Saturday, December 31, 2016

Top Five Reflections and Goals, 2016

To finish off 2016, I'm taking a moment to reflect back on the sewing year and to set some goals for the next.

 image via British Library flickr stream


  • Having a #sewingfail (or 3 in a row) really cramped my sewing style this year. I have to keep on without letting non-successful projects get me down.

  • When I enter contests or even sew-alongs I get sewing block - I don't think they are for me!
  • But, I also need a workplan so I always have a project in the queue. That way I will always have the next thing ready to pick up and won't waste time procrastinating on making a decision about what to start!
via Library of Congress flickr stream


1. Use my stash. My experience of having to move my sewing supplies out of my sewing area and back this fall meant I really experienced how much I have in my stash. I could sew all year without buying a single piece of fabric. That's most likely not going to stop me from doing so, but, I am aiming to use more stash than I add this year.

2. Make something for my husband. I've been promising him something for a while now, so it's time to bite the bullet and start a menswear project (thinking of Vogue 8987 right now)

3. Watch my Craftsy classes! I've probably got about 20 classes and have only watched 5 all the way though. Time to get busy with the learning!

4. Keep learning new skills - see #3!

5. Tangential to my sewing goals is a desire to improve my blog layout and photography skills. This one is a nonessential but one I still want to try to get to.

Musician June Christy sewing, via Library of Congress flickr stream

So that's what my sewing year looks like in retrospect, and I'm hoping when I do this exercise next year I'll be able to reflect that I've met some of these goals.

Wishing you all the best ever sewing year ahead!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top Five Hits & Misses of 2016

Well, since I've hardly been blogging this year, I'm going to jump back in with Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow's Top Fives project.

For my first post, I'm combing my hits and misses. 

As for the hits, even though I didn't really sew all that much this year, I made some wonderful pieces. My favourites, as usual, are mostly dresses! These are all pieces that I've worn a lot and feel comfortable in, both for their fit and their style. Some were learning experiences that went well, some were easy makes that I immediately loved.

McCalls 7351 - my first shirtdress!

The Sally Shirtdress by Sew Serendipity

Colette's knit Moneta

Stretch & Sew's Cowl Neck Blouson #305

And the outlier, the True Bias Sutton Blouse

As for misses, well, I've documented a couple of disasters this year. My attempt at the Sew House Seven Mississippi Top was not a success, partly because of fabric and partly because the style didn't suit me. That was quickly followed up by the debacle of McCalls 7115, an oversize dress that looked terrible on me & went straight to the upcycle pile. And then, there was my next dress project, Vogue 1499, which I tried making from a beautiful rayon challis but which was the third cursed project in a row and I couldn't even take photos I was so bummed by it. Because of the fabric it's also in the upcycle pile now.

The 'miss' that isn't terrible but that I just have not worn more than once is my Simplicity 1317 luxe sweatshirt. It's just not really my style at all. Plus the gathers at the front neckband make me nuts.

And lastly, the only other real "miss" of the year is the fact that I hardly did any sewing, relatively speaking. Busy days at work, lots of extra projects, and a lengthy loss of sewjo really affected my sewing this year. While my own life was pretty average and stable, world events really exhausted me and reduced my motivation for much of the year.

And I miss it! Hopefully I won't have the same missing sewjo in 2017. And that there will be even more hits in the new year.

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Literal Elephant in the Room

What is the elephant in the room? This dress, clearly. It's a whole herd of them!

Another elephant in the room is the resistance a sewist can feel to sewing. When does your life-giving hobby begin to feel like a terrible burden? Sometimes. Sometimes when I am expected to do something, no matter how much I want to, I procrastinate, put off, ignore. And sometimes when I'm sewing it feels like I'm "off", like everything I make is a disaster.

That level of perfectionism and performance anxiety almost kept me from completing this dress. Despite the fact that I loved this pattern (Vogue 9201) and this super-cute lightweight cotton (who can resist marching elephants?) and that Fabricville offered me this choice as my next blogger project and thus I felt the obligation to get it made up, I felt a lot of resistance to actually getting to work. But, taking the advice for this feeling of resistance in another field, writing, I finally tackled this dress "bird by bird"... or perhaps elephant by elephant.

There were some issues with making it: I had to unpick and redo all the bodice buttonholes at least once; I basted up a sleeve and then realized it was too long so had to trim both sleeve pieces at the shoulder and resew them; and when I got to the side zip I realized I didn't have any 14" navy invisible zips, and there were none to be found anywhere at all in town. So I switched it to an enclosed lapped zip (using the instructions in my trusty Readers Digest Guide to Sewing), and that ended up working very nicely in the end. There is also a fair bit of hand stitching on this pattern so it did take a bit longer to finish.

Thankfully, I made a bodice muslin -- I had to shorten it in bodice and skirt, and make a swayback adjustment -- finally the muslin fit, and I cut my fabric... whew. I seem to have got the fitting right on this one. This Vogue pattern is a good one, though, with lots of techniques but a straightforward construction process, and I learned tons making it up. It has nice details that make it a satisfying project, and fun to wear now that it's done.

Anyway, to see more and get the deets, check out my blog for Fabricville about this challenging project!

And now, onward and upward with Christmas sewing :)