Year in review 2011

I’ve compiled a new page on my blog showing all of the items I’ve sewn for myself this past year. You can see it here or navigate through the top of my blog.

I know I sew quite a bit, not as much as some sewing bloggers, but I didn’t realise how much until I saw it like this.

In total I made 50 items including:

  • 25 dresses
  • 6 skirts
  • 10 tops
  • 1 playsuit
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 nighty and
  • 2 pairs of PJ pants

This doesn’t include sewing for the kids, knitting, crocheting or things for the home. No wonder I’m tired!

Clearly though, not all of these items are on high rotation in my wardrobe. Some have been given to my sister or other friends, others have been refasioned, some just binned.

My favourite and most worn items, in no particular order, include:


(I’ll pop back tomorrow with the right links for these images – I have a pav to make a party to go to)

Since the new year starts shortly, I thought I’d jot down a few sewing goals for 2012.

  • Make less dresses! No one needs 25 dresses per year!
  • Make more seperates – pants, skirts and tops – things that are suitable for teaching.
  • Make a couple of winter jackets and maybe another cape
  • Concentrate on finishing my crochet blanket
  • Focus on knitting projects until they are finished
  • Focus on quality and finishing with each garment – there’s no prize for finishing the most things
  • Use more solids and less wild prints – this will be hard!

I think that’s it. I don’t think there’s anything there that isn’t achievable, though it will be hard to steer away from dress making and wild prints!

I think I’ll also aim to keep my sewing space a little more organised (like the rest of the house), maybe give more handmade gifts (I really let the ball drop on this one at Christmas) and be more restrainted with sewing purchases (how many patterns does one need??).

As this is my last post for 2011, I just wanted to say thanks so much for stopping at  my blog to read about my obsession hobby. I really appreciate your comments, advice, friendships and reading about your creative adventures too.

See ya later 2011!

Stash evaluation and justifing purchases

I was lucky enough to receive a few money gifts this Christmas. Being a responsible mum, I feel that these should be put to necessary family uses. There are school shoes to buy, swim t-shirts needed, sunblock, groceries…. yawn… zzzzz.

Surely just a few dollars could be allocated to me?

Even though the husband doesn’t care what I do with the dollars, when you are me (I am known for being a bit of a tightwad), you need to be able to justify purchases before they are made. When I look at my stash, it always seems full, but there isn’t necessarily anything of interest to sew. So a quick evaluation, turned up this:

The Usable Stash.

The centre fabrics are dress length, some Liberty, some Spotlight, some Tessuti, some rayon, solids and stretch. None of these interest me right now. I have loose plans for some, but for others, I’m still waiting for that moment of inspiration.

The fabrics on the left are also dress length, but cheaper solids, mostly from Spotlight. Again, I need inspiration and most are suited to cooler weather.

The top left fabrics are skirt or pant length. The Missoni has been allocated to a friend, for once she has had her baby.

The bottom left are shirt or top length fabric. I actually found two more pieces to fit in this pile, which aren’t shown.

Clearly there are a number of projects which could be started, but none appeal to me right now. My stash seems quite modest when you look at it like this.

The key problem lies here:

The Dregs.

Once you add the good stuff, this cupboard is full, but not full of goodness. Most of the dregs are left over corduroy and drill from my days making kids clothes to sell and a few ‘what-was-I-thinking’ pieces of fabric. There’s also ‘too small to make anything, but too big to throw away’ remnants, gifted fabric, linings, a few quilt backing pieces, some home dec fabric, baby length pieces of fabric, random bits of denim, stuff for muslins and other crap. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a stash like this, right?

The problem is I don’t feel like I can get rid of this stuff, because I might need it one day. Well, maybe I could undertake a small cull…

Anyway, with the stash evaluation complete, it seems justifiable to add to it. I always remember one of Kbencos comments to the Slapdash Sewist as it really struck a chord with me:

“My theory is that if you don’t keep buying pretty fabric when you see it, the what-was-i-thinking fabric multiplies and takes over the stash.”

Clearly there’s a great imbalance between ‘the usable stash’ and ‘the dregs’.

So, to Tessuti I go!

Ahhhhh… I was quite restrained.

Actually, I should add here that I was spotted by one of my readers at Tessuti. This is the first time I’ve ever been recognised and had some one speak to me. (Hi Tanya!). Anyway, I was quite surprised and stumbled through a short conversation sounding like quite a twit, unable to string a comprehensible sentence together. It was funny and kind of weird, but nice. Please if you ever do see me in public, come up and say hi. I promise I’m a nice person and I normally speak like a normal person.

Back to the fabric. These are the plans:

 A 70’s style wrap skirt with this light, 70’s vibe denim.

A Rooibos with this viscose blend, piped with Liberty Emilia’s Flowers. I’m taking inspiration from Alana’s linen Rooibos with contrast piping. I’d love to make mine in linen, but worry about wrinkling and bagging from wear. This viscose fabric is so easy to wash – it came out perfect with no wrinkles. The down side is that it will be a warmer dress to wear.

This cotton was labelled ‘Italy’ and ‘A McQueen’. Does that mean it’s Alexander McQueen?? That’s rather posh if it is! I don’t have a pattern for this fabric, but would love to make a skirt like this one that Carolyn made for her daughter, from Burda 7370, but maybe I’ll play with how the pattern falls for a bit of contrast.

This last fabric was from Spotlight, which I had to go to on the way home to buy interfacing for bonnets and use my $10 voucher. I’ve been eyeing off this Japanese lawn for a while with Simplicity 6446 in mind. I’m planning on making the yellow version. I’d originally planned to make this with Liberty Mitsi in grey, but was worried about looking a little too grey. This voile has much more interest, and I think will look much nicer.
I’m feeling much more inspired with these new additions to the stash. Hopefully some of these plans will come together quickly.

I hope you all have a great New Year and I hope you too can justify some new fabric acquisitions for your stash!

BurdaStyle 06/2010 #118 with modifications

I’ve managed to steal some moments to hide in my sewing room these last few days, thanks to the husband being home, and now I have a new summer frock. I just need some summery weather now!

This stunning white dress is based on Burda dress #118 from 06/2010, though I have modified it heavily. I’m not a big fan of maxi dresses. I wish I could wear them – do they make short people appear shorter?

Anyway, I took the princess seam bodice from this pattern, slapped on a waistband, then attached a skirt – easy right?? No – not so! The points of the bodice, where the straps are attached, were way too overwhelming for my frame, so I re shaped them as shown below, straightening the top of the bodice and removing some excess from the side.

I then removed some more excess from the centre of the bodice, which is cut on the fold. I found the pattern did not shape nicely under my bust, so I trimmed as shown below and re-straightened the bottom of the piece.

The waist band is quite straight, but I thought would help make the dress less empire or maternity – which is always a worry when I sew empire waist dresses.

The skirt is just a simple gathered rectangle, with side seam pockets. I need pockets in my life these days and hate wearing garments without them. Although I still love both of my Meringue skirts. They are just too good to hate because they don’t have pockets.

The fabric is a lovely Nani Iro dobby cotton, which I purchased on sale from Matatabi quite a while ago. I just love this fabric, it has a lovely drapey, crepe-like feel. The main problem with this fabric, is that it is white, which doesn’t agree with my life these days. You know, grubby kids and all. I lined the entire dress including the skirt with white voile. I trimmed the lining with lace – just because.

I think the whiteness of this dress gives it quite a juvenile feel, which is why I kept the hem quite long. I’m not sure I’m totally comfortable in it, but maybe after we go on our summer holiday it will feel more appropriate.

Hope you are enjoying a few stolen moments doing the things you love!