Monday, September 28, 2015

The year in review: sewing

Being an academic, it always feels like the year starts and ends in September.  Now that the temperatures have moved from summer to fall, it seems like as good a time as any for an end-of-the-year retrospective.  I've always liked the idea of a retrospective on the year's projects-- something to give readers a better idea of how well a project fits into my wardrobe and what problems may have only become apparent through wearing.

Since I only started this blog this year, I've written about a number of projects that I completed in previous years.  I won't be covering them here; this review is for this year's projects only.  On the other hand, I haven't yet blogged about all the projects I've completed this year-- that's something I hope I can be better about in the coming year!

Now, for my projects, in no particular order.  First up is this example of video game nerdery, the FTL skirt.  I've gotten a surprising amount of wear out of it given the spaceship print.  I wear it to pretty much every video/board gaming event I go to.  I also wore it to the  Twenty-Fifth First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony.  Could there be any better attire for such an occasion?
Next is this sundress I made from a 1980's pattern, Vogue 2636.  It's perfect for the days when I want to wear a really swishy skirt.  I would love to make this pattern again, but in silk charmeuse.  I think that would be a lot of fun to wear.
This hacked-together sundress started down the road to failure, but I managed to pull it off in the end.  I'm still not sure how I feel about the halter top, but I have gotten a ton of use out of the pockets.  Perfect for stashing my lens caps (even spare lenses, actually), my keys if I need to dash out of the office, and various other sundry things.  From now on I'm going to make an effort to include pockets in as many dresses as I can.
I love the pattern and the fabric for this project, a 1950's dress, Advance 9441.  It was my first experience with gussets, so I wrote a tutorial on gusset insertion.  I finished the dress at the very end of spring, so I didn't have much of a chance to wear it last year.  But, I'm sure I'll get a lot of wear out of it in the coming months.
Another project I'll wear a lot in the coming months is this 1930's silk velvet evening dress, Eva Dress E30-744.  Last year I only wore it once, to the holiday party.  Once it really starts to get cold, I imagine that I'll wear it a lot more.  I have to attend fancy dinners on a weekly basis as a part of my job, so I actually do get a lot of wear out of all the awesome evening dresses in my wardrobe. 
On the other hand, since the fancy dinners don't happen during the summer, I only managed to wear this light summery evening dress, Vogue 2239, once before it got too cold.  How sad.  Maybe in the spring?  On the other hand, since the skirt is so long and so full and stands away from the body, it could hide a multitude of thermal underwear.  Maybe if I made it in a heavier fabric?
Finally, the 1935 Vionnet dress.  I made several posts on it, here and here and here.  This was by far the most interesting and significant project that I undertook this year.  It took a lot of thinking to figure out how it went together, but for such an unusual dress, it was fast to assemble and a joy to sew.  Plus, it feels amazing to wear.  I'm actually wearing the white version as I type this!

I've since sewn up two more versions of it, but haven't gotten around to photographing/blogging about them.  Having made the same dress so many times now, I've identified one minor problem with the pattern-- the strap isn't long enough.  The result is that it makes the hem look uneven.  Lengthening the strap really isn't a big deal; it just took me several tries to figure out why the hem kept coming out short on one side.
What do I have in the works for this upcoming year?

I want to try new patterns.  Last year, I mainly played it safe.  I stuck to patterns that I had made time and time again.  It got projects out relatively fast, but now I feel bored, and that I haven't been pushing myself or expanding my skills.  I'd like to try a wider variety of new patterns this year.

I want to make more clothes for cooler weather.  I moved to Boston from LA, and so my cold-weather wardrobe is sorely lacking.  I'd like to make some long pants and dresses with long sleeves.  Last year I mostly wore full skirts with tights.  This year, I mostly feel like wearing shirtdresses, and yet I have no pants and one shirtdress.  Clearly, this is a deficiency to be addressed.

Also, I'd like to make myself a nice set of silk pajamas and a silk robe using one of my vintage patterns.  That would be fantastic. 

What are y'all looking forward to sewing this fall and winter?

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