Hello there! This post is a tad (like a lot) on the late side as it’s already over halfway into January, but I just haven’t gotten around to finishing it. It’s a sort of mixture of the last 3 categories (Goals, Reflections and Highlights) in Gillian’s Top 5 series – you can read about my Top 5 Hits and Top 5 Misses in the series already. I just got home and have spent the last week taking down Xmas decorations and unpacking and all those fun (not) kinds of things. I’m determined to get the post done though, because the equivalent post last year and in 2017 have actually been super helpful in clarifying what I’ve achieved and would like to achieve.
It’s not that I’m trying to climb some sewing Mount Everest of ambition, but I am a very enthusiastic sewer of all. the. things. – as you may have noticed – and it really doesn’t take much to distract me, whereupon things can get a little mentally messy. Plus, I find I quite like lists in my old age. So there we are.
ALRIGHT! LET’S DO THIS! (Be warned: this is a long post)
First: how did 2018 go? Did you do much sewing?
I made a couple of charts to make this somewhat easier on the eye. I made a total of 66 items in 2018, which is fewer than I thought, but seems like a good number to me. Of these, 12 were gifts, 7 were for my son and 3 were for my husband. That leaves 44 items for myself, but includes items like socks and underwear, and batch sews like tees and leggings. I don’t really shop RTW any more, with a few exceptions, so I think this is actually okay for a year.
As mentioned, I sewed a variety of items and the point I made above is illustrated well here in that 20 of my 66 items fall under “other”. Of the regular garment types, I’m quite happy with the proportions going on. One of my goals for 2018 was to make trousers and I made 6 pairs, so I’m chuffed with that. I’d like to make a few more blouses this year and I’m surprised I only made 4 jumpers – it feels like more.
The final chart I made up was a tree graph for the pattern designers I used. The larger the rectangle, the higher the number of patterns I used from them. I used this type of chart because it was the only one that showed all the different patternmakers in any sort of reasonable visual manner. Which tell you most of what you need to know: I like to use patterns from lots of different pattern designers. And most of them are indie, unsurprisingly. I certainly have nothing against the Big 4, but I’m just drawn to indie patterns it seems.
Did you meet your 2018 goals?
Look, I’m not someone who holds myself to ransom over goals. I’m not going to beat myself up for not meeting some arbitrary task I listed on a post a year ago. Sewing is my hobby – it’s supposed to be enjoyable. I know some people do find this kind of thing a bit stressful, but I don’t get too worked up about it. Nevertheless, I have found it useful to set some goals. It gives me a little purpose and so far it’s worked out pretty well for guiding my progress in some way. So let’s see how I did on what I listed this time last year:
1. Take better photos: Well, there you go – I sort of forgot about this one. Good start. Having said that, I think my photos have improved this year. They’re more consistent in terms of backdrop and my details shots are a little better. They do still need work, but for that I probably need a better camera (I use my phone like most bloggers I guess). I still need to check out Gillian’s photo series on Crafting a Rainbow.
2. Continue efforts to be social and keep writing: This is the one goal I fulfilled 110%. I met a million sewists this year (or so it seems). First, the Seattle Sews group started up in March and so I have met so many, nice, nice people through that group. I organised a couple of meetups myself and am in the process of organising a sewing trivia quiz in the next few weeks, which should be fun ( I realise it sounds like it could potentially be a snoozefest, but it won’t be! I promise!).
Secondly, I organised the first Seattle Frocktails this year. I’d been thinking about doing something for a while, and finding so many local sewing friends took this project to another level. I formed a planning group with five other lovely ladies and we launched the event in October 2018, with 120 sewists in attendance. We had fantastic support from the sewing community and it was a LOT of fun. It was also a lot of work, but I’m so happy I did it.
I continued doing a little writing for the Sewcialists blog, which has gone from strength to strength this year, which is no surprise to me, with the fabulous Gillian at the helm. I have another little piece coming up for the menswear theme month, so watch out for that. In addition I became a member of Liesl Gibson’s Advisor’s Circle, which has been such a wonderful learning experience. The other sewists in this group are SO knowledgeable that I learn a lot just from being in on their conversations. I’ve undertaken some fun projects for the Oliver + S blog and added some cool garments to my wardrobe at the same time.
Aside from that, I’ve met and made new friends in the sewing circle just by interacting on social media – and while social media can be a but of a poisoned chalice at times – overall, I’m so thankful that such technology is around to help us. If used in the right way, it can make such a positive difference to people’s lives.
