Friday, January 3, 2014

Goals for 2014 and a skirt from 1999

Poor blog, left to languish all through November and December. I have in fact been sewing, just not posting. There are a few things to show once I manage a photo session or two. In the meantime, I've been thinking about my sewing goals for 2014.

Some of the goals are kind of general:

-Improve my technique. This is a perennial goal, and I am slowly improving, but I could work a little harder on this. How about zippers, invisible and otherwise? Why do they still make me nervous? If I just buckle down and do a whole bunch of them, surely they will lose their scary power. Welt pockets? I tried to follow instructions for them once and had a hard time -- but I've done a lot harder things in my life, time to try again.

-Sew more to my personal style. My usual scattershot approach -- what a great fabric, oooh this pattern looks interesting -- too often leads to a kind of mishmash of garments that can't be worn with anything else and don't even look like me. I'd like to be more thoughtful about making clothes that will fit well into my closet and that I will pull out to wear because they just feel right.

-But at the same time that I'm being more thoughtful about my choices, I'd like to sometimes have more fun sewing. Experiment more, let loose, try lots of things knowing that some of them won't work and not worrying about it too much. It's just fabric, and time. For example, I've had the Pattern Magic books for over a year now and haven't tried anything. What have I got to lose? It might be fun.

So all of the above are things I have worked on and will keep working on. But there are two areas in particular that I want to focus on this year, ones that I think are essential in order to improve my (sewing) life, not to be overly dramatic about it.

-Get more comfortable with blogging, which is to say, get more comfortable with taking and looking at photos of myself. I love the fact that there is this sewing community out there and I want to be a part of it. I am inspired and uplifted by the blog posts I read and the interactions I see. Aargh, why let silly self-consciousness get in the way?

-Learn how to fit my clothes better. I so often find that the fit of what I sew is off; my body is no longer the youthful, out-of-the-envelope shape that I like to think it once was. It's time to learn what needs to be done. Somehow this has stymied me, with all the different approaches out there. I have bought the Craftsy class Fast-Track Fitting with Joi Mahon and will start that soon. The book Fitting and Pattern Alteration is in my library; my first glances at it have left me with more questions than answers, but I will make a project of working through it this year. I would welcome some hands-on help, but I haven't found anything closer than Boston, and driving down there regularly will have to wait until winter ends.

In the meantime, to get some photos into this post, I've found some old pictures of an even older Burda skirt pattern I've made up twice. Yeah, it's from 1999. I loooooove this pattern. Here is my review of it from a few years ago. It has a nonbulky, no-waistband waist, and the O shape, as Burda calls it, works for me.

I may yet turn this into a TNT by making it up in some of the many skirt-suitable fabrics in my stash. The shape is even more outdated now than when I first made it, but by my reckoning it's due to come around again as a trend any time now. And then I'll be ahead of the game, right?

Fun things to do in the northeastern U.S.:
Quick, go see the exhibit Future Beauty: Avant-Garde Japanese Fashion before it closes on January 26. It's at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. Really, it's very interesting, and much more extensive than I expected. No photography was allowed, sadly, so I can't show you anything here. Some of the clothes are just plain . . . weird. But some of them feel like epiphanies. The very best part is that there is a rack of clothes by various designers for museum visitors to try on.

Happy new year to all!


  1. Hi Patricia, I love that skirt pattern, and it is almost identical to one that was being sold by Eileen Fisher this year (I think they call it a "lantern skirt". I like yours better, though! What a good set of practical goals...the only goal I've come up with at this point is to get out from being up to my armpits in fabric stash. Thanks for the heads up on that exhibit. I'm going to try to get over there. Happy new year!

    1. You're right about the EF skirt, Julie, and I can't believe I didn't think of that because I know exactly what skirt you're talking about! I think there were several versions, and the one I liked was the least lantern-y one, navy blue, knee length, in a stretch woven. Have fun with your stash, and I hope you're keeping warm.

  2. Hello!! I do like reading your blog as somehow it comes accross as more considered than other blogs that I read/follow/stalk.... And you do appear to be making sensible clothes that can be worn day-to-day etc. The blue skirt is lovely and I like the sheen to the lower circle :-) That's a work skirt for me (I work in a smart casual environment, with emphasis on the casual), I wore my Vogue 1194 dress today in a dark-medium(ish) blue :-) (which was by the way a very simple dress to sew with no fastenings!!).

    I keep on meaning to see the various fashion exhibitions that they have at the V&A, but then think that I would much prefer to spend my free time by sewing or plotting sewing. Maybe I shall go one evening after work.

    Hope to see lots of clothes with invisible zips in the new year. I found that (a) practice and (b) giving them a jolly good ironing before inserting works quite well. Don't be too scared with the hot iron and the plastic teeth! I pin mine in place and then baste with a contrasting thread so that I don't have to stop every so often to pull out pins - I like a straight sew when I put in zips. Oh and, obv., use the correct machine foot (kinda goes without saying I suppose).

    If you master the welt pockets, please post lots of pics and an idiot's guide :-)

    Take care and happy sewing!
    Claire xx

    1. Why, thank you, Claire; I feel highly complimented. I thought it might be nice to see more about you and your sewing (in a nonstalkerish way, of course), and I believe I found you by looking up the reviews of Vogue 1194 on Pattern Review! I had already admired that pattern made up by others, and your version is no exception -- flattering and stylish. Lucky you, to live close enough to the V&A to stop by after work. I have been there only once, but based on that visit it is pretty much my favorite museum in the world.

  3. Those are both really lovely skirts, and I particularly love the blue one; with the band at the lower edge. It looks gorgeous on you.