a stitch in time

Last May, I launched into my love affair with stitch in a frenzy of productivity. No sooner than I’d finished one piece of clothing for my handmade wardrobe, I was hurtling onto the next. The allure of being able to knock up a wearable item, in the design and colour of my choosing, proving irresistible. So many enticing offerings from independent pattern designers, bargainous threads from my haberdashery of choice … so very little time. It’s been a thrill seeking ride of highs and inevitable lows and it’s fair to say I’ve been consumed by the object of my affections.

Fast forward a year and I still eat, breath and sleep my sartorial adventures in stitch. To a niche few, I’ve become synonymous with my blog and Instagram moniker – @wrong_doll – severed vintage dolls’ heads and sewing machines. My relationship has stood the test of time and I’ve rewarded myself with tools of the trade along the way – most notably my beloved overlocker and recently my new steed ‘May’.

The headiness of an all consuming interest can temporarily expand to fill a vacuum of existential angst and boredom. But everything new becomes old and when ego boundaries snap firmly back into place, you have cause to look upon your lover with eyes anew. Enduring relationships evolve and transmute over time and whilst I remain inextricably bound to my chosen pastime, there’s been a gear shift of late. The seeds of change were planted in Fashion Revolution Week, followed closely at the heels by this year’s Me Made May. I started to think more about how I consume in a society where the drive to acquire is all pervasive.

I’ve appropriated May as a kind of a sewing retreat – a time to slow down , take stock  and reflect on both achievements to date and goals for the coming year. I haven’t shocked my system by total abstinence – I dipped my toe in the water with a wearable Jean Muir Jumper Dress toile and a non-wearable attempt at my first Marcy Tilton Vogue pattern. Whilst documenting makes in daily photo updates is not an essential requirement of Me Made May, I embraced the challenge as a pictorial tool to help me examine the journey thus far.

And it’s been a revelation – I had no idea how many things I had made! Namely because some have hardly seen the light of day since creation – a malady I’m happy to say the sewing challenge has addressed. It’s forced me to wear items I’d rejected – falling short of impossibly high standards of perfection – and appreciate their inherent qualities. It’s highlighted stumbling blocks I need to revisit – Day 17’s gaping back neckline and the buttonhole debacle of Day 23, to name a few. I’ve also identified a noticeable absence of lounge wear, which is a significant oversight in someone who spends the majority of time in their pyjamas.

Tomorrow, I’m tentatively emerging into my second year in stitch. Whilst my pace may have slowed and my focus narrowed, my enthusiasm for this wonderful craft is undeterred.

 

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18 thoughts on “a stitch in time

  1. Great post! Sometimes in the flurry of creativity it’s hard to stop and think if we actually need the item we are sewing.
    I applaude the progress you have made in one year, it is an amazing achievement. I look forward to seeing some more makes, your recent toile was masterful.
    Maybe it’s time to consider throwing some pre-loved fabrics into the mix!

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    1. Thank you so much Kate… for taking the time to read and the encouraging words. I must say taking part in me made may has been an eye opener. As I’ve only been wearing a handful of my makes regularly I’d lost sight of how many things I’d actually made. Using pre loved fabrics is a great idea and definitely on my radar. As is experimenting with different trickier fabrics and skilling up. Thanks again x

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    1. Thank you Sarah… I did wonder how I would cope but I’ve actually really enjoyed the time for reflection – thinking about what and why I sew. I’ve also emerged with enthusiasm anew and a slightly more focused direction. Here’s to another year in stitch 🙂 x

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    1. HA! Loungewwear might be overegging the omlette a bit! I like the word though so I’ve appropriated it! I think I would like to make some things in softer fabrics when I’m feeling more loungy. As for Day 24 – that’s Box Dress D from Stylish Dress Book 2 and a firm favourite with everyone it seems. Would you like me to trace you the pattern? It might need a bit of modifying (taking in) for you though.

