Planning can make all the difference

I sewed quite a bit last year.  36 pieces, in fact.  Many of those get worn and I’m proud of having made them (Jeans! I made my own jeans! This still amazes me).  However, toward the end of the year, in early November actually, I became listless. I stopped picking projects because they were something I really wanted to make or wear, and started making projects simply to keep making and stay busy.  I started choosing patterns I thought would be quick and easy and rarely spent enough time making necessary adjustments or pairing those patterns with the right fabric, instead just pulling a decent option from my fabric stash. I cut corners and got sloppy, two things I rarely do in any facet of my life.  As a result, and not surprisingly, many of those projects ended up in the donation box.  So my wardrobe was no more interesting than before and my fabric stash, while a bit smaller, is still embarrassingly large.

I’m approaching this year differently. Rather than focusing on volume and decreasing my fabric “collection”, I made a list of clothing items I actually want to add to my wardrobe. It all started with my #2017makenine list on Instagram:


StyleArc Lorie jacket | Closet Case Ginger jeans (pairs 4&5) | Vogue 8633 in navy wool | Closet Case Kelly Anorak – hopefully in red | Gertie’s Butterick 6413 | Megan Nielsen Dove Blouse to Dress hack | Vogue 1316 – in old denim just like Handmade by Carolyn’s | Closet Case Sophie bikini | more bras

That list has already changed a wee bit…  I’ve added a few pieces:

  • A Mondrian dress to wear to the ‘Yves Saint Laurent – The Perfection of Style’ exhibit coming to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond this May.
Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian Dress (1965) in cream & navy

Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian Dress (1965) in cream & navy.  My plan to draft the pattern for this dress involves duct tape.

  • A Grainline Archer to wear out running errands when I am too lazy to change out of my yoga pants but want to cover my behind.
Grain line Archer shirt

Grain line Archer shirt – I’m not sure if mine will be plaid

  • And possibly a Chanel-esque suit using a couple Style Arc pieces I just discovered.


I’ve also removed/substituted an item:

  • After further thought, I think it is unlikely I’ll make the Gertie/Butterick dress.  While I love that dress on Gertie, I highly doubt I’d feel comfortable wearing it out.  Instead I’m going to make a different party-appropriate dress, like the By Hand London Elisalex dress or maybe even my own version of Roland Mouret’s “Galaxy” dress.
Roland Mouret's Galaxy dress

Roland Mouret’s original “Galaxy” dress

If/when I go back to work full time, I may need to adjust my plans further, depending on how much sewing time I have and a possible office dress code.  And let’s be honest, I can pretty much guarantee a new pattern will be released this year that I will need to make immediately (Closet Case has a new pattern coming out next week…). But that is one of the best parts of having a plan: just because you have it, doesn’t mean it is not flexible. It’s just a place to start.

And you want to know the best part?  I own almost all of these patterns and most of the fabrics.

I just recently completed my first item from the list – the Megan Nielsen Dove Blouse hacked into a dress in a beautifully drapey black and grey checked wool blend.  I’ll hopefully get some pics of me wearing that posted here shortly. But here’s a quick snap on Violet.

Megan Nielsen Dove Blouse pattern hacked into a dress with straight hem and shortened sleeves

Megan Nielsen Dove Blouse pattern hacked into a dress with straight hem and shortened sleeves

Given that I am a planner by nature, it’s a bit odd that I’ve never approached my sewing like this before.  Even just three weeks into the year I’m already finding it much more enjoyable and less haphazard.  And having this process in place just may help me cut back on pattern and fabric purchases (well, maybe).

Now to decide which piece I’ll make next…

4 thoughts on “Planning can make all the difference

  1. Karen Silakowski says:

    36 pieces-that was a very ambitious and productive year! I’ve saw two pairs of your jeans in class and was impressed enough to think maybe I would try a pair later this year. Have you ever considered entering one of the garment competitions that Threads Magazine features? You certainly have the skills and would probably enjoy the challenge. I love the Mondrian Dress and the idea of wearing it to the museum event to celebrate great design. Happy Sewing!

    • Sarah says:

      Thank you. It was a very productive sewing year for me. Of course, it helped that I had the summer off! Sharon, from our class, is also attempting a pair of Ginger jeans this year. She’s in Catherine’s Sew Your Own Wardrobe class this semester and I believe that is the project she is starting. Give it a go – you have nothing to lose!

  2. Megan Nielsen says:

    Wow this is so beautiful honey! I definitely need to try a Dove dress, i still can’t believe i haven’t done it myself hehe.
    Looks like you have a really productive sewing year planned -that’s awesome!! Meg xo

    • Sarah says:

      You have got to make one! It is such a fun and easy dress to wear.

      I love the way mine turned out. I’m just having a terrible time getting photos of me wearing it. It gets dark *so* early. But I recently spotted a potential indoor venue, so maybe soon.

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