“Dress”ing for Winter

Hello, everyone!

One of my wardrobe goals of late has been to add some suitable-for-cold-weather dresses to my rotation. I had a few old RTW ones, but they’ve either gotten worn out, stained, or are wayyyy too body-con for the office! πŸ˜‰ Without better options, I tend to revert to jeans; that’s fine of course, but sometimes you want to feel a bit more stylish to counteract the bleak weather. This month, I have managed to make 2 such dresses–hooray!!

This first garment has been a long time in the planning, but I only just got around to sewing it. Without further ado, here is my version of Butterick 6388 (Beware: yet ANOTHER striped garment ahead–my 4th this year!)

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My face does not reflect how I feel about this dress!

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Hand swish!

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“Oh, this old thing?” πŸ˜‰

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Back view, very nearly perfectly matched. =/

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Collar close-up (again, so close to perfectly lined up!)

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Back yoke close-up

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Side view (now with 100% more derp)

We took these photos at the same time as those in my last post, so apologies again for the scenery (or lack thereof). And pay no mind to my hair looking layered or feathered–it’s a trick of the flash behind me, and my hair is the same as always. (That is, totally t*ts awesome.) But anyway, back to business!

I have to admit that I don’t usually connect with Butterick designs. However, I loved this pattern the minute it came out: the collar, the angled front pieces, the back yoke, and pockets all make it a cool take on the “athleisure” trend. (Hell, I like the entire wardrobe included in the envelope–who am I?!?!?!?) At first, I had my heart set on a white version–it wouldn’t get much more winter-y than that, eh?–but decided to use this striped french terry instead at the last minute. Why? Well, I do love me some stripes, and this pattern has plenty of opportunities to play with direction(s)! But I was also nervous about such a high, close-fitting collar in solid white fabric: my hair is not safe for white collars in the first week or so after coloring! But having made this pattern now, I think it might be okay–the collar doesn’t come up as close to my hairline as I expected, in part because my neck has #giraffegoals. πŸ˜‰

Giraffe Goals

Basically me. (You’re welcome.) #giraffegoals

giraffe in the wild

See? I fit right in. πŸ˜‰

(Sorry-not-sorry, guys. I had to do it.)

I had some fun with my photos AND the stripes on this dress, for sure. My french terry only stretches in one direction, but I figured it was forgiving enough to use the vertical layout on the front triangle pieces and the back yoke, which it was. I did sew the side seams at a 3/8″ allowance below the waist just to be safe though; they are sewn at the given 5/8″ everywhere else. This pattern is pretty simple to make, with the trickiest parts being the back yoke and the pockets (of which more in a moment). The yoke is easy to install if you’ve ever put a knit sleeve in flat, though!

About the pockets: I don’t have them in this dress, which is a big disappointment. I put them in, thinking I wasΒ soooooo smart for using the aforementioned white knit for one half of each pocket to prevent stripe show-through. Unfortunately, I got the pieces flipped around, resulting in a big white section right at the pocket opening, grr! I tried unpicking them but between the loops of the terry and my matching thread, that wasn’t happening. (I had sewn them using my sewing machine and a narrow zig-zag.) I cut them out and reinserted them the other way around, then finished up the sleeves, collar, and side seams so I could try the dress on. Aaaaand the pockets were hideous!!! (Well, not aesthetically: I stripe-matched the shit out of them!) They were super gape-y and sloppy-looking. 😦 So in the end, I cut them out AGAIN and sewed the openings shut. Perhaps they would sit better without all the extra ripping and trimming I had to do, but I don’t know. So at any rate, no pockets for Mads this time.

I honestly can’t remember if I lengthened this dress or not–whoops!! I blame the pocket fiasco and the fact that I made this dress a few weeks ago. πŸ˜‰ If I did, it wasn’t by much. (I am about 5’8″, but have short limbsΒ for my height–giraffe hopes dashed, LOL.) I took 5/8″ for the hem, and the same for the sleeves.

There was enough of this vaguely-prison-striped fabric left to cut out a pair of Hudson pants, which is exciting. I did have to piece the waistband (and take some liberties with stripe matching on the pockets), but that’s a small price to pay for a nice pair of sweatpants in my book. πŸ˜€

So that’s one very “jailbird chic” dress down, but I have one more for you: the Sew Over It Heather dress!

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Winter white Heather dress! (My legs are down there, I swear!!)

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Oooh, moody!

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Less moody, more bitchy. xD

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Pockets!!

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Back view (and yes, I will be steaming this after seeing these photos!)

