Among coming up to the end of 1 year of t-shirt sewing, working to get back my body post-baby, and Peter’s good thoughts on sewing with a plan, I’m thinking it’s time for me to really evaluate what I need to do and go from there.

Things to consider before I make a plan:

1.  Only use fabrics I love in the light, slightly warm/slightly cool colors that work for me.  I haven’t mentioned that I got my colors done yet (yay!).  The greens and purples were surprising to me, but I’m not at all shocked to see zero blacks and grays and deeply intense colors.  I’m a pale lady.   I reckon that this is a long-term goal that can’t be addressed fully in a SWAP.  It’s something I will just have to practice a lot for a long time.

sewing with a plan

Denim is going to be rough on me.  Fashion types be danged–dark denim swallows me alive not unlike black and visually shortens me since I can’t wear dark colors on top–so wearing a top with jeans will always yield a choppy break on me unless the value contrast between jeans and top is low.  I’m going to have to snoop shop so I can get a mental picture before actually shopping for light blue denim yardage.

2.  I’m sticking with good quality fabrics.  I’ve not been happy with the way that cheap rayon knits have aged in my closet.  And I’m done with sheer knits unless I find myself in a position where I can line them.  Yes, polyester comes in so many amazing prints, but it feels gross and traps body heat and odors (eww).  So natural fibers and better quality fabrics whenever I can get my hands on them.  There might be more outlay for them up front, but the # of wears over the life of the garment will probably be ultimately higher.  And if I’m spending my own time making clothes, I want them to last.

3.  Think hard about my lifestyle and the garments that will work with that.  Yes, I have 3 boys, but I’m girly.  I’m not an athletic pants + jacket kind of Mom, nor have I ever been that.  I’m the type that feels unclothed without a necklace.  I can run after them in dresses, but they need to be washable and not too fussy.  There may come a time when I can own several pairs of wool trousers (oh my cold winter self looks forward to that) and silk tops, but now is not the time.  Dry-clean only doesn’t work for me.  So girly and practical are my keywords.

4.  Make space for others.  The boys really love when I sew for them.  Noah walks into the room and says things like, “I would like you to make me a rocket.” I love that I can do that.  It’s a good mental break to do something for them and it’s good for my heart.  I can’t sew for them all the time, but a modest goal will help me have more energy for my own projects.  It’s a sewing Sabbath of sorts–a built-in rest period in my work that will fuel me for the rest of my work.

sewing with a plan
zipper tails!

As for garments, I have a lot to think about before I draft up a plan.  The more you plan, I think the better you get at it.  What about everyone else?  Have you done a SWAP or a SISC (self-imposed sewing club)?  Have you found it to be helpful?  Do you start with fabric, patterns, or thinking more philosophically first?

Elizabeth Made This

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.

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  1. I have participated in a formal SWAP and am working on this years version. I had my colours does a long time ago (reviewed last year and still good) so 99% of the fabric in my stash co-ordinates with each other however when I plan 11 pieces, I tend to start with the type of garment, check the pattern and then the fabric and hope it all works.

    • You always do seem to pick fabrics that compliment your coloring so well. 11…that seems like a really good number.

  2. Oh goodness, that rocket is too cute! The zipper tails were such a clever idea.

    I am working on buying only quality fabrics as well. I made my last order to about a year ago and swore “never again” because 80% of was total garbage. I was hoping this would slow down my fabric buying but…

    • Oh how that $35 free shipping gets me every time…but yes, I haven’t bought anything from them either in about a year because the last box was horrid…most I bought for the kids, and it was so sheer I think I’ll have to repurpose it for lining.  


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