Monday, 25 May 2020

sewing plan: summer 2020

It's a time of Extreme Planning in Casa Slapdash. I am planning the shit out of absolutely everything. We finally have some hope that we'll be able to buy our own place next year, and I am making plans to make moving out of here as easy as possible when the time comes. But with equal vigour I'm also planning all of my daily and weekly activities, my meals (this is WAY less organised than it sounds, I'm very bad at food), the setups of my mood and habit trackers, my prospective new hobbies, and my new burlesque routine where I strip out of a leopard-print onesie to Taylor Swift's version of Macavity. I literally have no idea if I'm kidding. And also, of course, I'm planning my sewing.

(This was the worst film I've ever seen and I will see it many more times. On purpose.)

So... is a sewing plan a good idea right now? Is trying to plan anything a fool's errand? Maybe. But there have been multiple times in the past where I've tried to "give myself a break" by not planning, and it never works. I know this all sounds like I'm doing way too much but it is honestly the kindest thing I can do for my rambling anxious brain, even if the plans have to change frequently. I'm feeling better and more in control than I have for ages. So we're going to carry on and do this, and see what happens. I am going to judge myself not one bit if this goes wildly off-track.

This is going to be a slightly weird plan because my ability to buy fabric is very limited right now. Things are much more expensive online than they are at Walthamstow Market so my usual budget isn't going to go nearly as far. I'm definitely not going to get three months' worth of summer sewing out of it. I've tried a few ways of breaking it all down, and I think I'm going with: seasonal stuff that I can wear right away but might have to buy fabric for; unseasonal stuff that will help me work through my stash; and toiles for things I may as well try out now. And also a bonus "probably not" category because it seemed wrong to leave it off entirely.

Here we go!


Remakes of my two dying Kielo dresses

This obviously depends on my being able to find the correct fabric, but this is going to be a priority as far as directing money goes. As I mentioned in my last post, my green and stripy Kielo dresses are perilously close to the end of their lifespans and I'm not prepared to have a wardrobe without those two dresses in it. I'm especially concerned about the green one - relying on website photos for accurate representations is dicey at the best of the times and somehow always worse with green, so I'm not sure how easy it's going to be to get what I want.

Something chambray

So I ordered what claimed to be a piece of indigo chambray to make a Zadie jumpsuit, and what has arrived is... not indigo. It's not so far removed from indigo that I could have a feasible claim of misrepresentation, but it's far enough away that I don't want to wear it as a jumpsuit. I don't think I want to wear it as wide-leg trousers or a maxi skirt either (it's just a bit too 70s), which has left me a bit stumped. But as it's one of the few pieces of seasonally appropriate fabric I do have, I would like to use it. I'll see what the summer pattern releases are like.

A black summer dress

There were three patterns I really liked from the new McCalls collection (best hit rate in some time), including a strappy dress with a leg slit. I'd need to modify it a bit to get rid of the cross-back straps and I'm not entirely sure it'll suit me, but it's been a while since I've been excited about a woven dress pattern so I'm going to jump on it (when the print pattern is released here, anyway). I don't have fabric for this but I'd like black or black background.

Not seasonal

An unnecessarily fancy dressing gown

I've decided to use my five metres of blue silky viscose on an extravagant robe, and if I can fit it on the fabric it's going to be a floor-length version of the Victory Patterns Trina dress. (The first time I made it I had mere scraps left from 4.5m and the second time I had a decent chunk left over, so we'll see if I can Tetris something together.) I've put this in the unseasonal category because it's not exactly summer sewing, but I think we can all agree there is no wrong time for this sort of thing.

A cowl neck dress

I have this piece of black sweater knit that can only be a cowl neck dress. I've asked four people and they've all said that without being prompted. The problem is, I can't find a cowl neck dress pattern I like. There are surprisingly few of them out there at all, and the only one I've tried is the Sew Over It pattern which made me look like a pillowcase. My current thought is that since there seem to be a few tutorials for cowl necks out there, I'll just go back to the thing where I treat the Named Ruska dress like a knit block and try and modify it to have a cowl. I'm not going to be too upset if this doesn't work, but I will be effing delighted if it does.

A cross-front top

I'm not really sure what you call this - it's two pieces of fabric going across each other but it's not a wrap or a surplice. I saw one years ago that I really liked the look of, and one of the new McCalls patterns appears to be the exact thing I'm after (and also truly impressively WTF in the other views, I'm totally going to have a go). I'm going to make a test version in black jersey, and if it works I'm going to make a second version in the teal sweater knit Patrick's mum gave me for Christmas.


Yet another goddamn leather jacket test

The third pattern I liked from the McCalls collection was... a moto jacket that looks very much like the kind of thing I've been after, and even though I've been burned so. many. times I'm still tempted to give it a go. This time I won't use faux leather to start with, I'll dig something out of my stash to mock it up. Possibly something incredibly ugly so that I already know in advance it won't work and my hopes won't be dashed a fifth time.

