Learning Restraint, Part II: So What Do I Actually Need?

So what do I actually need?

Well, truth be told, I already have a lot of clothes. Being totally honest, with the exception of replacing socks and underwear, I could probably go a couple of years without actually needing to make or buy anything. Crikey, by some people’s standards, probably far longer than that…

But, no doubt I’m the same as everyone out there who blogs about sewing (or knitting), I love clothes 🙂 I love how they can flatter you, comfort you or just plain cheer you up. I love how they can make you feel taller, slimmer or younger when you get them just right (or whatever floats your personal wish-list boat) and I love the therapeutic nature of sewing (or knitting on a cold, Winter’s evening) and the pride I feel as I gradually improve my skills and get the fit close-r to perfection. But in the spirit of restraint I’ve been forcing myself to consider any new purchases far more carefully than would ever come naturally to me…

i) First up is really straightforward: I need a plain, black, pencil skirt for work. BHL Charlotte, I’m looking at you! I’ve worn my plain, navy one loads (and my fancy, lilac one a fair few times too) so it’s a tried and tested pattern that I know will work perfectly 🙂

ii) Next up is a couple of plain, white shirts as my current ones are starting to look decidedly grubby around the collar and cuffs. Even the very thought of sewing one of these fills me with panic, so this is definitely a RTW one and something sensible to look for in the sales.

iii) Thirdly, I really need some smart, but comfy trousers for work. Yikes, now trousers I’ve so far avoided like the plague in terms of sewing. However I’ve recently seen some fab ones on the blogosphere, mostly courtesy of Jane over at Handmadejane and Karen over at didyoumakethat? I know from experience though that trousers really don’t come easily to my body shape. I’m small, but go in and out a lot. My legs are also my least favourite body part. Black tights in Winter are a godsend and come Summer there’s a whole lot of shaving, fake tanning and selecting of, at least, a medium heel height. There’s a reason I don’t do flats, even though I love them on others 😦

Buying RTW trousers is a royal pain in the butt, but actually, if I crack making my own, I need never brave the changing rooms again, and that has to be a plus… After much careful consideration, I’ve selected Simplicity’s 1699 (which seemed like a bargain at the time, as it also included a top, dress and even a jacket (one day, sigh…) that I also really liked, but now I’ve seen it comes free with next month’s Sew Home & Style, which I subscribe to, maybe not such a bargain!) And as a back up I’ve also purchased Colette’s Clover trousers (1019) which is a beginner’s pattern and seemed a really simple shape too (although I’ll be attempting the longer version, short trousers are a complete no-no on me). Fingers crossed one of these work out…


iv) And lastly, I always seem to need some flattering jeans. Now, just a couple of months ago this would have been a RTW option only. But actually, if I conquer the above, who knows? Maybe? 2015 could be the year of the trousers….

So there’s my list of essentials done. But anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that there’s no way I could last more than a month or so without running up a new skirt 😉 So I’m allowing myself some fun projects too, but again, they have to earn their place first. So, they’ll be some careful thought put in there too, and then I’m hoping to alternate between my two lists. Sounds simple in principle, I’m hoping I’ll be able to stick to it.

Anyone else rethinking their sewing plans for the new year?



23 thoughts on “Learning Restraint, Part II: So What Do I Actually Need?

  1. This is very interesting. I’ve also got way too many clothes. I now look at sewing as my creative outlet, my relaxation, my happy place. My plan is to try to make less but concentrate on getting fit and style right. That however takes trial and error, so more clothes. I’m trying to go back to items and fix them. I also aim to use the best fabric I can becaue working with beautiful fabric is so satisfying and it’s my crative outlet after all 🙂 All a bit cirular but I wouldn’t want to stop sewing.

    As for making basics, I do it but don’t find it as much fun. It has the huge advantage of never having to go into changing rooms, that’s so liberating. I also use the best fabric I can that I probably wouldn’t be able to afford in RTW.

    • I’m definitely with you on the fabric choice. It’s always the more expensive ones that get worn the most. I’ve had a couple of bargains, but generally the more you pay, the more successful the item.
      Changing room liberation is fab! If I want to stamp my foot now over an item, there’s no one there to see me 😉

  2. Good luck with the trousers!! You’re braver than me… But I do have an inkling that you will make a few skirts first!!
    I’m compiling a little list of my sewing plans for 2015… It includes to use knits and make a Coco!!

