Happy New Year!

by Erin on January 4, 2010

fabric closet

Since I don't drink alcohol, don't care at all about college football (sorry Sis), and eat black-eyed peas about once a week anyway, New Year's is ALL about the resolutions for me. And this blog (and my related sewing habit) will not escape unscathed from the resolution juggernaut, oh, no no no.

First of all, if you scroll allllll the way down and look at the right-hand column, you'll see that I started this blog in May of 2005. 2005, people! That's like two decades in blog years. This current blog layout is the internet equivalent of a 1998 Toyota Tercel. Sure, it'll get you where you need to go, but very slowly, and you can't plug your iPod into the radio. So I'm hoping to do a refresh of this blog's "look" before the fifth anniversary. (I'd also like to be better about responding to blog comments/email, even if I only manage to do so once a week …)

Sewing-wise, I have two resolutions: to set aside a specific time every week to sew (right now, early Sunday morning is looking good) and to sew three things from my fabric/pattern stash for every item that requires new fabric or a new pattern. (See that pic up above? That's about 80% of my current fabric hoard.)

I've resolved, too, to be a better sewing planner — no more using up precious sewing time running out to JoAnn's because I don't have the right zipper. I'm going to make regular online orders of zippers and thread and other necessary notions, and if I don't have the right color of whatever, well, that project will just have to wait until I do.

I want to be more diligent about adding my project pictures to the Vintage Pattern Wiki and writing things up on Pattern Review — I hope that's a resolution you all share, too!

It would be great if I could say that I'm going to turn overnight into a more careful sewist — that all my patterns are going to match at the seams, that I'm never again going to press something into submission instead of unpicking it and doing it over, and that I'll always take my time and make a muslin first. But if I did, I'd be setting myself up for failure … that's just not gonna happen in 2010.

What are your sewing resolutions? And more to the point, how are you going to keep yourself on track with them? (I need hints!) Leave them in the comments.

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous January 4, 2010 at 5:45 am

Looks like theres some nice stuff in that stash there. My only advice is to sew for now!

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Joni January 4, 2010 at 6:05 am

NO more new fabric until at least June. None. My stash isnt as big as yours, but… its getting there. No new patterns, either, unless they are the 99 cent ones at Hobby Lobby.Matching dresses for my daughters and me in the spring (hopefully around Easter).Sew some custom doll clothes and sell them in my Etsy shop.Weed out 90% of my vintage pattern stash (most of them are the wrong size, or the wrong style, or both) and sell those on Etsy, too.Im with you on the PatternReview thing, too. I used to be really good about writing up my projects, but I havent done any reviews in at least 2 years. (And I actually know what Im *doing* now.)

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Joni January 4, 2010 at 6:06 am

P.S. New blog layouts are good… but please dont do the thing where all the previous posts are in little boxes at the bottom, so that you cant scroll through them sequentially. That is the Hot New Thing in blogging and it drives me bonkers.

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Lisette January 4, 2010 at 6:13 am

Good luck on the layout! Layouts drive me bonkers so I just go as simple as possible. My resolution is to sew 10 patterns from my stash. I seem to never sew from my fabric stash so I generally dont buy fabric without a project (a real one, not a future, imagined one!) And also to actually use my blog :p

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Nora January 4, 2010 at 7:16 am

Sadly, I dont have any good tips, but Ill love to see what other people say (and look forward to seeing the new blog layout – at first I was afraid that you were going to announce you were stopping Dress A Day!) Im resolved to do more sewing and to not buy any more patterns…at least not till Ive sewn more of the ones I have! Im about to move from a cramped apartment to a house *with a designated craft room* so Im really excited to set that up in a way that makes sense. I think I need to spend some time trawling flickr for good craftroom setups.

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smiffy January 4, 2010 at 7:19 am

I LOVE your resolutions. Im going to adopt them for me, especially the one about sewing three things from the stash for every one that needs new pattern/fabric.

