Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Sewing Plans

This past year I was having a lot of fun working to complete the items for my Tim Gunn inspired sewing challenge.  I might have gotten a bit skewed away from my goals, what with most of summer being taken up with sewing for others, and at the end of the year I found myself turning away from the Tim Gunn inspired items more toward bonus projects I had picked out for myself.  I think the idea of the challenge was an overall success though, as it did make me think about having a more cohesive wardrobe and planning out sewing projects to make that happen, rather than my previous method of jumping from one shiny project to the next.  And I did find throughout the past year that there were times where I was wanting specific items in my closet and they just weren't there.  This was especially true during "seasonal" periods where I needed warm or cool weather clothes for specific functions.  And planning out the wardrobe sewing seems pertinent right now, what with me currently being in transition mode and needing a more grown up/professional look.  Honestly, my wardrobe is so lacking that I doubt a year's worth of sewing could give me all the pieces I really want and need, but I might as well start working towards that goal.  Therefore I have decided that this next year my self imposed sewing challenge will be working to fill the holes in my closet.

I wanted to plan a wardrobe that is somewhat cohesive, where items can be mixed and matched, but also work with my existing clothes.  I also wanted to pick projects that I already have planned, and try to use stash materials, because it would just be silly to ignore my stash and previous plans just to fit everything into arbitrary sewing challenge rules.  Instead, I want to focus on what I need, as well as what I want.  Knowing me, I could spend all year making coats and jackets, but that would leave me without much to wear under them.  So I have tried to strike a balance in my plans that will fit into my wants, needs, and lifestyle.

I have noticed that I have a rather limited summer wardrobe because during the spring and summer months most of my sewing time is dedicated to skating costumes.  With that in mind I have decided to try and separate projects into four segments of my sewing challenge - spending the first half of the year sewing specifically for spring and summer, and the second half sewing for fall and winter.  I am breaking my sewing plans into three-month-long segments, with the goal being to finish as many of my planned projects within that time as possible.  No set numbers or anything like that - just a goal of seasonally appropriate sewing so that I can actually wear things after I make them.  I definitely have more projects planned than I strictly have time to accomplish (and I am already behind trying to finish a few things from last year), but I figured I would be ambitious in my plans and see how far I can get.  This also (conveniently) allows me to be somewhat capricious in choosing my sewing projects, but still keeps the overall project list focused.  Last year my goal was to make 12 items overall, so this year I am shooting for at least 13 (though I have planned far more than that).  Here are my plans so far:

January - March

(1) Lightweight Summer Jacket

I have been obsessing over this jacket ever since the pattern came out, and I have stash fabric waiting to be used.  I want to make sure I have a nice lightweight jacket for summer, so this one is getting made early in the year.

(2) Grey Pants


I have a few pairs of grey pants, but I wear them all the time, so I am always wanting another pair.  I have been obsessing over these patterns for a while, and I have plenty of grey fabric in the stash to choose from.

(3) Tan Trench Coat & RTW Knockoff


Ok, so I have made a lot of coats, but most of them are for fall/winter.  I really want to make a few lightweight trench coats for spring, and this pattern has been on my must-sew list since last year.  I even have another RTW knockoff project all planned out, but last fall I realized it would be much better as a spring project, so I decided to hold off.  But, I really want to make it because I think it will be fabulous. I just want to do a full run through test of the pattern on different fabric first.  Also, I noticed that Pattern Review is having a Designer knock-off challenge in February...  Perhaps I will be sewing a lot of lightweight coats during the first few months of the year?

(4) Lightweight Cotton Day Dress

I have the fabric for this dress leftover from when I changed my mind about what pattern I wanted to use for my Tim Gunn wardrobe.  I still want to have a nice lightweight dress in a woven fabric, so I hope I get to this pattern this year.

(5) Birthday Dress

I don't have the fabric for this project yet, but I have been so inspired by all the lovely birthday dresses people made last year I decided I wanted to make one for myself this year!  I have a plan brewing, and I thought this retro reprint would be perfect for my vision.

(6) Plaid Cotton Shirt

I failed to get a fitted button-down shirt from my Tim Gunn challenge, and dang it I want one!  I have a lot of plaid cotton shirtings just waiting to be made into something wearable.  I don't know *which* pattern I am going to use... I have been studying fit books and I think I might need to start from scratch and just try to re-fit everything using different techniques than the ones I tried before.

