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When you can’t sew…

I’ve been laid up since before New Years with something closely resembling a sinus infection, and I broke my last sewing machine needle sewing a little zippered pouch for a Christmas present, so no new sewing has been going down. 

That’s okay. When you can’t actually sew, you can still prep and research and think about sewing. And you can knit a lot while wearing home sewn comfy things. And I mean knit A LOT. Since New Years, I finished the first sweater I’ve knit for my son, and an ultra warm double layer hat for a friend, and I’m well into the insole of a pair of socks for myself, and it’s only six days into the year!

I did only the most minimal Black Friday/cyber Monday shopping in 2015. I bought over 20 yards of fabric and four indie patterns. I’m really really spendthrift about patterns, but there are some things that I am not ready to screw around with self drafting with. Besides that, there is so much to be learned from well drafted patterns. So, I bit the proverbial bullet and got 20% off to ease my pride.

I’m trying to learn how to sew with knits, so two of the patterns were for knit fabric, the Sallie jumpsuit by Closet Case Files, and the Hudson pants from True Bias. Comfy lounge clothes are an important part of my mom wardrobe, and my preference for dresses has gone out the window as a certain troublemaking toddler tests my modesty with his shenanigans. The Hudson pants can be made more or less casual, ranging from straight up sweats to drapery rayon slacks, and can be worn year round. True Bias even has a hack for modifying the pattern to be a short skirt, which is great versatility for a few years from now. Sallie has multiple neckline options, and can be a maxi dress, a shorter dress, a jumpsuit, or a romper. That’s awesome!

The other two patterns I bought are for the Roscoe blouse by True Bias, which is a simple, pretty, comfy peasant blouse that can also be a dress in various lengths, and the Clare coat by Closet Case Files. I love how simple the blouse is. It is an easy sew  and a shape that I hope is universally flattering. I have a pretty floral crepe I bought specifically to use for the blouse, and it is already cut and ready to go as soon as I get new needles. There is just enough crepe leftover for a new (and improved) tank top this spring. The Clare Coat is a goal. I got rid of my coats over the summer and haven’t had one this winter. Vegas doesn’t get too cold, but it gets cold enough to regret not having a coat, or jacket, or wool sweater, or any of the basic garments normal people (not obsessed with purging and making) have. I want to skill up this year, so the Clare Coat is a project for this spring or summer to ensure I have a coat by next winter. I’m going to do view a, because I LOVE the asymmetric zipper and front. I still have to figure out everything else, though…

I am currently wearing my first pair of Hudson pants. No joke, I’ve worn them almost every day since Christmas, mainly taking them off to shower and throw them in the wash. Straight out of the printer, the pattern was perfect. That has never happened before! I used stretch fleece from my big Black Friday purchase, and have four more pairs cut for myself plus more planned for gifts. Actually, half the fabric I bought was with these two True Bias patterns in mind! 

The last bit of fabrics I bought were for free patterns. I bought stretch lace for Indigo Orchid’s t-shirt underwear pattern, and for Cloth Habit’s Rosy Ladyshorts. Those are both halfway complete, so I don’t know how either will work, but I’m optimistic. I also bought a few yards of rayon stretch jersey for lounge t-shirts. Tessuti has two free patterns available that I like: the Mandy Boat Tee, and Our Fave Top.

So that’s where things stand. Soon, I’ll replace my needles and get some sewing done, but until then, I’ll think and plan and prep for sewing, and finish those socks.


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Here’s to 2016!

2015 was a pretty good year for me. Nothing out of the ordinary happened, good or bad, but it was a steady year of time with family, time at home, and time to create. I took trips, made friends, made some big lifestyle changes, and the like. I also, honestly, went through my first real bout of depression since before my son was born. You see, I’m a painter. You’d never know, because I don’t ever have an opportunity to do it, but creating is something that is deeply engrained in my core identity. Painting, specifically, requires a certain measure of calm and aloneness for me to do, and with a toddler, calm and aloneness just aren’t a part of life. About halfway through the year I had a very strong compulsion to create, and I realized that I had let creativity and making take a backseat to other aspects of life. I spent the second half of the year balancing that out. If I can’t paint, I need to make something, ANYTHING, to feel like a whole person.

This year I made a lot of things, several of which I didn’t share. I learned new things and pushed myself to be better, and I took more time to make for others. Next year I hope to do a lot more of the same. Here are some goals for 2016:

  • I want to paint. Even just once. Even if it isn’t any good.
  • I want to knit more. I find it very calming. I want to make myself a more basic, sturdy, warm and cozy sweater, and I want to tackle something that is considered “advanced”. I also want to do these things before it is too late in the year to enjoy them.
  • I want to try serger sewing. I acquired a lot of knits in November, and I’ve made some work, but I want to have them be better in their finishings.
  • I want to make a jacket. I have a lightweight, 3/4 sleeved jacket I got from a friend, but it isn’t very warm. I want to make another lighter weight jacket for spring and fall, but I also want something much warmer that I can wear next winter. I bought the new Clare coat pattern from Closet Case File Patterns, so maybe that will be my big sewing project for the year.
  • I want to sew more for others. I have a few late Christmas gifts I’m working on for some of my friends and family, and I’m hoping that making for others will force me to slow down and do quality work.
  • I want to finish at least one of the two quilts I started in 2015. I’ve never made a full-sized quilt before, and these need to fit our Cal King bed, so that is going to be quite an undertaking for me.
  • Lastly, I want to get back into the (heavily dreaded) routine of regular exercise. I took a break as I was adjusting to paleo eating, and chaos of the holidays, but this year I need to suck it up and be better.
  • I want to enjoy and wear the things I make. If they don’t fit right, I want to fix them and learn from them. If they fall apart, I want to learn from that as well. If I’m taking time to make things, I want to spend time using them.

That’s a somewhat vague list of goals, I know. I don’t have specific patterns or techniques listed. Of course, I HAVE specific patterns and techniques I’d like to use, but I’m not going to get myself stuck on that as much as in the past. I want to just make, and make well, and make myself better at the things I do and make along the way.

My final note on 2015 is this sweater:

I finished it between Thanksgiving and Christmas and was able to wear it both for Christmas and most of New Years Eve. It is a disaster. The yarn was cursed (maybe bugs at some point, or maybe just not as high quality as I thought when I bought it) and seems to dissolve and break as I breathe. I’ve probably got a dozen or more knots throughout, trying to mend holes. I don’t care. I love it! I plan on wearing it until it is a wreck and won’t stay on my shoulders anymore. I also plan on making it again with a sturdier yarn, maybe something with some silk for strength (and because silk is so fancy). I’m really proud of it. It isn’t a sewing make, but it is my favorite make of the year.

So here’s to 2016, and all the beauty and usefulness it will bring!!

Happy New Year!