At the beginning of this year, I made a pledge to not buy any new clothes in 2016. I told a few nearest and dearest (my ‘sponsors’ if you will) but for the most part I’ve kept the decision on the down low. Honestly, I wasn’t actually even sure I could do it, but so far so good. Just to be clear, fabric and shoes aren’t part of this ‘no buy’ pledge so things could be a lot tougher and tighter, but it still represents a pretty big shift for me and my shopping habits.
There are a bunch of reasons why I decided to set this personal goal and I think that, as a sewer, they’re all pretty obvious ones. Reduce the stash, reduce the waste, save money and see how it affects my sewing habits. I sew a lot and I’m lucky enough to do it for both work and pleasure. But (like my shopping habits) I’m often spontaneous and end up making (also buying) things because I want rather than need them. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t actually think this is a bad thing because some of my most favourite makes have resulted from this impulse and I bloody LOVE that about sewing. As I once said here
, I love the idea of trying something that may or may not work and learning a few new skills along the way. But I was definitely curious to see if making this choice would change both the way I sew and what I sew. Well, short answer is that it has and hasn’t. The warmer months were always going to be a piece of cake. Like the dressing part, I find summer sewing infinitely easier and my wardrobe very much reflects that. I knew the challenge would come in the cooler months and that’s where I found myself right now. I rarely plan my sewing but I’ve been going through my patterns, Pinterest, Instagram, magazines and everything, taking stock of what I have and what I think I need. Last winter, I think I wore jeans pretty much every day in work and play. I had no winter dresses, no winter skirts, and by August I was muttering under my breath to those jeans like they were the annoying friend I didn’t want to be friends with any more.
So my very first winter make (well, actually second
) were these black Anita Ponti Pants
. Forgive the crappy, blue-tinged iPhone pic. These were tricky to photograph not least because I was photographing them on myself. Like these two
, I made them more leggings than pants and just basically fitted the hell out of them. The fabric – our Nero Coated Ponti
– has a subtle sheen that gives it a neoprene/wet look without the bulk and because I wanted them to bunch around my ankles, I added 20cm to the length.
And so onto Grainline’s Driftless Cardigan. I looooved this pattern from the get go. I am a HUGE fan of the cardy and all its layering virtues so after stalking all the other ace Driftless’, I set my fabric finding goals on a beefy knit, something with both texture and body. The fabric I eventually chose is actually the wrong side of Secrets of Charcoal Lace (also available in Ivory) – so we’re calling it double sided! It’s a bonded grey knit with cotton/wool/nylon and acrylic lace.
Because it’s bonded with the lace, there’s actually very little give or stretch so I wasn’t sure it would actually work. But hey (and yay!) it did! I went with the smallest size which gives nicely fitted arms and instead of slipstitching the front band closed, I just went with the lazy option of overlocking. The only other change I made was to shorten the sleeve length by an inch. I went with view A, sans buttons. I may or may not add some down the track, so I ironed on some lightweight fusing on the lower button band in case I change my mind down the track.
From a review point, I can tell you that this is a pretty fantastic pattern. Not only does it look great but it comes together quickly and the instructions are true to Grainline’s form – clear and easy to follow. I will also tell you to try really hard to avoid making mistakes with a knit because unpicking a fabric like this takes ALL the patience and uses ALL the swear words.
I’m wearing my new Driftless with (yet) another Mandy Boat Tee
. My kid stole this one
, so it’s pretty much exactly the same but longer in both body and sleeves.