Well, it’s the end of the year and time for another wrap up and review! I can’t believe 2014 has flown by as quickly as it did – I feel like every time I blinked, a couple months passed! Crazy! Anyway, it’s been a really really really awesome year. Let me start by showing you a collage of all the crap I made~
And by collage, I mean 3 collages, because all the photos wouldn’t fit in just one. Those 75 garments (yes, ugh, borderline embarrassing?) don’t actually cover everything I made this year – I left a few things out, like multiples (such as tshirts or leggings), anything that wasn’t clothing, and obviously anything that didn’t make it to the blog (since I make all my clothes, a lot of stuff doesn’t make the cut because it just seems pretty redundant). I’d say I probably wrapped up the year with just under 100 garments under my belt. I’m not going to link to the individual stuff I made, because that would take forever – but you can lurk my closet and click on whatever strikes your fancy.
Before anyone starts asking me if my closet is the size of a house, I should point out that I actually don’t have a lot of clothes anymore. Of course, I have most everything I made this year (and anything I’ve retired has been noted in the blog), but a lot of stuff from previous years is gone – purged for various reasons, but mostly because of size and style discrepancies. My weight, while pretty stable at this point, has changed a lot over the years, and the sad fact is that a lot of the stuff I made last year just doesn’t fit anymore (and isn’t worth altering to save). On top of that, I spent a LOT of energy making things that just don’t fit my lifestyle – either they no longer do (such as office-appropriate clothing), or they never did (such as silk party dresses). And then, of course, there’s the smattering of garments that I made just to make – but haven’t actually worn because they just aren’t me. And that’s ok, I think, for the most part. I don’t want to get into a habit of making stuff I don’t wear, but sometimes you want to make something just for the experience of making it (and then find someone to gift it to :P).
Anyway, that came off like a big apology and it certainly isn’t! The ongoing trend for my 2014 closet was basic, wearable ~cake~ clothes, replacing things in my closet that needed to go (for aforementioned reasons). I love almost everything I see in these collages, and I’m excited to continue this for 2015.
Here are some of my favorite/most worn pieces of 2014. Like last year, this was REALLY hard to narrow down – I love all my makes, they are like my baaaabies! But there were definitely a few that stuck out above the rest~
The Vogue Coat
All right, technically I made this in 2013 – but it was posted and worn in 2014, so it totally counts. I wear this coat as much as the weather allows – I love it! It’s warm and snuggly without being heavy, it’s easy to squish into a suitcase, and I love the bold plaid with the gorgeous red silk lining. Total win in my book. Coming up in a close second is the Rigel Bomber Jacket!
Butterick 5526 //Top
Butterick 5526 //Bottom
Obviously Butterick 5526 wins the Pattern of the Year award from me – I made this shirt soo many times! These two are my favorites (couldn’t pick just one, sorry!). The plain chambray version is just lovely for summer – it’s soft and lightweight, it goes with *everything*, and I really loved making it up. The polka dotty chambray version is basically my pinnacle of shirtmaking – everything on the inside and out is a personal best for me.
This isn’t a super special make by any stretch of the imagination (and, um, also my third make from chambray wtf), but I wore the shit out of it this summer. It’s comfortable in the heat, looks pulled together, and it a basic enough staple that you can accessorize it a bunch of different ways. Yay!
THIS DRESS THO. This is probably my favorite – I wore it soooo much this past year! It’s fancy enough to wear for casual-ish weddings, but it’s also lovely for a day of daydrinking in the park with friends. The print is so pretty and the silk make it feel really special. Plus, the elastic waist + tie mean I can eat a buffet’s worth of food and still feel comfortable (but look like I’m trying!).
Didn’t see that one coming! This bra – while not 100% perfect by any means – makes me so happy whenever I wear it. I can’t wait to make more, to tweak the fit to perfection, and to start playing with fabrics and trims. Making this one bra has really opened my sewing to another level (the level of “oh yay I can keep endlessly sewing and not worry about filling my closet too full because EVERYONE NEEDS UNDERWEAR AMIRITE”), and really challenged my skills and given me something new to work toward. I’m really really excited to take s Maddie’s bra making workshop this January, to really polish up and learn from someone who’s skills and expertise I really trust (and, of course, get to hang out with Maddie! Pretty pumped about that too ;) ).
