2014’s top 5, part 3: Reflections and Goals

Top 5 2014 #sewingtop5 

Finishing up my series today, with what I’ve learned this year and what I’d like to accomplish next year.

1. I am not the fastest of makers. This is especially true when it comes to knitting, but it’s true for sewing as well. I looked back at last year’s reflections, and this was actually the first thing on my list then, too! I think the difference this year is that I’m more ok with it. Looking at my top 5 makes for this year, aside from the Tiramisu dress, everything on there was projects that required more thought and detail– welt pockets, underlinings, linings, bound seams, etc. But they ended up fitting really well and getting a lot of use. Yes, I know two of them are coats, but still.

2. That being said, I’ve also learned that I really like having a quick “palate-cleanser” project between the more detailed stuff. Usually some kind of knit project.

me as Amy Pond3. I feel like I’ve kind of rediscovered how much fun refashioning clothes can be this year. I didn’t really do any last year, but I’ve definitely picked up on that more this year. I’ve ended up wearing these zipper leg jeans quite a bit, as well as my Amy Pond shirt. (Generally minus the tally marks, though.) I’ve definitely been doing more of that lately, since I’m literally running out of things to wear! So I’ve been maternifying unwanted pants. Since one pair I’d had since college wasn’t fitting so great anymore anyway, and the others were pants that my mom was getting rid of, it’s been gratifying to be able to get some much-needed maternity pants into my wardrobe for just the cost of a half-yard of black knit.

4. The Wardrobe Architect project was really an invaluable process for me to go through. Even though I was trying to buy less fabric overall anyway, and I’m pretty sure I succeeded, I feel like what I bought will mostly fit in well with my existing wardrobe. It’s also easier to weed out some of the new patterns now, since I have a better idea of what I actually like the look of on me. Of course, this is all subject to change now, since I also have no idea what sort of a waistline I’ll have when this whole pregnancy thing is over!

5. I’ve actually developed some self-control on adding to the stashes. Though I sort of fell off the wagon at actually tracking pieces of stash used up before buying more, as stated in my Stash Diet pledge, I did a good job of sticking to my plan! Aside from pieces of fabric that my mom gave me because she didn’t want them, almost everything I bought this entire year fell into one of three categories: a) Fabric I bought on vacation, b) Fabric I bought because I needed it for a specific project and I literally did not have anything else that would work (i.e. Thinsulate for my coat, yellow knit for the minion costume, etc) c) Stuff I would categorize as the “extenuating life circumstances” exception–mainly buying a few pieces specifically to make things for the baby, or the 3 things I’ve bought specifically for maternity clothes. I also didn’t buy much yarn at all this year–I think the one skein I bought in Paris may have been it–and I didn’t really buy many new patterns this year, either. Maybe 6 total, and 3 of those were ones I won in a Pattern Review drawing because my Robson coat randomly got picked when they were highlighting Sewaholic. So yay me?

Maybe not. I just looked at the numbers, and I actually added 10 more yards to the fabric stash than I started with at the beginning of the year! But it does look like I used about 70 yards overall this year, and I’m already in the process of using up those baby-related fabrics. So not too bad.

If you had asked me this three months ago, I probably would have said “learn to make bras and/or undies”. I don’t think that’s going to be happening this year, lol! Especially the former. So here’s what I think will be the best things for me to focus on for 2015…

1. Finish a capsule wardrobe that will get me through the first half of the year. I’ve quietly been working on this anyway, between my most recent makes and things I’ve bought. I’m attempting to use the Wardrobe Architect principles for this, and I do have a definite palette emerging. But I definitely need more clothes, since I didn’t have too many things in my wardrobe already to get me started. That’s definitely a downside to favoring styles that are more fitted at the waist! So once I sort out what I need to survive/see if I get any fabric for Christmas (a safe bet, knowing my mom), I’m going to see if I can sort out a decent plan of attack.

