Showing posts with label Year in Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Year in Review. Show all posts


2018 Reflections

Hard to believe we are already into 2019, and before much more time goes by I wanted to try and wrap-up 2018.   Overall 2018 was a good year for me.
 Faux Fur Jacket, Top, Skirt
It felt like the year began a little sluggishly until I found my footing with BurdaStyle magazine patterns.  The Burda Challenge 2018 worked well for me and not only did I make 12 new Burda garments but found sewing with those patterns and instructions, or lack thereof!, really helped my skillset grow.  Confidence too.  Their patterns fit me with little modifications.  I will definitely continue to sew more Burda patterns.

Ottobre was another favorite this year.  This designer's patterns also fit me well straight off the page.  My Easter Dress and accompanying little Jacket have the best fit I've ever achieved in a sheath dress and accompanying jacket.  7 Ottobre garments were made this year.
A project I enjoyed immensely was Kate at Fabrickated's 'Dress Like Frida Sewalong'.   A project that truth-be-known I was not interested in at all..... became one of my most favorite learning experiences of all this year.  A Humanities Class of learning all wrapped up in a top and skirt.  So very much enjoyed learning about Frida Kahlo, the artist.... her life and her art.  Achieved a top that's been worn constantly and a suede Big Valley type skirt that is only just now beginning to see wear.
Ode to Frida Kahlo - the story in dress
An interesting project, enjoyable to make but has rarely been worn was from another sewing challenge begun with lackluster enthusiasm to support a couple of my IG friends #SewingSansFrontieres using a free 'pattern' of measured rectangles.  I want to like this dress but the reality is that it is not comfortable to wear as the neck pulls up and the hemline looks wonky in the front, yet registers 'even' when I try to correct it.
Stitch Sisters Free Caftan
Another IG challenge I enjoyed was #sewtogetherforsummer.  At first I was not going to participate until I realized Ottobre's Faux Wrap dress was in the queue, and this challenge's prompt was a wrap dress.  Win!  This dress is a fun little summer dress to wear.   Seems I have a little trouble getting excited about sewing challenges, and then enjoy them once I'm on board!
Not sure I ever showed this on the blog, but #sewingagogo IG's challenge one week (that's another challenge that was fun!) was "wild at heart" and this is just about as 'wild' as I get these days as I'd just returned from a workout at my local YMCA and thought the 'wildness' was quite clever. ;)  Ha!  Quote from my IG page:

  • 1) my daughter informs me that in the sea of black and gray workout pants, my leggings are pretty wild. Yep. True! 😁
  • 2) For this #over50 gal ‘Journey’ is my exercise playlist, complete with wireless Skullcandy earbuds. I have a 💀 in my 👂 and still love classic rock ‘n roll! 😁
  • 3) The ponytail is crooked and glad IG doesn’t have smellavision. 🤣

Top, Leggings
Overall I participated in 8 sewing challenges during 2018 between here, on the blog, and IG.  'Make a Garment a Month Challenge' is always at the top of the list as I consider Sarah Liz a dear friend and whose lovely challenge I've been a part of since 2013.  She's mixing things up for 2019 and am excited about the new changes. 
Another biggie that I always look forward to is Me-Made-May and 2018 marked my 5th year there.  THAT was always a huge goal of mine to 'someday' be able to do, back in the beginning days of making my clothes, and this year there were very few repeats (Yay!!) and a photo every day.  You can review all that in Days 1-15 here, and Days 16-31 here if you like.
In the middle of my social media break, my sweet friend Ellen, from Ellen's Sewing Passion, asked if I'd participate in her 2018 Sewing Advent Calendar she was hosting at her blog.  She would be featuring one of her international sewing friends on each day of December.  I could not say 'Yes!' fast enough!!!  I've admired Ellen and her awesomely creative work for years now and the idea that she would think of me as a friend just sort of blew me away.  If you are not familiar with her, please check out her blog to see all her amazing creations.  She lives in Norway and was part of Norway's televised Sewing Bee.  The majority of her work uses Burda patterns..... with some Japanese draping techniques she's learned.  She's also been doing quite a bit of refashioning lately and it's amazing how she pulls those together.  Let's just say I'd love to own her closet!!!  Anyway I'm on Day 20 if you'd like to check that out.  :)
Then sometime during 2018 LifeStride Shoes picked up one of my photos and ran it on all their social media outlets.  I.was.floored!!!  I really appreciate how LifeStride supports their consumers in this fun way.  Btw, these Parigi Pumps were purchased a few years ago and they really are the comfiest, nicest pumps to wear.
Top, Skirt (unblogged still)
And my entire 2018 Gallery of Work can be found here for those interested.  Well, pretty much all the garments I've made and blogged about are there. 

