Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Year Of Sewing: Reflecting Back on 2018

Even though I’ve been sewing intermittently for years, this year’s choice to delve into the sewing world and sew myself a handmade wardrobe has been a game changer. My 2017 new year’s resolution to do more of what makes me happy made me take a look at sewing, sewing more in general as well as more for myself. I didn’t have any immediate goals or expectations for where it would take me, but being proactive has pushed me further than I could’ve dreamed and I’m really excited to reflect on everything I’ve accomplished this year.

At the beginning of 2018:
  • Seldomly followed a pattern. I had a stash of patterns from the major brands that I'd purchased on sale, but most were untouched. Most of what I'd made wasn't super complicated therefore quickly self drafted with the skills I knew.
  • My serger was still in its box. I’d attempted to use it once, but didn’t have the patience or motivation to learn how to use it so back in the box it went. Working with knits was elusive to me.
  • My comfort zone was small. The majority of what I’d made consisted of Halloween costumes, dresses for Isabelle, and a few simple gathered skirts for myself. The only time I took out my sewing machine was for a special occasion and only to make things I felt comfortable enough tackling.

My handmade wardrobe at the end of April 2018

Challenges I’ve come across in 2018:
  • New to the sewing world. Since I’m brand new to sewing a handmade wardrobe, I spend a lot of time looking for patterns and it sucks up more time than I’d like. Instagram has helped me immensely in finding and deciding what to make, but I still find that I’m hugely indecisive right before I begin a project.
  • Lack of organization. It's pretty safe to say that I have no organizational system. In my eagerness, I’ve accumulated tons of patterns and fabrics with no end goal in sight. I’m learning that I personally shouldn’t buy anything until I have a more fleshed out plan in mind. That way, I’m not just hoarding things I won’t use, but I’m still working on that since planning is not my forte.
  • No soundboard. Sometimes I’d like to talk through some ideas and that’s rough when I don’t have a ton of sewing friends. Instagram and the sewing groups on Facebook has helped some in that aspect, but it’s still not quite the same and I'm hoping my sewing circle will get bigger in time. 

Labeling my beloved serger has been so helpful in remembering how to thread it.

Proudest accomplishments of 2018:
  • Learned to use my serger. I was always back and forth on getting one and was actually a little upset that Andrew got it for me years ago because I didn’t think I’d ever need/use it. He obviously knew me better than I did, because I practically fall in love with it again every time I use it.
  • Made not one, but several knit garments. Knits have always been a scary thing for me and feeling like I sort of have a handle on them means I actually have handmade knit pieces in my wardrobe now. That’s huge since I practically live in knits.
  • Consistency. Instead of only sewing for a few months and then losing interest, I have been steadily sewing at least one thing a month. It’s been the perfect hobby for me and I absolutely love wearing my makes.

I checked a knit maxi dress off my wishlist. (Boundless Dress from Patterns for Pirates.)

At the end of 2018:
  • Stepped out of my comfort zone. It’s never fun to go outside your comfort zone, but I’m so glad I did this year. Joining in the sewing community (and in the #sewmystyle challenge) has really helped me grow my skills and learn more about all that the sewing world has to offer.
  • Investing in a hobby that makes me happy. I miss sewing when I'm not able to and it's been really good for me to have this hobby. The gratification of having something to show for all my hard work is so worth all the frustrating and challenging times. 
  • Growth. I’m getting closer to finding my personal style which has always been a struggle of mine and I've learned a lot this year. I've stretched myself with patterns and styles that I wouldn't normally choose which has helped me learn new skills.
  • Progress. In the past, I'd pack at most one handmade garment for Isabelle or myself for a vacation. On our last trip, I was able to see exactly how far I'd come when I was also able to pack more handmade garments than I ever have before. And not just for Isabelle, but for myself too!

One of my Kalle shirts for Disney!

A few more 2018 stats:
  • # of patterns: Upwards of almost 40 PDF patterns from indie designers.
  • Most made pattern: Kalle Shirt & Shirtdress from Closet Case Patterns. I've made 5!
  • Most worn pattern: York Pinafore from Helen's Closet. I've made 3 that I practically lived in all summer. 

With 2018 coming to a close, it's been quite a year and I have a lot of things to look forward to in 2019. I put myself out there and will be one of the leaders for #sewmystyle2019 (sign up and join me!). I am also planning to pull together a more cohesive wardrobe to help me get closer to my handmade wardrobe goals so you'll definitely see more makes from me throughout the year. Find me on Instagram to see it all and don't forget to check back here for more details on all my adventures!
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