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? 😉

Let’s get into it with…

Top 5 Reflections

  1. I sewed a lot! – For me, anyway. 😉 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. 😉
  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. 😉 I 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! 😉
  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? 😉 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? 

 

Top Fives, Part 2: Reflections and Goals

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Formerly known as “Goals and Shit,” by Mads. Thanks again to Gillian for keeping this going! Part 1 of my Top 5 is here–it felt more logical to separate them this way. 🙂

Happy New Year, everyone! I am writing this from my couch (under a sherpa blanket–if you get winter weather, you will want one of these) with a sinus infection. Truly a fitting end to this big-picture shit-show of a year, eh?

So, anyway: 2016 Sewing Reflections and 2017 Goals!

For Reflections on 2016, I just have a few random thought-barfs for you:

  1. Vague Disappointment: When I look back on my sewing in 2016, it’s hard to remember much about it. I ended up with garments that I love, but I think it was just kind of a slog in the sewing room this year mentally. I had hoped to get more accomplished in 2016, but oh well. Every project just seemed to take FOREVER. I had a lot of stress in the background: July marked the first full year at my new job, which still demands my best every day whether I have it in me or not; at home, we were in Bathroom Remodel mode from March when we started seriously planning everything until December when it was finally finished. I am hoping to be more creatively productive in 2017 and want to treat my sewing–even the challenging projects–as my chance to re-focus and enjoy myself. I love sewing, and I don’t want to lose that in the moment. With no massive home reno projects in the pipeline for 2017, hopefully that’s an easy thing to live up to!
  2. Being Social: One thing I really did enjoy in 2016 was taking part in #sewphotohop in September. I “met” so many new and wonderful people and felt so inspired by the creativity that’s out there just waiting to be discovered. Thanks to all of you who share your creative spirits with the world and are willing to talk to (sometimes slightly odd/awkward/foul-mouthed) strangers about it: you are awesome. Having a community–I am lucky to have both a virtual and a physical community for sewing–makes this incredible hobby/passion/lifestyle that much more meaningful.
  3. Being Bold: This is more reflected by my 2016 fabric purchases (and I suppose by 2 of my projects this year) given my glacial sewing pace, but I am trying to embrace color in my wardrobe the way that I embrace it everywhere else. (Except my car: I speed so a neutral color is a must!) Color brings me a lot of joy and I want to wear that joy on my body, regardless of what “experts” or anyone else thinks about whether or not it is flattering. The #restingbitchface will remain however–that’s basically tattooed on.
  4. Fearless (or Stubborn): I am not one to be scared of a project. (Scared of making a hash of my Chanel boucle yardage on the other hand? Definitely. I would vomit from rage and shame.) If I want to make something, I make it. (Muslins first, of course–gotta practice!) I know there are folks who don’t approach their sewing projects this way and that’s FINE–it takes all kinds, right?–but if there is one thing that’s been consistent across my journey into sewing, it’s been my “attitude problem.” 🙂 I get mad when things don’t work out, of course. I’ve cried over projects that didn’t live up to my standards, or when I felt like I hadn’t done the garment justice with my technique or skills, but I just get back in there and make what  want to make. Shit, I took patternmaking classes on a bit of a whim with ZERO experience and it turned out to be one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, even if I did struggle with the material some days. I guess what I’m saying is this: no matter what I make in a year, or whether it worked or it didn’t, I FUCKING MADE THAT THING. And even if it was a piping hot mess, it is likely that I learned something from the experience. So I want to encourage all of you, especially those who may find this attitude uncomfortable, to pick ONE project for 2017 and Just. Make. It. Try it. If it sucks, it sucks; we have all made something that sucks. And if it doesn’t suck, then you conquered that project. And no matter how it turned out, you can find a lesson there someplace. And there are an awful lot of us out here who will encourage you, give advice, let you vent, and clap out loud for you as you go. You can.

And now: Goals!

My goals for 2016 were rather vague (I’m not too fond of prescriptions for things that are supposed to be my hobbies–that’s for work!) but I gave myself enough to aim for to be able to tell how I did after-the-fact. Here they are:

  1. My first goal was to stop buying fabric…nope. Definitely didn’t happen. (And now that I know how to knit, I buy yarn too. Shit.)
  2. Goal 2 was to fill some wardrobe gaps with sewing. This was a mixed bag: I made some tops but no pants. However, I scored BIG at a Limited sample sale a couple of weeks ago and got plenty of pants and some new blouses for next to nothing; I am hoping those will tide me over until I can catch up in Ye Olde Sweatshoppe.
  3. Goal 3 was Outwear and Activewear, neither of which happened but that’s cool because I knew even in 2015 that they weren’t top priorities.
  4. Dude Sewing was next on my list, and I think it is safe to say I nailed that one. Tom got 4 pairs of bitchin’ sweatpants AND one pair of Japanese denim jeans between December 2015 and December 2016. (I did not manage to make him anything for Xmas this year though, and I am sad about that.)
  5. Last up was to keep my sewing spreadsheet going, and this was another rousing success. Although sometimes, like when I’m looking at the fabric tab, I wish I hadn’t done such a great and thorough job…

