Top 5s of 2013! Reflections and Inspirations

The New Year has started but there is still time to post my reflections and inspirations. This one is a biggie I’m afraid!
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Reflections
In the past year I’ve definitely grown as a sewist and a blogger: I have learnt a lot of smart new techniques and tips, creating some wardrobe favourites, challenged myself to sew different and more difficult garments, plus I had a great deal of fun in the process. Here are some of the simple things I have to say about the year.

1. It’s better to practice with a muslin first so you don’t ruin good fabric. But it’s not good to put fabric up on a pedestal, worshipping at its beauty and never cutting into it. I need to stay on the right side of that line to make sure I don’t keep stash fabric without ever enjoying it but treat it with the proper respect. I have been guilty of both ruining and hoarding delicious fabrics.

2. I still love drapey fabrics like viscose, rayon, chiffon, georgette and polyester over stiffer fabrics. Though this year I think I did sew with more cotton than chiffon. The cotton lawn from textiles express is the softest and dreamiest cotton lawn I have ever used (in your face Liberty tana lawn), the only problem is the limited range of fabric designs (come back Liberty, I love you really). I have a mini stockpile of Liberty gift vouchers to spend as soon as I get to London and know exactly what I’m going to buy with it.

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3. I’m not sure I enjoyed Me Made May as much as I hoped in 2013. I wear so much handmade gear on a weekly basis it felt like I cheated. How silly is that! Plus trying to organise MMM posts while abroad in Portugal probably didn’t help. The only thing I loved was having a polka dot week during the month! I might let myself off documenting the days this year and sit back to watch everyone else take part.

4. I’ve refined my skills quite a lot this year so I truly believe the insides of my garments look as nice as the outsides. This does add time to the making of a garment but really not that much. Although I now know good hand-sewing techniques and find it almost tolerable to do, I’ll still avoid using hand-sewing wherever possible. This has had positive results where I’ve lucked upon awesome results with machine stitching lining!

5. Joining the Library was one of the best things I did last year. I have loved walking around the gorgeous building and I’m still unearthing treasures to read from the Art Library. Today I got a book about beautiful appliqué art and a book about Scandinavian fashion design.

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Inspirations

The blogging and sewing community is full of immensely talented and very often hilarious women; so it’s unsurprising that they should be credited as my major inspirations.

1. UK sewing bloggers – I think meeting up in person with so many wonderful UK-based sewing bloggers has made my year! Add to the meetups the sheer number of twitter, instagram and email conversations we’ve had, means I’ve truly made many wonderful friends this year. Roisin, Kat, Marie, Sabs, Janene, Jo, Sally, Claire – ooh goodness there are so many more of you to mention – you ladies are always there with a friendly chatter and encouragement. Not to mention the amazing things you all make which keep me inspired and motivated. I love the variety provided to the blogging world by UK sewists, and if I get to see the makes up close in person then I’m even happier.

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2. Australian sewing bloggers – There is a special place in my heart for Australia. I can close my eyes and picture myself back in the cafes of St Kilda, eating fish and chips in Manly bay or at Wollombi drinking Dr Jurd’s Jungle Juice! Mostly I wish I was back in Australia while being in the knowledge of what awesome sewists lived there. Amanda sews with such joy, LizzyLizzy and Jodie regularly excite me with their makes and Kirsty is like this sewing ninja as I never know what she’s going to spring up with next. Plus Rachel who I got to meet this year and tempt into buying a ludicrous amount of fabric.

3. French sewing Bloggers – Now and then I mention my longing to be a glamorous French woman, who knows how to dress and pose and blog (all effortlessly chic). This will never happen. Instead I live vicariously though Julie (Jolies Bobines), Sandra (By Sandra’s Hand) and Mathilde (Felicie a Paris) to name a few. And thank goodness there are now French patterns I can get hold of and sew as well thanks to Eléanore (Deer and Doe) and Géraldine (RDC).

