2018: A Year in Review

31 Dec

I *almost* didn’t didn’t get this post written in time for the end of the year! But I feel like it’s not a true end-of-the-year celebration without a proper write-up, so here’s my review of 2018!

this me

2018 was another kind of weird year for me. It was definitely an upswing of a year compared to 2017, but I’d be lying if I said I still didn’t have to navigate some bullshit and heartache throughout the year. Sewing-wise, I’ve been on a constant path of slooooowing down, which has continued into 2018. A big part of this is due to less frequent blogging – I don’t feel compelled to post so frequently, which means I also didn’t feel compelled to constantly be making stuff. I also am just really over the idea of having multiples of the same thing. Not to judge anyone who lives and breathes having the same dress made in every color of the rainbow, I just realized it really isn’t for me. Especially considering I have a quite limited palette of colors I prefer to wear – something else that I’ve been really honing in on this year. It makes for a less exciting fabric stash, but the result is more garments that I will wear and truly love – rather than sewing just to sew, then blog, then never wear again.

Another really big change for me this year that drastically affected my sewing output was a big bump in my teaching commitments! I really put myself out there and offered loads of Sew Your Own Jeans workshops – and holy shit, y’all had me FLOORED by the response! All in all, I taught 16 workshops – in various cities across the US & Canada. Nearly all my workshops sold out, and some had to add on a second date to keep up with student demand. I really, really love teaching these workshops, too! Over the course of the year, I have really tweaked and perfected how I run my classes, and they really just get better with each new one I lead. For 2019, I am keeping up with a similar schedule with an emphasis on more West Coast classes – about 3/4 of next year is already listed, so take a look at my upcoming classes if you are interested in attending one!

It’s still a bit shocking to me that this is what I do to earn my living and pay my bills. It is something I never ever take for granted, something I am thankful for every single day. I cannot thank you guys enough for your endless support – whether you’ve taken a class with me, joined a meet-up, or just encouraged me in some way across the internet. This community is so amazing and I am thankful for every single wonderful person who is part of it!

Anyway, I want to talk about some of my sewing hits and misses of 2018! There are sooo many things I made this year that didn’t get blogged (sorry!), but I made an effort to post at least a small shot of it on Instagram so I could count up a talley at the end of the year (which I believe I only missed maybe 3 things, so, not too bad!). You can view the entire hashtag #lladybird2018 here on Instagram. And, of course, to see the stuff that did make it on my blog, you can always Lurk My Closet!

Without further ado, my top makes of 2018:

Ginger Jeans made with Robert Kaufman Denim
Ginger Jeans + Hemlock Tee

I think this outfit should win the prize for being worn the most! These are the jeans I made to promote my jeans workshops for this year (using the same Robert Kaufman Super Stretch denim that my samples are made with) and they are probably my favorite part of jeans I’ve made to date! The stretch denim is incredibly comfortable, which makes them ideal for traveling. This denim holds its shape well between washings, which again is wonderful when you are living out of a suitcase. I wore that hemlock tee almost as much throughout the year – again, it’s great for traveling! You’re basically looking at my unofficial flight outfit for nearly every trip I took this year 🙂

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics
Fleecy Fraser Sweatshirt

No lie, I’m kind of surprised this shirt only came of age this last year! I have worn it to DEATH, like, I think people are sick of seeing me in it haha. I love that this shirt is reasonably basic/plain without being boring, and the color is one I’ve really been digging a lot this year. It works equally well dressed up with jeans and a collared shirt, or to stay warm while lounging on the couch in my PJs.

Linen Kalle Shirt
Cropped Linen Kalle Shirt

This shirt was a lot of fun to wear during the summer! I love the oversized, boxy shape combined with the rumply linen, and while white isn’t necessarily a color that I gravitate to very often – I sure did when it came to this shirt!

AMH Popover Tank
Popover Tank + Navy Lander Pants

As much as I love those Robert Kaufman Ginger jeans that I mentioned earlier, I’m not so keen on wearing them when it is crazy hot outside. These navy tencel Lander pants were the perfect sub for keeping my legs covered while not making me sweat to death. Again, this was an outfit I wore a LOT while traveling. And I’m so happy I finally found a good pattern to use with my treasured fabric from Egypt!

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress
Tropical Seren Dress

Y’all. I wore this dress to SO MANY fancy dinners, cocktail hours, first dates, art crawls, and sometimes even when I just needed a little pick-me-up on an otherwise boring/shitty day. It’s an attention-grabbing dress that is easy and comfortable to wear, looks pulled together, and goes with most of the shoes in my closet (this is important).

