Looking Back, Looking Forward

I do like to reflect on the goals that I made and what I might want to do next year. So, to review my 2021 goals, here’s what I said:

  1. Find a better time balance between sewing and scrapbooking, so I can continue to progress in both. This is still a challenge due to my life stage — sitting down at the computer to work on a digital page is still much easier while the kids are awake, than breaking out scissors and pins! But doing my 100 Day Project this year helped me realize that a good target for me is sewing 2-3 times a week, for 15-20 minutes. When I can get more, great, but that gives grace for things like kid bedtimes running late, or needing to prep school things, or my brain being so fried that I’ll have to pick out every wrong seam I sew. Or, you know, actually spending time with my husband.
  2. Make some “cake”! I did make a few good, often-worn basics this year, like my black Jade skirt and the denim jacket. So I’ll say this one was accomplished.
  3. But don’t forget some frosting. Did I get this one? Maybe the grunge print jeans, though I really did need some pants. Or my Carlsbad vest, which I would have worn more often if I’d had some more tees that aren’t geeky graphic prints. I had some more frosting planned, but I just didn’t get to it.
  4. Figure out the “mom wardrobe” styling thing. This one is a work in progress for sure. But I do think that the chain sewing helped a lot, since I was thinking in terms of building outfits instead of one-off pieces.
  5. Mostly, I just want to regain the joy that I used to have in sewing. And what community in that looks like for me now. I definitely have had some dry spells, and a big takeaway for me from this year is that I can easily slip into sewing droughts if I either don’t know what my next project will be when I finish one, or if I can’t get my next project cut out quickly. Usually the latter, since my life is the equivalent of multiple stars having to align to make that happen (and usually revolving around how quickly my kids go to sleep!

As for community, I’m still trying to figure that one out. One thing I’ve come to realize about myself over these past two years is that my introversion applies to social media as well. I thrive in smaller, more intimate groups, especially when I’m not always the one initiating. Obviously, in-person is ideal, and more than ever now that we all know what it’s like to have that taken away. Online is a good next best thing, but I need to put that in a healthy context. So The Sewing Sphere is still a good place for me, my only complaint is that sometimes it’s just too quiet!

And I’ve debated so many times over this year whether to close down my Instagram account. It’s too big, too much noise, too little feedback. I honestly miss the days when blogging was THE thing, and we all commented on each other’s posts and had actual conversations. Even though that’s unlikely to come back, I suppose that’s why I keep writing here— just my own quiet space to record my thoughts, whether anyone reads them or not. Anyway. That leads me to my first 2022 goal.

2022 Goals

  1. Focus on what really matters. The more my family has grown, the more the online stuff has given me the “butter scraped over too much bread” feeling. I plan to keep writing here as I make things, and chatting in the Sewing Sphere. But it’s time for me to seriously cut back on the rest. My not so inner introvert will be happier that way.
  2. Get back to some refashioning. I have an entire bin in the basement, not to mention some things that have been sitting in the closet for over a year, despite needing small tweaks (ok, and one major overhaul) to be wearable.
  3. Make and/or build on two outfit chains. While I’ve learned that “make this many garments” or pre-choosing specific pattern goals doesn’t work well for me, I think this one might. Especially since it allows for flexibility in building capsules out of things already in my closet.
  4. Stashbust! Admittedly, 2021 was the year that I’ve bought more fabric for myself than any other year since probably the Paris trip of 2014. But I turned 40 and had gift cards, so, why not? That being said, I do have quite the backlog of things like fabrics paired with specific patterns, so I think it might be interesting to see how many “chain reaction” pieces I can build with what I already own.
  5. Make something that stretches me. I don’t know what, exactly, this will look like yet. Perhaps trying some lingerie sewing, since I’ve been wearing the same three nursing bras that I sewed five years ago, and they’re getting ratty. Perhaps trying a new technique, or mixing prints in the same garment, or trying to make a zero-waste garment. (Which would be a huge challenge, since a lot of what I see looks shapeless and that is not what I prefer to wear.) But I have 12 months to figure that out, right?
  6. (Bonus!) Update my blog header. Seriously, as much practice as I’ve gotten with digital collage things over the past two years, surely I can come up with something better than that shoddy fabric stack photo!

2021, wrapped

All together, I made 17 projects this year – 3 Halloween costumes, 3 toddler garments, 2 pairs of pants (one being a test garment/ part of a pj set), 3 tops (one being another test and the second half of that pj set), 2 shorts, 1 skirt, 1 dress, 1 vest, and one jacket. I haven’t felt very productive in my sewing, but all things considered, that’s a good number!

Itch to Stitch was the clear winner in pattern company choices this year, largely due to trying multiple garments in her Sew Beautiful book. I have a long-term goal of sewing every pattern in that book, since her aesthetic is very wearable for me. Other companies used: Paprika Patterns, 5 Out of 4 Patterns, Sew Liberated, Hey June Handmade, New Look, Simplicity (for the boys’ costumes), Ottobre (for my daughter’s costume), and Peekaboo Pattern Shop (for my daughter and niece.) I’m hoping to at least start one more top before the year officially ends, but have gotten bogged down in the finding time to cut out part again.

Probably the most worn garments from this year were the Atenas jacket and Mountain View jeans. I still feel like pants are something that my wardrobe needs more of, so the ones I have are in frequent rotation. And the jacket was a useful layering piece. I really would like to make a second one, and have had the thought in my head all year that I’d like to make it from the pile of jeans in my refashion bin. The biggest hole remaining in my wardrobe (aside from the very sad state of the aforementioned bras) seems to be, of all things, a plain black tee. But I’m in the beginning stages of plotting my next wardrobe chain, and a black tee could fit perfectly into that.

In other DIY news, I totally failed at knitting again (I’m actually wondering if that cardigan is even worth finishing, since my sizing is pretty different after 3 kids than when I started it with just one). According to my favorite digital scrapping site’s gallery, I made over 200 pages on there this year. (I use a lot of templates to speed it up.) My husband and I have been working on intentionally developing some other skills to increase our self-reliance this year, so we’ve been spending more time on gardening in particular. We’ve also been experimenting with some toiletries. So far, we’ve gotten a lesson from my mom in making soap, and are perfecting a recipe for a more natural, aluminum free deodorant that seems to be working well for both of us.

So that basically sums it up! How was your year?

4 thoughts on “Looking Back, Looking Forward

  1. With regards to social media, particularly IG, I found myself un-following a bunch of people who are more focused on the business side of sewing, rather than hobby. I am a hobby sewer and those are the people I wish to connect with. I’d rather comment (although I am bad at it) on smaller accounts where the person hopefully recognises me, than just be a comment in a sea of other.

    Which is also why I miss the blogging community. Blog post has more of a longevity and usually more details and more personality. I hope to get more blog posts up this years, but who knows who reads blogs these days, and I’m not that big of a player to get it going myself.

    Wishing you the best, in sewing and non-sewing adventures, for 2022!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really do need to go through and cut back. I do want to keep following some of the pattern companies, at least, so I can keep up on new releases. But I do agree on being more interested in connecting with actual people rather than adding to the noise.


  2. Elaine

    Thank you for posting- I am too introverted to blog, but I enjoy reading yours. And don’t give up sewing – just accept that it will be easier as the kiddos get older.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Elaine! I can understand the introvert thing, but I do find writing my thoughts out easier than talking. I’m really not interested in the video push on social media these days at all!


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