Tag Archives: giant blog recap

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 🙂
– 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 🙂
– 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 🙂

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 🙂 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 🙂 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 🙂

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.” 🙂

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 🙂

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!

2012 – A Year In Review

21 Dec

I knowww I said I wouldn’t be back until 2013, but I just realized I haven’t made a proper yearly review! This is important!

First up, let’s talk about how many pieces of clothing I made. I thought I was slacking, but I started clicking through the months and saving pictures and holy shit:
2012 - A Review!
2012 - A Review!
2012 - A Review!
2012 - A Review!
2012 - A Review!
2012 - A Review!
2012 - A Review!
2012 - A Review!
2012 - A Review!
2012 - A Review!
(psst- click on the picture to see the patterns I used for each piece! Sorry these aren’t in better order; it was hard enough just getting them all in the collages)

Assuming I got them all, that’s 52 things I made this year (I know, you see 50 pictures – but two pictures have two garments in them, so booyah!). Oh, and that doesn’t count the handful of Renfrews I made that never appeared on the blog. That’s basically a garment a week? How the hell did that happen haha.

I know a lot of people think I’m some kind of madwoman sewing machine who never eats or sleeps, but I assure you – I have a full-time day job, and I spend just as much time sewing as I do having fun life experiences with friends. I just really, really enjoy sewing! 😉

Just glancing over those pictures, here’s a list of my top favorite/most worn things I made this year:
Gingham Peony – This is forreal the perfect little biking dress.
Cheetah Mock Wrap Dress – This dress is surprisingly versatile – it works just as well in summer as it does winter. And it’s leopard, which is always a plus in my book.
Disaster Dress – I love this dress! The lining and lace were gifts from two different blog franz, and I think of both those lovely ladies every time I put it on (is that creepy?). Not to mention, I just feel so pretty and elegant when I wear this dress.
– Thurlows! Specifically – the old man Thurlows (which may or may not have had a brush with death over the weekend… Landon put them in the wash :X They fit, but they’re a little short HELP) and the gingham Thurlows, which I seriously wore several times a week in the summer. I wish I could give my Thurlow jeans the same nod of appreciation, but unfortunately the fabric isn’t quite cutting it for me – over the course of the day, they stretch out and get super baggy. I love the way they look when they are fresh out of the dryer, though. I may need to revisit denim next year and see how I can make these better.
– Last, but not least – the mustard Agatha. I am going to wear this sweater until it falls apart in glories wooly ribbons. Watch me.

Some really awesome things happened in 2012, and not just clothing! Let’s see a recap:
I bought a Featherweight sewing machine. Longtime sewing dream: accomplished!
– I learned how to knit in 2011, so by 2012 I was ready to tackle my first sweater! It took 3 months and it was super difficult at times, but I powered through and now I have a new favorite wool sweater that goes with practically everything I own 🙂 Here is an agonizingly long list of posts that cover the process
– After the first sweater, I got pretty fearless and went on to knit 4 more sweaters. That’s 5 sweaters in one year haha! YAY SWEATERS.
– I participated in my first Me-Made-May and not only did I manage to wear handmade for 31 days straight… I didn’t repeat an outfit, either.
– I had one major sewing fail, and it came in the form of an Amy Butler handbag.
– Vogue released a new line of patterns that had the most ridiculous styling and posing ever and we all lol’d for days.
– I painted this chicken and it is cool as fuck.
– I moved to the other side of town (yay! BYE EAST NASHVILLE) and got a fancy pantsy new sewing room, and eventually a real sexi couch.
– Landon & I went to Chicago, where I had my first ever blogger meet-up and met some of the COOLEST ladies:
Final stop! Love these ladies!!
♥ !!!
– I made a bear costume and wore it for the internets.
– I finally paid off my credit card! BIG HUGE DEAL!
– I found my ~*~TNT~*~ pattern, the Sewaholic Thurlows. I think I beat that dead horse well into the ground – I made 5 pairs of the same pattern, plus hosted a sewalong! AND I HAVE MORE THURLOWS PLANNED HEH HEH HEH.

As far as the goals I had for 2012:
– I wanted to make another coat – done!
– Perfecting pants fitting – I hesitate to call anything perfect, but these are mighty close
– Make men’s clothing – done and done!
– Knitting: Learn colorwork and knit a sweater – Well, the sweater is done… and then some! I haven’t dipped my toes into colorwork quite yet, but that’s coming 🙂

And a few goals for 2013:
– More men’s sewing – I want to make a proper men’s shirt for Landon, with the collar stand and button placket and everything!
– Sewing with “difficult” fabrics – slippery little shits like chiffon and silk, I’m lookin’ at you.
– Knitting socks – why haven’t gotten around to making these yet? Also, COLORWORK: your time has come.

