I’ve hit a bit of a sewing wall. More specifically, dealing with a feeling of frustration with types of of the garments I have been making. I guess I’ve been riding on a bit of a plateau of my skills for the past year or so and it’s lead me to feeling pretty stuck. Up until this point, I’ve relished this stage of my sewing journey, knowing exactly what level I can execute and being able to make things quickly without thinking too hard. But it’s definitely a comfort zone and I worry I’ve gotten to comfortable.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE (almost) everything I have made during this phase, but I also can’t help feel that something is missing. Like the clothes (and subsequently myself) haven’t been living up to potential. The only way to describe it, is that my garments feel quite ‘flat’. I hope that makes sense. For example, all my garments are made with a single fabric, with basic style lines. They often rely on the fabric print to make the statement, but are usually a pretty ‘safe’ textile to work with.
To try and understand how to get out of this frustration I look at the type of clothing I am drawn to in stores. I can easily dismiss the basics I could make myself, but am still insatiably drawn to clothes I perceive at this ‘next level’. I gravitate towards unique textiles, with drape or texture. I like garments that have a dramatic combination of fabrics and play with matching embellishments. Not to mention all the complicated wardrobe staples like jeans, coats and undergarments.
After uncovering these dynamics, I have a new lens for moving forward with new projects. How can I take this garment to the next level? How can I make it something worthy of wanting to buy? What can I do to challenge myself, or take it beyond expectations?
Anyway. I made a skirt!
I happened to purchase this quilted fabric in different colours on separate occasions for different projects. I found the weight and texture very interesting and I happily had plenty of leftovers to make something with. Initially I was going to use the navy fabric alone, but realized there was nothing stopping me from using the fabrics in combination.
After recently dipping my toes into the world of colour-blocking with Coco, I decided to play with the technique again. Intrigued by the subtle colours and sort of serious nature of the textiles, I paired it with a pattern that had both volume and femininity. This is my second Sewaholic Hollyburn, (I made the first last May for #MMMay15…realizing now there are so many unblogged projects from that month…), and I love the simplicity of construction and drama of the result.
Some projects leave you feeling energized and excited the whole process…this was not one of them. I was so full of doubt as I was sewing this up. The whole time wondering if it was all too much? Were the colours too strange? The quilting texture mixed with the blocking distracting? Luckily, after the rollercoaster of emotions as soon as I tried it on the first time, I was in love.
As far as construction notes, I didn’t make too many changes overall. To make the blocking, I traced the pattern pieces, cut them 15 cm from the hem and added seam allowances. Putting it all together, I sewed the band to each pattern piece before commencing regular construction. For some reason I couldn’t get the side seam matching quite right. In the future I would likely assemble the skirt and the band separately, then attach them together in the round for a straighter finish.
I cut a straight size 4 that was a perfect fit but I didn’t account for the soft stretch (and recovery) of this kind of fabric. The skirt pulled down quite easily, especially when I put stuff in the pockets. Instead of taking it apart to reduce the size, I sewed a stiff elastic to the inside of the waistband for added structure. It worked really well, and I got that snug hugging feeling I really like in a fitted waistband.
I did use my overlocker to sew it all together, but Tasia posted an awesome tutorial about making this pattern knit fabric on a regular machine. In fact, I didn’t stumble upon that post until I had already completed the project. She has great tips for getting a clean finish, especially that trimmed and hand-stitched hem. Next time I will likely go that route.
I can’t get enough of the silhouette in this garment. The swing is fun and dramatic, but the colours make it quite sophisticated. I feel like a street style blogger in it. It did take me a while to find items in my closet to pair it with (this top is actually a dress…) but I accept it as an interesting challenge. It’s a perfect winter skirt, since it is so warm and cuddly, and should pair well with other textures and layers.
It was interesting approaching this project with the critical eye and actively questioning my process. I look forward to discovering my ‘next level’ of garments. Whatever shape that journey will take.
Maybe you can relate to this frustrated ‘stuck’ feeling? Have you been in that limbo where you can make fun clothes, but unsure of how to make a cool, fully-functional wardrobe?