Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cheers to a New Year - On reflecting, not goal setting


I’m not really a New Year’s Eve Goal Setter. I tend to stick to goals better when I create them or come up with them throughout the year. Mostly because they tend to be well thought out as opposed to being pressured.

I’ve never done a round up post, I’ve never celebrated a blogiversary and I’ve never had a giveaway on this blog because I created this as a space to share my journey in making my own handmade wardrobe. This blog is a space for me to learn, grow and share. To show off the good and the bad of what I make. So I’m going to call this a reflection post.

I’m writing this now because I’ve reached a certain point in my journey that I particularly wanted to share with you. 

I’ve found myself through sewing.

If you’ve followed me since the beginning you’d know that there were so many sewing fails it was disheartening. Even the projects that actually got finished and vaguely fitted me got put up on the blog because frankly if I didn’t put them up I wouldn’t have had a blog. There were just so many mistakes in the beginning.

But I persisted. Because I had an idea in my head that I could do this. I could see a piece of clothing and I wanted to replicate it to my tastes through sewing. I had a good eye for what I wanted to make right from the beginning but my skills (or lack thereof) were letting me down. But the idea of what I wanted to make would never go away. With each new skill I was learning something about sewing, about my shape, about what I wanted to wear and about who I wanted to be through my clothing. And I’m so glad I’m stubborn enough not to have given up on that idea so that I can stand here today and say that I’ve reached this point.

At the end of 2012 I wrote a post about Being Lost in the Land of Prints. I’m sure some (or all) of you would understand what it means to have a print crazy wardrobe. You open your wardrobe and see nothing but schizophrenia on hangers. You wonder at what point in the process this all went wrong. You need to start again.

So I did. I went fabric shopping with a list. I bought nothing but solids and I had a much clearer idea of what I wanted my wardrobe to look like. But when I looked back on that post later I realised that I actually hadn’t made a lot from the fabrics I’d chosen. Why? Because I had still let myself down. I’d picked some great fabrics, I had great inspirations but I either didn’t have the right pattern or the right skills yet to make them into wearable clothes.

And so I reached 2013. I had a mortgage and an impending wedding, honeymoon and house renovation looming over my head and this is the point that I really asked myself how I was still going to follow through on my idea? How, with the highest financial pressures yet to date, was I actually going to follow through on making a wearable wardrobe?

And so I set myself the goal (not on the first of January) to make my wearable wardrobe without spending any money out of my pay. See here.

I did my tax return and got $260 back. More than enough to buy a wardrobe of fabric for wearable clothes! But I didn’t want to just spend it all frivolously. I made a decision that every piece of fabric I bought had to have a pattern to go with it - or multiple patterns because sometimes my fabric gets fickle with me and really wants to become something else. I made myself accountable firstly by sketching all my ideas out in my fashionary. Partly because I needed to record it on paper before it all shifted, partly because I wanted to record the physical pictures on my blog for accountability and partly because I just love colouring in.

Shortly after that I had my 30th birthday (eek!) and while family and friends grumbled at how boring it was to give me a voucher or a bit of money I was elated to find that I could buy up a stash of very versatile indie patterns that I’ve being eyeing off for ages.

So what happened as a result of this new decision? I made 16 items last year 2 of which were failures which is SO impressive in my books. Every other item was made and worn and pretty much turned out how it looked in my head. Since I don’t sew quite as much as I’d like to I’m still making it through the long list of fabrics and patterns I started with in this post. But let me say here that I’m still ridiculously excited about the next 10 or so projects I have in my head. 

The only thing I overlooked was that I’d forgotten just how hot summer can get and so last week I spent the remainder of my birthday vouchers at the sales and bought fabric for 3 maxi dresses which I pretty much live in during summer.

So the point of all this is to share with you what I consider to be goal setting. The kind of thing that arises because of a recognition that something needs to change. Not because it’s the 1st of January. As you can probably tell by now this is a reflection post because I’m somewhere in the middle of my goal but it feels bloody good to step back and see how far I’ve come.

So what does 2014 hold for me? I will make myself a wedding dress. I’ve already made two muslins of different patterns and figured out that neither of them were working for me. Not because they weren’t beautiful patterns or because they didn’t fit me. They did and they were beautiful. But because I was trying to force a style upon myself that looks great on other people but looks a bit horrible on me. I’ve given myself a little break to sew up some much needed summer clothes but I’ll be back to it with a realistic pattern for my dress very soon.

Also we’re hoping to have a honeymoon in Europe in their Fall so I may want some handmade clothes to wear in some beautiful leaf laden European locations. So there’s that.

But for now I’m just chugging along. Opening up my fashionary or laying out some of my fabrics when I get a bit stuck and I remind myself why I set this goal in the first place. 

And that’s all I need to keep on making my handmade wardrobe.

14 comments:

  1. It's fantastic to hear all this. The very best way to learn is the hard way! It sounds like you have quite a year planned. Do leave a little room in your suitcase for fabric shopping in Europe ;-)

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    1. Yeah I actually hadn't thought about the fabric shopping while overseas.
      I'll have to be very particular in what I bring back to fit it all in!

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  2. Thanks so much for this post and all the background. I'm only a newish reader to your blog so the history is so interesting. All the best for a great 2014 both personally and sewing wise.

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    1. Thanks, I debated whether it might be too much information but this is my place to be honest after all.
      Thanks for reading along and I look forward to seeing your makes in 2014 too!

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  3. Thanks for sharing :)

    Cannot wait to see your wedding dress (always impressed by those who make their own) and all of your 2014 creations!

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    1. Thanks, I'm in for a big ride in 2014 but I'm ready!

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  4. I really enjoyed reading your reflections and your journey so far in sewing. So glad that this year was a much better year for you sewing wise and that you are well on the way of understanding your style, it is a journey but one that are travelling very well. All the very best for 2014 both personally and with your sewing.

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    1. Yeah a little honesty never goes astray.
      Also it's nice to give yourself a little pat on the back every now and then.
      Thanks for making it to the end of a long post!

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  5. Congratulations on a successful year! You've come a long way. Sewing is a journey and your forming your own path. I hope 2014 is good to both our blogs and wardrobe :)

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    1. Thanks Madalynne!
      I do feel like I've come a long way and it's refreshing to sit back and smile at it instead of constantly looking for more.
      All the best for you in 2014 as well, I'm sure you're bound to be your usual inspiring self!

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  6. That was a really interesting reflection post - thanks for sharing. It's really interesting over time to watch how your stash changes and evolves, in both prints and also quality I've found. With more confidence in handling fabric, I'm much more willing pay a premium for amazing fabric, which means only the staples seem to come out of spotlight these days!

    Good luck on the wedding dress - have you gone and tried any on for reference? I nearly bought a big fluffy dress with silk butterflies attached. Sounds crazy ugly, looked crazy ugly on the hanger, but on looked RAD.

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    1. Yeah I'm still not at the stage where I pay a lot for my fabric but I'm sure I will one day.
      I've tried on heaps of different styles of wedding dresses and I have a good idea of what I want.
      I was trying to go down the way of making a bustier but it just does not look good on me so I'm going to stick with a sweetheart neckline bodice.
      That dress sure does sound interesting!

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  7. Good luck with the wedding dress - that is a massive undertaking, but it would be so satisfying! I look forward to reading your 2014 posts - I've loved all your 2013 makes.

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    1. Thanks lovely! It's a little frightening but exciting too. So much sewing so little time.

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