Reflections on my 2012 sewing and knitting

I’m actually feeling a bit more chipper and less cranky than I thought I would when I sat down to write this post, and I’ll tell you why in a minute. ‘Tis the season when everyone starts counting down their top whatevers of the year, and sewing projects, skills, goals and the like is no different. We’ve been getting ready to head to suburban Washington, D.C. for Christmas so I’ve had less time than usual for catching up on blogs, but I was inspired by the 2012 sewing reflections of Handmade Jane (edited to add, Lladybird Lauren posted hers shortly thereafter… holy cow!), so I thought I’d see what I did in 2012.

I didn’t feel very productive at all this year. I sewed 3 dresses, 1 skirt and a pair of trousers. Which compared to many sewing bloggers is a drop in the bucket. But when I put it together with the three sweaters I knit, I’m actually feeling pretty good about the additions to the hand-made part of my wardrobe this year. And hence the relative chipper attitude. Considering I spent a lot of 2012 really bored with my clothes—not bored with vintage, just bored with my wardrobe—and was thus plagued with indecision on sewing and knitting, that’s not half bad!

Let’s briefly look at what I did manage to make this year, because in the end it all led me to some nice goals for 2013. Of course, I sewed and knit other things like accessories, but these were the big wardrobe pieces.


So neat and sweet jersey—I’ve always been rather indifferent to v-necks so I wasn’t sure if I’d like this, but I wear it all the time! I think picking a light yellow was a good idea, because it’s really become a wardrobe staple. It’s probably the sweater I’ve worn more than any others I own this year. I can wear it plain, or with a blouse underneath, or even over a dress.

“No more sewing slump” dress—I look at the photo of this dress and wonder why I almost never wore this? I think maybe I decided it was a little too cutesy with the ruffled sleeve caps, but I don’t know why I didn’t at least wear it around the house, because it seems like it would be just dandy for days I work from home. I’m actually pretty proud of it still, since it featured a few things I’d never done before like a sweetheart neckline, buttons all the way up the back, a tie at the waist and lined pockets. I’ll have to revisit this dress in spring and see what I think.

1944 apple picking dress—I love this dress. You even saw me wear it this fall. I am still crushing on that awesome fabric with the big allover print. This started a love for Japanese cotton, which I hope to obsess over more in the new year. The dress also featured some things I’d never done before, like a lapped zipper with a side seam pocket (and well, side seam pockets, period). It’s a little big in the waist and the neckline is too low (shows my bra and/or slip every so often), but I love the shape and think I’d like to sew this pattern up again with a few tweaks.

Bias-cut green skirt—There is nothing exciting about this skirt, but that’s what I wanted. Turns out I wear this quite a bit, even though every time I pull it out of the closet I wish I’d picked a slightly different shade of green as I always feel a little bit like an overgrown Girl Scout. I’ll definitely sew this pattern again, although I recall I had some weird waistband length issues going on that I’ll have to sort out.

Knit it in Flag Colors sweater—I finished up this WIP that I started two years ago! I haven’t worn it much except to work, but I’m just so glad it’s out of my knitting bins I don’t even care.


Wearing History Smooth Sailing trousers—I finally sewed pants! This was the only thing I sewed this year from a modern pattern, turns out. I made these with a chocolatey corduroy, and I love them. They have a couple of fit issues I’ll try to iron out in the future. These trousers marked the tipping point for me to finally buy a serger, after binding all the seams. And that purchase was soooo worth it.

Red Queen pullover—Out of all the fair isle I feel I’ve knit this year, how I only accounted for one sweater is beyond me, but here it is. This was a complete revamping of a modern knit. I love this but don’t wear it as much as I should because I really need to take the time to re-block the sleeves as I didn’t block the forearms quite wide enough, so they’re a tad tight.

Cake and vinegar dress—My second attempt (after the green skirt) to sew a “cake” piece for my wardrobe. While I am pleased with this dress, it’s still pretty yawn-inducing to me and I was kind of meh about the outfits I put together for it when I was packing it to take to my mom’s. It’s too soon to tell if this will get a lot of wear or not.

