So 2017 is almost over. Say WHAAAAAAAT? I can’t actually get my head around where it’s disappeared to. They say that time goes faster the older you get, and I can DEFINITELY support that theory. I feel like I’ve switched over to ageing in dog years and I’m actually, like, 231 years old. Christmas is already behind us, and new year is coming up quicker than the diabetes from all that holiday food.
On the plus side, even though I’m another year older, I feel like I might, *might* also be a bit wiser – when it comes to sewing, at least (I still lopped a chunk out of my finger the other day, whilst notching some curves, so clearly I’m not all-wise). This past year, I made my first coats (plural! More than one!), learned a whole bunch of new techniques, and got a lot better at sewing in general – probably because I crammed in a lot of practice. I got to grips with lots of different types of fabric and fibres, what they feel like and what they are good for (and also what they are NOT good for).
During 2017, I mainly made whatever took my fancy, bouncing around all the different fabrics and patterns like a child high on E-numbers. For 2018 I’m going to set myself some sort of structure with relation to what I actually need in my wardrobe, and fitting/tailoring techniques that I want to learn and get better at. ‘Sewing resolutions’, if you will. These resolutions will defo be upheld longer than the usual ‘I will exercise every week and not eat crap’ which, let’s be real, usually only lasts about 5 hours once you realise it’s dark, grey, and cold outside, January payday is a distant future dream, and the leftover Quality Street are calling to you and promising they will make all your problems go away.
I’m going with the #2018MakeNine challenge, which is an annual pledge created (by accident, no less) by Lucky Lucille. Long story short, instead of looking at your historic #bestnine, you look forward to the year ahead and choose nine things that you want to make in the coming year. You can, of course, make more than nine – but it’s just a little bit of a helping hand to bring some order to your sewing chaos, so things don’t get totally cray-cray and you end up making six neon lycra bodysuits with pom poms JUST BECAUSE.
WANDERSTITCH’S 2018 MAKE NINE!
(in no particular order…)
- ‘Wardrobe by Me’ Amelia Bomber Jacket Technically this might count as two, as I’ll be making one for me and one for the husbeast. I’ve never used the cuff-ribbing-stuff before, or made a jacket with a separating zip, so let’s see how this one goes. It might be #MakeEight if it’s a total shambles. But, the idea of all this is to try new stuff, so it’s on the list.
- Deer and Doe Safran Jeans My first pair of jeans! I basted together a pair of the Closet Case Gingers a while back only to discover that in going for the ‘comfort’ factor, I’d chosen a fabric that was in fact waaaay too stretchy and I chucked the whole thing in a bag in a sulk and haven’t looked at it since. And that’s why I’ve chosen the Safrans rather than the Gingers, because I’m too proud to go skulking back to that bag with my tail between my legs to try again. For now, anyway. (As a pre-warning, the Safrans may, at any moment, be swapped out for the True Bias Lander trousers. Why? Well, I’ve read recently that a slightly wider leg flatters larger hips, and whilst looking at some pictures of me in skinny jeans the other day I had the realisation that actually, they don’t look that great on me. They’re just too… skinny. So I might give the Landers a try, and if they look good – well, laterz skinnies).
- Republique Du Chiffon Jolaine Shirt I got pretty excited when I first saw this pattern – probably because of the piping. I love me a bit of piping. It took me ages to find the perfect contrasting fabric to use in the yoke, but I eventually bought a black quilting cotton with cherry blossom flowers on it. I’m even planning to earn an extra gold star for this one by making my own piping, because I couldn’t find the exact shade ready-made #fistbump
- 80’s stylee neon fur coat – vintage Kwik Sew 1476. This one is another make for the hubbo, but I might be ‘borrowing’ this off him as we’re a similar size (apart from in the boobage department, obvs). It’ll be my first time working with fur, and hopefully it will go alright because he also has some brown fur for me to make another one from – think 70’s-pimp-Huggy-Bear and you’re pretty much there. The first version will be made from what closely resembles muppet fur – its black, with flecks of neon colour. The second one (should the first one be successful) will be made with an ever-so-soft end-of-roll brown quilted affair that I snaffled at one of the stitching shows in London (the Spring one at Olympia, I think). I swiped it out from under the nose of a lady that wanted it to make teddy bears with, because the husband had clocked it from afar and I could see the panic in the his eyes as the other woman went to grab it – the pimp coat he was picturing was rapidly being torn away from him by the creepy teddy bears. I got it from Stitch fabrics, and every time I see the lovely man that helps run this stall at the shows he asks me if I’ve made the coat yet…. if you’re reading this, next time we see you he may actually be wearing it – yay! (finally, lol)
- By Hand London Rumana Coat YAS. I love the design of the this! And even though there’s a couple of coats already in my #MakeNine, a coat is something I’ll get a lot of wear out of because I’m always so bloody cold. I haven’t decided on colour yet, or even fabric (brocade, anyone?) so the desired end result is as yet unknown – but I know it will be amazeballs.
