Thursday, 31 December 2020

2020

2020. It is tempting to sweep it under the rug and leap on into 2021 isn't it?! I wasn't going to post any New Year reflections and goals this year but after some time to sit and mull things over during the last few quiet days I thought it might be nice to mark the turning of the year with a post. I know the clock striking 12 this evening doesn't mean anything to some but I quite like the nudge once a year to take stock and make some plans for the year ahead. I've actually found it really helpful to look back over the year and take note of the positives, what I achieved this year and what I have been grateful for, however small they seem. I can now look back on 2020 as a success on some levels, despite the difficulties that have come with it. 

My Happy Little Sewing Space



One of the things I am continually grateful for is sewing! Both the time and means to create things with my hands and to be part of this wonderful online community which is a constant source of motivation and inspiration for me. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment on this blog this year and to engage with me on Instagram. It is an amazing thing to be able to connect with people all across the world who share this passion and to exchange resources and tips.

I always feel like a good way to start one of these posts is a quick run down of some of my favourite/most successful makes of the year. So here we go!

Vintage Tablecloth Refashion

I made this top from a vintage hand embroidered tablecloth to take part in this year's Refashioners challenge using the Ashton Tank from Helen's Closet as a rough starting point. It tops the list of my favourite projects of the year as it pushed me right out of my comfort zone and felt like a huge achievement for me. Having time to sew caused me to realise all over again how much I love challenging myself to try new techniques and playing around with patterns to add my own stamp and details.

Closet Core Patterns Blanca Flight Suit

This linen Blanca Flight Suit was definitely one of my most worn garments in 2020. Its not often a pattern jumps my queue but when Closet Core Patterns released this beauty I dropped everything to make it. It has been perfect for working at home, working in person and everything else in between. Considering it is quite a style statement I didn't think I'd need more than one in my wardrobe but a full length denim version is in the works.

Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

Hands up who loves Megan Nielsen's Dawn Jeans! I do! This black pair (and the Tessuti Hilary Top I'm wearing them with) haven't actually yet made it to the blog but are my third and most worn iteration of the pattern. I used a denim with a little bit of stretch for extra comfort and I wore them pretty much non stop until my ankles could take the winter chill no longer.

Fibre Mood Daniella Dress

I've had mixed success with Fibre Mood patterns so this Daniella Dress is the surprise hit of the year! I picked it as I needed a warm and comfortable dress to look presentable at work in and I had a piece of merino jersey lurking in my stash which seemed a good match. It is effortless to wear yet those Biba sleeves make it feel o so chic and it has been worn probably twice a week since I finished it. I may need another in a different colour...

Papercut Patterns Axis Dress

This Axis Dress was a bit of a frivolous sew as I had no need for a party dress this year but I'm so glad I made it! I finally feel like I've got the classic little black dress I've always wanted in my wardrobe. It manages to feel timeless yet modern at the same time. The cut is chic, the fabric is luxurious but it is effortless to wear. I'm developing a bit of a Papercut Patterns addiction... 

Haptic Lab Constellation Quilt

Other than these I was really proud to finish my Haptic Lab constellation quilt and loved making Poppy & Jazz Dandelion Dungarees for the many many babies born into my family and friendship groups this year. I experimented with various sewing techniques including shirring on my Sofia Dress and loved teaching my first private sewing lessons at the Fluff-a-torium here in Dorking.

Poppy & Jazz Dandelion Dungarees

As well as my love for Megan Nielsen, Closet Core and Papercut Patterns as documented above, I got hooked on patterns from Paper Theory and new pattern company Made Label this year. I already adored the popular Zadie Jumpsuit from Paper Theory (having now made three!) but after making a second pattern from this company earlier this year (the Olya Shirt) I've really come to appreciate the clever drafting, well thought out construction and unique style lines and details. I made the free Frankie Wrap Skirt from Made Label over the summer and was really impressed with not only the pattern and instructions but also the ethics of the company. They've since released a handful more designs which are all fun and packed with detail. I can't wait to make more of both of their designs in future. 

Made Label Frankie Wrap Skirt

The one thing that 2020 has provided a lot of is time at home. I tried to relax and enjoy the unexpected excess of time as well as make the most of it by doing all the things I usually wish I have time for like cooking new recipes, exploring the local countryside and of course sewing up a storm! I always end the year feeling like I should have carved out more sewing time, and after a (thankfully) busy end to the year at work this year is no different. However, discounting those last few months I actually sewed an awful lot - especially if you count around 35 sets of scrubs back in the Spring! During lockdown I did manage to get back to blogging more regularly but still quite a chunk of my sewing didn't make it on to this blog. I had no trouble finding the motivation to sew during the lockdowns but getting dressed up to take blog photos or sit at a computer to write a blog post was a real struggle. Feeling like I should be blogging can sometimes take the enjoyment out of the sewing a little for me. I'm going to try and take the pressure off myself a bit in 2021 and blog purely when I feel excited to share something rather than treating it as part of a routine. Not that I ever blog when I don't want to but I want it to be something I choose to do and enjoy. Going easy on myself in all areas of life is my main goal for the New Year. 