I know a lot of my friends have been complaining that 2012 was a rough year, but it was good to me. 2013, can’t wait to see what you have in store!
In front of the Bean :)

2011: a year in retrospect

22 Dec

yeesh, has it already been a year?! soooo much has happened in the past 12 months, i hardly know where to begin!

the very first sewing-related thing i did this year? immortalize my love for sewing by branding it onto my body – forever (an evil cackle seems appropriate right now):
ISN’T SHE DARLING? this was taken immediately after it was finished.
done by jonny lashley at kustom thrills in nashville.

here’s a collage recap of every garment i made for myself this year:
2011 sewing recap
2011 sewing recap
2011 sewing recap
2011 sewing recap
2011 sewing recap
2011 sewing recap
2011 sewing recap
(click on the photo to see the pattern i used!)
did you count them? that’s 27, plus a scarf! damn gina – that’s like sewing a garment every other week! and here i was thinking i barely made anything this year :B

i also made two small collections to sell locally – spring 2011 and summer 2011. the rest of the seasons don’t exist because i’m burnt out on making a bunch of clothes for other people. also i’m selfish and i want to keep everything i make. so there you go.

some non-sewing related points of mention:
– do you see all the changes i made to my hair over the course of the year? lol! i went from red, to orange, to bright red, to faded red, to dark brown, to black brown. bangs, no bangs, long, short, curly, straight. clearly i love playing with my hair, like, a lot.
– my very best friend (like, reaching life-partner status best friend) joined the peace corps & moved to macedonia! i miss her SO much 😦
– best friend was also my roommate, so i had to pack up & move! double bummer! but i like my new house & it gave me a new sewing room to paint & decorate, so all was not lost.
– i met the most amazing guy and he turned my world upside-down. seriously, even my cat likes him – and she hates everyone (except me, obviously. bitch, i buy your food!). we actually just celebrated 6 months last week! blog world, this is my boyfriend, landon:
GAWD he’s such a babe.
– my beloved s10 pickup bit the dust, and forced me to learn how to navigate the public transportation options here in nashville. it wasn’t too bad! i also rode my bike a LOT. i eventually bought a new-to-me red ford ranger (what can i say? i’m a truck girl :)), which is awesome but the process of paying it off has definitely put a screeching hold on buying a plane ticket to macedonia 😦 at least for now.

and now for the sewing-related mentions:
– i made my first pair of pants! and then another and then another! i am still having some fitting issues, but i think i’m heading in the right direction as far as fitting the lower half of my body. i have discovered i have a short crotch & a protruding butt. well, okay then!
– speaking of pattern fitting, i have made leaps & bounds as far as my fit is concerned. i now almost always make a muslin before cutting (or at the very least, a quick tissue-fit) and i have learned little tweaks to make the pattern work best for my body.
– this year, i forced myself to slow down & enjoy the actual experience of sewing. to me, sewing is like riding a bicycle – what is the point of rushing through it to finish as fast as you can? if you’re in a hurry, buy something ready-to-wear (or drive!). slow the eff down & enjoy the experience! as a result, i have garments that are as lovely on the outside as they are on the inside. and they wash & wear soo much better!
– i participated in my first pattern testing experience & ended up with a sweet biking jacket. this was my first experience with sewaholic patterns, and i was definitely impressed with the ending result.
– a couple (small)blog changes – i added a new page of my handmade clothes if you just want to lurk the finished projects. i signed up for a pro flickr account so now you can see ALL my photos – including old ones like the apartment i lived in for 4 years (it’s really cute!). i finally changed my banner, since the original was, er, part of a picture from the threads website :X ahem. and i have a lot of new followers! yay! hi everyone! 🙂
– not sewing, but i learned how to knit! and then i finished my first scarf! YAY! knitting is something i’ve wanted to learn for yeeears, so i’m thrilled to actually be learning this new skill 🙂

now for 2012… i have a few goals!
– i want to make another coat! i already have my pattern & fabric chosen (still debating on a lining). this baby will be fully tailored, wooly, beautiful, etc. can’t wait to start it!
– i want to perfect my pants fitting! pants are sooo easy to sew up, it’s really the fit that causes so much hair-pulling. once i get that down, i can churn those babies out one after the other.
– this is a pretty lofty ambition (and likely not something that can be completed by the end of 2012 – it might take a couple years. well, that is, if the world doesn’t end on 12/21/12, y’know), but i want to start phasing out my shitty rtw clothes & replacing them with handmade or vintage clothes. i have a LOT of clothes, and a giant chunk of them are stuff i have just to “have” – like the suit pants that don’t look very good on me, but i keep because it’s nice to have suit pants. or the tshirts that get increasingly ratty, but they are allowed to stick around because it’s good to have tshirts on hand. i don’t even buy new clothes anymore – everything i accumulated this year was handmade, thrifted, or vintage. i no longer fill gaps in my wardrobe with junky stuff from the mall, so now it’s time to start replacing the junky stuff i already own.
– i want to make some men’s clothes! men’s button-ups & ties are at the top of my list.
– knitting: i only have two knitting goals this year. i want to learn colorwork and make a pair of meow mitts. and i want to knit a cardigan – the agatha is EXACTLY what i want. it’s pretty ambitious, but i want to at least start it in 2012 🙂

as far as specific garments i want to sew up for 2012, all i can think about is spring right now! i have lots of pretty warm-weather fabrics hoarded up, visions of shirtdresses & cotton circle skirts & pedal pushers dancing around in my head 🙂

so there you go! that’s my year in review – it’s been a crazy one! i can’t wait to see what 2012 will bring!
what about y’all? anything happen in 2011 that totally rocked your world? did you accomplish something (sewing-related or otherwise!) that you are especially proud of? have any burning goals you want to reach in 2012? let’s hear them! 🙂