Archive for the ‘sundry messages’ category

My non-resolutions for 2012

January 14, 2012

Did you make any sewing, style, or wardrobe resolutions for the coming year ? What are you hoping to achieve with your resolutions ? What would be the happiest use of your relaxation time ? How would you like to feel in your clothes ?

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Oh those long lists of sewing resolutions. . .

Plan if you love to follow plans. Free-wheel if you love to free-wheel. It’s one of the big personality differences.
Many of the people who like to tell other people how to lead their lives are in the planner group ! Or on the other hand there are all the people who militantly tell you to “let it all hang out”, whether you want to or not. . .

For the coming year : I’m trying to give up the attacks of the “oughts” I get from reading other people’s resolution lists ๐Ÿ˜€ย  ๏ฟผ

Go with what’s right for you. Sewing’s supposed to be a hobby not a guilt-inducer. There’s a good Stitchers Guild thread on not beating yourself up about sewing.

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A little about my past sewing and wardrobe year, especially colour and style

Iโ€™m not happy with show-and-tell of my own sewing. Odd I know as I merrily express strong opinions on everything else. . . But there we are. And many people blog about their sewing and styling adventures in interesting ways. So youโ€™re not missing anything from me.

What general progress have I made ?

Big colour changes. Based on hair, eyes, skin colours – a colour approach which works better for me than others I’ve tried. I now have a group of clothes with caramel/ honey/ muted mid brown as the neutrals. Which Iโ€™m very pleased with.

Also realised I had mainly dark tops and light bottoms – oh dear – exactly the wrong way round for those of us who are large hipped. . .

This year I happened to get Judith Rasbandโ€™s โ€˜Wardrobe Strategies for Womenโ€™ at about the same time Nancy Nix-Rice posted her wardrobe plan. (Ignore the terrible Rasband cover photo. The book is full of interesting ideas, and it’s fun to imagine updated versions of the inner style photos.) So Iโ€™ve been doing a lot of thinking about my needs.

I’m pretty clear now about my best wardrobe plan. And have made good progress with my fitting difficulties. And I know more about how and what I like to learn and sew.

I’m also more clear about my personal clothing style. I don’t often find helpful phrases for me, but “artisan chic” comes close.

If you’re looking for style words, YouLookFab has a current post on defining your style persona. The comments are full of useful adjectives. Surprising how many people want both ‘boho’ and ‘classic’. Which an extreme classic thinks is impossible. Another sign that casual styles are much wider and richer than they used to be. YLF also has a good post on finding your style from your favourite outfits.

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My own vague rules for the coming year

I wrote about my own resolutions last year. (Hmm – I have done quite well on fit and style.)

This year I have a few general-rule type resolutions, though more specific plans don’t work well for me.

Last year I was quite good about buying fabric only after I had prepared and fitted the pattern. This year I want to use mainly stash – means some fabrics will not be ideal as most of my stash is quilting cottons. As I like scrappy quilts I love having a good fabric selection. But it really is time I reduced from 10 boxes of it ! So for warmth I may be making quilted clothes.

I’m also cutting down on buying patterns, though I am a pattern geek and it’s a modest luxury. Confess I’m now rarely willing to pay the huge postal charges for independent patterns from the US. This year I may only buy patterns with special features. I want to add style features to my own patterns, to reduce all the fitting work which I don’t enjoy.

Have noticed that while Iโ€™m quite tolerant of the failings of RTW, I expect perfection from my own work. Ah well. . . One of my big gifts is making things more complicated for myself. . . I have difficulty with starting (and finishing!) at an easy ‘good enough’ level. I always have a head bursting with ideas for alternatives and improvements. So, rather often I don’t finish projects that are old ideas. I need to think of them as ‘development studies’.

I also need to build confidence by repeating. Always rushing on to the next thing is not a good way of developing secure skills ! Hmmm – perhaps my big ‘rule’ should be to make two of everything – but that’s exactly the sort of specific rule which tends to bring my sewing to a halt. . .

It’s interesting to try to pick only one pattern for each of my wardrobe needs (shirt, tunic, vest, jacket, pants). Have most difficulty with choosing only one tunic – a good cue that’s my ‘signature’ garment.

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What are your opposite resolutions ?

Resolutions are often like Lent – we resolve to do things we don’t enjoy. “Be more disciplined”. “Improve”. Come on guys – this is a hobby ! If you love being disciplined, or learning, you’re probably doing it already. If you don’t love being disciplined or learning, they’re not things to waste your leisure time on. If the thought of higher quality sewing gives you pleasure, of course learn how to. But if you don’t want to learn more – will millions die ? A little more discipline or practice may be necessary to get things finished – but does it really matter if you don’t ? What is your personal best balance between freedom and control, moving on or continuing as before ?

