Gift Ideas For The Sewist That Has Everything

The first thing you need to do is get it out of your head that your friend has everything. She most definitely does not. There are basic tools that everyone needs to get started sewing (I shared some here), but there is a whole world of notions beyond that, specially designed to make all the tricky little techniques of sewing easier. And don't forget a lot of the basics need constant replacing. Take it from someone who has collected many tools over the years, sometimes in doubles and triples, here are some things I would love to find in my Christmas stocking this year.

Fall/Winter Sewing Plans

Considering I just came in from shoveling snow, I think it's time to bring this blog into the present and discuss fall/winter sewing. Well, just winter at this point, I suppose. If you haven't noticed, I'm pretty passionate about sewing clothing this year and with that comes an equally as passionate search for patterns and apparel fabric. It can get rather overwhelming (and expensive) and I've realized that a little planning can go a long way towards maintaining some peace of mind and getting shit done!

Choosing what I want to sew is a pretty organic process. I keep ongoing lists and Pinterest boards of styles and patterns I like. The mood board above is an example of things I've been pinning lately. At the beginning of each season, I mentally take note of what is missing from my wardrobe, return to my lists, and start to make connections between wants and needs, patterns and fabrics. At that point, I usually assess my stash and see what I can use that I already own before heading to the fabric store. However, it is usually a trip to the fabric store that really gets my sewing mojo going. I love me some freshly cut fabric, especially if you know exactly what you are going to make with it. So exciting!

Once I've gathered all my materials and pre-washed all my fabric, it's time to prioritize. I have two long Ikea shelves in my sewing room and I lay my fabric out on top of those in piles according to garment and put either the pattern or a little index card with a pattern idea on top. I love seeing everything laid out in front of me. It gives me such a clear picture of what I want to make and whether it's a realistic goal. If I can't fit any more piles on the shelves, for example, it's pretty obvious that I'm trying to sew too much.

My method is nowhere near as intricate as Anna's spreadsheets. I hesitate to even call it a method, it's so basic, but it's been working for me so far. It helps me to sew pieces that I actually need and will wear, to rein in my spending on both fabric and patterns, and to physically see my timeline and progress.

Anyway, would you like to see what my sewing piles look like at the moment? 

Megan Nielsen Dove

While I was gallivanting around Spain, some people were being productive, like Megan Nielsen who released another pattern, the Dove blouse. I had the privilege of pattern testing it in June and I'm so happy to finally get the chance to tell you about it, because I like it and because I have a lot to say. I hope you're ready.

Summer Makes

I know its weird to be reading about summer fashion in December, but bear with me OK? I had a productive sewing summer and it must be shared!

There seems to be a phenomenon among garment sewers, where an upcoming trip inspires us into a kind of sewing fever: everything we've been wearing all season simply will not do and an entirely new wardrobe must be made. Stat! It's weird, but we all seem to do it. 

Case in point: I made these five garments in the month before I left and I was halfway through a sixth when I came to my senses and decided there were more important things to attend to before leaving home for a month than making another sundress.

On the upside, a large portion of the clothes in my luggage were handmade. I want to say 80%? I'm so proud of that, I'm tempted to repack just so I can count. I had big dreams of photographing them in various beautiful locales throughout my trip, but obviously this didn't happen. I quickly fell into vacation mode and I forgot that I even had a blog. Haha! So these photos were all taken post-trip. At least you can see that they all held up to a month of backpack travelling really well!

My Month in France and Spain

As some of you may know, at the end of August, I left on a month-long trip to France and Spain. Paris and Bordeaux for 10 days, and 3 weeks through Spain (San Sebastian, Laguardia, Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Granada, and Barcelona). And it was just as beautiful and delicious and inspiring as you would imagine a month-long trip to France and Spain would be.  

Before I left on this trip, I remember my mom asking why we chose the cities we did.  What are they famous for? What were we going to see, exactly? Besides the Alhambra, I didn't have anything to tell her. 

We were going to eat and drink, sit and relax, walk and explore, then stop to sit and eat and drink some more. We've done the whirlwind tourist thing before, rushing from one site to the next just to snap a photo and say you were there. I'm not knocking those kinds of trips. We had a blast on those trips. But there's a time and place for them. We wanted this trip to be different and we designed it that way, with more room for cafĂ© lounging, afternoon siestas and evening wandering. It was exactly that. And it was the most happy and relaxed trip we've ever shared together. 

Anyway, as you can guess from this already-too-long introduction, summing up a month-long vacation is tough and my procrastination game is fierce. I could easily write a separate post for each city. So, in an effort to keep this to one post and to get it bloody well done already, I've decided to just focus on a few of the things that really stood out and made an impression on me during the trip. As you might expect, these could be boiled down to the food, the wine, and the architecture. These also happen to be the same reasons that drew me there in the first place... or travel anywhere, for that matter. Haha!