Wednesday 30 December 2015

Reflections and Projections 2015-2016

To wrap up the year, I thought I'd do a post on what I've done this year and am hoping to do for next year. I do have a newly finished dress to blog, but I haven't photographed it yet so it will have to wait until next year.

Reflections on 2015

I'm pretty happy with my range of makes for this year. More dresses (eleven) than anything else, but I am a big fan of dresses. I also made nine tops, including jumpers, sleeveless/short sleeved, and long sleeved makes, and both formal and casual styles. I designed eight of my makes myself, and the rest were made from a variety of different patterns from the big 4 and independent pattern makers. I also had my first attempt with denim making my DuBarry coat dress, which was scary and often frustrating, but I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Getting to know other sewists on their blogs and Instagram has been fun and new to me. The best part was going to Frocktails in Canberra and meeting a bunch of other Australian sewists in person. Sewing can be a solitary hobby, so actually getting to meet and chat to others, to share advice and excitement about sewing, is really special.

The year of sewing has been fun, but there were a few things that I didn't quite achieve. I was a bit erratic in my posting. Pretty good in February and March, then less so through August, and a bit more frequent from September on. Hopefully in 2016 I can be more consistent. I also didn't manage to hit my Vintage Pledge aim. I did set myself a high goal of using 6 vintage patterns AND 6 vintage fabrics. In truth I did make 6 items from vintage patterns, 5 of which are published. The sixth was made as a gift for a friend and has yet to be photographed and so is yet to be posted. I did woefully on using my vintage fabrics, though. I only used two. Although to be fair I didn't check how much vintage fabric I owned before making my pledge, so I really gave myself an almost impossible goal.

And now my best/worst (favourite/least favourite?) makes of the year. Happily I only have one thing I'd really put on my 'worst' list, my slashed sleeve top. Basically, I made the slashed pieces too narrow and they're a pain to iron or keep flat, so I don't wear it.

For best makes, I have a top five. Fifth is my last make, my Tessuti Kate Top. I haven't yet worn it because it's currently the Christmas-New Year's break so I'm not at work, but I can see this getting a lot of wear. And the colours of the fabric are wonderful. Fourth is the Winter Garden Party dress. This is one of the few vintage fabrics I used this year. I'd had the fabric for a few years but couldn't find any pattern I thought suited it, but this one from Honig Design was great. The pintucks are my own addition. Third is my Antheia Maxi. I'd seen this fabric in Tessuti for a few years but never knew what to do with it, because I didn't want to cut any of the print. My self-designed wraparound maxi means all the print is still shown. It's also beautifully soft and great to wear on a really hot day.

My second favourite make of the year is one I am really proud of; my Hand-Sewn Guipure Lace Top. I bought this beautiful remnant of lace because it was heavily discounted. I got in my mind a picture of how it could be a lace top, but really had no idea of whether or not it would work. The entire thing is hand sewn which took a fair bit of time and patience, but I'm so happy with how it turned out - it's pretty much exactly what I envisioned!

My favourite make, though, is my DuBarry Coat Dress. I had a lot of stress making it, with problems with the denim, cutting out the wrong pieces, and even running out of denim before I made the facings (which then had to be completely different fabric), but it was all worth it for the final product. And because I used denim, it works as both a coat and a dress - two garments for the price of one!

Projections for 2016

I have a few big aims for 2016. I've just started a new job, so I'm going to need to make some clothes that are more suitable for wearing in an office. I want to use up as much of the fabric I already own as I can, and be more thoughtful when I buy new fabric. I need to get my overlocker fixed and learn how to use it. I also want to learn to master - or at least be reasonably good at - pants. I've made a few pairs over the years, but it's still a scary prospect. Overall, I want to try and make pretty much all my clothes for 2016, with the exception of knitted things and underwear. I'm not sure if I'll manage it, but I'll give it my best shot.

I sat down a few days ago and started writing a list of what I plan to make in 2016, and it's pretty long. There are twelve items that already have specific fabrics, although I haven't decided on the pattern to use for all of them. For my plan to master pants, I alread have a linen blend fabric and two different denims. Seeing as I already have the fabrics, I really have no excuse. I also have a swimsuit, cream skirt, and sleeveless blouse at the very top of my list to start on today and over the weekend. Hopefully having that list already written down will help me be consistent with making and posting.

So I think that's all. Happy new year!

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