I am wearing black tights in these photos but the black backdrop was necessary to show the dress, so you can’t see my legs!! Trust me: they’re there. πŸ˜‰

I mentioned my interest in this pattern in my last post and didn’t wait long to buy it. (I wrote both of these posts together, starting them a couple of weeks ago.) I actually joined the SOI PDF Club; you get a free PDF pattern for joining (and if you join before Feb 9, you can pick ANY PDF pattern, not just a PDF-Only one), and the cost of joining was less than the cost of the Heather pattern, even after the discount they’ll give you for signing up initially. (And if you were wondering, I did use that code…to get a discount on the PDF Club membership, because SOI is awesome and allows that. πŸ˜€ ) I shopped smart, y’all. πŸ˜‰ I have to say, I am really impressed with SOI thus far. I don’t know how many of the PDF Club designs will appeal to me, but I’ve been very happy with the two patterns I’ve made and with my shopping experience.

Anyway, you probably want to hear about my Heather dress now! This design is so perfect for F/W here in Ohio. For this version–there will be others!–I used the off-white french terry I had considered for B6388. It’s a little lighter weight than the stripes but still plenty thick for a dress. The construction was very straightforward, but of course the pockets are the trickiest part. I did those steps on my sewing machine just to be safe, and serged the seam allowances after. Apart from needing a good pressing/steaming and the dreaded white-on-white show-through, I think they turned out pretty well! Part of me wishes I had thought to topstitch the princess seams though–next time, maybe. The shoulders areΒ just a bit broad for me, but I expect it’s down to the size I made (and grading principles). It bears mentioning that I made the UK 8, the smallest size; in reality, I need a smaller size in most areas but wasn’t concerned about the fit being a little more relaxed. However, I am pleased to report that the sleeve caps did not have excessive ease in them, which influenced my gushing above.

As for alterations, I added 2″ of length to the pattern at the hemline but that was not necessary! I ended up taking it all back off following a try-on before I hemmed the dress, and then I took a 1″ hem. I should have just measured the dress itself but was influenced by the sample photo on Lisa, which is quite brief! I’m not sure if they altered the pattern to achieve that length or if she herself is just particularly tall. Oh well, no harm done–better too long than too short, right? I did lengthen the 3/4 length sleeves by about 1″, and took 5/8″ for the hem there. I also sewed the side seams from the pockets to the hem at 3/8″ instead of 5/8″ just to be safe, but needn’t have done that in the end. Next time, I will just use the 5/8″ all the way down; I will also probably shorten the next one and bring the shoulders in slightly.

Once again, I’ve got leftovers from this project. O_o It’s a lot of leftovers, too: my material is 1.75 yards wide, PLUS I bought 3 yards of it. I can’t decide what to make with it, but I’m really hoping I’ve got enough left for 2 tops! I know for sure that I want one with a collar; I’m thinking Talvikki or the top version of B6388.Β What do you think I should make??? Sound off in the comments!

And you people KNOW there are other non-giraffe outtakes, right? Right:

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Testing the stretch factor!

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Nifty blue post-filter

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Half-hearted “Vogue”ing

Jailbird photos for jailbird stripes! (Obviously the best one!!)

There you are: 2 winter-friendly dresses! I admit that neither of them are particularly figure-flattering (hellooooooooo, swayback + hip/waist ratio!) but they are warm and stylish and comfy. I think that keeping them shorter helps–it helps me *feel* less dumpy, anyway. πŸ˜‰ I haven’t worn my Heather dress yet apart from photos but I’ll wear it how I’ve styled it here, with tights and boots.

Hopefully I will be back here soon with more nifty things! I’ve got plans, though we’ll see what I end up showing you next time–it could be sweatpants or shirts or jeans, or just blatherings about other plans. Let’s hope for the former, shall we? Thanks for reading!

Do you have a “cold weather uniform”? Would you ever Photoshop yourself for the sake of a joke?Β πŸ˜‰Β How many yards of a fabric do you buy when you haven’t got immediate plans for it?Β 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Year, New Tops!

Hi there! I want to start by saying “Thanks!” to all of you who read and commented on my 2017 Top 5 posts: I enjoy sharing a year-end recap, but it’s so heartening that people read them and take the time to leave a comment. And while I’m at it, a massive “THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!” to anyone who read or commented on this blog over the course of the past year! My sewing friends–online, on social media, and in real life–add so much joy and inspiration to my life, and I hope I am able to do even a fraction of the same in return. ❀

And now, on with the show!

It seems that, for the second year running, I will be starting a new year of project posts with multiple knit tops! But unlike last year, all three tops in today’s post have something in common: stripes!! First up: the Molly top by Sew Over It!

