Top 5’s of 2013, part 1: Reflections and Inspirations

I’ve been quiet lately. Part of it is that because even though I am sewing, it’s all stuff that needs to stay secret for awhile longer. Part of it is because I’ve had a slew of computer issues lately that resulted in my husband giving me my main Christmas present early– he likes to go a bit over-the-top when it comes to giving me presents, and he bought me a new computer! So I’ve been trying to get stuff transferred from the old computer to the new, but that’s been one issue after another. I’ve finally managed to get the files on there, but it dumped it all onto one hard drive with no rhyme or reason, so I’m in the process of reorganizing EVERYTHING. And finishing installing programs and such. And hopefully finding the approximate half of my extensive music library that didn’t seem to transfer– yikes! I do actually have some Christmas-themed projects to post, but they’ll have to wait until I get things sorted and feel comfortable loading pictures on there again!

But enough of my IT woes. Let’s talk end-of-year stuff, shall we?

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series
I’m doing a Gillian-style roundup this year! Due to all of the computer issues, I’m starting with the ones least likely to need photos, and hopefully by the time I get to hits and misses, I’ll have this sorted.  I’ll probably also do a knitting and other crafts one later, but I’ll stick with sewing for now.

Top 5 Reflections: What I learned
1. I’m a slow sewist.  It seems there’s so many sewing bloggers out there that can just crank out one fabulous garment after another. I am not one of them. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, since I definitely have a perfectionist streak, and taking my time means I’m more likely to be happy with the finished project. But still–I was looking back, and I actually only sewed 10 garments this entire year! I think that’s my lowest number since I started this blog! Granted, that doesn’t count the time I spent making accessories for the wedding, or gifts for friends, or those bedroom curtains that took way longer than they probably should have. And I did spend 3 months on just that One Dress. (Or, you know, several major life changes, like getting married and moving!) Still, the sad truth of it is that I just don’t have as much time to sew as I wish I did. And until my work schedule changes, or I have a shorter commute again, it will stay that way.
2. I need to be more realistic in my goals. Like when I meant to make 5 pairs of pants during Pantsapalooza, and it took me the entire 4+ weeks to make one pair. But I do this to myself every time–for every new season or sewalong that comes my way, I always think I’ll get more done than I can honestly accomplish, and I get frustrated at how little I finished at the end. So I think I need to scale back some, settle on 1 or 2 things at a time, and then it will be a pleasant surprise when I have time to do more!
3. Couture sewing can be fun. And also a huge pain in the butt. But for someone who absolutely used to loathe handsewing, I definitely learned to relax and enjoy the process more this year. I guess knitting actually sticking has helped my patience levels immensely!
4. Stashbusting is great, but sometimes a girl just needs a new piece of fabric to get inspired. Or a new pattern. I’m not giving up on busting the stash, and I think I did pretty decently with it this year, all things considered. But I don’t need to feel guilty about occasionally buying new things, either. Especially when I just don’t have fabric on hand for something I really need.
5. My organizational skills need work. It definitely helps that I have built-in organizational skills via my husband now! But I always waste a lot of time trying to figure out where I set that thingy that I was just using. And I definitely had a few incidents of thinking I had notions that I didn’t, or buying things I already had. Now that I live even further from anywhere to buy sewing stuff (you’ve all heard me lament occasionally how Joann’s is the only place in the state–and now the Super Joann’s is close to where I used to live, and the only local one is a smaller Joann’s!), I really need to get on top of this.

Actually, I’m not claiming this as a goal for 2014, but I have made a goal to try to get my craft room reorganized before the end of this year! I will have more free time starting next week, when my seasonal retail job lets me off for the winter. So I want a fresh start, so I can spend those two glorious months when I’m pretty much guaranteed to have no work other than my flute teaching sewing as much as possible!

Top 5 (Plus some) Inspirations: Bloggers, etc.

