I Volunteer as Tribute!

Wait, wait, wait…

Wrong fandom.

I’m not heading off to the Hunger Games. That’s the theme of the August challenge from the Sewcialists blog. (Tribute, not Hunger Games)

The Sewcialists are a gathering of sewists** who talk about sewing on social media. It’s as simple as that.

**I know that word sounds wonky and made up, but trust me — it’s a lot more forgiving and pleasant-sounding than the other option, sewer. That just doesn’t come across right when you’re reading it.

I know, I know…the last time I mentioned my plans for doing a monthly sewing challenge, I failed miserably. In my defense…a lot of shit happened and many of the things I love to do (sewing, gardening, sleeping, etc.) suffered as a result.

Also, while I love the idea behind the Historical Monthly Sewing Challenges (used to be fortnightly), I really haven’t been doing all that much costume sewing — historical or otherwise. Hopefully that will change in the coming months, as I am already signed up for programming at Chessie Con, and might also be involved with RavenCon and Ultimate Fan Con in 2018 (we’ll see). So, I am working on ideas for new costumes, and have some plans.


While some of those pieces are retro/vintage/historical-inspired, they are not required to be for other sewing challenges I have found.

Enter, the Sewcialist monthly sewing challenges. As I said, the August challenge is Tribute Month:

Choose someone whose sewing you adore and take inspiration from a project, technique, sense of style, or attitude. You could copy an outfit directly or just ask yourself, “What would they sew with this fabric?”

Most of the Sewcialists have been posting examples of some of the other bloggers and Instagrammers they follow, to give a sense of who they are considering to pull inspiration from.

I follow a fair number of other sewing blogs, as well as some knitting and spinning ones, so there are a fair number of places to pull inspiration from. I took a gander through my list and pulled out the following to use as inspiration for Tribute Month:

Dolly Clacket is high on my inspiration board for this month. The impeccable fit and finishing of her dresses would be enough to put her on the list of “things to aspire to,” but what really puts her on this list is her wonderful use of color and pattern in her fabric choices. I love every outfit she posts about. I particularly love her lemon dresses, and the regatta border. I plan to channel Dolly while making a border print shirt dress, and really pay attention to the finishing.

Second on my list of inspiration is Rochelle from Lucky Lucille. Her blog is a wonderful collection of sewing, knitting, stories about her rescued dog, Lucille (the inspiration for the blog’s name), and life in general. Rochelle uses bias tape for many of her hems, which is a technique that I have turned to using on almost every clothing project I have made over the past, oh, four or five months. I has made getting a smooth, even hem so much easierAND it means there is one more place where I can inject a little bit of my personality in my sewing. (I’ve been using “fun” prints for the yoke lining of Robert’s shirts, and these fabrics inevitably also turn up in the bias binding hem.

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A large part of Rochelle’s blog is about examining your sewing and wearing habits, determining what kinds of pieces you turn to the most often, in order to sew things that you will actually wear. Following that thought process, she has been sewing a lot of basics, which is something I need to do for myself. I plan to pay tribute to Rochelle by making up the basic items that serve as my typical work-week wardrobe. As a secondary tribute: Rochelle has some of the best shots of her finished garments…one of the things that I don’t generally do, except in the case of Robert’s clothing, and even then it’s a shot of the shirt in a dark basement. The second part of my inspiration/tribute to Rochelle is to take some gol-darn decent photos (which will be a big step out into the uncomfortable for me, as I HATE having my picture taken).

Also, since we’re talking about tribute and inspiration, I pretty much want to blow up this quote from Rochelle and hang it on the wall in my sewing area:

Never underestimate the power of sewing something you actually need.

Which brings me to the third person on my inspiration list, and what potentially could be the actual challenge in this challenge month. I have just recently discovered Katie from Katie Makes a Dress, but I am completely in awe of her style and skill. Like Dolly, she makes tremendous use of pattern and color in her fabric choices, though her makes are a little more varied in style. The main reason Katie is on this list, though, is because I am jealous of her underwear-and-bra-making skills.

I mean, come on!

After looking through her blog, I want to make ALL THE UNDERTHINGS! (She also makes fantastic swimwear, too)

Apart from a few corsets for friends and a slip for myself, I have never made undergarments. I have been thinking about making my own bras, though, now that I have figured out I was wearing the wrong darn size, two years ago.

[Side note: yes, it is possible for even someone who sews their own clothes and knows about fit to wear the wrong size bra. And when I say the wrong size, I mean at least 3 sizes wrong, in the cup size. No wonder the muscles under my boobs always hurt! I know that figuring out the right size can be daunting, but it’s worth it. And it’s a lot easier than you think to do it yourself, in the comfort of your own home, instead of having a stranger help you in a store. Check out this overview, and great links, from Epbot.]

I am determined that this summer will be the summer I make my first bra and underthings. Also, I want to try to tackle a swimsuit or two. Robert and I are heading to Maine at the end of August, and I plan to swim in the Daramiscotta as often as I can, which means having swimsuit options.

So there you go. My list of things to attempt for Tribute Month:

  1. Well-finished border print dress
  2. Sewing up some much-needed basics
  3. Taking better pictures of finished makes
  4. Making my own bra and underwear
  5. Making a swimsuit

That doesn’t seem like too crazy of a list, considering I’ve got some of those things on my to-do list already. They just happen to fit into the challenge theme!

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