I can’t believe this year is nearly over! 2016 was such a weird year for me – it seems so brief when I look back, but also like it lasted FOREVER.
As with my wrap-up last year, I’m not going to post every single garment I made in 2016 (part of the reason being that I STILL have unblogged pieces lol whoops), however, I do want to touch on my hits and misses of the year! As always – if you’d like to see everything I made during this year, you can always Lurk my Closet. I can’t always guarantee that page is up-to-date, but it is as of this posting 🙂
First, the faves:
I am surprised at how much I LOVE this little dress! It’s comfortable thanks to the knit fabric, it’s easy to accessorize to change the look (lately, my favorite way to wear it is with combat boots and a denim jacket, but the look in that post is good, too!), and I just feel pretty when I wear it! When I made it, it was definitely one of those “I have this fabric/pattern lying around, I just feel like making something” situations, but it ended up being one of my favorite things to wear during the fall this year. I made this dress at the end of 2015, so technically it’s not a 2016 make – but that’s when it’s blogged, so we are counting it as so.
Sparkly Brocade Circle skirt
Another surprising make (and another from 2015 – I actually wore this to ring in the new year haha). I really just made this skirt to wear out on New Year’s Eve, but it has seen a lot of wear during the holidays this year! The metallic makes it look all festive and shit, and the fact that it’s grey means it looks good with lots of different tops (current favorite pairing: with a white collared shirt and a black v-neck sweater). My friends are all in different social circles, which means I totally wore this to every single holiday party I was invited to haha no regrets.
Probably the dress I wore the most all summer (other than my Chambray Hawthorne, which still gets TONS of love). It is easy to throw on, super comfortable in the heat thanks to the rayon (and doesn’t show sweat, thanks to the dark color + pattern), and also it’s just super freaking cute. I got stopped and complimented a lot while wearing this dress – and introduced a lot of people to the idea of making your own clothes haha 🙂
Sewaholic Pacific shorts
These are the best little shorts for running! The back pocket is big enough to hold my phone, and the zippered top keeps it secure so it doesn’t bounce out. I wore these all summer while running on the greenway behind my apartment building. The Dunbar sportsbra did not get worn as much – it’s just not as secure as I’d like in a sportsbra. I think this could be fixed by going down a size, or using a firm powermesh across the whole front, but I haven’t gotten to the point of testing this theory as I already have tons of sports bras as it is. Maybe next year! It is cute, though, and fine for practicing yoga.
Birdy Scout Tee
I am SO glad I finally cut up that birdy fabric and made it into this top! I loooove this tee and actually wore it on Christmas! That fabric makes me so happy!
Rainbow Travel backpack
I did a lot of traveling this year, and this lil’ guy was soo handy for that! Since making that pack, I made a much nicer/sturdier waxed canvas backpack (which I haven’t actually carried out into the world yet, so I can’t really review it for it’s usefulness!), which I’m also pumped about. I don’t normally like sewing bags, like, at ALL, but both of these projects were super enjoyable.
Augusta Hoodie + Anima Pants
These two also surprised me. I made the Augusta hoodie with the intention of wearing it around the house for loungewear, but quickly realized the snaps and super thick fabric made it feel more like a lightweight jacket. I ended up wearing it a lot this fall, it’s a great transitional outerwear piece. And those Anima pants are amaaaaazing when it’s super cold outside! They look way too ridiculous to wear outside of my house (seriously, they are straight-up Santa pants), but I love them for lounging on the couch as they are incredibly warm and very very comfortable. And no, since taking those photos – I have not worn those two pieces together haha.
Chambray Tencel B5526
I am all about that B5526! The Chambray Tencel one was my favorite, though. It just gets softer the more I wear and wash it, and it really does go with everything.
This shirt makes me so happy, I don’t even mind that I have to iron it every time I wash it.
And now, for the misses of 2016…
Bias silk cami
Love black camis, love this silk, do not love pleats over my boobs.
Plaid Flannel Robe
I love this robe in theory – it is really beautiful and quite cozy – but in practice, the arm holes are way too low so the whole thing shifts when I move my arms. Also, the way the robe is made means you have to keep it tied, and sometimes I just like a little breeze, you know?
Silk polkadot Bra
Real talk: I cut this bra up the other day. It’s REALLY beautiful, but I pulled the silk too taut when I was covering the cups and one of the boobs ended up flattened. Totally noticeable from the outside, too. After several months of it languishing in my drawer with me pretending like I *might* wear it someday, finally just took my scissors to it and salvaged whatever bits I could. MOVING ON.
Silk Chiffon Archer
I still have yet to wear this shirt, even though I really love the way it looks. Maybe once the weather dips enough to warrant wearing a sweater, I will try it as a layering piece.