(7) Silky Drapey Shirt

I have been really wanting a silky blouse in a happy print to wear under jackets (well, under theoretical jackets I don't have yet) and when I saw this pattern I just fell in love.  I have a few possible fabrics selected for this...

(8) Knit Top

Ok, I realize this shirt has had a lot of reviews that were really more of warnings to stay away, but I think if I plan to combat the ridiculously low neckline, ridiculously high waist, and do a muslin I *might* be ok.  I have been planning on this top for quite a while, so it would be nice to get around to it.

April - June

(1) Navy Pants


Like grey, navy trousers are an important part of my wardrobe (especially for summer!).  Last year I made a few new pairs, but I have a lot of navy in the stash, and I can always use more.  I haven't decided which pattern I am going to go for quite yet (I think it depends on my fabric choice), but I want another wide-legged pant and I want to test out different trouser patterns and shapes.

(2) Summer Halter Dress

Last summer I found the perfect cotton print to make this dress, but I didn't have time to complete it for summer.  It will probably have something of a Fourth of July theme, but should be fairly wearable all summer long.

(3) Shorts


Confession time:  I don't own any shorts.  None.  I used to live in them, but then when I started gaining weight with my illness (about 8 years ago) I felt very uncomfortable showing my legs.  Although I still feel most comfortable in full length pants, I have been wearing more skirts and dresses, and I think having at least one pair of shorts would be good for summer.  I don't want to have short shorts.  Not yet, at least.  But I think this longer length could be a step in the right direction for me, so I think I will give this pattern a go.

(4) Jeans


Ok, last year jeans were low on my priority list since I do own so many already, and I am trying to move on in terms of style.  However, when I saw these pants in this Patrones magazine I couldn't get over how amazing they were.  So, again, do I really need them?  No, but I want to make them anyway.

(5) Knit Top

Knit tops are always useful!  And I have seen some lovely versions of this pattern, so I am thinking this could give me a versatile summer top that could be used for layering later in the year.  I am planning on using the pattern for the yellow one at the bottom.

(6) Woven Tank Top




I have a lot of knit tops for summer, but I think it would be great to have a woven tank top for the super hot days that could be a bit dressier but still cool and casual.  I haven't decided which pattern I am going to use yet, but I think either one could be great in a nice lightweight cotton gauze.

(7) Knit Dress

I would really like another easy knit dress, and I have a lot of great pattern options...



Don't have any specific fabric plans yet, but I would like to add more dresses to my wardrobe options.

July - September

(1) Medium Weight Fall Jacket

I have been in LOVE with this jacket pattern ever since I got this magazine, and I have stash fabric just waiting to get made up.  I have been in much need of a short medium weight casual jacket for a while, so I really want to get around to this pattern this year.

(2) Another Trench Coat

I have a thing for coats.  What can I say? As of right now I have a few fall plans for this this (and fabric stashed), but I will probably settle on one as I get closer to actually making it.  I am hoping that this will be a TNT pattern for me by the end of the year, but one that I will be able to manipulate into being awesome and different based on fabric and design choices.

(3) Black Pants

Confession time again:  I don't have black trouser pants!  I used to have a lot that I bought RTW (prior to the sewing days) but they were all far too large last year and I have gotten rid of them.  But black pants are a wardrobe necessity, and it is ridiculous that I don't have any.

(4) Black Pencil Skirt




Ok, this is going to make my wardrobe start sounding really sad, but I don't have any pencil skirts.  It seems like a really useful item to have in the wardrobe, so I am going to try to make a few this year.  I am thinking the more high-waisted version might look good on me.  Or, at least I am willing to try it out.  As of right now, I am planning to make this from the same fabric as the black pants.

(5) Knit Top with Sleeves

I really like the gathered top and I think it might be a great knit top for fall.

(6) Cardigan


I have a lot of fun sweater-weight knits, and I would love to have something medium-weight for layering and to wear inside.

(7) Black Blazer






Ok, it might be apparent by this point I am planning a 3-piece suit set!  With the black pants and black skirt I am going to need a black jacket. These are my top Burda contenders.  I also have a few Patrones patterns I am considering as well... I just have too many good options!

October - December

(1) Long Sleeved Dress

Most of the dresses I have made have been lightweight and short sleeved, but I would like to have one that is a bit more robust for fall and winter weather.  I have a nice blue wool crepe that I plan to use for this dress.

