Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I WANT to Make This; I SHOULD Make That #1

1940s Du Barry Dress Showdown Enevelope Illustration with my croquis

I WANT to make this 1940s Du Barry silk dress (far left); I SHOULD make more pants. (And panties, too).

After a Mad Men muslin marathon last night (comments still excessively appreciated!), I'm taking the night off to...

  1. Unwind on the couch and finish knitting my Toddler Tomten jacket. (Just two more rows to go!... plus the sewing up. And the blocking. And the zipper insertion. Right.)
  2. Fantasize about all the lovely (but much quicker and simpler) things I will allow myself to make once my Joan dress is done...

Peter at Male Pattern Boldness recently brought up the issue of practical versus "fantasy" sewing--and how apt that he chose panties as the ultimate in practical sewing!

Because if I was really sewing what I need, that's what I'd be making. Seriously. Why is it completely impossible to purchase high-waisted cute and colorful cotton-spandex blend panties (except on Etsy, of course)?! I self-drafted (er, copied from RTW with SERIOUS tweaks) some a few years ago...

7. Altered pattern--less curving on back area + picot elastic legbands

...and sewed three pairs in fun stripes and colors, like this:

8. Final near-perfect panties with picot elastic-front

They are still my favorites today, and they're barely loose (which is weird, since I was, like 55 pounds heavier when I made them). And at least they cover my belly, unlike EVERY single pair of RTW panties in any even reasonably fun colorway.

But anyway (I am obviously completely incapable of pithy fun blog posts with lots of pictures and few words, sorry!). The point is:

I WANT to sew a Bombshell dress

(Yes, I enrolled. Have not sewed a stitch, but the videos are AWESOME). ...in this wax-print cotton fabric from the stash:

African print cotton: Orange and blue leaves and vines.

I SHOULD make some basic knit T-shirts

... like these ones I made while pregnant:

Jalie 2005 Polka Dot Maternity Mods!

I WANT to make my graffiti-print Colette Pastille or Macaron sheath dress:

Sheath Dress Showdown Sketch

I SHOULD make more wide-legged pants

maybe Simplicity 3688 in this linen blend, with sailor buttons... I know I'd wear them constantly, and I can use the ones I made recently for fitting help...

Simplicity 3688

Nubbly turquoise mystery fabric

I WANT to make a floaty bias-cut retro-inspired polkadot dress

Maybe Burda 7951:

Burda 7951

Brown and cream polka dot poly georgette

I SHOULD make nursing bras for sleep/lounging

... like this Ezi-Sew 110 one (from ELingeriA) languishing in the stash (1 cup size too big, but close enough for sleeping):

Ezi Sew 110

I WANT to make the Starlet Suit Jacket

... (er, yes. I enrolled. again. I do NOT wear suits ever)...

I SHOULD make a cute nightgown

Mine is holey, pilly and wretched...

I SHOULD make a sunhat

My head is so big I can't buy them RTW, and I am SO very pale... how about one of these Vogues?

I SHOULD recover my hideous sofa...

I even bought the fabric weeks ago--if Fabric.com ever decides to actually ship it to me...

I SHOULD sew myself a colorful canvas handbag...

I SHOULD get to that pile of mending I need to do ... and the refashion pile... and the UFO pile...

And this could go on. For decades. As evidenced by a screen shot of my Google Docs project queue:

And by my over-enthusiastic pinning of patterns, vintage inspiration and favorite projects by sewing bloggers who do a whole lot more actual sewing.

But you know what? I'm just going to take a deep breath and take things one project (or two, or three) at a time. And whatever I make... I'm pretty sure it'll turn out just fine and I'll love it just plenty.

Especially if it has stripes or polka dots on it.

So tell me--how do you balance sewing wants and sewing needs?


  1. I am so with you. Tons I should be sewing ( new sofa cover is on my list too) but I'd rather work on fun things. Cute dresses etc. at least we have Spring and Summer as an excuse. Cute dresses are very essential.
    I love your panties by the way. (Wouldn't the last sentence be totally weird if it wasn't posted here on this blog post ;-D

  2. Heheh. Great post. And I love your clever graphics.. :)

    When I was a teenager, I had a job pulling coffee at a popular coffee shop.. I'd get so upset on Saturday mornings, the place would be packed with people in need of a caffeine fix, they were usually rude once they got to the counter, and I'd try to make three orders and once and mess them all up...

    My boss said to me- "Don't look at the line. Take a breath, make the first drink. Then take another breath, and make the next one. Only look at what's in front of you, keep moving, and you'll get there in the end." Stuck with me, it applies to so many other things...

  3. ooo, 'want' versus 'need' (or 'should'). I actually need a nice coat that I can wear in the spring up through about early June and then again in late September-end of October. But I want to make summer dresses, so I've paired them into an outfit so that I get both. I already got the lightweight cream/brown/teal houndstooth wool and I'm working on the muslin for the dress (because I've got brown AND teal in the stash), so I feel I'm sort of working toward both. And if I don't get to the coat until later in the summer, that is ok also.

