Five Sewing Goals for 2015
I'm having an incredibly hard time summing up this past year, especially when I'm reflecting on my creative endeavors. I think it’s partly because time flies when you’re doing what you love. So despite the fact that I made more items of clothing this year than I have in my entire life, I felt as though I spent literally just minutes behind my sewing machine.
In the last 365 days Steve and I dove headfirst into Indiesew, and I was handed the opportunity to sew two to three days per week...for my job. My soul rejoiced, as my days sewing flew by. With every garment finished, my sewing ability slowly transitioned from reluctant-intermediate to advanced-and-proud-of-it. I learned how to insert an invisible zipper on the first try. I started using the right sewing needle for every project. I spent hours upon hours shopping for just the right fabric for our samples.
But that doesn’t mean I still don’t have sewing challenges, or areas where I’d like more practice. In fact, I'd say that the areas where I'd like more practice have exponentially increased. Two years ago, elastic waist skirts were enough for me. Today the world of sewing techniques is wide open. I'm more aware of what skills I don't have and I feel like I have a huge mountain of techniques to conquer. Corset sewers...I'm looking at you.
So, alas, here are my sewing goals for 2015. Because if I don’t write them down, I likely won't think about them again till next December.
1. Become a fabric aficionado
Fabric is one of the elements of sewing that I know least about. Since my early twenties, my sewing hobby has been centered around thrifting fabric or buying what’s on the clearance rack. I still have a hard time avoiding a screaming fabric deal, even if I know the fabric will never work for a single project.
And while I do think it’s best to learn to sew using inexpensive materials, I’m beginning to understand how the quality of the fabric you use is just as important as sewing techniques you employ in garment making. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours on a fitted dress and realizing the fabric drapes totally wrong.
So, in 2015 I want to learn about fabric blends, stretch percentages and, in general, be able to correctly identify fabric types with just a quick touch. I want to learn exactly what kind of sweater knits are best for a project, or how much lycra my leggings need to have. Luckily, you all will get to accompany me on this fabric learning journey! We’re starting a new fabric blog series in the new year that will hopefully leave us all feeling a little more confident shopping in our fabric stores.
2. Slow Down
This past year, my sewing projects have been based on what often felt like impossibly tight deadlines. Typically, I'd realize I needed to get something sewn up by the end of the day, and would race to get the pattern ready and completed. This often resulted in subpar fabric choices (no time to run to the fabric store!) and leaving out the best details like seam finishes or linings. (The sliver lining? I can now get a pattern printed and taped together in roughly fifteen minutes. It's the little victories.)
This year, I’m striving to slow down, at least for the majority of what I’m sewing. I’m hoping to show you a technique or two for every garment I’m sewing so that the information is directly applicable to patterns you might be thinking of buying. I will always love sewing the Lane Raglan, because I know I can get it done in under an hour. But for those garments with lots of details, I'm vowing to take my time and enjoy the process.
3. Get the Necessary Tools
While I would consider my sewing setup mostly complete, there are still some tools that are missing from my supplies. Tools like a tailor's ham and clapper are much needed. A coverstitch machine is also high on the list of needed equipment.
That being said, I'm a total advocate of beginner sewists starting with only what they need. If you're brand new to sewing you should check out our blog post, Seven Steps to Start Your Sewing Hobby. In that post we cover which supplies you'll definitely want to start sewing, and those that can wait.
4. Get creative with the entire process
Sewing is my passion and gives me the perfect creative outlet to express my style. Sewing is my therapy. But sometimes it can be easy to follow the crowd. It's tempting to buy the same fabrics, and create clothing so similar to everybody else. I'm passing no judgement, as I tend to like a nice "inspiration piece" (i.e. I'm making the exact same thing) to base my creations on from time to time.
But I'm ready to step a bit outside what feels comfortable. This year I want to think outside the box. I want to print my own apparel fabrics and pair them with unexpected elements like hardware and piping. I want to be intentional about my style and rock what I sew even if it is a little “weird”.
Following the pack, especially in such an engaged sewing community, is such a great way to gain confidence as a beginner and intermediate sewist. Now, after several years enjoying the hobby I’m excited to see how I can transform my personal brand through sewing. Sewing and textiles are the core of my passions, so I’m ready to take a leap into my own designs.
5. Try New Things
I too often fall into the trap of saying things like, “I don’t quilt.” or “I only sew with knits”. And while I do think it’s important to know what type of sewing I enjoy best, sometimes, by saying these things over and over I’m creating an inner dialogue that just isn’t true. Yes I do really enjoy sewing knit garments, but one of my most enjoyable makes this year was the Envelope Clutch. Sure, handbag hardware scares the shiz out of me, but sewing the Retro Rucksack had me wanting to make ten more.
I'm setting the goal to sew one item per month that isn’t totally my jam. I'd like to venture into men's clothing, into sewing jeans, and maybe even just work more woven fabrics into my stash. I'm hoping by doing this my confidence as a sewist will increase a bit more. I want to be an expert on garment sewing, not just the expert on sewing knit tops.
What Are Your Goals?What sewing goals are you making for 2015? Are you working towards eliminating your fabric stash? Do you want to learn more about fit? We want to know what will make 2015 your best sewing year yet! Leave a comment and tell us what you want to learn!
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