Slow Fashion October: wrap-up

Better late than never! Besides, we don’t stop thinking about slow fashion and sustainability just because October is over, right? Of course not!

fabric scraps

I’ve skipped a separate blog post for the Week 4 Action Item and Discussion Prompts because they focused a lot on mending/fixing the “Maybe” pile. I didn’t have a huge “maybe” pile and they probably would’ve needed more effort to make them loved than I was willing to put in, so I’ve put those aside for a clothing swap that I’m planning with some friends.

Action item: Make a pact with yourself!

Slow Fashion October: Week #1

Are you guys following along with Slow Fashion October? I loved listening to Karen’s episode on Love to Sew podcast and I love the interactive part of this year’s celebration of slow fashion. I decided to join the fun by posting about it each week here!

Action item: “Make a moodboard that reflects your ideal style…

This exercise really made me realize how outdated my Pinterest boards are. I started a new one; it’s a work in progress for now.

Half-year check on sewing goals

June is over, half of 2018 is over, and I am always up for some wordy reflections. Remember how six months ago, we were all super optimistic and excited about what this year would hold for us? Our sewing goals for the year, all the challenges we signed up for, the spending bans…?

If you may remember, I posted five resewlutions:

  1. V-Necks
  2. Linings
  3. a well-fitting bra
  4. Embellishments and Details
  5. Getting more involved in the sewing community

With the exception of 3, I’d say I’m making pretty good progress on these goals. I’ve made a couple v-necks, inserted a couple linings, focused on some pretty details with the embroidery on my Rumana coat, and I’ve been way way more involved with the sewing community! Bras? I’ve made a couple. Well-fitting? Okay, ugh. I’m like, working on it. Small bobbins don’t make it easy!

…and I also posted my Make Nine choices:

A collage of patterns for Make Nine 2018, by Small Bobbins

So… as of last week, I’ve managed to finish one of these. Maybe 1.5 if I count the lingerie I’ve been working on. But the one I’ve made so far is my Ginger jeans, so that’s a pretty big achievement! I’ve found that if I don’t explicitly put a Make Nine project on my monthly plans, then it just ends up out of sight, out of mind. For July, I’m working on the Maisa denim jacket.

and actually I have an unpublished post all about how pumped I was to take on every single sewing challenge that I could get my greedy paws on. Sew My Style, Project Sew It, sew a dress, sew a shirt, sew this pattern, sew that pattern, sew an outfit for a virtual party; I was ready to do everything!

Ehhh… In reality, I very quickly gave up on this idea. I have kept up with Sew My Style. My Sunny Dress (January) is still worn often; the shape and my fabric choice make it super versatile for all but the hottest weather. Obviously the Rumana coat (February) is packed away for now. The Kalle shirtdress (March) is disappointingly off, it’s a bit tight across the back, the length is just a bit too short, and I’m reminded of my not-so-great construction every time I wear it. The Marigold jumpsuit (April) has not yet been worn in public! It needs warm weather for sure, but I just don’t find myself reaching for it, even when it’s peak summer like it is now. I skipped May’s pattern to focus on other sewing goals. And June’s Suki Kimono is on my body nearly every morning and evening; I looooove it. For the rest of the year I’m pretty set on which months I’ll definitely join in with (July, October, November), and which ones I’ll skip (August, September, December).

I also joined the Facebook group for Project Sew It, which is a monthly challenge to sew one type of garment each month. So, January was a tee, February a sweater, etc. It’s an easy challenge, and there are monthly prizes, but my plans just never seem to line up with the theme, so I’ve mostly abandoned this… oops!

A mashup of different patterns, by Small Bobbins.

(I did sew a tee in January though, it’s a mash-up of the Toaster Sweater and the Basic Instinct tee that I haven’t otherwise blogged about.)

All other sewing challenges…? Similar feelings. I’m just in love with my own sewing plans too much to change them!

…spending bans?

I didn’t make any specific fabric-buying bans. I considered committing to a pattern-buying ban, and I’ve mostly stuck to it anyway. If it wasn’t a Sew My Style pattern or something that I received as a gift, then I only bought two patterns so far this year.

In general, I’ve tried to be more mindful of purchases and try to avoid spontaneous purchases. If I’m on a fabric website or planning to visit a fabric shop, I always make a list ahead of time of not only what I need for specific projects, but also what I might like to find. Fantastic prints (that otherwise don’t fit my plans) still make their way into my stash, but having specific “wants” in mind helps me to stay focused on buying stuff that I’m more likely to wear.

And my style evolution? Lately I’ve been having some big thoughts on dresses. I am reaching this point, as I discover my personal style, where it has hit me that while dresses are so cute and fun to wear, I don’t reach for them first and they’re not entirely suited for my lifestyle. I bike nearly every day, I work in a casual office, I have to pick up kids and move around, and I live in a country where I’m likely to need warmer clothes for 3/4 of the year. If I want a wardrobe that I love and that makes me feel comfortable and stylish and confident, then I’ll need to focus on separates and layering pieces. Dresses aren’t entirely off the menu though, but I need to make sure that they’ll have a fuller skirt and could be worn over tights, over pants even, over t-shirts or turtlenecks, under sweaters, etc.

