Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012: An Account of my Sewing and Knitting

I have already told you about my spend on Ready to Wear in 2012.
But what about the cost of materials and patterns purchased in the same period?
I kept a note in my diary every time I bought something, by category:

Yarn £150
Knitting patterns / books £50

Fabric £450
Sewing patterns / books £200

Does that surprise you?  I thought the two would be more evenly balanced.

In terms of the investment of my time, I probably spend more time knitting than I do sewing.  Knitting is more easily categorised as "my hobby" than sewing, and the items I knit are less often intended to become wardrobe staples.
So "my hobby" cost me £200 this year - that's peanuts!
I knitted socks, shawls, mitts, hats - accessories mostly.  And they were often gifts.
2012 was unusual as it marked a shift towards knitting more garments:  I made Bettie's Pullover, as well as making huge inroads on a Shalder jacket and getting half-way though a golden vintage-patterned cardigan (which I intend to rip out shortly - it just isn't "Me").
I also sold some of my yarn-mistakes to other Ravelers - the Wollmeise has gone.  I didn't enjoy knitting with it, so why hang onto it just because it is "trendy"?
And next year?  I want to knit more wearable garments, especially cardigans.
Working with my Japanese pattern book (Keito Dama 156) is my Grand Ambition for 2013!
And socks.  More socks.

SEWING:I spent £450 on fabric.  Quite a lot of that is still in the stash, waiting to be used, so you accountants could view that money as capital investment rather than recurrent spend...?
I lost some stash to moths and sold more on ebay.  I am confident that everything in my current stash excites me - and that's a very good thing!

My expenditure on sewing patterns is quite scary, but I recouped some of that by selling unwanted patterns on Etsy.  I haven't really kept up my shop inventory so I am not surprised that my sales have ground to a halt.  I plan to do some listing over the holidays and dispose of the fuglies via a job lot on ebay (which is how the excess "stock" came to me in the first place!)

Blouse Airelle and side-buttoned Kelly skirt

So, what did I make in 2012?

Skirts: 7
4 Kelly skirts (in constant rotation
1 Meringue (borderline fail)
Red suspender skirt (vintage, never worn)
Mustard mini (never worn, but I really want to!  I need a confident day!)
Shorts: 2
Both from Pattern Runway Sweet Scalloped pattern, in beige chino and purple velvet  - surprise hits!
Trousers:  1
Grey Lisette Portfolio Pants (in regular rotation)
Tops:  11
2 Renfrews (everyday staples) 2 Drafting Tops (one cardi-fied) 2 Japanese patterns 2 vintage patterns (1 fail, 1 never worn) 1 self-drafted 1 Lisette Souvenir 1 Airelle (worn, washed, worn, washed...)
PJs:  2
Knickers:  6
Dresses: 4
2 Darling Ranges
1 Sureau
1 Pattern Pyramid (vintage fail!)

Well, how interesting!

What jumps out at me straightaway is that I hardly ever sew vintage patterns anymore and that I haven't been very successful when I do.  This was something I secretly suspected.

I stopped wearing red lipstick recently too. 

I hate to say that vintage was "a phase" that I have passed through, but it certainly looks that way.  I really really love the rockabilly look on other people, but unless you go for it with a lot of energy, it can look... odd.  I wore my wide-legged trousers and back-buttoned tops a lot in the warmer weather, but when its cold and miserable, I just want to bundle up in warm woolies and not have to worry about messing up my pincurl or smearing my lipstick with my scarf.
Maybe true "vintage"  is just too high-maintenance for me.

Robe Sureau
But I am absolutely clear that I want to make more:  Deer and Doe, Megan Nielsen, Pattern Runway and Japanese patterns.  They feel like "my style" right now.  I feel more youthful, fashion-forward and individual when I wear those garments.  They have an air of vintage, but they fit in a modern way.  They are comfortable!
I am really excited at the prospect of running up another Airelle blouse and a Sureau dress in the holidays - woo hoo!

Pattern Runway shorts, Souvenir top
My "look" is evolving.  I don't feel stuck in a rut, despite repeat makes of the same few patterns. Sewing is still an exciting prospect!
But what I DO need to pay more attention to is my image in the workplace...
and for that, you must come back another day!


agirlinwinter said...

My goodness, you have been productive! Your version is 'Bettie's Pullover' is lovely. I plan to make my own next year. I know what you mean about vintage being high maintenance and what you wear has to feel like 'you'. Youv'e made some lovely things this year, you should be proud :-)

Kirsty said...

