I pride myself in being a really positive person, but I’m also a realist. I always look forward to the New Year because I love the feeling of a fresh start, setting new goals, and reflecting on my accomplishments, but I have a confession to make… I don’t like end of the year blog roundups.
I mean, I like them in theory. I like to read them on other blogs, I like to see what other people made because it inspires me, but I always find myself comparing my work to the work of others. Even when those people are my friends and I’m proud of what they did! I’m still always judging myself. I can’t think of anything more detrimental to a fresh new year than that. I’ve negated all my happy/proud feelings with feelings of guilt and disappointment. “I could have sewn more things”, “I should have used nicer fabrics”, “I need to pay more attention to fit”, “Maybe I should buy a new serger so my seams look better” blah blah blah. Maybe you’re saying some of these things to yourself right now about me. Well let me tell you something – You really shouldn’t.
Because here’s the thing. I don’t LOVE any of the things I made in 2013. I just don’t. There’s a long list of reasons why that is, and I’m going to list them here so I can hear myself say them out loud (so to speak). So I can admit that I made a lot of mistakes, not because I’m simply human, but because I consciously set myself up to fail when attempting to meet my own expectations.
Let me explain what I mean:
- The biggest reason I’m not truly happy with anything I made is the fact that nothing actually fits me well. The reason why nothing fits me is because I skipped any and all preemptive fitting steps. For example: no muslins or “toiles”, no measuring of pattern pieces, no fitting as I sewed.
- Because I knew I’d be skipping any test fit with muslin I bought cheap, poor quality fabric so it wouldn’t feel like a loss when my final garment didn’t fit.
- I took on more deadlines than I wanted to and therefore felt like I was sewing for someone else and not for me on many occasions. I rushed these projects just to get them over with so I could blog about them and move on.
- I failed to realize that I basically wear the exact same thing everyday, my uniform of sorts, but I rarely sewed anything remotely close to that uniform. Thus, I made a lot of stuff I never wear.
- 2013 was the year I gave up my serger for pinking shears because it was the most “period correct” for the 1940s seamstress. Well turns out I hate the way pinked seams look. I completely ignored the fact that industrially serged garments existed in the 30s (I know because I have a pair of NRA made jodhpurs with serged seams) AND I have many vintage sewing books from the 1940s that outline page after page of seam finishes from that era, and pinking shears are at the bottom of the list. I don’t care that I have a fancy boutique factory-made 1950s party dress with pinked seams. I don’t care that Sears and Roebuck sold WWII era garments with pinked seams and that was an acceptable standard for ready-made clothing. I don’t care – I Don’t. Like. Pinked. Seams.
I thought if I made more things in 2013 than I did in 2012, I was bound to make something I really liked and would want to make again and again. I didn’t. Quantity did not better my odds of finding the elusive “TNT” (tried and true) pattern that I really need as a wardrobe staple.
So I have this idea. I’m challenging myself to pick only twelve patterns to sew from in 2014. I’m going to blog about the process from start to finish including my pattern choice, my inspiration, my fabric shopping adventures, my fitting trials and tribulations, any alterations I make, and of course I will share the finished project as I normally do. I can make these 12 patterns as many times as I want, with variations after the initial pattern is perfected, but I have to sew at least one pattern a month and LOVE the final result. I don’t mean perfect by definition, I mean perfect as in: it fits me, I’ll wear it all the time, and I’m proud of it inside and out.
Why? Because WHY do I sew if I’m not wearing anything I make? What is the point? Clearly I love sewing and it’s become my livelihood, but I feel like sewing just to get a blog post out of it and nothing else is really dishonest. It doesn’t feel right.
I’m still working out the logistics of this whole challenge in my head, but I figure I’ll have more time to blog about other non-sewing related things in between my projects. I love history as much as sewing and I have so many vintage magazines and books that I would love to share here. I also want to blog about more simple outfit posts that aren’t related to sewing at all. They’ll feature things I made, but sewing doesn’t need to be the focus 100% the time. I have SO MANY tutorials that I meant to do this year and it just didn’t happen.
All the non-sewing posts will most likely be 1940s related because that’s the era I’m most passionate about, but 2014 is going to be the year that I become a better seamstress by sewing LESS.
I’ll be back soon with my official 12-Pattern plan of action, but this is where I stand right now on the brink of a fresh start.
Here’s to 2014.