Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Five of 2013 (Part 3)

The Goals for 2014

1. To sew one item a month
I could find a group on line that is doing this, but then I just end up with more pressure on myself!  I know already that I will not be able to sew (much!) in January as I will be away for 3 weeks and the first week will be getting ready for the trip! But I will try and do a least one item a month thereafter!


2. Try to use up my fabric  stash in 2014
Buying new only if I really need to. If it is a toss up between more fabric and a ready to wear purchase for a special occasion? Big decisions, but probably fabric!

3. Ready to Wear?
Think carefully before buying a ready to wear item in 2014. Goodbye Valentino is hosting a year long Ready to Wear Fast in 2014. I have signed up for this!

4. Me Made Months
Wear my me made clothing more often (that is why the Me Made months are so good!). I have taken part for the last couple of years and have learnt a lot. Thanks to So Zo... What do you know for hosting these. Hopefully she will again in 2014!

5. Continuous Learning
Take courses to improve my sewing. Given time constraints, I will probably look at Craftsy as you can do them in your own time and your own pace. I am currently working my way through a Craftsy course on tatting. After trying to learn with books and Youtube videos, I found this class and it is very good. I see there are a lot of sewing related courses as well.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Top Five of 2013 (Part 2)

Reflections and Inspirations

Hand carved wooden tailor at his treadle sewing machine
(from Malawi)

1. Time
There just seems to be never enough time. So I think the answer is to just relax and use what time I do have to the best advantage.  Even if just a few minutes a day, but very focussed.

Last year Kayotic Sewing hosted a 20 minutes a day Sew Along on Artisan Square. This was a great help, even when you are tired and don't feel like it, 20 minutes is not long and it is surprising what you can accomplish in a short period of focused sewing.

2. Being Realistic
About my sewing ability, my time (as above!) and more importantly what will be worth sewing for my body type. A case is point was a 1970's jumpsuit I planned to sew for a Disco party early this year. I found a pattern (picture above), bought the shiny blue fabric (think Abba) and proceeded to cut and sew the image on the right. I am 5.1" tall. When I tried this on, I looked like a fat clown with billowing baggy pants. I couldn't even bring myself to take a picture.

If I had looked objectively at the drawing I would have seen that this was not a style for my body type. Plus the line drawings are not realistic.

3. Why I sew
I sew because I can. I sew because I like to. Easy as that. It is also nice that I can wear things that no-one else will be wearing and it has made me more aware of the actual high cost of mass produced low cost clothing. But, sometimes I find myself getting stressed out (mainly due to point 1 above!) and need to remind myself this is fun. It is not a competition, this is not a race.

4. Perfection
Sometimes I can't move forward with a sewing project because it is not perfect. Many of my UFOs are just that because I can't get something perfect. I think I need to learn that in many cases (not all!) good enough is OK and just move along!

5. Comparing myself to other sewists.
While blogs are a great source of inspiration (see point 2 below), they can also be a great source of unnecessary competition if you let it. There are people out there who hold down full time jobs, have children and whip up new outfits all the time, and if you are feeling a little down on yourself for lack of sewing, can make you feel inadequate! Again, I need to remember that it is not a competition. It is FUN!


Limoncello, Ottawa St, Hamilton
November 2013
1. Sew meet -ups
Without a doubt meeting local sewists in person this year has been amazing inspiration. Very few of my real life friends sew, so to meet other like minded people is great. In the Toronto area I have been to three meet-ups this year. As well as the exchange of ideas, tips and hints, we have also swapped patterns and fabric. Great fun!

2. Sewing blogs
This goes without saying that sewing blogs are a great inspiration. There are those blogs where people are now pursuing their life long goals and selling their sewing patterns, sewing books or courses, but I also like the little blogs where I can identify with people like myself and gain inspiration. Those people who manage to past a couple of times a month but detail what and how they made something.

This is actually a fondant decoration that was  on top of my Birthday cake

3. "Did you really sew that yourself?"
I'm not going to lie, but I am inspired by people asking me whether I made something. But better is them not asking and then finding out later that I made it (then I like to think it looks professional enough that they assumed it was store bought!

4. It's in my genes!
I was taught to sew mainly by my maternal grandmother and helped along by my mum. My grandmother used to take my sister and I out and choose several pieces of fabric every year and she made dresses for us.

