A new year and a new fresh start; this goes for sewing too. In 2017 I feel that my sewing skills developed but that my development was somewhat aimless, just picking projects on a whim and only completing randomly (the easier the garment the more likely it was to be finished). I learned a lot in terms of technique and skill from watching videos, and I took part in my first sewing workshop when I made the Necessary Clutch Wallet with Sian from Kittenish Behaviour. I also ran my own sewing group in the evening, which was well attended but proved too difficult alongside full time work and a chronic health condition.
This year I want to do a lot more, working slowly towards sewing being my bread and butter, and be very determined in the projects I take on. With this in mind, here is my 10 re-sew-lutions for 2018:
Complete at least two challenges
Last year I signed up for quite a few challenges but never saw them through. Some times I did make the things but not within the timeframe so never shared them. Despite my best intentions, life got in the way. So this year I am going to complete at least two challenges and get super organised. I wont leave things to the last minute and I will set a timeframe in a ‘to-do’ app on my phone. The two challenges I have in mind are #sewmystyle2018 and #makenine. Together that is 21 garments in itself, which at roughly 2 per month is more than enough for me to commit to with everything else I have going on. I will take part in other challenges that come up which take my fancy but they are not set in stone at this stage.
Journal all of my makes
I’ve had my blog Penguin & Pear for a couple of years now and my interest in it has peaks and troughs. I will talk about this in a near-future post but my self esteem stops me from posting pictures of myself wearing my makes. If you look back through my catalogue of posts you will see few and far between pictures of myself. A lot of this is centred around my weight gain since getting ill but is something I want to combat. This will begin with journaling all of my makes – with pictures of me wearing them where possible. In 2018, you will see more of my makes and more photos of me wearing them.
Hone my fitting skills
Last year I began fitting garments to fit my figure. As a plus size I have to grade anyway and fitting becomes part of that. I did buy the Palmer-Pledge book that everyone recommends but found tissue fitting too difficult on my own. So in order to fit I tend to make a toile and go from there. Last year I attempted to make the Rue dress from Colette Patterns and had a complete nightmare with fitting. I made 7 toiles. Yes, SEVEN. And ended up giving up that dress and fitting in general. I’d contacted Colette who assisted but I became so impatient that I put it in that pile and returned to more simple makes. I felt somewhat better when a little while later Colette came out and admitted their pattern drafting was not up to standard with that design and lots of people had fitting issues. The truth is though that I was at best guessing what to do to fix the fitting issues and didn’t really know where to begin. I am glad to say that I do now have a much better idea and would like to return to this dress at some point. I’ve taken Craftsy classes and watched other videos, so I now feel confident in what I need to do; I just need to put it into action. So this year I want to practice fitting both on myself and others.
Develop basic skills
I was watching a youtube video (channel Gentleman Jim) where the tailor said there are three techniques to master and everything else will follow. Those are: sewing in a straight line, pockets and zips. I think I am there with those things (though I have never sewn a welt pocket) but just want to take time with my projects and hone the skills I already have. I want to become a really good dressmaker – I’m happy to sew less garments if it means sewing them well.
Create my own blocks
I’ve made a couple of attempts at creating my own blocks in the past – the process is simple enough – but there was added challenges being plus sized. This year I want to take the time to develop these and get them to a point that I am happy with them. I can then make my own designs and use the blocks to reference patterns I am using. I will make bodice, skirt and trouser blocks. I’m particularly interested in the trouser block as I currently avoid trouser patterns because the potential fit issues intimidate me.
Draft my first pattern
Its been a long term goal of mine to design, develop and release patterns of my own. I don’t feel at this stage, or up until now, that I’ve had the skills necessary to do that and want to spend time perfecting my skills. I mentioned earlier that I have taken some Craftsy classes – in fact I have signed up to their subscription service so have access to all of their back catalogue. This means I have been taking lots of classes in developing slopers and designing clothes. This year I want to bite the bullet and design my first pattern which I will release for free.
Find more time to sew
I get eternally frustrated at the little time I have available to sew. I work full time and due to my chronic health issues by the time I get home from work, I literally fall into bed and am incapable of doing anything else until the next morning when I have to go to work again. The weekends are my time to sew but even then I have to take it easy and not overdo it (some weekends I dont make it out of bed at all) – plus there are other priorities too. The long short of it is I want to make sewing more of a priority. Currently it will mean planning ahead – allocating half an hour each evening to do some cutting out, or sticking PDFs together, or stitching the odd side seam. Moving forward, as a long term plan (and I am not sure when this will happen – possibly not in the next year) I would like to work part time and allocate more generous time to sewing.
Record Youtube videos
Some of you may know that for some time now I have wanted to publish Youtube videos. I am a massive watcher or Youtube sewing videos – it gives me something to do when I am resting in bed. I would like to penetrate that community by creating videos talking and showing my makes. However, and this is something I will discuss in more depth in an up and coming post – I have debilitating self esteem issues and the idea of putting a video of myself online for all to judge a really scary prospect. I’m aware it is my own issues and something I need to overcome, so I am putting uploading youtube videos as a goal for this year. A secret not many know is that I have recorded a couple but just not published them. So this year I will do this. I will.
Teach others basic dressmaking skills
I would eventually like to teach people new to sewing, how to make basic clothes. This is something that will come into play when I get part time work as its not really possible for me to give teaching the focus it needs presently. I know I have knowledge and skills to pass on to others and if I can make that initial step into garment making a bit easier than I found it, then I would like to do that.
Sell sewing makes at a craft fare
I did a craft fare a few years ago when I was selling my jewellery designs, and the stall next to mine was selling sewing makes. I remember feeling in awe of her because she had such fantastic sewing skills and I hadnt yet entered this field. This year I want to make that a reality. I will make things – not necessarily dressmaking – to sell and sell them at a fare.