A rabbit trail of projects began when the weather began to change and my hands would get sooooo cold.  When my hands get cold, I'm cold all over.... and eventually I became so miserable I looked into the makings of a rice pack.  An afternoon was all it took to make a couple of rice packs for myself out of 100% cotton flannel, filled with long-grain white rice.  And boy why did I wait so long!! Microwave for @1 minute and you've got moist heat that lasts a lot longer than one might think.  These are fun to make and as Christmas drew near, thought they'd make great Christmas presents.
And that's what happened when I took my little social media break..... 'making'.  Making all sorts of non-garment stuff.  Dog collars, leashes, key fobs, and rice packs for gifts.  Not to mention baking goodies to put in those long-distance gift boxes too.
Made around 10.... probably more.... of these rice packs, below.  These measure 6" x 12", are out of 100% cotton flannel and filled with white long-grain rice that had Peppermint Oil added.  It was fun to use some of my decorative stitches for the channels.
A super fun dog collar(s), leash(es) and key fob(s) set to make, below, went to my college roommate so her pups could show their school spirit.  I made a couple of other seasonal sets for family member's pups and bad blogger that I am.... neglected to take any photos.
Also sometime in there I was asked by Suzi's groomer if I could make her face masks out of fabric.  She is allergic to dog dander and was tired of using the paper ones readily available and was having trouble sourcing ones made of fabric.  At first it took me a bit to figure things out, and kind of 'over-thought' fabric content vs. usefulness..... but in the end made her around 10 or more out of 100% cotton fabric lined with same.  Such a fiddley, fiddley project but she loves them and uses them and it was a wonderful feeling to be able to provide her with something she really needed.  It was fun to order the doggie fabric from an Etsy supplier who was so nice that once she found out I needed such small pieces of fabric, she threw in her doggie scrap prints for free.  Hair elastics were finally decided upon as 'perfect' for the ear elastic.  I may write a blog post at some time as others might be interested to see how these were done.  We'll see. 
These 2 Melly Sews Blank Slate Patterns free t-shirt pattern below, were made and never blogged.  She does her free patterns a little different in that after you subscribe to her e-mail newsletter, she sends you a link to access the pattern.  No problem there.  But her free patterns are only sized to her body measurements and the instructions are all in a YouTube video.  Not written/illustrated out per se.  The way she has you apply the V-neck facing was a little different.  Again, no problem, but I had to keep stopping and starting the video to work through those steps.  Also, my measurements are pretty much the same as hers.... but she must be reeeaaallllly teeny tiny as my first version was too small.  More like an XS.  Thinking it just needed a bit of tweaking and all would be good, the second one is also too small.  More like a S.  In the end not sure if I'll make this again as it seems with more analysis, the width from the neckline to the shoulder seams are super narrow and now you're getting into modifying the pattern in a way I'm not sure I want to do when there are other T-shirt patterns in le pattern stash.  So we shall call these a learning opportunity.
Anyway, back to the 2018 Summary.  Kind of got a little fancy this year with a chart, so you can better see how the year worked out.  A total of 33 garments were made and that is comparable to 2017.  Kind of surprised as thought I'd made more this year.  Maybe it's because 37 non-garments makes were made that kept me pretty busy?!  ;)

Burda Magazine
Ottobre Design Woman
Itch to Stitch
Stitch Sisters
Blank Slate T-shirts
Non-Garment Makes