I reflected on this earlier this year as part of the Sew Grateful Sewing Week.

Part of my fabric stash. What doesn't get used I should look at donating
5. Those that want to sew but can't
I joined Kiva a while ago and because of my interest in sewing I choose to loan money to those setting up sewing businesses. It makes me realise how little it take to help someone change their life. Closer to home I want to try and donate or recycle by unused fabric and patterns/ notions to those who can't afford their own.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Top Five 2013 (part 1)

Thanks to Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow for hosting this Top Five of 2013. This a reflective time of year.

Here are the"rules":
Basically, between now and the new year, think back over the year and blog Top 5 lists about the following five topics: 
  • Top 5 Hits: Favourite Creations, most worn or most loved
  • Top 5 Misses: Sewing Fails, UFOs, worn once, or complete disasters
  • Top 5 Reflections: What did you learn about yourself or sewing this year? 
  • Top 5 Inspirations: What books, people, blogs, trends etc motivated you this year?
  • Top 5 Goals for the New Year
Today the top 5 hits and the top 5 misses

The hits

1. Grainline Moss skirt. I love this skirt and have lived in it since I finished it in late summer. For winter I wear it with black tights and boots.

2. Mathilde blouse. A very practical blouse, especially as I made it in white, so goes with basically everything in my wardrobe.

3. The Hedera socks I knitted by Cookie A.

4. Colette Patterns, Beignet skirt was a great skirt to sew. I had picked up the striped fabric in England last summer. I was very proud of my stripe matching efforts!

5. Portrait blouse from Gertie's New Book For Better Sewing. An easy blouse I find my
Self wearing time and again.

Honourable mentions to the following 2 dresses:
Birthday Party dress. Butterick 8852

Burda 8072

The misses

1. Fall Essentials Sew Along, hosted by Rhinestones and Telephones. I had the fabric, the patterns and then life got in the way and only one item got sewn, the Thurlow trousers.

2.Thurlow trousers. I don't know what it is, maybe my fabric choice, navy blue twill, but these trousers are not for me. As always with Sewaholic patterns, it was a well written pattern, but as I said, not me!

3. The Japanese Coat book. Some great blogs out there who have tackled this book with stunning results. But I think with a general lack of time to sew, I need clear and precise instructions in English! Not a total miss though as I bought the new Walden (Colette) pattern, Albion, (Thanksgiving sale!!) and have recut the Japanese coat I was attempting and so far so good!

4. The Sewaholic Robson coat. This is just a UFO and I can't wait to get this finished for Spring 2014! I bought the grey fabric in Seattle so the coat will remind me of my trip out West.

5. Another UFO (actually a group of UFOs). Undies. I have two bras, two pairs of panties and five pairs of men's boxers, all cut and ready to go and they keep getting put aside for other projects. I have no idea why!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Toronto Sewing meet-up

It has been so busy that I have hardly seen my sewing machine in a while and  I think we can safely say that the Fall Essentials Sew Along (FESA) was a bust! One pair of pants, a scarf and a pair of gloves!

All the fabric has been put away for another time (SWAP 2014??? I don't know but I am thinking about it as I have the fabric and plans!!). But I was not going to miss the opportunity of a meet-up.

So on a cool Saturday afternoon in late November,  8 Toronto sewists met at Limoncello on Ottawa Street in Hamilton.

We had lunch and then got down to business. Pattern and fabric swapping. I scored two very nice summer dress patterns as well as a piece of pink, black and white knit fabric and a heavier beige fabric (I am thinking Grainline Moss Skirt ask live in the denim one I made a while ago)

Then off to the shops, we were in and out a number before we ended (or at least I ended!) in Fabricland.

I ended up purchasing 3 pieces of fabric. Why would I be purchasing fabric when I just said that I have put away all the used fabric that was for FESA? Well I am making summer dresses. Yes I know that it is minus 5 outside and we are in winter, but I am lucky enough to be spending 3 weeks in Australia and New Zealand in January. A family wedding and general catching up with family and friends.

 And here are the gloves (actually they are called wristlets!) that I knitted. I used left over yarn from my Owl Sweater. Thanks to Tracey for sending me this pattern after the first Toronto Sewing meet-up!