  3. I NEED a plan! And maybe i need to do a stash exchange! I love most of mine but others sewers stashes seem more appealing – or is it greener grass syndrome?!

    I think you’ll be fine with trousers. I used some lovely black stretch cotton sateen for my first pair which made them easier to fit, tho the waistband stretched out a bit and I wished I’d not been lazy missing off the optional belt loops.

    Shirts! They’ve been scaring me for a while too, but I find myself drooling over the hundreds of amazing Archers out there! So when grainline released it in paper format I bought one and soon had it traced off. 6 weeks later it still sat there tho! I need to grow a pair and make a start! I’ve found a fab website with loads of help for shirt making:
    It’s worth a luck if you want to join me in the bravery dep and attempt a shirt!! ✂️😀✂️

    • The Archer does seem to be a thing of beauty, you’re right, and I keep spotting them everywhere. I think it might be a step too far for me though. I’m going to attempt to tackle trousers first. Thanks for your words of encouragement, I’ll be selecting my fabric even more carefully now…
      Good luck with formulating your NY’s Sewing Plan 🙂

  4. I think this has happened a few times before: you put in words exactly what I should be saying too – but becaus you said it so well I feel I don’t need to any more 😉
    tbh, if I only sewed if I needed something I wouldn’t get to touch my sewing machines for years… So in the absence of sense or restraint I go on to accumulate more fabrics.

    When you do try your hand on jeans I would recommend to use a really stretchy denim – it makes fitting so much easier and more forgiving.

    • Thanks Chris 🙂 Sometimes I actually get stressed because of how many clothes I have and can ‘lose’ things for months… Ridiculous I know! We’re so spoilt, so time to learn a little restraint for the New Year. I can but try…

  5. I really like the simplicity trousers, I’ve never made any, despite wanting it so much, they do look complicated though, so I think I will try first the Hudson pants. Other than that, I want to make so many things, I’d have to quit my job haha, but I’m not going to buy any more patterns or fabric until I’m done with the ones I already have. I would like to also fix issues with some dresses that I don’t wear that often because of that and do some upcycling, will 2015 be enough? When I finish with all that I would like to focus on spending money of course on more expensive fabric. Good luck with the trousers and I look forward to see how the plan goes in the new year. 🙂

  6. I hear you. I love clothes, I love sewing, I love the power of transformation and creativity accessible through both, and also have enough to last me several years (possibly a lifetime).I also have enough items in my fabric/sewing stash that I need never shop for RTW or for supplies ever again (but where would the fun be in THAT??)

    Next year I’m really hoping to focus on stash-busting and stash-clearing, focussing on separates and basics. Well, that’s the plan right now, anyway..!

    You mentioned jeans; wondered if you knew of this pattern? If I was going to make them, this might be where I’d start… http://www.store.closetcasefiles.com/products/ginger-skinny-jeans-pattern

    • Ohh, thanks for the tip. Will take a look 🙂
      Definetly recommend a stash-busting diet, our spare room looks a whole lot neater for it.
      It’s a quandary alright, but I’m determined to plan and edit more next year, fingers crossed x

  7. I’ve just donated three bin bags full of clothing to a charity shop and still have a heck of a lot left. My name is Pam and I’m a shopoholic.

    I just started my sewing blog and made my first ever dress so I can say that this sewing year has been good, I tried something new and nothing exploded in my face, huzzah!

    I’m still not sure what I need, for now I’m sewing what catches my eye and seeing where I go from there.

  8. I used to have that problem, having to many clothes, but not so much anymore. i donated a large portion to the Salvation Army, so it would force me to sew for me again. Sure, I sew, but it’s usually for others; daughter, costumes for various plays, quilts for Lutheran World Relief, etc., Those are all great, but it’s time to toss myself back into the equation.

    • I’m afraid I’m a completely selfish sewer! I’ve made a couple of things recently for my daughter, but it’s mostly for me! That said, I’ve barely been shopping for myself this year, so it has made a difference. I just need to sew what I actually wear…

  9. Pingback: Butterfly Cushions | navybluethreads

  10. Pingback: By Hand London Charlotte Skirt | navybluethreads

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