Dog Collars
Dog Leashes
Key Fobs
Face Masks
Rice Packs
But what I most want to share with all of you, is a very grateful Thank You.  Thank You for reading along and being a part of this amazing journey.  Sewing is a hobby for me and little did I know, 5 short years ago, that it would bring me such Joy in unique opportunities and precious friendships all over the world.  It is so much a part of my life, I cannot see myself wearing anything but handmade garments now. 
Top, Shorts
I'll be back soon with plans for 2019.
Atop Sassafras Mountain. South Carolina's highest peak.
rtw jacket, AC inspired top underneath, Ottobre pants
Happy Sewing All!  :)


2017 Reflections

It's always interesting to review the previous year's works at the end of each year, but this year, instead of waxing and waning about each and every make as I usually do, I'll simply summarize with a few of my favorites, like the Itch to Stitch white twill shorts and NewLook 6108 sleeveless cowl top photo below, and tally everything at the end.
The most worn garment hands-down this year was the Burda Hoodie.  This, from a person who thought she hated hoodies.  Ha! Need to make another as this is worn constantly from outerwear to comfywear.... it is perfect.  Shown below, as it kicked off the first day of Me-Made-May 2017 with one, of the 4 versions, of the Itch to Stitch shorts.
The Lyocell White top, McCalls 7509, has been in strong rotation too with its not-quite-sleeveless sleeves it works well on its own with a bit of shoulder coverage, and slips under jackets and cardis easily in the cooler weather.  Am finding I love the shawl collar and should probably make another top or two from this pattern.
The Burda fur coat!!!  A show-stopper whenever I wear it!!  Love it!  So warm lined with the black fleece.  2017 was the year my husband took me back 'home' to sweet home Alabama, my home state, for our anniversary trip to include a day spent at Alabama Chanin.  Great trip!
Earlier this year my sweet Australian friend Carolyn, who blogs at Handmade by Carolyn, sent me a special package full of hand-painted fabric, Australian tea, botanical garden cup, chocolate and the Megan Nielsen Axel Skirt Pattern.  I haven't shown you the hand-painted fabric yet because I haven't had enough courage to cut into the precious piece!  But have had great fun with this cute skirt pattern making it below, as per pattern instructions......
.....and another heavily modified version eliminating all negative ease and adding pockets.  Have not blogged about this one yet.
Love the cute Simplicity 4192 coral top and wear it lots.
Haven't had a chance to blog about the Garment Bag I made.  Loved using this to carry my handmade garment entries to the South Carolina State Fair.
Speaking of the SC State Fair..... such fun!  Imagine all three entries receiving blue ribbons!!  This was my first year of entering garments in any fair/competition like this.
Interesting the Pilvi Coat has not been worn, nor enjoyed as much as I thought it would be, though I love the fabric today as much as ever.  A piece of this lovely Dandelion fabric was shared with Carolyn and she made a stunning dress!  Love her work and she is always so gracious to share her knowledge.
First year to sew a Christmas Dress in time to actually wear to Christmas festivities!  Love this!  And a big 'Thank You'!!! to all who voted for my entry during Linda's Designin' December 2017 challenge as the dress won a pattern from Jennie at Sense & Sensibility Patterns.  I chose the 1940s Swing Dress Pattern and will talk more about that in 2018.  Thank you both Linda and Jennie for this fun challenge!   Anyway, find I'm wearing this dress constantly on these cold days and want to make more fit 'n flare type dresses
This was my 4th year to participate in Me-Made-May 2017, and I took 31 out of 31 days of 'daily' photos!!!  THAT, in and of itself, was a HUGE accomplishment for me... not to mention I finally have enough handmade clothes to not have repeat upon repeat.  Again used the month of May to work on bettering my photography skills and photo-editing skills and enjoyed a couple of outings with my family that a 'need' for a MMM2017 photo created.  That's a nice 'bonus'!
2017 marks my third year on Instagram and I couldn't resist posting a collage of my own personal favorites instead of IG's customary BestNine2017 that uses an algorithm to determine which posts were most 'liked'.  Participated in a couple of different challenges there this past year and will continue to be a part of that social media platform, but do find it's easy to spend way too much time there sometimes.
Again, participated (poorly) in sweet Sarah Liz's Make a Garment a Month again this year.  This might be the 4th year with MAGAM.  I'm making garments, but not always associated with the theme.  She has made a few changes to the guidelines this year and I'll be discussing that in an upcoming post.

