New year plans, sort of.


Well I have just about recovered from Christmas, New Year, Birthday, etc. and I did promise a New Year round up. It has been more difficult than I thought though. I have really struggled to come up with top five lists. Don’t get me wrong, 2013 was a damn good year for me in terms of sewing. Highlights included the meet ups, getting to know so many cool people ( you lot are the best) , me made may, making lots of lovely stuff that was actually wearable and got me compliments, and getting a dedicated sewing space.  My oldest daughter has also caught the bug and attends a sewing club at her school.  I wear most of the things I completed, which is good. However, while I had very few failures there is nothing I made that I would say has been a total success.

There are a few reasons for this.   Firstly I know that I should make more muslins, measure pattern pieces and also measure myself more regularly. Rochelle’s anti-round up post struck a chord with me. It also made me realise that I really should find a core of patterns that I have perfected the fit for and use them as the basis of a wearable wardrobe. I definitely get carried away with wanting to make cool stuff that I can show off and write about.  I find it so difficult to ignore all the gorgeous new patterns that are released and I really want to support independent pattern designers. However limited time and a short attention span means that I end up cutting corners and rushing. The urge to make all the lovely new stuff means that I steam ahead without considering whether I will wear things in real life. I neglect the fitting and finishing, resulting in garments that I love initially but that don’t necessarily feel ‘right’ when I am wearing them.    Most of my makes do look and feel home made. I just realised that I have been sewing for almost three years now so I can’t really use the excuse that I am a beginner any more. I need to put more effort into lining things, finishing seams, using the correct techniques instead of cutting corners – all the things that are easy to justify skipping but make me really proud of the end result.

UFOs. Maybe because of some of the things I have outlined above, I have a stupid amount of unfinished projects. I find it difficult to ignore new patterns and Sewalongs and will move on to a fun new project without properly completing current ones. I also have a load of things that I don’t wear because they need altering, because I rushed them in the first place.  They don’t need a lot doing to them to make them wearable but there are so many new fun things to make so I hang them in my wardrobe and pretend I’ll come back to them.

Another problem I have is that I seem to change size and shape quite a lot. What might be a perfect fit one month can be tight and restrictive or too baggy the next. I don’t do dieting. I try to eat healthily but I have noticed that my food and drink intake and activity levels fluctuate depending on what is going on at work. And don’t get me started on hormones and their effect on my body shape.  I’m not sure what the solution is. More knits?

So taking all this into account I have come up with some plans. I’m not going to call them resolutions because then I will get pissed off with myself if I don’t get round to doing them. So in 2014 I plan (but will not stress out if I don’t)  to do the following:

1. Get the fit right.
2. Finish stuff properly, line stuff and stop cutting corners.
3. Try really hard to avoid buying every new pattern and joining in every Sewalong. I am not making any promises on this one but I will try and consider whether it is something that I will actually wear and finish what I am working on at the time first.  I am considering doing something like Rochelle’s twelve pattern challenge  and there is no way I am not doing Jungle January
4. Complete or bin some of my UFOs. Some are beyond help, or are stuff that I will never wear so  instead of feeling guilty every time I see them I am just going to chuck them. As for the rest, I am going to set a target to complete at least one a month.
5. Keep sewing from the stash and give away what I will never use. My stash is getting a bit silly now so I need to be ruthless. I have more fabric and patterns than I will ever use. I am planning a giveaway and I am also hoping that somebody will (please?) organise another meetup and swap so I can pass it all on to people who will appreciate it.

I have a few other sort of resolutions that are not necessarily sewing related. I want to get better at using twitter instead of just lurking. I still feel a bit stupid using it, like I am going to do it wrong, and there is that nagging doubt that noone would want to hear what I think and it is only for cool people anyway. I want to read more, write more, get the hang of knitting, make underwear, figure out how to comment on blogs from my phone, get more exercise and sample more brands of gin (current bottle is this – the only gin distilled in Kent. I highly recommend it).  I am also hoping that 2014 will be the year that somebody finally offers to give me enough money to live on for doing stuff that I love doing and would do for for free anyway. Well I can dream…

20 thoughts on “New year plans, sort of.

  1. Rosesred

    Finishing nicely is always a good idea but in the pictures your stuff not read ‘homemade’ to me. Same for fit, improving it is fun, but do your clothes fit worse than rtw? Sometimes I think we sewisrs are to hard on ourselves. I love seeing what you make because must of ypu stuff just looks like so much fun!

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Aww, thanks! You’re right, I think we are a bit too hard on ourselves sometimes. I think it is difficult not to compare ourselves with all the amazing sewists doing beautiful things, when really we should be comparing our stuff with RTW. In fact RTW never fit me properly, which is one of the reasons I started sewing in the first place, so you have made an excellent point.

  2. Helen

    I agree with Rosesred above. Your makes do not look homemade, and since you show us so many photos ‘in the wild’, I assume you wear all your makes to death! Don’t be too harsh on yourself, although obviously you do want to be happy with what you make. I always think MY makes look very handmade, but I have some friends who spend a lot of money on quality clothes, and they tell me otherwise!