2. On a related note, I need to work on my pattern hacking skills. I’ve noticed that there really aren’t that many good maternity-specific patterns out there. I have managed to acquire Megan Nielsen’s wrap top pattern, also this pattern that can double as a maternity and a nursing top. The latter sounds like a really good use of my precious sewing time. But aside from that, I really haven’t found anything that looks interesting to me, so I guess I’ll have to create my own. I’ve got my Renfrew hack to keep tweaking, and I did pull out several other patterns from my stash that looks like they might be useable for this purpose. If I can figure out how to do a couple of other things that will be good for both pregnancy and nursing, great.

3. Get as much sewing for “Hobbit” (what I’ve been calling the baby while we don’t know the gender) done as possible, before June. Obviously, though I may sew a few outfits, I’m not going to make every little piece of clothing. They’ll get too small too fast. But I will need to do some things like curtains for the nursery, and I have some bibs that I’m already working on (which will hopefully be done by the end of December, since I’m using them for The Monthly Stitch’s current theme). I have a piece of printed suedecloth that has stumped me for a couple of years on what to use it for, but I think it would make an excellent gender-neutral diaper bag. And my mom and I are planning on working together over the winter to make cloth diapers. I know it’ll be a lot of laundry, but it’s cheaper to make cloth diapers than buy them, and it’ll definitely be cheaper in the long run than buying all disposables. More money saved means more money to spend on fabric, right? I still need to get most of the supplies for that, but I did get some of the waterproof outer fabric already. Because there was one yard left on the website and it has TARDISes on it. Seriously. I couldn’t pass it up.

4. Since basically everything I’m going to be able to sew for myself for awhile is knits anyway, I might as well work on things like finishing techniques and getting my serger tension right. Right?

5. I think probably the biggest goal for after Hobbit comes will be finding time to make things. I know it’ll be a challenge, and probably impossible for at least the first month while I’m a sleep-deprived zombie cow. (Not the best time to work on a hobby that involves sharp cutting/pinning implements, I’m guessing.) And I do also need to prioritize music time, since I do plan to continue teaching lessons. I’ve been following Cindy’s blog with a lot of interest lately, given that she recently had a baby herself, and I think what jumped out at me the most is the idea of doing one thing a day that lasts, since so much of caring for a newborn is laundry and feeding and changing over and over again. Practicing music can also feel repetitive and like it’s never done, since you spend so much time working on the same passage or the same piece for days or weeks in a row. So hopefully I can find a way to make that happen. Even if it’s just sewing one seam, or knitting one row, or sticking just one picture in a photo pocket. I guess it’s a good thing I’ve gotten more ok with being slow, right?

7 thoughts on “2014’s top 5, part 3: Reflections and Goals

  1. Maybe a bit soon for you to think about, but should you be considering breastfeeding, the easiest refashion to make a nursing vest (to wear under clothes to help keep things modest) is to take a close fitting t shirt, and make a slit in both side seams, from under the arm to just below your bra strap. Et Voilia. Over here I think they're about £15 each. Big saving. Although in June you might not want to be wearing more than one layer, but come fall they could be a big help keeping you warm and modest and making prepregnancy clothes like the Amy Pond shirt feeding friendly. Hope that wasn't too much information, but I can't find a tutorial to link to. I helped a friend make some after I bought a really expensive one and realised what a swizz it was.


  2. Thanks for the tip! I do get cold ridiculously easily, so I'm all in favor of being able to have layers and stay more covered up for that. I think I'm going to have to seriously think about sewing some more button-down tops for next fall/winter, too!


  3. My Megan Nieslen tops have been my biggest wear pre and post birth. I'm not sure if the new pattern has better instructions, but I sewed elastic onto the neckline hem to keep it from stretching out after feeds, and did away with the modesty insert and instead wore a vest/singlet chopped off at the underboob which I could pull up much easier. I bought a rainbow from kmart and wear them under any top that I plan to nurse from, so I can pull one up and one down and be mostly hidden still.
    Actually, pre birth I wore my ruched side tops a lot too. A hack of any tshirt pattern.
    I'll just leave this here 😉


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