4. Best of the Rest: bloggers from all over and not necessarily sewing bloggers who I have really enjoyed reading this year – Sonja (Ginger Makes), Amy (Sewing Through The Motions), and Anna (Paunnet) are of course wonderful sewists. Three new favourite vintage/fashion bloggers are Alix (Cherry Blossom Girl), Laura (Paper Mothball Vintage) and Marianne (Esme and the Laneway) whose beautiful clothing, makeup and photography have kept me hooked all year.

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Photo from The Cherry Blossom Girl

5. Modcloth – Okay fine the only non-blogger inspiration I’ll credit. I seriously do take a lot of inspiration from this online shop. I don’t necessarily make exact replicas but looking through the clothes and accessories gets my inspiration and motivation buzzing away.

Phew! I’m glad I decided to hold over my Goals for 2014 into a different post. You’d have been falling asleep on me if I’d gone on any further. Obviously I couldn’t mention all of the sewing bloggers I wanted so I hope you all know what a difference you’ve made to my life.

More to come in my final instalment of this round up. And after that I should have some something recently sewn to show you!

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Recap of 2012 (part two)

Top 5 Graphic

Now it’s time for some naval-gazing to review my year with reflections, inspirations and goals

Reflections

  • My second year of sewing didn’t go too badly. I started blogging; kickstarted by participating in Me Made May. I worked on key skills like neatness and calm efficiency; mostly helped by my buying a serger which has made a massive difference to the quality of my garments. And I practiced fun techniques such as french seams, invisible and exposed zips, sewing in sleeves flat and drafting my own Peter Pan collars.
  • I’ve been quite naughty with my fabric and pattern stash but comparative to other sewers I think I’m doing okay on that front. It’s still fairly contained and tidy but has definitely grown exponentially!

Inspirations

I discovered pinterest this year. I have pinned so much since I joined. Its awesome fun! I also recently started to get full on addicted to Modcloth which fuelled further pinning.

I have also been really inspired reading about Edith Head’s career and I love Project Runway for its endless creativity and humour.

I’m so so impressed that my friend Charlotte is starting up her own business as a professional seamstress after years of teaching. She is going to do brilliantly.

Finally and most obviously I have been most thankful for the wonderful blogs I read with so many talented sewers and pattern makers out there to draw inspiration from.

Goals

Right, 2013 is the year I get serious.

  • Tailored jacket course. I have been gifted a 2 day Chanel style jacket making course which will hopefully produce a sophisticated jacket and teach me tailoring skills.
  • Blouses. Collars, buttonholes, cuffs… I’m gonna conquer them all!
  • Jersey. I want to make lovely jersey items as they are so comfy and flattering. Feedback indicates tension issues may be the reason for my jersey fails this year. Surely this is achievable in 2013?!
  • Sew with more cotton. Sounds simple enough right? So why do I keep gravitating to chiffon, crepe and polyester?? Cotton may be my new best friend in the new year.
  • Stop rushing. I need to stop imposing stupid short deadlines on myself and take longer so I make fewer mistakes. I have been good at trying this throughout the year but feel I can get better at calm efficiency with more practice.
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Recap of 2012 (part one)

Top 5 Graphic

As I read everyone’s reflections of the sewing year I notice excellent throughput and similar tales of joy and woe.

Now I want a go!!! Here are my hits, misses, reflections, inspirations and goals!

5 hits

1. The knockoff Elsie dress

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2. New Look 6808 FINALLY

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3. Little Green UFO

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4. Slippy shiny slinky fake cambie

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5. I love polka dots 6808

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5 misses

1. Twinkle skirt – still not hemmed and mega frumpy

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2. Tartan 6808 – cut a big slash in the back bodice when being careless

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3. Fish print dress – Something about the fit or the length just isn’t right but I adore the fabric

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4. Little Red Lace Dress – Too smart for work but too prim for parties

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5. Not-so-sexy Sadie – Already falling apart due to poor jersey sewing skills

Sexy Sadie
Sexy Sadie

Stay tuned for more in part two!

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