An Alice top

I harvested the Sew Over It Alice top when I had that month of Stitch School membership, and I really want to try it out. I'm not even sure why. I'm convinced that either it will be unwearable or it'll be a work top that's too low cut to be worn at work. But for some reason, I want to know for sure. It comes with multiple cup sizes and I'm definitely curious to know whether that's been done effectively. I'm going to make it in a cheap purple jersey I bought for this purpose ages ago.

Probably not

A swimsuit

This was explicitly on my resolutions for this year, and part of me still wants to do it, but it's vanishingly unlikely I'll have an opportunity to wear it this year and I just... don't know if I'm going to motivate myself to make something so complicated and difficult in order for it to sit in a drawer for a year. I'm putting it on here, because I still might, but I'm absolutely not going to mark it as a failure if I don't.

Something else I want to try this summer is writing a couple of sewing-related posts that aren't "here's something I just finished" or "here's a properly thought out sewing plan". I used to do this back when I was literally getting zero pageviews per post and this blog was for nobody but me, and I think it's still something that would be useful to me once in a while. I stopped because I became convinced that non-garment posts would be wasting the time of people who read here regularly, that they would be annoyed to see that a given new post was not a pattern review and I should do whatever I possibly could to not be annoying to these hypothetical people. It's a weird thing that I've been trying to deal with for a long time (there are online communities that I've read every single post in for years and never made a single comment myself because I'm too worried about the response), and I'd quite like to get over it. This seems like a small but important place to start.

I'm hoping to get some sewing done this week and have a post ready for next Monday. I've cut out another Wanted maxi dress in black, which would be extremely helpful to have right now if I can get my head round it, and I still have a couple of things from the last plan to finish. I've also managed to almost completely overhaul my sewing area so that it's a much nicer place to be. I am still putting off sorting through That One Drawer. You know the Drawer. I don't want to do it. I think a goblin may have manifested itself in there.

Monday, 18 May 2020

quarantine projects: Kielo dress

Hey, I'm here! And I made something!

Until this past weekend I hadn't touched my sewing machine in weeks. I had several things cut out and ready to go, but the concept of sewing was stressing me out so. hard. Do you ever have that thing where you stall on a project because you have to change the bobbin thread and you just don't want to? I had that, but with every possible next step I could conceivably take. I spent three full hours arguing with myself yesterday about getting the ironing board out to interface the ties. 

This fabric was a mood booster purchased at the behest of my mother. I spent some time scrolling around different sites trying to find something that felt right (and wasn't also £23 per metre, damn you beautiful Art Gallery jerseys), and eventually came across this at 1st For Fabrics, a company I've never used before. Why this was the one I couldn't tell you. Floral prints on a white background are just not me. I've only bought one once before, and that was entirely because it reminded me of my recently deceased grandmother. That definitely isn't the case here. But I kept looking at it, and I knew it was the right one even though I was deeply confused as to why. 

This is a completely standard Kielo with the short sleeve add-on and a slightly scooped out neckline. I always scoop out the neckline a little when I make the dress with sleeves; for some reason my shoulders look weird if I don't. It's the first one I've made on the overlocker and it took about a third of the usual time. Maxi-length seams sewn with a stretch stitch take FOREVER and I'm not a bit sorry to have left that behind me. I still haven't got my overlocker skills down completely so I basted the neckband in first, which made the whole process of overlocking a curve much less annoying. 

I'm delighted with how this dress turned out. The fact that the fabric is so not what I would usually go for makes the dress feel fresh and interesting to me, despite the fact that I've made this pattern so many times I could do it in my sleep. It's a completely different summer vibe for me and I'm really enjoying it. Also this fabric is perfect for the job - it's still thin and drapey but noticeably more substantial than most viscose jerseys, and miraculously it's still opaque even when stretched over my boobs. I'm wearing a bright red longline bra in these photos and you'd have no idea. 

The one sad thing about this dress is that it's made me confront the reality of my earliest (and still favourite) two iterations of the Kielo. It's so much more obvious now that they're dying. My green version was made from 50p per metre fabric because I fully expected it to be an unsuccessful toile, and I used a finishing method on my stripy one which was nowhere near as successful as I apparently thought at the time. I'm not convinced I knew what the words "bias facing" actually meant. I was all ready to put this pattern away until next year, but now I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to track down similar but better quality fabric and just remake the exact same two dresses again. I'm not prepared to live a life without an emerald green Kielo, dammit!

At the moment I'm not going to make any promises about the next post. When I originally said I'd go back to posting twice a week I had a backlog of things to post and was sewing away enthusiastically, but now I have nothing in reserve and sewing is tough. Hopefully completing this one will get things moving again, but I have no way of knowing right now. So I'll just say that I'll do what I can when I can, and I'll be back as soon as possible. 

How is everybody doing? This is week ten of lockdown for us, which... nyaaargh. We've slowly started reintroducing Zoom socialising into our lives, and thanks to the slightly relaxed lockdown rules I got to stand two metres away from my little brother in a halfway park and chuck a homemade face mask at him. I'm incredibly angry about the way our government is approaching this whole thing and it's absolutely a preamble to a "you all did it wrong, peasants, it's your fault" in a few weeks' time when everything gets worse again, but those two hours of seeing another human face did me a power of good.