Sewing assessment coz I have no idea what I’m doing

7 Feb

Trying to close the gap between what I like sewing and what I want to wear. (There’s no pictures in this post. Does this then not count as a sewing blog post? ๐Ÿ˜€ )


My dress tastes are changing. I’m looking for calmer, and perhaps a bit more formal dressing. Well that’s a guess coz I really have no idea.

I found this self assessment tool on my hard drive with absolutely no way of identifying who it came from. An online search didn’t reveal anything either. If you recognise the questions, please let me know where, so I can credit them.

Rightio here goes….

Top Three Items That I Wear For Home:

Floofy dress, floofy dress, floofy dress

Top Three Items That I Wear For Work:

Ballet teaching: knit tunic top and leggings

Writing etc: Purple shift dress, fit and pleat dresses, skirt and nice blouse, and I wish I could add here ‘trousers and nice blouse’ but I don’t have any trousers argh!!!

Bonus extra – going out and about: tunic (patterned, just below low hip) and leggings or same as writing.

Top 3 items for exercise:

Pilates/bike riding: Leggings, t-shirt, soft bra

Ballet: leo, skirt, tights, sturdy bra

Horseriding: socks, boots, jodhpurs, UPF 50+ top sports bra

Top Three Sewing Talents (go on, show off!):

Ooooohhhhh hmmm.

Fitting myself and my mother LOL and I do understand the concept of fitting generally!

Making nice cotton rayon or linen clothing. I know these fibres inside out and roundabout. I am the queen of natural fibre sewing!

Adding frou-frou and pretty embellishments ๐Ÿ˜€

Top Three Sewing Weak Spots (ouch!):

Er…. well, this. Sewing what I like to actually wear ie a lot more Basics.

Feeling in control of my fabric and pattern stash. I really want a system for it but don’t really know how, as my creativity changes things up and I am working with new ideas all the time. This is why sewing basics never happens.

Sewing knits, including anything involving elastic. I can do it but can’t get it comfortable to wear.

Bonus: Sewing jackets/coats which I have little call to do but when I want to, I don’t really know how. I have made a few but I bumble my way through them.

Top 3 weather oriented styles

dry season: whatever I feel like coz it’s cool enough! when cold, my snuggly merino cardy

Build up: floofy, nothing touching my body. But not like a nightie. Empire line seems to be my favourite

Wet: shorter clothes so I can splash in puddles and not get a wet hem eg shorts rather than trousers. Shorter dresses and skirts. Loose is still good due to the high humidity but full floof is hapmering.

Top Three Sewing Goals:

Feel better about my stashes and also get them better organised

Have a wardrobe full of clothes I want to wear

Sew a bra I like to wear

Top Three People Who Enable Me:

Haha, mum, V, C, and A, er everyone?

Top Three People I Enable:

C, mum, anyone I can!

Top Three Reasons I Can’t Sew:

Time and energy and overwhelm/lack of inspiration. Not being able to envision how to proceed, too.

Top 3 things I hate sewing:

synthetic yukky fabrics

boring, uninspiring fabrics ie why I usually find trouser sewing tedious!

sewing things I haven’t had any creative input into, which is why I don’t like sewing for other people. Most soft furnishings fall into this category too.


Top Three Reasons I Can Sew:
Inspired – if I’m inspired I really finish things and love them

Setting time aside

I just love it

Top 3 things I LOVE to sew:


pretty, nice feeling natural fabrics with gorgeous patterns


Make a nice ‘going out’ dress from that embroidered lace and the white rayon.

Not sure what to draw from this. I think the most obvious thing is I have a mismatch between what I like to wear and what I sew. ie I want to sew ‘pretty, nice feeling natural fabrics with gorgeous patterns’

What I want to wear is ‘pretty, nice-feeling natural fabrics with a nice textural component to them.’

I also want to have more of a work-wear uniform. I made myself 5 purple shift dresses. But the dresses I reach for are dark blue/varying shades of navy and the darker purple ones.

I love beautifully patterned fabric for nighties, though. And for tops/shirts probably more subtle but I like patterns there too.

I also hate my arms being restricted.

I also prefer more fit and flare styles, apart from in the Build Up when I want as little as possible touching my skin! ie floofy dresses. So skirts with a top that has a nipped in waist work well.

Perhaps this is where I’m falling flat with trousers.

I’ve had a few style consultanty type people tell me I should wear bootleg, not full, or long rather than just below the knee. And that basically I look a bit dumpy in full type trousers. Which I’m not sure I do look, but it got in my head. Also full length because 3/4 ‘makes me look short’ sigh.