One of the few true fails of this year. These shorts were fucking stupid. Bad combo of pattern to fabric, looks awful, blah blah.
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I really cut back a lot on sewing this year, and it’s definitely reflected in my wardrobe. I’m at a point now where pretty much everything I have is handmade and I don’t have a lot of holes to fill in my closet. As a result, I have really slowed down my sewing – mostly in the form of taking the time to rip out mistakes and do things correctly, or alter/repair pieces that I’ve made and loved to death. I’ve also stopped trying to ~power through~ major sewing sessions. If I feel myself start to get frustrated (which is usually when major mistakes start happening because I start getting real careless), I will acknowledge that I’m not enjoying the process anymore and just stop for the evening. Sewing is my hobby, and I want to keep it fun and happy. Stepping away from a project has been immensely helpful in that I have a chance to cool off and re-assess at a later time.
With that being said, I still really really love to make things, and I’ve had a serious struggle with finding that balance between indulging my creative side vs not having a closet full of shit I don’t wear or even need. As I don’t have a lot of wardrobe holes anymore (other than underwear that’s not all ratty – I still can’t bring myself to spend precious sewing time making panties haha), this means that a lot of what I’m making these days is a nicer replacement to things I already had – whether they were starting to wear out, or they weren’t right begin with but I wore them anyway. This has been a good compromise, as I get to continue to make awesome things but don’t feel super wasteful making a bunch of crap I don’t need and won’t wear (except that prom dress, I DON’T REGRET THE PROM DRESS). Slowing down the process has also been going for this – while I can make an entire top in a couple of hours, there’s really no need to. Also, I will make that underwear next year. This is my promise to myself.
Blog-wise, I feel pretty good about where I am currently. Blogging less gave me more time to work on projects – without feeling like I needed to rush to finish them so I could throw them on the blog. Less posts means I also have more time to respond to comments, which always bothered me that I didn’t do in the past. I don’t blog all the stuff I make anymore – some of it just seems too redundant to warrant it’s own post (tbh, you probably won’t see that underwear ever get posted, so don’t hold your breath or anything haha) – but I will admit that I do miss having a catalogue to look back through. A lot of it did get posted to Instagram – not all of it, but a lot of it! – and moving forward, I’m going to start tagging my makes #madebylladybird so I have that catalogue, albeit on a different media source. It feels weird to give myself my own tag, but, whatever haha. I started doing this the other night and it’s fun to scroll through the tag! Of course, Instagram flagged me once I got about 2 years back and I’m currently blocked from tagging (lolwut) so getting back to the beginning might take a while!
I started out this year with a partnership with Spiegel sewing machines, and did that for about half of 2016. As you’ve probably noticed, I am not working with Spiegel anymore, and it’s been a few months since those posts stopped. The reason for this really doesn’t have anything to do with Spiegel or the machine itself – it just ended up not being a good fit in terms of my available time to commit to it. I have been asked by a few people about this, I did want to mention it just so we are clear!
On a personal note, I know 2016 was a really terrible year for a lot of people, and probably even for the world in general – but it was actually a really, really good year for me. Growth-wise, this might have been my best year yet. I had a lot of baggage that I carried over from 2015 – I was right at the beginning of a break-up and about 6 months into working through all my personal demons that had come up while I was on that ayahuasca retreat. I really feel good about the challenges that I not only faced head-on – but really charged through them and came out triumphant on the other side. I am proud of the person I’m growing into, although there is still a lot of work that I need to muddle through.
Some notable highlights from the year:
- I traveled a lot this year! I visited a few new places (San Francisco, Charleston, St Louis, Newport, Exeter), a few old favorites (Portand Maine and New York!), and made plans for next year as well. I taught bunches of sewing classes and retreats (both during my travels and locally), and also assisted at Camp Workroom Social for the first time. I promised myself when I left my corporate job back in 2013 that I would budget more time and money for traveling, with the goal of going *somewhere* (even if it’s just to a neighboring state for a day trip) at least every 3-4 months. So far, I’ve been sticking to it! I even got TSA Pre-Check so I don’t have to stand in that line and take my shoes off haha!
- I’ve been single for pretty much all of this year, and it’s been… interesting. Definitely met some incredibly awesome people, and definitely navigated my way around some real creeps (if you ever meet me in person, please ask me about my date that involved the pigs. It’s really the kind of story that needs to be told in person, and it’s great.). Don’t get me wrong – I actually really enjoy being single (more time for meeee, fuck yea), but having previously been in a relationship for nearly 5 years, there’s been some adjusting to do. Let me also say that Landon really disappointed me this year – our split last year was amicable, but we are not on good terms anymore. He stole several hundred dollars from me and disappeared off the face of the earth. Pretty much the only retribution I have at this point is to publicly shame him, so, there you go. On the flip side, glad I dodged the bullet. He’s the one who has to spend the rest of his life with his shitty self, not me.
