Wednesday, 25 February 2015

On feeling overwhelmed

Last night I had a sewing evening planned. P is working away, I had the kids in bed, the dinner dishes cleared and the toys tidied by 7.45. Perfect. But... I couldn't decide what I wanted to sew.

Ever feel overwhelmed with inspiration? That's how I've been feeling. Being off on Mat leave is giving me a lot of time to spend reading blogs, on Instagram and browsing online fabric shops. Which is great. Except my head is full to bursting with ideas. I really want to buy ALL THE FABRIC and MAKE ALL THE PATTERNS!! I've fallen in love with double gauze, Cotton and Steel (both double gauze and the rayon), I want to make Ginger jeans, so I'm browsing denim. I want to make more Lindens and so am browsing sweatshirt fabrics (and struggling there, tbh), looking for inspiration for them. I have purchased the Ultimate Trousers and so need to muslin them and then look for and buy fabric. Add to that, I want to work through my stash, and finish up all promised makes and WIPs, and you can probably see why I just don't know where to start. My goal for 2015 was to clear out my cupboard and see what's what. I have yet to do that.

In the end, I spent the evening, for want of a better word, fannying about. I looked at Liberty fleece online and tried to justify the cost - while taking part in an IG conversation with George, who was enabling as best as she could. I looked in my sewing cupboard and despaired at the mess. I took some fabric out, draped it over me and tried to come up with ideas. I virtually stroked (i.e. gazed longingly), for the millionth time, at this fabric. I chatted briefly on IG with Hazel. I considered starting on some cushions for my mother in law. I pulled out my sewing box. I started writing a list of all the fabric I want to buy. I put my sewing box back again. In the end, I went to bed having achieved nothing and feeling really discontented, and to tell you the truth, a bit stressed. I lay awake in bed and decided that today I would do 2 things: I would do a repair on one of P's shirt and I would make the cushions.

So, today, I did both. The shirt took me about 20 mins. I cut and sewed 2 cushions which took me a little more than an hour. And what a sense of achievement! This evening I cut and sewed 2 more cushions, leaving me little more than scraps. So, 2 projects and one length of fabric out of my cupboard! Done and done.

Co-incidentally, today I stumbled across this blog post about why the blogger took all her daughters' toys away. It has nothing to do with sewing, but it made me think. It is making me question why I think I'll die if I don't buy and make everything on my ever increasing list?

I get pleasure from sewing, but if it's just the process of sewing that's key then surely I can sew anything? I don't need to buy more (expensive) fabric for that. Is it to expand my skills? In some cases, but ditto with not needing to buy more.What then, do I need in terms of filling wardrobe gaps? In fairness I do need jeans, and while I don't need them, one or 2 more sweatshirts wouldn't go amiss. What else? Am I picking potential projects based on what is likely to drive blog hits and IG likes? To impress people, even? Maybe. That public validation is important to me. Why? I don't know. That's probably another conversation for another day, but at least I recognise it's not the best reason to pick my sewing projects, or spend my money.

What next? I don't know. I won't be doing any more sewing this week - Great British Sewing Bee tomorrow night and then Small Boy and I are away at the weekend, so I have some time to think about it.

How do you record your inspiration and how do you manage your wish list? And how do you restrain yourself from buying all the things?

Friday, 20 February 2015

Completed: Grainline Scout Mark Eighty (or something similar)

Are you bored of me posting about Scout tees now? I know some bloggers ask this when they post about basics, or multiples of a pattern, but I know that I am always keen to see what others make, regardless of how many they have made before. Sometimes it's just the inspiration, you  know? They don't necessarily need to write much, if there isn't anything new to say. I suppose if you don't agree, you can just skip this post. :)

So, I made another Scout tee. Actually, I fancied making something different, but I only had a metre of fabric, and I didn't know specifically what I wanted to make. I certainly wasn't going to buy patterns on the off chance that I might fit all the pieces into a metre. So, another Scout it was. Officially, the Scout needs more than a metre, but I've found I can squeeze it in to 140cm wide fabric, if I make my own bias binding, rather than using the pattern piece given. This time, however I managed to use all the pattern pieces AND fit them into the metre. Win!

The fabric is Chalk Charcoal by Atelier Brunette, which I ordered from Guthrie and Ghani when I bought the fabric for my 1974 dress (and therefore is from the stash). I think I only bought a metre for financial reasons, rather than any other. I should probably stop doing that. At some point I will have enough Scouts.

