My top 5 Reflections, Inspirations and Goals of 2013 and looking forward in 2014…

Here’s part two of my Top 5 posts, in which I try and assemble my thoughts into some kind of coherent jumble.  It’s a long shot at best.

crafting a rainbow top 5

Top 5 Reflections: What did you learn about yourself or sewing this year?

The more time and thought I put into a garment, the more I enjoy it long term.  It’s hard balancing the want to dress the family quickly, as opposed to buying ready made clothes, and the quality that makes it worthwhile.

I completed my Seamless pledge, and it was fairly easy.  What’s difficult, which I didn’t expect was trying to go back to RTW.

Going to sewing social, however many projects I bring, I will only AT BEST do a third of that.  It’s a pretty good reality check between how fast I think I sew, and my actual speed.

Nothing teaches you faster than practice.  All the blogs in the world won’t replace the feeling of fabric under your fingers. It took 8 versions of Jalie 3133 to finally nail it to a quality I loved, no matter how many tutorials I read.

Jalie 3133 raglan baby toddler FOE fold over elastic

My UFO list is getting outrageous.  I might enforce a finish ban before starting anything new….

Top 5 Inspirations: What books, people, blogs, trends etc motivated you this year?

The sewing of my friends.  Nothing is more inspiring than seeing what people are sewing at social sewing, on Twitter and seeing different tips and techniques and versions of garments.  The different thinking and way that people sew also challenges me to try different methods, i.e. fast finishes versus couture methods.   This has been fascinating as the lure of technical projects is very much influenced by watching Poppykettle sew, and also balancing that with using sewing as a practical means of ethically dressing myself (and increasingly the family) is driven by Funkbunny, Mymessings and Unique Schmuck.

Blogs.  I love reading a wide range of sewing and design blogs.  And even one or two cooking blogs.  It’s great to see different peoples opinions, techniques and use of patterns and fabric combinations.  You really can never be too inspired right?  (Total lie – occasionally I have internet reduced days* so I can focus on my projects on hand and not start anything new.  That’s right, my UFO pile isn’t my fault…it’s yours.)

*Internet free days aren’t really an option when you run an online store, but not checking your email every 20 minutes IS an option.

Technical sewing (books).  I’ve admitted before I read sewing patterns on the train.  Aside from feeling a little like Dumbledore reading knitting patterns, I like to make my own notes about how I’m going to tackle a project of any modifications I’m planning on doing BEFORE starting these days.
Having learnt from experience working as a advisor in a large consulting firm full of specialists, in my role as a “be all advisor” you can never stop learning, or know everything about a subject matter.  However having a broad understanding of the concepts and the practices out in the field means that when you do encounter an issue, a lightbulb will hopefully go off and you can refer to a subject matter expert.  Sewing is exactly the same.  Gertie is my go to for vintage patterns/techniques.  Colette for the basics, same as readers digest (mine is the 1970’s version).  My sewing machine manual is INVALUABLE.   You know what else is?  My local library.  I’ve borrowed heaps of amazing sewing books like pattern magic from my little local library.  Now I just need a full collection of Susan Khalje books…..

Craftsy.  The couture dress class has changed my life.  So has the fitting class.  AMAZING.  I learn visually and verbally best, so this is an amazing platform of learning for me.  It is my dream to attend a Susan Khalje class, but my skills need SO much work to really get the best out of such an opportunity.

Designsponge.  I like Grace and her ethos, not all the posts are for me but I find generally it’s fairly inspirational for a simpler, more decluttered life with quality things around me, and to support local and independent as much as possible.  It’s not the easiest way to live, but it makes us all happier.  Side note, I’ve been decluttering the house while nesting, and it’s STILL full of stuff.  The volume of things I’ve thrown out has been astounding, but it feels SO good.  I’m determined that we should do it twice a year as a family, and that will drive us to accumulate less.

Top 5 Goals for the New Year

One.  It really is time to finish all those UFO’s from last year and new UFO’s.  Notice anything about that list?  Nearly everything on there is for other people.  Naughty isn’t it?  The only two things really for me that haven’t been completed in a timely fashion is the pavlova blouse, as I picked a terribly hard fabric to work with, and the lady grey coat which also has a poor fabric choice.   So that’s the real challenge while I sit around waiting for this baby to arrive, finish UFO’s and work on the new website.