Began a few items toward the end of 2017 that were finished in 2018... the vest below is one.  Man alive has this simple little thing been a skillset builder!  Flat-felled seams, including 2 in-seam pockets, plaid matching, all interior seams finished..... whew!  Hopefully will blog about this soon as I'm already wearing it lots.
Also unblogged.... a pair of flannel comfy pants and Orla Dress made for my daughter.  I put together a mini-video tutorial on IG about how super easy and quick it is to machine hem using the blind-hem stitch using this dress as an example.  Will try to put that up on ye olde blog sometime soon this year too.
There was also a 2nd pair of comfy flannel pants (could not find a photo) and a pair of comfy shorts made for my daughter too.  Even though she's 25 now, she loved the Classic Pooh fabric I used for her shorts.  One's never too old for Classic Pooh, right?!  I always like to include the little tag in the back and a pretty ribbon in the front on her elastic-waist shorts and pants.  I made a pair of flannel comfy pants for me and a pair of flannel comfy pants for Tom... unblogged and no photos.  Bad blogger, I know!!
Ooooookay, so let's do a round up tally.....
  • Blogged:
  • Tops - 10
  • Pants - 1
  • Shorts - 4
  • Jackets - 2
  • Dresses - 3
  • Skirts - 2
  • Quilts/Blankets - 2
  • Unblogged:  A total of 8 pieces
Total Handmade Makes for 2017 = 32

Ya' know, 32 is a good number for me!

What I've also been interested in is what pattern companies I've been using.  So let's see those numbers:
  • Burda:  6
  • Ottobre Design Woman:  5
  • McCall Pattern:  1
  • NewLook/Simplicity:  9  (most of these were elastic-waist comfy pants for me and my family)
  • Itch-to-Stitch:  4
  • Lotta Jansdotter:  1
  • Megan Nielsen:  2
  • Non-garment:  3
  • Orla Dress:  1
If you might be interested in seeing each and every item I've blogged about this year, with links to each project, be sure to visit the 2017 Gallery of Work page located in the sidebar.

If you've hung in there with me so far, thank you!  But especially thank you dear readers for reading my blog and writing kind, encouraging comments.  I love being a part of our wonderful international sewing community!

I'll be back soon with plans for 2018.

Happy Sewing Everyone!  :)


2016 Reflections

As a new year begins, it's always interesting to look back over the past year and sort of see where one 'was' vs. where one feels they are 'now'. 
Overall, I'd say this year has been a year of growth for me in not only skills improvement, but in a greater self-confidence in my abilities.  At the beginning of the year, I can remember the turtle feeling as I struggled in second-guessing every step of each project to such a degree it began to sort of suck the joy out of the sewing process.  But with each garment completion, there was that feeling of elation seeing my creation come to 'life' and the joy of wearing handmade garments that would push me on to begin another.  Then came the struggles, then the elation..... a vicious cycle within myself.  But somewhere toward the end of the year, it all just seemed to click.  Still taking time to evaluate each step, maybe even changing the approach because I'd learned how to do that step a better way..... but moving along and not allowing myself to become overwhelmed with the process.  And it feels really, really good. 