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JustGail January 4, 2010 at 7:27 am

mine are – 1. get in the sewing room every day, even if only to spend a few minutes picking up or thinking.2. upgrade my interfacing supply and keep track of which one is which.3. stop beating myself up when things arent going right4. document the projects on the blog which I recently started.as far as stash – yours isnt so big. My view is – if youre comfortable with it and can find what you are looking for – its the right size for you. For some people, this means having only the fabric for the next project, for others, having enough to open a fabric store. Im not going to make a no new fabric statement, because a lot of what I have still makes me happy, and what doesnt make me happy is going to be used for muslins.Good luck on the new layout, Im still trying to figure out how to add the blogs I visit to mine!

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Lydia January 4, 2010 at 8:01 am

The 80% of your stash pictured there is about 20% the size of mine. Yet Im still considering buying some more wool because it is so blasted cold here (negative eight as I walked to work today–thats not including wind chill).As for zippers and notions buying, Ive had great luck purchasing lots of de-stash on etsy. Im not a huge stickler for my zippers exactly matching my fabrics, so I can almost always find something thats close enough to use. I like the idea of setting aside specific sewing time. I might try that!

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Packrat January 4, 2010 at 8:13 am

First, I have to say that you do not have enough fabric in your stash. Im not kidding. :) You need a few basic fabrics like black crepe (or whatever you would use for dress attire), lining fabrics, white blouse fabric, etc. to go along with the zippers, thread, bias tape (ever made your own?).Hint – when you buy fabric, buy enough to cover a wide range of uses. Also, buy the notions that you might need to go with the fabric. Store those in a zip lock bag with the fabric. (Read this in a book. Thank you to whoever came up with this idea.) It does cost a little more to buy the extra items, but having these things on hand saves so much time when you need to make something in a hurry.My goals are: to rewash (or dry clean) all the fabric in my stash and set up my sewing room. I have several sewing machines, so I would like them out where I can use them.Good luck with the new layout, but please not much clutter. Im in the dark ages so this blog suits me just fine.

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The Hillbilly Banjo Queen: January 4, 2010 at 9:21 am

Im going to avoid tripping up on my resolutions by just not making any at all that have a once-a-week, once-a-month feel to them. I am going to shoot for resolutions that dont have a specific ending date or that are more nebulous. For instance, I have resolved to sew more this year and I have even picked out how many things I would like to sew this year (8) but they will have an end goal of Jan 2011 instead of having a monthly deadline. I seem to sew like crazy in the summer and not as much in winter and this year I am going to try to be ok with that instead of worrying that I didnt sew anything last month at all. And who knows? Next year, I may avoid the hassle of resolutions altogether by not making any at all because it seems that I dont reap feelings of accomplishment, rather I seem to reap feelings of regret and guilt. Well see how this year goes.

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Renee January 4, 2010 at 9:55 am

I resolve to spend at least a bit of time each day sewing, planning, etc. And get some 40s 50s style dresses up in my etsy shop. Celebrate your stash!!The best thing about having a big stash is that I can often shop from there. Most of mine is in those lidded file boxes (which stack perfectly), and labeled as to the contents. No damage from light or dust, and when I pull the lid off there is always something that I forgot that I had. Estate sales are a great thing for picking up a bag of zippers and misc. notions, and sometimes vintage fabric, which I cant resist.

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Renee January 4, 2010 at 9:59 am

p.s. Also on my resolution list is to get involved in the Vintage Pattern Wiki and PR – thanks for the nudge!

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Jen January 4, 2010 at 10:17 am

My resolutions:The hardest (worst) is to make all those ALTERATIONS (which I notice that NONE of you have listed so far!)that are hanging on my to do rack.The easiest (most fun) is to GIVE AWAY a ton of stash — no joke on the scale of this project!

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Erin January 4, 2010 at 10:21 am

Ooh, good point about doing estate sales/eBay for notions. I do love metal zippers … And point noted about not improving the blog design to the point where its not readable. :-) I promise to keep it simple!