Now let’s talk about what an awesome year 2014 was! Holy shit! I love these kinds of posts because I love looking back and reflecting on all the good stuff that happened. 2014 was a SERIOUSLY good year for me – just on the heels of a crappy 2013, and much needed. SO many things changed for me this year, and I went through a lot of firsts as well! Here’s a sum up of my year~
– I participated in Project Sewn, but I didn’t make it past the first round. That’s okay, though, because I also learned that sewing contest things are NOT for me! Too much pressure, too many deadlines, too many rules! I don’t like being told what to do, and I prefer to work at my own pace.
– I went to NY twice this year – in March, for a short weekend with Clare, and then again in August. MAN, I love that city! Don’t think I’d ever want to live there, but it’s pretty fun to visit :)
– On the subject of travel, I also spent nearly 2 weeks in London this year! That was the first time I’ve been out of the country in over a decade, and the first time I did it solo! AND I had to get a new passport and everything! Traveling internationally is kind of stressful and terrifying, but it’s also really fun and fulfilling. Already planning my next big adventure :)
– 2014 was the year I started teaching – I taught a few classes at the local community college here, Watkins, and also at WORKROOM SOCIAL in NY and at Tilly Towers in London!
– I also taught an online class at The Sewing Party, which we got to film (that was fun, especially since someone else did all the work haha). That week was also the first – and probably only, ever – time I’ve had my nails done professionally haha :)
– I got to visit the McCall Pattern Company offices while I was in NYC, which is something that I’ve wanted to do for a few years now. It was cool to meet the people behind such an iconic company (whether or not you like what they produce, you can’t deny that they are pretty iconic for the sewing world!) and see all the cool behind the scenes bits, as well as learn some history! Big highlight of my year :)
– I co-hosted an Outfit Along this summer, where we made dresses and knit cardigans! That was fun!
– I also co-hosted a sewalong for Vogue 1419, along with Meg from the McCall Pattern Company, which was intense and exhaustive and absolutely awesome. And I love my new coat! :D
– I organized my sewing patterns, which took forever but I’m glad I did it. As of this posting, they are still organized (yeah!) and I still haven’t created a digital catalog of them. Oh well :)
– Sewing firsts – first bra, first socks.
– I never posted this on the blog (bc it doesn’t relate to sewing at all), but this year was the first time I had to sue someone :) Haha! The result of a traffic accident (100% not my fault – the other guy ran a stop sign), I had to chase that piece of shit down for over a year and take him to court before he finally paid up. All for about $1,000 worth of damages, which was paid through his insurance – even my lawyer was surprised (most companies write off about 5x that much, but I’m telling you – that guy was a total piece of shit).
– My hair went through some interesting color choices this year – starting with brown, then bleached orangey-yellow (that was supposed to be immediately covered, but I liked it so much I kept it for a few months haha), then turquoise, then purply-blue, then just blue. I don’t know how much longer I’ll keep this color – I like it now, but that can change quickly. At any rate, my Driver’s License is due to be renewed this year so I need to figure out a good color for the photo haha :) I do need to be better about posting photos in order, though, because right now the color varies wildly based on how much it’s faded in the picture – and since I don’t always post in order, my hair looks like the result of Photoshopping madness (I wish I knew enough to change my hair color that way – might save me some bad color choice drama in the future haha oh well)
– By the way, my dad is officially cancer-free! He had 12 rounds of chemo throughout the year, which was brutal for him (especially since his stubborn ass kept trying to run those ultra marathons he loves – he was just waitlisted for Barkley, which he claims is the hardest race in the world because of course it is), but they’re over! Now we are just going through lots of genetic testing to see what caused it, and if it’s a concern for us kids. The good news is that it’s not Lynch Syndrome, which it was we initially thought.
One big change that happened this year was my job situation! At last posting, I had just left my gig at Muna’s (after quitting my long time job in advertising that I worked at for 6+ years) and I was kind of floating on no employment. I haven’t written an update since because I wanted to wait until I’d worked this new job for awhile, then, it seemed unnecessary since I do mention it from time to time. But anyway, I’m working 2 solid jobs now (on top of occasional teaching and other freelance work), and I just love them both!