Here are some things I’ve learned about what I made vs. what I wear vs. what I want to be wearing…

  1. I constantly open up my closet looking for blouses. Did I sew any this year? No. So I’m bored with the few vintage one that I continue to wear time and time again. Why didn’t I sew any? I think I’m secretly still scared of collars, but collared blouses are my favorite to wear.
  2. I also open up my closet looking for skirts. But I sewed only one this year. I think I don’t want to sew them because they’ll feel boring, but there’s loads of ways to make a skirt interesting, either in little sewing touches or how you style it.
  3. I have a ton of vintage summer dresses (more than I have anything else in my wardrobe), so I really don’t have any business sewing more summer dresses, even though I sewed two this year. I also think #1 and #2 have shown me that even though I wear more dresses in the summer even, I think I may secretly like separates better. Or at the very least want more of them.
  4. Almost every time I put a cardigan on (either vintage or me-made) with a skirt or dress, I feel completely frumpy, with about 3 exceptions. All of these are cropped and hit at my waist or only slightly below—two vintage boleros and a vintage beaded cardigan. Now I know what I need to knit next year.
  5. I usually want to wear a cardigan but because of #4, end up wearing pullovers more often. I need to cool it on the pullover knitting next year.
  6. I’ve wanted to sew a slip all year but I have no clue what would be good fabric for one, so I haven’t yet. I need to investigate this.
  7. I don’t have a crinoline and thus sometimes avoid styles that would benefit from one. Hello, sew or buy a damn crinoline already.
  8. I think I want to wear lots of solid colors, but in the end I do not. The things that make me the happiest? Color, patterns and prints. I’m focusing on that next year!

When I reflect on what I sewed and knit this year, only about half the pieces really fit into where I’d like to take my sewing and knitting next year. But each project had its own learning experiences, so I’m grateful for all of them. Considering life has had some learning curves this year with the first 8 months in our new house under our belt, I should feel pretty proud of what I have been able to accomplish. Even better, the fog of wardrobe ennui has been lifting in the past few days, and suddenly out of nowhere I feel invigorated and full of great ideas for 2013!

I may not get a chance to post again until after the new year, as we’ll be out of town next week visiting family for Christmas. I’ll still be on Twitter and Instagram, so you may catch me there. I’m so thankful for all the friends and connections I’ve made directly and indirectly from this blog, and look forward to even more exciting things in 2013.

I wish you all a joyful holiday season!!

Filed: Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

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Golly, 53 Comments!

  • It’s always great to look back and see what we’ve accomplished. I know that this year I began knitting and am kicking myself for not starting earlier. Oh well. Now I can move forward with more knitting next year. I always love your knitting posts they’re so inspirational.

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  • I love that red, white and blue pullover!!!! Totally smitten!!!

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  • So inspiring! Great job Tasha!

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  • Everything that you’ve made is soooooo cute! Maybe you’re just too close to the greatness to appreciate it. : ) And child, get yourself a crinoline – or two. It will change your life. : ) Merry Christmas and happy holidays to y’all!

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  • What a fantastic round up! I love the Red Queen sweater and the Apple Picking dress especially. Love your honesty in the lessons you’ve learnt, too. I need to be a bit more organised with my makes rather than making something I’ve far too many of already! x

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  • honestly, you’re a wizard and i envy all of your projects! you’ve inspired me to try to make more things for myself in the coming year.

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  • Everything you made is amazing, but the knitted items are especially stunning!

