Sunday, 8 January 2017

My 2017 challenge rationale

When I posted my goals for 2017, one of the things I said was that I was setting myself the challenge of making twelve things off my Wishlist this year, as well as twelve things from my various magazines for my 2017 Magazine Challenge. I know a lot of people do the Magazine Challenge thing, or some variation thereof, just as a way to make sure they actually use their magazines. I have to admit that, rightly or wrongly, whether I use my magazines immediately is not really a major concern to me, and therefore I wanted to write about why I picked these challenges for myself.

To briefly explain what the Wishlist even is: this is a literal list of dream projects that I've been keeping for a few years. I started it when I bought my very first issue of Burda, 06-2012, because I saw this jacket and instantly wanted one exactly like it:
Burda 06-2012-121 a.k.a the reason I started buying Burda magazines & started a wishlist
Unfortunately for me, when I bought that first issue of Burda I'd been sewing garments for about a month and was barely competent enough to make pyjamas. A four-dot Burda fitted jacket? There was not even a single chance I'd be able to make it successfully any time soon. However, never being anything but ambitious, I decided that it could go on a brand new list of 'things I would make one day when my skillset had developed some'.

Since then that list has gotten longer and longer. That jacket is still on it. I keep an actual text list of the patterns I am most drawn to in my magazines (because it's very easy to lose track of them if you have a big enough magazine stash) but I also have numerous Pinterest boards full of images I've pinned of RTW garments, things made by other people, even vintage and museum pieces that have something about them that catches my eye. I've also got a few things on my list -- and my January Wishlist entry is one of them -- that harken back to garments I once owned and loved and would like to own again, in some form.

The critical thing with the Wishlist though, is that pretty much everything on it is eye-catching -- distinctive, interesting, the sort of thing you ever only own one of -- and that's what I'll be trying to focus on when I pick my projects this year. It's also what I'll be trying to pick from my magazines for my magazine challenge. This is entirely due to how I assessed my wardrobe at the end of 2016. Although I think I've got to grips very successfully with right-sizing my wardrobe over the last couple of years, and with my colour choices for my wardrobe (about which latter more in a forthcoming post), I feel that my wardrobe overall has got a case of the blahs at the moment. I've been thinking since about November about how I could get rid of the blahs, while also working on my sewing skills, and continuing to put together a wardrobe in a somewhat co-ordinated and size constrained way.

What I've concluded is that I've been concentrating hard on having the right wardrobe staples and being able to make many of them for myself, at the expense of making the kind of one-off, unique garments that would actually make my wardrobe interesting. I have a horror of wardrobe orphans and/or making things that I never wear, but I think I've swung too far in the other direction and have been making things that yes, do all fit together nicely for the most part, but actually also don't really add up to a very interesting wardrobe. It's noticeable to me that when I did make things that were more interesting/different, they tended to rocket to the top of my "best things I've made" list and stay there. I also think a lot of my sewing choices have not been very stretching from a technical perspective. Since I've also been sick and not really able do everything I wanted the last couple of years I'm not too concerned with this latter, but I'm determined to try to forge on and learn new things if I can this year.

I guess that is what to expect then from my challenge patterns: more technically challenging, hopefully somewhat more interesting from a design perspective at times, sometimes more "inspired by..." things that I've seen and loved, or owned previously. I'll be trying to pick patterns, styles, fabrics and colours that fit in with my actual life and existing wardrobe, but that also have some kind of star quality to them -- the sorts of garments that really make an outfit, I guess, rather than just blending in to the background. With any luck, that Burda 06-2012 jacket will be one of them! But I've also got all kinds of ideas just waiting to be put into action. Sadly, though, January's entry though is rather tame, for reasons I'll explain when I post about it.


  1. I've always loved that jacket. And like you, I go back to things I've always fancied and think, "Hey! I can totally make that now!" I say go for it!!!

    I collect Burda because I realize Burda is amazing and awesome to fit and sew and that the designs grow on me. I'm working on a jacket right now from 2007. But then with easy access to Big4 it's so easy for me to break open a paper pattern, cut that tissue and go. :)

    I'm also with you on sometimes sewing a thing just because I'd like to sew a thing. When the new Vogue's were released the other day I was fawning over this Lia Lia dress but decided the back would make it a no-go. And later resolved to sew it anyway because why not?!

    Basics are necessary and we need functional things but why not add a little extra something?!
    I think it'll help keep the sewing fun.

    1. I definitely think that jacket is a possible wishlist entry this year. I love it SO MUCH, and it's really not WILDLY complicated when you look at the pattern. It does look pretty fitted though, so that's something I suppose.

      I am definitely with you on making stuff if you're nuts about it and can think of SOME use for it, even if it's only very occasional. I'm just not keen personally on making things that NEVER get worn. Even then, you can't always tell what you'll never/frequently wear. Sometimes I've been totally wrong about how much use I'll get out of something!

  2. Isn't that the truth!

    I made a jersey shirtdress in a (unnatural) animal print and wore the thing to death in a short time. I *had* to have a black one because "this will be ahhh-mazing!". I can probably count the number of times I've worn it.

    And yet the chambray shirt I hated and almost tossed...whenever I look through my photos I realize just how often I wear it! It can be so random :)

    It does look quite fitted but will be easy to add at the waistline to remove some of that major curvature.

  3. I've made that jacket! I love it but i don't wear it heaps as it is quite distinctive and looks best done up and I have a sitting down job mostly. I don't think it is 4 star difficult, although I have no major fit issues with burda. There are no tricky collars like most jackets. The button holes are slow but doable. I modified the lining with an ease pleat and adjusted the lining sleeve armhole in line with some advice I found online as burda like normal has lining and outer the same.

    1. By the way long time lurker here, I enjoy your posts and sewing. Thank you for continuing to inspire me and my sewing.

    2. I am glad you enjoy my blog! :D I am also pleased to hear that someone made that jacket successfully! I don't think I have major fit issues with Burda either but I haven't made much that I would describe as closely fitted either, so I guess I will have to wait and see! Thank you for the tip on the lining though. The one Burda coat I had told you to put in an ease pleat but not the armhole adjustment, so I will look into that in more detail before I make my next lined Burda garment.

  4. Mad as it sounds, I am currently making a dress I know that I will only wear for blog photos! I am making it for experience and knowledge, in a colour I hate, but my daughter loves. The dress will be unpicked and the fabric turned in to something for her. It will not be a waste as I will learn from it.
    It is great to challenge oneself... The whole point of my blog is to challenge myself. I am looking forward to seeing you victorious with your challenges ☺️

    1. That is really interesting! I hope your experiment and your daughter's dress turns out well! :D