This week's 'Slotober' topic is something I have been trying to work on for the last few months - how to understand your style and choose the right projects for the perfect wardrobe. Obviously for me this is still very much a work in progress. I did create a 'capsule wardrobe' list earlier this summer but since that post I have been re-thinking my choices quite considerably.
One way in which I hope to up my planning game is through the use of sketch books. I currently have two such books in my collection both of which are specifically aimed at dressmakers/ fashion designers. The first is my 'fashionary'. I picked this up on a trip to the Fashion and Textile museum last year. I have used to it to some extent but the croquis templates (outlines of a body shape) are just damn skinny and weird looking. It's kind of hard to imagine what they would actually look like on a real body! The thing I really do like about it though is its size and portability. Its a very compact 'journal-esque' kind of book and fits in to my handbag with ease making it the perfect travel companion. It also has some great intro pages with different styles of dress, sleeves, trousers, jackets etc to help you get going with ideas.
My second sketch book is 'Gerties Fashion Sketch book' which has much more appropriately sized croquis. I bought this earlier this year from Waterstones I believe and I have used it to a point but I really need to get in to the habit of using it more. This book isn't quite as portable as the fashionary as it's spiral bound along the top and quite a bit bigger but equally has more space to attach fabric samples and write notes in.
Ok, so my plan of action over the next few weeks is get my sketch books into regular rotation. I need to look at items in my current wardrobe which get worn the most and plan projects accordingly. I also really need to think about fabric choice. I get too distracted by bright patterns and prints and once made I realise how difficult it will be to pair with anything in my current wardrobe... It's a work in progress!
The next part to Slotober is how I go about advancing my skills. Now I've only been serious about dressmaking for the last two years and I still have a long way to go in progressing my skill-set but I do feel I achieved a lot in a short space of time. My trick is to just give it a go. I find it difficult to know what type of seamstress I am when buying patterns - am I a beginner, and advanced beginner, an intermediate? It's difficult to know unless you dive in and try. I think its all too easy to stick to basic projects and never try anything out of your comfort zone but if you never try you'll never know what you could achieve.
I have made a lot of failed items of clothing but, those failures are all lessons learnt. I actually believe failure aids the learning process just as much, if not more so, than just success. It helps build a drive and to know what not to do next time. Its all too easy to get ourselves in a slump from a failed project (hell, I was there last night after I realised the very simple skirt I made was actually just slightly too small!) but it's important to move on and think about what was learned during the process.
Another thing to note is to not get too bogged down with things that aren't 'perfect'. I've always been a bit of a perfectionist, or so that's what my teachers used to tell my mum every parents evening. My teachers would tell me [insert whatever I was working on] was good but if it wasn't perfect in my eyes I would tear up the thing and start again (this was sometimes as simple as messy writing in my exercise book - a definite failure in my book - particularly if it was the first page of a fresh, new exercise book! Any one else have that obsession as s kid, or just me?) Perfection is nice for sure, but it's not necessary. I recently made a jacket for my boyfriend. He loves it. And that's genuine love too. He wears it all the time now it's starting to get colder and not just when he's with me. But I didn't love it for a while. I kept pointing out the faults with it. But then recently, when pointing out a fault to a friend, she told me to stop being silly. She told me I'd done extremely well to make something like this and I should stop pointing out all the faults and concentrate on the fact that I'd made a jacket. That's when I realised I need to change my way of thinking. Instead of pointing out faults I should point out the parts I've done well. The faults are just things to improve on next time. I made a jacket and my boyfriend chooses, and loves, to wear it. That's something pretty special right there and I should be PROUD of that rather than picking out faults.
So, plan of action from this post -
:Plan projects in my sketch book and think carefully about style and fabric
:Don't worry about failure
:Stop picking out faults and start being proud of what I make
Let's see how that goes!