But really I just AM short. Recognising this helped me with ballet too. Some ballet mum years ago told me my arms were short. Which I happen to know from sewing they’re not, they’re long. But it got in my head. Then one day I was looking at my lines in the mirror and realised, you know, it’s not that my arms are short. My entire body is short! So there! I’m just a shortypants!)

As a result of all this, I tend to make trousers 3/4 length bootleg, which are hot so I don’t really like wearing them. And hard work to sew. BORING! Two counts against them. BORNING, and something I don’t really like to wear. Perhaps I just need either swishy flaring ones, A-line gaucho-ish, or legging-look-alikes?

But it’s about proportion, really. And I think it’s shoes more than the length or style for my bottom half, as to whether I look dumpy or not. (also what’s actually wrong with being dumpy???)
A shorter top often looks much better proportionately, than a longer one, too. Unless it’s a tunic of course.

Lots of food for thought here…


7 Responses to “Sewing assessment coz I have no idea what I’m doing”

  1. Katherine February 7, 2020 at 2:46 pm #

    That looks like an interesting set of questions. I need to do something like this.


    • Tropical Threads February 7, 2020 at 5:39 pm #

      I’d love to read your version!

      It’s helped me a lot ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve got a much better idea where I can tweak things to close that gap between sewing loves and wardrobe loves.

      Mind you I think I could do with a questionnaire about why I buy what fabric – and patterns. I’m drowning in patterns *meep* Perhaps I should come up with a questionnaire for why I buy what I buy of these. Hmmm….


  2. Alex February 7, 2020 at 11:09 pm #

    Maybe you just aren’t meant to sew basics if you hate doing it. Even though you wear them most often. I rarely sew black garments because it bores me to work with so much black fabric. As for trousers, try on a variety of styles or maybe use My Body Model to try out different patterns on your body until you find the one that looks right to you?


    • Tropical Threads June 21, 2021 at 6:12 pm #

      I must have never seen this comment at the time.

      I reckon I’m not! My biggest problem is RTW trousers just don’t fit me comfortably. Hence sewing my own.

      But over a year later I’ve been thinking and working on how to make the sewing of basics less onerous and I’m sort of getting there.

      I’m with you on sewing black. So boring! It’s interesting just how much the fabric itself is so inspiring. Or so… not.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Judy July 29, 2020 at 9:42 am #

    Hello Tropical Threads,

    I haven’t read your blog for ages (or read any blogs actually!) so I am bingeing your back catalogue.

    That set of questions is really good so I am going to take them and try to see a way forward for me. I totally relate to the feeling overwhelmed by the stash. And I certainly don’t need to acquire any patterns or fabric or notions to create! But I need to create to keep myself sane. But I like everything to be nicely organised to do that. And therefore I end up going around in circles not creating anything.

    Re your comments on trousers. Have you tried a cropped palazzo pant in linen/cotton/any natural fiber? There are lots and lots of patterns out there. It is all about the fit around the waist/hips which is certainly within your skill set and who cares if “they” think you are too short to wear them! If you love it, you’ll rock it.

    Now, back to reading your back catalogue……


    • Tropical Threads July 29, 2020 at 8:21 pm #

      Hi Judy! I just made a post yesterday actually! I’m getting more into it again as I have stopped teaching for the time being. There might be more back catalogue in a few months as I play catchup!

      I found these questions sooo good to help me. LOL, your not needing any more patterns etc. omg so true for so many of us:-(

      I’ll be interested to see how you go with the questions. Report back!

      Actually that was the answer I came up with regarding trousers. I have a few patterns. I was struggling to get a good look till a friend of mine highlighted I wasn’t dropping the crotch down far enough to match my own crotch depth. Which I’ve never got an accurate measurement of. Sitting to measure doesn’t work. I’m squishy! If you know of an affordable alternative to the fancy ruler here, let me know!


      • Judy July 30, 2020 at 10:10 am #

        Hello again,

        I’ll let you know how I go with a plan. God knows, I need one. We are about to move house and was packing my sewing room last night, I spent more time petting my stash and rediscovering fabric than actually packing!

        I have one of those rulers, a left over from my (VERY long ago) school days and being taught to draft patterns. It was what they taught girls in Home Economics. Who knew pattern drafting, meal planning and being able to touch type are some of my most useful skills! I would go to Bunnings and get a builders one now. All my sewing rulers are from Bunnings.

        Good luck and I look forward to reading about your pants making adventures ๐Ÿ™‚


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