goals

2019 — goals and aspirations

We’re almost at the end of January so it’s time to post this year’s sewing goals and aspirations. I took a bit of time to figure this out because I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to focus on or realistically how much time I’m going to have, especially in the first part of the year, to focus on sewing.

We are entering the last stages of a whole house renovation. Including the gut of our garage into a beautiful, fully conditioned studio, we have been under some level on construction for almost three years now. Luckily and thankfully, we were able to move out and live elsewhere for the last part. My stress level has been so much lower and my sanity has been mostly intact because of this. Hooray! Because of this, fairly soon I will need to put sewing temporarily aside and concentrate on putting the house back together. As it will sort of be like moving into a brand new house I’m very excited and anxious for this! While I have ambitious goals for 2019, I’m looking at it more like a wish list than a to do list. I’ll just have to see what is accomplished.

I don’t have a lot of events already planned in 2019 so there is not much on this list that is pressing. I do have a bucket list goal of attending Fetes Galantes at Versailles so prep for that figures into 2019. Anyway, I’ll explain more below…

More Regency:

I’m attending the 1st staging of The Treaty of Ghent Celebration and Grand Illumination in Camden, SC next weekend. As this is February in the south, the weather could go all sorts of ways. I’ve already made a historicalish cloak in case of chill but it looks, at the moment, like the weather will be fairly mild. Better to be prepared than not! The cloak is made from red stash wool with a blue / gray herribone print flannel lining. Technically it is fully reversible. I had not planned on adding any trim but when I cut the pattern out (Simplicity 5794), I accidentally cut the grain line marking, not the front! I fixed it but had to cover it up. I found the chenille and gimp trim for $1 a yard and it looks great. Happyish accident?image1image2

I’m also making a new version of Laughing Moon #138 for this event.

I will most likely be attending Jane Austen Festival in July so I’d like a new ballgown for that. This was on the docket last year but did not happen. I’ve since acquired even more potential ballgown fabric so 2019 is a must. I should also consider making another chemise and bodiced petticoat (or one of those suspender type petticoats).

1870s Polanaise ensemble:

I am long overdue to make a new 1870-1880 day dress / evening dress. I claimed this dress from Daniel Deronda for a group at Costume College. I bought the orange silk for the polonaise in the LA fabric district right after the event and I just found something for the skirt. Since I have everything and I committed myself, this will be my next historical project after I finish my Regency stuff for Treaty of Ghent (unless something comes up!)

 

18th Century / Robe a l’Anglais:

In prep for a potential trip to Fetes Galantes in 2020, I need to make a serviceable Robe a l’Anglais. Essentially, I want to make a wearable test dress so my eventual Fetes Galantes gown is not my first. I have a lot of the underpinnings already from 18th Century Strawberry Shortcake. I also have the fabric for this, again purchased in the LA fabric district. In the 18th Century vein, I wouldn’t mind revising the JP Ryan jacket pattern that I used for Strawberry Shortcake. It needs some fitting tweaks. I also think it would be pretty easy to knock out an actual historic look with that pattern.

1860s dress with evening and day bodices:

This guy has been hanging around for a while now. I still don’t have an elliptical hoop. My new plan is to make one myself using Laughing Moon #112. I just feel like I have to get this done somehow. The evening bodice is halfway complete!

Laughing Moon #117, not sure which view:

I bought this pattern and want to sew it. I bought some bright orchid purple poly taffeta with matching bright loud checked poly taffeta when I was in India. I think it would be insane and perfect for this.

Edwardian Suffragette Suit:

I was thinking this Butterick pattern and the kelly green cotton / linen blend I’ve had in my stash for a while.

Figure out vintage style pants / jeans:

This is another holdover. It became slightly less pressing when I found these jeans from Collectif (I bought two pairs) but I want to have a good fitting slacks pattern in my arsenal.

Sew more knits:

I’m hoping at some point this year to purchase a cover stitch machine. I’m pretty set on this Janome. It gets good reviews and is at a price point I’m willing to pay. This would help immensely with my knit fabric experiments.

Reorganize and purge my costume closet:

This isn’t a sewing goal per se but it needs to happen. I have a wonderful and very large cedar lined closet for all my costumes, antiques and kimono. I need to get stuff properly cleaned and hung up, go through everything and make sure I want all the stuff that is in there. I did get rid of some gowns a couple of years ago but it’s time to do it again. Also, I am sure I have way too many “project” accessories and hats. Several things got thrown in the closet when I had to clear my house for the current renovation, so it’s time. This does not include going through the fabric stash. That happened fairly recently. It could stand to happen again but I can basically find everything so it’s a lot less pressing.

Everthing else:

In addition to these things, there is what I call my regular sewing — vintage inspired dresses and outfits, including one off themed dresses and the odd cosplays. These items aren’t goals but they are sewing I’m sure I’ll be doing along the way.

Like 2018, and considering that I know I will be very busy with my house, I feel like this is a very ambitious (maybe doable?) list for 2019. I’ll just need to see how it goes and what gets thrown my way!

Wish me luck!

Oscar Party dress, or I finally managed to sew a thing!

My first post of 2018 was an ambitious list of my sewing hopes for this year. So what did I not do at all in January and February? Yep, no sewing at all.

I finally was able to get back behind the machine to make a formal dress for an Oscar Party.

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I was very excited to give Simplicity 2506 from 1958 a spin. It was a good score to find this pattern in a 24 1/2 (45 bust). That’s actually a size too big for me but I made the dress with no alterations. This turned out to be a mistake as it was too big in the shoulders and at the neckline. I can make a fast and dirty fix on the dress I already made. I should take a wedge out of the center front and redraft that piece before I make this again.

