Dial Back the Crazy (Sewing Resolution for the New Year)

All of the end-of-year wrap-up posts out there in blogland have finally penetrated my consciousness enough to want to do one of my own. And when I think about my sewing in the past year, I’m struck by how, well, crazy, every garment seems to be. It’s more the rule than the exception that each project this year included embellishment AND dye effects AND quilting and the kitchen sink.

Perhaps this came from my realization that I truly do not need any new clothes. Really. None. So, I tried to slow my sewing pace by spending more time on each garment, and I did make several items that I just love and know that I will wear for years and years. Actually, I love everything I’ve made, but it’s hard for some of it to find a place in my lifestyle. Then when I think of my entire body of work for the year, there seems to be a dissonance of just too much going on.

I think the craziness really hit home with this tunic, which I’m pretty sure will never see the light of day on my body, but might be at home in some kind of Victorian costume drama:

I will never wear this. I don’t know what to do with the attention I get when I leave the house in extremely sexy clothing, and this is way too sexy for me to be comfortable in. And it is also not something I would wear if I’m planning on staying home.

Then I thought about my other sewing throughout the year, and it’s nearly all only slightly less costume-y. Perhaps I could blame fashion trends, or the blogs I read, but I’m thinking it might just be me, and it’s time to quiet down my aesthetic. Not that I don’t like what I’ve made this year. I love almost all of it. But maybe it’s time to explore a different direction. More basics. Maybe a wool melton coat. Work on my tailoring. Maybe a grey dress. More and more lately, I’m looking to menswear for inspiration. Susie Bubble, a style icon of mine for years now, just looks like too much.

Following are most of my projects from the year 2012. If you are interested in details, clicking on the photos will take you to the related posts.

Evening dress, which I love, but cannot deny the Downton Abbey influence

Evening coat, which looks more druid every time I look at it. I still love it, though, and can see myself wearing it maybe once every few years until old age.

Furry scarf. Cute, but crazy

This may be the most understated garment of the year

This could also pass for subdued by my standards

To be fair to myself, this was for Halloween.

screen printing a couple of hundred items. The items themselves aren’t crazy, but I might be.

Possibly the most gorgeous thing I’ve made all year. And, perhaps not coincidentally, the most popular blog post of the year.

Even my children were not exempt from my exuberance.

Batik, which I really do want to do more of. Eeek, this may bring me back to crazy territory.

My children seem to have inherited my propensity toward extreme embellishment.

The printed jeans and velvet top are about as close to a basic as my sewing got this year.

These were definitely worth making. I wear them every night.

umm, yeah.

My husband gets basics!

OK, I totally love this dress. One of the things I love best about it is the discussion in the comments section of the blog post (click photo if you’re interested)

OK, I love this quilt, too. Cute, practical, and used up all my scraps.

Tie-dye, stripes, latticework. More is more.

I even realized how nutty this was at the time I made it. That said, I wear it at least once a week. It counts as a basic in my wardrobe.

hot pink trousers. Another basic.

I had a great time making this, and I wear it a fair amount, but it’s the sort of thing I may avoid going forward.

A dress designed by my older daughter

I should really wear this plain blue skirt once in a while.

a wadder

Another wadder. Strange that my 2 wadders of 2012 occurred back-to-back.

Stripey shorts, which I will call a basic.

A learning experience. Aka, a wadder.

I imagine that I will continue to make crazy stuff for my kids.

Craziness definitely has a place in childrenswear.

I really like this one

My batik learning experience. These are kind of a wadder, but I wear them around the house.

This is one of very few real basics from this year. I wear these slippers literally every day, and they are fairly worn out at this point.

Peplum top, which did not really find a place in heavy rotation.

Not that anyone is reading this far, but looking at all these photos at once seems to verify that 2012 was the Year Of Crazy in my sewing room. In 2013, I may try to calm down a bit. Or maybe not.



  1. akismet-21b053fec805c8711a1f608da8cdd26a
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 2:00 am | Permalink | Reply

    I love your year in sewing. I don’t think it’s crazy at all and I look to you for inspiration. So please don’t dampen your enthusiasm and creativity. We need you! 🙂 Happy new year!


  2. Janice A.
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 2:15 am | Permalink | Reply

    Whether extreme or toned down, I love your work and your blog Claudine.

  3. Posted January 7, 2013 at 2:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    Do what makes you happy. There is nothing wrong with crazy if that is what you crave.

  4. Posted January 7, 2013 at 2:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    Do what you love. I find your projects very inspirational; I wish I was that daring!

  5. Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:31 am | Permalink | Reply

    Not crazy, Inspirational. Wonderful. Don’t stop!

  6. Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t think you need to quieten down your aesthetic at all – (1) you love most of what you’ve made, and (2) you inspire many of us readers (like me) with your work! Given too that you say you don’t really need more clothes (basics) and that you have so many skills (embroidery, batik etc) that are perfect for complex special projects, I think you really need to stay on the same track!

  7. Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink | Reply

    My. Hero. You add art to your makes and it is always inspiring to see. I think we could auction off your wadders!

  8. Posted January 7, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink | Reply

    The things that are unusual and tested your skill and creativity seem to be the things that you love. Why stop with that? It seems like a much bigger recipe for regret than following your creativity to some pretty magical places.