A more sewing orientated goal I have for 2021 is one that I see come up a lot - sew from my stash! When we went into the first lockdown here in the UK back in March I was actually quite excited to focus on working through the fabric in my stash...but didn't get very far! I've always had a fairly modest stash and have concentrated on buying fabrics with a project in mind - mainly due to lack of space to store it more than anything. I organised my stash last year and put together sample sheets so I could see clearly what I had in the hope that I would 'shop my stash' before turning elsewhere. Now is the time to put that into practice! 

Stash Organisation

I have a large bamboo hamper which I keep it all in and I must have acquired more fabric than I thought over the last year as it now doesn't fit! I've got a lot of fabric already assigned to projects, some special pieces which I've had for years waiting the for the perfect project to come along and some which were bought with a project in mind but I've since gone off the idea. There is a good variety and I think if I really put my mind to it there would be something suitable for most projects I dream up. I'm currently putting together my grid for the #makenine challenge and am trying to mainly include projects I already have fabric for. If I do need to buy fabric for a project I want to make more effort to look into the environmental and ethical credentials of the fabrics and suppliers and make sustainable choices. 

Victory Patterns Sofia Dress

Another specific sewing orientated goal for the year is to work on finessing fit, particularly when it comes to trousers. I think I do ok with fitting but most of the time feel like much of it is a touch of luck and I'm never really quite sure if I'm doing the right thing! I'd like to understand the principles of fitting better and try out lots of different alterations to identify the tweaks which commonly work for me. I'm really getting there when it comes to creating a handmade wardrobe which is well worn and loved and as I get to know my own style, colour and fabric preferences I definitely have a lot more hits than misses with my projects now than I used to. But I feel like really nailing the fit of a variety of garments will take the success of my sewing to that next level!

I always want to push my sewing skills to the max and try new things and will continue to do so but the main thing I want to get out of my sewing next year is ENJOYMENT! If there's one thing 2020 has taught me it is to find the joy in the small things. Sitting at my sewing machine really is my happy place and wearing the clothes I've made makes me feel great. 

10 comments:

  1. I can definitely relate to sewing being a happy place, and wearing the clothes so much fun. I’m so thrilled to finally have a hobby that results in something useful - wearable clothes! Much better than all those finished cross stitches that used to pile up but that I didn’t want to put on the walls.

    Whilst I adore your blog and selfishly want you to blog every item, I implore you to only do it if you WANT to. Life is far too full of obligations. Do it for the enjoyment or else give it a miss. Happy new year!

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    1. I am so with you on cross stitch! I absolutely love doing them but never know what to do with them afterwards! It is nice to be able to show off what you have made
      Thanks for the lovely comment! I do really enjoy writing my blog and sharing what I've made but sometimes find myself completely unmotivated to do it...I think blogging may be a bit more sporadic this year!

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  2. I look forward to your blog posts, and I think it is good to write when you have enthusiasm, otherwise it becomes a chore. You have opened my eyes to things I might not otherwise have seen. And you always look so good in your makes. I agree about the importance of finding pleasure in small things. I wish you a successful and healthy 2021 and look forward to reading each blog as and when you choose to write it. JanniSews.

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    1. Ah Janet thanks so much for the lovely comment, and for continuing to read my blog! It still baffles me that any one is interested in me waffling on!
      Writing when I have enthusiasm is a great way to put it. I think sometimes my enthusiasm is all for the sewing rather than the writing!
      Happy New Year!

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  3. I have been reading your blog for a long time and always get excited when a new post pops up in may blog reader. I truly appreciate all the time you put into creating these posts. When I make a new pattern I often check if you have made it before to read the respective post since I find them so helpful. All that being said, I absolutely understand the sentiment of feeling like it is part of the to do list when making a garment. So I am looking forward to reading whenever you want to share something in 2021!
    Happy new year and thank you for all the information you have continued to put out over the past years!

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    1. Laura it is so lovely to read that! It is always nice to hear that my blog posts are enjoyed and found useful
      I think posts may be a bit more sporadic in 2020...it is more photographing them that I have to muster up the energy for rather than writing the posts!
      Thanks so much for reading. Happy New Year!

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  4. Since everyone has already expressed so eloquently what a delight your blog is, I'll say instead that I very much look forward to seeing your Make Nine plans. I also wonder if you might allow us a peek into your stash organization scheme? I love watching the process of sorting, ordering, and cataloging things, and even simple systems are fascinating to me. I'm glad to hear that you didn't have unemployment-related stresses heaped on your year, and I hope that 2021 is full of enjoyment, sewing and otherwise!

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    1. O absolutely if you'd find a look at my stash organising interesting! I need to have a bit of a sort out anyway so that is a good opportunity. My stash is all in one big hamper which makes it tricky to look through so I like to have swatches and notes outside of that so I can quickly see what I've got.
      Yes I've been very fortunate with work over the last few months of the year. This year is looking very bleak as I know it is for many others in the industry.
      Squeezing all the enjoyment I can out of 2020 is the plan! Happy New Year!

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  5. Happy New Year, Fiona!And wishes for an enjoyable 2021.Thanks for the posts all year, and the 2020 sendoff.😊 you open my eyes to patterns and ideas, very appreciated. I like you plan to sew more from my large stash - mainly dressier fabrics, although I bought a number of cotton pieces for home and leisure sewing this year, and am still working through those. All the best from Colorado.

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    1. Thank you and happy new year to you too! Good luck with sewing through your stash!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!