So that brings us to goals for 2017! Again, I’m a loose goal-setter, but I do genuinely hope to succeed at the following:

  1. Cull That Stash. Donating isn’t really my favorite option for my garment fabrics because I buy nice things (with a few scarce exceptions from when I was first starting out) and want to give fellow garment sewers a chance to make them into something awesome (or horrible, whichever–just make it into SOMETHING). Have any of you ever sold stash fabric online before? How did you do it, and what do you recommend? I intend to sell everything for as dirt-cheap as I can: this isn’t to make money, it’s literally to make space. O_o I am not averse to donating things if it comes to that, it’s just that there aren’t huge numbers of options for that around me that I know of–if you have advice for that route, hit me up!
  2. Make Those Jeans. My pattern is ready, I had one nearly-complete attempt that was undone by bad fabric, and I seriously want to make this happen. This is my year, no doubt!
  3. Be a #basicbitch. Boring, yes, but I want to make some serious progress with basics and staple pieces this year: knit dresses that work just as well for the office as a gig depending on styling, knit tops made from luxurious fabrics, and shirts and skirts that can be worn with tons of other pieces seamlessly.
  4. Conscious, Heartfelt Gift Giving. I’d like to make more gifts for more people I love this year. 2 of my sisters have moved to new digs and said they’d love some Dirty Bird Potholders; one sister is getting Pussy Hats for her group going to the Women’s March in a few weeks; my bestie wants some Well-Mannered Bird Potholders for her mother; dear friends (Dunuh’s people!) are having their second baby and that baby needs a baby shark, obviously; Tom needs more jeans and I have patterns and denim and could just make them without him really noticing; Bestie is getting at least one pair of knitted socks for her birthday. That’s quite a list but if I can plan properly, it should be easily done.
  5. Draw It or Forget It. I treated myself to a Fashionary earlier this year and have not kept up using it as well as I had hoped. I tend to get these garment ideas out of nowhere and without a way to get it on paper, I forget about it. I’ve said before that my sewing queue is very fluid–and I like that–but I do want to remember what intentions I may have had for a fabric or pattern in case it was a decent plan!

So that’s it for me and my Top 5 posts this year: thanks for sticking with me! Feel free to weigh in with a comment; one of my favorite things about sewing and blogging is talking to people and making new friends!

See you all on the other side–let’s make 2017 awesome.

2015 Reflections and 2016 Goals

Welcome! Consider this my version of a “Top 5” post, if you will. (And thanks to Gillian for masterminding this recap series–it’s been such fun to read everybody’s posts these last few weeks!)

Had I been more productive in 2015, I would have done the whole Top 5 shebang. **Actually, after looking it up, I finished 14 things in 2015–that’s 2.3333333 times as many as I finished in 2014!!!!! I am awed.**

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So in light of this BRAND NEW INFORMATION, here are my Top 5 Sewn Projects of 2015:

  1. Marfy 3093, Version 1.0
  2. True Bias Men’s Hudson Pants
  3. Marfy 3093, Version 2.0
  4. BHL Anna Dress
  5. McCall 7103 (aka Sherk, aka Dunuh)
    Honorable Mention: Style Arc Tamara Top
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Marfy 3093

The first iteration of the Marfy pattern has been worn so many times that I have lost count–nearly once per week since being finished! I think it is my best work to date (sorry, Anna dress) and I am really proud of it. Isn’t it awesome to fill a hole in your wardrobe that you didn’t realize existed??

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Men’s Hudson Pants

I guess this is sort of cheating, since the pants weren’t for me, but seriously: Tom wears a pair of his Hudsons every. single. day. When both pairs went into the washer this past weekend, he ruefully put on a RTW pair of sweats and kept asking if laundry was done yet. He is eager for at least one more pair, so I know they’re a hit!

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Marfy 3093 #2

Marfy 2.0 is also wonderful, but I don’t reach for it quite as often simply because my work wasn’t as excellent as on 1.0. (And I also got pizza on it the last time I wore it–I KNOW–and have washed it, but still have to re-starch and iron the collar before I can wear it again. I am nothing if not lazy.) But it is much-loved and does get worn!

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Anna Dress

Ah, the Anna dress…I love that I got it done and that I was able to wear it. The flaws in it–and trust me, they are flaws–are unnoticeable to most people, and the fabric is BEYOND amazing, so I won’t be dissuaded from wearing it to future formal events.

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SHERK

SHERK! I love this thing more than a 30-year-old ought to love a giant stuffed animal, but I can’t help it. He will be the first of a handful of these, I’m sure; I’ve already agreed to make one for a co-worker’s granddaughter for her 2nd birthday. I am just glad that my friends and their son enjoy the shark so much–that’s such a great feeling!

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Tamara Top

The Tamara top gets a lot of wear when the weather is cool/cold (solid polyester + snug fit = cold seasons only). It was definitely a good addition to my wardrobe this year!