    I also think that I want to sew solid colors, but end up loving prints more. I think it’s because I heard somewhere that you get more wear out of solid colored pieces, but I’m not sure if that is always true when it comes to me…

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    • I know, I’ve heard that too! And they are great staple pieces you can mix and match. But somehow I always feel meh unless I have one print. So I think I need to do solid separates on occasion, to wear with a non-solid (other) separate! And forget the solid dresses. :P

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  • Ooh, so many pretty things! I really love the apple dress, the green skirt, and the Red Queen jumper :)

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  • First, you seriously need to consider adopting me and then knit me sweaters all the time hehehe Second, you did amazing work this year! Isn’t it great to figure out what works best on your figure and what doesn’t. With my post babies body I am figuring that too-I dont like to wear things that make me look shorter than I already am hehehe And sweater right at the waist like you have I think would give me more of an image of a waist. I cannot wait my first knitting class (changed the date) is the 28th! Wish me luck! Hope you and your honey will have a great Christmas and lovely and safe trip!! Muah! Bunny

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    • LOL, you are so funny! I know just what you mean about being short and figuring out what works for me. I’m finding lately that a blouse tucked in, a skirt and a cardigan that hits close to my waist feels like the least “shortening” style on me. And that’s the beauty once you learn to knit, you can make anything you want to fit you how you want. Have fun in your class! :)

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    • Thanks hun!!! I will take pics of my first creation hehe xox

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  • WOW. Everything you made this year is gorgeous. Your sweaters, they’re epic! Is that lace or fingering weight yarn? I can only begin to imagine the time commitment that went into those! I’m absolutely adding the Red Queen pullover to my dream list of knitting projects. It’s swoon worthy.

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    • Thanks! Those sweaters were all knit in fingering weight. I do have one laceweight sweater in my queue but can’t ever quite bring myself to knit it. lol

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  • I love everything you made – and your knitted stuff puts mine to SHAME. Haha! When I come back to Chicago to visit (because it’s gonna happen in 2013, oh yes!), I hope some of that colorwork does rub off on me! :)

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  • Nice to see your look back! As for slip fabric, fabric.com carries a silk/cotton blend called Radiance poplin that is comfy and pretty and machine-washable. I’m in the DC suburbs. If you find some spare time, it would be fun to get together.

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    • That’s good to know, a silk cotton blend (and machine washable to boot) sounds nice! Sadly we are super booked when we get to D.C. this go around. :/ It would be great to meet another time we’re there.

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  • Considering how many amazing sweaters you made, I think you did a lot! There is so much focus among DIYers on creating tons of stuff, and I think that can come out of our consumerist culture- as opposed to having just a few things we love.

    That fair isle sweater is especially amazing! I’ve realized I don’t have the patience for knitting and gave up on big projects, because I know I’ll never finish them. Good work!

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  • Loved your post. I really like what you made this year. You are so talented with knitting and I always admire your work. I barely knit and would dearly love to learn.

    Will you be going to the vintage clothing expo at the end of February? I’m planning to and would love to run into you and say hello if you’re going…unlike last year when I was too shy to say hello.

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  • You’ve made some gorgeous things this year Tasha, the apple picking dress is my favourite though! And your knitting?!! Absolutely exquisite, I can’t even knit a stitch! I think it’s quite right that you should feel proud of what you’ve made and it’s fab that you’re all fired up and ready to go in 2013! Have a wonderful Xmas and happy new year. X

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  • How about a knitted skirt?

    Happy Holidays; Awesome 2013

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  • Haven’t you been busy this year! I’m working on my own sewing roundup, but I’ve still got a couple more projects I hope to squeeeeze in before the year is out haha :)

    And coincidentally, a green bias-cut skirt is also on my sewing list for next year – how about that?

    xx Charlotte
    Tuppence Ha’penny Vintage

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  • Why the heck haven’t I ever added you to my blogroll?! I’m always reading it, not sure how I get there if you’re not on it. Looks like you had a good sewing/knitting year to me! I find your project posts to be so interesting that I acutally went to almost all of them and re-read them :)

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  • Have you considered making a ‘two piece dress’ aka skirt and blouse out of the same (patterned!) fabric? That way you get a ‘dress’ look when you wear them together or you can use them as separates. I think a blouse in the apple picking fabric would look FAB with your green skirt, etc. You certainly sewed more than I did, plus knitting takes TIME, especially when you knit colorwork/texture on small needles, as you do.

    Yay for 2013!! I look forward to seeing what you make, as I love your style and am inspired by your projects.