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“Are you taking the photo now?”

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Back!

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Side, with poor stripe matching on full display.

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Tilt

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Sass

Sorry about these relatively boring (but still very high-quality, IMO) photos, guys–I vastly prefer outdoor shots, but the weather was far too cold and snowy for me to risk it this time. Tom was also messing with his lighting and flash options, which resulted in some unusually crisp shadows. (We don’t Photoshop around here unless we’re doing something really obvious–this ain’t a magazine shoot.)

This top is actually my final garment for 2017–I cut it (and the other 2 below) out on 12/30, and somehow sewed it up completely before noon on 12/31!! Not at all what I planned or expected, but that’s what happens when you’re up at 5:30AM*, even on days off: you get shit done! πŸ˜‰

*And you also have a serger

As basic as it is, this pattern was one that I was excited about, for a few reasons. First, because I’d never used a SOI pattern before–I was eager to see what they were like, how they fit, and how I felt about the resulting garment. Second, because I bought this fabric and wanted a different pattern to showcase the stripes. (Is it just me, or are stripes of this scale oddly difficult to match to a pattern choice?) I love my Lark tees–and totally intend to make one with what’s left of this material–but I wanted something that looked a bit more unique in stripes. Finally, I figured if I liked the top version of Molly, I would be able to crack on with a dress version eventually!

So first impressions: the pattern printed a little oddly for me, but not in any way that negatively impacted the scaling or fit. I think it’s more to do with UK vs. US paper formats, because even scaled at 100%, I ended up with a weird section of overlap on the edges of each page. But it was simple enough to just cut that section off, once I realized that it wasn’tΒ supposed to be there! My other first impression was that the pieces looked really wide compared to the not-at-all-oversized finished versions I’d seen people make. But I quickly realized that I didn’t know what the seam allowance was, and sure enough, a trip to Google revealed that it’s 5/8″. Mystery solved!Β And while we’re discussing first impressions, I should note that I got this pattern for free; I can’t remember where I got it, but it was from a link multiple months ago that I saw online someplace–again, I can’t remember as it’s been a while! Rest assured that 1.) this is not an affiliation thing and 2.) I came by the freebie legitimately, as far as I know.Β 

I had a heck of a time with this material! (It’s a rayon/lycra jersey, which I’ve used before with not nearly this much fuss!) No matter what I did, the yardage was distorting each time I tried to place and weight my pattern pieces. On top of that, fusing interfacing to my hems was awful! I actually had to stand there, pressing my iron down firmly and holding it there for 20-30 seconds or the fusible would not melt into the fabric. I have used the same knit interfacing many times before (from the same cut) and have never had this happen; as such, I am prepared to blame my fabric for this difficulty rather than my interfacing.

Since I struggled to get the fabric to lay still and stay on-grain easily, I didn’t do a great job matching stripes in the end. My sleeves look pretty good though, and I LOVE how the neckband came out! πŸ˜€ I’m not too bothered by the poor matching at the shoulders and side seams, though perhaps I’d have done better if I took a break from the project instead of forging ahead with the cutting. #YOLO

The only alteration I made to this pattern was to add a little bit of extra hem allowance. I think it’s meant to be longer, but I am glad I left it as-is: tunic-esque tops feel awkward on me. My only real complaint about the pattern itself, apart from those seam allowances (have you ever tried to serge rayon/lycra jersey with 5/8″ allowances?!?!?!? It’s soooo annoying!), is the length of the lower sleeves–they come up a bit short on me, and I’m not in possession of particularly long limbs. But going by the sample garment photos at SOI’s website, it actually looks like this is the length they intend for them to be, but having a free pattern-only (no instructions or line art) version, I can’t be sure. But that aside, I love my Molly top! I might make the dress version, although I’m not sure how much I’d love it in a solid fabric–it would be pretty plain. I would really like to buy the Heather dress pattern next, as I love the front panel with integrated pockets; I also think that pattern shines in solids, whereas Molly probably looks better in stripes since the dolman sleeves are the only real design lines. That’s my $0.02, anyway!

Next up is a pattern I have made once before, but not for a few years: the Tamara top from Style Arc!

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Always Be Primping

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Front view

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Back view

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Side!

This one is quite a bit more tasteful than my first version, LOL! I had enough of my striped bamboo jersey left to doΒ something with it, but not quite an entire garment. (THE WORST!!) Luckily I remembered this pattern! I have a few yards of a (slightly darker) plain navy bamboo jersey, so I decided to use that for the angled pieces. Speaking of which, the passage of time really made me forget how annoying those shoulder insets were to sew, haha! They definitely aren’t identical but I’m hoping non-sewers won’t even notice.

