Saturday, January 4, 2014

Zen and the Art of Sewing

The Blue Ribbon Dress - Simplicity 3673 with Alterations

I have been thinking about my handmade uniform since Rochelle shared her refreshing post examining her sewing success for 2013.  She mentioned that although she was productive in 2013, very few of her makes actually fit in with her daily uniform.

During the warm weather, my uniform is a dress or a skirt and top, depending on my mood.  Cardigans are a mainstay no matter the weather.  Cold weather brings out layers under dresses and skirts, as well as jumpers and trousers.  In reviewing the dresses in my handmade wardrobe, I use six main patterns: Colette Patterns Pastille, Peony, and Hazel; Lady Skater Dress, Simplicity 1873, and Simplicity 3673. I love all the dresses I have made using these and wear them often.  I will often combine elements of one pattern with another for a different look.  Sticking to my love of 1950's fashion, I switched out the skirts in the Colette Patterns to gathered ones.

Ruby Belle Monkey Pinafore Dress (gift from Roisin) and thrifted jumper

My skirt collection revealed three favourites: Butterick 5763, McCall's 5590, and the Lady Skater skirt. I bought myself a copy of McCall's 5590 after I saw Zoe`s yellow sailor skirt; it requires minimal fabric and goes together quickly and easily. Butterick 5763 has been used to make circle skirts, as well as the wrap skirt, as intended.  The Lady Skater makes a nice half circle skirt and I've already sewn two versions, with a third waiting.

Tops and blouses had an equally small number of patterns and a large number of multiples: Colette Patterns Jasmine, Sewaholic Renfrew, and Simplicity 4179.  The Peter Pan collar on the Simplicity blouse appeals to my love of 1950's aesthetic.  Altering the sleeve length on all these patterns makes them very versatile.

Smurftastic Dress - Simplicity 3673

I love all of these patterns.  They yield lovely garments that I wear regularly and the process of sewing them is relaxing and enjoyable.  I think that sometimes, as creative people, we can get caught up in the challenge of a new process and lose sight of why we are actually doing it in the first place.  I know it has happened to me. I also find that I can get overwhelmed by the sheer choice available and can become stymied.  I think this had an affect on my blogging for the latter half of 2013; I just didn't know where to start or what to say about what I made once I finally got around to making something.

My goal this year is to resist buying patterns I know I will not sew.  I have a perfectly excellent stash - fabric, yarn, and patterns - that I intend to make significant dent into this year. 

After all, there's nothing wrong with a uniform, is there?


Helen said...

Great post! It sounds like you have a nice collection of lovely and versatile patterns. Well done on not giving in to temptation! Although, have you seen the Emery dress by Christine Haynes? It is quite 50's, so might suit your style - and it has a Peter Pan collar option!

Claire Cooper said...

Some lovely patterns as your uniform. I love dresses and jeans, but have to be business smart for work - yuk. I think I need some new uniforms!

Rochelle New said...

Great plans! I can't wait to see your new versions of some old favorites :)

I am totally guilty of getting caught up and overwhelmed with the creative process. That's another reason why I'm limiting my sewing choices so much this year.

Best of luck in 2014!

p.s. I love the new blog look!

Andrea said...

I love your dresses, and enjoy seeing multiple variations on the same pattern. I also like the idea of a uniform -- for many of us, it's comfortable, but I also think it can appeal to others too ... in a way it helps people understand who we are. And we always have the freedom to branch out when the opportunity is right!

Vicki Kate said...

First of all, I adore the new look to your blog. It's very you, if that makes sense!
I really enjoyed reading your development of Rochelle's post and how you can use the idea as a springboard. I think her post resonated with a lot of us.
Here's to a more focused and considered 2014! said...

I love that "to resist what I will not sew". It's very easy to get swept away by what everyone else is making.
I have been doing my best not to buy the Anna dress, it looks good on everyone, but I know it just won't work for my shape.
I look forward to seeing what you make in 2014

Miss Crayola Creepy said...

You are so lucky to have so many awesome patterns that you can turn to at any time :)

Love the new look on your blog!

Sarah said...

@Helen - I do like the Emery dress but, as I have several similar patterns, I'm worried I may not sew it.

@Claire - Go for it!

@Rochelle - Thanks, doll!

@Andrea - I agree!

@Vicki Kate - Thank you, my dear!

@Lizzy - I love the Anna dress, but have been resisting, too. I have enough patterns to hack my own version if I want to.

@MissCrayola - I am very lucky! I think that is part of where my choice of limiting myself comes from - a sense of feeling a bit spoiled and slightly greedy :S

char said...

OMG Smurf dress?!

I want to expand my pattern collection, I have been making Simplicity 2444 over and over again lately, but I want to try something new. I gave New Look 6223 a go last week, but I'm not a huge fan of it.
I'm thinking of giving the Emery a go this week, but making it with a gathered skirt instead of the one on the pattern as Roisin and Sarah's recent ones are fab.

Sarah said...

I am just about ready to dive in and make my own Emery! Woo hoo!

Sarah said...

Thank you, doll! I am hoping to sew more of my dress patterns this year.

Sarah said...

I've picked up the Anna pattern simply because I love how Roisin makes hers with a full knee-length skirt. It is hard to resist popular patterns, though!

Sarah said...

Thank you so much! I do love my 1950's blog makeover :)

Sarah said...

I agree! I am comfortable in my 'uniform' and plan to branch out if and when it feels right :) I've already sewn two Laurel dresses this year, which is a new silhouette for me.

Sarah said...

Thank you, sweet pea! I am really enjoying your 12 pattern challenge :)

Sarah said...

LOL! I am lucky to work in an environment where my dresses are acceptable.

Sarah said...

I love the Emery dress and am looking forward to sewing my own dresses from it!

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