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Dec 17, 2011

Broken Sewing Promises or "Don't Remind Me"


Friends, particularly at this time of year, when nobody wants to be judged naughty instead of nice, one wants to keep one's promises.  But sometimes, no matter how well-intentioned, one's plans hit a snag.

If I told you it was highly unlikely I was going to complete a men's suit jacket before the end of the year -- or even start one -- would you be terribly disappointed?  It's not that I don't want to make a suit jacket -- I do -- I just don't feel motivated to start right now.  Can that be OK?

Sometimes I get very excited about ideas for projects and share these with you, getting your hopes up, no doubt, and then they don't pan out.  I get sidetracked, or the idea, which seemed so right at the time, loses its appeal.  I hope you'll indulge me if I list a few here.  I do this not for you so much as for me -- a sort of end-of-year inventory of projects sidelined -- perhaps forever, perhaps not.

I know earlier this year I'd talked about making a dress like the one Ginger Rogers wore in the "Pick Yourself Up" number in Swing Time, always a favorite of mine.  I even bought a pattern I thought might be suitable.







It didn't happen.  If truth be told, the pattern didn't seem quite right, and I wasn't sure I knew how to adapt it or cared to try.  Maybe some day.

I so wanted to make a Liza-inspired, Halston-esque jump suit and I still may.  I bought this wonderful sparkly fabric which I think would be perfect.  I just never got around to it.





Remember this Fifties Vogue pattern that was going to be "Cathy's Comeback Dress"?  Well, Cathy did come back (from prison, it's a long story) but not in this pattern.  I even made a muslin of the bodice.  If I learned anything, it's that dirndl skirts use a lot of fabric and aren't flattering on everybody.





Moving right along, remember when I said I was going to remake my ironing board cover, using a vintage wool blanket?  Well, I am using the blanket on the ironing board, but I've never actually made the cover -- I just threw the blanket on the board and stretched the commercial cover over it, with the blanket ends hanging out over the edges.  It looks dreadful, especially behind lovely Patti Playpal.  Maybe that's something I can get accomplished before the end of the year.







Friends, there have been other near-promises made and not kept (mermaid gowns anybody?) but I do think it's important to go where one's energy is and be able to change one's mind.  Making a worsted wool men's suit jacket without the necessary energy and enthusiasm is a recipe for disaster, don't you think?

In closing, do you generally do the things you set out to do?  If you don't, are you able to shift gears without feeling too bad about it?

What are your sewing plans for the last two weeks of 2011?  Are you giving yourself a break -- it is the holidays, after all -- or hunkering down even more?  Is there any big project you wanted to accomplish in 2011 that's been pushed back (or is it forward?) to 2012 -- or beyond?

Finally, if I told you I never did ditch my Mickey Mouse phone....

To forgive is divine!

32 comments:

  1. I'm sewing the buttonholes and buttons on my 1st shirt made of Liberty of London cotton, finishing a yellow ocher bandanna shirt, and cutting out my other piece of Liberty for a third shirt. I'd been hoarding the Liberty for years, afraid to cut into it, so am thrilled I got the gumption to actually use it!

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  2. Yes, I'd like to forgive myself for my inability to live up to all my optimistic sewing promises. I tend to get on a roll when I'm in the cutting phase, but can't keep up with the actual sewing. I have six dresses and a coat already cut but may not get any of them finished by the end of the year. Sigh.

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  3. hems, hems, hems..... I can sew a dress or a skirt but I hate hems, so I have to hem 2 skirts and 2 dresses!

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  4. I'm all for low stress holidays so not making any sewing promises works for me. If I want to sew, I sew for myself but almost never as a gift. I'm about to start another version of Marcy Tilton's V8499 skirt and I'm in the middle of a knitting project that I'm enjoying. One or the other will trump.

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  5. I think of them as sewing desires and sewing passions. Even sewing intrigues. I'll never get around to making everything I want to. I've got more vintage patterns than I can possibly make up. I want to sew for a woman who is a 3X simply because I've never done it and it would be intriguing. I've got fabric I bought 20 years ago and never found the right pattern for. Sometimes a doll with call out to me and I am lost in devising patterns for vinyl people.

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  6. I put the coats on hold to work on the still unfinished Christmas dresses. Which probably won't be finished before Christmas this year. I got a late start on everything, was interrupted by several bouts of illness, and distracted by Boo the genius who cut her first two teeth, learned to crawl, pull herself up, unsteadily cruise around furniture, and say "Mama" all in the same week and a half! And well, the wrapped presents around the tree haven't helped. They're pretty colors with shiny bows and she wants to eat them... (Alas, I gave the play yard to my sister last year. I need it now to block off the tree!)

    So I'll be finishing the coats and dresses after Christmas, and taking the girls for belated Christmas pictures in their matching dresses and coats and hats. Then I need to get a move on and make up some winter dresses for them. It's been funny weather, anyway, so I'm lucky enough that they haven't needed the warmth yet!

