I’m leaving for Paris in just one week and I can’t wait! I haven’t been abroad in six years. It’s been eight since I’ve gone to Europe and 20 years since I’ve been to France! It’s a trip that I’ve been wanting to make for years and I’ve finally made the time to do it. Of course as soon as I booked the trip, I started thinking about what to pack and what to make.
My dream European vacation wardrobe is full of chic and comfortable handmade garments. I have exactly what I need for every occasion but have not overpacked at all. I did a lot of research on what I should pack for my two week adventure and started to compile my packing list. The list looks pretty much like the moodboard above (links right below this paragraph). The shoes and backpack are actually coming with me and I'm super excited about them. The shoes are all amazingly comfortable and the backpack can be converted into a shoulder bag. I really wish that I had time to make an organizer like the one in the photo that would hold all my electronics but I don't think I'll have enough time. C'est la vie!
Top row from left: Striped Top // Navy Tee // Chambray Skirt // Backpack // Sandals
Middle row: Green Pants // Flared Jeans // Chambray Dress // Striped Dress // Booties
Bottom row: Bra Top // Organizer // Keds // Leggings // Buttondown // Jacket
My sewing plans were going fairly well in the beginning. I chose 4 things to make: a Brumby skirt, Moji Pants, an Archer shirt and and Alder dress. It is quite worth noting that I had only made one of these patterns before and the fit was not right (the alder dress). I do not recommend an ambitious list plus untested patterns plus a time constraint.
My original plans were ambitious and yet I continued to add ideas to the list. Why? Because good ideas can not be left undone. Right? Yes and no. I realized as I drove to work a few days ago that I was putting way too much pressure on myself. There are things that one needs to worry about a little bit and take care of but I was piling on lots of other things that just don’t matter. Namely, wanting to make more things.
Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough time in the day/week/month to actualize everything I want make. And that’s really ok. As much as I like the idea of having a completely handmade wardrobe I know that it’s not realistic for me. If I find something in a store that fits me and my lifestyle perfectly, I’m probably going to buy it, especially if it’s good quality. I recently bought a pair of flared jeans that I love. I’ve also made flared jeans (check out my Birkin Flares here). And I love them too. But they also take a really long time to make. So, I bought myself a new pair of jeans. I wear them a few times a week and I’m seriously considering taking them on my trip. And one day I might trace the pattern and sew a copy. Or not. Because there are so many things to make!
I am a big planner. I have multiple to-do lists. I’ve tried all the time management apps. I’m constantly consulting my calendar and shuffling things around. The problem is I have so many things that I want to do that there is rarely a day when I can actually accomplish all of them. The list is never finished and lately it was starting to make me feel stressed. So I forced myself to go to plan B. Rather than making everything I want to make for the trip, I will make a plan and then sew as much as I can without being stressed about it. I have substitutes in my wardrobe for most of the things that I wanted to bring so I won't be going unclothed.
So, back to the sewing. I ordered fabric and set out to make the two easiest things first. (A great way to check some things off the list, btw.) I completed my Brumby Skirt with only minor fitting issues. Then I hit a snag with the Moji Pants. I had almost completely finished them when I discovered that they were too tight at the ankle to fit over my feet. I’ll do a full post on these pants in a few days but in short even though I did some mods to make them wearable they are not wearable enough to be a core wardrobe item. The good news is that they fit my mom so I’ll be giving them to her.
After that fail, I still really wanted a pair of peg leg pants. So I bought the Alexandria Trousers pattern from Named Clothing and more fabric. Exercising caution this time, I made a muslin. It went quite well and I’ve cut out another pair in green woven fabric. They are pretty quick to sew up and I'm hopeful that I will finish them quickly.
I have cut out the Archer but I don't think I'll have time to sew it in the next week. I still need to do an FBA adjustment to the Alder dress pattern and I’m not even going to think about that until I finish a few other projects. That dress is going on the someday list for now.
Before I had my realization, I added a few other things to my wish list: a woven Lou Box Top, the Virignia leggings and a cross back Watson bra. And if I wanted to travel completely handmade, I’d have to add the Lark Tee and Driftless Cardigan. I own both patterns but have yet to sew them. So for now, RTW will have to do.
The woven LBT is cut out and I’m pretty confident that I can sew it together in 2 to 3 hours but I don’t think I will have the time. Instead, I will pack a few extra knit t-shirts that will not be as prone to wrinkling. The Virginia Leggings pattern is printed and taped and the fabric is purchased and washed. I may make these because I know it will be a quick project but I’m really trying to resist adding more things to my to-do list.
I have spend the night before many a trip sewing late into the night. I love taking handmade things on a trip but it does have a knack for causing me stress. To add to the stress of wanting to sew a gajillion things I'm also trying to study French (I took it in school but need a big refresh) as well as work as much as possible. Do you sew things for your travels? Are you a night before the big event sewer? Share in the comments how you combine sewing and travel. By the way, I'll be taking a sock knitting project on the road with me. It's my favorite portable craft.