2013: A Year in Review

30 Dec

I can’t believe we’re coming up on the end of 2013! I hate sounding like an old fart, but where has this year gone? I feel like we barely reached summer and then it was suddenly Christmas! Whaaat! Anyway, I wanted to do a little round-up of 2013, because I just love reading this sort of thing. First things first, let’s look at all the garments I made –

2013... in a nutshell
2013... in a nutshell
2013... in a nutshell
2013... in a nutshell
2013... in a nutshell
2013... in a nutshell

I just counted those up and it would seem that I made over 86 projects/garments this year… that’s not counting the handful of double-garment posts (like when I’d make a tshirt to go with my new shorts), anything that didn’t make it to the blog (not much, but a few tshirts and leggings because, eh, boring), and stuff I made at my job that wasn’t for meeeee and therefore didn’t count.

Still… dang. That’s a lot.

If you don’t recognize anything from the last collage – it’s pieces I made for the Papercut Collective! I try to keep that stuff separate, as I figure if you wanted to see what I was making with Papercut, you’d follow that blog. Right? Right. Too much crossposting drives me nuts, haha.

Anyway, I tried to make everything up in a cute pie chart with percentages, but I apparently forgot how to count and I cannot be bothered to try again. I also would love to link y’all to every single one of the 86+ garments I made this year, but again – nope. However, you can totally lurk my closet and find every single one of my makes in there!

So what did 2013 entail for me? Let’s talk about some highlights, and… lolights (that’s not the word I want, is it?). In no particular order:

– I joined the Mood Sewing Network and my entire 2013 has been filled with the most wonderful fabrics and lots of new learning experiences – both in fabrics and garments (remember the silk Anna maxi? GOD can the weather get warm again already?!)
– I went to both NYC and Chicago and had a wonderful time in each city, with some of the most amazing people. I’ll definitely be back to both in 2014!
– I knit 8 sweaters and only one of them was a fail.
I made a bathing suit! And it held up to swimming in the Gulf of Mexico! Yes! I’m so proud of that little bugger, you have no idea.
– Another successful year of Me Made May! I had a lot of fun finding new ways to wear my handmades, but I will admit that taking daily pictures got a little trying. And May is such a long month! Whatever, I’m looking forward to it again in 2014 πŸ™‚
– I found the sweetest kitten under my house and rehomed him with my brother and sister-in-law! Theodore has been renamed Mr. Kitten and he’s sooo big and handsome now – look!
My favorite crawl space kitten is all grown up now  @ttamdude
(just the cat. Although, baby brother Matt is single too. Ladiesss~)
– 2013 has basically been the year that I had to remake my entire wardrobe due to weight loss giving me a complete change in size. I got tired of feeling sad every time I opened my closet and stared at all those beautiful clothes that no longer fit, so I started selling them on Etsy. Thanks to everyone who bought something – I’m so happy to know that those pieces have a loving home, and I was also able to pay some medical bills with the money I made! As a side note, I added a few more winter pieces to my Etsy shop over the weekend, so feel free to take a look. Everything is priced to moooove!
– I wrote this post on Sewing and Time Management and it ballooned into my most popular post by far. I still get emails and comments on that post on a regular basis – I had no idea so many people would find that sort of information useful and applicable to their own lives! Feels really good to know that I can give back to the sewing community that I love so much, even if it’s a weird kind of giving back that’s just writing up a post πŸ™‚
– I’ve had my Bernina for a full year now and I’m happy to say that we are just as in love as we were on day 1! I love discovering new things about my machine, and even the high cost of feet and bobbins hasn’t put me off from feeling good about the investment that I made. People ask me sewing machine advice all the time, and while I think buying a machine is a very personal choice based on budget and preferences – if you have the budget for a Bernina, DO IT. You won’t regret it πŸ™‚

