First Make of 2018, Goals and a Few Reflections

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It feels good to be back to blogging after the holidays! I love the parties and fun but I’m very ready to move on, to get back to the routine and back to the sewing room. So, I’m happy to welcome 2018 with a new make, a few goals and some reflections too.

I took a moment to look back on my 2017 makes (here’s my top five)  and was not surprised to discover I sewed more tops than anything else. That’s easy to predict since I spend a lot of time wearing pants and jeans, not because it’s my ‘look’, but because I live in a damp, chilly climate that makes pants a necessity. A fun, new top is an easy way to change-up my wardrobe without much fuss. That being said, the large number of tops in my closet played a big part in my goals for 2018;

  • Sew more pants! Last year, I made only two pair plus a pair of Jalie stretch jeans (!!). In 2018, I’d like to find a couple of other patterns to call tried and true. This will be important if I’m going to be successful with goal number two which is….(drum roll)…
  • To participate in the 2018 RTW fast (Thanks, Goodbye Valentino for inspiring me!). Basically, I will not being buying any clothes this year, so I’ll need to stitch up a couple of pairs of pants if I’m going to survive a year without Anthropologie (can it be done? We’ll see….).
  • Challenge myself with at least two sewing contests, four if I can manage it.
    • In 2017, I participated in the Pattern Review Wardrobe Sudoku and the plaid contest. Both competitions were really fun and they  pushed me out of my comfort zone a little too. I had to stretch my sewing skills a bit to keep up, so I’d like to do more next year.
  • Stash Bust: Sure, I could try to give up fabric purchases for awhile, but a year without that pleasure would be a truly horrifying thing for me! So, I will compromise with this rule. I will sew two items from stashed fabric for every one fabric purchase.
  • Sew a trench coat. I’ve always wanted to make one, a Burberry knock off would be great! See how inspiring they are?
  • Sew a couple of cool bags with lots of details. Ideas of patterns to try anyone?
  • Sew with a plan 50% of the time: Last year I sewed with a plan for a trip to Spain and Portugal, which really paid off. I had a great travel wardrobe that was comfortable and made me feel put together, even when I wasn’t, LOL. I will do the same with a couple of trips this year. However, sewing with a plan all the time cannot be a goal for me. Too much planning can destroy my sew-jo. I kid you not. When I think about what I’m going to sew too much, every decision overwhelms me and I end up doing, well…. nothing!  So, I will allow myself time to sew ‘whatever suits my fancy’ too, because spontaneity and sewing in the moment is the fun of it for me.

In summary; I was pretty productive in 2017, and hope to do the same in 2018, balancing hard projects like coats with ‘easy sews’ like tops and skirts. My blogging goals are to improve my photos and my regularity, although I didn’t do too bad last year.

Now about this top….

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I found this sweater knit at Fabric Depot this fall. Immediately, I could see it as another version of McCalls 7501, a knit dress/top pattern that I made before and wore constantly because it’s cozy and comfortable, especially with a tee under it. This fabric caught my eye because it reminded me of sweater I saw at Anthropologie. McCalls 7501 is a favorite pattern now because I love view B, the wide collar option. The collar becomes such a cozy detail when sewn from a textured sweater knit.

This pattern is a fun, quick sew. It even has Raglan sleeves! Trust me, you can make this in an afternoon!

I hope your new year is off to a great start! I’d love to know what you think of my goals – – especially my RTW fast! Am I …..crazy? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

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35 thoughts on “First Make of 2018, Goals and a Few Reflections

    1. Yes, I was worried that the RTW fast would take some of the fun out of sewing, but I think I can keep my sew jo going if I don’t have too many rules for myself about what I make. And fabric purchases are a big part of what inspires me, so I didn’t go off the deep end there 🙂

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  1. I participated in the RTW fast four years ago. It was a fun challenge that really did change the way I look at shopping. My advice is to plan ahead and think about what you really wear. I found I didn’t sew enough in general that year, and I definitely didn’t sew enough work clothes. Even so, I almost signed up again this year, but I don’t think I have enough time in my schedule. Good luck to you and enjoy the process!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement! It would be a good thing, if the RTW fast made me think a bit more about how I shop. Great advice – -I do need to think ahead and plan a bit to make this work. For once, I actually have a dress up event in February, a rarity in my life. Probably should be thinking about what I’m going to wear now, LOL!

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  2. I always find your sewing inspirational especially as I sew a lot of tops too. Good luck with the RTW fast. I thought about it but needing a swim suit this year …..and definitely not planning to sew one….kept me out. You are such an accomplished sewist that it will probably be a piece of cake to make it a full 12 months without buying anything.

    Look forward to your fancy dress!

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    1. Thank-you! I’ll need luck, I think :). Yes, I would probably have passed on the fast if I’d had a swimsuit to buy this year! I know sewing one can be done, but I don’t think it would be fun for me, and I think sewing should have an element of fun to it. I’m looking forward to the challenge of this year and to an excuse to sew a fancy dress~

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    1. Thanks Lucy! This top was an easy fun way to start 2018, the year of the FAST! It will be fun, I’m sure, an eye-opening adventure…

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  3. I really enjoy reading your blog. I like that you make really fun things and it helps me to look at patterns I normally don’t notice with new eyes. I want to make a trench coat too, and an anorak.

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    1. Thanks Mary! What a nice compliment! An anorak would be a fun project too…what a great idea. I haven’t picked my pattern yet for the trench, but will write a post about the process soon. Looking forward to your thoughts on that.

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  4. Well as you know I’m doing the fast too as we already found each other in the FB group. I’m sure you’ll do well Linda. Love how you thought about what you need to sew already and I’m thrilled you’re doing a trench coat. I have two and want to make a third. Burberry is the best inspiration!.
    And this new sweater in your photos here is gorgeous! I love that collar….must check out that pattern.

