Firstly, I have to give a shout out to Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow, who inspired me to start participating in the Sewing Top 5 last year. Although, this year I’m really not sure we can properly call this post a “Sewing Top 5” because I haven’t even fully made 5 things this year (for me – I don’t count things I sew for other people). But, like last year, I sort of want to participate in the Sewing Community aspect of it all, even though, if we are being totally honest, I haven’t been the best at keeping up with the whole sewing community this year. I’m hoping to get caught up on blog reading in the next few days while I’m on break, but I’m also hoping to maybe finish that mythical 5th sewing item, so… we shall see. In the meantime, here’s a look back at my sewing from 2019!
By the Numbers
This year is a historical low for me in terms of output. Here’s what I’ve made:
- 2 Tops
- 0 Pants
- 0 Jumpsuit
- 0 Skirts
- 0 Dress
- 1 Coats/Jackets/Capes
- 1 Sweaters/Cardigans
- 0 Skating Costumes (for me)
- 8 Skating Costumes (for others)
- 0 Other Athletic Gear
- 0 Costumes/Cosplay
- 0 Home Dec/Crafts
- 0 Refashion
Total Items Sew = 12
Total Items Sewn for Me = 4
Yeah, the numbers… are not great. Last year I sewed 41 items, and 12 for me. This sort of break might be what I needed though; a bit of a palette cleanser after having sewn for others for so long, and a bit of a chance to bring other aspects of my life into balance. As much as I started this year thinking about sewing goals, it really was the other areas of life that needed (and received) the most attention this year, and overall I think that was a good thing. Here’s a quick graphically look at the sewing I’ve done this year:
So I’ve made 2 tops, a cardigan, and a cape. I need more tops for work, so this isn’t a bad breakdown of items, but it’s hard to get much insight from having made so few garments for myself this year.
So I’ve made 2 McCall’s garments, and 2 New Look garments. Shocker! The two McCall’s patterns were distinct, and the 2 New Look garments came from the same pattern, so I would say McCall’s is winning out here. Though, to be fair, I’ve probably spent the most hours working on my Forever UFO project, which is a Burda trench coat. So it’s a bit disingenuous to say I haven’t sewn any Burda this year, though it is accurate to say I haven’t completed any Burda this year. (Yet; I’m making a push to get the Forever UFO done by the end of the decade!)
The success rate of things I’ve made has been ok – I really like the New Look cardigan I’ve made, the tops are fine but nothing spectacular, and I’m a bit on the fence with my cape.
Top 5 Skills Acquisitions
(5) Patch making. I’ve been working on making patches for our lightsaber team, and I’ve learned a lot about working with other people’s designs, and how I need to modify them to create successful stitch files. I’ve also learned how to use patch-making supplies to make successful patches!
(4) Embroidery with special threads. I’ve been working a lot with metallic threads and have spent a lot of time experimenting with adjusting stitch files, needle types, and thread positions to get everything to run smoothly on my machine.
(3) Learning to Cricut. I’ve not used this tool with any of my self-sewn garments yet, but I’ve seen the potential. I’ve got some really cool ideas about doing mixed media with Cricut designs and embroidery, and I’ve helped make quite a few things for our lightsaber team. I’ve still got more to explore with this tool, but so far I’m really enjoying it!
(2) Hand-stitching with “suede.” I’m not really sure if it’s actually suede. Is synthetic suede still suede? Hard to say… But I’ve been using special leather needles to hand sew and it’s been an interesting journey. I really like how the knife blade tip cuts through the fabric – so satisfying!
(1) Understanding line. I really feel that doing my Sew Your Kibbe monthly recaps has really helped me understand different sorts of lines and have a more objective view of what will and won’t work for me and why. I think this will really help me choose better projects as I move forward with my sewing journey!
Top 5 Sewcializing Events
Ummm…. I think I’m going to have to skip this one this year. I’ve not kept up with my blog reading as well as I should have, I haven’t really participated in many hashtag events, and I didn’t go to anything in person. I really do appreciate everyone who stepped up and sewed along with the Sew Your Kibbe Challenge though! I feel bad that I wasn’t able to keep things up on my end as far as sewing goes, but I hope that everyone who was interested appreciated the monthly wrap ups and continued inspiration with the new sewing patterns.
So, seeing as how I’ve only sewn 4 things rather than do a top 5, let’s just do a top 1?
My McCall’s 8029 Cape is probably the top miss for me, It just didn’t really turn out how I expected, and the Unintentional Jawa vibe isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I started it…
[insert forthcoming picture here – the traditional winter break sickness has put me behind in my photo-taking duties]
My favorite make this year is definitely my New Look 6330 cardigan. I really love the fit and the style, and the color! It was part of my planned Sew Your Kibbe Challenge, and I think that the items I had chosen for that challenge would have been a great starting point for a “Top 5” had I gotten around to them this year.
I’m going to give a shout-out to my Forever UFO, which I’d started in 2016, and finally got back around to working on this year. I’ve put a lot of time into it, and if I do finish it within the next few days, it will definitely make it into my “Top Hits” for 2019.
Top 5 Reflections
(5) Day jobs take up a lot of time. I mean, obviously, but it’s been a bit of a wake up call this year. I can’t imagine how people manage to sew when they have kids spouses and, like, actual people to take care of. Anyone who has to deal with all of these things is super human and I totally respect your abilities to find time to do things for yourself! Y’all have it going on and are super inspirational!
