Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Challenges



In the style of Janus, thought to be the titular deity of January, it's time to put on two faces - one looking backward to the past, the other one looking forward to the future. I always feel it's good to take a moment to contemplate successes, failures and road blocks of the previous year in order to come up with realistic plans for the next.

Last year I finished 12 items. Six of them were Knipmode patterns, three Cashmerette, two Vogue and one Deer & Doe. You can find them all under Finished projects on top of this page.

Last January I started the KnipmodeChallenge2017, with the main goal to use my magazines more often and to get a set of standard adjustments in order to nail the fit. Since half of what I made comes from the magazines I consider the first part a success. I made progress on the fit but it's still a bit hit and miss. My favourite Knipmode garments were the winter coat (most worn) and my velvet birthday dress.

Knipmode coat and Knipmode designer dress


Another two Knipmode patterns are still in the toile stage. One, a potentially fabulous red skirt, looked completely different in the larger block due to weird grading decisions. I'll pick that one up again in spring. The second one is a lovely top that will look good in fabric with more stretch. If only Knipmode would be more specific when it comes to fabric recommendations: a pattern is either for a woven or a fabric 'with stretch'. The latter can be anything from cotton sateen to spandex. In this round of fabric roulette I guessed wrong. Will try again!

Many thanks to everyone who joined me during this challenge, on blogs, Instagram and Pattern Review. It's been fun!

In 2017 I finally finished the French jacket that I started three years earlier. I loved the process so much! From selecting the fabrics, the quilting, hand sewing, planning the trim to sewing on the chain, I loved every minute of it. The jacket turned out a bit large and the colour isn't my best but despite these flaws I've been wearing it a lot. So soft, so easy to pack and it goes with everything.

Vogue 7975


Other favourites are the Cashmerette Concord T-shirt variations, especially the white one with statement sleeves and the royal blue swing top with v-neck front and back.

Cashmerette Patterns Concord T-shirt

Now what are my sewing plans for 2018? Honestly, I don't know. I sew what I wear, and what I wear depends on the adventures that lie ahead. Will we drive north or fly south for the summer holidays? Any formal events to attend? We'll see what comes up.
I need a few work appropiate jackets, practical outfits for gardening, walking the dog and cycling in the rain and some tops and dresses for fun events like going to festivals and concerts. And perhaps a party dress or two.

I'm always tempted to join a few challenges at the beginning of a new year but when you're sewing at my pace you have to pick your battles carefully. I like seeing everyone's #2018makenine plans on Instagram but really, that possibly means planning ahead my total output for the year right now!

The challenge that really made me want to jump in was #januaryjacket, hosted on Instagram by @lonestarcouture and @julie_starr. Dorcas and Julie have the awesome tradition of sewing French jackets together each January by long distance. This year they invited everyone to join, which I happily did. It's a challenge with very loose rules and my only condition was I could finish my jacket by January 2019, which was accepted. It's wonderful to follow the progress of these experienced French jacket sewists! I've already started planning my jacket and I'm considering buying Susan Khalje's online Classic French Jacket class. Any thoughts about that class?


Potential fabric combination


I was also seriously tempted to join the #2018RTW fast hosted by Sarah of the Goodbye Valentino blog. During  Christmas break I came to the conclusion that I already kind of completed a RTW fast in 2017. (I only bought a pair of jeans that I have not yet worn)
I decided against joining because due to not buying and slow sewing last year I probably need to fill more wardrobe gaps than I can handle with sewing alone. That's okay. I'm not aiming for a 100% handmade wardrobe, 90% will do.
Instead I'll be cheering for the over 1000 participants and give my own twist on this fast by starting with sewing jeans to make up for that one buy.
I'll also be buying sustainable fabrics from Enschede Textielstad and sew garments with fabrics woven from recycled or locally sourced yarns.

Well for someone without sewing plans that's already a lot of commitment! This means that I'll only join other challenges like Make a Garment a Month (#magamsewalong hosted by @sarahlizsewstyle ) or #curvyyearofsewing when the monthly themes coincide with my own plans.

Did you join any challenges? If so, good luck and happy sewing!



16 comments:

  1. You've made lovely garments and I look forward to seeing what you make in 2018. I'm trying to increase my output in 2018. I tried with the Concord! I really did! I'm looking for an alternative. That and a jacket to make with double faced wool. Good luck with yours.

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    1. Thank you. I also hope to increase my output but I'm saying that every year! I recently ended one of my most time consuming freelance jobs so maybe it's really going to happen in 2018. My alternatieve for the Concord is the free Plantain pattern. For double facet wool I can recommend Vogue 1465, you can find my post about this jacket here: http://foxglovesandthimbles.blogspot.nl/2016/02/finished-vogue-1465-donna-karan-jacket.html

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  2. Where do you get your boucle? I’d love to try a French jacket, but few places carry anything like a range of colors...

