Sunday, 1 January 2017

Goals for 2017

Welcome to 2017! :D

I know that a lot of people hate New Year's resolutions and honestly, I totally get that. Who wants to take up running or give up long-held habits or go on a strict diet of lettuce leaves and cottage cheese in January, when the (northern hemisphere) weather is horrid and everyone is grumpy anyway? Ugh! And then often you end up having to listen to other people's horrible New Year resolution plans. Is there anything worse than the kind of griping, miserable smoking cessation/crash dieting talk that happens in workplaces in January? Even more ugh!

That said, as you've probably realized if you've been reading this blog for more than about a minute, I'm really into making plans and setting myself goals. Despite my sympathy for anti-NY-resolutioners there's something about the blank slate of the first of the year that I can never resist. Fortunately, there are no lettuce-leaf-and-cottage-cheese resolutions here!
First, a couple of targets to keep me on the straight and narrow with my spending and stash:

1. Money: (a) Stick to my 2017 budget. Last year, as I've described, I went over budget by quite a bit, which was disappointing. This year I've given myself the same absolute value to play with, which hopefully I can stay within. I'm going to try to be really careful about not buying fabric to soothe myself when I feel stressed as that was really the root of my overrun in 2016. I'd like also to (b) keep my envelope/PDF pattern spending at the same level as it was in 2016. I feel like the limited budget for patterns I gave myself really made me think about how I spent it, which was all to the good.

2.  Fabric Stash: For the last few years I've picked an arbitrary, much-smaller-than-my-actual-stash-size number as my ideal stash size, with the plan in mind that one day I'd reduce my stash to some glorious, minimalist level. Then every year I've totally failed to get anywhere near that number. Clearly that's a complete waste of energy, plus it just makes me cross with myself for totally manufactured reasons. Moreover, I am not even sure any more why I became convinced that having a minimal stash was intrinsically better, other than that I moved house twice in 12 months in 2013/2014 and got really fed up of carrying the boxes around. I'm sure there are people who love their minimalist stash and have excellent reasons for having one, but at this point I don't think it's for me. So this is my official notice: I'm giving up that whole idea. At the same time, though, I am starting the year with 217.8m of garment fabric and I do think that's a bit too much. I spent most of last year at or around 200m and I was pretty comfortable with owning that much. So, my main stash goal for 2017 is a simple one: (a) reduce my stash to under 200m and then stay at or under 200m for the rest of the year. 

I'm also going to try to buy-to-use more than buy-to-stash (even though I also failed at this last year). This is really about making sure I'm mainly buying fabric I can actually use right now, for the life I really have, and not being tempted into buying e.g. velvet and chiffon. My goal is therefore to (b) use two thirds of what I buy in 2017 during 2017.

Finally, I am not a dragon, or a magpie. I do not need a hoard, nor do I need to collect shiny things for the sake of it. Therefore, my last goal is to (c) use some of my older "favourite" fabrics and try not get so hung up on whether my sewing is good enough to do them justice. I have some great fabrics that I love -- surely though it would be even better if I turned that fabric into garments, no matter how imperfect, that I could actually wear rather than just folded fabric I pet every so often.

My other plans for 2017 include two little challenges I'm setting myself. I was really pleased with my 2016 wardrobe but I think that if it had a shortcoming it was that it shaded towards the bland. I feel like the last couple of years I've spent a lot of time working out how to sew some of my wardrobe essentials, but it's not left much time for projects that are more about personal style, wardrobe accent pieces or things that capture current trends that I like. So, these challenges are both intended to give me room to experiment a bit more in that direction:

3. 2017 Magazine Challenge. In my review of 2016 I said that I'm pretty relaxed about the fact that I have a lot of magazines in my collection that I haven't used, and that is still true. However, I thought it might be fun to try to use the magazines that arrive during 2017 more actively. I often really like, for example, some of Burda's more complicated, trendier or wackier patterns, but it's easy to just think "I'd like to make that one day!" and then forget about it. Not this year! From a pure mechanics perspective, I'm going to go for a very casual version of this challenge, aiming to make one thing each month from any 2017 issue of any of my magazine subscriptions (Burda/Knipmode/Ottobre). I'm not going to lock myself to the using the specific issue of the month because both Burda and Knipmode sometimes gallop ahead of the season (see: the February Burda previews, which seems to be full of sundresses!). My guideline for myself is that I want try to pick the kind of patterns that are quite different from my wardrobe staples, and/or that involve me trying out a new skill or technique.