  • Oliver and S Sailboat top x 2
  • Oliver and S Sailboat pants
  • Oliver and S Sailboat skirt
  • Thread Theory Jedediah Shorts
  • Cake Patterns pavlova blouse
  • Vintage cape
  • Two quilt tops
  • Hand quilting of a queen sized quilt
  • Colette Patterns lady grey jacket
  • Curtains for my sewing room
  • Table napkins

Two.  2014 has a focus on two speed sewing.  Quick quality basics, and high quality beautiful classic designs.   We all have those tried a true patterns, for basic t-shirts and simple items, and I’m planning on making sure to keep the family stocked in those.  The other items I want to sew are things that might take a bit more time, but use beautiful fabrics and proper sewing techniques and are finished to a high standard.  Mel of Poppykettle is really starting to rub off!  I’d like to do sewing lessons again later in the year to really pull the standard of my sewing to a better level, and then feel more confident spending more money on super high quality fabrics.

Three.  Finish a couple of craftsy courses.  8 classes, and only one finished watching.  I’ve rewatched lots of sections of certain courses, but not actually made the projects and gotten to the end.  My enthusiasm did not match my spare time last year.  Nearly all the watching I did, was on the train commuting to and from work.  It’s kinda hard sewing along on the train.

Four.  Sew for my husband.  The ratio of fabric proclaimed to be shorts/t-shirts/hoodies etc to finished garments is staggeringly poor.  I get some patterns to muslin stage, get him to try it on…then they disappear under other projects or need alterations….blah blah blah.  He should be the easiest one in the family to sew for, yet gets the least number of garments.  Unlucky.  (His total finished garment tally is 2 – and they aren’t even wearable in my opinion.  He kindly wears one, and asks for more, but maybe next time with a less wavy neckline.  That t-shirt should be in flashdance it’s that stretched out on the neckline).

Five.  Be kind to myself when I’ve got two small kids and no time to sew.  It will pass, they will grow, and it’s perfectly fine to pack away the sewing machine for a couple of months.  I’ll leave out some hand sewing to do, now I think about it…there are some english paper pieced hexagons half done which might have been left off my UFO list…..

How did I go against prior years goals?

-Sew whatever takes your whimsy, but try and make it a practical and beautiful version.  Add a stunning lining to a coporate colour, sneak in some pockets, embroider a jacket

Hmmm, I think the practical aspect worked, but the beautiful is something to keep aspiring to.  Much of my sewing recently has been all practical, and the challenge of making something beautiful is something to keep aspiring towards.

-I have a two item limit of UFO’s come 31 December 2013, which means digging out that Lady Grey coat and finishing it.  It also means three quilts, a tiramisu, day to night top, kimono top and a girls dress, four cushion covers and a set of curtains.  *sigh*.

EPIC FAIL.  The curtains, three quilts and that lady grey are still outstanding.  I’m trying to spend time at home sewing before this baby comes clearing away this UFO list.  The Lady grey as well, it needs some rework which is causing epic procrastination, but it will be worth it when it’s done.

– Try and blog once a week, sewing is a team sport, and sometimes reading someone else’s blog gives you the encouragement to start sewing something.  It’s the bomb.

Well, apparently I blogged 33 times last year, which considering what a crazy year it’s been, I totally forgive myself.  You do too right?

-Be a good person.  I made my first Kiva loan to a sewing lady in pakistan this week, and it felt good.  I’m not a huge fan of the high rates of interest they charge, but even here trying to get the funds to start sewsquirrel was tricky for a microbusiness.  It’s the least I can do to regularly make Kiva loans.

I totally need to do this more.  We’ve been more focused on domestic charities this year, and considering how much international aid Australia no longer is contributing, I should stump up and help represent.

-Do some selfless sewing, and more mending.  This year I got an extra years use out of a set of sheets by patching them (twice).  I’m trying to live a more green and sustainable life, so that means repairing and refashioning!

This, is kind of a win.  While my poor husband is still waiting on a wearable finished garment (any garment really), the little one got a bonanza of outfits.  She’s just gotten to the age where she doesn’t grow out of things immediately, so it’s more worthwhile.  I’ve repaired many more things, although I’ve got to stop repairing sheets with quilting cotton.  There are all these tiny little colourful circles all over the sheets (from the cat sleeping/clawing at the bed).


3 thoughts on “My top 5 Reflections, Inspirations and Goals of 2013 and looking forward in 2014…

  1. Oh, you’re a million times too kind. And totally right too – watching others is so inspiring! And thank you for mentioning Kiva – I’ve been thinking about searching for a new charity to donate to that focuses on a combination of women’s rights and helping out disadvantaged women in a more direct manner. You’ve kinda done some of my research for me already!

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