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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I don’t have a crinoline and thus sometimes avoid styles that would benefit from one. Hello, sew or buy a damn crinoline already.
- 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!!