3. Focus on my existing fabric collection: So I did fairllllyyyy well with this. I managed with a self-imposed fabric ban for the first 6 or 7 months of the year and only relented on special real-life occasions (Sew Expo, Seattle Sews fabric trips) and then at the end of the year. I’m not sure in the end I made much of a dent in my stash, but I didn’t really increase it either. So I guess that’s something.
4. Start Christmas presents earlier: Yes! I did this, but I had to (it still counts, right?). I left to go home in mid-December, so I actually was more organised this year because of that. Still didn’t make everything I wanted to, but I suspect that will never happen!
5. Finally, finish off some UFOs: Total fail. I don’t think I finished a single one, lol. Ah well. This is the part where I don’t beat myself up and set it again for next year (see below).
Specific challenges and stuff
If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ll know I love to take part in the odd sewing challenge. Here’s a little summary:
I came up with two Make Nine grids this year: one for me and one for my husband, after Allie Jackson started #menswearmakenine. I didn’t do terribly well with mine, but most of the patterns I didn’t make are still on my list and I’ve actually started two more of them. I just ran out of time really.
I was more successful with my husband’s Make 9. Having fewer choices actually works for this challenge as you don’t get distracted by new sparkly pattern. And hey – if you add his 5 and my 4, you get – MAKE NINE! YAY!
Project Sew My Style
I had a feeling I hadn’t made many of these 12 projects, so was fairly surprised when I checked this month and realised I had made almost all of them! Not only that, some of these projects were some of my favourite makes of the year. All this is a good thing, because I’m one of the leaders for 2019, so let’s hope we can keep the standard up!
Me Made May 2018
I took part again and it was just as valuable as the first year. This is one of my favourite challenges and I will definitely do it again in 2019.
Design Your Wardrobe
Finding my style and refining my wardrobe is an ongoing work-in-progress and I decided to give Seamwork’s Design Your Wardrobe programme a shot early in 2018. It really was quite revelatory and gave me insights into my wardrobe I wasn’t expecting.
So what about next year Claire? Wotcha going to do in 2019?
Well, I have a few goals for next year:
Stashbusting: First things first – I, like many other crafters, need to get my stash under control. I’m not going to lie – I enjoy my fabric. I like looking at it, stroking it, daydreaming over what I can make with it. It’s sort of creepy. But, nevertheless, my stash is pretty large – and it needs some serious culling. I gave some away last year at various fabric swaps (but of course always manage to find some too), but this year:
- I’m going to be 100 yards lighter by the end of 2019. And that doesn’t include anything I buy/obtain, which is additional. So if I buy 20 yards, I need to be 120 yards lighter. I’m trying to be 100 yards down on my current stash. That can be #sewmystash or giving it away. It doesn’t matter.
UFO alert: Yes, so this was something of a fail last year. I don’t actually have too many unfinished makes, but I want to either finish them this year, or recycle the fabric. I can do it.
Work on my wardrobe: I really enjoyed the Design your Wardrobe process from Seamwork last year. I’ll probably take part in another one this year and I want to continue to extend my search for a cohesive wardrobe that feels like me. I downloaded the Your Closet app for my phone and have begun taking pics of all the clothes I think should stay in my wardrobe to try and be more efficient when it comes to creating outfits.
I might also try and do the 10 x 10 challenge at some point. I like the essence of this simple process and think it might give me another perspective on my clothes.
Take some specific classes: I’d like to up my skills again this year. I’ve been quite adventurous in terms of style and designer in my sewing so far, but I’d like to improve my finishing and intermediate skills. I’ve signed up for a couple of hacking and finishing classes already and will be on the lookout for ways to improve my techniques.
Be more specific in my choices: Again, that word: specific. I think in order to achieve the level of cohesion I’m after in my wardrobe, or at the very least get closer to, I have to be a little more focused in my choice of fabric and pattern. I’m quite a spontaneous person and I don’t want to necessarily curb that so much, but just try to choose projects with an eye on the bigger picture.
So, for example, for Make Nine 2019 I’ve given myself more flexibility, in order to be more choosy (I know that sounds contradictory, but I think it will help)
I’ve decided to go for fabric and magazines/books instead of individual patterns this year. The fabric is rather specific I suppose, but I plan to choose a pattern from any issue of the magazines or books named, which should give me some scope. I’ll try to take this thought through other months this year and let’s see where we end up!
Wow – an epic post. If you made it this far – congratulations. You’re made of strong stuff. What about you? What are your plans for this year? Let me know in the comments and then I can nick some of your ideas. 😀 xx