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  7. I don't think this is all that unusual. As sewers I think we always have these great plans but in reality we really only sew what we want, not all that we could. I used to berate myself for that but I don't anymore. I figure I should sew what intrigues me and if that means just half of a suit - then it means just half of a suit!

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  8. Oh yes, I can relate! When I look back on the year I am a little surprised at what I sewed and what I didn't sew. It is a meandering path, that's for sure.
    Don't sew anything that you don't feel excited about. I am glad the other commenters agree.

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  9. You're forgiven for not coming through on the suit jacket, but that Patty Playalong is freaking me out! :0

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  10. hey I have yet to open the box containing my first sewing machine. I just live vicariously through your blog and collect patterns I intend to sew... so you're doing ok in my book.

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  11. Thank you for this! I do make most things I set out to (though I don't think I sew as much as you). In fact, the only thing I tried to finish that didn't work out last year - and it was freakin' crushing - were my jeans from your sew along. My buttonholer ate the fabric and I was SO demoralized I cracked. I still hate myself a little. :-)

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  12. I'm much better at keeping promises to others than I am at keeping promises to myself. Luckily I don't have a blog (or a SIL). If I really want to accomplish something I put it on a list. And when it is time to admit that it just won't happen, I throw that list away. Enough! Prioritize!
    That said, if something seems overwhelming, do less. I like the Singer Tailoring book for its Fusible techniques right beside the fine hand-work. Maybe it is time your steam press earned its keep? Suit jackets and coats are the only reason I've kept mine! And the commercial ironing board cover that is holding the wool blanket to MY ironing-board- well, it is starting to shred at the snout end. I'm hoping Santa won't care.

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  13. Let the seamstress without sin cast the first stone. I think we all have some broken promises lurking in our closets. On the other hand, look at everything we have accomplished!

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  14. The even odder thing is that I have acquired some new phone plugs and plan to plug some phones into them. I won't go quite so far as to say that Mickey would be just the thing, but there is a certain cachet to the idea. I'll have to be on the lookout for that unique phone to go in my living room as I remodel it. ;-)

    And as for the various UFOs -- I'm glad to hear you are human after all. ;-)

    Beth

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  15. I think sewing is the one thing where I let my passions meander and I don't care. I get very excited by different projects - I find the right pattern or the perfect fabric, but often I am missing some key element - buttons, lining, a zipper - and I get sidetracked. Once I actually start a project I do tend to finish it (even when it goes south), but I find that in general I usually have 5 or 6 projects that I am planning on doing sooner rather than later, where I am actively gathering supplies, tracing patterns, cutting fabric. I have another 5 or 6 more where I have fabric or patterns stashed but none of the other supplies. And, of course, I have a ton more ideas which are a bit more nebulous in terms or specifics (like patterns or fabrics) and more general, such as I want a raincoat and a party dress, but with nothing specific in mind.

    I think that is one of the good things about sewing for yourself - you can make something you want when you want it or need it, but you aren't forced to work on anything you don't want to make. And, yes, making a jacket when you have no desire to make a jacket will result in BAD THINGS because making a jacket is a lot of effort and a lot of time.

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  16. Lucky we aren't perfect or life would be boring! I have a to-do list but if items stay on the list too long I either revise how to do them, if I'm still interested, or decide that it was probably a passing phase and hit the delete key :).
    Unburdening yourself via the delete key is very freeing.
    Cheers,
    Robyn

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  17. Most of the work done on a men's suit jacket doesn't require that much inspiration, in my opinion, just patience. Lots and lots of stiches. I completed one this year following Cabrera's instructions, and for me, the fitting part was the most difficult. Gook luck making yours!

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  18. Rather than using the date as a yardstick (no pun intended), i measure my sewing in terms of learning. The specific projects are important, but only if they produce learning or something beautiful. I have a rolling inventory of things i want to learn and creations i produce. It's like a liquor store. Some items turnover right away, and other linger on the shelf until a special fancy hits me. My only hope is that God grant me enough life to make everything in my head. I've learned a great deal this year. I've made shirts, shopping bags, bow ties, and costume jackets for a college play. Right now I've got dog coats to do before it really gets cold. Deadlines help.

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  19. Oh Raquel from Florida, if only we lived closer to each other, I HATE cutting out garments, so as you can imagine this slows down my sewing considerably. I really enjoy the final finishing touches however, such as hemming by hand or machine. If we lived closer we could trade. How sad that we are separated by a continent and a border. 8-(

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  20. i don't intend to do an inventory of a) what sewing i have finished or b) what projects were planned/partially started but never finished in 2011. i think however, for 2012, i'll start a running list system that can be changed/updated at will.

    I feel much better reading that many other sewers have plenty of 'failed to launch' projects too.