One elephant in the room that I need to address is my current employment. At last mention, I had just quit my job to pursue a career as a seamstress. I’m sorry to say that particular stint did not work out – we actually parted ways a couple of weeks ago. There were several things leading up to it, but the general gist was that we simply did not work well together. With as much sewing knowledge as I brought with me, I still had a lot to learn – learning how to use an industrial machine (scary at first! But of course now I miss it, ha!), learning how to sew without instructions or pattern markings, learning how to properly do alterations (I did learn, and I also learned something even more important, which is that I still fucking hate doing alterations, ahah), as well as re-learning basically everything I know about sewing. Everything that came out of Muna’s shop was sewn in a more RTW manner – i.e., linings were entirely inserted by machine, for example, whereas the ones I do are applied by hand. Which makes sense, considering you have to really push stuff out quickly to be able to make any sort of profit. But there was a problem where I wasn’t learning fast enough, because there wasn’t enough time to teach me, and what I did learn was not taught in a way that I could quickly grasp it (I’m a kinesthetic learner, plus I’m one of those annoying people who asks lots and lots of questions. Looooots of questions). The end result was that we were not happy working together, and the combined stress of everything (new job, whooooole big change for the first time in years, problems with personal time management, etc) was making me very sick. Probably even caused that kidney stone, to be honest! So we made the mutual decision to part ways a couple of weeks ago. It sucks that it didn’t work out, but I’m glad I gave it a shot and tried something new – and got out of a job that I needed to get out of (and I’m pretty sure my old bosses agree πŸ™‚ the girl who replaced me is really great and they’re very happy with her!). I still consider Muna to be a dear friend and a wonderful person who I look up to. We just didn’t work well together, that’s all πŸ™‚ And honestly, I think the timing came out quite nicely because I had plenty of days off to spend with my dad at the hospital, when he and my mom needed me the most.

I have some other employment opportunities lined up for 2014, which I’m very excited about. I probably sound like a broken record at this point because I talk about it aaaalll the time, but one thing I’m really excited to pursue in this new year is teaching! I will finally have the opportunity – i.e., downtime – to do so, and I’ve been making plans and sending emails and chatting with all sorts of people who have given me some wonderful advice! I’m still working out details as far as trying to get together group classes, but if you’re in the Nashville area and are interested in private lessons (or want to arrange a group lesson with some friends) – email me and let’s talk! I’d love to share my knowledge with you and help you improve your skills! Non-Nashvillians… do you think Skype sewing lessons would ever be a thing? Ha πŸ™‚

Ok, sorry about the tangent, let’s get back to the year round-up!

My favorite things I made this year (this was soo hard to narrow down, all my handmades are like my little bayybies ok)
Orange Minoru
Nard-Dog Minoru
I wear this shit ALL THE TIME. All the time! It is a lightweight jacket, so I can’t wear it when it gets toooo cold… but that’s like 2 weeks out of the entire winter here. I love this jacket, it goes with everything, I feel cute and pulled together, and it has a hood!

Lace Trench
Lace Trench Coat
I can’t say I wear this one quite as much as the Minoru, just because it’s kind of a weird coat weight. But I love it so much and I loved working on it. It’s definitely a statement piece that I get a lot of compliments on every time I wear it – and a lot of surprised gasps when I smile and answer, “I made it.” πŸ™‚

Belladone Dress
Stripey Belladone dress
Such a simple dress, but it really is the perfect Saturday dress! I probably wore this shit once a week at the height of the summer because it was just SO easy and comfortable! The cutout design at the back and the simple stripes make this dress ideal – I can ~jazz it up~ with some fun shoes and accessories or a belt, but it also looks good enough on it’s own!

Marc Jacobs Birds
Fabulous Silk Birds
My labor of love for 2013 (other than the coat, which I’m still working on… I might possibly be finished by the end of the year, but you’ll have to wait until January to see heh heh heh!). I poured so much time and research into this dress – from fitting, to learning how to deal with the fabric, to finishing, to making the matching slip. It’s one of those dresses that I know I can pull on and feel fabulous in, even if I’m having a day where I hate everything in my closet. I’d love to make more of these in a solid fabric, although let’s be honest – the bird fabric is the best part πŸ™‚

Audrey in Unst
Audrey in Unst
My first knit with fingering-weight! This was kind of a big deal for me – not just a first with the fingering weight, but it was a pattern that was a bit hard to read (for me, anyway, as I tend to take everything quite literally and need things spelled out), and I also swapped out the yarn weight and added fit modifications. Happily, it all worked out and I just love how the sweater ended up!

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings
Lumberjack Archer
This one is kind of a surprise me to – but I wear these pieces so much! Those ponte pants, man. I can’t get enough of them. And I love the Archer, definitely planning on more of those in 2014!

Well, that was a long post! All in all, I think 2013 was a good year! A bit trying at times – I’ve had more health problems this year than probably every before, not to mention other setbacks – but I feel so much stronger and better as a person, and more willing to take chances now that I know a fail doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the world. I don’t have any specific resolutions for 2014 – except that I want to be fearless.

WHAT THE FUUUUCK omg omg omg

Here’s to a bright and beautiful 2014!


95 Responses to “2013: A Year in Review”

  1. Sally January 1, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    Bravo!! You are a seam-makin’ rock star! AND you are such an inspiration . I have one question that is none of my business but thought I’d ask…..how did you lose the weight to get to your tininess now?

