We’re back with part 2 of K’s 2014 Handmade Wardrobe! Let’s jump right in:
Galaxy Maxi (sewn in July, but posted much later)
A Groovy Kind of Dress
Big Joey Dresses (Grey + Red stripes / Animal Print)
The Classic Combo
See Part 1 here — at some point I might create a collage with all the clothes of 2014 together.
Grand total for the latter half of 2014 was 30 garments. Compared to last year? 58. Which comes out to 66 (2014) vs 129 (2013) for the grand, grand total. Hmmmm. Even 66 items sound like a ton of clothes, and when you consider that she still fits into the majority of the stuff I’ve made in the last couple of years…well, as you can imagine, her closet and dresser are packed to the gills.
What was awesome this year #1: I really focused on clothes that I knew K would like and as a result, she’s worn almost everything I’ve made regularly. Major win.
What was not awesome this year #1: Because I focused on clothes that I knew K would like, I often felt more like a custom tailor and less like the fashion designer I’d fancied myself in the past. Although I tried to inject my own taste into the clothes as much as possible, most of the items I sewed were dictated by K’s preferences, which meant a lot of animal print. Y’all know how I feel about animal print.
What was awesome this year #2: I’m a knits-sewing samurai at this point, and have zero fear of the stretchy substrate. I would love to own a coverstitch machine one day for that extra professional look since I dislike twin needles, but I can live with my zig zag stitches.
What was not awesome this year #2: I felt like I didn’t challenge myself much. Sure, there were some fake fur projects thrown in there, and that rain jacket material was no walk in the park, and okay, the skinny jeans pushed my sewing skills. Still, I want to up my game and try more advanced methods and professional-grade finishes. I want to try silk and chiffon and leather and crazy complicated plackets. Architectural details. Hong Kong seams. This makes me think of a lovely woman I met recently, who owns a great shop here in Seattle. She creates her own line of children’s clothes and her skills are impeccable. Her background is in bridal wear, but when she told me, “I can sew…well, anything,” (in a totally non-braggy way), I knew I wanted to be able to say the same. Still not quite there.
What was awesome this year #3: Even after almost two-and-a-half years of sewing pretty much every week for K, I still love it love it love it. Despite my grumbles about embarking on yet another leopard print outfit, I find myself slipping into that comforting meditative state when I cut the fabric, pin them together and position the pieces under the presser foot. And then the hum of the sewing machine starts (interspersed with the jarring roar of the serger which is less Zen), all the while I listen to an audiobook or whatever podcast I’m enthralled with at the moment…there’s nothing like it.
What was not awesome this year #3: As I mentioned, I’m still struggling with the best way to practice my sewing without creating this extravaganza of a wardrobe that only a former shopaholic could produce. The obvious answer would be to sew for other people or focus on home decor/accessories or open a shop of some sort. Through trial and error, though, what I’ve discovered is that the particular combination of sewing clothes for K is what makes my heart go pitter patter. To get even more specific, it’s creating the clothes that suit my taste in K’s size that I find completely inspiring. This poses an added layer of challenge as K’s opinions and tastes become stronger and more distinct from mine. And though I love making clothes for myself and I’m also leaps and bounds more comfortable stitching up things for other people, it’s oddly not as satisfying. Making clothes for K will always remain my favorite type of sewing.
Oh, and the shop idea could easily devolve into a sweatshop situation which I’m not sure I can handle.
So to make this utterly first world dilemma a non-issue and more awesome next year, I’ve decided that I’m going to stop feeling guilty and just make what I want, when I want because I am still solidly in the skills-development phase. My ultimate goal is to be able to sew anything at the highest quality level, but the joy is in the practice of sewing for me, and I have a seedling of an idea for a giving project in the works for any excess/unloved clothes that result. I’ll share more as my idea takes shape.
And tomorrow is the first day of 2015 — Happy New Year, my friends!!!!!