(2) Teal or Blue Wool Coat




Although I have so many magazine patterns I am wanting to make (like that first Burda pattern, which inspired me to buy that issue of the magazine in the first place), I made the mistake of playing with the croquis in this Project Runway pattern, and now I can't get over my obsession with that pattern either.  I have (way too much) wool in the stash, but we all know I have a real thing for teal.  I am expecting this will be one of the most labor-intensive projects of the year if I manage to get to it, but it is something I am really excited about right now.

(3) Grey Pencil Skirt



I haven't decided which pattern I want to go with, or what fabric I want to use, but a grey pencil skirt would be incredibly useful in my wardrobe.

(4) Knit Top

I have a blue wool jersey that has been waiting to be made into a cozy slouchy top for winter.  This seems like the perfect pattern.

(5) Ruffled Button Down Blouse

I don't know that this ruffly look is necessarily the best for me, but I have been fancying the idea for a while.  I also think it would look great with the trousers and skirts I have chosen that I decided to add it to my sew plans.

(6) Another Silky Top

I really like this simple woven cowl neck top!  I have a yard of silk that I got in a mystery bundle that would be perfect for this top.

(7) Fancy Holiday Party Look





Not sure which these are the dresses I am going to want to make as of yet, but I have fabric for the 2011 short-sleeved one, and maybe something for the 2012 dress as well.  I do know I want to do something for the holidays next year though, so as of right now I am going to plan on making something fabulous for the next holiday season.

And, that's it!  I am exhausted thinking about it all.  But, also excited.  The only danger is that I might produce a bunch of coats and jackets and not much else.  But, well, if that does happen at least I am cleaning out the stash?  In any case, it should be an exciting year and I can't wait to get sewing!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Year in Review: Sewing in 2012

This has been quite a year for my sewing!  Probably the biggest change this year has been sewing for others.  Well, that and using my sewing challenge to plan out wardrobe style sewing.  Here is a look at my total output:

8 Tops
5 Pants
1 Skirts
3 Dresses
5 Coats, Jackets, Sweaters
15 Skating Costumes (for me)
15 Skating Costumes (for others)

TOTAL = 52

So, wow, that's a lot of sewing!  Overall I was quite pleased with my results this year, and I am really glad I decided to give myself a year-long sewing challenge, even though I didn't have the time to keep up with it in later months.  Anyway, here is what I managed to make for it:

(1) Basic Black Dress (BS-07-2011-131)

(3) Classic Trousers (BS-10-2011-127)

(6) Any Occasion Top (McCall's 6078)

(7) Skirt (BWOF-02-2005-128)

(8) Day Dress (Simplicity 2369)

(10) Sweatsuit Alternative (Simplicity 2369 Top, BS-06-2011-114 Pants)

(Bonus 1) Raincoat (Burda 7360)

(Bonus 2) Wool Coat (Butterick 5685)

(Bonus 5) "Unexpected" Trendy Item (Wide legged trousers - Patrones Extra 10-40)

(Bonus 6) Any Item from my Sewing Plans List (My Image M1003 Cardigan)

Overall I would say my Tim Gunn inspired wardrobe has been mostly a success!  I have worn the grey trousers to the point of needing to repair the crotch seam (yeah, that's how much I wear them), and I have also had a lot of occasion to wear the knit tops.  My long grey cardigan always gets compliments (which is somewhat surprising to me, but, you know, nice) and I have found my raincoat to be useful the few occasions I have had a chance to wear it.  Oddly, though the black dress is one of my favorite items from my challenge, I haven't found any occasions to wear it.  Something that needs to be remedied I think.  As far as non-sewing challenge items go (relatively few this year), I really love my Burda 03-2012-108 dress (pictured with the cardigan above), and I would love to make another.

I also really loved my skating costumes from this year, and wanted to highlight them as well:

I love my figure dress - it was exactly the elegant look I was going for.

My dance dress - possibly my favorite skating dress ever.

As I have been looking through this past year's sewing projects (especially from the sewing challenge) I have been pondering if and what I would want to do for a challenge next year.  On the one hand I am tempted to go back to totally random and capricious sewing, but on the other hand I have been very inspired this year by the various sewing challenges and SWAP plans of other sewing bloggers.  I feel that sewing what I want when I want is fun, but sewing with some sort of wardrobe plan in place is probably more useful for me right now, since I am trying to break away from the jeans and a hoodie uniform of the college student.  I feel like I have made a big step forward and improvement in my wardrobe and dress this year (due to a little guidance and a lot of inspiration from Tim Gunn), but I still have a ways to go overall.  With that in mind I have started making sewing plans for next year, which I am excited to reveal tomorrow!