Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Kid's Clothes Week 'Wild Things' Summary

So I've already blogged about the three garments I made for last week's KCW challenge, so sadly no new discoveries in this post, I'm afraid. However, I'd like to post a little summary on my thoughts and experiences from the challenge, and learn any lessons there are for me to take away. 

My favourite bits:
  • The challenge gives participants the permission to prioritise our creative endeavours. I think it's fair to assume that most of the participants of this challenge are parents. And therefore I'm going to assume that many of us usually find our hobbies get pushed to the bottom of the 'things to do' list. This challenge encourages (no, insists) that we make time for it every-single-freakin-day for a whole week. I'd argue that the mental health benefits of that are massive.
  • Seeing what other participants have created is mind-blowing! If you sign up as a part of the community, you are able to view all the projects uploaded to the site, but even if you don't sign-up, you can enjoy a wealth of kid's sewing inspiration in the daily summary posts on their blog
  • I'm really pleased with the actually garments I made. They are not without their flaws (for more details, please read the individual posts for the lightning flash sweatshirt, leopard trousers and fawn pinafore dress), but generally they have come out more or less as I envisaged them and I'm proud of my achievements.
  • I love making stuff using fabric from my stash and/or reusing unwanted garments, and all three of these projects included elements of both upcycling and stash busting. In fact, the only thing I needed to buy all week was a reel of pink thread for the lightning flaw appliqué.  

My least favourite bits:
  • Forgive the sob story, but this season's challenge came at an exceptionally busy time for me. I had a heap of sample sewing for the Village Haberdashery and Me-Made-May organisation to do, on top of normal childcare, teaching and other activities. Which made taking part way more stressful than it has been previously, although I know that taking part was a choice and no one made me sign up. 
  • Because of the above, I kind of had to cheat in order to take part. I actually planned, prepped and cut out my projects a couple of weeks before, and actually stitched the two knit garments the week before the 'official' KCW. I feel a bit rubbish about that. I like the idea of everyone taking part simultaneously and I feel I spoiled that element of the challenge this time. 
  • Linked to the above, I found trying to squeeze in photo sessions and blogging about the garments  a bit of an added pressure as well. It's a double-edged sword though, because posting and sharing creations as, or close to when, the challenge is taking place feels more like full participation to me, although obviously that part isn't the 'real' challenge. 

Lessons learnt:
  • Keep taking part! Even when the week coincides with an extra busy patch in my life, not taking part would have felt rubbish. I love the productivity, the excuse to really focus on an area of sewing that is currently bringing me so much joy AND being part of new-to-me section of the sewing community. 
  • Keep making stuff that involves stash busting and refashioning/upcycling existing garments. It's such a thrill to make useful stuff without any spends. 
  • Make more stuff with animals on it! Dolores really engages with pictures of animals more than anything else at the moment. 

Lessons still to be learnt:
  • I'm not sure how to approach the community sharing and blogging aspect. I know it's not the point of the challenge, just as it isn't the point of Me-Made-May. But to me it feels important, integral even. Maybe it'll be fine next time and it won't even be an issue if the challenge coincides with a quieter period of my on and offline life. 


Gillian said...

Hehehe - I"m so relieved that you cheat the rules sometimes too! Every MMM there is one day when I just CANNOT feel excited to wear what I had planned, and I break my pledge instead. But that's the beauty of self-imposed challenges - I think we'd be silly to make ourselves unhappy just to stick slavishly to the rules! You made great clothes, had fun sewing, your daughter likes them... that's win, win, win!

Alysa said...

Aww, the people who take part in KCW seem like a pretty nice bunch - I'm sure they TOTALLY understand needing to fudge things a bit (but it's really sweet that you feel bad about it!). I LOVE the pinafore dress in particular, especially the addition of the applique. I have an unfulfilled yen to make pinafore dresses as I have a little boy and don't really want to impose that lifestyle choice on him :) You asked in an earlier post whether anyone had made dropped crotch trousers and how their children got on with them - I made some a bit similar to yours from either the same or another very recent issue of Ottobre (they're the ones worn with the dino hoodie in the magazine). The crotch is probably not as low as on the pattern you used, but it doesn't bother him or get in the way at all (he's 2 1/2).
PS, Dolores is so adorable!

Kristi said...

So glad you've crossed over into KCW sewing! I think the photo/blogging part is the hardest. My kids get tired of the repeated photo taking, so I usually have to let some of it slide (and just post on instagram). My favorite part of KCW is the community. This is my first year participating in MMM, can't wait to see what you ladies (are there any men?) are up to!

Louise Perry said...

KCW is fun I really enjoyed it this time around. I have got two boys shorts on the blog but my third item is still un -photographed as Immy had a bad cold and now I am horribly ill! I sort of feel that I've left it a bit late to include the dress now. Especially as some people have finished items photographed and up from day 1

Vanessa J Turner said...

Zoe, don't be hard on yourself.
You made some great clothes for Dolores and you had fun doing it. That's the main thing.

Jo H. said...

I love all the stuff you made for KCW! It's all really 'you' as well as looking fab on Dolores - I hope she gets lots and lots of wear out of them! The joining in bit is definitely both the most fun and the most difficult part of these things isn't it - but basically as long as you're more or less enjoying yourself,I reckon it's all ok :-) I've more or less given up trying to actually participate in KCW weeks, but I think it gets easier as the kids get older to sew things for them as 'real projects' in between my other sewing - clothes for them now are basically the same as clothes me but much quicker to make! The community aspect is so great when they're little though!

Kathryn said...

This is a great roundup & analysis. I agree totally with you on the mental health benefits, it's so hard to find the time to sew sometimes but it feels so good when you do! I wouldn't beat yourself up about preparing in advance, I just assumed everyone did it! I had all my t-shirts, 2 pairs of shorts & a shirt cut out beforehand - I just isn't get enough time in the week to sew them all! And more animals are definitely in my sewing future too!

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