It’s hard to narrow down bloggers–I’ve discovered so many new ones this year, I don’t want to leave anyone out! So here’s my best shot, in no particular order other than what came to mind.
1. Tempest at Fanbloomingtastic. I admire her quirky sense of style, and the Doctor Who sewalong was one of the highlights of my sewing year! She also is creating an ongoing “club” of sorts for more Whovian makes, which is great, since I didn’t get all that I wanted to done.
2. Cation Designs. She’s another one whose quirky clothes I admire. And she loves all things Tolkien, which automatically makes her cool. (I can say that, because I have multiple offline friendships and even more online friendships that started just over Lord of the Rings!) Her cat pictures make me smile, especially now that I’m cat-less myself. And her cosplay posts have me itching to create some costumes again! Her “Party King Thranduil” seriously makes me giggle.
3. Handmade by Carolyn. I’ve been following her longer than most of the blogs that I read, but I’m still in awe of her commitment to a completely handmade wardrobe. Her ability to mix and match her makes is enviable, and I quite enjoyed following her “paper doll project” and her adventures in learning to screenprint this year!
4. Handmade by Heather B. She’s one of those bloggers I mentioned earlier who seems to be super-productive, despite wrangling a toddler. Her style of writing consistently makes me laugh, and her photos make me want to have some more fun with my own. (She’s also probably the person on Twitter that I commiserate about the weather with the most, since she’s as close as I get to local and things are usually similar.)
5. Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow, since her “sewing dare” is what got me on Twitter in the first place! Her posts on color palettes have gotten me thinking about my own closet quite a bit, too. And though knits never really scared me that much, I’ve enjoyed the “Lazy Tips” series a great deal, because there’s always room for learning new things.
I’m adding two more cheater answers:
6. Twitter! As far as I can tell, I am literally the only person who sews clothes and blogs about it in my state–seriously, I keep checking the “Sewintists” map every few months, and I have never, ever seen another pin dropped in Delaware! So, since I have very few people I can talk to about sewing in my everyday life, with the exception of Mom the Quilter, it’s great to have a place where I can talk to like-minded people in real time. The Friday afternoon #fabricchat sessions were something I looked forward to, when my teaching schedule allowed me to participate, and I did have several projects from this year that were directly inspired from sewalongs or other ideas thrown about on there. Also, this encompasses pretty much every other new-to-me sewcialist that I “met” this year!

7. Indie pattern designers! A rather huge percentage of this year’s projects were from smaller companies’ patterns. Sewaholic and Cake Patterns were the big winners, with 3 and 6 projects, respectively. (Even though my Cambie and the last Hummingbird skirt were heavily modified, I’m still counting them.) I also acquired patterns from Grainline Studios, Deer & Doe, Maria Denmark, Colette Patterns, and Megan Nielsen this year. But in spite of my good intentions, and often already buying fabric to go with, I haven’t actually sewn any of those up yet. Maybe that should be one of my goals for 2014…

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11 thoughts on “Top 5’s of 2013, part 1: Reflections and Inspirations

  1. I love reading people's blogs and looking at the photos,etc. It's inspiring. But sometimes it can be a source of pressure. Or I feel bad that I don't churn out something fabulous every week. And then I remember that I sew for me (or at least I try to!), so f** it! 🙂

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  2. Awww, thanks for the mention, Becky! I'm so in awe of your wedding dress – and looking forward to seeing what you make tis year without that giant project taking up so much time and energy! I'm glad you joined twitter – Here's to 2014!

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  3. Yeah, I think that's what I need to remember–stop comparing my output and my blogs to others'! Especially when it's compared to people that are trying to turn sewing into a career.

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  4. fantastic lists! I probably straddle the fence with productivity. I do not crank out a few garment every few days, bur I think I have made over 20 items this year (will do a better count later for my post). I love all the bloggers you mentioned as well. They are so inspiring. One major thing I need to work on this year is my hand sewing. Perhaps I need to take up knitting?

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  5. I have found that knitting is a great project for watching TV! One thing I learned that I didn't add on here is that my sewing is a lot more productive when I'm listening to something, like music or a podcast, rather than watching tv.

    But if you don't want to take that up and you want to work on hand sewing, you could always play around with throwing tailoring or couture techniques into one of your garments!

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  6. It's a great list and it's always good to reflect on yourself.

    Apparantly my grandmother had said that “no one can see the time you've put into a project, they can only see how thorough you have been”. Maybe you are not a slow sewist, you could just as well be a thorough sewist. My problem is in the other way, I take shortcuts that end up taking more time to fix than if I'd done it properly from the start.

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  7. I like that thought of thorough instead of slow! It's a much more positive spin on it. And shortcuts are great when they work, but I completely get what you're saying. I find I make those sorts of mistakes more often when I'm tired and just want to get something done.

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  8. Good point. I should be able to count all 3 of those muslins I made for just the top as separate garments, right?

    And I'm glad you're flattered, but it was well-deserved!

    (Maybe there should be a Philly-area blogger meetup next year– I'd drive up for that!)

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  9. I think it is great that you are a more thoughtful sewer! There is definitely some pressure to post new makes when you have a blog, but I have found that the garments I put the most time into I usually love the most! So I really envy you for being a perfectionist in that way. I'm glad Gillian's post led me to your list! I look forward to the anticipation of all the makes you post in 2014, whether 10 or 20 or even 1!

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