- Eliza M Alma pencil skirt. I’m determined to have a high-waisted pencil skirt that fits me properly. All these skirts say ‘hourglass’ shape and I get all excited and then discover that actually I still have to make loads of adjustments, because their idea of hourglass isn’t my idea of hourglass. Sad face. This one looks promising from the picture, so I’ll give it a shot.
- Folkwear Sewing Men’s Frontier Shirt Yep, I know – the husband is a lucky guy. We have suede fabric and brass snaps aplenty for this. Along with some Alexander Henry fabric for the main body of the shirt featuring skeletons at the saloon. The husband wanted to re-design the shape of the front yokes (bottom left is what I’m making – it’s pretty intense how it is I’ll admit) so I’ll be reminding him of that soon – he also wanted to incorporate suede fringing into the works but I told him to jog on and make it himself if he wanted the whole Village People look. (If you haven’t ever looked at the Folkwear sewing patterns – GO NOW! They hands down have the most weirdest, diverse collection of patterns I’ve ever seen in my life. The perfect chance to escape from the samey-sameyness of the big pattern companies and make yourself a Hungarian Szur. Or perhaps you prefer the Tibetan Panel Coat? Seriously, go now.)
- The Fable Dress by Vesta Patterns This pattern company is new to me – I stumbled across them randomly whilst browsing sewing stuff online (as you do). I think I was looking for apron/pinafore dresses, which would make sense give that that’s what this is. It pains me to say it, but I’ll be making this in a BORING plain black, so that I can wear it as a dress over shirts for work. It was exactly the pattern I was after. I can’t just stick to plain black fabric though (I really *really* can’t bring myself to do it) so I’m thinking of some leather accents and maybe even lace or eyelets…
- And finally, we’re going all out here… a purple velvet and gold trim military jacket for the husband. Pattern is as yet undecided, but something similar to Butterick B6400 – the velvet is a beautiful deep purple that we got from Holland and Sherry at the GBSB Live show, so you know it’s gonna be schweeeeet to touch (but also cause stress to cut into in case I ruin it). I may regret this decision. If anyone knows of any good goth/military coat patterns, share the love and let me know!
So that’s the patterns I want to make in 2018, here’s the techniques I want to get to grips with:
- Full bust adjustments – I have trouble getting shirts (and shirt-dresses) to fit around the bust area, so I’m going to invest some time into tackling FBA’s. I like to wear my shirt dresses quite fitted, which poses a problem when the pattern doesn’t have too much in the way of bust darts. I’ve found a dartless FBA technique which I’m going to try out on my boyfriend fit shirts – have a read of it here if you’re interested.
- Trousers fitting – I’m still scared about tackling trousers. I have no problem making fully lined complicated coats and jackets, and can make mens shirt’s like it’s nothing, but I’m still so bloody scared of making trousers. I think I get put off because I struggle so much to find RTW jeans and trousers that fit my big calf/large thigh/smaller waist combo, that I think making them to fit will be just as hard. Ever since that fateful toile of the Gingers, I’ve been put off, and the pattern has been relegated to the bottom of the pile. I’ve been looking at the new Victory Patterns Esther trousers, but that super wide leg makes me think it’ll add width to my legs, and I’m worried the pleats at the front will make me look a bit pudgy. I do genuinely think this is one of those times where I love it on the model but it’s gonna look horrific on me. I also looked at the Republique Du Chiffon trousers but I think I’d need to raise the waist a bit so the waistband hits at my actual waist, otherwise they are going to do me no favours. I am totally loving the 70’s vibe of the Landers, and have seen some really lovely versions of these online so the Lander pants might be the winner. But I might just slim the bottom of the leg ever so slightly. *I’M SO UNDECIDED* 🙁
- I also want to really pay attention to the finer details – make matching bias tape, do bound buttonholes (ha! let’s see how long that lasts – I’ve done them a grand total of once in my lifetime), finish all seams nicely (whether with the overlocker or bias tape), and use proper interfacings for things. Currently I just use Vilene medium weight sew-in for EVERYTHING, but I want to start using hair canvas for jackets, and silk organza for nice silk shirts.