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lucitebox January 4, 2010 at 10:35 am

1) Get sewing machine fixed.2) plug in machine.3) learn to sew.

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Anonymous January 4, 2010 at 10:49 am

I resolve to:1) fix my sewing machine2) rebuild my fabric stash3) sew a dress a month Love your blog!!Amblin

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Sarah January 4, 2010 at 11:03 am

My sewing resolutions are:1. Make the June, June, and Junie wardrobes for myself and my daughter: http://www.rhinestonesandtelephones.com/2010/01/make-your-own-bias-tape.html2. Use stash fabrics first. After that, use vintage or thrifted ones.3. Set aside dedicated sewing time.4. Work this all in to my Thrifty365 Pledge: http://www.rhinestonesandtelephones.com/2009/12/thrifty-365.htmlLove your blog! :)

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When Ladies Dressed January 4, 2010 at 11:08 am

Erin, oh the irony of it… I have a skirt completely finished EXCEPT for the zipper, because I dont have the right one. But I degress… My sewing resolution for this year is to learn how to use my serger. Im shamefully admitting that Ive had a beautiful, Huskeylock 910 since JUNE (a b-day present) and have not yet taken the time to learn how to use it! Its sad, but true… also, Id like to encourage you to write up your reviews on PR! I love reading and writing reviews over there. What is your account name there? Happy sewing in 2010!

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beangirl January 4, 2010 at 11:09 am

uh….wha……eighty percent?…(wanders around in a daze muttering some more)eighty PERCENT??note to self: see therapist for out-of-control fabric hoarding issues.Oh, and Happy New Year!

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Jenny January 4, 2010 at 11:13 am

This year will be the Year of the Border Print Dresses for me, with a few experiments with stripes and directional prints as a pattern layout challenge bonus. I know this because I will be sewing from my stash all year. The only exception to my plan is a few attempts at sewing for children – a vintage coat and hat for Henry and some sugary sweet dresses for the baby girls in my life.Im currently hemming a Frank Lloyd Wright (Coonley Playhouse window design!) double border print dress that was a test dress for my Tetris Dress until I realized how supremely unattractive the dress is on me. Another pattern search, another muslin, and then the Tetris dress. Thats three border prints dresses on my list already!

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Erin January 4, 2010 at 11:17 am

beangirl, dont forget — I moved back in August and got rid of more than half my fabric before then!

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Katharine in Brussels January 4, 2010 at 11:41 am

Packrat, nice monniker! I think that advice is from one of the P/P books. But I just bag up fabric and notions for projects in progress or about to start, or else Id duplicate my thread stash even more than I already do since I sew within a palette. Everything kinda works with everything else and I find doubles of threads just by accident anyway, as I always buy thread when buying fabric. One PR member put her thread stash on her PDA, smart lass!

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Cel Petro January 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Happy New Year, Erin et al. Just so long as you keep blogging! NEED my dress a day fix My only hint for making sure to have all notions, etc. is to have a list or at least paper and pencil handy and write it down. Even if I dont have the list w/ me when I shop, having written it down I tend to remember…

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weezieduzzit January 4, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I added over 200 patterns to my personal stash in 2009 with the criteria being that it was something I really would make and wear and that it be my size- no patterns no matter how wonderful that I would have to resize. I think Ill have to make stricter rules and go through them again listing the ones I destash in my Etsy store. I also need to finish several items that only need a hem or buttons, etc. All small things that I do have the notions for. So… Ill make a rule for myself that all of those projects need to be finished up before starting new ones. Since I really only buy vintage fabric other than solid color cottons as needed to go with something I already have, I never limit my fabric consumption, I wouldnt be able to. Id be really sad if I had to pass up great vintage fabric that I might not find again.

