A couple months ago I set myself a goal of sewing one project a week. It didn’t matter if it was as simple as hemming a pair of pants or as complicated as making a new dress. The idea was to work my way through the VERY long list of projects I wanted to do. Some projects I had planned in detail and bought supplies for, some were patterns I wanted to try, and some were only vague ideas. Many, many, many were simple alterations- I had a “to be altered/mended/finished” stack that was overflowing its box and blocking the door to my bedroom (a cry for help, perhaps?).
This weekly goal has kept me motivated to sit down and do a lot more 30-minute projects to get through the stack (a lot of things were from the thrift store and simply needed to be hemmed before I could wear them!). It also meant I got all my holiday presents finished and out ahead of time. Some weeks I’ve only done one alteration, or made a pillow. But that long list of projects is finally getting shorter. It’s very encouraging. I’ve found time by knitting on the bus and sewing on study breaks.
I’ve also started keeping a log of my projects. In my planner I have a page where I write what week of the year I finished a project. It’s remarkable to look at how prolific I have been despite how busy I was in my first semester of grad school! Most of my projects never make it to the blog. Since the beginning of October 2017 I have
- hemmed and taken in the shoulders of a graduation gown
- made a bandanna from fabric scraps
- shortened the cuffs on a thrift-store coat
- made 2 pillows
- sewn a copy of a well-worn dress
- knit 3 pairs of socks
- sewn a 3rd cabernet cardigan
- put pockets in an RTW robe
- made lined slacks
- sewn 2 kimono robes
- hemmed 2 pairs of pants (maybe more?)
- converted a military dress uniform from a cadet’s to an officer’s (which involved sewing on about a million miles of braid and trim to exact specifications)
So finally I come to this project, which is, surprisingly NOT an alteration (despite the volume I’ve completed to this point)
- sewn a Marilla Walker Roberts dress
(anyone still reading?)
Basically I saw someone wearing a Roberts dungaree dress she had made and I became a Roberts convert. This isn’t normally a silhouette I wear (think more leggings and short dresses or sweaters and pants/long skirts), but I think I paired it with the right fabric. This is a grey wool blend from my stash, acquired years ago from a fellow crafter (my aunt). I lined the top of the dress with a pale green and yellow flannel from Firecracker Fabrics– I briefly considered doing some contrast details in this flannel but decided I would wear it more if it was all grey on the outside. Square buttons are from Creative Reuse
The whole thing is warm and cozy, and the cut is boxy in just the right way. The pockets are perfect, too. I’m not surprised at how much I love this pattern despite its new (to me) shape- the last Marilla Walker pattern I made (here) is one of my most-worn summer items. And it was quick to sew- took me 2 evenings (including printing and cutting out the pattern). If all continues to go well with my weekly project goal, I will soon start her new Isca Shirtdress pattern.
Alterations to the pattern: I removed 3 inches off the length at the lengthen/shorten line and then made the dress as-is. At the end I had to adjust the front seam between the bib and skirt- it looked like a frown though it is meant to run parallel to the hem. That meant I had to make a small adjustment to the curve at the back so that the side seams would match up, but it wasn’t too complicated. Next time I make this I will probably do a swayback adjustment and shorten it a little more. And there will be a next time…