Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010, The Year of Wovens

Reading the sewing resolutions of others on blogs and PatternReview has become one of my favorite activities of the new year. It's time to jump on this bandwagon.

My broadest resolution for the new year encompasses more than sewing. "Be happy with what you have" is my new refrain. Through all the striving and tasks of each day and week, I intend to remain aware that everything I need to be content is already present in my life. And I intend to subject new projects, new wants and new ventures to close scrutiny, making sure that I am fully using and enjoying what I have before deciding to add something new.

Moving on from that lofty goal to the practical: 2010 will be the year of wovens. In 2008 and 2009, I was seduced by knits. Easy-ish to fit, comfy to wear, easy to care for. But I notice that when I put on a nice woven dress or shirt, I look better. And I love sewing woven projects. My vintage machines do great work on wovens, and I can use my new treadle setup to sew shirts, coats, pants and home items. So I resolve to resist the siren song of knits and focus on adding more wovens to my wardrobe.

To that end I want to improve my skills in shirtmaking and tailoring. I have purchased the Islander Sewing Systems Shirts, Etc. dvd set and I am ever-so-slowly watching my way through it. Why slowly? I'm having lots of problems with getting the dvds to play. Even though I've tried three different players, both volumes of the set just keep hanging up and refusing to advance. Must email the company today. I hope to get this resolved, because I have in mind to order the whole series of Islander videos. They are expensive, but they seem like the perfect form of instruction for me. I've learned a lot from my beloved sewing library, but seeing a whole sewing operation from beginning to end adds another dimension to my understanding.

The Islander System promises gains in sewing speed and efficiency, which I would welcome, but I'm even more interested in improving the quality and consistency of my garments.

My second sewing-specific resolution is to develop a plan for a small dressmaking business. I have dabbled with sewing crafty things and bags for sale in galleries and craft fairs, but I find that my heart isn't truly in it. I love sewing garments and things that have both beauty and real utility. I love making things for a specific person, rather than trying to guess what will appeal to a large audience. And I love the idea that clothing can express a different point of view than the one offered up by the mass market.

Practically speaking, I have amassed and refined a very nice sewing setup in my basement sewing room. Last week I added a cutting table (commandeered from storage), with the help of my husband. There should be no lack of machines or notions or space to work.

Even typing the resolution to present myself as a dressmaker brings on a wave of nervous doubt. I worry that my skills are not as advanced as they will be in the future. Isn't that silly? Of course my skills will improve in the future, God willing and the creek don't rise.

My Great Great Aunt Ethel was a dressmaker. The family legend is that well-to-do ladies would send their car and driver out to the farm to pick her up and bring her to their homes for fittings. Her greatest achievement was making a dress that was worn on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Yet I once asked my grandmother (who also lived at the farm) about Aunt Ethel's creations. "Well, they looked all right on the outside, but you wouldn't want to see the inside."

Aunt Ethel wasn't a perfect dressmaker. She worked under pressure, without a serger, long into the night. Her clients could choose whether to hire her or not. If they weren't satisfied with a garment, something could be worked out. That's good for me to remember.

1 comment:

  1. Great resolutions. I need to sew with more wovens...and also better quality fabric. That is one of my goals this year. Good luck!