Wiksten tank in Silk/Cotton lined in Rayon
I am feeling a shift in my way of thinking about handmade clothes, it happened during the test of the Foxglove tank pattern. Being in a group of other women, seemingly excited about wearing what they had made galvanized my inner seamstress. Soon I was looking for more patterns to sew, realizing that they are not easy to find when you have been out of the loop as has been the case for so long. The concept of Indiesew is quite brilliant actually, a marketplace for independent designers to showcase their work. If like me you don't have all day and night to hunt for patterns it can get quite discouraging. This is compounded for me when I am not really enthralled by the current pattern "du jour". Honestly, I don't need my patterns to be "indie". A good pattern is a good pattern wherever it originates from, and I have experienced not so great indie patterns as well as great one in the short amount of time I have been sewing clothes again. The problem can be that the blogosphere is so gentle that nobody will admit that in fact the pattern everybody is raving about is so-so, and nobody wants to be the first to say "meh"... myself included alas, I should try reversing course on that.
Two things I discovered so far on this new journey, is that pdf patterns are fantastic. A complete departure from my earlier dismissal of them as a pain to put together and hard to store. The fact that you no longer have to trace the patterns you want to keep, that you can make changes, mistakes and retain the original make them the only thing I want to purchase right now.
Salme Patterns Kimono Top in Crepe de Chine
No seam allowance is best. Yes, you read that correctly! once you have built up an honest amount of sewing experience, you know what seam finishes work best for you. Such as 5/8" for French seams and 1/4" for bias bound neck lines.
It is the first time, since I started sewing about 9 years ago that I stay up to the wee hours of the night, trying to finish a dress I am so keen to wear the next day. AND the next evening I launder it so that it can be worn again the following day. I cannot even say that of my best store-bought garments.
This sudden success came from a complete change in my process. I now always make a muslin. I will alter the muslin until it fits properly, knowing that all this time spent on something that will end up cut up or trashed is not wasted but to the contrary saving me time in the future when I want to sew this pattern again. I feel as if I am investing in my pattern, creating something 'just right'. So I take my time, get it right (hopefully) and when I am ready, only then, I take the pattern pieces to a fashionable stitch not far from my house and have Sunny or Lena help me choose something worth spending hours sewing with. Because the fabric is of the highest quality, I do not wish to buy more than I need to. Sunny lays the pattern pieces this way and that and so far I have ended to up with completely negligible scraps, very economical in the end!
Because I decided to start from scratch last year and gave away all the fabric that was never going to be made into anything (I am the opposite of a hoarder, there must be a happy middle somewhere), I now have very few cuts of fabric laying around. This help me in my quilting and is now helping me not feel overwhelmed on the wearable side of things. I purchase the fabric only after the muslin process, and only for one project at a time. Superhuman restraint/willpower I tell you.
Of course, the problem is that not all is rosy and good, I still have these mysterious waves of anxiety about the tiniest of defects (often on the wrong side!) thinking very little about the big picture and spoiling my fun. But if I step back and 'feel' what I am wearing today I realize that the anthro skirt has a lining that keeps creeping up as I walk and that the Comptoir des Cotonniers top is a bit tight in the shoulders. Two problems that would mean a death sentence to my handmade things. Why the double standard? The key I suspect is to take the plunge, wear what you make and get so used to it that the tiny details are forgotten. I try to tell myself while I sew: can you live with this (tiny defect)? if no redo immediately if yes then GET OVER IT!!!
Salme patterns mash-up