I ain't going lie, 2014 has been a hell of a year for me personally. It was my first full year of being a mum, a status that I'm still getting my head around and still trying to successfully combine with the other facets of my life. I moved to a new town, a change which hasn't proved as positive as I hoped. And arranging both of our working lives around child care is still far from sorted. But let's talk about sewing...
Longer term readers of my blog will no doubt have noticed that it's obviously been a less productive year than previous ones. But sewing still played a major role in my life in 2014, and I feel that in some ways it's become more important to me than ever before. I've always felt that sewing connects me to the women in my family: my mum, grandmothers and great aunts. Now I have a little daughter and I've found that providing for her by making her clothes has deepened and enriched that connection further.
My Sewing-Related Highlights of 2014:
- Releasing my Dolores Batwing sewing pattern. After A LOT of work over A LONG period time, my self-drafted pattern was finally born! I couldn't have done it without the massive important contribution made by Claire, and I'd also like to thank again the wonderful pattern testers and pattern reviewers who gave up precious time and fabric to help get this 'out there'.
- Hosting Me-Made-May'14. MMM is always a high point in my year, and this year's was as awesome as ever. The Flickr group and Pinterest board were/are a hot bed of sewing inspiration and seeing so many wonderfully creative and talented people proudly wearing their creations makes me feel really emotional. Thanks so much to everyone who took part this year.
- Taking part in Kid's Clothing Week. This simple sew-along, to sew kid's clothing for at least one hour a day for a week, brought me a lot of joy. Before signing up to take part in KCW, I don't think I'd realised how far sewing was getting pushed down my list of priorities. This week honestly opened my eyes to how much I need it to be a regular part of my life, and how much fun making clothing for Dolores is in particular.
- Taking part in OWOP. Thanks to lovely Handmade Jane, OWOP was back in 2014. Like MMM, I find OWOP so useful because it highlights the possibility of a genuinely wearable handmade wardrobe. Seeing multiple versions of other peoples' favourite patterns is also super fun and great for getting ideas for future projects.
- Taking part in the Perfect Pattern Parcel blog tours. I was lucky enough to be involved in four PPP's promotional blog tours during 2014, making the September dress, Staple dress, Bronte top and Daphne bag. The Staple dress in particular has become one of my favourite garments to wear EVER and I never would have thought to make it if it had not been receiving those sewing patterns to try. The Donors Choice charity they support really is a great cause as well, and I'm more than a little excited to find out what parcels they come up with next year...
Favourite Makes of 2014:
It probably won't surprise you to learn that my faves were all things I've made for Dolores. The refashioned men's shirt to baby blouse (pictured below) was a real success for stylistic and ethical reasons IMO, and the results from taking part in Kid's Clothing Week also came out really well.
Plans for 2015:
I love the end of a year and start of a new one as an opportunity for reflection and refocusing.
- Sewing-wise, my most important aim for 2015 is to simply make time to do it. I've realised that sadly no-one is going to hand me great swathes of delicious sewing time on a platter! Sewing is good for my mental and emotional wellbeing, but I'm the one that has figure out how to fit it into my days, even if it's just for 15-30 mins a few evenings a week.
- Host Me-Made-May'15. As long as there are members of the sewing community who enjoy and get a lot from taking part, then I'll keep hosting them! Sign ups will start on 1st April 2015. Personally, I've already been thinking about what pledge will be a useful one for me this time round, and I've got a few ideas...
- A recommitment to stash-busting. I unveiled the extent of my stash almost two years ago, and I must confess that it doesn't look much different today! A lot of it has been used, particularly the jersey and knit selection, but there's been quite a few additions in the form of gifts and garments that could be re-made. My stash is now spread over two locations: the shelves and two big bags reside in my daughter's bedroom, and boxes of small pieces and scraps live under my sewing table in the corner of our kitchen. My feelings on the importance of refashioning existing garments and sewing from stash rather than buying new fabric remain the same. So I wish to continue to make lovely garments for Dolores, her friends and for myself from a lot of what I already own.
- Make wearable, useful clothes. With limited sewing time and storage space, anything I make has to be something that will get worn regularly by whoever it's for. I love that challenge and think I'm getting fairly good at figuring out what styles will fit with my lifestyle and existing clothing selection, however I need to spend more time on getting a good fit, and that may include making more of the dreaded toiles! I've got some great patterns and fabulous fabric pieces lined up, I can't wait to get cracking.
Thank you all so much for taking time to read this blog. It means so much to me to have this space to share my thoughts and creations, and although I regret that I don't get as much time as I'd like for reading and commenting on others' blogs, I really appreciate every single comment that you leave here so much. I wish you all a thoroughly wonderful New Year!