5 things I realised in 2015, and Happy New Year!!

Happy new YearSewing things, that is…  I’m not talking about the realisation that it’s not enough to eat the play-dough cake – you also have to furnish a gratifyingly loud burp.  I mean, it’s improved my gourmet appreciation of play-dough, but it hasn’t enlightened any other areas of my life…

This is my rounding-off-2015 post, so… deadlines…

2015 hasn’t been a hugely productive year, in sewing terms.  Things like having a full-time job seem to take up so much time, you know?  Having said that, I do have several un-blogged garments – it’s finding the time to take pictures that really stumps me!

Anyway, these are the things I’ve (finally…) realised over the course of the last year:

1:  Stick with what you know (you like)!

I mean, not always – variety being, as it is, the spice of life.  But in the past I’ve never made more than one garment out of any pattern – even the ones that turned out great.  Why on earth not!?  The time-and-effort component of making is vastly reduced when you’ve already worked out the fit, done the muslins, and know you’re happy wearing it out in public.  I really need to take a break from the new and shiny, and make a few more of the things that have become wardrobe staples.

One which has proved itself beyond all doubt (somewhat unexpectedly, given its strong vintage style), is Colette’s Ceylon dress.  Mine languished for a while after its vintage plastic buttons faded in the wash and no longer matched either the fabric or (worse) the thread they were sewn on with.  I recently spent a couple of evenings replacing the buttons (this also involved unpicking and enlarging all 16 buttonholes…) and re-finishing the facings, and have re-discovered the joy of a dress which looks really pretty, but is also super-comfortable.


New buttons :)…

This also applies to pattern companies.  I know there’s a lot of talk about how you can’t expect a pattern to fit your specific body, just as you can’t expect a perfect fit from RTW clothing.  Fact is, in the same way as clothes from New Look fit me well, whereas clothes from *insert any other high street retailer here*  do not, there will always be pattern companies whose starting point suits you better than others.  I trust Colette (wovens) and By Hand London to need very little alteration, whereas after The Tea-Dress Incident, I’m always going to be a little suspicious of Sew Over It.  There are bloggers who swear by them, though, so it just goes to show it’s personal!

2:  Tack it!

If it’s accuracy you’re after, tack it first.  Although I read so many US sewing blogs I really want to call it basting, I’m staying strong for the home nations…

Seriously, it’s so worth it.  You will never regret the 10 minutes you spent tacking that waistband down, when you stitch it in the ditch from the right side, and it’s all perfectly evenly caught on the back, and completely invisible.

3:  Slow down…

Everything turns out better if I take my time over it.  This doesn’t just apply to the actual sewing, but also to the time I allow for planning and decision-making.

3b:  Deadlines suck…

…all the joy out of creating.  They also result in a substantially lower quality item.  I’ve come to realise that the actual act of sewing is rewarding in itself, not just for the product – by rushing to finish for a certain date you cheat yourself of that meditative element.

4:  You can have a large gin & tonic while you’re sewing

But not three.

5:  If you’re going to sew for other people, think really hard…

Either about what exactly it is that they’d love, or whether you should bother at all.  If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know the answer to both those questions.

There’s no point spending hours of your time trying to prove that handmade is best – people either think that, or they don’t.  Don’t give a gift that’s going to make you and them unhappy!  It’s not even as if handmade gifts are cheaper, if you use decent materials.

I’ll be back shortly with my list of to-dos for 2016.  When I say shortly, I obviously mean sometime in the next week.  It will be no surprise that one of them will be to blog more regularly, now will it…

In the meantime, you all have a lovely New Year’s Day1



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