Monday, January 06, 2014

49 before 50: Sewing for the Long-term

All too often, my sewing is fly-by-night, whimsical and unplanned.
The plans I make gather dust and quickly lose their lustre as I am sucked into a vortex of making The Latest Thing without considering whether it is truly "me".

Meanwhile, I gaze longingly at the garments produced by small-scale artisan designers like Anna Allen or the 3191 gals or Nadinoo and almost nearly convince myself that I should buy those things because they are perfect in every way:  so classic, simple, wearable...
Top from by3191
Whoa whoa there, Roo!  I thought you knew how to sew your own?
Couldn't you just make those things?

Around about here is where I start to complain about how difficult it is to find the right fabric.  Oh poor me - I live in a field on the edge of the universe with intermittent broadband access - sigh!

But you see that linen blouse right there, from "by3191" in Maine USA?  It was priced at $145 and is Sold Out.
So when I read that they had bought the fabric in the UK... I started to scour all the likely sources and it actually didn't take me very long to find it at Merchant and Mills for £17.50 per metre.  Of course!  Where else?!
Looking again at the 3191 photo... that scarf may very well be made from Merchant and Mills gingham!

And while the original top is not far off the Built By Wendy pattern Simplicity 3835... if I am making my own it could be from any pattern I like! 

It could even be my new best friend, the Camber pattern.

All of which is my rambling way to say:  instead of mooning about gazing at unobtainable perfection from the other side of the world, I should just pull my finger out, accept that the good stuff costs more, and make my own classics.  2 metres of that linen will cost me £35, but if I wear it even half as often as my dark denim Kelly skirt or either Camber Dress it will be a bargain.  Maybe a bit casual-looking for the workplace? But speaking as someone with newly-blue hair, it's all relative!

While waiting for my fabric to arrive, I dug out my (expensive) organic fairtrade denim from the deepest depths of the stash (a 2009 purchase), to make a Peggy skirt (top photo in this post).  It had been lurking so long that it had started to suffer from eau-de-damp-farmhouse.  Tsk!  Sewing is postponed until I get it washed and dried.

Next weekend?  Goodness me - next weekend I could have a whole new outfit! But even if it takes me a few weeks to get round to sewing both items, that's just fine too.  There's no rush.

I might even interrupt my plan to make a couple of Plantain t-shirts. Another classic-in-the-making style if I ever I saw it.  Robert Kaufman Laguna jersey in Onyx?  Ooh yes - I think so!
Deer and Doe Plantain tee

Ommmm!  Goodness me, I am so chilled out I am practically an iceberg ;)

20 comments:

Star speckles said...

Look forward to seeing your top! I need to man up - I have lovely fabrics in my stash, but get too scared to use them...

Darley said...

Ooh! I hadn't seen the plantain pattern yet! Looks great! I think this will be my first make of 2014. Hard to resist a pretty, shiny new object!

opportunityknits said...

I like classic simple and wearable too and I also have a problem finding good fabric even though I live in the city. The checked fabric looks really good! You are right, good fabric costs more. I've started buying better fabric lately though I haven't sewn them up yet, yikes got to build up the nerve to cut them and not ruin them :)

Amphibiaknitter said...

See, you're actually *saving* 35 pounds by making your own. That's a reason to celebrate right there. Not to mention the shipping / postage, customs, etc.

AND you get to have one of those funky 'I am half agony' (half agony aunt?) labels as well....

The Plaintain tee is also cute except for the elbow patches. Ixnay on the elbow patches.

Scruffybadger said...

Wisdom ! You're good for the rest of us too, Roo. It's something that I'm eventually coming round to, spending more, buying less for various reasons. But to include supporting my local fabric shop as well as now being less scared to cut into * the expensive stuff *. Must mean I have more confidence in success both in finish and making the right kind of choices in the first place when buying fabric....you're right, it is quite a chilled place to be!! Enjoy your anticipation, then sewing :-)

beate grigutsch said...

well that is indeed times time :-)
I am looking forward to a satisfied roo in cheerful sewn, simple elegant clothes. the camber dress was already a nice start.
but do not even bother that it took´s until almost your 50, you had a late start - some study design and create after decades still hideous clothes ;-)
say´n it again - if you have a sewing rel. question - i´m there.

Kathryn said...

Wise words indeed! It's so easy to see a new pattern released, a sewalong announced etc & immediately abandon plans in favour of the new. I'm trying to stop that this year too. The plantain top looks like a great pattern, can't wait to see yours!

poppyinstitches said...

look forward to seeing your new top, brilliant fabric - oh so wearable!

poppyinstitches@yahoo.co.uk

verykerryberry said...

I struggle with fining decent fabric in natural fibres, I think you are right, for quality- you just have to dog deep. I have ordered a couple of fabrics from Merchant and Mills and they were worth ever penny

Rehanon Mackenzie said...

ooh that fabric look so snuggly :)

Sarah said...

Love the iceberg plan. I definitely think fine fabric is so much nicer to work with and wear that it's worth the extra £s. And with your vast experience you're bound to do it justice.

Sarah said...

Love the iceberg plan. I definitely think fine fabric is so much nicer to work with and wear that it's worth the extra £s. And with your vast experience you're bound to do it justice.

Colleen said...

You are right. I am happy that people are making and BUYING good quality handmade items of clothing from small enterprises. It's good for everyone. But, those pieces of clothing are for people who don't want to make their own, or can't. But we are lucky. We can look at items of clothing we lust after and within a few minutes a pattern comes to mind. That's what I love about sewing. What I am struggling with right now is the excess I display in buying patterns and fabrics: am I a solid linen woman or a novelty printing cotton? Am I a Wiksten Tova or a Bluegingerdoll Billie Jean....it troubles me that I cannot be all and I've yet to pinpoint my personal clothing style in the clothing I've made for myself. Right now, I've decided to revisit the Colette Laurel and the Scout Woven Tee, two patterns I moved past last year. Their simplicity calls to me and I've just made a Scout in a soft warm and simple cotton silk that is probably my favorite item of clothing yet. Thanks for making me thing about these things, Roo.

sylkotwist2006 said...

I love your pattern choices Roo, I'd not seen these before, so thank you! Wise words too, I must take heed!

Lizzi said...

Wisdom is great. We just have to remember what we have said and take heed.

I wonder whether your Camber dress pattern could be modified to make a top? It is such a great style and really suits you.

Lizzi said...

Sorry, have just looked at the pattern and they are way ahead of me.

Lizzi said...

Sorry, have just looked at the pattern and they are way ahead of me.

Nita said...

You are an inspiration, to be sure!

rosylea said...

Such an inspiring post. I've just started sewing (with much enjoyment!) and realised that it's the answer to getting dressed: instead of thinking what have I got that I want to wear, I'm thinking what do I want to wear and can I make one.

MothersRuin said...

I could literally read your blog ALL day! I've got dinner plans this evening and should really be taking a bath, selecting an outfit, doing my hair etc etc but instead? Well, I'm slouching on the sofa, of course, reading this and older posts, clicking links, getting inspired.... I may just cancel, grab a pizza and stay here all night x