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Are basics boring?

Pattern: Half Circle Skirt tutorial from It’s Always Autumn

Fabric: Rayon Ponte Knit in Charcoal from Blackbird Fabrics

Let’s talk about basics, shall we?

I have a weird love/hate relationship with sewing basics for my wardrobe. I love the satisfaction I get from whipping something up so quickly, and creating something I could wear all day, every day. Also, I need more basics in my wardrobe. Most of my casual wear is RTW stuff I bought about five years ago, and I wear the same things over and over even though they’re pretty much at the end of their life cycle (well, according to me. I think H&M intended for me to replace my tops a few years ago). Meanwhile, the pretty dresses I’ve sewn up sit in my closet ’till springtime.

The reason I hate basics, even though they can be made in an hour or two (compared to my dressier pieces, which on average take 8 hours), is because they’re, well, so basic. Solid neutrals never excite me, so I often prioritize the colourful florals in my stash over the solid blacks and greys. I actually often dread sewing them, even though I feel so proud of myself when I’m done.

My husband is usually pretty strict with my fabric-buying habits, and he wants me to get through my stash (don’t worry, it’s not that big) before I buy anything more (surprise, surprise) –  but he made an exception for fabrics I’d actually wear. I excitedly ordered a bunch of knit solids from Blackbird Fabrics, knowing I’d gotten away with yet another purchase.

And here’s what I did – I left those fabric bundles piled on my desk. I hate clutter when I’m about to start a new project, so I forbade myself from packing my new purchases in with the rest of my stash. I knew that the pile would bug me until it was taken care of, so I pushed through, sewed up some great basic skirts, and gave myself a pat on the back.

love circle skirts of any kind, and doing the measurements for a half-circle skirt was quick and easy. Add an elastic waistband, and voila! (Well, not quite. I had to hem the darn thing, and I find hemming flared skirts downright frustrating). Perfect for twirling in.

(If I look tired, it’s because I photographed this on Daylight Savings, ok?)

Pattern: StitchWitch M202 View C

Fabric: Rayon Ponte Knit in Black from Blackbird Fabrics

I also made this. This skirt was an interesting one. I got the pattern from my mother-in-law, who’s South African and had tried to get into sewing back in the old country. She brought with her piles of sewing books and patterns which I don’t think she ever touched, and she let me take my pick. One of them was StitchWitch M202 “Easy pull-on Skirts”, and I actually gave View C a go. The instructions were terribly illustrated (in a quaint way. It’s from the early 90s – I’ll let it go) and very vague, and the skirt had way too much ease for my size (I think the waist measured 40 inches before the waistband was attached). Luckily, it’s a stretch skirt, and the waistband sorta gathered everything together so it actually stays on my waist (though there are some awkward puckers that are easily hidden depending on the top I wear). All in all, though, I actually really love the skirt I got out of it. It flares wonderfully, and it is insanely comfy, so, kudos to StitchWitch in South Africa!

Ahhh, so now that those are out of the way, I can finally get to my beautiful cotton lawns for spring sewing (and the #alittlelawnparty Instagram challenge!). Basics, it’s been fun, but my florals await!

Comments (2)

  • Beck 7 months ago Reply

    I totally suck at sewing basics. Like you, pretty much all my basic tees for layering etc are RTW. I do like your “essentials” exception to the no-fabric buying rule though! I can’t quite put my finger on what I don’t like about sewing basics. As you say, it’s quick, easy, satisfying and you get plenty of wear out of it! I think it’s probably just that I don’t enjoy spending my limited fabric dollars on basic fabric. And when I do, since I usually need the same colours, I feel bad about buying even more navy or white, so I let myself get distracted by a print! And I love the skirt – circle skirts forever!

    Rebecca 7 months ago Reply

    I think it’s just that basic fabrics don’t ignite that spark and excitement I get when I see a print or a luscious jewel-toned fabric (I feel the same about solids as I do about stripes or polka dots!) I think also I don’t get excited about basics because they’re not as impressive – no one looks at a plain black pencil skirt and goes “Wow, you made that?”. People just assume I bought it – but I try to remind myself that it’s also about creating a wardrobe that’s entirely mine, not necessarily about showing it off.

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