Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Back to basics

I've been having a bit of a rethink about my sewing plans recently, ... mainly in light of the shambles I made of some recent projects.

I admit, I've lost confidence in my ability and have come to the conclusion that the next step is:
a) to give up
b) only make what I know works, or
c) do something about it

It is probably true what DF said when I was getting all of this off my chest - I need to get back into it and practice more.  It has been a looooong time since I did any serious dressmaking and most of my sewing has been restricted to home furnishings for quite some time.  And that hasn't exactly been a regular thing until recently.  And they've been BIG projects that have literally and figuratively swamped me - as well as making me doubt that I really got an A at GSCE maths.

Another thing that has held me back with dressmaking it finding the right pattern.  Now, I may have taken this to a 'how do you find Mr Right' kind of level, but what frustrates me about making your own clothes is this.  You go clothes shopping, you see something you like on the rail and you either know it will suit you, or if you're unsure you can try it on before you buy.  Even then, if you change your mind after taking it home, you can still take it back to the shop and get your money back or exchange it for something else.

But with dressmaking, you choose a pattern, choose your fabric (or you may do it the other way around if the fabric has inspired you), buy your pattern, fabric, and the million-and-one notions necessary.  At home you spend ages pinning, cutting out, pinning again, tacking, sewing .... to get the final garment ... try it on ... and it looks hideous on you.  So what can you do now?  Nothing except chop it up and use it as dusters, put it in the bin or take it to a charity shop.  You've wasted hard-earned money and precious time and gained ..... nothing!

So, having 'regrouped' mentally a little, I'm going to take a step back and not run before I can walk before I can crawl.

I'm beginning to formulate a plan for this, which at the moment looks a bit like this:
  1. make more clothes for myself - using commercial patterns
  2. where possible, make these clothes using the stash of fabric that has been hiding in various boxes, bags and trunks in my possession over the years
  3. if I get stuck or struggle with something (such as the collar band on my half-finished toile/muslin of the Liverpool tunic by Amy Butler, or the fit of a pattern), put it to one side, take a deep breath and wait until I can either work it out myself, or get help at a sewing cafe or similar
  4. as I regain my confidence, venture into pattern alteration - either at a cafe mentioned in 3 above or by enrolling on a course/for some lessons (this may happen anyway as a way of regaining my confidence before I get to step 4)
I will have to accept, that in order to get it right at step 1 above, I may need to make toiles first and ask for help if they're not quite right.  If they 'just don't suit', give it up as a bad job.  However, if they work - then I've got a pattern I can use over and over again!  Hooray!  Also, if it is a toile, I won't have wasted any expensive fabric in the process, and if I still feel like following in Scrooge's footsteps, I'm sure that I can find bed sheets at a charity shop to use for making up toiles.

Above all, I mustn't rush any of it and get flummoxed as this will only take me back to where I am now.



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