Sunday, 5 January 2014

New year, new Dixie Lou?

Well, maybe not a completely new Dixie Lou, but I am hopeful I can make some more positive changes in 2014. However, more of that later.

Firstly, Happy New Year everyone! As some of you know, I went away for Christmas to Canada and Arizona for New Year's. Despite missing my family lots and lots, I had a wonderful time away. I met up with my Toronto Spoolettes Gillian, Catja, Sara and Andrea who all came to meet me for drinks and a cheeky tequila. We had such a laugh and I can't wait to see them again in the summer. Here's a few photos of us up to no good:

Toronto Spoolettes and me with a drink in my hand as usual

Catja and Gillian

Me, Sara and Andrea

Love this pic. Catja's food came with three VERY generous
helpings of salt, which we mistook for coconut

So what's new for 2014?

During my trip away and my sofa-bound days recovering from jet lag, I have thought a lot about the new year and what I want it to bring me. Sewing wise, I have read some inspiring blog posts, such as Rochelle's, about refining sewing output to fewer, yet better constructed & fitted garments that will be worn more frequently. I really like this approach and it's something I have been considering too.

Looking back to 2013, I think some of my projects were rushed, lacked focus, were too ambitious, or were hardly worn. This makes me sad, as one of my reasons for sewing is to not perpetuate the problems associated with disposable fashion. So, for my first sewing goal, I want to develop more of a focus to my sewing; define my personal style and create a sort of 'capsule' collection which adheres to that style, and one which I end up wearing far more frequently (my initial ideas are below). I am not putting a number on my output for 2014, but I am very much okay with it being a smaller number with the intention of all the makes being executed as professionally as possible...uhhhh don't look at me like that Don, I'm serious!


In terms of what I want to make, I am craving a long-term project. When I made my wedding dress in 2012, I loved how it was an extensive project carried out over approximately 6 months. I learnt how to work with delicate fabrics such as high-quality lace and satin, as well as couture techniques, which I have continued to use in regular sewing. I've been wanting a more 'studious' project and so my second sewing goal will be a Chanel style cardigan jacket. For Christmas, my in-laws got me Claire Shaeffer's new book, which I have been coveting since news of its release. I am beyond excited to start on this! I am undecided on my choice of boucle colour as yet, but initially I am thinking blacks & greys to ensure maximum wearage.


On completion expect some Coco style celebration!


One thing I should mention is that before I can get started on this, I have a promise to keep. At the end of last year, things got so hectic that all my sewing promises to Mr S went out the window. I have declared that January is his, so I'll be sewing his new shirt, boxer pants and PJ bottoms that he's been waiting for. We have all the fabric (especially some fun flannel from Toronto) and patterns, so hopefully these projects shouldn't take too long. Technically this should be sewing goal #1, but I can't be THAT selfless right? So, count this as my third sewing goal.

Speaking of jackets, I also have the Style Arc 'Ziggi' jacket as my fourth sewing goal, which, as far as first impressions go, I am crazy about. I am looking forward to taking my time working on this classic piece. The brunette loves her jacket so much her face dropped off!


A definite goal for 2014 is trousers. I am really fussy with trousers whether they are RTW or from a sewing pattern. There's a certain style of fit that I like, which I have only ever really got from a pair of Warehouse trousers I bought a few years ago. I like a cropped ankle with a slightly loose slim fit going up the leg - something like this from Whistles or Jaeger. My plan is to both draft a pair and use a pattern. I have both the Lola from Style Arc and Burda 6981 to have a crack at. So, make trousers my fifth sewing goal.


For my sixth sewing goal, I've noticed how much I like wearing shirts. I find them feminine and my best friend when I want to hide or disguise my bum-bum. I want to use my denim from Goldhawk Road to make a spring shirt, but I also want to make a couple of city chic shirts in lighter, silkier fabrics that will look stylish with trousers and/or jeans, oh and under my Chanel cardi of course. Get me!

My seventh sewing goal will be over-sized t-shirts. I wear these a lot but get tired of buying them (see disposable fashion comment above). I want to invest in better quality fabric to make my own lux versions of the over-sized tee. Greys, whites, nudes... my kind of palette to again pair with trousers and jeans.

In terms of dresses, I am sure I will make a few but right now there are not any particular styles I am craving. One dress I do want to make though, as my eighth sewing goal, is my frocktails dress for drinks and shenanigans with the Spoolettes. I have this gorgeous and unique printed lace from Minerva Crafts that I am dying to transform into the classic Vogue 8766 (you'll recognise this as the dress that Ann made on the Great British Sewing Bee):

I'm choosing the middle right for a hint to the 1960s. 

My ninth sewing goal is to make sure I have some sexy go-tos in my wardobe. Last year, I had a few awards ceremonies for work and I found that I was short of fancy dresses. Plus, there's the usual dates with Elvis that crop up from time to time, but I won't bore you with that up-coming schedule. On my list are By Hand Londo's Georgia and Anna. I really loved Fiona's silky version, so I would definitely be looking to make a vampy Anna as I like how it follows the rule of legs or chest - you can't do both - well unless you're Coco and your dress can show everything!

My tenth sewing goal is my quilt. It's my dream to make a full size quilt for our bedroom as a kind of heirloom that we can keep for years and years. Last year, I chose my pattern and collated all my fabric. I am using vintage fabric from Mr S' grandmother as well as lace/satin leftover from my wedding dress. I did start to cut out my squares but for some reason I stalled. After making Mama Delle a quilted table runner for Christmas, I definitely have more confidence in pursuing quilting and am going to treat this as my 'release' from dressmaking. I'll look forward to scheduling in some quilting time as a nice break from garment making.

I think that's about it for sewing goals. These are in no specific order but they are definitely an indication of the road I want to go down. I don't want to be drawn too much to random patterns, but instead want to stick firmly to my own personal style. AND, I want to take my time, not be concerned too much with having something to blog, but having something beautifully constructed to blog. We'll see how that goes :)

My kind of exercise

For my other goals in new year, some are the usual, others are more specific and important to me. Mostly, I want to look after myself more both physically and mentally, making the time to go to the gym, run, and walk just for the sole purpose of a nice walk, not because I need to get somewhere. I live right near Greenwich park and it's incredibly beautiful. I want to to schedule more walks and runs in the park, making sure I truly take in the view and the smells around me.

Last year, I had one of the most positive years I've had in a long time and I want to maintain the hard work I've put into self-development. I want to pursue more Mindfulness practice as well as yoga and relaxation. Sometimes, I drown myself with deadlines and even sewing becomes a pressure rather than my treasured hobby. So this year, I'll be embracing essential oils, baths, and some time in Hawaii with Don ;) Other goals include more reading, more film watching as well as learning something new. I am toying with either refreshing my German or undertaking a tailoring course, if I can find a suitable evening or weekend course. I'd even like to do some carpentry! Adult Education is our oyster people!

Phew...I'm exhausted...maybe I'll just have another cup of tea and some more Christmas chocolate before I start all this good stuff.

Happy New Year everyone and I wish you much sewing joy xx

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