Style Arc assumes you’ll use the same material for the front bodice piece and the neckband, but I wanted plain navy for the neckband instead. (There were plenty of stripes already!) And I forgot about the sleeve construction, so my genius intentions to put the sleeves in flat didn’t work out–they had to go in round. Luckily SA understands that you don’t need 2″ of ease in a close-fitting knit sleeve cap–more like 0″–so they went in with no trouble at all, just like last time.

Finally, I made a Hemlock tee!

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Seems legit (Also, damn my bangs are getting long!!)

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So much fabric!

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Side (stripes match decently this time!!)

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Yikes.

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“Chop chop buddy, I don’t have all night!!”

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Always Be Primping, Round 2

This is a freebie pattern from Grainline; I’ve had it for a while but hadn’t made it yet! I used the same fabric for this tee that I used for a different Grainline pattern, the Lark, late last year. I added maybe 1/2″ of length to the body pieces here, but that’s it. The pattern has 1/4″ seam allowances, so it’s perfect for zipping through a serger. It’s a really comfortable and relaxed tee; I actually think it would make a nice pajama top. πŸ˜‰ Otherwise, there isn’t much to say!

Here are some outtakes for all y’all, as is customary:

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Angry stretchy shirt

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Abb’s Abs

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Dancing?

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Senior Portrait Pose

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Giggles

There you have it: 3 new tops, all in stripes! (Have I mentioned that I love stripes? Because I do.) I have 2 other projects to share with you also, and that post is coming very shortly. (And one of them is also striped…) I’ve been busy and have plenty of plans for more Winter sewing as well; I’m thinking of putting together a planning post to share my ideas with you all, but who knows if I will do that or not. (Perhaps my focus should be on just sewing stuff, rather than navel-gazing about sewing stuff. πŸ˜‰ )

Have you gotten off to a running start with your sewing projects in 2018? How do you feel about stripes? Do you find that sharing your ideas or plans helps you solidify them?Β 

 

2017 Top 5, Part 2: Reflections and Goals

Top 5

Welcome back! This is my final post of the year* ( 😦 ), and the thrilling conclusion to my Top 5 recap of my 2017 sewing!

*Sorry peeps, I meant to have this ready before the New Year began, buuuuut I didn’t make it! At least I started it before 2017 f*cked off, right? πŸ˜‰

Let’s get into it with…

Top 5 Reflections

  1. I sewed a lot! – For me, anyway. πŸ˜‰ I’m really bowled over by how many things I finished this year, and the fact that most of them were successful additions to my wardrobe. It is a much different feeling than when I reflected on 2016, that’s for sure!
  2. I have a lot of clothes – I am not a “Capsule Wardrobe” person, nor am I a minimalist. I like clothes! But I have a lot of them, and there are many pieces that I don’t wear. This is partly due to my climate, which has highly variable seasons throughout the year; but part of it is down to just being the sort of person who struggles to get rid of stuff. :-/ My sewing still can’t provide everything I need (YET!!), but that doesn’t mean I need to keep things needlessly!
  3. I have a lot of fabric – Again, same as above–minimalism isn’t my jam. But I do know when I end up with too much, and I’m there! But I must say, my abundant stuff is very well cataloged. πŸ˜‰
  4. Inspiration Paralysis – This was more of a Q3 and Q4 problem this year, but I’ve felt kind of overwhelmed by all the things I want to make lately! I need more basics, but there are some things I have been desperate to make for months, too. The end result is that I don’t sew anything: my creative brain short-circuits and I just chill out on the couch instead! Or I may buy fabric for one of those must-make items but not start it! Not cool. I haven’t found a way to get around this that works for me–yet. (And no, the answer isn’t “start multiple projects at once.” That kind of chaos in my sewing room leads to a different kind of paralysis, and I’m not doing it!) But I think one key thing will be to make a note of those big, tempting, day-dream projects: I have a Fashionary, and I have an Excel sheet. Maybe if I put them down somewhere, I will feel like they’re getting some of my creative attention without distracting me from stuff I will be able to incorporate into my closet sooner (and with fabric I already have).
  5. Selfish Bitch – Obviously this is a bit tongue-in-cheek! But I really am disappointed in my sewing output for others this year. My bestie wants potholders for her mom, and possibly tea towels as well; my sisters should have Dirty Bird potholders of their own; Tom deserves more jeans and things!
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Fabric spreadsheet snapshot! Spoiler alert: there’s a TON of fabric on there. O_o

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A prime example of a thing I want to make and bought wild fabric for, but that isn’t terribly practical. (Photo property of Named Clothing.)