Made at year's end, the plaid McCall's M5252 jacket is a great example of my progress out of the cycle.  I'd been wanting to make that jacket for over a year and once it was decided it should be next in the queue, in the course of a very short period of time for me, I'd chosen fabric from my stash and dug in to such a degree that I even ran the collar stand through my machine (after pinning ever so carefully) and stitched a perfect stitch on both inside and outside right then and there.  Totally amazed myself at my newfound 'bravery'.
But I am getting ahead of myself here.  Let's go back to the beginning of the year where I was working on the NewLook 6261 sheath dress out of quilting cotton bird fabric to wear to my niece's wedding in February 2016. 
It was actually supposed to be a wearable muslin to work out all the kinks in the pattern so I could make the 'real' dress for my daughter's May graduation from college using the most gorgeous fabric in the world I'd received from my sweet, beautiful Australian friend Carolyn at the end of the 2015 year.
I made the bird dress in time for the wedding and sewed the coordinating Burda jacket in a mere 2 days!  Both were worn at the Florida wedding.  And when I arrived home, felt very honored that Simplicity Pattern Company picked up the first photo below, and ran it on their facebook feed.
But everytime I worked with Carolyn's precious fabric, a strange semi-paralysis took over as I was so frightened of ruining it I'd carefully put it away.... petting it from time to time.  In the meantime, I made a few more Plantains and another Burda jacket.  A pretty Toile de Jouy dress was finished in April using NewLook 6370.
Made 3 Ottobre 02/2015 no. 14 pants.....
.... and a linen Ottobre 2/2016 no. 10 shift dress that I love!
Then came a linen Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 top....
...and my hand-stitched Alabama Chanin top and skirt.
Meanwhile my beautiful daughter had graduated with honors from Clemson University.  I had to wear my bird print dress to her graduation.  Let me pause here a moment and say, her graduation was the biggest highlight of my (our!) year!  This bright and beautiful young lady was diagnosed with cancer the beginning of 2016, had surgery over her Spring break and graduated on time 2 months later.  Many, many people were praying for her and we are so very grateful the Lord answered our prayers and today she is healthy and cancer-free.  Love her so much.  Proud momma moment here wiping away a few tears.
Okay.... back to the subject matter..... somewhere after mid-year I decided that Carolyn's dress needed to be finished.  Carolyn is very dear to me and I admire and respect her so very much, and felt that I had been rude by the extreme delay in getting her dress done.  A sheath dress is not a hard dress to make, the trick is getting the fit just right..... and in my case I'd also never lined a dress properly before.... but it was done.... and I am so proud of my work and feel I did Carolyn and her beautiful fabric justice in the end.  In fact, when the dress was (finally!) completely finished, I cried.  It was a fantastic feeling.  Thank you Carolyn.
First wearing
'Official' outing
After completing Carolyn's dress, it just seemed everything started falling into place and I finished a put aside Yoshiko Tsukiori Frilled Bolero shortly thereafter.
NewLook 6374 has been worn to death and
 another NewLook 6192 basic skirt was made.
It was fun to make Ottobre's 05/2016 no. 15 'Like a Warm Hug' with its exposed serged rolled hem seams center front and center back.  I'll let you in on a little secret here..... I was trying to act all cool and nonchalant in the photo below, but was actually so stressed as there were *gasp* PEOPLE nearby!!!!  Still not comfortable about photos in public, but do force myself out of my comfort zone occasionally and take 'on location' shots with my camera and tripod.
Needing pants desperately made a pair of NL6216 gray cords and a slew of leggings from Ottobre's 05/2016 no. 9 Leggings.  LOVE these!!!
So overall I made 26 total garments.  25 for me and 1 for Melissa, so guess that means it was kinda a selfish sewing year.  1 Home Dec project of corduroy pillows with zip and not one single quilt.  The statistics came down to: 7 tops, 4 dresses, 3 jackets, 1 cardi, 9 pants and 2 skirts.  I also (poorly) participated in Make a Garment a Month for the 3rd year and want to do better with that sweet group in 2017.  Sarah Liz is our lovely moderator who I have enjoyed getting to know all these years.  I've only been sewing garments for myself since 2013 and joined her group shortly thereafter and found it a source of inspiration and motivation.  Also participated in Me-Made-May 2016 for the 3rd year and worked hard to take self-photos 28 of the 31 days of May and used that month to better my photography skills.  I cannot conclude without mentioning Instagram.  This was my 2nd year on IG and cannot even begin to express how much enjoyment, creative inspiration and sweet encouragement there is to be found in our wonderful sewing community via that social media outlet.

So that's it for 2016.  I want to thank you, dear readers, for reading my posts and following along as my hope might be to inspire you in some sort of creative way.  Looking forward to seeing what 2017 may bring.

Happy New Year!!
EDITED 1.4.2017:  the full 2016 Gallery of My Work can be viewed here with links to all posts written in 2016 with garment construction information:   2016 | GALLERY OF MY WORK