A week late, 7 dollars short? Crafting goals for 2014

Never one to be early (or even on time) to the party, I’ve been working on  a new year post for the past week or so, revolving around five crafting goals for 2014. Then today on Coletterie, Sarai proposed an amazing project for the year, which I think fits in really nicely with almost all of my goals. And she explained point three (see below) so much more eloquently than I did. Plus there’s a graphic, which this post was sorely needing! So without further ado, I’ve decided to take part in…

The Wardrobe Architect

Seriously, a project that helps me sew (and knit) more clothes I’ll actually wear, put all my thinking about sewing into action, AND make me a more social sewist? I’m jumping in with both feet! Plus, I have a suspicion it will also tie in to one of my non-crafting goals, cleaning out my closet. A win-win, really.

If you want the long version, here’s the complete list of my goals for the year, for accountability’s sake.

1) Sew at least one piece of clothing for myself a month. This goal is inline with what I’ve done over my first few months of sewing, so I think it’s attainable, and leaves ongoing “crafting space,” as it were, for gifts and knitting. (And weaving. Did I mention I got this awesome loom for Christmas?) I’m not shooting for an RTW fast or all me-made wardrobe, here, but I’d like to keep making pieces I can wear proudly at more than a snail’s pace, and have at least some fodder for the blog. And I think this level of productivity would also give me the time to learn more about fitting as I go. (Blergh, just remembered my promised Anna FBA post. Working on it!)

2) Work through my knitting UFOs/stash. Guys. I have a confession to make.  I have a LOT of yarn. And a lot of projects I’ve started and not finished, to varying stages of doneness. I need to finish some of these projects, and I need to knit (or weave!) some of this yarn. This goal actually has a corollary, which is to in part achieve this by sewing myself a sweater. I’ve never completed an adult garment (well, I made a shrug once, but it was all lacy and fast), but I have the yarn and the skills; this is my year to finally find the patience to do it!

3) Focus on sewing/knitting for my personal style. I think that all of the garments I’ve made so far meet this goal, but some of the patterns and fabric I’ve been hoarding buying (see number 5 on this list) definitely don’t. Going forward, I am going to focus on looking for inspiration from current fashions I might actually want to buy, working with patterns I already have (because I have a lot) to make my own versions, and filling holes in my wardrobe. My Sewing Ideas pinboard on Pinterest gives you a flavor of what I’m thinking, and that flavor is Anthropologie. (If you’ve met me this is no shock.) Take a look!

4) Become a more social sewist. I follow a lot of sewing and knitting blogs, Pinterest pages, and Twitter/Instagram feeds, but I’m only just starting to use social media sites for my own projects and (believe it or not) actually get kind of shy about commenting on the blogs of others. I’ve even been nervous about joining sew-alongs, which is admittedly crazy. I think it’s just that I’ve never really met people online before, so it’s a new thing for me, but I really do want to be part of the online sewing community and build my blog readership. Gotta get over my cold feet! I’d also like to grow my offline crafting community. I have an erstwhile crafting circle drawn from my girlfriends, which I’d like to continue and maybe even shore up a little (you read it here first, ladies). Plus now that I’ve “gone public” with this blog at work, crafty ladies are coming out of the woodwork, and I think it would be great to tap into that, so plans are afoot. Also, are there ever sewing meet-ups in the Baltimore-DC area? I’m going to have to do some research on this one!

5) Less thinking/reading/buying, more doing. I don’t know about you, but I spend a LOT of time thinking about things to make, reading blogs, and (gulp) buying fabric, patterns, and other supplies. I’ve learned a ton and have come up with some great ideas (not that I’ve executed them yet), but it’s a LOT more time than I actually spend sewing or knitting. It’s also taking away from me maintaining this blog. I’m not crazy about this trend–crafting has taken over my life with little to show for it. (Except these awesome socks. If I hadn’t gone to Joann’s to waste more time yesterday, some one else would have these Be Mine Porcupine Valentine’s Day socks, and I’d be SOL.) If I want to meet any other goals for 2014, I need to get better with my crafty time management!

How about you? Are you thinking of joining in with Wardrobe Architect? Or, for the uncrafty among you, any recent awesome sock acquisitions?

