Sewing with a vague plan

Planning my sewing out in advance is anathema to me; I’m always being distracted by some inspirational image that crosses my path. In the past this led to the accumulation of patterns and fabric for many projects which never reached the machine. For the last couple of years I’ve had a rule of not purchasing anything more than one planned project in advance in order to control the stash, and until very recently this was serving me well.

And then I needed fabric for my next planned dress, and none of the online sources I’d identified were doing samples because of the pressures of Covid. So I gambled, and ordered two lengths of promising sounding fabric. Both were sensible basics: plain black non stretch medium weight wovens. My theory was that whichever one didn’t work for the dress would rapidly get used for trousers.

You can guess what happened. First it turned out I hadn’t read the fabric description on one of the fabrics properly. I thought it was non-stretch cotton denim, but it turned to be one of those ultra stretchy denims which are mostly man made fibres, so completely unsuitable for my plans. The other one was stable but far too heavy. But all was not lost; both would be good for trouser patterns. But I was still without fabric for the dress, which needed a tricky combination of characteristics: stable enough for making buttonholes and welt pockets, light enough to make pleats, and with enough body to support sticky out bits.

So it was back to the hunt. I identified two more possibilities, but still no one was doing samples. So I ordered both. And this time, both were suitable. But I wasn’t going to make the dress twice, so I now had three lengths of fabric left over. And the lid wouldn’t go on the box that holds my fabric stash.

Clearly it was time to mend my ways, so I started actually planning in the hope of avoiding any more accumulation. First of all I identified trouser patterns from my ‘want to sew’ list that would go with the new fabric. I have some medium weight non stretch black denim, some medium weight very stretchy black denim, and some heavy weight black cotton drill.

And then I looked for top halves to match them, all from patterns I already owned. I included my recently made OOP Vogue 1347 drawstring trousers in the planning for tops because I don’t have many cold weather tops that work with them.

And here is what I came up with.

The bottoms are (left to right) Burda 108 07/2018 pleated culottes for the heavy non stretch drill, my already made silver Vogue 1347 drawstring trousers, some sort of 70s style high waisted jeans for the stretch denim, I’m currently thinking Burda 118 04/2009, and Burda 106 02/2020 lantern trousers for the medium weight non stretch denim. Why those particular patterns? I don’t wear a lot of colour so I’m looking for unusual shapes. I’ve always fancied trying a hakama (Japanese pleated trousers), but they aren’t exactly practical for my lifestyle. The Burda culottes are a more wearable take on that look. The lantern trousers and the 70s jeans are other interesting shapes I don’t have in my wardrobe at the moment.

Then for tops (left to right) I have the overshirt with strap details from OOP Vogue 1347, to be made in black linen; Burda 116 01/2020 cropped sweater in black boiled wool; Burda 105 04/2018 dart front shirt in white cotton. These should all go with all the different trousers, and also my existing grey Merchant and Mills Strides and my grey Burda Oxford bags. I might add another of the Burda dart front shirts in black.

I’ve started sewing the Burda pleated culottes. Who knows whether I’ll manage to stick to rest of the plan! It is six new items, which will take about six months for me at my current rate. I doubt I’ll manage to avoid distractions for that long. On the plus side every single one is something I want to make in its own right; nothing is there just because it goes with something else. I’m quite excited about some of the combinations that will be possible. So fingers crossed.

15 thoughts on “Sewing with a vague plan

  1. love your plan, some really great patterns there! looking forward to seeing pleated pants finished, was thinking of making something similar myself.. made that cropped burda sweater and i love it (i made color blocked version, used different fabric for those shoulder details), sleeves are a bit unpractical as they’re super wide, but it’s an easy fix if you don’t want them that way (i left mine super wide)

    1. Good to know about the sweater, thanks! Funnily enough I was wondering about a colour blocked version too. I saw a Rick Owens too which used a sequin overlay for the shoulders that I’d like to copy.

    1. Oh I don’t know, anyone who can pull off some of your steampunk looks has enough cool for anything. Hakama would be a great look on Dawn too though. I’m cautiously confident about this pattern so far, it’s looking good.

  2. What an excellent list of makes, I shall enjoy watching as you finish them, as I am sure you will.

  3. Nice choices! Look forward to seeing them over the next few months. I love your rule about purchases. I have done much better this year-not accumulating and only getting a little distracted. I am trying to make only what is already in the stash….

  4. Love your ideas. I don’t usually sew with a plan, either, and have too much colour in my wardrobe (I envy wardrobes like yours, which seem to have endless combinations that work due to a minimalist colour pallette). But these ideas are all amazing! Looking forward to following along as you sew and share.

  5. These all look like fun projects! Good luck sticking to the plan (this coming from someone who is apparently really good at making sewing plans but really bad at sticking to them…). Can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

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