Phew! As we go into the second half of the year, I’m thinking more and more about how I can focus on my plans and how to make the most of my precious free time! I’m trying to blog more consistently and even (gasp!) start vlogging! (erm… stay tuned)

SO! How’s your sewing year going so far?

reflecting on me-made-may

This was my first time really participating in Me Made May and I had a lot of fun with it! The (nearly) daily documentation, mindfully encouraging myself to choose a handmade garment over a RTW one, and the reflection that came with it about my wardrobe, my style, and how I want to present myself to the world in the future, were all really enjoyable parts of this month-long event.

You may remember from my last post that I didn’t get terribly specific about a goal; I was giving myself permission to dip in and out of the challenge as I felt like it, and not be too demanding on myself. I didn’t think I had enough me-mades to make it through the month, or, more accurately, that I had enough me-mades that I wanted to wear.

It turns out that I was able to wear some sort of me-made garment (or undergarment) nearly every day, with some repeats.

a collage of Small Bobbins' Me Made May 2018

2018 reSEWlutions

Well, hi there. It’s December (Merry Christmas!) and I’m finally revisiting this space. I’ve managed to get in a better rhythm with my sewing routine and have probably had my most productive year since I started sewing. But with a full-time job and two small kids and work travel and family travel, I knew that if I wanted to have sewing time, it meant cutting out nearly everything else that wasn’t as important to me. I even swore off of Netflix for a whole month!

All of that is to say that I’ve been sewing, but not blogging, because blogging required time that I did not have. But it’s December, which, for me, means that I will be hopelessly romanticizing the coming year and all of the raw potential it holds for accomplishing the things that I did not do during 2017. (You should see the notebook I filled up last December with the plans for the specialty fabric and notions shop that I was going to like, for sure launch this year.)

I’ve thought about a couple of sewing goals that I have for the coming year. Some are pretty specific and attainable, some are more vague and aspirational:

1. V-necks

I have not attempted many v-necks, but they’re one of my favorite necklines to wear. I have a cami pattern that I love, with a slight v-neck, but whenever I’ve made it, I’ve felt it comes out wrinkly. I want to conquer v-necks once and for all.

2. Linings

Maybe it’s kind of like second-sock syndrome with knitting, but whenever I’m making a lined garment, the fact that I have sewn the entire shell and then have to (in most cases) sew the entire thing again in a more delicate, shifty fabric, and then attach the two pieces in a very precise way so that the lining isn’t poking out or causing the garment to hang incorrectly…? It drives me bonkers. I’ve sewn a few linings and whenever I’m done I reflect on the garment and always think, “Man, I kinda wish the lining wasn’t there to f**k this thing up.” But I will win this fight, dammit. I have a lot more coats in my future.

3. A well-fitting bra

I am practically flat-chested. No, really, my high bust is about 89cm and my full bust is around 90cm (on a good day). In terms of self-esteem, I’m really quite okay with this, but I just want a bra that fits me well. Self-drafted might be the way to go!

4. Embellishments and details

A collage of sewing inspiration, by Small Bobbins

I have a Pinterest board called “sewing details” (I bet you have a similar one, too) where I collect images of cute, fun, unique details on clothes that I would want to copy some day. An embroidered collar. A contrast placket. An asymmetrical yoke. Enough pinning them, time to start doing them. The way to do this is through planning; I’ll have to think about the finished garment and the steps involved for these quirky details before I cut into my fabric.

5. Getting more involved with the sewing community

I’m already taking a first step with this one. I’m a total Instagram creeper, but I want to be more involved with the sewing community! I’m taking on a billion+1 sewing challenges, I’m pattern testing, I’d like to get back into blogging, and maybe (this is a bit of a stretch) even venture into vlogging. *gulp!* And can I even tell you a secret? This one is the ultimate stretch goal, but I’d love to vlog in Dutch. (Hey, Kirstin, how is your Dutch anyway? Totally abysmal, even after living for 4 years in a Dutch-speaking country.)

What about you, what are your sewing goals for 2018?

A handmade maternity wardrobe

I’m a beginner when it comes to sewing. Not an absolute beginner, I’ve made a wearable skirt, a too-big shirt, and a toddler-sized bear hat (where I didn’t pay close enough attention to the direction of the faux-fur). I know how to thread my machine, and I’m well acquainted with my seam ripper. That’s mostly where my experience with sewing clothes ends, but I’m eager to get better. After years of living abroad, out of suitcases, in places where the fashion didn’t fit my style (and beyond the reach of internet shopping) or budget, I started planning a handmade wardrobe.

Then, pregnant.

How can I learn to sew a stylish, unique and lasting wardrobe if my body is a new shape every week?

Instead, I see this as the perfect opportunity to dive into sewing. My rookie mistakes will be learning experiences I can apply to the clothes I’ll make for each new stage of pregnancy-body (and postpartum body). I wasn’t happy with the selection and prices of maternity clothes during my first pregnancy. The niche market reminded me of a mediocre tourist restaurant; nobody seems to put too much effort into giving you a satisfactory experience because you won’t be a repeat customer. Can’t pregnant women just suck it up and wear a shapeless bag of a dress for a few months?

I want to see if I can get away with this, if I can avoid buying (too many) maternity clothes, while still feeling comfortable and put-together. Who knows, I might even come out of this with pieces I can wear beyond pregnancy. At the very least, I can chop up my failures and sew up some baby leggings.