Any summary of this month's activities is therefore going to be very feeble. I only managed to finish one thing, a cardigan for my mum, which on the plus side she likes very much and which used up 2m of otherwise unlikely-to-be-used fabric. I did make some small progress on my knitting as well, and I'm probably half way through the first sleeve of my Wanderling jumper. Sleeves are so boring though, I really have to MAKE myself keep knitting.
As I mentioned in that cardigan post, my other sewing project for January was to make some kind of progress on my winter jacket. I actually did start! I traced out all the pattern pieces in size 42 (my normal Burda upper body size starting point), did various little adjustments I knew I'd need but not the big FBA I thought would be likely (because I was struggling to get a sense of how it would fit from the flat pattern), cut a muslin and sewed it together.
|Jacket muslin and an attempt at a flat pattern FBA that went wrong, wrong, so very very wrong|
Rather than jump back into tracing, I decided to have a go at getting the size 42 to fit at the bust. This might sound like a waste of time, but I have never worked with french darts before and I figured it would be useful to get the flat pattern practice. So off I went, normal FBA procedure that I've done a million times now: 4cm (1.5") FBA, opening a side dart, then closed it, rotating the extra into the existing French dart and ... holy CRAP, somehow, I ended up with a dart approximately the size of Mars. I mean, seriously, the dart take-up went from about 6cm to 30cm. I have NO FREAKING IDEA what I did wrong. I obviously screwed up somewhere because I've done a lot of 4cm darts before and I've never ended up with anything quite as ridiculous as that!
Overall, I definitely feel very discouraged by this experience: I have no idea how to fix the FBA, and I am not convinced that I know how to fix the dart placement problem with this french dart either. Since then have made no progress at all apart from a very half-hearted start at tracing at size 44.
Maybe it's just being even more ill than usual talking, but working on this jacket sent me into a real slump as far as sewing confidence and inspiration is concerned. About the middle of this week, when I was in the depths of this winter bug thing, I convinced myself I was completely useless at sewing and would never be able to make even one of the things that I had admired on Instagram/blogs/whatever that day. I wailed to myself self-pityingly about how I never wear or make or own anything interesting or fun, and so I should just sell up all my sewing stuff and go back to buying RTW.
It was mostly the fever and nose-blowing misery talking, but still: slump of EPIC proportions. A lot of it, if I'm honest, is also just misery and impatience with my long-term illness situation. 99% of the reason I don't get to make or wear anything "interesting" is that even when not hacking and wheezing with a winter bug, I am still not well enough to work or have a normal life and there's still no end in sight. In fact, I am not even well enough to leave the house very often at the moment, which, as I have mentioned before, makes for a very restricted set of wardrobe needs. My sewing slump is indicative of a much bigger slump.
However, I am not going to let it beat me. For now I've decided to mothball the whole question of the winter jacket. I'm not going to pursue a project that's making my miserable right now so I'm not even going to think about it in February. Realistically, there's no point in making a winter coat once we're into March, so really, I'm pushing the whole idea of my moleskin jacket to next autumn. I'm not giving up on outerwear for the year, but, whatever, it's not worth making myself unhappy over this particular jacket for a minute longer.
For February itself, I've got some nice easy little knit top projects lined up that should hopefully restore some of my confidence, and I've got a couple of slightly harder woven top patterns in mind that should still be well within my capabilities. I'm toying with half a dozen other possibilities as well, several of them non-garment (mainly bags). Plus I'm determined to keep making progress on my Wandering sweater, even though sleeves are dull. So, hopefully I'll have more cheerful and productive sewing and/or knitting news to report here over the next few weeks.
I can end on a BIT of a cheerful note, because even while I've been really struggling with sewing, I do think I have made some progress with drawing, which I mentioned I recently took up in a further attempt to fill the empty hours stuck at home while I'm sick. In the last month I've worked through another "learn to draw" type book, (if you want to you can read all about it on my other blog). I guess I'm far enough into the experience of learning to sew that I can't see progress as clearly any more, but since I'm right back at "absolute beginner" in drawing, I really can see what difference my efforts at learning and practicing have on my skill set. To prove it, here is the difference between the "pre-test" self-portrait I drew on 20 December 2015, and the self-portrait I drew on 19 January 2016 when I finished the book:
I've been taking a break from drawing too while I've been coughing and sneezing my way through this week, but when I'm being rational I'm looking forward to putting both sewing and drawing back into my daily routine --- just as soon as my daily routine stops including blowing my nose every 2.3 seconds!