What a great wrap up post. I agree that you look great in your Kelly skirts, deer and doe and I adore your scallop shorts. I am not a knitter but I wish I could make a Bettie's pullover :)

Donna said...

I should probably do a similar budgetary analysis. Oh, sigh, the workplace. :)

Gail said...

I'm not surprised at all that you spent far more on sewing than on knitting. I use financial tracking software, and after I started tagging all my knitting and sewing expenditures, I was shocked to see how much I spent on sewing last year! I think it's so much easier to buy a pattern here and a piece of cloth there, because I know it won't take me as long as a knitted garment to work up. IF I get to it, that is!

I think it's fantastic that so many of your makes are in regular rotation!

Didyoumakethat said...

All very interesting. I also spend far less on knitting than sewing and have vowed to feel less guilty about expensive wool. Intrigued to hear about your move away from vintage. I resist being too prescriptive about my look because what happens if I wake up one morning and change my mind?!

Sew little time said...

wow - you've made a lot this year. must do something similar for my own sewing year.

shivani said...

A year of lovely makes! It's great that you've got a nice selection of things that you wear regularly. I also think it's brilliant that you've got an idea of your personal style now - I'm still working on that with regard to what I make: I find that sometimes the idea of something is much more exciting than the actual thing itself on me (eg, Colette patterns, which sadly do nothing for me).

I should do a similar exercise on expenditure - I have a rough note of what each bit of fabric/yarn etc has cost, but I haven't tallied it up.

LinB said...

Oh, how wise of you to analyze your garment-wearing habits! I, too, am often seduced by the beauty and puzzle-solving possibilities of wildly inappropriate sewing patterns. Much better to spend time and energy (and your hard-earned money) on making garments that suit your lifestyle and your figure, but in fabrics that excite your sewing interest. There's always amateur theatrics to provide release for that corset-making, cape-twirling, I-want-to-make-16-mdeieval-princess-dresses impulse, when it becomes overwhelming.

dottiedoodle said...

This is so interesting - I'll definitely follow your example in keeping records next year.

Mary in TN said...

Very interesting post. I probably need to do the same type of analyses on my hobbies. I'm a little afraid of what the outcome might be. So glad you are wearing most of what you have sewn. That makes it more affordable. And to find patterns and styles that work with one in real life is fabulous.

christinelaennec said...

Both these posts are fascinating. I suppose if you divided the expenses by the number of hours of happy sewing and knitting (subtracting of course the unhappy hours, of which there may have been a few), you would find that it is superb value for money.

I'm interested in what you say about your evolving style. As you say, it's about more than how clothes look, but also how comfy you feel in them, and how true to yourself. And I really look forward to the post about work clothes!

Lynne said...

I am surprised at how relatively little you have spent on sewing/knitting, and that it includes stash fabric too. Also you have been very productive!

Sadie said...

Speaking as an accountant, I would definitely consider stash to be a current asset. Slightly less liquid than cash, but still part of your net worth - you just need to remember to write the value down as you use it and add the cost of any stash yarn you use when calculating your knitting/sewing expenses for the year! (Or maybe not...)

I dread to think how much I've spent on yarn this year. Or clothes. I did find myself idly considering the amount I've spent just on boots in the last few months the other day and was rather horrified!

Judith said...

Keeping stock of the financial side of sewing would make for a good New Year's Resolution! Until about the end of Feb., when the years money has already been spent....J

velosewer said...

I'm too disorganised to be as diligent in keeping track of what I've made and spent.
There's no way I would pick your style as stuck in a rut.
You've opened my eyes to so many great independent pattern companies with great styles. Thank you for doing this. I really appreciate your posts.
Merry Christmas and I hope 2013 is just as good for you both.

Karen S said...

I like your idea of keeping track of how much you are spending-whether store bought or supplies to make something. I don't think I shop a lot but I'm going to keep track of purchases in 2013 just to see. I need to tighten my budget as much as possible so this will be a good way to keep myself in check.

You've made lots of lovely things in 2012. Have a wonderful holiday and looking forward to seeing your makes in 2013.

acharmofmagpies said...

What a fascinating post! It's great to see also many of your makes end up as successes. And so interesting about learning to understand your style. I'm still figuring it out for me and it's fascinating when you have an "aha" moment along the way. I love how your style has evolved, and it seems very in learning with your environment and your personality (or your blog personality at longest) and look great on you. Can't wait to see it evolve more during 2013!