Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 goals

Happy new year, kids. We made it! We chanted and hollered and toasted with Art of the Age liquor (Rhuby, yum) and danced clumsily to Beyonce and chugged water all morning. Now the show must sew on.

My blogoversary was in October, so I already did a best-of/worst-of reflection post for the past year. But it's hard to resist using January 1st as an excuse to create a list of goals for my crafting in calendar year 2013. These are actually more like measurable objectives, with the ultimate goal to become a more skilled, efficient and sustainable seamster (and blogger). Keeping with Gillian's theme for the year-end wrap-up posts, I'm writing down five. So, in no particular order:

1. Make three garments using textiles sourced in the USA.

Ooh, that's hippie talk. The primary reason I sew right now is because I enjoy the process, and it's rewarding to create something than I can then wear and show off. I'm realizing now, though, that having this technical skill also means I can actually control the production process of my clothing, which is truly incredible considering the state of the "fast fashion" industry right now. I used to be someone who was thrilled that Forever 21 jeans only cost $9.00, but didn't understand nor did I care to understand WHY they could possibly be only $9.00 and what that meant in the grand scheme of things.

Now that I sew, I can ensure that many of my clothes are made in the USA, but I also want to ensure that I'm using quality and ethically-sourced materials to make them in the first place. I read that 99% of textiles consumed in the United States are unfortunately not made from fibers that were grown, spun or milled here, but there are resources out there for finding sustainable and organic fabrics, both in the US and abroad. I just ordered my first organic cotton knit that is entirely USA-grown and processed (from here). Let's hope I don't botch it.

2. Wear a handmade garment every day during Me-Made-May.

Zoe, who has hosted all the Me-Made months, announced in her own "Hello 2013" post that she wants to host another Me-Made-May. I have not participated in this yet because my handmade wardrobe was not robust or practical enough for me to do so in May 2012. I wear me-mades often but not every day of the week, so I hope that by May of 2013 I will have enough wearable garments to make this possible. I'm always thinking of how I can sew items that will work for my everyday lifestyle, so I hope that by aiming to participate in the me-made month will help me figure out how I can be almost exclusively me-made... eventually.

3. Knit three items.

Er, it's inevitable. I've succumbed to peer pressure. The bandwagon has driven by hundreds of times but finally I hopped on after seeing all these other admirable sewists havin' a rowdy time on board. Over the holiday when I was visiting home, I was seriously missing my sewing machine. A full week of NOT crafting anything? Unbearable. I took the plunge and bought some circular needles and wooly yarn and hopped onto YouTube. I've started my first project -- the GAP-tastic Cowl that Kelli just made as a beginner herself -- and it's going swimmingly (well, after unraveling the first attempt and starting over from scratch). Knitting is certainly different than sewing and I'm not as fond of it yet, but I do love that it's portable, repetitive and has the potential to expand my me-made wardrobe. Makes for a great thing to do while sitting on airplanes or watching HGTV, which describes my holiday break quite well.

4. Get to know my serger better.

I use my serger all the time, but not necessarily to its potential. We have a surface-level relationship, us two. I really don't understand the tension or the stitch width/length/feed required for different types of fabric. When I overlock the edge of a single layer of lightweight fabric, for example, my stitches tend to be incredibly wonky and the loops hang off the edge or the stitches pull and pucker. I usually just shrug it off because no one else will notice, but if I want to be a "good" seamstress than I need to have "good" finishes all around, especially as I start to make more things for other people. So to ensure that I actually get to know my serger better, I must:
  • Read the instruction manual all the way through again.
  • Watch serger videos, read up on tutorials and tips, or even taking the Beginner Serger Sewing class on Craftsy... if it goes on sale.
  • Test different kinds of stitches to better learn how the tension and stitch controls interact.
  • Get my serger knife sharpened. Where? Somewhere.

5. Rev up the ole blog.

I like my blog (and I love my readers!) but I know it could be way better. I recently won Hayley Morgan's "The No Brainer Blog" e-book in a giveaway from my friend Dear Abby Leigh, but I haven't really implemented any of what I learned from it yet. I prefer to have my blog be heavier on project content, which is why you mostly only see me active when I have a new garment to show you. But when I'm not sewing as fast or as much, or can only find time to photograph my projects every other weekend, my blog suffers because of it. 

I think I'd like to share more information with my readers as I learn it myself, or start some kind of regular themed post that's still engaging but won't require me to speed-stitch or lug out the tripod all the time. I don't have a plan for this yet, though, so don't expect overnight magic, yahear. But if you have any suggestions for what you'd like to see on my blog or what I could tweak, I'm absolutely all ears. 100% ears.


Yeah! That's a wrap. This all seems manageable, but I do plan to put one of these in Karen's clever "2013 Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" resolution jar so that I'm actually held accountable by at least one person. Anyone else have similar goals to mine? Or know of any resources that may help me along the way? 

Wishing you all a delightfully stitchy 2013.