This is what my sewing room looked like at the beginning of 2018. Many things have changed, both in- and outside the sewing room and these changes will all affect my sewing in the coming year.
I'm not much of a planner so I thought that instead of doing a #makenine or show a list of patterns I want to make any time soon I'd tell more about those small and not so small changes to picture the context of my sewing choices for 2019.
#1 Changing the layout of my sewing room
At the beginning of the year mr Foxgloves helped me create a cutting table by changing the legs of one of my tables for Ikea Skarsta sit/stand height adjustable legs. More on that here.
This makes me more productive as my back doesn't need a few days to recover from tracing or cutting.
What else could be improved? I'd been using this room for six years and I decided it was time for a comprehensive evaluation. I started by moving the furniture around.
The L-shape worked much better! I always thought I wouldn't like looking at a wall but I was wrong. It feels like my workspace has doubled, since I can use the cutting/handsewing table for extra bits and bobs while I'm sewing.
I also moved my sewing books. They were out of reach behind the ironing board, not the best place for easy access. So I moved some wooden boxes with older pattern magazines to that spot and now have my reference books right where I need them. It only took me six years to come up with this brilliant plan.
Next. Well, you can't overhaul the sewing room and ignore the fabric collection, right? So I took everything out.
#2 Sorting and measuring my fabrics
Back in the days when the systems weren't as refined as they are now, I had my colours done and one of the things I took away from that was that blue was a good colour for me. Over the years I bought all kinds of blue fabric. I loved them all, but they didn't all love me back. I found out the hard way when 100+ hours of handsewing on a Chanel jacket ended in a garment that looked better on the hanger than it did on me.
Last year I scheduled a new appointment with a colour consultant who asked me to bring a few garments. I bended the rules a little by bringing a suitcase of potential garments in the form of fabrics. She had never had a dressmaker come in for a consult before and we had some interesting discussions about the freedom to create your own style and the challenges that come with making a garment from scratch. She acknowledged it was a waste of precious sewing time to work with fabrics that did not fully suit me and we tackled that suitcase, one piece at the time. At the end of the day I knew the distinction between warm and cool blue, muted, bright and dark blue and what worked for me and what didn't. And of course I learned a lot about other colours, colour depths and levels of contrast as well.
I used my newfound knowledge to sort my stash. I put fabrics aside to use for toiles and donated a few pieces to friends with different colourings. Some of these fabrics had been there for two decades and I knew I'd never use them. Can you picture me in beige? Me neither.
While all the fabrics were out of storage I thought I might as well measure everything before it went back into the closet. I now have a binder with swatches, lengths and other relevant information of all pieces. After 42 years of collecting fabrics the penny finally dropped.
My fabric cabinet is an old baby dresser that is 60 cm deep. I fold the fabrics over a piece of cardboard to make the best use of the limited space.
The curated collection. Not perfect yet, but slowly getting there. (These are all woven fabrics, there's also a smaller cabinet with knits)
#3 Joining Susan Khalje's Couture Sewing Club
Then, at the end of the summer, I realised I didn't challenge myself enough sewing wise. As nice as it is to have well fitting tees and cardigans in my wardrobe, making them hardly gives me a sense of accomplishment. I wanted to learn new skills and make better use of the skills I already have. Right at that time Susan Khalje launched her Couture Sewing Club. I jumped on board immediately!
So far it's been wonderful to be part of this group and I have learned a lot, both from Susan and from other members. The reason I have not started my first project, a couture skirt, has to do with yet another set of changes.
#4 Weight loss
In July I made a few lifestyle changes. As a result I have lost over 10 kg/22 lbs during the second half of 2018. Although I don't think I look that different, I can go in and out of my jeans without using the zipper. I have put off using my best fabrics for a while, but now I really need to make a few things that don't fall down when I move. The question is: will I make a fitted skirt, at least one that fits temporarily, or shall I wear wrap dresses until I know where my waist measurements will end?
#5 A new sewing machine
While I couldn't decide on what to make next I made another big change, at least for me it is. After sewing on my (mechanical) Bernina 1030 for 31 years I bought a new Bernina 570 QE.
Here she is, right after the unboxing ritual. Protective plastic and all, oops.
It's my first computerized machine, and there most definitely is a learning curve. We gave each other the side eye more than once, but after a few weeks I can say we're bonding.
I've made a start on creating a stitch library and am now exploring the endless possibilities of this beautiful machine. Dual feed, adjustable and automatic presser foot pressure, the pivot/hover function, it's all new to me. I'm working my way through the manual and I found a workbook and plenty of videos online, which is a nice way to get acquainted with this machine at my own pace. My dealer suggested I'd schedule my lessons at a later time so we wouldn't waste one-on-one time on the basics that I could easily find out myself. Sound advice! I'm creating a little list with subjects I'd like to delve in deeper during my lessons. I will write a sewing machine review, as some of you have asked for on Instagram, in a few weeks time when I hopefully master all ins and outs.
Now how will all these changes influence my 2019 sewing plans?
With the improved sewing room flow, sorted stash and new machine everything is ready for action!
The weight loss means I need to take in my clothes where possible and start building a new wardrobe later on. Ideally I'll alternate quick and practical projects to fill wardrobe gaps with more involved projects and I aim to use couture techniques on a few timeless pieces.
I'm really excited about this new sewing year!