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Cookie January 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm

That pic of Erins closet reminds me of a DOABLE resolution…I have to reorient my bedroom closet. The back of it is connected to a bookshelf in the livingroom, separated by plywood. (I think it was once an extra door, in 1921.) If I tear that out and make the shelves shallower and reassemble, I can get an extra pole in the bedroom closet and make that closet actually WORKABLE. Does anyone have an extra circular saw????

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Erin January 4, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Cookie — is there a tool library near you? You might be able to borrow one!

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Lynn January 4, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Wow – and Ive been reading you for a few years, too – so Ima True Bleader for what – maybe a decade in Blog years? Your Tercel analogy was so funny – I *had* a 1996 Toyota Tercel because I always wanted a RAV4 but thought I couldnt afford one. So I bought a used RAV4 anyway just over 2 years ago that is in great shape and am very very happy with it. So happy that if I am visited upon by the Prize Patrol, I will keep my RAV4 and not get a new crossover. My point? Just do what you always wanted to do and it will be perfect. We bleaders trust your good sense and taste!

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Millie January 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Yours are almost the same as mine! And I dont drink or care about college football either! Im setting aside time weekly to sew, full stop, and Im putting a priority of finishing things Ive started or have fabric for. Your idea about keeping things like zippers and thread on hand is well taken — I used to always get thread whenever I bought material, but once I got a good range of thread colours, I sort of stopped, and now I find myself often running out in the middle of a project. I have no idea how Im going to stick to this other than realizing that this is important to you, so I need to be organized and do it, but I might need to adapt it along the way.Also, er, Ive been reading your blog for years (its fabulous!), and I think this is my first comment. Hi!

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emmy jay January 4, 2010 at 3:45 pm

My stash is larger than yours by geometric degrees. I feel terribly guilty and have(once again) resolved to pare it down, and to do that I will need to regularly spend more time in the sewing studio. Ive been too much of a binge sewer lately, and that just isnt working out well.

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ellen January 4, 2010 at 3:51 pm

This year, I will finish one project before starting the next….and will just start instead of letting them pile up…..

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Susan January 4, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Finish the dress for my granddaughter that is made from the same pattern her mommy loved as a little girl. Make the Vogue jacket I have everything for (thread, interfacing, snaps, etc.) I have no excuses.Post a few gorgeous patterns on Vintage Sewing Patterns.

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Diane January 4, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Im a fabric whore-der too. I think I have reached fabric saturation for now. My goal is to not buy any new fabric unless it is something that has been on my list for a long time.And to sew faster.

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Stephanie January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm

This is the year where I will not be a Quitter – when the going gets tough, I will NOT just throw the whole mess away in a temper tantrum!

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Kelli January 4, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Im afraid I have more fabric than that, and I live in an RV! Youre not doing too bad. :)My 2 main resolutions this year (other than the ol standbys of gaining money and losing weight – almost typed that backward, which is what I did all 2009!) are:1. Learn 1 new crafting technique per month. I want to improve my applique skills, fair isle knitting, free form crochet, embroidery, etc. I like giving myself a month to try something new, and itll also help me get through quite a bit of my fabric and yarn stash.2. Stop the ENVY. I have such a bad habit of looking at other peoples blogs and comparing myself to them and feeling like a big fat failure because so-and-so is a professional knitwear designer, but then theres so-and-so whos a dress designer, and why havent I gotten all that done yet too!?!? Which is just sick and masochistic. So Im stopping. :)Oh, and one of my other resolutions is to dress more in my own style. As you can imagine, I dont have a ton of closet space, and Im a freelance writer and designer, so I tend to spend the day in my pjs. Not good. I love being stylish, and even if I go to the grocery store, or just to look nice for my beau when he gets home from work, its nice to be fabulous. And it doesnt take all that much effort, especially with some of the gorgeous dresses you feature on here!Thanks for the blog – its one of the only ones I check anymore. :)

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WeirdRockStar January 5, 2010 at 8:42 am