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  21. I think it's perfectly acceptable to put projects on the back burner, or ditch them entirely. There's no sense in making things we don't really want to wear. In the case of your suit coat, I think you really have to want it. Otherwise, it's just a grind. Goodness knows there are plenty of other "grinds" in life that we have no control over. Why make another one? I'll be finishing up the last of the Japanese coats, a camel colored pea coat. Then I will have completed all the designs in the book. What's next? I've actually been looking at costume patterns on Etsy a lot. A bollywood tunic, pants and sash? Civil War officer's coat? a safari suit? Hey a guy can dream, right?

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  22. As long as it's a hobby, shouldn't fun be leading?

    When I promise to make something for someone else, I just put a vague date to it. One that I know I can make without having to force myself to limits.

    Like: "you'll have your trousers in spring, most likely". Please note: it's not accidentally that there's no year in there.

    And as I said earlier: Cathy will be happier to see you at Christmas dinner than she'd be when you wear a nice suit with the jacket next year.

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  23. Like the wind, the sewing imagination bloweth where it listeth and lucky us only need to be blown along with it. I've done the little bags in sparkly fabric for the great-nieces and the machine is packed away till after Christmas. Then I will finish the linen shirt (V 1054; the facing on the sleeve is a pain and the fly front takes a lot of work, but the curved neckband is beautiful). After that I might start a cream silk shirt for my partner, but I'm not telling him about it in case I get blown in another direction!

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  24. That doll is right out of a David Cronenberg film!

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  25. I have lots of started projects (sewing, quilting & knitting). Some get finished, some don't if I lose interest. I get distracted easily with new projects/ideas. I have a couple of things I'm making for Christmas so things for me are on the back burner. But I'm off work the week between Christmas & New Year's & I'm planning on spending that week at home working on things.

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  26. I only feel guilty when my husband confronts me in the studio and tries to do a Fabric Stash Intervention, which goes something like this: "MORE fabric, Rebecca, really? When are you going to sew THIS, or THIS, or THIS?!!!"

    My problem is that I get wrapped up in quilt projects that stretch on for months and months, but while I'm quilting I keep buying patterns and fabrics for thing I feel like sewing at the time, but then by the time I finish the quilt it's the wrong season or the wrong style or whatever.

    So, these last two weeks of 2011 for me will involve insane quantities of cookies baked and decorated, a quilt top finished and basted prior to quilting, and mad attempts to finish my shopping.

    Oh, and I think you looked cute in the dirndl skirt, by the way. :-)

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  27. Two years ago I spent some time in Hawaii and as I always do when I'm traveling I picked up a lot of indigenous fabrics. This year I finally decided to use it all by making full coverage aprons of my own design for family and friends. So far I'm just finishing the 19th one. It's been fun figuring out which fabric for which person. Some I made matching oven mitts for too. Next year it's back to a woodworking project for Christmas gifts.
    And yes I have UFO's as well. I did do a cleanse last year and donated some items that were all cut out and ready to sew to the Sally Ann along with the pattern. Maybe someone else will enjoy the result. There's always the "What was I thinking?" type UFO's that will never be done.
    Forgive yourself and move on. Happy New Year.

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  28. I am most definitely guilty of broken sewing promises. I was hit by an obligation pile-up this fall, so my sewing plans didn't happen. Plus, a 1940's pattern that I had been drooling over and dreaming about and finally ordered was lost in the mail. That just took all the wind out of my sails. Sigh.

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  29. I'm a sewing optimist; I cut out a dress yesterday and I plan to have it ready before the year is over, preferably before Christmas day... Now, that might not happen, but I don't fret or stress. When something feels important to work on, I work on it, regardless of whether I have a sporting chance of finish it in time for whatever event I plan to wear it to. But I don't stress! After all, I do have clothes to wear.
    As for sewing all my planned projects... not a chance! For me, half the fun is the planning, and I plan a lot faster than I sew. So for every sewed garment there's at least 5 un-sewn. But that's ok, some garments are better left in the idea's file =) Doesn't make them any less fun to plan though!

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  30. I read this post with an Andy Rooney voice in my head. My whole jump into the sewing world happened when I decided to finish some projects I had started...a few 30 years old...FYI they are still not done, but many other things have been accomplished. All in due time, all in due time.

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  31. I've been planning to recreate the dress from the 1952 Revelon "Fire and Ice" ad for too long now. I actually have the Balenciaga inspired cape, though a friend had to sew it as I could never comprehend the arm holes with out a pattern or a sample on hand. Then there are military inspired jackets, and fishermen sweaters to sew . . . well you get the idea . . . ;)

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  32. Peter - I think this is one of your most brilliant posts...we ALL do this and you are totally right - you must follow your heart. Being in the biz, there are so many times when I can't follow my heart, so when I sew for myself it may not necessarily be practical or what I need or what's right, but it sure does feel good. So (sew) go for it!!! Follow your heart!

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