2018 was my third year of sewing in earnest. I sewed more in 2018 than ever before, and it became a bigger part of my life. Here’s how the year went.
The overriding sewing ‘event’ for me was the Ready to Wear Fast sponsored by blogger Goodbye Valentino. Last December, after very serious contemplation, I joined with about 1,100 sewists and committed to not buying any ready-to-wear garments in 2018. And I was successful! All I purchased was shoes, hose and socks. Now that the year is wrapping up, I have plenty of thoughts and observations but will distil them down to a few here. (If you want an extended discussion on the Fast, please visit my YouTube channel where the first week of January I’ll be posting a video including much of the clothes I made.) (Link will be added)
I’m particularly proud of sticking to the RTW Fast because this was a self-regulating contest and who would have known if I bought clothes. Well, I would have, and that’s enough for me.
Myth #1: I am Genetically Predisposed to Shop
The commitment to not buy clothes wasn’t exactly easy because, for me, shopping is a sport. Some people grow up in families where everyone watches the same football games, or they have family Monopoly tournaments, but in my family we shop. A favourite way to spend Saturday is going from store to store or mall to mall, trying on and buying clothes. Some people ‘snoop’ shopped during the Fast, but to me, that’s like drinking non-alcoholic wine. Overly sweet with none of the fun 😉
Surprisingly, it wasn’t that difficult to not purchase clothes. There were plenty of times I was tempted, especially when we were in Scotland and it was freezing and all I wanted was a cosy sweater. However, every time I was tempted I would think about two things, “show some willpower for once in your life”, and
Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without
This was like a character-building exercise for me because I’m like a lot of people – if I want something or think I ‘need’ it, I buy it. For the first time since I was young and truly broke, I had to ask myself, “could I make do?” Of course, I could. I will admit that I passed up on opportunities to go to places where clothes shopping was easy (like the outlet mall) and I only went to the local department stores once or twice all year instead of once a month.
Myth #2: Sewing Your Own Clothes is Expensive
Not true. I spent less money. In real numbers, I spent 28% less on clothing & sewing than in 2017, and only 4% more on sewing. Some surmised that sewing is more expensive than shopping, but in my case, it was not. (However not buying clothes made me spend more on shoes 🤭)
I bought a fair bit of fabric, some bargain and some pretty pricey. Since I don’t keep a stash, much of what I purchased has either been cut already or it is earmarked for something specific. There are about 35 yards of fabric in my closet right now.
Myth #3: Sewing All My Clothes Won’t Take Much More Time
This is laughable. I spent almost all of my free time sewing. There was always a project on the go. Sewing became a compulsion, partially because for much of the year I didn’t feel that I was fully participating in the Fast unless I was continually pushing out new garments.
- I can survive without something new to wear, even for a special occasion. Clearly, my wardrobe is not the central point of interest for any given event. If the Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge can wear things multiple times, so can I.
- Not every project turns out well, but I wore it the duds anyway. No one noticed, or if they did, they were kind enough to not say anything.
- It’s soul-shattering to complete a garment and excitedly try it on, only to see that the style or colour are completely wrong and you’ve thrown away not just resources, but a bunch of time. I spent many hours looking at pictures of myself in various garments, training my brain to calculate the formula of (Pattern Envelope +/- Line Drawing + Fabric on Bolt) / My Body = True Appearance. Harder than calculus …
- No matter how complicated a project, it all comes down to sewing one seam at a time. Some patterns need considerably more concentration when reading the instructions (turn off the TV!), and maybe outside assistance from blogs, vlogs and forums, but I now truly believe that I can sew anything.
- I do not want to sew everything. RTW pants fit me really well, and frankly, my pants fitting abilities suck. I also have no desire to make workout wear, in spite of the cover stitch machine in the sewing room.
- In most cases, nicer fabrics yield much better garments (and happier sewing experiences), but there are also plenty of inexpensive fabrics that make beautiful garments.
- I still need to work on sewing mindfully and planning how makes fit into my wardrobe before buying fabric and patterns. Part of me really enjoys having a project going all the time, however, the goal of sewing isn’t to fill my closet, it’s to sew things I love that fit me well – not to sew a zillion things.
- Clothes shopping, like sewing, is a fun activity for me and I really missed it.
The first make and certainly most worn is this dressing gown in chenille, with a bit of embroidery. Pattern: Vogue 8897, Fabric: Fabric Mart Fabrics, Embroidery Design from http://www.ultimatestash.com
This top was worn countless times. I love the pattern and the fabric. The combination of brilliant blue and white dots felt refreshing on hot summer days. Photo Credit: @ChasingShadowsYYC Pattern: Simplicity 8337, Fabric: Sew Over It
At first, I wasn’t thrilled with the Lodo Dress, so much so that I didn’t even blog it. But now that the weather is cold I am really enjoying wearing it over opaque tights and a cosy top. (The blue version was made by a friend when she visited and she looked fabulous! The burgundy is my version.) Pattern: True Bias Lodo Dress. Fabric: Topstitch Studio & Lounge
The Blackwood Cardigan. What can I say that thousands of sewists have not already? Pattern: Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan. Fabrics: both from Fabric Mart Fabrics
I had ‘sew a lined garment’ on my list of goals for the past two years, and finally checked it off with this jacket in August. It’s not perfect, but it’s wearable! Pattern: Burda 6616, Fabric: Fabric Mart Fabrics with lining from JoAnn Fabric & Crafts
And finally, my very favourite make of the whole year – the Sew Over It Zoe dress in a double crepe from Sew Over It. Can I please wear this every single day? I wore it to work before Christmas and three women of various age groups said they loved it. So do I 💖
I’ll be putting together a list of goals and plans for 2019, but in the meantime, I still have a couple of projects left to finish this year.
Thank you so much for subscribing and reading along in 2018, and for your comments. I feel like this was a monumental sewing year, and I wonder why I had trepidation over doing the Fast and taking on more sewing projects.
6 thoughts on “2018 Sewing Reflections”
You had a good year, Janine! Lots of lovely things, and one of these days, I am going to sew a storm, but this year was not that year. Keep up the inspiring posts!
I loved reading your observations about sewing and the RTW Fast. Great work Janine! Here comes 2019 filled with sewing promise, beautiful fabrics, plenty of ideas and (maybe) not enough time but you know what? We sew anyway!! Wishing you the best, see you on YouTube.😄 —Viv
Very nice year for you! I decided against the ready to wear fast simply because of pants! Like you, I can find pants that fit me well and am a mess at sewing them, so why put myself through all that? Glad you enjoyed the experience and learned more about yourself from it – well done!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks! I had enough pants to get through the year – if I did not I may have switched to skirts only 🙂
Happy New Year! I hope 2019 brings you happiness and fun. x
Wow! Well done! I think I would have had to buy that sweater in Scotland just because my Gran was Scottish! ;o)
I stopped getting your blog notices, and just re signed up. I’ve missed your sewing! Your new bag is outstanding!
I made very simple wide legged pants last summer, lost weight and now am trying to figure out how to alter them without ripping all the seams! So no more pants making for me!