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  • You did fantastic! I don’t think that it’s the quantity of projects completed that matter as much as whether or not you love the finished item(s), and I can tell you really do adore (just as I do!) all of these fantastic pieces. I totally commend your sewing/knitting productivity throughout 2012, and thoroughly enjoyed getting to see all of your stellar creations again in one go.

    Happiest holiday wishes!
    ♥ Jessica

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  • What a sewing and knitting year you’ve had…I absolutely adore everything you’ve made! You have such a great sense of style and a good eye for wonderful prints and shapes! I look forward to seeing what you make in 2013!!!

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  • That fair isle pullover is SO amazing! I wish I had the patience for something like that :)

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  • So impressed by all of your work! It’s too hard to choose a favorite because knitting blows my mind. Your craftsmanship is unbelievable!

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  • I love the Cake and Vinegar dress, not sure what it is about it, but I just love it. I can picture it looking great with a mustard cardi – mmmm delish!!

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  • Seriously love the knits you have done. I would be proud if I could make something so lovely.
    x Molly

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  • I still think you did really well with your makes! Knitting especially takes time and what with moving as well (I know what an upheaval that is!, and if you had made everything you ever wanted too, you wouldn’t have anything left to make next year, right?! ;)

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  • I am still SO in love with your fairisle knit and your cherry dress :o)

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  • I love everything you made but I’m especially in love with that Flag colors sweater!! A very unique piece!

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  • I just found your blog and I am loving EVERYTHING! I love vintage and am going to try some of your hairstyles today. Can’t wait to read more!

    Danielle @ Blissful and Domestic
    http://www.blissfulanddomestic.com

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  • SUCH A GREAT COLLECTION OF HANDMADE VINTAGE FASHION. SO ADORABLE!
    HAPPY NEW YEAR! SEW ON …

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  • Good God your knitting (and sewing for that matter) totally blow my mind!! You’re so very inspiring :) You may not feel like you made a whole lot, but everything you did make looks well thought out and very well executed. My problem was I sewed way too many “instant gratification” projects and ended up hating the fit, the cheap fabric, etc, and I never wore them a second time! This year I want to make set sewing plans, sew more detailed things, and take a good look at what I truly need in my closet. Your goals are good ones to follow :)

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  • Wow! You were certainly one busy gal! I consider myself a success if I make three things in a year! You are so incredibly impressive and talented! I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings for you sewing and knit wise!

    xoxo
    -Janey

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  • Your sweaters are so so beautiful, you’re a very skilled and comitted lady, i can almost guess you’re a perfectionist cause those garments show quality and love. happy new year!!!!

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  • All I can say is…WOW! You are amazing! Glad I stumbled upon your blog while looking for vintage shirtwaist patterns. I will be a regular visitor for sure!

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  • I absolutely love your creations, especially the jumpers and the brown dresses, they’re amazing! Looking forward to seeing what you make next! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

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  • That red, white and blue sweater is adorable!!! I am so impressed! Maybe pick up an Alma blouse pattern from Sewaholic, I made two versions of it and they have become my go-to work blouses- if they weren’t so noticeably polka dot, I would wear them both ever week!

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    • You’ve just given me a really good idea. I forgot there were so many neckline variations on Alma, it just might fit the bill for something I was looking for. Thanks for the idea!

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  • I really like your knitting, they are awesome :)

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  • Aww you should be very proud of yoursel kitten, these are lovely! ♥ Here’s to braw sewing in 2013!!! All the bestest! Zoë x

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  • I am ALWAYS looking for blouses as well. I have 4 cut out, but they are left undone. I think it’s the button holes are keeping me away.

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  • Tasha your items are all amazing!!! I wih I could sew or knit- it would make my vintage wardrobe that much easier hahaha. My resolution this year is to learn one if not both this year ;)

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  • Your makes are all completely stunning, and I think the Red Queen pullover is my all time favorite! I think I drooled on my desk the first time I saw it :) I’m excited to see what you’ve got on your needles for 2013!

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  • […] draw to a close without doing a roundup of my sewing and knitting projects from the year. I did one last year, and it was interesting reading the goals I set for myself this year, some of which I accomplished […]

    Reply

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