My main job that pays the bills is being a personal assistant. My boss isn’t anyone famous – she’s just a normal 36 year old woman who makes really good money in network marketing. I am pretty much her paid mom/girlfriend – I clean and cook for her, help her pack for trips, do her grocery shopping and laundry, help with some administrative stuff, take care of her cat, etc. It’s a really awesome job and she’s a really awesome person to work for. We both get on really well together, she takes care of me, and my job is super flexible. I’ve been doing this for about a year now (started Jan 2) and I don’t see myself quitting anytime soon :) I also only work part time – but it pays better than the office job. So there’s that! Only downside is that I have to do my own taxes now (booo, but on the flip side – write offs! :D), and I can’t ride my bike to work because of distance + need for a car (gotta have a car to be a PA!). So I do miss my bike, but that’s about the only negative. Everything else is a benefit, woohoo!
My second job is as for sewing production at Elizabeth Suzann. I started this in January, working a couple hours a week. Elizabeth was initially concerned that she couldn’t afford to hire a seamstress – SO MUCH has changed in such a short time; she now has 3 of us (Nashville sewing friends, if you’re interested in part time sewing work, Elizabeth is always looking for new people to add! Email her and maybe we can be co-workers :D)! I work 3 hour work days, 2-3 days a week. Someone gives me a pile of cut fabrics and I just sew as much as I can :) It’s really fun and I really enjoy it – we’ve got awesome machines at the studio (Turbo, my main industrial, is all foot controlled. You use the pedal to raise the presser foot, backtack, *and* clip your threads. It is amazing!!), and we listen to ridiculous music or watch movies while we work. My coworkers rule, Elizabeth & her husband are amazing bosses, and there are always dogs around and lots of coffee and cookies. Love my job!
So yep, that’s a good sum of my year! Lots of great new things happening, lots of positive change – I feel pretty good about it!
So what’s in store for next year? Honestly – I’m not sure! I have a few things to look forward to – Bra-Making in January, another Pants Making Intensive in March, a Weekend Sewing Retreat in September, and my best friend & I are going to Peru in June! So there are definitely some exciting things in the plans :) Other than that – I dunno! One thing I know I don’t want to do is bog this blog down with a lot of deadlines and schedules and promotional things. One big mistake I made last year was to treat my blog like it was a job – which is kind of bizarre because it certainly doesn’t pay like a job! :) As a result, all the deadlines and scheduling and writing posts for other people’s businesses really made maintaining this blog the opposite of fun. I don’t like that, and I don’t see why I should have to subject myself to something that isn’t really benefiting me positively (not the blogging part, obviously, but driving myself crazy trying to have an 8AM Monday posting of a book review, you know?). Pattern testing is also losing it’s luster because it’s a lot of work that you’re basically doing as an unpaid favor – which, I’m not opposed to helping my friends, but I don’t want to do it for people I don’t know because my time is very precious to me. It’s hard because I fall into these habits and I can get a little obsessive about how I do things – and that includes blogging – but I’m giving myself permission to let go and relax a little. I’m going to keep blogging – and I might even keep up with a regular schedule, if that’s how it works out – but I’m not going to let this blog govern such a large part of my life anymore. When you have to skip hanging out with your buds in order to schedule a post for a no-profit blog, that’s crossing a line for me.
With that being said, this blog has really gone through some wonderful growth over the past year. I’m continually surprised at just how many people keep up with this shit, and I love and appreciate every single one of you. The comments I get on my posts are such a treasure trove of information – if you haven’t made it a point to read through them, you should! There are always so many tips and input and a lot of times, the comments are better than the posts themselves :) Thank you for all your wonderful emails & comments, and thanks for making my blog into what it is! Y’all are the best!
Anyway, I’m looking forward to a wonderful next 12 months! I want to really focus on my bra making, and I want to work on projects that require a little more time to complete (like… more coats! Yay!). I loved learning watercolor painting this year, and I want to explore more of that next year. I do want to travel more – just depends on how my budget works with that :) I want to continue spending tons of time with people who are important to me, and I want to have great experiences :)
Here’s to a bright and beautiful 2015!