That's Sew... January!

The New Year is a time when many of us plan ahead, make decisions, perhaps look to make changes in our lives.

January can be an exciting month – I’ve been getting a lot of enjoyment out of thinking about some sewing and sporting goals for the year - but it can be challenging, too.
It can feel like everywhere you look, there are tweets, posts and ads for fitness and weightloss programs, healthy meal plans, dating services and other products all promising to make our lives 'better' in some way.

Even our hobbies can be up for upgrades - new gear received as gifts or purchased in the holiday sales, perhaps a new diary, its blank pages ripe with the promise of exciting times ahead.

Although all this creativity and inspiration can perhaps be a little overwhelming, that doesn’t mean we can’t get excited about the year ahead! January is a great time to think about what you can do over the next 12 months.

Here are some thoughts on how to make 2018 work for you and your sewing, so it’s a source of pleasure, not pressure.

Planning ahead

Some of us love to sew spontaneously, and some of us like to plan ahead. Sewing planners are certainly a growing trend!

The Fold Line has a free downloadable PDF, a nifty planning page you can print and file - maybe stick into your journal, or create a folder to keep all your maker plans neatly organised. Include a fabric sample and pattern notes, and you have a handy archive that you can refer back to for future makes.

The Colette Sewing Planner is available once again. This pretty notebook is custom-built for sewing projects, and includes all sorts of handy hints!

Burdastyle is getting in on the action too, with this free downloadable planner.

Or perhaps you incorporate your maker plans into your existing bullet journal? Bullet journaling is a very handy tool - if this is new to you, check out this site for the basics of #bujo. Katja at With My Hands Dream has some great tips for incorporating sewing projects into your bullet journal. I particularly like her idea of keeping a log of online fabric & notion shopping!

Join in – maybe

Social media is right there too with plenty of hashtags to help you plan (or just to dream) your makes for this year. #2018makenine is a nine-patch of patterns to be accomplished in the next twelve months. A new one this year is #2018usenine, with photos of nine fabrics from the stash to be used this year - great if you are a mad stashbuilder like me, who needs a little extra impetus to actually use some of my hoard.

If your smartphone doesn’t have a simple photo editor, try Fotor or Picmonkey - both free, web-based photo editor apps that have simple, easy-to-use collage makers. Upload your pics, arrange them how you like and post away!

The #sewmystyle challenge asks for one finished garment each month, using designated patterns (and promising some excellent discounts along the way from participating designers and shops).

Of course there are a plethora of other challenges, sewalongs and events out there that will keep us all happily occupied throughout the year - I'm sure I'm not the only one already thinking about my pledge for #MeMadeMay, or the holiday capsule wardrobe to make for an upcoming trip - not to mention a dress for Sydney Frocktails! In fact, it's kinda hard to choose which ones I want to follow along with!

I think it's important, at this time of year, to be realistic about our future plans (a garment a week would be a struggle for me) and forgiving about the previous year (I only 2 finished out of my #2017makenine).

Balance it out

Here are a few thoughts that might be helpful in finding a balance between inspiring goals and the sort of pressure that takes the fun out of sewing. If you have a list, consider it carefully; is your aim to create a lot of garments, or will your makes be learning experiences for you? If you do a lot of making for others, are you planning to include some items for yourself? If you are thinking of joining up to a challenge, do the scheduled makes work for your wardrobe, or your climate? Also, if you blog or vlog, will there be additional work to do?

Have a look through your wardrobe, too. The self-sewn wardrobe is a fantastic idea, but if you really love that RTW blouse, you probably don't need to replace it with me-made just yet. On the other hand, try pulling out the items you wear 'all the time’ - and then have a good look at what is left! Colette’s Wardrobe Architect series provides some ideas for overhauling your wardrobe and planning your sewing from there. January is a good time to try a little decluttering, as we tend to be more open to change (whether you keep every single thing, or send a pile of stuff to charity, it's still an interesting exercise). The Slow Home Podcast is a great listen if you are looking for ways to slow down and simplify, while keeping it real.

Above all, take it easy. Creating internal pressure to finish a gazillion projects can end up fostering guilt when those projects end up on the UFO pile - or when inspirations strikes and you ditch a scheduled project to sew up that beautiful piece of fabric you found at the op shop.

Sew what you want, when you want. Have a plan, but plan to allow yourself to work outside of that plan. Dream big - but don't overcommit. As we all know, life does get in the way.

Me? Well, I’m still working on the bullet journal thing, but I’ve also started a project journal - I’ll update you on how that goes! There’s plenty in the stash to plan around, but I’m looking forward to some impulse makes too.
Here’s to a fun year of making for us all!