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    1. Where are you located? I do have a few favourite shops in The Netherlands but the best ones don't sell online. Of course one of the best known places to order online is Linton Tweeds. They ship worldwide: www.lintondirect.co.uk

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  3. I have really enjoyed reading this post and of course, I love all the beautiful clothes you made and finished in 2017.
    I am on the same wave length as you regarding all of these challenges and I too have only committed to the French jacket challenge and that is because Susan Khaljie is returning to Brisbane in late February to teach this class, and I also tag along in the MAGAM challenge.I too was thinking about the RTW fast but I have my son's wedding in April and I may have to buy something at the last minute and I am travelling a bit this year and may need RTW if the airlines keep up with their track record of losing my suitcase. And I cannot stick to sewing plans or needs. I wander into my sewing room somedays with no plans at all and then find a piece of fabric that catches my eye and before you know it, garment production is underway!!
    All the very best Marianne for your 2018 sewing adventures.

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    1. How exciting! Did you decide on the pattern for your jacket? Toile making yet? I need to start all over again to solve my fit issues. I'm also keeping an eye on the new Linton Tweeds releases for more fabric inspiration. I hope you'll be able to sew something beautiful in time for the wedding. Is the fabric from India still an option? Enjoy your classes, can't wait to see your results!

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  4. I would definitely encourage you to purchase Susan Khalje’s French Jacket course - or better yet, come to the States and take it in person with her! You have made beautiful apparel during the past year! It was fun to see your recap. I want to join the January Jacket challenge but I’m trying to finish a 2017 dress first.... so much to sew and time is fleeing! But aren’t we having such fun?

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    1. Time is fleeing indeed! I have not seen many reviews of Susan's online course but I don't think one can go wrong with that. Would love to come to the States but lately I've seen tempting options over here as well. A few Dutch designers who were trained in Paris offer French jacket classes, I will look into that first!

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    2. I took Lorna Knight's Iconic tweed jacket class on Craftsy. It is a fabulous class...I think it's the best class I've taken on Craftsy. I've also taken a different couture sewing class from Susan Khalje and I didn't like her teaching style as well as Lorna. I entered my jacket in the Ohio State Fair sewing competition and got second place! It turned out really beautiful.

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  5. Where did you source the fabric for your beautiful coat with the felted roses? The reason I'm asking is because I purchased some yardage of similar fabric and did something stupid and want to try again. But I can't find it anywhere! I'm in the United States.

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    1. What a pity! I bought my fabric in 2016, in a small Dutch fabric shop. Sadly I have not seen anything like that before or since. Could you perhaps save some of the fabric and mix it with a solid?

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  6. Dag Marianne, ik lees je blog met veel plezier. Mooi ovezicht van het afgelopen jaar!
    Het zou inderdaad fijn zijn als Knip wat preciezer was met de stofaanduiding, maar ze maken wel onderscheid tussen rekbare stof (zoals stretchsatijn e.d., door het lezen van zoveel Engelstalige naaiblogs in mijn hoofd 'woven with stretch' :-)) en tricotstof (knit). Het staat in het werkschrift steeds bovenaan direct bij het patroonnummer. Uiteraard zijn er ook binnen die categoriën nog wel heel veel verschillen mogelijk...
    Ik kijk uit naar wat je het komende jaar maakt!

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    1. Dank je, Hilde! Je hebt gelijk wat betreft rekbaar/tricot, maar voor een beginner zal het verschil niet altijd duidelijk zijn. Tricot is namelijk best rekbaar ;) Bij de PDF's in de webshop is de aanduiding vaak nog vager. Grappig dat jij ook in Engelse termen denkt. Ik stond laatst zo te stuntelen in een fourniturenwinkel omdat ik niet op het Nederlandse woord voor horsehair braid kwam! Blog je zelf ook?

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    2. Ja, voor beginners is het zeker lastig. En voor gevorderden soms ook!
      Nee, ik blog zelf niet, ik naai toch te weinig. Hoewel ik het naaien als mijn grootste hobby beschouw blijft het helaas vaak beperkt tot het lezen van blogs... Oja, en het kopen van stoffen natuurlijk! Ik woon vlakbij de lapjesmarkt in Utrecht, gevaarlijke plek ;-). En ik zit bij een soort internationaal naai-groepje (o.a. ook met Sigrid, haar blog ken je ongetwijfeld), heel erg leuk.

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  7. Love all of your creations. You had a productive year last year! I haven't joined any challenges...I have so little time to sew that I know I wouldn't be able to complete them on time. But I always enjoy reading about others sewing adventures.

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    1. Thank you. I always like the community aspect of challenges, so nice and inspiring to see others work on the same pattern or same type of garment. But those deadlines are a different story. I don't want to rush my projects so I hardly ever finish in time....So I think twice now, but some challenges are just too tempting!

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