Saturday, 13 May 2017

It's time.

Time to what?  Don't worry, not time to stop stitching or blogging or anything like that.  It's time to make a few changes to what I'm stitching/making and for whom.

You see, for the majority of the time I've been doing a lot of needlecrafts, i.e. the last 15 years, almost every thing I made was for someone else.  I have a hardanger needlecase, an XS bookmark, and there are some pictures hanging up around our home and two scatter cushions here on the sofa I'm sitting on, but the vast majority of things - including all of the 'masterpiece' projects - I've made have gone elsewhere.  Don't get me wrong, there's not a single thing wrong with that.  In fact, it's a good thing.  Not only would I never had done those stretch projects in the first place without the impetus of giving them to someone else, but I would have been inundated with stitched bits and bobs and, of course, it's not good for a body to be entirely focused on themselves.  Not good at all!  However, having said that, there's a balance needed.

You're probably wondering what the pictures of worn out bags are, right?  Well, they're my things.  The things I've been using, whilst they were clearly shabby, worn out and, frankly, falling to bits.  My handbag is terrible too.  I recently bought one on eBay - a cheap Chinese made thing in horribly hard fake leather and without the inner pockets they advertised.  (No photo at the mo, but I will take one soon, as I intend to use the fixings for a new one.)  My knitting needle bag that you can see here could be as much as 70 years old as my mum said her mum bought it for her.  I'm assuming it was when she was quite young and living at home.  The colours are lovely, I like that about it, and the shape is pretty much perfect for needles, but the fabric is horrible and you can see what condition it's in!

I stood one day looking at my disgraceful manicure pouch (seen above) which an old friend gave me when I went to Taiwan the first time 20 years ago, having in mind the knitting needle bag with its side coming away from the zip and thought, "You spend hours on end making beautiful things for other people, whilst your own stuff is dropping to pieces.  Why on earth don't you start making things for yourself?!"

So, I decided I would.

Then I looked at my clothes.  That wasn't too pretty a sight either.  Not that all of them are falling apart, but the ones in the best condition are those that I can't wear anymore thanks to having gained weight.  I threw out a lot of the far too small stuff before we moved a year last February, but some more have 'fallen into disuse' since.

To be honest, I could have bought some new things, but when money was tightest and Sir needed clothes too, it was more important for him to look smart at work every day than me to do so at home, so I told him to get what he needed and I'd take care of myself later.  At the back of my mind too, was that I wanted to shape back up a bit.

Another clothes buying challenge is that I just plain don't like a lot of styles that are around.  You either have to deal with fabrics, colours or shapes you don't really like or try to compensate for insufficient fabric as so many dresses etc are less than modest these days.

"Enough!" thought I.  Time for a change.  A big change.

As you've probably guessed, I decided to make, not only accessories for myself, but also to knit and sew the clothes I really wanted in fabrics I loved.  I came to this idea from Lydia of Made My Wardrobe, who gave herself a year to replace all her clothes with ones she'd created herself - from first principles in her case, as she's a trained textile expert who could design and draft her own patterns.  (Thanks to Amanda of Amanda Jane Textiles who 'introduced' me to Lydia's project via her own blog.)  I thought, if Lydia could do that, why couldn't I?  I knew how to sew and knit a bit, so why not develop those abilities further and replace my clothes at the same time?

I haven't started on the bag making yet, although you can now understand including 'Start on bag making tasks' in the list for the month, but I am on with my knitting work as you've also seen.  I've started with things that I can use straight away and am focusing on tops until my sizing is more stable.  I'm currently working on knitting the 4th of the 5 large pieces needed for a replacement for the very shabby, thinning at the elbows, has a hole in the pocket front and is seriously bobbly old cardigan I've worn to death over the past seven winters and, of course, am wearing right now!

I've also completed this double stocking stitch scarf in yarn that matches a pair of gloves my mum gave me and goes nicely with my black coat - which also rather needs replacing......

I've bought umpteen sewing and knitting patterns (you can see what I've bought as well as some inspiration on my Creating my Own Wardrobe pinterest board), and am already booked in to two sewing workshops to help me learn more and gain confidence.  If I like the format etc, I have my eye on a few more for the autumn, such as pattern adaptation and drafting.

So, whilst I'm going to be continuing to stitch and embroider - especially in the run up to the summer Show season, I'll also be doing a lot of dressmaking and knitting, and then reporting on that in due course.  I plan on embroidering some of my own clothes and even aspire to a crazy patchwork jacket in the fullness of time.

What about you?  Do you make any of your own clothes and/or accessories?  Any tips or experiences that you can share?  Let me know if you have any ideas and what you think of the selection on the pinterest board too.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017


lewmew said...

I make myself a lot of skirts - easy ones with elastic waists that are wonderful for summer. Here is my favorite easy pattern - although they recommend "flowy" fabrics, I make them in cottons all the time:

Rachel said...

You can always embroider things once you've made them....!

Bits of Stitching! said...

Cheering you in your new needlework adventure,... Hooray! Totally understand the clothing dilemma.

Catherine - Hillview Embroidery said...

I haven't made clothes for years! I tend to not know of to read patterns thanks to being taught by my dressmaker grandmother, but I'm also not good enough to design my own patterns like she was. So I use a pattern I like then go for it in my own way! I completely know where you are coming from in hoping you will shape up to get back into some things too! I'm still holding onto hope. Have fun!

Wendy said...

what a great project! I look forward to your updates on this. I've never made my own clothes as I keep waiting until I lose weight! I have lost some, but not enough yet. I do have a lot of bag making experience though so give me a shout if you need help or tips.

Kat said...

That is such a wonderful thing to do for yourself. I am doing the same thing albeit very slowly as my health issues don't allow me to do very much at the moment. I am looking forward to seeing your finished items!