Happy New Year! In my wrap-up of sewing and knitting in 2014, I mentioned that I had a few ideas floating around in my head for this year. And while wanting to keep it very low-key, two things keep surfacing in my brain: more vintage, more embellishment. So here I am to chat about it. And you get an added confession, to boot!
Last year, I had fun knitting and sewing a lot of vintage-inspired things, but I didn’t create many things from actual vintage patterns. Don’t get me wrong, I love both—using original vintage sewing and knitting patterns, and using my imagination and skills to create vintage-inspired pieces from modern patterns. As it happened, I did more of the latter last year, and had fun doing so! I find a lot of pleasure in taking something modern and tweaking it to give it a vintage look. In fairness, a couple of the patterns I fell in love with last year did that work for me: Gertie’s Butterick B5895 retro capri pattern, and the Muse Patterns Jenna cardi. But that’s a process I really enjoy. It’s fun, and sometimes a bit of a challenge, too. And apparently I was in the mood to do that a lot!
But that being said, it was still a little surprising to me how little I sewed or knit from vintage patterns last year. After all, I never participated in Marie‘s wonderful Vintage Pledge last year (have you seen the Pinterest board of finished projects from everyone?!), because I felt like sewing from vintage patterns is what I usually do. But it was almost like a subtle curse to myself! Because I totally didn’t do it that much last year, after all.
So this year, I plan to sew and knit more from vintage patterns again. I’ll still tinker with modern knitwear and sewing patterns of course, because I’m not placing unrealistic limits on myself, and it’s something I like doing. But I definitely want to get back to creating more from original patterns this year.
I’m in the mood to do some embellishment on my projects! Embroidery, felt appliqué, piping… fun little and not-so-little bits like that. Embellishing can be a difficult line for me to walk, since I often like to wear things that are relatively unfussy (so I’m already wondered if there’s a way to do felt appliqué but have it be machine-washable?). But I still think there’s ways I can incorporate more embellishment in my sewing, and I want to try to play with that more this year!
Trousers with shaped front pockets. Or maybe some appliqué or embroidery on them. An embroidered and appliquéd tourist jacket (that’s a biggie that I’ve wanted to do for over a year!). A circle skirt with appliqué. Rick rack on a neckline. Contrasting hand worked buttonholes. Maybe even adding appliqué or some adornment to a knitting project (like trim on another vintage bolero). And I have no idea why, but I really want to do flat piping on something.
While it doesn’t fall under the category of ’embellishing’, I’m including my plans to sew a hooded vintage swing coat, too, since that’s one of the first big plans I have for this year. I’m thinking that if I can work it out, I want to do the hood lining in something like faux fur or (and probably easier to deal with) a cozy fleece (maybe even a black minky fleece if it’s a black coat?). So that’s… embellishy… right? Right.
I don’t actually want an entire me-made wardrobe. There. I’ve said it out loud and I can’t take it back. I’ve thought about posting this part for weeks, and finally I’m biting the bullet and just doing it.
I really slowed down buying vintage when I felt I was at a pretty content place in my wardrobe a couple or more years back. But as both my tastes and my size have shifted slightly over the years, I’ve found myself with a lot less actual vintage or repro and retro pieces that fit or make me happy in my closet, which has been frustrating. And it was something I just kind of ignored for a long time as my sewing output ramped up. It eventually became easier to make something that fit than worry about the things that didn’t, so that’s what I did. But I have a lot of skirts, dresses and trousers that are just flat out too big or no longer my style, except for a few pieces I bought last year.
skirts I found antiquing in St. Louis last year that do fit, yippee!
I also have some pieces I’ve owned for so many years and have worn so often that they just bore me to tears at this point. I don’t want to have all the ill-fitting pieces taken in, because I’m sure as soon as I do, I’ll gain a few pounds and then crap, I’ll be in the reverse position. But I at least need to clean out the pieces that are no longer to my taste (including me-made ones) and start fresh!
So one of my other goals this year is to build back up my closet. I want it in a place where I feel happy with what’s in it, along with the balance of me-made and vintage/repro/retro pieces. Right now it’s skewed way to the me-made department and it feels pretty awesome to be able to even say that, I admit! But it’s not actually proportionally the way I want things, as weird as that may be for some of you reading this. Which is why I feel like this is a dirty confession to the online sewing community. But it was more an accident of getting increasingly more adept at sewing things I liked and that fit me better (a thrill in its own right!), combined with not being able to nor wanting to wear a lot of what I already owned. I feel really empowered being able to sew my own clothing. Me-made is amazing. But I also still adore vintage and enjoy fun and staple repro and retro pieces, too. And all of those things need their own special places in my closet!
I haven’t felt renewed to really hunt for vintage or shop for clothes in a long time, and that’s certainly putting a smile on my face! I’m excited to challenge myself with more vintage sewing and knitting projects, and that excites me, too. And I’m also thrilled that I can now say I have a few good tried-and-true patterns that I can whip out when I just want an easier project. Because there will be plenty of times I need that, too!
Overall I think it should be a fun year for me in terms of my wardrobe and project planning. I feel energized about all the things I love and my head is spinning with fun outfit ideas! Everything I’ve talked about in this post is giving me a lot of inspiration, so I’m going to jot down some ideas before I forget about them, and start to think about where I can fill in gaps, and how.
How about you—any plans you’re particularly excited about this year (sewing, knitting, or otherwise)? Have you seen or tried any fabulous ways to embellish a craft project? I can’t wait to explore the possibilities and learn some new things. Bring it on!