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Originally I was going to make this dress in a sort of tiki inspired fabric of tan tropical leaves and flowers on a black ground. I misread the pattern however and after I had cut several pieces I realized I was at least a yard short of fabric. Since that fabric was essentially free, this error turned out to only be extremely annoying versus tragic or expensive. I didn’t have anything appropriate in my stash with enough yardage so I went out the day before the Oscars to try to find something else.

I, like most people, was totally thrilled by Black Panther. After watching, I immediately put a vintage dress out of African wax cotton on my sewing list so I’d have something “Wakandan” for DragonCon. I was striking out with Oscar dress fabric but the shop I was at has a wide selection of wax cottons. I immediately fell in love with this one. I love all the colors and the almost tech or cellular look to it. I also didn’t realize that African wax cotton prints come in set yardages. So I was a little worried about making that work with my big skirt pieces but bought a little extra it turned out fine. I was a little worried with how stiff the wax cotton was but I figured it had to soften up with washing. It softened up and had an almost brushed texture after a trip in the washing machine. It was a dream to work with and very easy to sew.

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I finished the dress at 7:30pm the night of the party. The red carpet started at 7pm so by the time I got dressed and ready I made a very late entrance. But, I did finish the dress, I did make it to the party and in addition to looking fab, I was super comfortable. I also had pocket since I put one in! I accessorized with an earring necklace combo from Dames a la Mode. While you can’t see them I’m wearing very cute blue suede heels I just rediscovered after several years being lost under my bed. This dress would look even more period with a small crinoline underneath. I actually have the perfect one, but in my rush to get the party I totally forgot about wearing it.

While I now I have the perfect gown for next year’s Oscars (I’m sure Black Panther will win something — costume design seems obvious), I’m still planning to make another more casual dress as a Black Panther homage. I’d like to use a print that is a little more traditional. Also, African wax cotton was a dream to work with and affordable so I’m completely down with sewing it again and often.

My 2018 (intensive and long) list of sewing goals

It’s officially 2018. It’s been a bit of a start since our heat went out New Year’s Day and it’s been quite cold (below freezing) here in Atlanta! Being stuck in one room with space heaters or in the much more spacious and warm studio has had me seriously thinking about sewing goals. I feel like I really dropped the ball on historical last year. I’m in fairly dire need of new Victorian gowns for both day and evening. I had planned on making both — made neither! I also have a late 1860s gown started but not finished. And don’t forget piles of awesome fabrics waiting to be turned into several other gowns. I need to prioritize!

So, in no particular order, my top goals for 2018:

Late 1860s Ball Gown and Day Bodice — I have the bodice half done. I “threw in” my hoop in favor of commissioning Black Orchid Atelier to make one for me. I bought trim in LA last year that I think will work on the ball gown. I might have enough silk for a day bodice. I’m thinking I may try to turn my hoop fail into a circular hoop, just so I have one and so I at least save some of my effort. I just have so many icky feelings about wearing Civil War fashion.

Early Bustle Era Day Dress — I have a stash black and whitish sawtooth cotton to use for this. I just need to pick a final design and make it.

18th Century Riding Habit — I took Lynn McMasters’s fitting class at Costume College so this also is basically ready to go. I should probably mock it up once more before I use my fashion fabric, a kelly green linen / cotton blend that I originally bought to make a Slytherin themed 1890s suit. But as that fabric is not precious and replaceable, maybe I should just get to it instead?

More Regency —  I’m already slated to go to Jane Austen Fest so I want to make something new. I bought a beautiful sari in London to use for a ballgown. I got a fabulous blue and white striped gauze from my husband for Christmas that I’d like to use for something. I only have three meters so most likely it would be an open robe or a sleeveless overdress. I don’t know. I just don’t want to make another white gown to go underneath. I made a white dress last summer.

1910s Ball / Evening Gown — I have a different sari from London for this. I also have a paste rhinestone buckle, most likely from the 1980s, that I got at the Paris flea market as a focus. This dress will most likely be a little loud and more Hollywood than history but I think it will be fabulous. I tried starting the Laughing Moon pattern but didn’t get very far with the mockup. Not sure if I should revisit that or use a different pattern.

Figure out how to make myself a pair of jeans — this was on my list last year and didn’t happen. I need a pair of vintage / retro style jeans. I need to conquer pants, but I have fear.

Of course that list doesn’t include the Elvis and David Bowie themed dressed I had tentatively planned for Costume College. I don’t even know if I can stomach the cost or intensity of my Elvis idea. Nor does it include reviving my 1901 Mourning Ensemble or sewing anything else practical or vintage. Oh and there is also the time of real life too! I’m just not sure where to start exactly, since the only current deadlines I have are Janefest and Costume College. But if I just picked one, hunkered down and started, I feel like the priority list could be possible!

In the time it took to write this, my heat finally seems to be fixed! Another good sign!

Any suggestions? Make them in the comments!

 

A Fast Post About Yoga (and Progress)

I have been doing well with my burgeoning yoga practice. I have even added some Pilates into the mix. My new goal is to try to get in one yoga and one Pilates class every week. So far, so good. When I went to yoga today, it was really hard. I had an instructor that was new to me. My body wasn’t cooperating, especially on the left side. It was generally frustrating. Near the end of the class we did a pose that I generally have a lot of problems getting into. Today, while I was far from perfect, I got into the pose much more easily and I was closer to actually being able to do it properly. It was a very small victory that reminded me that I am indeed coming along. Sometimes, that’s all one really needs.