  4. Ack, "should." Such a guilt inducing word. I've been trying to replace that word with "will" as my ideas can get too big too and I end up drowning in my own productivity or what I feel like I should (again) be making. I caved the other day and just bought a few camis at Forever 21 because they're super cheap and sewing them would have cost me a lot more and sewing them would have been a boring couple of days. Sewing is my creative time--it's a hobby (a passionate, time consuming one albeit), and if it's not fun, I don't want to do it. There will always be more fabric, more patterns, and more designs than anybody can possibly get through in her lifetime. I say keep on dreaming, and piece by piece some of those dreams will materialize. And if very few of them do, your dreaming still inspires others to dream, and brainstorming is vital to our creative processes.

    1. You are so right--"should" is such an awful word... I really SHOULD NOT use it. :) Maybe "would be nice to" is a better, less guilt-inducing substitute?

  5. I wish I could say I alternate, but really I go in spurts. I'll do a bunch of practical things, then a bunch of totally impractical fun things. It helps though that my creative project list is a little bit more in line with my available time now than it was a year or two ago.

  6. I just sew whatever I feel in the mood to work on that day (or what I have queued up to wear in the near future). I don't like sewing super practical things - like panties, or plain tshirts - just because I feel like it's so wasteful of my precious sewing time. Although it can be nice to have a few easy/quick projects on hand when you have an hour or so & want to make something with instant gratification... which for me, would be panties & plain tshirts :)

    But overall, I sew what I'm in the mood to sew. If I'm not feeling it, it'll either never get finished or I'll just do a shit job on it.

  7. I get this completely. I'm finding my want to sew is dwindling a little at the moment! Losing weight means I feel that in a few months I won't be able to wear it anyway. Maybe I should set my tailors dummy at a target size and make clothes for that? I should do lots of things but I'm trying not to put too much pressure on it just at the moment! x

  8. I totally understand! I'm sewing my wedding dress right now, and even though I know I'm going to love it in the end, it's sooo boring to me right now because I can't wear it for another couple months. I usually have one big project going and when I get tired of it I take a break and sew a more simple project (but I have to make sure I actually finish the simple project or else it will turn into a never ending cycle).

  9. I am bad about having a set of projects lined up, then new patterns come out. Then all my plans go wonky. I am a bit impulsive like that. Any chance you would do a tutorial on how you made your panties? They are super cute and I have no idea how to make underoos. That will help keep you from sewing too! :-)

  10. I'm the exact way myself, and I have no words of wisdom. I just wanted to comment though on your illustrations on the vintage patterns - how very awesome! Would you ever do it for someone else? I'm thinking it would be a great gift for a sewist to get a custom-illustrated vintage pattern envelope...

    1. I would actually LOVE to do this... if I had time. I do promise I have a very cool illustration project along these lines in the works, to be revealed in May!

  11. i love this post. your chart is basically the exact reason i had to stop keeping a project to-do list and just keep enough of a moodboard to remember what i was thinking about :-)

    whatever you decide to work on next, i look forward to your sharing it with us. even if it is panties. :-)

  12. Hi, I wanted to comment on your last post about when your fun hobby isn't so fun-- please don't sweat it and don't compare your productivity to other sewing bloggers! Truly, I was worthless until my daughter was three or so. I sewed napkins and other small things I could handle, never clothes for myself. Which is okay since my body changed so much and none of it would fit now anyways. I also had a long list of projects and beat myself up about not accomplishing anything. Don't do it! Just enjoy where you are, and sew what you feel like. Less can be more. End of sermon.

  13. I alternate between my Want and Need lists. It's not a one for one, though, it's more a feel of having sewed enough from one list to warrant doing something from the other list. Sometimes though, stuff on the Need list moves to the I Should Just Buy It list. and I'm OK with that.

  14. I alternate between long, involved projects and quick and easy. I think that keeps me motivated. I try not to sew too many "practical" things because I get bored quick. Sew the fun stuff. Life's too short. :)

  15. Hmm. A co-worker once told me that the only things you *should* do are breathe and eat. Everything else is optional. Not that I have any luck remembering that... it is such an awful word, isn't it?

    I know how you feel. And I *shouldn't* be doing any sewing right now---too much else going on---but I'm trying to justify it as the only thing keeping me sane right now.

  16. LOL. I'm probably not going to be any help, as I WANT to look into getting the fabric I'd need for those lovely Vogue hats you linked to... but I SHOULD finally get around to hemming the pajama pants I started last fall. ::cough::

  17. Oh man, I feel this. I've taken a new (temporary) job at work that has cut waaaaayyy down on my sewing time. I am always thinking five projects ahead anyway so by the time I get to the next project I'm bored with it because I've already sewn it in my mind. Luckily, my wardrobe is so big from past sewing that I've have few "needs" (although I would like a pair of pants someday, just one).


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