Niizo Be Strong Backpack
Be Strong Backpack

Ok, so this is a more recent make that I’ve only been able to use for a couple of months – but it has been SUPER useful! I’ve all but retired my old backpack in favor of this new one. The slightly smaller size has been perfect for my needs (without giving me an option to overpack) and I really love the way it looks.

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric
Alexander McQueen Quart Coat

I know I just posted this so I’ll try to keep the gushing to a minimum. But! I love this coat! I feel so pretty and pulled together when I’m wearing it, it’s super warm, and it gets me more compliments than anything else I made this year. I am of course proud of the construction and how it turned out, but I also really love it because it reminds me of my friend Anokhee, who gave me the amazing fabric!

And now for some favorites that didn’t make it to the blog:

ariana dress
Ariana dress

I made this with rayon from the OG Workroom Social line, and it certainly saw a lot of wear this year! I actually hated the dress until it was finished – sewing it was basically one huge mistake/problem after another – and I was really unsure how it would look on me until I had sewed the buttons on. But it love it now, so all is well!

rayon hudson pants
Rayon Hudson Pants
These were really fun to sew, used up some of the cool fabric I bought in Egypt, and are great for warding off an a/c chill in the summer.

ginger jorts
Ginger Jorts
After years of complaining that I needed some new denim shorts, I finally made a pair hahaha

burberry scarf
Burberry Scarf Blanket
Probably the simplest thing I made this year, but I LOVE THIS SCARF. It’s basically a fashionable blanket, which is perfect for someone like me who is always cold.

Dolce & Gabbana party dress
More on this in a future blog post!! But, to brief – this may be my favorite fabric ever (a matelasse from Dolce & Gabbana), and I’m so delighted how the dress turned out! I made it to wear to a good friend’s wedding.

hudson joggers
Grey Knit Hudsons
Another pair of Hudsons haha, this time specifically for the cold. This is an incredibly boring thing to write about, but I wear them as frequently as I think I can get away with and am legitimately sad when they have to go in the wash. After years of being a die-hard PJ Set kinda gal, I’m definitely veering in a new direction when it comes to loungewear.

Misses for 2018:
Surf to Summit Top made with Mood Fabrics
Workout Tank + Shirt

Despite my best intentions, these pieces just did not turn out the way I had hoped – I think due to fabric choice. I never wore them and ended up donating both of the tops. The yoga pants, however, are FABULOUS and I wear them often! So there is that!

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress
Stella Hoodie Dress

I don’t know! I think this dress is so cute but I really only wore it once! It is really short, and makes me feel a bit exposed (and while the leggings + sneakers is cute, I don’t feel like it’s my “look” and it feels weird to wear). I may cut this into a top and see if it gets more mileage that way.

Organic Twill Jenny Overalls
Jenny Overall Shorts

Despite a hoard of people reassuring me that I should wear these forever and another hoard of people trying to tell me how to fix them so I would, I really just don’t like these at all. The waist is tight, and I just don’t like the way I look in overalls. And even though they are shorts, they are too hot to wear in the summer! I may try a pair with full length legs in the future, but these are not my jam.

popover tank
Watermelon popover tank
Looks super cute, but I absolutely hated this fabric. It’s a super tight weave with no give, which is vaguely uncomfortable to wear and also incredibly unflattering. Big ol’ no on this one.

denim skirt
Snap front denim skirt
I started with a pattern that had a different fit than what I ultimately wanted (the waist was lower than I realized), and I overfit this so much it doesn’t really sit right on me. Also, front snaps really are not ideal for a skirt. I have had many wardrobe malfunctions with this one haha. All it takes is one tiiiiiny snag and it’s WHY HELLO UNDERWEAR lol

There is so, so, SO much more I could say about all my makes this year, but these were the really major hits and misses! Honestly, I love most of what I made (it was hard to narrow down my list to what I’ve shown here – which is still admittedly a lot!) which is a pretty great feeling! I feel like I’m finally coming to terms with my style and the colors I like to wear – which means there are less pieces that go unloved. Really zeroing in on WHY I don’t like a certain garment (color, shape, fabric, etc) has helped me avoid making that mistake again in the future.


