Welcome back! It's been a while, I know, and that's on me. I made the decision not to publish here again until I spent enough time figuring out why I wasn't doing it often. So here's what I've learned.
It has been:
So what am I doing about it?
In short? I will continue to be me, and to provide love and support in the ways I know how. I hope you will do the same!
#makenine is all about selectively choosing, setting, and completing nine creative goals for yourself during the year. I recently heard about this challenge through Kelsey and Noreen, two of my 52 Week Sewing Challenge friends. With their gentle encouragement, and because of the inspirational #2018makenine goals that they shared, I've compiled a list of my own nine creative goals for 2018. Some of these items will stretch and grow me, others will help me keep a balance in my creativity (and my wardrobe!!). Without further ado, my #2018makenine :
1. A shirtdress that fits well. I'm considering the Lenox by Cashmerette for this one. Jenny Rushmore works very hard to draft quality designs and I've liked the Upton and Appleton dresses that I have made so anticipate liking Lenox as well.
2. Some basic solid tees. I tend to reach for patterned fabrics when I sew but I also find myself scrambling for suitable layering pieces in cooler weather. My favorite tee pattern is the Austin by Blank Slate Patterns so I will probably go with this tried-and-true pattern for these.
3. A Bomber Jacket. I see one. I want one. All.the.time. I've picked out the Bobbi Bomber by StyleArc. I'm thinking either a faux suede (a stable knit, because: comfort!) or a fun floral but my choice of fabric will depend on when I get around to sewing it and what season is coming up to wear it in.
4. A button-down shirt that doesn’t look like a tent. This one is no joke. Busty ladies face a challenge with anything that has buttons down the front. Gaping between said buttons is also not the look I am going for, but I think that with it's lovely double princess seams, Cashmerette’s Harrison is just what I need.
5. Jeans that fit MY assets. Jeans shopping sucks. Really. I am beyond tired of having to settle for jeans that gape in the back and waist just so they will fit well in the hips and thighs. I will be choosing between the Cashmerette Ames Jeans or the Seamwork Tessa Jeans by Colette.
6. The Taylor Trench Coat by Rebecca Page. I've been wanting and looking for a pattern exactly like the Taylor for about 2 years now. Influenza knocked me out of making this coat during our early January sew-a-long but I NEED this one! Lovely fabric is already picked out, pre-washed, and ready to go!
7. Tank tops. Solids and fun ones. I'll be giving the Seamwork Addison a try for this, and also plan to make a few more of the tank I cloned last summer. I used some amazing athletic brushed polyester fabric (ABP) from Zenith & Quasar Fabric in a fun sea dragon design. This fabric is terrific and I highly recommend it!
8. A border print dress. I’ve been dreaming about this for a couple of years and on the prowl for fabric that I love enough to make it sew! Let me tell you, finding a border print that fits what I envision is not a task for the faint of heart but I will keep looking for that Unicorn until I find it!
9. A Jean jacket. In demin! I tested the Kingston Jacket by Rebecca Page last year and have also had success with the StyleArc Stacie. I'll use one of these two with actual denim to make a traditional-style jean jacket, metal buttons or snaps included!
There you have it: my #2018makenine challenge selections. How about you? What nine creative things do you want to accomplish in 2018? Let's hear about them!
A few weeks ago I read a little post in one of the Facebook sewing groups I follow. This little post was shared by a complete stranger to me... one who seemed to see me right down to the soul with just a few words. She had an idea:
Sew something every week.
Sew things that you love and are comfortable with.
Sew things that challenge and grow you.
Sew things that you might not have thought of or chosen to try otherwise.
Spend time in a -virtal- place with other people who think these things sound good too.
Share your progress, challenges, ideas, and successes with them.
Yep. Me, me, and me! 52 Week Sewing Challenge, you had me at hello!
So here I am, standing with my toes at the 1/1/2018 starting line, joining Kelsey and hundreds of other sewists. I am excited, eager, and ready to go!
And I am ready to share the journey with you. Care to join me? I'd love to have you along!
I sat down the other day and made a list of how many patterns I've tested and how many total test garments or versions I've sewn. Thirty-six patterns (working on 37th this week). Eighty-one separate makes - anything from an "um, Nope" muslin all the way through a finished and photographed garment. One day I will tally in the patterns I've made outside of testing....but not today :)
Why do I test? Or, more specifically, why do I keep testing? I know how to sew. I have plenty of patterns. I can make adjustments to improve how a pattern will fit me. So...why?
The challenge of something new. Every designer has a unique style, approach, and vision. I appreciate the differences and the ability to try out things that I might not have otherwise attempted.
The more opportunities I have of working with a broad variety, the more I learn what works great for me. There are dozens of raglan patterns. Dozens of FBA (full bust adjustment) tutorials and methods. All are not created equal. Just as a pattern is not one size fits all, different techniques for tailoring patterns will work for different sewists.
Community. I have a much larger tribe because of the online sewing community. Many of these are people who share similar tastes, ideas, goals, and challenges. It feels good to have someone say "yes, I get it!" and know that whatever I am working on or struggling with, I'm not in it alone.
Paying it forward. I've learned a lot. Testing lets me share, and lets me encourage others to keep growing and learning. At the end of the day, that is a Good Thing!
Photo above is the Lulu Dolman from Petite Stitchery & Co. It is releasing this month as part of their birthday celebration. I LOVE this top so much that I've made three of them. Seriously. I don't do that. But Lulu won my heart with the ease of sewing, fit that flatters, and fun details. Do you want to fall in love too? Get your copy here!
Sewing is fun, they say.
Sewing scratches that creative itch, they say.
A bespoke wardrobe is achievable goal... Says who?
Says me, now that I've finally made pants that fit, flatter, and feel like I'm wearing pajmas all day long!
I was privileged this month to be chosen to test the new Diane Joggers by 5 out of 4 Patterns. They were billed as:
Can we just pause for a moment here? At least long enough for me to admit how skeptical I was about all that magical talk about fit, options, and help for me to to fit my no-longer hourglass, plus-sized figure? (still pausing..?) Thanks!
Ladies, the Diane pattern delivers on every single promise! Did I fit the very first pair of shorts I made with it? Nope. Was I able to learn more about my fit needs, and about where & how to tweak my pattern to meet those needs? YES! Absolutely yes!
Those of you know know me know that I pattern test for a few different designers and that I'm usually about to start, am right in the middle of, or have just finished at a test for one of them. I've learned A LOT since becoming a pattern tester. A lot about fit, about fabrics, about pattern adjustments, and an awful lot about how truly rare it is for a pattern to be such a home-run success for every single tester.
Since this yummy soft french terry floral pair (thank you, Michael Levine Loft, for the $3 a pound fabric treasures I scored last month!), I've sewn two more. One is a heavier black ponte that has been either worn to work (or play!) or in the wash since the second it came off the machine. The other is a tweed-look ponte pair that is just waiting for me to hem before taking their place in rotation with the black pair. I also have my eye on a very nice wine colored piece from So Sew English and suspect I will be sewing those up very soon!
If you haven't tried sewing pants before, the Diane Joggers are the perfect place to start. If you have, I suspect that you will find, like I have, that the Dianes just might be that mythical unicorn: the perfect pants pattern!
Want the Diane Joggers pattern? You can get it here!