Puns N Needles

Dispatches from my adventures: sewing, knitting, and otherwise.


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Social media and a perfect pattern

Back to that tower of fabric (TOF) I described recently. The tower is no longer growing, my sewing room is tidy and I have a little more free time for sewing. But how to decide what to make with the TOF?

Selections from the "tower of fabric"

Selections from the “tower of fabric”

I consistently read (or at least browse) a bunch of blogs, I subscribe to some emails about crafty endeavors, and I also follow plenty of people on Instagram, gathering ideas. In the winter, I read about a fiber weekend at Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI, which is near my hometown. I briefly considered attending and looked up the instructors — that’s how I learned about Ellen Mason. Ellen would be teaching some kind of knitting class, and I checked out her Instagram. Something she made for herself over and over was a raglan sleeve smock with curved yoke, and they were SO CUTE. I love yokes, I love raglans, and I had to know how she made this, so I wrote her an email.

She did respond, saying that she was creating the pattern herself and that it should be ready to go public in March.

Sure enough, it came out recently, and I bought it right away. I’ve made two smocks now and am so excited about this pattern. It fits nicely into my wardrobe and preferred style lines for tops, it fits well, it’s easy to make, and the pattern is really well written. It really is my perfect pattern and I am looking forward to making many more of these smocks.

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Social media and my wardrobe

Image from page 162 of “Catalogue no. 16, spring/summer / R. H. Macy & Co.” (1911)

There are two main reasons that I’ve become as accomplished with garment sewing as I have in the past few years:

  1. I have a dedicated sewing space. And since I recently had some friends come for an overnight and sewing adventures, it’s clean (though saying this reminds me that I have to clean the closet now).
  2. I discovered the sewing blog community.

And two main reasons that I make my own clothes:

  1. It’s important to me that my clothes are somewhat unique.
  2. I like my clothes to fit properly (and can’t always buy things that fit).

In 2014, someone in the sewing blog community created the Wardrobe Architect project, which sounded interesting to me: its questions/prompts and exercises to guide a person through designing their own handmade wardrobe. While I thought that sounded interesting, I also thought it would be really boring and besides, why would I want to spend time thinking about this stuff (when I could spend it thinking about what to fix for supper, or where to plant those zinnias).

At the end of this¬†winter, I went on a fabric buying binge. I’m embarrassed to say that I got a bit out of control. Most of what I bought was on sale, which is a good thing, but I bought a lot of stuff without real plans of what to make with it, which isn’t great. Contemplating the growing tower of fabric one day I realized something interesting about it: it fits into a distinct color palette.

I remembered that color palettes are part of the Wardrobe Architect project, so I did a few of the exercises, which ask you to think about preferred shapes and sleeve lengths. To not much surprise, it was sort of boring. But I also realized that in 4 years of making most of my own clothes, I’ve made a bunch of things that I don’t love. This might be because of the color, the shape, the sleeve length (not to mention the fit or construction). If my goal is to have a “compact” wardrobe of things that I like and that suit me, I’ve got some editing to do.