Other notable things to happen this year:

  • As I mentioned – I led a lot of workshops this year! Starting in Nashville, and then traveling to Brooklyn NY, Durham NC, Alexandria VA, Ottawa Canada, New York City, North Hampton NH, Biddeford MA, Claryville NY, Berkeley CA, and Paducah KY! WHEW!
  • While most of my workshops are held in sewing shops or studios, there were 2 that ended up in very different environments! The first one was in Durham, where I taught an Archer Shirt workshop at Spoonflower Headquarters (and that is where the above photo was taken. No one told me the print I chose was also the wallpaper in the Greenroom haha). Then in July, I went to NYC to teach a Jeans Workshop at Google! Yes, THAT Google and yes you better believe I brag about that shit all the time BECAUSE IT’S RAD AS HELL.
  • In addition, I was lucky to have a few opportunities to take day / weekend trips to some of the cities near where I was teaching. I spent some time in Washington DC, Baltimore MD, Montreal Canada, Hartford CT, Boston MA, and Long Island NY (just this past week with my mom, for Christmas!). I really wanted to take a *real* vacation somewhere outside of the US, but by the time I had planned my class calendar there wasn’t time left to leave the country! Oh well, maybe next year haha
  • Oh, and I finally led my first intensive at Camp Workroom Social! For the past couple of years, I’ve worked as an assistant to Amy in the Bra Making class, which is always so much fun – but this year, I was offered my own class teaching jeans! I had 14 students (!!!), two amazing assistants (Kelli & Gabriela), and overall it was an incredible experience. I can’t wait to come back next year for another class!
  • Because of all this traveling, I’m happy to announce that I am officially Silver status with Delta Airlines. ha! I know that’s like the tiniest shitty baby status to have (so many of my friends are Gold, Platinum, or even Diamond) but Y’ALL let me have this moment, ok. I’ve never earned airline status before haha.
  • I took a class with Gertie when she was here in Nashville! Gertie’s original Blog for Better Sewing was the first sewing blog I really fell in love with, and after years of following her from across the internet like a damn creeper, I was really excited that we were hosting her for a workshop at Craft South! We ended up with an empty seat in the class, which I took advantage of (#workperks). It was so interesting to be in a class from a student’s perspective, and she is truly a wonderful teacher and just an amazing person in general. Not to mention, she really does look like a porcelain doll in real life. It would be maddening if she wasn’t such a nice person haha.
  • My side work as a professional seamstress for photoshoots/private clients (mainly celebrities and/or modeling agencies) picked up a bit this year, too! I had a few big shoots and some really cool clients, and a few of the pieces I worked on ended up on the red carpet for some of the award ceremonies that happen here in Nashville – the CMAs, Sesac, and the BMI awards. I can also officially say that 2018 was the year I got to touch a celebrity’s butt.
  • I was pretty excited to be featured on the Love to Sew podcast earlier this year! I had sooo much fun chatting with Helen & Caroline and I think you can tell by the length of the episode – it’s one of their longer ones! (what can I say – once you get me talking, I never shut up lol). Here is my episode if you want to listen to it.
  • I paid off my car this year! After 2.5 years of payments, that felt pretty good! Next up – I want to buy a house! I got pre-approved for a mortgage and now i’m currently shopping around 🙂

In my personal life, it has been a difficult year. I’m still grappling with all the shit that comes when you lose a loved one, and I’ve also had to deal with loss in other ways this year – loss of friendships, people moving away, and also a pretty devastating breakup that knocked me flat on my ass when I was least expecting it. For me, this year has been all about growth, patience, letting go of things I can’t control, and taking control of the things that I have power over. I still have a lot to work through and a lot of ways in which I can grow, but things get a little bit better every day.

Anyway, I don’t want to end this on a sad note, so here’s a photo of Amelia sitting like an absolute lady next to my sewing machines.


Happy New Year, everyone! Here is to a bright and beautiful 2019!


58 Responses to “2018: A Year in Review”

  1. Deborah December 31, 2018 at 12:01 pm #

    Thanks for the update. Love your blog. Sad for the personal issues as well. To cheer you— taught my 8 and a half year old granddaughters to sew with the gift of a sewing machine —a lower level Brother. Both completed garments in fabrics from my stash. They are identical twins so they can be “dressforms” for each other. Their excitement has renewed my own interest. So much that my husband gave me a machine for Christmas also.

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2019 at 1:25 pm #

      That’s so great! I love hearing about people getting an interest in sewing – whether it’s for the first time, or a renewed love 🙂

  2. Tetiana Nuttall December 31, 2018 at 12:04 pm #

    Happy New Year Lauren. Thank you for a great blog – always love to see it, and very glad you feel able to continue it, because it’s just so interesting to know about your take on all things sewing and otherwise. All the best for the year ahead.

  3. shoes15 December 31, 2018 at 12:30 pm #

    Cheers to you too, Lauren. Thanks again for the help at Workroom Social.

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2019 at 1:26 pm #

      It was such a delight having you in class! ❤

  4. Leslie December 31, 2018 at 12:40 pm #

    Happy New Year! Thank you for posting your Misses as well as your Hits. It makes me feel better about my own Misses.