- I want to try to learn proper tailoring techniques – I recently bought this book to help with jacket making. Tailoring is like a whole other world of sewing – I’m not kidding myself that I’ll ever be a pro tailor but if I can slowly learn things bit by bit then I will be happy.
- I’m going to focus on getting things to actually FIT me, and work with my figure, so that I really do end up with clothes that look good. If I’m glossing over something in the wardrobe in the mornings, I need to figure out why.
THE CLOTHES I ALREADY HAVE…
I want to go through my wardrobe and be honest (like, PROPERLY honest) about what stuff actually suits/fits me. I can immediately think of a few things that I really love that just don’t cut the mustard – an olive green leather skirt that’s the wrong shape/style, a beautiful velvet skirt that’s too short, a couple of silk shirts that aren’t quite my colour. I think if I’m brutally honest, I’m not going to be left with much. But that’s good, right? To be left with fewer things that look amazing and fit really well. I need to decide what I will do with the things that don’t make the cut – the silk shirts I think I will use as pocket linings, the velvet skirt might look fabulous as accent pockets on something, and the leather might make a good base for another skirt, with a contrast panel sewn on to the bottom to add some length.
There’s actually a few handmade things as well which are going to move on to a new destiny… which sort of pains me a little, as I spent time making them, but in all honesty I know I won’t wear them so it’s for the best. These are the things I made in the process of trying to find my sewing style – not everything we try out can be a success, and there’s still a few things I make even now that I discover look better on the pattern envelope than they do on me.
FABRIC SHOPPING! (because come on, you know it’s gonna happen)
Although I do buy fabric when sales come up – or I just really do love it and it’s too good to miss – I am going to plan my sewing to (mostly) use up what I already have lying around (how many times have you heard THAT before lol). I have actually begun to do this – all stash fabric is in a crate and *most* of it I know what I’m going to make with it and the pattern is with the fabric in the bag. I’ve got a fair few 2018 summer projects sorted already! I’m quite fussy with fabrics and don’t tend to come away with massive hauls of stuff anyway (the Sewing Bee Live show was an exception, lol), so the stash isn’t out of control (yet…)
I’m heading to New York City in Autumn 2018, so am (obvs) already planning a day – maybe two days, maybe three or more I haven’t decided yet – solely dedicated to fabric and trim shopping. I will be travelling light to maximise the luggage allowance available to carry fabric purchases home with me, and nearer the time I’ll be asking all you lovely Stateside sewists for your recommendations of shops to visit! All rules are out the window for those purchases – if I love it, I’ll buy it even if I don’t yet know what I’ll do with it. I have bought from Mood online before but by the time you’ve added on shipping and then UK taxes, the price gets waaaaay high, so I’m uber-excited about actually being able to go there in person and see everything in front of me. The place we’re staying is about a 10 minute walk to Mood, so I can imagine myself sitting there getting the sweats thinking about JUST HOW CLOSE THIS FABRIC HEAVEN IS TO ME.
I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve – however you choose to spend it. I’ll be sitting at home with the husbeast and furkids until about 11:50pm when I’ll venture outside to the park at the end of the road and watch all the fireworks displays being let off over London. We’re fortunate enough to live on one of the highest points in London so get amazeballs views over the city – we did this a couple of New Year’s ago and the view is spectacular. Waaaaay better than paying to stand in the cold on the banks of the River Thames for six hours just to see ten minutes of fireworks that I could watch on TV from the warmth of my sofa. No. Thank. You. By about 00:15 I’ll be getting into bed, and I’m totally happy with that. I’m so rock and roll.
So that’s my 2018 in a nutshell… what are your plans for the coming year? Are you choosing a #MakeNine?
Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… my first post of 2018! It’s a jacket version of V8940, and I’m pretty proud of it ? Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!