This post was started two hours ago and I am just now starting the first sentence. So not only am I having trouble figuring out what to focus on, I am having trouble focusing on what I choose. Since I started I decided to have lunch, manage my airbnb listing and put the laundry in. Now I am back and I promise myself to focus till I finish.
My original thought on focus was that I feel scattered in almost all areas. It is true I have created some priorities: Health through nutritious eating and exercise, learning and travel. It has become obvious to me that outside these priorities I am having trouble deciding what is most important and also how to integrate other interests into these main focuses. I want to do it all!
OR am I using my lack of focus as an excuse for lack of forward movement OR I am sabotaging myself so I don’t “succeed” – whatever that may mean to me OR I just need anxiety in my life.
I say that I want to learn and practice my sewing skills and share them through this blog and sewing meetups. In reality I am so busy traveling, trying to stay in shape and learning about how to share my skills that I am lucky if I find a day a week to sew. Plus now that I have free time I have not said no to many social opportunities.
Then there is the problem of what should I be making? There are so many things I want to try and then there is the looming reality of a trip coming up that involves hiking and biking. And wanting my slopers to be perfect before I use them to create new things for myself. I am back to some of my old habits that lead to less focus.
Spurred on by those distracting % off coupons from fabric stores I decided I needed to go out and get fabric to make a new hiking/biking skirt, two pair of outdoor pants that don’t look like outdoor pants and a couple t shirts that will dry quick and have pockets! And a bike bag to carry misc in on the trip.
My latest shiny objects
Here is my latest pile. 2 yards of fabric in each of 5 colors. Two meant for tops and 3 meant for skirts or pants appropriate for outdoor adventure travel.
I have limited time before the trip. Writing is helping me focus. I am going to make a hiking/biking skirt and a shirt with pockets and a small handlebar bag. Stay tuned. I already am getting unfocused by some more travel opportunities in my inbox.
How do you focus on priorities – or even decide what they are? If you are reading this blog is it helpful or another way to procrastinate?
This week I went through fabrics I bought last summer and have never gotten around to using. One of them was a reversible mid weight knit with a lovely smooth texture that is perfect for a jacket. Since it is a reversible fabric I needed a simple pattern where I would not need to make too many seams. I briefly considered finishing my bodice sloper I started and then making a pattern from there but I am in the mood for a faster process than that right now. Instead I went through patterns I had and found a McCalls pattern that I had picked up at a thrift store.
I made the first version as directed to make sure I liked the style on me. I loved the color of this woven fabric I picked up at Goodwill. I had a button I had picked up maybe 25 years ago in Canada that is made from arbutus. I added patch pockets on the outside and I am happy with the results. It is quite a roomy jacket so I need to make sure to wear it with slim fit bottoms or a pencil skirt. This process helped me see and think about what I would need to do to make it out of reversible fabric.
To make the test garment I pulled a knit out of my stash (I love the color of it but it doesn’t love me) that had a similar stretch to my final fabric.
I took the extra step of tracing the size I wanted off the tissue paper pattern so I could use all the sizes available later if I wanted.
Tracing paper to trace the size I want
I chose a size down from the size I used in the woven because the knit would make it even roomier than the first jacket. This exercise stretched my brain as I tried to make it look good from both sides. I used a flat fell seam so it would look finished from both sides. This also required me to sew my seams as straight as I could to keep it all neat looking. The pockets were a puzzle. I felt patch pockets on both sides would be too bulky so I made a welt on one side that went through into the pocket on the other side. This knit was not thick enough to leave the edge unfinished so I added a narrow stand up collar at the neck and bound the front edge. The finished product is a bit clunky but it helped me think out the steps to make the final jacket.
The final product! I narrowed the welt and made it a little higher because the other one almost felt like I was dropping whatever I put in the patch pocket out through the welt on the other side.
I smoothed out any jagged cuts I had on the unfinished front edges and hems and left them as is. Added one of my favorite vintage buttons and I now have a reversible jacket in one of my basic colors that I look forward to wearing!
Have you tried creating a reversible garment lately?
When I visited my dad in Michigan in January I found myself with not a lot to do. I had seriously injured my hamstring while ice skating and it was snowing so driving wasn’t an option. I was starting to get a case of cabin fever so I decided to dig through the drawers and closets to see what I might discover.
I found a bag of patterns in the closet. Some were things I had sewn when I was in high school. Some were dresses my mother had sewn for herself at some point in her life. Needless to say none were my current size. I found some fabric that wouldn’t have been my first choice for just about anything but the rose and grey colors were good and the print was fairly small. I picked the dress pattern with the least alteration needed and began to measure and make the changes I hoped would create a dress/long open top that would fit me. I took the waist darts out and moved them to try to make it large enough for me around the waist. My other issue was a sewing machine that had only basic stitches. This meant I had to use an overcast stitch on my ravelly seams. And the needle could have been a little newer so the inside of the dress was a mess. Once I took everything home it was better with new needles and a serger.
It has some nice details that you can’t see with this print. The collar is nice and large and could stand up if I used a thicker interfacing. The sleeve is not set in and makes a quick sew.
Collar could stand up
No set in sleeve
As you can see this first effort ended up being too big around the waist and looks pretty dowdy. I already feel most vintage looks dowdy on me as I become vintage.
But now that I have a shape on a dress form I can start to play around and make changes to turn it into something a little more stylish. (I hope). My first step is to add some darts to the bodice so it is not so huge. I also noticed I am longer waisted than this dress form. Not sure how to fix that on the form.
I pin up my first change to the hemline. Oops a little too revealing. I would have to find another dress or leggings to wear under this one.
I set the opening a little lower and I am in business.
Now for my favorite part! I dig through the button tins – most of them from my mother’s stash and select some. I don’t pick my absolute favorites because I am not sure I will actually ever wear this dress (if I do I will share). I was also delighted to figure out how to use the buttonhole setting on my new machine. It was actually a joy instead of a pain to do buttonholes.
Final with buttons
And the best part is finishing a project that was clogging my flow. I put it on for Easter but couldn’t style it quite right to be comfortable wearing it. Will I ever wear it? Still not sure.
Can’t quite figure out how to pull off wearing it.
Do you sew vintage patterns? If so what do you find to be your biggest hurdle?