Wednesday, 29 March 2017


So, I guess that whizzing sound was March flying past. I didn't really leave much of an impression on the month. It actually started out reasonably well (I sewed some easy knits and finished up the lace sweater I was knitting) but since the middle of the month my crafty endeavours have been more or less a series of false starts, with intervening periods of being sick and miserable (again, with more of the same old same old.) I'm disappointed not to have managed to get my March Wishlist and Magazine Challenge garments done, or even started really, but I'm going to try to catch up in April. I'm really excited for the things I wanted to make in March but the Wishlist thing in particular is just a little bit more complicated than I could manage while I didn't feel well.

Stalled out on Burda 08-2016-134
One thing I did make a start on, but then stalled on completely, was this ponte knit jacket from Burda 08/2016, pictured here in its current state: one sleeve basted in and the main part of the bodice done. I've stalled because, well, (a) sick and miserable, but also (b) I got to this point, which is a degree of done at which I could try it on and have some reasonable idea about fit and how it will look on me and went: meh. All my enthusiasm promptly drained away. I'm sure I'll get back to this eventually, but if I'm honest, the prospect of working on it is not inspiring me to get back into my sewing room. (Although, not to blow my own trumpet, but I DID do a really good job on the lapel/collar!)

In a less sick and miserable interval, I also moved my clothes around for the start of spring and did a bit of a clear out at the same time. The majority of my discards in this most recent wardrobe purge fell into the "worn to death" category, which is exactly what I hoped would happen this year.  Because I'm a dork who keeps track of what I wear, I do know I got what I consider to be a good amount of wear out of most things. There were a couple of exceptions on how well things wore but they were mainly down to the fabric degrading more quickly than I thought it should. I have definitely developed an aversion to cheap viscose knits, which start to look jaded much too quickly.

However, in my continuing efforts to perfect my wardrobe I also discarded a pile of things that I just really don't like. I'm not particularly into the whole Maria Kondo 'does it spark joy' thing but lately I've been feeling exasperated by the fact that sewing for myself hadn't prevented me accumulating clothes that I actively dislike. I don't think I have to capital-letters-LOVE everything I own and wear, but I'd like to be feel at least moderately positive about everything. This time, I culled a dozen things that are probably perfectly serviceable, but that I just haven't been able to make myself like. I did spend a little time thinking about WHY I disliked each of them, particularly the things I made myself, so I could avoid the same mistakes in the future. I concluded there were two problems that I can do something about:

1. Fabric choice. Some of my fabric choices were, for me, inherently poor, e.g. this polycotton shirt I made a couple of years ago. The fabric was definitely more poly than cotton, which made it easy to iron but unpleasantly hot and sticky to wear. There were also a couple of cases of "wrong fabric for this pattern", e.g. this shirt I made last spring. That gathered neckline really needed a softly draping fabric rather than the crisp shirting I used. I feel like the latter is something you really learn from experience, so I guess that was my opportunity to learn!

2. Poor pattern choice for my body shape/figure and/or fit problems. Basically, I either need to embrace the muslin/fitting process or I have to learn to live with the idea that some things are just not going to work out and that I'll have sacrificed "good" fabric to an experiment. The saddest example here is the New Look 6303 top I made in December. It was just all wrong on me and I never wore it, and I couldn't see I would ever wear it, so I have abandoned it. There were also two things I'd made that had fit problems that I thought I could live with and that I'd wear the garments anyway. However, completely predictably, in reality I almost always choose to wear something that fits better. Go figure.

This purge shook up my wardrobe a little so I really need to spend some quality time thinking about what I want to sew next (apart from my Challenge garments) and also whether I want to just move on to filling in my most urgent Summer wardrobe gaps rather than try to fill any remaining Spring gaps, which are mostly just nice-to-haves rather than real essentials.

My forward planning is made a bit complicated by the fact that I am FINALLY on the new drug that I have mentioned several times! \o/ \o/ \o/ I've been taking it for a week, and I won't know if it's working for at least another week, and even then not conclusively. This doesn't stop me agonizing endlessly over whether or not I feel any different/better/worse of course!

Looking ahead, though, one of the downsides is that if this treatment does work I will spend most of the next 8-12 weeks struggling through the worst part of a drug regime change. I mean, it will be worth it, but at the same time I wish it were over already, ugh. I guess I'm just thinking that I do have to be realistic about what time I'll have to sew and what kind of projects I'm going to want to work on in that time (from past experience: nothing too complicated or frustrating).


  1. First, congrats on getting on the new medication and I hope it works well! Sending you positive energy.
    Second, I love your blog but I especially love your wardrobe planning posts because I have a similar thought process and sewing process but you are far more deliberative and I always learn something from your experiences. I know that I tend to prefer what is basically a "uniform" style of dressing--a base layer that's warm or cool according to the climate and weather, standard chino pants or jeans in basic colors, and on top of these, interesting shirts, sweaters, and jackets that layer to manage temperature or other needs of the environment such as having to look more professional, etc. One of my long term sewing goals has been to broaden my wardrobe horizons and test new silhouettes and styles. Over the past five years I have found most of these attempts have been unsuccessful on me and I am pretty much back to focusing on the same basic garments that I have always preferred. But the process of making all those unsuccessful garments has paid off in that I know a great deal more about exactly what fits me or looks the way I want and how to replicate that; the specific details that are more functional or flattering; and the types of fabrics that I like to sew and wear. I have even found that dealing with fitting issues in knitting has helped develop my fitting skills when sewing, and vice versa. So I count all the failures as part of what is really tremendous progress, even though there have been a lot of wadders along the way. Sometimes you just can't know in advance how a garment is going to work out, or even if someone told you, you learn the lesson much better by having the experience yourself. Thanks for putting yourself out there in such detail; I really enjoy reading along and find so much that resonates with me.

  2. Hurrah for the medication. Hopefully this will be just what you need to get you properly back on your feet.
    I really appreciate you taking the time to go back over successes and failures for you after some time. I tend to not blog brand new makes as I want to give them a bit of a review in real life, but posts talking about how garments worked out 18 months down the line are really thought provoking. All the best for the next few weeks.

  3. Hi there. I tried to write a comment on an older blog post of yours but sadly it said no new comments. It was the spotty Ottobre woven tee you made from the 02-2014 issue. I am trying to find a woven tee and have ordered this magazine. I read that you said on PatternReview that Ottobre has a good shoulder fit. Can you let me know in what way? I am very narrow and shallow in the shoulders and am trying to find a top that might work for this.