  9. Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve read all of it 😉
    Maybe you are being a bit hard on yourself? I can see what you mean by your clothes being a bit on the eccentric side this year, but if you don’t really need a load of practical clothes, why not go into the more artful? Then again, you seem to be a bit disenchanted that some of your more elaborate designs don’t get as much wear as they deserve, which is a pity.

    Well, if you wanted to tone down a bit, you could try to alternate between more artful and down-to-earth. Or integrate some of the “crazy” (your words, not mine!) into “ordinary” clothes, just focusing on one technique for one piece of clothing at a time.
    But in general: a hobby is supposed to be fun, so you should do what you want to!

  10. julinhappyhomemakerredux
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink | Reply

    I read the whole thing too :). I think you like what you like & if you don’t need more clothes you can express yourself any way you like in your sewing.

  11. Anke
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink | Reply

    Your clothes are outstanding and the evidence of your talent und creativity. Maybe they don’t fit into the category of “everyday wear”, but as long as you are happy making them and wearing them (even only occasionally) why step back? I am looking foward to your posts in 2013 :-). Anke

  12. Miriam
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’d replace the word “crazy” with exuberant. As I was reading, I thought about the joy I see in the few pictures of your daughters’faces. They are reflecting what they find in their world – and I say keep being joyful and having fun. It is good to know the “why” behind our sewing motivation and that changes as time passes. Seeing you go from concept to finished garment is what makes your blog at the top of my sewing bookmarks. I don’t expect to make what you make, but I like seeing you push yourself to learn and try more because those are my motives as well.
    Happy 2013!

  13. Nancy Karpen
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    You take chances, and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t but you’ve got a creative body of work to show for it, some better than others but definitely some great sewing was done.
    Your kids clothing is tremendously fun and it must give them a great sense of self for you to make up the clothing they’ve designed.
    Include me in on your trip to London textiles; you’ve found some fabulous and unique fabrics there.

  14. Posted January 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I read your post with a big ole smile on my face because that’s what my sewing would be if I didn’t have the constraints of a day job. However, I don’t call your sewing crazy, I call it artistic, expressing your inner creativity, being bold enough to speak your mind and not conform. Please don’t change too much, who will I have to look up to?

  15. Posted January 7, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I read the post, all of it, yes, and I was worried at first. You see I love all your makes because they are so spacial, they have such personality, and I thought “Oh, I´m going to miss all that” But then I realize that even if you make just basics, they are are going to be unique, you cannot help your “uniqueness” and that´s a fact.
    Happy new Year

  16. mrsmole
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    If there is more inside of you bursting to get out and become fantastic clothes…then “let er rip”…making boring clothes will only frustrate you more. My clients like to see what weird stuff I am wearing because it looks like me, not them. Your clothes reflect the inside of you…as they should. Keep doing what your doing and like Prttynpnk says…you could auction off your wadders! Keep us guessing and inspired!

  17. Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:39 am | Permalink | Reply

    If you don’t need clothes, then I think you are making exactly the right things if they make you smile. So far as your “too sexy” tunic is concerned I think it would look amazing (and not overtly sexy) over a grey jersey maxi dress that was basically a grey vest lengthened to floor, or ankle, length.

  18. Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    I love seeing what you create and I get where you’re coming from because I had a similar discussion with myself about what I’ve mostly sewn over the last few years BUT… you’re dressed, having fun, exploring ideas, pushing creative boundaries, and learning. This is all good. For me, it’s about balance – LOL – always.

  19. Posted January 9, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink | Reply

    Ever thought of creating wall art? That way you can be as crazy as you like and not worry about how you will look? Your garments are all special!

  20. Posted January 9, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink | Reply

    I read all of it. I agree with everyone else, sew what you love. If you don’t, it becomes a job. Your love for sewing and fabric comes through with every post and I look forward to seeing and reading what you’ve done. I absolutely love the tunic. Over black pants and tank, I can’t see it as being overtly sexy. It’s gorgeous!

  21. Posted January 9, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink | Reply

    Truly wonderful work… and who needs basic, subdued, or any words in that category, anyway? Love it. Keep it up!

  22. Posted January 9, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I enjoyed seeing your round-up and remembering all the great things you’ve made this year. I think it makes sense, that if you don’t need to produce a large amount you should take your time and be more adventurous and artful. Whichever way you go with your sewing this year, I love all that you make and really admire your artistry.

  23. TOS
    Posted January 10, 2013 at 12:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    Reading your post, I was amused at how many of the “crazy” were garment posts that I’d earmarked in my inspiration folder.

  24. Posted January 10, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    If you calm down, who will we aspire to??? Let the rest of us sew basics. You sew the dream.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] imaginative projects this year. One of the most unique sewing blogs I read is Rolling in Cloth. Claudine made a resolution this year to “dial back the crazy” in her sewing projects, which are really art. […]

  2. By Breaking my resolution « Rolling in Cloth on November 5, 2013 at 1:09 am

    […] been doing pretty well with my New Year’s resolution to dial back the crazy. Now I guess I’m looking for a little relief from neutrals and tailoring, so my current […]

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