And now, my Top Fails or Misses:

  1. Named Shadi Skirt 1.0
  2. Named Inari/Shadi Scuba Set-acular
  3. BHL Anna Dress
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Shadi Knit Skirt

Obviously this Shadi skirt is my biggest fail of the year–it was literally unwearable in polite society. I did wear it to the first night of my sloper class (Nina said to wear something tight for measuring, and I knew EXACTLY what to put on!), but after that it was unceremoniously cut up, the elastic salvaged, and the scraps of skirt thrown away. Womp womp.

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Shadi Skirt + Inari Top

I dearly wanted to love this set. REALLY wanted to love it. But I never, ever wore it. 😦 The crop top is fine on its own, but I don’t have enough slim-fitting, high-waist bottoms to pair with it for office-appropriate outfit building. “But Mads,” you’re probably thinking, “isn’t that why you made the matching skirt?” Why yes, dear reader, it is. But I just couldn’t get comfortable with the idea of wearing such a tight skirt in public. I’m no prude–I despise “modesty” doctrines, etc.–but I just felt very self-conscious in it. (That’s right: even scrawny people can have body confidence issues!) The skirt is STILL unhemmed. It’s such a shame, because that incredible fabric deserved better. 😦 Maybe 2016 will be the year I get over it and wear at least one part of the set…

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Anna Dress, with accurate facial expression of my feelings

Come on, guys: Anna had to make this list. Even if I wear the dress, love the fabric, and got tons of compliments on it at the party I wore it to, I cannot pretend that the flaws aren’t there. I see them every time I look at the dress. It is what it is.

No Man’s Land

Neither of my 2 Inari Dresses made these lists because they fell into that weird middle ground of being worn sometimes but not constantly; they’re neither hits nor misses, I guess! Vintage Simplicity 1281 didn’t make the lists either, but it got worn pretty regularly. My only complaint about that one is the fabric, whose favorite thing to do is still wrinkle. My Anna skirt got a lot of wear in the summer months, but is definitely a seasonal item when you live in OH!

think that’s everything from 2015!

Goals:

Last year, I did something very similar to what I’m about to do: laid out vague goals–big picture items, if you will–to strive for in the coming year. I do have a project queue, but it gets edited all the time, fabrics get reassigned to other theoretical projects, and stuff definitely “cuts” the line regularly. I prefer to let my inspiration be my spirit guide on this peyote fabric-fueled journey through the creative realm rather than make prescriptions. That being said, here are a few general things I’d like to be able to say I did in 2016:

  1. LIMIT THE BUYING. I don’t mean RTW–I’ve been unofficially RTW fasting for almost 2 years. I mean fabric shopping. I have so much fabric that storing it has literally become a problem. A problem I cannot solve unless: A.) we win the lottery and buy an entire IKEA warehouse and/or a bigger house, or B.) I sew through some yardage. I know which of those is more realistic, so I’m going with that. I LOVE sewing, and now that I have more free time to devote to it, I am hoping to make some real headway here in 2016. This was among my goals for 2015, and I failed very badly.
  2. Fill wardrobe gaps. I still lack tops/blouses in a way that really limits me, and more pants wouldn’t hurt either.
  3. Make some activewear/outerwear things for myself. I need these things, but not in a “SEW THIS FIRST!!!!!!!” sort of way. But it would be fun and different for me, for sure.
  4. Dude sewing. Tom has a long list of things he needs and/or wants, and while he does not expect me to make him a wardrobe, it is something I want to do.
  5. Lingerie. I need bras that fit, and I am trying to go pad-free. (Which, in my approx. 30A size, is damn-near impossible to find in a store.) I have what I need to get started, and I’m hoping this is my year. Underpants would be nice too, but those I can just buy if it comes down to it.
  6. Keep up with the sewing spreadsheet I started late in 2015. I am recording fabric and patterns that I have, fabric I would like to buy for a specific project I have in mind (and where to find it), a project queue (this changes depending on my mood or inspiration, but it does help get my creative juices flowing), and a selfless sewing idea list. The fabric and queue are the most up-to-date tabs so far.

Reflections: 

Non-sewing stuff in 2015 was a definite mixed bag. We nearly lost Tycho, but his amazing vets saved his life. (Talk about emotional whiplash…) I got promoted. I had braces, but they came off in March. I got bad family news. I made new friends. I took a leave of absence from my vintage job. (That one counts as both a high AND a low–I cherish the store and the family I have there, but my body couldn’t cope with my schedule any longer.) Overall, things could have been so much worse, and I feel lucky to have made it through another year.

I did spend a lot more time in my sewing room in 2015 vs. 2014, not least of all because my work schedule is now strictly a 1-job situation. My output doubled (!!!!!!) from 2014 to 2015, but I did accomplish much more than the final tally for 2015 would suggest: my patternmaking classes resulted in an increase in knowledge and understanding of my craft, and I have lots of bits and pieces from those sessions hanging around. Those classes really changed my life, adding new skills and friends that I never knew I needed but now could never do without. I can only hope that 2016 is a continuation of these good things, and hope that this new year brings you all health, happiness, and peace in whatever form it may take. ❤