(4) Sometimes taking time away from a thing is the best way to refresh the palette. I’ve really not done that much sewing this year, but it’s really made me long to get back into the sewing space and do something creative. I’ve noted in my other year-end wrap up posts that 2019 really was more about focusing on other aspects of my life, but I’m hoping to bring things into balance a bit more going into the next decade.
(3) Sometimes looking at a thing too much takes the fun out of it. Blog readers may remember my quasi-melt down during my ongoing Sew Your Kibbe wrap up posts, which resulted in my 95 Style Theses post. I’ve since calmed down quite a bit, and gained a decent bit of perspective from that, but it did somewhat taint the enjoyment of the whole Sew Your Kibbe endeavor. I’ve got more thoughts on this, but they will be forthcoming in my end of the year Kibbe wrap-up posts.
(2) The sewing mojo may wax and wane, but once you have the bug it never really goes away. I think we’ve all talked about the status of the sewjo at one point or another, and I have to say that after spending the better part of the past few years sewing for others, my sewjo was pretty tapped out this year. The Kibbe plans were motivating, but not so motivating as to actually get me moving from the planning phase to the action phase. I think sewjo is one of those things that comes around though, and I think after lying fallow for a year it’s coming back around…
(1) There’s something about years ending in 0’s that makes you want to close out your unfinished business. This past month has really made me feel the desire to finish things – books, tv shows, my Forever UFO… There’s something about years ending in 0’s that makes you want to start things fresh, and that’s sort of how I feel heading into 2020. I just want to start clean, and see where my inspiration takes me!
Top 5 Goals from 2019: How’d I Do?
Take better blog photos. I’ve been watching photography courses on Bluprint, and I want to use this information to take better photos for the blog. Tangentially, this may also play into me wanting to update the look and feel of the blog a bit, which I’ve been working on.
Well, I haven’t really been taking a lot of photos for the blog this year so… I can’t really say that this goal has been met. I’m going to have to say this goal is tabled for the new year…
Become a better digitizer for embroidery designs. I’m working on this, but I’d really love to have a better working knowledge of what I’m doing, and be more proficient with my digitizing software. I’m going to keep taking the online courses I’ve been using, but I perhaps need to set aside more dedicated time to improve this skill.
This is still a work in progress, but I do feel like I’ve had some practice at learning more about digitizing this year. Again, I’ve still got a lot to learn, but at least I’ve worked on this in 2019!
Purge and organize my fabric stash. It really has become overwhelming. I love my fabric stash, but I’m at the point where I think what I really want is a curated fabric stash. I have a much clearer picture of what types of garments I want, and what types of fabrics and colors will help me achieve that. The amount I have has outgrown the space I can practically use to store it, and it really needs to be organized and sorted in a manageable way.
This is another item that is in progress. I’m starting to come to terms with how much fabric I have, and I’ve started generally organizing the stash. I’m not quite at the purging stages yet, but it’s coming. I think this is definitely something I’ll be working on heading into the new year, so I’m going to keep this one tagged as being in progress.
Spend more time sewing for me. I didn’t manage to make as many selfish sewing items as I wanted to this year, and now that I’ve got a much clearer vision of what I want my wardrobe to be, I think that needs to change for next year.
Well, when I look at the relative sewing time, I’d say this was a success. Granted, total sewing time was much reduced this year, but of what I did sew, I’ve spent more time on sewing things for myself, especially towards they end of the year. I’m going to consider this a success, though I’ll say it is something I will need to continue to work on in the next year!
Complete my 2019 [Sew Your Kibbe] challenge!
Top 5 Goals for 2020
(5) Finish the Forever UFO. If I don’t manage to finish it by the end of 2019, then I really want to get it done in 2020!
(4) Keep up with blog reading/community events. I’ve fallen behind and it really feels like I’m missing out on the things my friends are doing. I need to get back into the habit of blog reading again because I really miss know what is up in the sewing community!
(3) Learn 1 new sewing skill. I’m leaning towards garment drafting or corset making. I have access to Bluprint, so I’d really like to pick a topic and hard-core watch some of the classes on there to learn a new sewing skill in 2020.
(2) Keep working on expanding skills from my 2019 goals. I think I did pretty well on starting a lot of the goals I had in 2019, but I think they were sort of open ended goals, so I still have a lot more I can do moving forward, especially in terms of learning more about digitizing embroidery designs, photo taking, and stash organizing!
(1) Sew more garments for myself than in 2019. I only sewed 4 things, so hopefully this is do-able! Really, I feel like I’m pushing back my goals from the Sew Your Kibbe challenge to the new year, but that’s ok because my goals for the new year are the same – sew myself a wardrobe that’s going to work for me!
2019 Final Thoughts
On the sewing front, 2019 was actually a pretty epic fail. I did manage to keep the blog moving through it all, but in terms of actual sewing there really wasn’t a whole lot happening. The one major success was moving the Forever UFO from UFO status to WIP status, but I’m not going to consider it a win until it’s done. Similarly, while I feel like I’ve learned a lot from the Sew Your Kibbe series, I never ultimately turned that into a finished product. But, when I put everything in context of the entire year, I think it was a trade off that was worth the other things I’ve experienced and done. It was perhaps not the best sewing year for me, but I’m feeling refreshed and motivated to move on to the next!