Friday, 30 December 2011

On Reflection and being totally Honest

For those of you who read my blog on an RSS you may (or may not!) be interested to know that I have recently updated and streamlined my ‘I Made This’ page showing all the projects I have made (more or less) since I started blogging. Since the end of the year is nearing, I thought it would be a suitable time to tidy it up, and it also gave me a chance to reflect on what I have achieved this year.
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On the plus side, I have been more productive than the last two year and I do have a few projects that I am particularly pleased with, my favourite being my Crescent skirt (left). I have worn this a fair bit since making it, and even when the weather cooled down (ha, sounds like we had a heat wave during the Summer…we did not!), it works well with tights and boots. I don’t, however, love the fabric it is made of. As much as I love how cheap Ikea fabric is, you get what you pay for and you only have to so much as look at this fabric and it starts to crease!


I also liked my jersey Fireworks skirt (right). But I have to admit, this is completely down to the fabric. The construction of the skirt is basic to say the least and it’s a skirt that I wouldn’t let anyone who knew how to sew get too close to, for fear they may see my shoddy work (more on this topic later). But saying that, I have got some wear out of it, and again it works well with tights and boots for colder weather.

The make that gets me the most compliments when I wear it is definitely my woollen tartan dress (left, sorry the photo isn’t the best). I have to say this is probably the project I am most proud of. I learnt a lot of new techniques and I think I shocked and impressed my mum that I actually ended up with a nice looking dress (probably the main way I gauge whether a project is a success or not – I know, that’s not good, but she is a hard nut to please!). I made this in my sewing class last year, and finished it off at the start of this year. It was great to be able to use the serger/overlocker in the sewing school, so all my edges look so lovely and neat and tidy, and my teacher was able to give me lots of tips on cutting out and lining up the tartan. BUT, we didn’t have time in the class to do a muslin, so the size I cut out was too big. This was easy to fix for the skirt, but the straps and bust are too big and I’m not in love with the fit up there. I now know that the ‘Big 4’ pattern companies always have too much ease in their sizing and I know to cut smaller – so I guess it’s all part of the learning experience.


I really enjoyed the challenge of making my Midnight Lace dress (right) – taking apart a cheapy dress from Primark and refashioning it into a (hopefully) much nicer dress. From afar, and in photos, I think this dress looks fantastic and I’m so pleased with how it turned out. BUT, once you get up close and personal with it, you can see that the inside is messy and the sizing is wrong. I have never worn this dress out in ‘real life’ because 1) I don’t really have an occasion to wear this and 2) I don’t want people seeing my shoddy work! But as I said, it was fun to challenge myself with this project, and again, I did learn some new skills.

black handbagB&W_ikea_shoulder_bag2girlsbag 004Everything else this year (apart from a couple of tops and some pj bottoms) has been an accessory – mainly bags. I’ve mentioned on the blog before that I would like to start making bags to sell, but unfortunately I haven’t got my ass in gear soon enough and have yet to make enough to open a little shop. I do plan on doing this in the new year (I’ve even booked off leave in January which I plan to use just for sewing!). But judging by the stats and comments on bags that I post about, they aren’t really of that much interest to my current audience. That’s fine, and it’s something that I’m address in the new year also (hopefully!).
So that’s the ‘reflection’ now let’s be ‘honest’. All in all I’m a bit underwhelmed by what I’ve made this year. All of the projects are OK, but there is nothing that I am really proud to say I’ve made. I mentioned earlier that there are some of my makes that I’m happy enough with from afar, but don’t want people looking too close at it and inspecting my work! Does anyone else find that when you say you have made something to someone, they automatically star inspecting it closely and examine the stitching and construction in great detail? OK, it’s great that they are taking an interest, but I get very self conscious and start making excuses for my work. I know that is ridiculous, and compared to a lot of the RTW stuff you find on the high street, the work is better  and should last longer (erm, except for my lovely Pendrell top which frayed – booo). The thing is that I read a lot (A LOT) of other sewing blogs and there are so many amazingly talented sew-ers (hyphening so that I’m not calling you sewers!) out there that I can’t help but compare myself and my journey into sewing with theirs. So many of you have come leaps and bounds since you first started sewing and I am in awe of the gorgeous things you are able to churn out now. And a lot of you are so meticulous with your construction, making sure that even the inside looks as beautiful as the outside. I admire you and aspire to sew like that. But it got me thinking the other day…I have a pile of UFOs and un-started projects in my sewing room that I am putting off…and I was wondering why I’m not cracking on with them. They aren’t overly difficult projects but there must be something that is holding me back. And I have come to the conclusion that the main reason is I’m scared of messing it up and producing a sub-standard garment. For example, I am half way through making a Jenny skirt with an invisible zip. But it’s just lying there, waiting for me to get back to working on it. And that’s because I’m not happy with how I inserted the zip and want to go back and fix it. To be completely honest, my main thought was “oh no, I can’t show that on the blog, it’s not good enough!”. This is ridiculous, and I know it’s ridiculous, but yet it’s the truth.
So. 2012. A new year. A chance to change my attitude and come back fighting. Who care's if it’s not good enough to be displayed in the V&A, so long as it doesn’t come apart while I’m wearing it, and I like what it looks like, that should be all that matters. This should all be about me (yep, let’s be honest – blogs are very self indulgent things) and about me learning new skills, not comparing myself to other people.
And on that note, I have some plans for 2012. I’ll share them with you next year Winking smile
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