I discovered a few things about myself and my sewing while participating in a contest like this.
On the positive side, I did make 15 patterns! That is, quite literally, 5 times my normal output; usually if I make 3 things a month I feel impressed with myself. Only a couple of the things I tried this month were items that I ended up not liking -- most of them were really satisfactory. Out of everything that I sewed up, I think I'll be most likely to want to make these ones again:
Vogue 1247 -- a well-fitting, practical skirt
New Look 6977 -- an easy and pretty skirt
Simplicity 3790 -- wonderful pullover top that fits well
Kwik Sew 3756 -- unusual neckline, easy top -- it's all good
Kwik Sew 3559 -- the first thing I made this month; and it's been worn at least 10 times so far. Great pattern, wonderfully useful top. Definitely making this one again.
However, this hyper-focus on sewing is not sustainable in my lifestyle. I also discovered this month that I am a slow sewer. To get 15 items sewn (many of which were "quick and easy" patterns) I had to spend the vast majority of my available time sewing. While I of course love to sew, I also have other things that need doing, and most of those things were entirely neglected this month -- and I'll be playing catch-up for the next week or so.
I also find that whenever I place myself under an obligation to do something (no matter what it is) I immediately begin to feel less excited about doing it. I don't want to rob myself of the joy of sewing, which is why I do it, so I don't think these kinds of competitions are in my future. Plus I don't like the feeling of comparing myself to others that contests engender, or the anxiety of not doing as much as I had thought I could...
Another element is that these kind of quantity contests mean you're in a rush and whipping things up -- and I found that I'm not interested in just making something for the sake of making it; I want to take more time over the things I'm making, and learn things with each project, and go the extra bit to line a skirt or add a nice seam finish, or rip out a zipper and do it over again. Or take on a difficult pattern and spend the whole month just fitting it and testing it. So while I did have fun this month, I have to accept that I am not a rapid stitcher who can turn things out instantly.
Despite all this, I thought this was a valuable experience -- I learned to think about sewing more consciously, and was able to make up some items that I was just not getting to, due only to procrastination. I streamlined my crowded sewing space to make it more functional, and went through my pattern and fabric stashes. I was inspired by other participants' makes and their sewing habits. Now to incorporate that into a more normal schedule for all that sewing ahead!
|All photos via British Library on Flickr