sitting in my stash. From left to right in the below picture, I have: a light, floaty, semi-sheer silk which will definitely need lining (three metres narrow width), a medium weight barkcloth (two metres wide width, in two lengths of 1.5m and 0.5m) and a completely beautiful silk double crepe that is the one I'm most terrified of messing up or doing the wrong thing with (three metres narrow width, in two lengths of 1.5m each). As it currently stands I have no ideas for any of them, but I want them all to become dresses this year. I feel like if I sit on them for another complete year the occasion of cutting into them will have become too momentous and I'll never persuade myself to do it.

Now it's time to get ready for Christmas, and I'll be back next year with some Christmas presents. a set of vague plans for next year, and whatever I've managed to make for myself while everyone else is napping. Happy general celebration time to you all!


  1. I think, because you seem to be able to accept and move on from fails, that you should just DIVE RIGHT IN to those things you want to try or make. There are so many resources available and even if it isn't perfect you learn something and the next time will be better.

    I feel the same way about TNTs. They totally come in handy -e.g. I want to hug my recent M6886 all the time - but I can't see the fun in not trying new patterns!! :)

    What's the size of your pattern stash?? When mine was smaller I kept them sorted by category making it easy to flip through and find what I might want. Now that my collection is so big, I have them catalogued on Pattern Review and in my file cabinet by company and in numerical order. If you don't have a digital record and you don't have a huge stash, I bet Evernote would be a good solution for you. You can put as much or as little info as you like for each pattern.

    I love your time-consuming list and the reasoning behind sewing them!

    1. My pattern stash isn't massive (certainly not in terms of some of the ones I've seen!) but it's much bigger than I was planning for when I bought the storage. A digital record is a really good idea; I cannot deal with Pattern Review's user interface at all but I will check out Evernote! Thanks!