    Have you tried Edinburgh gin? The elderflower one is delicious!

  3. 5currantbuns

    Trying gins is great fun… been doing it for a year now and have had some surprising results, and had some prejudices removed (Beefeater not as bad as I’d feared, Greenalls a good budget gin, some of the more niche ones not worth the money)… can recommend one made in northampton, think it’s called Harringtons… but keep forgetting to keep a record of the ones I’ve tried

    Unfortunately I am currently doing the Dryathlon until 1st Feb 😦

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Cheers, I’ve tried Greenalls and I agree, it’s nicer than quite of few of the more pricey ones. I will definitely try Harringtons, I grew up near Northampton so it would be nice to try something from there. I bet you are counting the hours now until dry January is over. If I was you I would be staying up until midnight just so I could have my first drink of the year.

  4. Laurie

    Great goals… we share some in common! Like making a muslin! My weight fluctuates too- so frustrating. Sometimes I hold off on making things because I want to be fitter. Sigh… Anyway, Happy New Year! And how do you drink your gin? I am very curious as I see a lot of people enjoy Gin. The one time I enjoyed gin (with tonic) I barely made it in the front door and slept the night away on the couch. My daughters didn’t even cover me up! (note- I did not drive!)

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Hi Laurie! I usually drink my gin with tonic, or sometimes bitter lemon or in cocktails. Your gin drinking experience made me laugh , it affects my husband in exactly the same way. He is fine with beer but we always steer him away from spirits.

  5. Claire (iwanttobeaturtle)

    Sounds like a good plan to me. I think you’re right about the UFO’s. Mine are stored away in a box so I don’t feel guilty looking at them, but I do need to finish them or consign them to the scrap pile.

    As for gin, I love London Gin No1 (it’s blue!) and Brokers gin (comes with a bowler hat on the lid).

  6. Ruth

    I think the clothes you have made look great and I love the fun way you present them. I guess for me is that I want to have fun sewing, so I won’t always be as careful as I should because I just want to finish the item and wear it. I have been thinking whether I whether have a mixed approach,say one long term project that I do carefully and slowly, mixed with some quick fun items. I am going to work through my stash this year, inspired by your blog!

  7. goodpurlgonebad

    You might be being a little hard on yourself – plenty of people buy poorly finished or fitting RTW after all. There is that nagging feeling of knowing that you could have made your garment just a little bit better finished/fitting, however. I look forward to seeing what you make.

    I haven’t done a round-up post because there really haven’t been that many finished projects for me in 2013. Just one UFO (without counting the knits…). If I do something in a beautiful /pricey fabric then I do take more care with the finishing and fit. If I want it to last for years then I’ll put in the time too – hence months on the wool cape but far less on cotton dresses.

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      You are so right about RTW, it’s one of the reasons I got into sewing. I’ve just posted my first properly finished garment of the year and I am pretty proud of it, I must admit. I love your wool cape, those buttons are perfect for Jungle January too. I am way too scared to use any of my pricey fabrics until I get better at sewing.

  8. goodpurlgonebad

    Adding that I really like Twitter – I don’t use Facebook any more. Twitter has fewer ads and they can be dismissed. I found I can get a far more focused and relevant feed than I ever managed with fb. Give it a go, you might be surprised. I’m not cool enough either, but I guess I still count in their marketing figures nonetheless. I’m @goodpurlgonebad over there. There’s plenty of sewing activity there too.

  9. Scruffy badger

    Everything you say resonates and I recognise myself in being a similar kind of person- in most cases I am a starter not a finisher, but sewing is something different for me, whereas decorating or a new project at work, is all about getting it off the ground but come the final details, I’m not interested. It’s why knitting stalls for me- as soon as a complicated bit comes up, I freeze and don’t pick it up for ages. I suppose I just see sewing differently, but it helps that I am quite speedy and also much of what I make is conceived quickly, often as a result of being spontaneous and having a need for the end result. So I channel my energy that way. And I find it very hard to contemplate a long detailed sewing project tbh. Now gin? We have a gin bar in Bath, need to go !

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Hi Winnie! I have the same problem with knitting, and I would never finish a long complicated sewing project. I love the sound of this gin bar – we need a sewing meet up in Bath, it sounds like the perfect place to hold a fabric swap.

  10. busylizzieinbrizzy

    I think your clothes look lovely and don’t appear to have issues with fit, not that I remember anyway. Definitely join in the convos on twitter, so much fun and you get to know people better. I agree with you on cutting corners, I used to do that and then not end up liking what I made because of the flaws I could see, or the makes would have fit issues. Now I take more care I don’t have this problem 🙂
    I too am trying to reduce my stash, will see how that goes 🙂
    Sorry, can’t help with the gin, I have a penchant for cider instead.

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Cheers! I am still working up to tweeting more. Despite appearances I am definitely an introvert. I also love cider. There is a pub in town called the Black Dog that only does proper beer and cider, and I am in love with their still ginger cider, you’d love it.


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