- I bought a car this year! This was pretty exciting, and I’m still super thrilled about it. I have always owned very old/shitty cars – the kind that you’re afraid to drive more than a couple hours away from home, lest you break down on the side of the road – and my last one was so basic, everything was manual and it didn’t even have a tape deck, just a radio. I have been saving my money for the past 2 years to buy something nicer, and spent a few months researching what was available in my price range. In February, I became the proud owner of a cherry red 2012 Prius C. I’ve never bought a car by myself – my dad always found them for me and I just paid him for them – so that was a new experience, but I did it all myself (although I did buy from Carmax, so there was no negotiating or anything). I got a killer deal on what was practically a new car (less than 20k miles) and I am so so happy every time I drive it. It’s the nicest thing I’ve ever owned – there’s a fucking tv in it and sensors on the doors that lock/unlock when you touch them – and it’s all MINE. And his name is Ricky 😉
- After living out in the ‘sticks with my BFF for over a year, I decided it was time to move back to the city. Honestly, I did love living in the woods at first – it was quiet, it was serene, and every single night was BFF night. But I hated the 45 minute commute that was required to get anywhere (even buying that new car did not make the drive more enjoyable), and it became very isolating after I broke up with Landon. It was really hard to make myself go out and do anything, knowing I’d have to make that drive – and understandably, no one really wanted to come out to me, either. I also realized that I really wanted to be alone in my own space, and not have to share it with someone else. So I found a 2 bedroom apartment in West Nashville and moved out here in June. I cannot even tell y’all how much happier I am being back in the city. I love being close to everything – whether it’s a short car ride, a bike ride, or a really cheap Uber. I can order food (or Amazon Prime Now) and have it delivered RIGHT TO MY DOOR. Having my own space all to myself is awesome, especially after nearly a decade of living with someone else (be it a roommate or an SO). Plus, I have all these amazing windows and my apartment is right next to a beautiful greenway! I love it so much!
- A big part of what afforded me the opportunity to move back into the city was a change in one of my jobs. I was working for Elizabeth Suzann as one of her production seamstresses, and I loooooved that job. I’d just come in, put on my headphones, and sew my way through a stack of pre-cut pieces. I had the most amazing coworkers and a seriously, seriously incredible set of bosses who did everything in their power to make their employees feel valued and appreciated. I still love everyone there and do my best to visit when I can (and when they’re not too busy with orders!), but I was offered a much more lucrative job at Craft South and I couldn’t do both. At Craft South, I am the Education Coordinator – so I plan, schedule, and promote the classes, and handle everything related to them. It is a part time job, which puts me in the store 2 days a week (I also work part time as a personal assistant, which I’ve been doing for the same woman since 2014. I don’t talk about her much on this blog bc it’s completely unrelated to sewing, but I absolutely ADORE my boss. She’s an amazing person and I’m so lucky to be in the position I am. She moved to Newport this year, so now I’m remote and I work from home!). I’ve always wanted to work in a craft store, and I really love it! They are also super accommodating with my travel schedule, so I can take off whenever I need to for my workshops. Its pretty great- I have a wonderful new set of coworkers, an inspiring place to be surrounded by other makers, and an excuse to get out of the house a couple times a week. Plus I get to sew on those $10k Janome machines, which, is a pretty sweet perk 😛
- On a more somber note, we did have a big scare with my dad towards the end of summer. He got very sick with pneumonia that quickly went septic, and he ended up on life support for a full week. It was a really bad time and the doctors didn’t offer us much hope. I was preparing myself for the worst – which, even when you know the inevitable is going to happen (my dad has been fighting colon cancer since 2013, and we’re not delusional here), you’re still never really prepared for it. He made this incredibly miraculous recovery, though, and bounced the fuck out of there the second they released him. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an ongoing battle – he’s still quite sick, and we still have scares that make us rush back to the ER – but we are so, so happy to have him back for at least a little while longer. My dad is such an awesome person, and I’m so thankful that we got this second chance.
- Speaking of colon cancer, I did finally get that colonoscopy that his oncologist had insisted I do a few years ago. The procedure was completely uneventful – it’s really the prep that’s bad, and yes, it’s as awful as everyone tells you haha – and everything was benign. So yay, no cancer! I also just found out the other day that I don’t have any cavities either, so I’m basically on a roll of awesome here right now hahaha.
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What’s on the table for 2017? Beats me if I know – but I’m ready for whatever it throws at me! I don’t like to make resolutions as I’d rather just jump right into positive changes than wait for a specific date to start – and I hope 2017 brings me more creativeness, positivity, and growth (both personally and professionally). And I guess more handmade underwear, too 😛
Much love to you all, and wishing everyone a wonderful new year! ♥