A Revelation and Taking Stock

A Revelation!

Some of you may remember my challenges with the first toile on The Lady In Red Dress and my baggy midriff:

It Was All My Fault

Back in November, I dared to suggest that the midriff section was too deep and a design flaw in the pattern. Wrong! It was my fault entirely, as I discovered last night at my second sewing lesson.

In the first week we were told to take detailed measurements of our bodies, with the help of a classmate. We did. For the first time in my life I discovered what my neck to waist measurement was – and last night, as I cut out the pattern pieces for the V8667, our tutor advised me to ensure that the bodice sections matched the actual measurements of my body.

Guess what? They didn’t. Guess what else? This is the first time in my sewing career that I’ve ever paid attention to this detail. I could see how some of us had longer legs or a thinner waist or bigger boobs or wider shoulders. But a torso? Well, it’s just a torso, isn’t it? Yeah, I know. Naive. Some would say bloody-minded. Yet others would call me a damn fool!

So I needed to take an inch and a half off the back bodice. Did this mean I needed to take the same depth off all the other bodice sections? Good job I checked. Er, no, you bleedin’ idiot. (Am rapidly running out of terms of abuse for myself.) Turns out, you lay each of the bodice pieces next to each other. You line up the notched markings. Oh, those pretty little triangles and stuff? I thought they were just there to make me feel inadequate. So I did as I was told – always a challenge for me – and finally had four amended bodice sections that all matched up, picture above. As I said, a revelation!

And now for a piece of blogging that may be true trainspotting. I’ve checked my sewing spending over the past year. How much have I spent from January 2010 to January 2011? Deep breath. Including the cost of the sewing course and investment in several key pieces of equipment:


How does this compare to my other hobbies:

£175 knitting

£35 crochet

So I guess this confirms what we already know: sewing is no fast route to reduced spending. I spent £307 on clothes in the same time span. (And £316 on lattes – yes, I have a serious addiction. Hang on. What? I spent more on lattes than on clothes? That’s madness!)

My sewing spends work out at £70 a month. That’s not an amount to be sniffed at. But to put it in context, back in the giddy days of youth when I used to smoke, I probably spent about £100 a month on cigarettes. So you roll your dice, you take your chances. Early death or a beautiful wardrobe? When you put it like that… I’m doing myself a favour with all this sewing!

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17 Responses to A Revelation and Taking Stock

  1. Ashley says:

    I have to shorten bodice peices by 3 inches! My OH thinks this is hilarious, and calls me short.
    Sewing is definately preferable to smoking 🙂
    Ashley x

  2. superheidi says:

    So, that means you’ll be doing another V8667?
    You accounting is quite interesting. Should I be unknowingly glad I haven’t kept any receipts?

    Or maybe I just should face reality and decide on a late New Year’s resolution? And save it all up to see what I do spend. Already bought my first fabric for 20 euros and a zipper a week ago.

  3. Roobeedoo says:

    So many confessions! Have you seen a priest? 😉
    That’s really interesting – both the measuring and the accounting. I too have a latte habit… and I spend more on coffee (and associated Eat Natural bar / kitkat) than sewing and clothes put together. That is REALLY scary! If I brought my cafetiere to work I couold have twice as much fashion fun!

  4. Siga says:

    I find it great that you take notes what your hobbies cost you. I like the idea so much that I’m starting taking notes myself straight away. After all, I have not made that many purchases this year (yet).

  5. Clare says:

    So you don’t need to adjust the same amount on each piece?! Maybe that’s where I’ve been going wrong all these years, I just add the same amount (to the ‘lengthen or shorten here’ line). I’m very impressed with your accounting because you seem to have a good balance between keeping track of spending and not denying yourself things that make you happy.

  6. Lysy says:

    But you’re sharing your wisdom – that must be worth something! I’m off to measure my neck now…
    PS Roisin passed on the details of the Walthamstow trip – I’m definitely up for it and will tag along with her if that’s ok

  7. Molly says:

    Haha, really enjoyed reading this post, you made me chuckle!

    It wasn’t until I started sewing that I discovered I’m short in the torso too and, frustratingly, have a full, low bust point. It really did explain why some styles of top just don’t suit me at all and also why, despite being a slim hourglass, I always looked dumpy in photos – that low bust-line and high hips merging. I think I shall have to insist on only being photographed CSI: Miami style, from the ground up so I can look impossibly long and lean too, hehe!

    I’m another one who could spend an entire salary on lattes, so my sister buys me Starbucks mugs every year at christmas and I buy chai latte powder or syrup so I can enjoy them cheaply at home. Still not as good as the real thing….

  8. Carly says:

    Thanks for sharing the tip, I’d have never known that either!

    Your crafty spending makes me feel better about mine – but it’s almost as much as you would spend on say, a gym membership, and twice as fun! It was very brave of you to tot it all up, I don’t think I’d have the stomach for it!

  9. cidell says:

    I usually had to lengthen my bodice even before I started making FBAs. This weekend I had to shorten it due to pooling at the waist. Because I have a low bust point, I’ve had to pay attention to that measurement.

    As for money. Don’t ask. I keep telling Trena that if somethign bad happens to me, she has to beat my mom to my fabric stash and hide it.

  10. Florence says:

    Oh, I love a choice like that, where a beautiful wardrobe is the only answer and it suddenly seems as though you are actually staving off death by sewing.

    I always feel that handmade clothes are slightly like buying books though – they sort of don’t count as consumer purchases and you can never have too many of either…so it’s always a suprise to find a trip to the fabric shop actually shows up on a bank statement….

    I’ve just enjoyed reading your lovely interview over on Tilly’s blog.

    Florence x

  11. Trisha says:

    Yikes, I don’t know my neck to waist measurement either!

    Your post made me smile… do I dare add up my sewing receipts? 🙂

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Oh, I can’t risk tallying my receipts. I think I’d be in for a shocker! Glad to hear you’re going to try that dress again. Can’t wait to see how things work out. I wish I had a measuring/fitting partner.

  13. Hi there, new visitors and thanks everyone for all your comments. Sounds like I’m not the only one who winces when she thinks about how much she’s spent on fabric!

  14. thundercat says:

    Hi there! Have been following your blog and thrilled to see that you’re following the same course I did about 1.5 years ago. I loved it too and also had similar revelations….! Please say hi to G. for me (assuming she’s still teaching the course). Not sure she remembers, but I’m the one who left for Namibia and doing lots of sewing over here!

    Keep the posts coming!!! Els

  15. Rachel says:

    Brave of you to work that out! It’s something that’s been on my mind since I took up sewing again in earnest -I’m spending far more money on fabrics etc than I ever did on buying clothes -and I only like sewing for ME!! How to justify this…

  16. Colognegrrl says:

    As MontyPython would say, and now for something completely different – the use of the term “trainspotting”. As English is only my second language, I wonder what you meant by that – a kind of useless occupation maybe?

    By the way, I also keep track of my spending, and it can be very enlightening to see where the money goes. Sewing is not the worst way to do it.

  17. Amy says:

    Very brave! My sewing receipts have already gone through the shredder – I am staying in blissful ignorance of the total cost…

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