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2019 at 1:27 pm #

      Well all have misses! Some people just choose not to share them, but even the most seasoned pro is going to end up with things that didn’t work out 🙂 You should never feel bad about your misses – just use them as a lesson to not make the same mistake again!

  5. April Berlanga December 31, 2018 at 1:49 pm #

    Can’t say how much your blog has been an inspiration to me over the past few years! Hope your heart is on the mend and I look forward to more hilarious/inspiring post to come
    xo April

  6. Jaclyn December 31, 2018 at 2:56 pm #

    Happy New Year Lauren 🎉
    Your blog is such fun to read; especially when you blog about the misses 😁
    I hope 2019 is a wonderful year for you.

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2019 at 1:27 pm #

      Thank you so much! I hope the same as well!

  7. tracy December 31, 2018 at 3:30 pm #

    Sorry to hear about the hard stuff, and I hope 2019 is a better year for you. Thanks for sharing your work. Would love to take one of your workshops sometime — one of these days!

  8. Chris - makeandwear December 31, 2018 at 4:16 pm #

    I really enjoyed the end of year update Lauren. I’ve been following along for years and love that you are making a living doing what you love and have worked so hard for!

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2019 at 1:28 pm #

      Thank you so much! It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it?!

  9. ANGELA December 31, 2018 at 5:04 pm #

    Love Amelia! Sorry it has been such a hard year. I understand – my Dad passed away, only 2 years after my Mom and the pain is sometimes overwhelming. Maybe I’ll get to take a class with you one day – Las Vegas baby!!!

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2019 at 1:29 pm #

      So sorry to hear of your loss. Really one of the worst things a person can go through, I think. It never really subsides 😦

  10. Caitlyn December 31, 2018 at 7:47 pm #

    Taking your Archer class at Spoonglower was one of the highlights of my year. You’re the first “sewing celebrity” I got to meet, and I talk about your blog so often that you’re one of two sewing people my non-crafty husband knows by name. Not only is your sewing life an inspiration, you’re a smart, funny, capable, and all-around kick-ass lady that we sewists are lucky to count among out own. Despite all the things that might be trying to drag you down or hold you back, I hope your new year is looking brighter than the old.

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2019 at 1:29 pm #

      I LOVED having you in my class and I’m so happy we got to meet! Thank you so much for your sweet comment ❤

  11. Heather Myers December 31, 2018 at 8:52 pm #

    This is such a fun post, and I am happy to see your success and some of the “old sassy Lauren” back. Your comment of not making so many garments floors me — looks like a lot to me! Happy New Year, and all the best in 2019!

  12. Caroline Joynson January 1, 2019 at 1:34 am #

    Happy new year! I have really enjoyed reading about your various sewing/knitting/teaching related experiences this year. I am looking forward to following your adventures in 2019!

  13. Charlotte January 1, 2019 at 4:47 am #

    Happy New Year Lauren! I’ve loved reading your blog for another year. Really sorry to hear about the lows you’ve had this year, but glad there were also lots of highs xx

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2019 at 1:30 pm #

      Thank you so much, Charlotte! ❤

  14. Kristin Spirek January 1, 2019 at 7:22 am #

    I love your blog and am glad you are still writing here! It was one of the first blogs I followed when I decided I wanted to learn how to sew in 2012 or 2013. I hope 2019 is happier for you personally and even better for you professionally.

  15. PsychicSewerKathleen January 1, 2019 at 9:26 am #

    Happy New Year Lauren! I wish you a better 2019 – more ups, new relationships and opportunities! Thank you for continuing to write such entertaining and inspiring posts and I look forward to more in the coming year 🙂

  16. bethnegrey January 1, 2019 at 12:21 pm #

    Dang — that Spoonflower photo is totally ah-mazing! What a beauty (and the shirt and wall covering as well, 🙂 )! Your tally of pluses and minuses, besides being living proof of the mixed bag of real life, is also revealing of your perseverance and the always-come-out-on-top Lauren we all love. And it’s interesting that the growth in your sewing pretty much mirrors mine in knitting. Been a bit odd getting used to at times, cycling out some sweaters it took so long to make because I know they’ll be better loved elsewhere. Here’s to a truly fabulous 2019! ❤

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2019 at 1:32 pm #

      That’s probably my favorite photo of me ever! I especially love the story before it – that it was totally random and unintentional!