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Sara’s Fall Sewing School

All around the internets, it seems that people are talking about their fall sewing plans, so I figured I’d join in. I’m not sure how autumnal most of these projects are (though who can blame me with today’s 97 degree temperatures?!), in part because I spent all summer making a mental catalog of all the things I wanted to sew, and I have quite a backlog!

So instead of focusing on sewing for the season, I’ve selected these projects based on two principles: things I’d like to wear, and things I’d like to learn. With these two guiding principles in mind, I think I’ve come up with a sewing plan that will keep me busy for the next few months, teach me a ton, and spruce up the old wardrobe. Let’s check out the list, shall we? We shall!

Lesson 1: Dotty chambray tank dress

The fabric: Dotty Robert Kaufman Union Chambray

The pattern: M6744 (except with the racerback), view B (c) McCall’s

This is probably the most summery (summeriest?) project in the works, given its very lightweight fabric and racerback cut. But it’s also the closest to being ready to wear this Indian summer, with the pattern traced and cut out. Instead of the narrow hem in the pattern, I’m planning on finishing the neck and arm holes/racerback with bias tape facing. I’m also thinking of adding a faux button placket to add some interest to the front.

Skills to be practiced: so much bias tape facing, making my own bias tape

Lesson 2: Mo’ chambray, no problem shirt dress

The fabric: RK Union Chambray in slub indigo

The pattern: M6520, view A (c) McCall’s

Can you tell I’ve been on a bit of a chambray kick? I’m planning on making up view A (or maybe B if I choose to embrace the season) in this Robert Kaufman slub chambray. My biggest concern is it might turn into a bit of a sack given the relative lack of fitting, but I like the shirttail hem and open neckline, so I’m going for it!

Skills to be practiced: buttonholes!

Lesson 3: Parenthetical potpourri skirt

The fabric: Anna Maria Horner field study linen/cotton blend

I’d been drooling over this fabric for months, but it wasn’t until I saw this skirt (which I could not love more) in the Hawthorn sew-a-long contest, that I knew I had to make it mine. I’m still undecided on what pattern to use, though I have two main ideas. One is a slightly less full version of Tilly’s Picnic Blanket skirt, which would be more buttonhole practice and keep the waistband element of the inspiration skirt. The other idea I had was to do an A-line with a few interesting design details, like this number with a fly front and contoured waistband:

The pattern: M6361, view D (also, what’s with her bracelet?!?) (c) McCall’s

I have to say, this doesn’t seem to be the most modern cut, a suspicion confirmed by reading some reviews of the pattern, but I think that if I lower the waist by an inch or two it should update this classic design a good bit. Will certainly be making a muslin for this!

Skills to be practiced: either more buttonholes or a fly front with zipper insertion

Lesson 4: Sorbetto fitting school

The pattern: Colette Pattern’s Sorbetto (c) Colette Patterns

I’ve already made two sorbetto tanks (yet to be blogged) in two different sizes, and neither of them fit. Woes. I gave up in a fit of pique. I knew enough to know what I needed to solve the problem: a full bust adjustment. But I just got overwhelmed at the mere thought. So before I make more garments that are fitted through bust, I know that I must embrace the FBA. With its simple construction and just one dart , I figure the Sorbetto is a great place to start. I’ve bought Kathleen Cheetham’s Adjust the Bust class on Craftsy and a few fun Lisette cotton voiles on clearance at Joann’s, so once I get my nerve up, I’m ready to go!

Skills to be practiced: did I mention I need to embrace the full bust adjustment?

Final exam: Fabric TBD Traveler dress

The pattern: Lisette Traveler dress (S2246), view A, (c) Liesl and Co, Inc.

I have a passion for a good shirtdress (see lesson 2), and this one is no exception. In fact, this is the first sewing pattern I ever bought, and I think it will be such a wearable garment for me. It will also be a nice place to bring together the skills I’ll have practiced in the earlier projects, especially those buttonholes and fit adjustments. I have a few fabrics in my stash that would work, but I may also pick something totally different that says fall. An excuse for more fabric shopping!

And there you have it! A solid, if ambitious, plan for sewing and learning. And there are so many ideas that didn’t make it into this list. We’ll just have to see if I stick with it or if other projects make their way in (I’m sure they will).

How about you? Any suggestions for great, wearable patterns for building sewing skills?