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2014 at 9:38 am #

      I stopped taking hormonal birth control and got an IUD, then the weight started dropping. My dr thinks the hormones were causing me to gain, which makes sense because now that I’m off them I’m very close to the same weight I was before I started that whole regimen 10+ years ago. Obviously I’m not a medical professional and please don’t take this comment as a weight-loss plan, but that’s how it worked out for me!

  2. Philippa January 2, 2014 at 2:09 am #

    You had a great sewing year and made some fantastic stuff…I used to sew for a living too, doing alterations. Not only was it unprofitable but it was also joyless, so I completely identify with what you are saying above. For me, it’s the creativity of sewing that’s fun, not being on a production line! You have so much talent and your posts always make me laugh with the way you put things. I have really enjoyed reading your blog this past year and wish you lots of luck finding the right job for you x

  3. Rochelle New January 2, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    You are quite literally, a sewing machine!! I’m really sorry your job didn’t work out. That’s EXACTLY what happened with my old job in Vermont. As much as I wanted to love it, and did love it, you just have to be cohesive with your coworkers and I just wasn’t a good enough match for my boss I guess. It happens. I have no doubts that you will come out on top in 2014 and be successful at whatever you choose πŸ™‚

    p.s. don’t be surprised if I send you 25 emails as I get into my “sew a jacket” goal this year lol! You’ll be sorry you offered to help bahaha πŸ˜›


  4. Jennifer, Workroom Social January 2, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    Loved reading your notes on 2013! I also HATE alterations. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2014!!

  5. Miss Celie January 2, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    You are amazing! Sorry things with the job didn’t work out, but it got you out of something you had grown out of. I know great things are ahead of you!

  6. Marie January 2, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

    You are jaw-droppingly productive and generally amazing! Kudos to you lady! So sorry to hear the news on the job front, but if something isn’t making you happy, then it’s not the right thing for you! I’m sure that with your talents you’ll get snapped up before you know it, doing something you truly love!

  7. tialys January 5, 2014 at 3:36 am #

    I really enjoyed seeing all your projects over the past year. Luckily, I don’t need that many clothes so I don’t need to match your productivity levels but am full of admiration for your skill and speed. I hope all works out on the work front for you and you have better luck with your health in the New Year.
    p.s. I also hate alterations and repairs – I think we’re normal.

  8. symondezyn January 7, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    As always, you’re disgustingly productive LOL – but really well done!! I’m sure you will find your niche in the job world, but you know what? even if you don’t, it’s just a job ^__^ The real stuff happens when we have our own time, right? (and if you’re Lladybird, you do so much more of the real stuff than the rest of us humans!! LOL) Much love and best wishes for 2014! πŸ™‚ XO

  9. craftylandr January 11, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    I discovered your blog in 2013 and love it so much. I’m behind on blog reading but had to comment on this post. First off, WHOA DUDE, you made so many items. Totally impressive. Secondly, I’m so glad your dad is ok and feeling better. Family illness is sooooo stressful.:( Thirdly, I’m so sorry that your new gig didn’t work out. =( And finally, I’m so thrilled that you will be competing in Project Sewn. CAN’T WAIT to see what you design.

  10. Lady ID January 13, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    Wow. That’s really all I can saw. You made A LOT of stuff. A whole wardrobe. I need to get on my game, lol

  11. Jody January 15, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    I love your blog! It’s informative, consistent, personal without being TMI, and most importantly authentic. I do have one small suggestion for your next trip to NYC. If your there on a weekday drop by Elliot Berman Textiles. It’s a good juxtaposition to Mood. Keep up the good work!

    • LLADYBIRD January 15, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

      I think we did briefly stop there and I about died over the prices πŸ™‚ But yeah, I gotta check it out for real! Thanks for the tip, and your overall sweet comment πŸ™‚

  12. Bec January 16, 2014 at 4:47 am #

    You are a freaken machine woman πŸ™‚

  13. missjoiedevivre January 18, 2014 at 1:09 am #

    Holy shit. That’s just, wow, umm, wow. That’s a LOT of sewing. And it’s all beautiful, covetable, and I’d wear about 95% of it in a heartbeat (you know, in the odd even that I lost about half my body weight at the same time you decided to post your entire wardrobe half way around the world). You are amazing! (And absolutely my sewing and style icon).

    I’m sorry to hear about the seamstress role, but I’m glad you had a chance to try it (so many of us aren’t that brave!) and have learned so much, and I can’t wait to see what incredibleness 2014 brings you, and you bring us!


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