sewing challenges 2014

So, although I haven’t done much actual blogging over the last month, I have been thinking a lot about posts I could be making. Uppermost in my mind is setting myself a series of sewing challenges that I could tackle over the course of the year.

This is going to be a fairly hectic year for me – I’ll be moving house in a couple of months, having recently relocated back to beautiful Sydney; I’m amping up my karate training with an eye on the world championships next year, and I’ve also taken on a teaching role in karate;  plus I’m trying to continue some of my studies in nutrition, not to mention all the Craftsy classes I have signed up for but not finished!

And now I want to squeeze some sewing challenges in there as well? Lord have mercy!

These challenges are not going to be time-oriented. What I mean by that is, it’s not going to be challenge-a-month for me. I’ve got a list, but it’s not in any particular order – I can tackle whichever takes my fancy at any time, and even be working on more than one project at a time (well, I pretty much always do that anyway!) – oh, and I can do as many of each as I want! My restrictions are that I have to follow the rules within each challenge, and that I MUST use up my stash – the only new materials I’m allowed to purchase are basic haberdashery (thread, machine needles) and specialty items (like corset busks). If I don’t have it in my stash, it has to come from the opshop. I’ve become quite passionate about not buying new – every small effort counts when it comes to saving the environment.

My missions, should I choose to accept them:

Minimal Deconstruction: This one is a refashion challenge. A lot of my refashions consist of completely deconstructing a garment and using the fabric to make another garment. However, I’ve seen lots of refashions that really utilise the original features of an upcycled item of clothing, in a completely out-of-the-box kind of way, and I want to see what I can come up with. These are some inspirations:

Reconstruction Inspiration

Okay, so I’m leaning towards refashioning suit trousers.

From-Scratch Stashbuster Challenge: This is one where I’m not allowed to refashion! Don’t laugh. The fact is, I’ve got an oodleplex of fabric in my stash, and a bunch of patterns that have not been used. I have fabric and patterns I bought with certain purpose, purchased so long ago I can no longer recall what pattern went with which fabric. So I have to use ‘new’ uncut fabric and an unused pattern from my stash. Although, I’m allowed to use notions, like buttons and zips, that I have salvaged from other refashions or thrifted items.

The Vintage Pattern Challenge: I also have quite a few vintage and retro patterns that I have collected over the years. You can see most of them here.  So the challenge is to use one of them. Not a particularly difficult challenge, in itself, but it’s one of those ‘get around to it’ kind of things that I haven’t gotten around to. Vogue 1664  I’ve been dying to try, and of course I have a stack of vintage Burda pattern magazines that I absolutely adore. I’d also love to be able to finish this challenge on my vintage sewing machine.

Vogue 1664

CopyCat Challenge: I’ve developed a real thing for copycat refashions lately! Whilst I don’t exactly follow red carpet fashion, I often see things in shops or on Pinterest that I like and want to remake. I don’t think I’m in the same league as the amazingly talented Sally from CharityShopChic, who is a whiz at drafting her own patterns, but I’ve got a couple of projects in mind that would require a fair amount of refashion surgery to achieve. Speaking of pattern drafting…

Pattern Drafting Challenge! This one is exactly that: coming up with a design, drafting a pattern from scratch, making a toile, making adjustments and having a good finish on both the inside and outside of the garment. I’ll be following either ‘Fast-Track Fitting‘ or ‘The Couture Dress‘ on Craftsy for this one.

Made to Measure Challenge: Ever since I did a short pattern drafting course last year, I’ve had a hankering to do some pattern manipulation – moving darts etc. The most pattern manipulation I’ve done consists of enlarging the waist on a pants pattern. Boring! To make this challenge a bit more, er, challenging, I have to make it for someone else rather than myself. I have some measurements for a few of my friends who will be my guinea pigs. I’m allowed to start with a commercial pattern for this challenge.

Waste Not, Want Not Challenge: This challenge is twofold. The first part is about stashbusting –  I need to go hardcore on my stash and be realistic about UFO’s I’m never going to finish, the fabric I’m never going to use, and the patterns I’m never going to – no, wait, scratch that, the patterns stay. The second part of this challenge is to finish at least three UFO’s. 

Wow! Is that enough challenges?? That’s seven; I was trying to come up with eight. It would be great to have a reader challenge, so if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear from you!

These challenges are sort of like a sewist’s new year resolutions. What are your resolutions as a sewist/refashioner for 2014?