2017 80 20 Sewing Challenge


There is nothing my ADHD brain loves more than making big declarations of huge projects. The beginning of the New Year has it spinning day and night with all the changes I am going to make. Follow through? Now that is another issue altogether.

After 42 years of living with this cycle, you would think I would know better. But alas, here I am making a proclamation, a gigantic one. But first, the backstory…

It all started last summer, we were visiting the USA and some of our favourite stores (RIP Target Canada). There was a JoAnn’s near our hotel and I went in to check out the paper crafting section. I wandered over to the fabric department and it truly felt like a life changing moment. All sorts of ideas started whizzing around in my head. The store was bright and the fabric bolts were so tempting. (The local Fabricland in my neck of the woods is dank and depressing).

I have always had issues with fit finding clothes for my daughter, she’s also very sensitive to fabrics and to anything sitting on her waist. I realized I could sew her clothes and have them fit her exactly the way that would work for her. And they had so many beautiful, colourful fabrics! I already had a sewing machine languishing in the closet!

I left the store with a few supplies and a strong desire to sew. I have had that desire to sew before, and took lessons in high school and as an adult. But somehow, this felt different.

When I returned home, I emailed our local sewing store and signed up for lessons. I learned to sew pajama pants and a knit top. It is hard and I am not very good, but I felt anxiety, a constant companion, trickle away as I sat at the machine, trying to make a garment.

I also realized that I needed to sew, not only for my daughter, but for all of us. I have lots of fitting issues, being a rectangle, bordering on plus-size. My husband has issues with fit and he has very specific underwear wishes, as J. Crew stopped making his favourite boxers at least 5 years ago. I never felt good about contributing to the cheap Fast Fashion industry, with humanitarian and environmental concerns.

Now, I realize I come at this situation from an extreme place of privilege and I am lucky to be able to devote my time to such an endeavor. But this is where I am, and how I plan to spend my extra time in 2017.

By the end of the year, I would like to have 80% of our clothing be me-made. Both warm weather and cold wear clothing (Canada has an extreme range). Things I do not anticipate in sewing this year include: socks, bras, swim wear, jackets, jeans, formal wear. There will hopefully be many more years of my life, and I can devote those to learning more.

My daughter wears a unform to school, so she does not require as many clothes as a kid who wears regular clothes every day. My husband works from home and we joke he needs a new “suit” when he has worn out a pair of pj bottoms. I have an extremely minimalist wardrobe (that actually shocks people), but perhaps that will change when I have more flattering, comfy clothes… the idea of a capsule wardrobe appeals to me on all levels.

If you have come here for sewing advice, or learning how to sew a capsule wardrobe, go back from whence you came. I am the newbiest of n00bs. I am a zygote on this mission, and am using this blog to document the journey.

So let’s see how this goes!

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