Sunday, 15 May 2016

Thoughts on sewing and having less stuff

This isn't a post with a new project in it - it's for me to marshal my thoughts on having too much stuff and how that relates to sewing/crafting/ making (for me at least).

Like a lot of other bloggers (Katie blogged about it here) I read and enjoyed the Marie Kondo book (not an affiliate link so click away!). I was inspired to start clearing out quite a lot of stuff, starting with my wardrobe as she suggests. She says this is a good place to start as you aren't so emotionally attached to your clothes. I'm not sure this is true of people who make most of their clothes but I actually didn't find it hard. 

The pile of clothes that went to charity (and even prior to this I went through stuff fairly regularly - I wouldn't say that this was years worth of clutter that was purged):

A year on, my wardrobe still looks much like it did and my drawers have never been tidier! Its far easier to keep my clothes in order and see what i have.

Since then i have worked my way through books, CDs, fabric and notions, make up and toiletries and paperwork. My husband and daughter are both complete hoarders so i am still working on them although hubby is coming around to it, seeing how much tidier the house is! We have no junk drawers any more and have got rid of a couple of pieces of furniture we just don't need for storage anymore.

Doing this totally hit my sew-jo for a long time though. I don't want to be making 5 new garments a month so I have stuff to blog about and filling my wardrobe back up again.

So i have come up with a plan of how I reconcile my new "less stuff" outlook with the need to still make things.

Unselfish sewing - I have been making more for the small person - costumes, dresses and leggings. I am also planning a jacket for hubby (belated birthday present since he couldn't make his mind up on the colour!).

I am thinking more about what I wear day to day and what I need to fill in wardrobe gaps or to replace things that are wearing out.

I am shopping the stash rather than buying fabric. When I culled a lot of clutter I went through my stash. There wasn't much i got rid of but I love everything left  in there and want to wear it rather than look at it on a shelf!

The same applies to patterns. Rather than jumping at every newly released pattern, I am trying to see if I could adapt something already in the stash to make something similar.

Following on from that, I want to remake more patterns. I have so many that I love and have done all of the tracing adjustments and muslining for but only ever made one version. It's a better use of my limited sewing time to spend less time on the preparation and fitting and more time on the fun sewing bit!

I have never been that keen on making underwear but its.a great way to open up new avenues for sewing, use up scraps and develop new skills!

Instead of rushing through to the end to have a new garment to wear, i will be doing a bit more thoughtful and slower sewing. This will he another way to improve my skills.

I don't normally adhere to the blogging commandment of asking a question at the end of a blog post to encourage comments but I am interested to know what you think! Is minimalism/decluttering just a current first world fad? Have you been inspired by it? Had it changed your outlook on sewing or sewing behaviour?

If you are interested to learn more here are some blogs i have added to my reader as well as the book linked to above:
The Minimalists
Becoming Minimalist
Miss Minimalist
Be More With Less
Zen Habits

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Texan flower frock

So its been a while!

As part of my MeMadeMay pledge (to wear totally me made except underwear), I added that I wanted to make 4 new garments and write 4 blog posts. I always find that however much I enjoy doing something, sometimes I need a push to do it if I haven't done it in a while!

I have been getting into the whole decluttering/ minimalism thing recently (I have marshalled my thoughts into a separate post to come) but overall I want to use patterns and fabric I have already rather than buying more. So this uses a piece of fabric i bought from Joanns when I was in Dallas last year. I met up with Brooke from Custom Style and she kindly took me shopping (and burrito eating), armed with loads of coupons so I could take full advantage of the cheap prices vs the UK.

This is a quilting cotton in a gorgeous dark floral print.  The selvage says it is a Joanns exclusive. I don't have an issue with quilting cotton for dresses but I have generally used "designer" ones. This is definitely less good quality than those. It's much stiffer and I found a few flaws in it (after i had cut unfortunately!). So it needed a pattern that didn't need drape and I chose the Deer and Doe Belladone which i picked up in their Black Friday sale back in November. The a-line skirt works fine in the stiffer fabric.

I didn't realise the hands on waist was causing  back wrinkles and hubby obv didn't notice (grr bad bloggerhusband)

I may be the only blogger who has made this up with the plain back! I had intended to make the open back version but when I muslined I wasn't sure that it was very me. I might make another version for summer with the open back though.

I did my usual round of alternations - a small FBA, lengthening the bodice by 1.5", lowering the bust darts by 1" and lengthening  the skirt by 2". After muslining I lowered the bust darts another 1".  
In the final version, the bodice could probably be 1" longer and the skirt would hit slightly closer to the knee. However it is totally wearable as is and I'll make this change on future versions.

Ignore derpface please

Sorry for the phone pics in this post. On the day we took these we went to Windsor, hubby brought his Go Pro and assured me the pics would be brilliant. However if you have ever seen your backside in a fisheye lens, you'll realise why people normally use them for landscapes! So back up phone photos it is!