I’m writing this having just packed my suitcase in preparation for leaving Kuala Lumpur. There are two bags on the floor of the hotel; one is my case, and the other is a bag of things to leave behind. Having a mere 100 litres and approximately 20 kilogrammes to fit your entire life into, plus any additional life you pick up along the way, is great for encouraging minimalist behaviour. If an item of clothing or a pair of shoes are not pulling their weight, they get left behind, and most of the things in my luggage I could bare to loose. If I buy, say, a new sweatshirt (that is completely beautiful and that cannot be bought in the UK yet) then something else has to be jettisoned to make room.
All this streamlining has got me thinking about my wardrobe back home. A bulging, awkward behemoth that always needs clearing out and that seems to contain a lot of sentimental pieces that I just don’t wear anymore. This is not helped by my sewing habits, as when I’m in the mood to create I can be quite prolific and generate new garments faster than I can clear out old ones. But the benefit of having some geographic space between me and most of my stuff is the chance for some dispassionate thinking, and at the moment I am planning to have a complete clean sweep. I need to apply the suitcase principles to my closet. Once that is done, I can start on the infinitely more fun process of planning what garments, both bought and handmade, will be worthy to fill the space.
In 2014 focussed a lot of my time on a small handful of patterns, which were fantastic for developing and practising my skills, but not so great for creating a diverse and interesting closet. So for 2015 I want to shake up my list. My new rule is that I cannot return to a tried a tested pattern until I have sewn something different. It doesn’t have to be more challenging necessarily, just different. I’ve been eyeing up a few easy t-shirt patterns, and so far the Grainline Scout has caught my eye. Given how much I love my t-shirts, I’m a little embarrassed that it took me this long to search for a pattern I wanted to try! Stepping the difficulty up a notch, I want to tackle the Archer shirt, also from Grainline. I love my shirts long, oversized and loose, and I reckon Archer in a light white cotton could definitely be my baby.
Merchant and Mills have also caught my eye with their modern, minimalist style (and their selection of fabrics is totally swoonworthy). Their 101 Trousers need to be in my closet, and look like a fun weekend project to shake things up, as does the Trapeze dress.
But tackling some more challenging projects was top of my list of plans for the new year. I want to make a coat. And because I don’t like to do anything the easy way, three different patterns have all captured my heart simultaneously. First up, the Mai Zip jacket from Named Patterns. I love the contrast sleeve suggestion, and the zips. I’d quite like to make the jacket all in one colour, but use different textured fabrics for the body and sleeves. I’ve also fallen in a big way for the Havala parker coat, also Named, which features a pretty natty drawstring waist detail. Both of these patterns appeal to the sporty, relaxed side of my style that pairs skate shoes with tailoring and only owns one pair of heels.
All of this deep thinking, which mostly happened during an attack of jet lag last night, was prompted by the publication of Grainline’s new pattern, the Cascade duffel coat. One look at this pattern and visions of it made up in navy or grey (hey, it’s me, and these are my jams) danced through my head. After this I started jotting down all the patterns that I want to try, and from there to having serious de-cluttering fantasies.
At the moment I limited to dreaming and scribbling in my note book, and although we still have two and a half months on the road a part of me is pretty excited about making a start when I get home!
Have you ever made any of these patterns? Let me know how you got on and whether you have any tips and tricks!