it’s business time: intentions for the new year

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With less than one week of January 2013 remaining, I thought it might be high time to make some, er, New Year’s resolutions. But I’m not a fan of resolutions. I’m not an advocate of making plans. I do, however, support the idea of thinking about what I want for myself and how I’m going to get at it. I like to think of this as setting intentions, and I find this differs from planning and goal setting in one simple way: Anything one does in support of intentions is a success. Say, for instance, you intend to put more work into your blog. So you whip up some new content and get it posted. Boom. Success. Now, if you intend to maintain this success, you’ll need to continue. A nice thing about the word intention is that it suggests not just an end result but also ongoing action. I like the idea of becoming far more than I care for the notion of deciding on some sort of necessary change and holding it out as something to arrive at somewhere in the distant future. Call me impatient (you might be right), but I want it now.

All right, okay. So what all do I want? For one thing, I want to feel less beholden to my fear of failure. I can be a bit of a perfectionist. I’m cool with that. It feels great to do good work, but I’m realizing that I worry too much about doing poorly. It holds me back. So I intend to worry less about the possibility of failure. I mean, it’s just paper and thread we’re talking about here! Even if I were working with more valuable materials, the fact would remain: The only way to develop my skills is to maintain and develop my willingness to try more and do more and make some mistakes along the way. It’ll be okay.

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Much as I’ll be glad to make some new mistakes, I’d also like to develop some techniques for sewing more successful garments with ease. When dreaming up a new sewing project the main thing I fret over is whether this new garment will fit well enough to be wearable. As I see it, the obvious solution to this problem is to work toward developing a small assortment of fitted patterns I can return to again and again. To this end, I intent to experiment with rubbing off a few well-loved garments, to re-sew more patterns that resulted in successful garments, and try to develop some well-fitted block patterns.

With my fear of failure diminishing and my likelihood of success increasing, it seems logical to try sewing with some higher quality fabrics. To date, I’ve mostly been sewing with synthetics from the JoAnn’s sale bin and random bits and pieces I’ve picked up at the thrift store. All said, things have turned out all right… Though there were a couple garments last year that, soon as I tucked in that last finishing stitch, I realized I’d never wear because the fabric was a little icky. I’ve heard the rumors about the benefits of high quality natural fiber fabrics, and after these few fails I’m a believer.

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Not only do I want to start using better fabrics, I also intent to develop my finishing skills and get better at making garments that are beautiful inside and out. In particular, I’d like to experiment with sewing a lined garment. I’d like to try adding some embroidered details to some of my garments. And I’d really like to get myself a serger one of these days, but 1. I’m a brokeity-broke grad student 2. I’m on the fence about whether it really makes sense to buy an inexpensive machine off Amazon if I’m just gonna be a little annoyed with how chintzy it is all the time. Yet the options seem to be inexpensive or expensive, which brings us back to 1.

The greater intention behind developing my finishing skills and upping the quality of my fabric selections is to really focus on creating garments that give RTW a run for its money. Look, we all know sewing will never be the least expensive way to build a wardrobe, but it’s clearly the least expensive way to build a high quality wardrobe. That’s what I want, a high quality, wearable wardrobe that actively reflects the kind of woman I am. And I’m a woman who likes dresses, who would be glad to own and wear more of them, but this woman also happens to live in the Pacific Northwest, where it’s cold and rainy and life is fairly casual. Not that I generally let that last one keep me from doing what I like, dressing wise. Still, what this woman really needs is pants. It would be such a coup to have a couple patterns I could use to churn out pair after pair of perfectly fitted pants. I know I’m not alone in wanting this! I also know I’m not alone in having an unreasonable fear of the amount of effort that it seems will need to go in to crafting such pants. But I intend to sew myself some pants, friends!

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Well, well. Lots of intentions and plenty of time… Thanks for reading & I’ll be back soon with an update on what strides I’ve made toward these (lofty?) aspirations.