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    1. Yes, I love the RTW fast FB group, don’t you? Lots of enthusiasm and inspiration there to keep us going! I do remember your trench coats and will book mark them as I am considering the same Vogue pattern (it’s already in my extensive pattern stash). I’ve always dreamed of owning a Burberry, but the current price on my favorite is $2895, LOL!! Think of the fabric you could buy for that! The pattern for my sweater is a keeper. It would look great on you!

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  5. I’m doing the RTW fast too, and I’m not too concerned about it as I think I have enough stuff already to last the year. We’ll see if it bites a bit later on, and I turn out to be over confident.
    I need to be able to sew trousers/pants for myself to ensure I am covered but I’ve started working on that already.

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    1. It sounds like a good strategy to go into the fast with a solid wardrobe so that you don’t have to panic. I think I’ll follow your lead and get started on some pants right away so that I don’t have to worry! I like your confidence – I need to borrow some!

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  6. Very cool and inspiring plans Linda. I too am pant making for 2018, like you 2017 was the year of the tops. My aim is to make every second make a pair of pants. Watch this space! Looking forward to seeing yours 😊

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    1. Thanks, Naomi! Every second make to be a pair of pants is a great goal. I wonder if I could ever keep up with you, LOL!! You’ll have a fabulous pants wardrobe when that’s accomplished! I’ve taken notice of your awesome Lander pants…it’s on my list of possible patterns. Here’s to a great year with lots of well fitting pants.

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    1. Thank-you! This pattern was such a find. I know I’ll make it again and again. It’s a great way to start out the new year!

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  7. Good luck with the fast and the contests, I look forward to seeing all your new makes.

    On the bags it may be worth having a look at Lisa Lam’s book, The Bag Making Bible. It includes lots of patterns which you can adapt to what you want, but with the skills she teaches you’ll be confident to design your own.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion on the Bag Book. I’ll check it out. I’d love to be so confident I could actually design one of my own!

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  8. I’m in the RTW Fast too (and the fb group which IS a lot of fun!). Already the challenge has sent me scurrying to my closet to think about what I’m going to need to avert any temptations! I don’t expect it to be too difficult for me – last yr I only bought 5 RTW items. One of them was a ski jacket and another was actually a birthday gift from my husband (a poncho made up of a beautiful wool grown and made here in BC) – a couple of pull-on jeans (I have that Jalie Eleanor pattern too so no excuse for these but they were there and easy!). A top from Hemp & Co because I couldn’t resist the post-xmas sale and it was made up of a fabric really difficult to source (besides it was made in BC 🙂 ) but no more this year! I’m also committed to no fabric, patterns OR shoes 🙂 It will be interesting to see how much I distract myself with shopping rather than making! I have far too many patterns and fabric and not enough space so this must stop. I returned to sewing 3 years ago after an almost 40 yr hiatus. I’m not by nature a hoarder or collector (quite the opposite actually) so I watched this accumulation with alarming disbelief! How on earth did this get so out of control I keep asking myself (and my husband is a little blown away too) but I’m determined it stops now. I’ve unsubscribed from ALL fabric newsletters as a start 🙂

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    1. I love your idea of unsubscribing to Fabric newsletters….so funny that you accumulated such a wonderful stash in a short period of time. When you see a great piece of Fabric it’s hard to leave it behind because you know you’ll probably never see it again! That said, I’m looking forward to a year of careful purchases since I have to sew two pieces from my stash for every one I buy! I think the FB group will help us keep to our RTW fast commitment, lots of enthusiasm there!

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    1. Oh, it’s great to meet another RTW faster! It’s going to be fun isn’t it? It’s feels good to actually write down goals that I’m determined to keep!

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  9. Wow, you really hit it out of the park with this fabric/pattern combo!! I love this top, and wish it was mine. 😀

    Your plans sound fantastic, and I wish you the best of luck with them. I am planning to sew more pants this year too, and I have a similar “problem” with focusing on sewing things my wardrobe needs versus those things that are “shiny” or are thought up in a fit of inspiration. It’s hard to sew stuff your closet needs when you’re inspired by the shiny stuff, but I am sure you can do it. And good luck with your RTW Fast: I know you can go a whole year without Anthro! (Besides, you sew: you can window shop and come home and make whatever you want! 😉 )

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    1. Thanks!! I’m wearing the top out for the first time today. I hope it’s up to this cold damp weather we’re having. Yes, pants are definitely on thie agenda this year. I’ve already started making a list of patterns. I might have to give the Ginger jeans a try too just because. You’re so right about window shopping! I sort of forgot about that! I can certainly go into Anthro, even try something on if I want, then go home and sew up my own version.

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  10. This is such a cool sweater and what a nice make to kick off the New Year in. I saw the list of the contests go up on PR a couple of days ago, but I haven’t gotten around to really thinking about it! I’d love to do Upcycle again, but inspiration has to strike! Trench coats are so classic, and they are FUN to sew! A Burberry knock off would be fantastic! You’ll have fun researching all of the little details that make a Burberry trench a Burberry trench!

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    1. Thanks! I’m taking this top with me to to San Francisco this week where I plan to visit Britex Fabrics, looking for fabric for my Night Dress(fingers crossed), maybe for my trench too! I know what you mean about researching the trench.,,it’s half the fun of deciding to make one:) I haven’t tried the upcycle contest before but I might do the wardrobe contest again. It’s all about time management, eh? So much fun available but only so much we can do (sigh),

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    1. Thanks, Linda! The damp weather demands so many non negotiable wardrobe choices, so I buy cute sweater knits whenever I can. I’m so excited to sew a trench! Still looking for suitable Fabric…

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