I intend to clear out my walk- in closet and transfer that onto a sewing nook.Ill take some space for my Babylock and another for sewing machine.Ill fit my dressform and two large dressing mirrors there.And all of my sewing gear.Ive already thrown out 10 trashsacks ( each eat up 240 litres ), that equals 2400 litres of old junk out the door. Many bags of which were full of fabric. Old fabrics that have not been sewn for over a decade and a half.Ive also ransacked my half- dones.I still have work to do there, in the closet but I`m beginning to see the light and the floor. The entire closet needs to be repainted in crisp white, too.I will need inspirational pictures of Edith Head and Coco Chanel on some pretty frames. I`m going to need to find some Rafaeli Angels on the ceiling.The thing is, Im a tained dressmaker, I have tailoring skillz to drive one crazy. Im making all of my own clothes, and many of my sons.But somehow Ive fallen on this swamp of devoted motherhood that everything else comes first, and then I`ll sew if I have time.Well, ladies. No mo.I`ll make myself important too.

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Kristen January 5, 2010 at 9:52 am

Not to start anything new until Ive finished all the projects that are half done! Yikes! I also need to learn how to use my serger. I can do the basic stitch, but I know there are more cool things this baby can do…

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Anonymous January 5, 2010 at 10:05 am

My big goal is to make more for myself. For years I have been sewing for other people and would really like something nice for myself. I have a lovely pattern or two that would be good to explore. Also if you have a desire to sew from your stash make something for giving away, anonymously, it is a good feeling

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Chantelle January 5, 2010 at 4:13 pm

I need Beangirls therapist, too… thats 80% of your stash? I have way more than that and more on the way. So no more fabric shopping for me, unless Im shopping for a particular project and I really dont have the right fabric.Im also vowing to work on creating thing – whether by sewing, knitting, or making jewelry – at least three days out of every week.

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Sarah January 6, 2010 at 7:22 am

yeah, your stash is tiny! :D I have discovered a great local group to donate fabric to, its called The Bag Project. Groups of sewists get together to make fabric shopping bags for some of the locally owned stores, which have discontinued disposable bags. I have given them a few garbage-bag-fuls of fabrics that I know Ill never use. If you arent in western Mass, start a bag project where you live!

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Allison January 6, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I resolve again this year to work mostly from the stash. Its amazing how much I have in there (**and** I moved just over a year ago … yikes!). Ive been sewing from the stash for a while now: managed to make all the handmade Christmas presents from stash! Very satisfying.

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Anonymous January 6, 2010 at 9:38 pm

I resolve to actually sew something this year and that doesnt include the mending I have to catch up on! I have been coveting and lurking on other peoples blogs too too much for the past 3? 4? years. Ugh!JenL

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Nancy January 8, 2010 at 1:56 pm

My sewing goals (I dont DO resolutions; somehow I always feel like Im setting myself up for failure) for 2010:1)Sew from stash! NO fabric buying this year, since I reached fabric SABLE a while ago. This may seem harsh, but I set the same goal for my knitting crocheting last year, and didnt purchase a single skein of yarn for myself all year.2)Learn to use my serger; Im glad Im not the only one needing to do this.3)Make at least two articles of clothing for ME. (Starting slowly here!)4)Get my sewing room moved downstairs and set up the way I want it, so I can actual accomplish 2) and 3).

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Steph January 8, 2010 at 4:40 pm

You ladies are so inspiring!Lets see… I work in a fabric store, so last years resolution was not to buy fabric without having something of a plan for it- whether an idea, an event, or a pattern. That was hard to stick to at times, but I can say I only bought fabric just to possess it once last year. I do stash, but each piece has at least one possibility attached to it and I work through my fabrics fairly quickly. Works for me.This year-1) Sew more for husband. He is a field ecologist. He needs a new field bag, he could do with some linen field shirts and it wouldnt kill me to make him some cargo pants, again for field work. He likes that I sew for him. 2) Take a tailoring class. I dove into tailoring last year with novice results, Im dying to get some good instruction. Ill make another jacket for me, but my end goal is to make a beautiful, well-fitted jacket for husband. He has a hard time finding good jackets because he is slim and the masculine equivalent of petite.3) Get serious about the book. Research sustainable fibres, shop around for the publisher. Make it happen, girl.4) A dress a month. I see someone else has the same resolution. Im covered for Jan, I made a little black dress. Fully lined, fitted to a T and piped all to hell in one day. I wont be doing THAT again soon. I think one a month is reasonable, I must make myself tackle those gorgeous dress patterns that Ive been too scared of ruining before. Pish posh.

