Fall is far and away my favorite season
It is the best time for making, whether it’s quilts, sweaters, or dresses. In the past I have found it easy to get carried away, however, and have such a long list of fall projects that I don’t finish any while it is still fall. And while I still find it a great source of inspiration, sometimes the pressure of instagram adds to this overwhelm. My feed makes it seem like everyone is making so many things all the time! I used to succumb to that pressure in a big way.
But in the past couple of years, I’ve tried to be more intentional about choosing what I will knit and sew throughout the fall and winter, so that I don’t end up with 7 unfinished sweater projects at the end of the year.
I don’t like to plan out an entire year of makes. I allow for some wiggle room, because, as you know, sometimes inspiration strikes unexpectedly, and you just have to cut out a top or cast on a hat. But I try to narrow down the possibilities a bit, so that whether planned or unexpected, whatever I make is something I will wear for many falls and winters to come.
It is easy, with the endless feeds of social media, the constant din of ads, and the desire to belong, to begin choosing projects that it seems like everyone else is making, rather than what might really fit into our closets.
Which isn’t to say choosing the popular project is bad. Often things are popular for good reason, and will become wardrobe staples for many years to come.
But when embarking on a sewing or knitting project I always try to ask myself a few things
- What do I have that I would/could wear this with?
- Do I already have a similar item?
- What colors would make this piece fit well into my closet?
- Do I have what I need to make it?
- Am I comfortable with the techniques and skills? (Or does it involve a new one I’d like to learn?)
- Will I enjoy the process of making this?
The first question is the most important one
When I fall in love with a pattern I spend time, before choosing fabric or yarn, thinking about what I would wear it with, and where I might wear it. I put together outfits in my head. And if I start to realize that the piece just won’t fit into what I have in my closet, I move on to something else.
For example, short sleeved sweaters are very popular on social media, and for good reason, but I have found that unless they are in a very light weight wool or a cotton yarn, I just don’t seem to wear them. So if I really fall in love with one, I do the math to add sleeves. Or I choose something else. While I like lacy knits, I don’t particularly enjoy lace knitting, so I tend to save it for small projects or accents.
When it comes to sewing I’ve realized I prefer a little more positive ease, and button closures to zippers. Knowing all of this helps me to be a bit more selective when adding something new to my closet, rather than feeling like I need to make what I see everyone else making.
I find that I am often inspired by yarn or fabric
When this is the case, I try to first identify what I need, for example, a cardigan or a fall dress, and then begin searching for a pattern. I will look through patterns from designers I like, as well as pieces friends have made.
My personal style is very inspired by books and films I love, and I try to have little details that remind me of those things, without being too literal. Things like a colorwork yoke, a peter pan collar, a bell sleeve, and gathers at the waist are all tried and true styles for me, that I like sewing and knitting, and know will meld with what I currently have.
When trying something new, like a different silhouette, I try to bring a familiar piece through color. And if I want to add a new shade to my palette I will usually make a tried and true pattern.
Even with all of this, sometimes I do end up making something that ultimately doesn’t fit, in a literal or figurative sense, and that is okay too. It is all a learning experience, and I can almost always find a friend willing to take it off my hands. That is one of the beautiful things about making.