  17. Beth January 1, 2019 at 6:45 pm #

    Sounds like you’ve had quite a year. I hope 2019 will bring you many good things. But OMG I want to know which celebrity’s butt you touched!! 🙂

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2019 at 1:32 pm #

      lol i don’t think I can mention it online, but if i ever see you in person I’m happy to share the details:)

  18. Mary January 2, 2019 at 9:09 am #

    Why do cats do that thing? Honestly. Mine is a really classy lady, folding her paws, delicately centering her head on them, closing her eyes, and making a nice, neat, furry oblong shape….when it is just the family around. When we have company she sprawls like a homeless addict, and polishes her muffler in front of them….sigh.
    Congrats on being able to fill up all those classes!

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2019 at 1:33 pm #

      It wouldn’t be proper cat behavior if they didn’t do something to embarass us in front of people! I can’t decide what is funnier – the cat’s act, or how people react (or pretend not to react) when it’s happening in the middle of the living room rug haha

  19. Rae January 2, 2019 at 1:52 pm #

    aww YAY love this year-end post. That Dolce and Gabbana dress is amaaaaaazing!! So sorry to hear you’ve had a tough year. Big wishes for a better one this year!!

  20. Alice January 2, 2019 at 2:37 pm #

    Oh Lauren, you are so inspirational. I love reading about your spirited adventures.Sorry about the tough times in 2018 and huge wishes for your best and happiest year EVER!! Can’t wait to see what you come up next. Great optical illusion with the shirt, surprised me at first, I thought you were coming out of the wall. Hahaha.

    • LLADYBIRD January 29, 2019 at 5:38 pm #

      Thank you!! I got big plans for 2019, it better live up!! 🙂

  21. amystanton January 3, 2019 at 3:43 pm #

    You’ve had quite the year. I’m sorry to hear about your losses and the breakup. Those things take a lot out of a person. You’ve made some incredible items here. Love that coat! Had to laugh about the snap skirt, though. I could see me doing something like that. 🙂

    • LLADYBIRD January 29, 2019 at 5:39 pm #

      lol well I’m happy to be the test subject so no one else makes the mistake of flashing their underwear at the world 😛

  22. Connie Turner January 3, 2019 at 9:21 pm #

    What a beautiful cat. And oh, of course all the sewing stuff was cool too. Love the pretty red sundress.

  23. Jen January 4, 2019 at 6:19 am #

    Hi Lauren, long time reader here!! I just started listening to the Love to Sew podcast…honestly, like yesterday and am really enjoying it. As soon as I read your post and realized you were on an episode I skipped ahead to listen! Really fun hearing about your sewing journey. I’ve been wanting to take your jeans workshop for a while now, but the Brooklyn one (where I used to live) was always sold out so quickly. Coincidentally, I now live in Newport, RI where it sounds like you have a work connection. Any plans to do a class up this way in 2019?

    • LLADYBIRD January 29, 2019 at 5:37 pm #

      My boss used to live in Newport but she actually moved to West Hartford CT last fall so I don’t foresee any trips to Newport in the future. I’m sorry! I do have a few workshops at Workroom Social in Brooklyn (July & November; I believe the March one is already sold out) and one in North Hampton NH in November as well 🙂

  24. Sarah O January 4, 2019 at 5:23 pm #

    Your makes are inspiring as always! I was excited to hear that you’ll be offering more classes in 2019! I just signed up for your class in Portland. See you there!

    • LLADYBIRD January 29, 2019 at 5:37 pm #

      Yay!! Can’t wait to meet you!!

  25. Peggy January 10, 2019 at 1:29 am #

    Love, love, love you and your blog. Sorry about the heartache but so inspired by all your achievements!

  26. AlexMarie January 11, 2019 at 6:58 am #

    Happy New year!. I was surprised to realise that I have actually read almost all your posts from last year. You are a very engaging writer. Thanks for the beautiful content you put out.

  27. Anonymous January 12, 2019 at 11:44 pm #

    I read your blog for a couple of years and every time I admire your work!

  28. Jodecpublic January 13, 2019 at 8:44 am #

    Hi Lauren and Happy new year! Great review, I like everything you’ve made, especially the coat. You always achived such an amazing fit! Thanks for the info about the classes, I’m really happy that you’re coming to Canada. I registered for the Ginger classe jeans in May in Ottawa. Did you know that there was a Paris sewing meet up on the same week-end? Carmen Bouchard told me to say Hi when I see you since you were at the first Paris meet up back in 2014. This must have been a lot of fun! I wish I could go some day!

    • LLADYBIRD January 29, 2019 at 5:45 pm #

      Oh gosh, what a blast from the past! I can’t believe it was that long ago that I was in Paris! That was such a wonderful time and Carmen did such a great job of arranging it 😀 Looking forward to seeing you in May!

  29. Elizabeth January 27, 2019 at 7:37 pm #

    See you in Ottawa in May! Stoked

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