The fabric is lovely. It has a gorgeous handle, very similar to Liberty Tana Lawn. It sews and presses like a dream, and is so nice to wear. It's a bit lightweight for this time of year, truth be told, and as much as I'm really happy with this iteration, it doesn't seem to sit that well under a cardigan. Other than adding 3cm to the length, this is a straight up as drafted and instructed version. The first time I've done that, I think. Now that I've done that, I'm wondering if I couldn't get away with a size smaller. I made the size 4, as I always do, according to my bust measurement, but it does have a lot of ease, and it might be a smidgen too big on the shoulders. I think I might try a size 2 at some point. Then again, I reprinted the PDF for this version, and didn't trace, so I might not...

The shoulder and side seams are French seamed, while the sleeves are currently pinked. This is because I made this in an evening. I didn't intend to, but it got to the point where I realised I could finish, meaning I would have a new top to wear the next day. The instructions are written so that the sleeves are the last thing you do (not the best, really, when you are sewing tired), and I didn't want to get the overlocker out at 11.30pm. I say "currently" because I probably will go back and overlock the seam at some point. Probably. My bias facing is really neat - probably my best, but I did manage to slightly stretch out the neckline, meaning it ever so slightly stands proud. Other than that, I'm really happy with it, and it's a nice addition to the wardrobe - even if it is more likely to be a spring piece.


Lastly, the light in the photos, and in my last post is not great. Apologies. My husband is working in Dublin a lot at the moment, so I am taking my own blog photos. WITH MY NEW CAMERA!* I'm still figuring it out, plus, you know: winter light. I'm hoping to get back to taking photos outside, but until I get a tripod, get over my fear of posing for photos in front of the neighbours (that yellow/cream wall that's featured in my photos relatively recently is across the road from our house), AND figure out how to take photos without getting run over, it's photos inside, and poor light. Alternatively I need to train up Small Boy.

* I bought an Olympus Stylus 1, which some retailers described as a bridge and some described as a high performance compact. It's smaller than most bridges which I preferred - with 2 small children, I already have enough stuff to carry around - but seems to have pretty good functionality and photo quality. Not that you can tell with the rubbish light...


Friday, 6 February 2015

Vintage Pattern Pledge

I've been giving this some thought, as in this post, I said my goals for 2015 were to not make any goals. However, I like the idea of the Vintage Pattern Pledge hosted this year by Marie and Kerry, and I can actually tie the Vintage Pattern Pledge into my non-goal goal (which is to finish WIPs and use my stash). So I am joining in, but I am keeping things simple, and pledging to complete 2 specific patterns.

Firstly the WIP.

I started this coat in 2012. It saw a bit of progression at the end of 2013, but work stopped when I got to the bound button holes. If you've never sewn bound button holes before then you'll not know that unlike "normal" buttonholes which are pretty much the last thing you sew on a garment, bound buttonholes are pretty much the first thing you sew... yeah, it really hasn't seen much progression. I don't know how many times I have committed to finishing it, and then reneged on that commitment. To be fair, I probably wouldn't have got a lot of wear out of it this winter, since the 3/4 sleeves are not hugely practical, and it probably wouldn't look fantastic worn with a baby (in a sling) on top. But apart from anything else, I want it out of my WIP pile, and the fabric is far too beautiful to be sitting in a plastic bag in a cupboard.

Secondly, this pattern:

I found this pattern, when browsing for patterns printed in 1974. One seller on Etsy had listed this as having been printed in 1974, but actually it was 1973, but I loved the pattern so much, I had to have it. Just look at that sassy lady in red!!!! She absolutely sold me the pattern, but I also love the extended shoulder/cap sleeve of the short sleeved version. The seller was US based and didn't ship overseas, so I had her send it to my sister in law who lives in Yonkers, NY. My mother in law was over visiting at Christmas, so she brought it back for me. Since I went to the effort to buy this pattern, it seems obvious that I should prioritise it for this year. If I can make it from stash fabric, so much the better, but nothing that I have is currently springing to mind. Plus, I'm not sure I can see beyond a red version...

So, here I go:

During 2015, I, Helen of Grosgrain Green will complete 2 specific vintage patterns: Simplicity 6095 and McCalls 7619.

Are you joining in? If so, what is your pledge?
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