Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win

My year-long "make-a-garment-a-month" challenge is finally over. I've made 12 pieces; one was a bit of a disaster, the rest were successful in varying degrees.  

I set myself this challenge for a range of reasons. One of them was to feel in control of something at a time when, in specific aspects of life, I didn't feel like I had much agency. Looking back, I don't think that was actually the situation, but the choice element of this challenge was very motivating.  

To add to the challenge, I decided I wouldn't buy any clothes during 2012 except underwear or footwear and I pretty much stuck to this until late December when I paid for 1/3 of a swimming costume (the other 2/3 was a gift).  

Every blog entry I have written for this challenge is named after a song (usually one that I like). In most instances, the content of the song had nothing to do with the content of the blog entry. Choosing the titles has been a fun, sometimes time consuming aspect of the project. This one seemed right (from the last Beastie Boys album), and reminded me of something I read on Edinburgh-based poet Graeme Hawley's website:

"In the English language there is this ridiculous rule about double negatives equalling a positive. However, in Scots language negatives are accumulative. The more negatives used, the more negative the statement is".

So maybe I won, maybe not. I missed several deadlines but managed 12 garments in a year, which is a good few more than the previous year. I learned how to use an overlocker, and that making trousers needn't be scary. 

So, a review featuring the best, the most useful, and the worst garments of the year. The worst, by a country mile, goes to this skirt :

The pattern wasn't the problem, it was just my poor choice and effort that made this such a turkey. I chose some old fabric that wasn't right for the job. I should also have made a toile so I could get the fit right, but instead I ploughed right in and this is what I got. It's at the bottom of the wardrobe. I threatened to make it into a bag...this hasn't happened yet.

Next up is my favourite garment of the year. This was an easy pattern, I found lovely fabric for it and felt fabulous wearing the finished dress. I pulled out all the stops with this one as it was for my friend Kath's wedding. I knew she and her gentleman D would be putting Herculean efforts into making everything lovely so that everybody would have a great time, and I wanted to make something suitably smart in honour of their special day. So here it is plus a cocktail hat, which was a last minute project the night before the wedding. The hat was fun to wear (don't usually get to dress up this posh) but when I took it off for the evening do, I had a jaunty angled red line across one side of my forehead where the hat had been. It didn't fade for a few hours! 

Favourite and best garment of the year

Last minute hat worked out nicely

Finally, most useful garment of the year. It aint pretty but it's probably been worn more than anything else I made in 2012. I made another one in a smaller size which is a better fit, but this remains a useful, if not particularly elegant piece of clothing.

Sirdar Nomad Jacket Design E
I'll keep sewing and knitting throughout 2013 (and most likely writing about it), but I won't be setting deadlines. I want time to finish projects to a better standard than I could achieve in the space of a month. Plus it would be good to make time for other adventures...

Memories of a Colour

This is the last garment I made for a challenge to make a garment every month throughout 2012. I set the challenge, made up the rules and often fell foul of them.
Based on gathered top 116 from Burdastyle July 2012

With December being an expensive month already, I used some cotton lawn from stash and a pattern from the July 2012 edition of Burdastyle magazine. It's not the one I intended to make but I had less than a metre of fabric to work with. It's the first time I've traced a pattern from a sewing magazine and it took the use of a headtorch and a fair bit of muttering to get the job done. 

Burdastyle July 2012

The pattern called for double layers of chiffon but I had barely enough to make it with single layers. The project was not helped by my making a cutting error with one of the sleeves as I tried to follow the plot of a spy drama on the telly at the same time. Then I lost the other sleeve, wasted an hour looking for it, but managed to cut two new sleeves from the scrap of fabric I had left. (Won't attempt multi-tasking with scissors again).  

The brown edging is not what I had planned for it but on two different occasions I went to buy bias binding for this project, forgetting to take the fabric with me. Both times I got it wrong, the second time I bought three different colours in the hope that one would be right - this is the most ok of the three, although the contrast is more striking than I would have liked.

And that was the end of my making challenge for 2012. Thanks for reading, and happy new year!