Try out the opposite of your resolutions. Mine might be to :
– buy hundreds of yards of fabric and hundreds of patterns.
– choose one single commercial pattern and make it throughout the year without any alterations.
– never make something that needs an unfamiliar technique.
– never worry about quality of fit or sewing.
– plan my whole wardrobe in detail before sewing anything and never change my mind.
– or – never check with my existing closet before choosing what to make next.
– always look frumpy [a good guide to what frumpy means to you personally. . .]

Ridiculous resolutions lighten up the whole process ! Sewing and dressing are meant to be a pleasure. What do your opposite resolutions tell you about what you like to sew and wear ? Will your rules or resolutions ensure you enjoy your year of sewing and dressing ๐Ÿ˜€

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Links available January 2012

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Your favourite topics in 2011

December 31, 2011

WordPress keeps various stat counts of what is happening, including over the past year. And it’s very interesting.

(No, not to worry – they don’t keep a record of who looked at what. Apart from anything else, the storage requirements would be horrendous.)

So what have you been looking at ?

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Busiest days

Shows the influence of the big sites. My busiest ever day was in October, when You Look Fab (Angie Cox) mentioned my necklines post. Second busiest was in May, when Inside-Out Style (Imogen Lamport) mentioned this blog.

Most popular posts

It’s amazing how many people look at my post on
choosing and changing necklines

Other posts that at least five people seek out individually each day are :

List of North American independent pattern companies

Classics for work, winter 2010 : dress, blouse, skirt, pants
(Don’t know why people always look at that instead of the more recent one).

Super quick Wardrobe patterns


Shawl collar jackets

Pant style and body shape

Pattern making – the formal route
(Personally I have more sympathy with what’s in the post on easier fitting shells !)

Most popular links

Related to the most popular posts. The most people follow up some of the links from the necklines post.

Other frequent links are to :
Eileen Fisher
Nancy Nix-Rice’s newsletter
Sue Neall’s article on sewing a wardrobe in a weekend.

Plus my pdf on developing your
personal wardrobe plan

The most popular pattern lines are
DIY Couture

And the most popular other blogs are
Carolyn (Sewing Fanatic, cmarie12)

Most popular patterns

The pattern most people want to know more about is the same as last year, the attractive ‘soft classic’ wardrobe in Butterick 5472. (Beware those cap sleeves, which are too small for my armholes.)


Perhaps there is very little on the web about making your own cheongsam. Anyway, people have been very interested in those patterns.

Free download dress pattern (side seam zip)


and the dress from New Look 6812 (no zip).


Another favourite is an even quicker wardrobe, Butterick 5045.


There’s also a vest version of the jacket without sleeves. Use jacket/ vest/ dress at many lengths.

Looks as if people like quick wardrobe patterns for soft smart casuals. Wearable for both work and weekends. Ideal for a basic wardrobe. Made me wonder about other wardrobe patterns. Some are like these and could be worn for both relaxed business and suburban smart casual. Others are even wearable for both smart Casual Friday and clambering around in boots in the countryside. A surprisingly large number of them ๐Ÿ˜€

Most comments

Getting to know my sizes‘ is the post that has had the largest number of comments ever ! All the way from ‘oh thanks, I need to try that myself’ to ‘what is all this unnecessary fuss about’.

Of course fitting methods are aimed at the average, so they work for the largest number of people. But I would like to give some courage and hope to all the people who have tried every easy fit method there is, and still end up looking like a potato raised in stony ground.

It is possible to get good fit. It’s just more difficult for some of us. Each little step in getting to know your body shape and it’s pattern needs is another little step towards looking good ! Hurrah ๐Ÿ˜€

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And some time yesterday my all-time number of visitors topped 175,000 – your gift to me ๐Ÿ˜€

Best Wishes for a good 2012 full of successful projects and happy sewing experiences.

๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

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Links and patterns available December 2011

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Best Holiday Wishes

December 24, 2011


Best Wishes for an ever happier personalised wardrobe and rewarding sewing during the coming year.

๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

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Hooked flare

August 20, 2011

There are many patterns for tops with a hooked shape to the side seam. Here’s the latest, McCall’s 6398.


A type of flare which swirls marvellously as you walk. And plenty of room for larger hips. But Iโ€™m not convinced it’s good for the large of hip, as it does draw attention to them !

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My new iMac has a beautiful screen, and I’ve been happily watching webcasts and web videos.ย  It took me some considerable battles with automated systems before I could get the update to the latest OS.ย  But thankfully that now seems to have settled down.ย  So I’ve calmed down and can explore the fancy new facilities.ย  Next week for learning a bit about the new word processor. . .