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      1. Wow – that would be great, but dont rush into it as I have a load to sew – trying to sew outside my comfort zone too!. it looks like the idea I wanted to try with that hand printed thing (a finery dress I tried with some shoulders darts which were so 80s… not the look I wanted)as I would like a work tunic style. Think I have the culottes pattern sorted if you want a copy of that? its very basic, but was interesting as its based on a skirt block so it falls nice, still have to read that Jean Muir post… dont know whats is going on with my blog feed, how did I miss that posts…….better get to it now

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      2. I’ll happily trace it off for you over the summer eimear. It’s a quick sew and eminently wearable. Think our hip measurements may differ too widely on the culottes front. For now I’m sticking with a line tents!

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  2. You are a very prolific and talented seamstress for only having been doing it for a year. Your clothing is lovely but you are right, just how is enough? I often wonder where the people that seem to post something new every day keep all their clothes. 😀 Xx

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    1. That’s very kind of you to say so. And yes, I’m glad I’m slowing down and refocusing on the process rather than knocking out more of the same. Hopefully this will be a year of skilling up!

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    1. Thank you Terri! Day 17 fabric is definitely up there for me … but the dress remains a sore point until I sort out that pesky gaping back neck – which I will, as this is the year to hone my skills. I bet I could learn a thing or two from your good self 🙂

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  3. What a terrific collection of great pieces! I love your bold style and am trying to let myself be inspired by it!! I’ve been admiring your Dress E from the Stylish Dress book…one that I admittedly attempted. I love the dress, but I lack the petite frame to wear said dress. Despite doing a size-up adjustment, it just didn’t work for me. My solution was kind of fun – I chopped it in half and remade the resulting pieces. If I find the time, I’ll try to post on my blog about it (I’m feeling like a bit of a slacker on that front these days…) and you may have a chuckle.
    Thanks for sharing!!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words – what lovely feedback – you’ve made my day 🙂 I think the Japanese patterns are not for everyone. I’m very bottom heavy and slim on top so they hide a multitude of sins and accent parts I don’t mind being highlighted! Work with what you’ve got I say. I’d love to see your re-fashion – I’m not at all confident on that score and those are skills I’d like to hone. x

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      1. I own many Japanese patterns and I would have to agree that a slim top is a plus when it comes to those styles. Your frocks are inspiring, though, so I’ll continue on my quest and hope I’ll discover one or two that work well for me, too! As for re-fashion, I’m no expert myself, but it seemed like such a waste (and I had a couple of goes at it before I decided to chop it up). It’s good for a chuckle if nothing else! 😉 xx

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    2. I think that’s how you learn – by getting stuck in and having a go – I don’t have the confidence yet and am pretty slavish when it comes to following patterns. The slightest adjustments bring me out in a cold sweat which is why I’ve played it safe with Japanese patterns as they are relatively simple (once you get your head round the tracing and the minimal instruction) and are really suited to my top light – bottom heavy shape. I’m making a concerted effort to step out of my comfort zone this next sewing year although A-line, asymmetrical and structured silhouettes will still figure prominently I reckon 🙂 x

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  4. A great me made May for you I think. I have only been sewing for three years now and I have had to bin/ reuse the fabric from most things I made in my first year! So well done you. I haven’t had any sewing lessons and I see making a garment primarily as a lesson in itself with the optional bonus of a wearable garment! I think I was also different to you in not using any non thrifted fabric for the first 18 months! I just didn’t trust myself not to muck it up. It still feels such a novelty if I go out and buy fabric specifically for a project. I am much happier using old curtains or duvet covers! Really pleased to have met you through your blog and IG I think you are one of those sewers who has a real flair for picking fabric and pairing it with the perfect pattern. Love your work.

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    1. Wowzers – thank you so much for that lovely feedback – it really does mean a lot to me. I did art A level at school and loved it, so to find an outlet for my creativity all these years later has been such a wonderful thing for me. I think your approach of reusing old fabrics and learning through doing is very wise and has clearly paid off. I’ve been a bit all or nothing, launching in with both hands and feet – as is my obsessive yen! I’m intending to reign myself in a bit this year and focus on skill building and hopefully being a bit more thrifty and eco conscious when it comes to fabrics. We’ll see how I get on!! I’m really glad you have found me too – my intention in writing this blog was to meet with like minded people (and they don’t even need to sew as you might have noticed I don’t write a lot about sewing!). It really lifts my spirits when people find a point of connection with me through my makes and vice versa. Thank you for stopping by and your words of encouragement.

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