4. 2017 Wishlist Challenge. For the last few years I've been rather casually maintaining a list I titled my Sewing Wishlist, where I've tried to keep track of ideas that I've had for things I really want to make "some day". A lot of this list is made up of patterns, RTW garments, and ideas from my occasional Pinterest pinning sprees that are, I think, quite interesting and different from my wardrobe staples. While I've been concentrating on building up my wardrobe to its current state the wishlist ideas have, with one or two exceptions, for the most part stayed just that: ideas. This challenge is about making 2017 "some day" for at least some of those ideas. I am therefore going to try to make at least 12 things off my wishlist in 2017.

On top of these grand schemes, I've re-organized my usual sewing queue for the start of a new year. I've quite a list of necessaries slated to sew in the early spring, as well as one or two wardrobe holes that I already know I'll need to plug later in the year (I'll be making shorts for sure this summer, for example). However, in this current mid-to-late winter period there are only a couple of little things I need to make to maintain my wardrobe. I've therefore got my January/February queue stacked with all kinds of non-garment things. I'm still infatuated with cross-stitch and I bought a (terrifying!) new kit to start soon. I've got a whole list of bags I want to make that I've been putting off for ages that I want to get started on. I've also several knitting projects on the go that I want to finish, including my Il Grande Favorito jumper. I tried hard to finish that by the end of 2016 but I was stymied by a last minute series of disasters (had to rip back the second sleeve, broke my circular needle and had to order a new one, etc etc). Plus, of course, I'll also be making my magazine pattern and wishlist challenge projects as soon as I decide on them.

As usual for this time of year then I have big big plans! :D How successful I am will depend in large part on how everything else in my life is going, and on this subject I have major news. I am going to start a trial of a new medication in February that may (or may not) improve my health situation very significantly, albeit probably quite slowly, over the course of 2017. If it works -- and it's a big if, unfortunately -- it could mean I will be able to pick up many of the threads of what I considered my normal life that I had to let fall 3.5 years ago when I first became ill. I'm starting this year crossing every digit and appendage that I have, hoping that in a year's time I'm writing about sewing for a very different life than I am now!


  1. I always love your detailed planning posts--apart from being interesting, they often make me wish I took a more logical and data-oriented approach to my own sewing goals. =) I am very eager to see what you make, especially from those wish list ideas! Happy New Year, and best wishes for your health and the drug trial: crossing fingers, toes, etc. for you!

    1. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoy my posts! Happy New Year to you too :D

  2. You know I'm with you on the stash. I'm not a minimalist and that's okay. But I want to be very thoughtful, as much as possible, of what I add to stash.

    Love the overall idea of the magazine challenge. I know that's your main source of patterns so that should help a ton.

    Good luck on your sewing resolutions and also on the health front. Hopefully '17 is great!

    1. I hope your 2017 is fabulous as well! :D

      I'm definitely feeling quite relieved at having given up on the minimalist stash idea. I don't know why I got that into my head to begin with since I'm not a minimalist in any other respect! I definitely agree: thoughtful is the way forward!

  3. Crossing all my fingers and toes and sending good wishes that things go well on the health front!

    I really, really love the idea of a "Wish List Challenge"... in fact, I think I might steal it!

    May 2017 be a great year!

    1. Thank you! Happy New Year to you too! :D

      You should definitely steal the Wish List Challenge if it seems like it would be fun, too!

  4. Hope the new med works . I love reading your plans - very inspiring.

    1. Thank you! I'm excited by my plans for sure!