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Steph January 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Also-5) I will make at least 3 quilts this year. Last year I made 2, the year before, 1. 3 seems reasonable.

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llama,llama not yo mama January 9, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Thats 80% of your stash? OH my… I feel awful now. Ive got probably 4 or 5 times that. And I seriously need to sew it up, too. I like your idea about sewing 3 from the stash for every 1 new.

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moom January 11, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Actually get up and knit the patterns Ive been looking at and thinking of. Im in progress with a waistcoat already (my first actual adult-sized garment), but Ive got wool and patterns for a stole and tam o shanter and have a couple of patterns Im dying to knit.Well instead of looking at patterns wistfully and wishing I could knit them Im going to jolly well have a go at knitting them. Sure it broke my heart to rip back an over half-finished garment, but it taught me a lot and has shown me that even if I dont know enough to do that pattern I do know more than Id thought.Oh and teach myself the ukulele.

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Kristina January 11, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Thanks for your wonderful blog; I enjoy it very much. My plan for 2010 is to continue my strict practice of finishing all mending repair before starting any new garment, the only way I have found to get husbands shirts buttonable etc. And to use my stash first, to try to get it to fit into my new sewing room, instead of creating the Plastic Tub Maze from Hell and a room I could hardly turn around in, which is what I had before. I am going to try to do what a friend suggested, a very talented and accomplished coutouriere (which I aspire to be but havent got there yet): purge your stash to get rid of the stuff you really, really, wont use like the old sheets you got at a yard sale to make muslins with. This, she said, makes room for the new, for the better quality you are now capable of doing. Also removes the excuse, oh well, crappy fabric didnt deserve best effort so never mind if it doesnt work… Good fabric, good results, extra effort pays off. Thats the goal, anyway. I took many big sacks of large remnants to a senior citizens group that uses them for crazy quilts, small projects and special orders. The tub maze was really awful, a nightmare to run from.

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Eirlys January 13, 2010 at 7:44 am

Happy new year, Erin and my fellow sewsters! I plan to evict more dolls from dolls houses so I can stash more fabric thus: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scrapiana/4037954382/Oh Cookie! I have a spare circular saw, but its UK voltage! So near and yet so far.

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MinaW January 18, 2010 at 3:01 pm

1 I was buying batik fabric even during the years I wasnt sewing; sew some stuff from it. One a month is a reasonable goal. Lined-reversible please. 2 I now have one pattern reasonably well fit-tested–adjusted (princess), start working on the next style (empire). And make a dress from the tested-on-tops pattern.3 Now that I know Im staying here a while, instead of thinking I might have to move at a months notice, rearrange stash. The cardboard boxes, open-fronted on open shelves, are good for seeing being inspired ( ready-to-move), not so good for the fabric.4 Complete reorganization of stash by size, (long dress-length, long skirt-length, long sleeve top or jacket, short-sleeve top, 1 yd trim etc.) keeping the project items together, (trim, lined-reversible pairs). Maybe a box of looking-for-a-mate fabrics. This is working well for me.5 Make a couple of engineered fabrics for dresses at Spoonflower http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/mina Bordered fabrics, and bordered-for-flared-skirts. Plus a few more self-bordering designs.6 Get a few of my Spoonflower fabrics and make something from them!7 Keep up better with blog. Yes, life happens, but still… And with making new Spoonflower Cafepress designs.

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