With these reflections in mind, I do have some (vague, as usual) goals for 2018! But first, let’s see how I did on 2017’s goals, shall we?

2017 Goals: Recap and Evaluation

  1. Cull the stash. Yes and no. πŸ˜‰ IΒ did destash about 20 pieces on eBay starting this summer (and basically broke even between shipping and what I sold them for–it wasn’t really about making $!) AND donated some to a local craft store. But I also bought plenty more fabric than I sold OR sewed.
  2. Make my jeans. HELL TO THE YES!!!! Finally. 2018 will hopefully be the year I kick all the RTW skinnies out of my house in favor of self-made pairs!
  3. Make basics. YES!!!!! Lark tees, jeans, warm-but-interesting tops, a black denim skirt…I did it.
  4. Conscious, Handmade gifts. Meh. Tom got a birthday sweater thing, plus another sweater thing and fingerless mitts for Xmas, so that’s good. (He also received 3 pairs of knitted socks this year, but not really as “gifts.”) Bestie got 2 pairs of socks AND a cowl knitted for her birthday (she really loved them!!). But otherwise, that’s all I managed. My 5th reflection above sums up my disappointment here. I also still need to make a baby shark for Dunuh’s owner’s new baby sister! O_o
  5. Draw stuff in my Fashionary so I don’t forget my ideas. Mostly fail. I was wayyyy better at doing this earlier in the year, but fell off the wagon. But per Reflection 4, I should probably revisit this in 2018!

As far as I can tell, I’m about 3 out of 5 on those (I’m giving myself partial credit for numbers 1 and 4!); not bad, but not great. That brings us to my goals for 2018:

  1. Cull the stash some more! I have lots of pieces of fabric marked for destash, I just need to get them out and get them listed. Hopefully with a full 12 months of this, I will get rid of plenty of stuff!
  2. Make at least 1 basic item for every “shiny” item! I figure this will help me make peace between the side of my brain that knows we just need to get dressed and the other side, which wants to make more exciting, spur-of-the-moment-inspiration/”concept” pieces instead. Addendum to this goal: keep track of my ideas better!
  3. Make a new winter coat. This has been on my list before, I know! But I’m starting to feel scruffy in my years-old RTW coat and I’d like to make a good, everyday coat to replace it. I also want a bold color for this project, which means I need to find material. O_o If anyone sees a good deal on lemongrass-colored wool coating, let me know! πŸ˜‰
  4. Keep my sewing area(s) clean and tidy. This is always a problem for me–I hate tidying up and cleaning (I am my father’s daughter!), and always neglect my sewing areas at some point(s). In the new year, I want to keep my sewing room and the guest room–where my fabric lives–tidy enough that I wouldn’t be embarrassed if someone who doesn’t live with me saw them. I have to be honest: this will be as hard as keeping my stash under control, but I’m gonna try really hard. 😦
  5. Match or exceed the number of garments sewn in 2017. As I’ve said, my goal is to replace all my RTW stuff with things I have made–I am serious about that. In order to help me get rid of RTW clothes AND fabric, I will need to keep sewing at 2017’s pace or better. This will be a fun challenge!
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Simplicity 8470 View D – Future Winter Coat! (Image property of Simplicity.)

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Color-coded highlighting denotes stuff I’m going to list for destash

Garment Type

My 2017 results–aiming to top this in 2018!

On the whole, I think my 2018 “Goals and Shit” are pretty boring, but hopefully they’ll help me grow and enjoy my hobby in the coming year. And you guys, I accidentally added a garment to my 2017 tally on 12/31/2017–I made an entire top from start to finish!! Ridiculous, right? πŸ˜‰ So technically my 2017 count is now 31, so I have a slightly bigger challenge for myself in 2018! I am off to a running start though, because I MADE ANOTHER TOP TODAY. That’s right: I hit 31 things on 12/31, and on Day 1 of 2018, I made my first garment of that year. Who am I?!?!? (To be fair, I cut both projects out the other day, so that was one less thing to do!)

I hope your 2018 is off to a great start–I’ll see you all soon!

Do you set sewing goals for the year to come? Do you enjoy reflecting on the past year and seeing what you’ve accomplished and learned, etc.? (If you wrote a blog post about it, feel free to link to it in the comments so I can read it!) How do you balance sewing things you need with inspiration/impulse sewing?Β