It’s that time of year: Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow is hosting her annual Top 5 event, a chance to look back at your sewing year and evaluate yourself. Last year I wrote just one post evaluating my “year”, but I’m breaking 2016 into a handful of posts: my hits and misses of the year, a round-up of how my Sew 16 goals turned out, and today: my reflections on the year and plans for the future.
Towards the end of 2016 I made some major changes to what and how I sew. When fall came and I had to put away my summer dresses (one of my hits of 2016), I found myself in a wardrobe slump – I’m perfectly happy with my uniform of skirt+top+cardigan every day, but somehow I just couldn’t put together me-made outfits that made me happy. Gradually I realized why:
Above is a picture of fabric scraps from everything I’ve sewn in the past few years. Below are the fabrics of the garments I wear most often and really enjoy wearing.
See the difference? The things I like to sew were not the things I like to wear. I like to sew bright colors, flowery prints, crisp cottons, flowing Marcy-Tilton-style dresses and tunics, look-at-me original garments. I like to wear black and navy, solid colors and muted textures, knits, fitted garments, blend-into-the-background garments. So the first mindset I changed was to replace “I want to sew that!” with “I want to wear that!”
In a similar vein, I need to plan better that I want to sew, and plan how it will fit into my existing wardrobe. I was greatly inspired by The Vivienne Files and used her series of posts about building a wardrobe from scratch to make up an imaginary capsule wardrobe for myself, based on the pieces I wear most anyway. Going through the steps was a great way of evaluating what I have, planning how I can wear it, and seeing what is missing.
Now that I have a plan, I’ve been making steady progress on it. And it’s a great feeling knowing that instead of sewing garments, I’m sewing a wardrobe.
One thing I like about The Vivienne Files’ approach to wardrobe building is the idea of “core” sets in the same color. If I have a selection of tops, skirts, cardigan, dresses, etc in a single color, then a garment in an accent color becomes much easier to wear. But it means that first I should focus on building up my core sets, and then later add in the accent pieces. Instead of buying interesting fabrics – you know, those ones that catch your eye with their unusual colors and then sit in the stash unused for years – I need to buy fabrics in my core colors.
Likewise, I should be less hesitant about sewing duplicates of garments I know I like and wear. Instead of “I already have a black skirt!” I should try “Would a longer / slimmer / more formal black skirt be equally useful?”
My last resolution has to do with quality of garments, and letting things go when they’ve done their duty. Those boots with the little tiny I-can-pretend-invisible-but-not-really holes at the heel, that top with the hem falling down, that stretched-out sweater with pills… I wouldn’t give them to a friend or consider them nice enough for donation, so what am I doing putting them on my body? I rarely feel good wearing ratty clothes, so I’m changing my mindset from “Is this nice enough for me to wear?” to “Is this nice enough that I would loan it to a friend without shame?”
So those 5 mindsets are my main goals for the future. I’m curious to see where my wardrobe will be a year from now! As for concrete sewing plans, here’s my montage for Lucky Lucille’s #2017makenine:
See you in 2017!