Happy (almost) New Year, my friends! It’s that time of the year, so I thought I’d do a reflections post. Instead of rounding up everything I’ve made (gag—not this year, I’ve made too much), or try to draw any conclusions or do a lot of soul-searching, I thought I’d instead just chat about the underlying themes that I noticed ran through my blog this year.
The year of the dress
I had no idea back in early January when I sewed my first Emery dress that it would turn into the unofficial Year of the Dress for me. Up until then, I really hadn’t sewn a lot of dresses. A few from vintage patterns, but not many. And part was due to never getting a good bodice fit. When you don’t feel great in something, you don’t want to wear it (or sew it), plain and simple! Once I hit on a bodice that made me feel awesome, there was no stopping me. I often used the Emery bodice as a sloper, and I sewed lots of vintage-inspired dresses for the better part of 2014. It was a huge shift in my sewing, although I did start to tire of all the dresses by the end of fall.
The year of learning to sew with knits
This was a major goal for me, and I squashed one of my sewing fears into the ground. Yeah! Of the knits I’ve sewn so far, my first Jenna cardigan is definitely my favorite. It’s one of those items I still look at and think, “I can’t believe I made this.” Expect to see a lot more Jennas in particular next year, as I already have two lined up to sew soon.
The year of playing with style and silhouettes
I ended last year and started this year taking a close examination of my wardrobe, but decided all that style navel-gazing was too much for me, so I just winged it. And was much happier for it. Not that I haven’t still been obsessing over why I don’t have a perfect black skirt or what are the next gaps I need to fill in, but I realized I’m happiest being organic about my style. Self-aware (which I am far more than I’ve ever been in my life, and I definitely should give some of that navel-gazing credit for that!), but relaxed.
I’ve had an unconscious shift in my style over the last couple of years, or more like a focusing in on what I really like and wear. I’m still drawn to 40s silhouettes of course, but I’ve enjoyed adding more 50s and even very early 60s styles into the mix. This is nothing new for me, but I’ve been doing it more than I had in recent years, as I’ve found some of the 40s styles I used to favor feeling a bit stuffy or boring to me. I’m no slave to a decade, so I’m just having fun with it. (Isn’t this my usual m.o., anyway?) I even tried out above-the-knee dresses a few times!
In March I had a dilemma where I faced the fact that I didn’t like cigarette pants on me, much as I adored the sleek Audrey Hepburn style. And then in August I took it all back. And then you watched my recent excruciating pants fitting saga in two parts.
But now I’m happy to report that I’m really thrilled with that Butterick B5895 pattern and have plans for several more pair, as I’m wearing the hell out of the denim and corduroy versions I’ve sewn so far. I’d also still like to try and nail down a non-stretch vintage trouser, too. I definitely see lots of trousers in my future. (Maybe 2015 will be the Year of Separates?)
Pants update / wearing the winning denim cigarette pants
This year also saw me pretty much phase wide-legged swing trousers out of my wardrobe. I think I’m finally realizing that at my shortie height, slimmer pants make me feel cuter and put a spring in my step. But they have to be slimmer with a vintage feel, or it doesn’t feel “me”. This year I also favored full, gathered (or semi-gathered) skirts over my previous favorite A-line. I’m still an insane kimono-sleeve aficionado, so no change there. 😉
Overall, I feel more comfortable with my own vintage style than I ever have. And I see some areas I’d like to play with more in sewing (some longer skirts, flannel fabric, more trousers, shorts and play suits, more blouses, rayon fabric, more knits), knitting (vintage cardigans until the end of time, relaxed fit pullovers for winter, a batwing bolero), and shopping (yes, it’s not all me-made around these parts!).
The year of balancing knitting & sewing a little better
Before I sewed as much, I knit a lot more. I struggled to find this balance in 2013. But this year, I’ve been a lot better. It comes in waves (sometimes it’s “sew sew sew” or “knit knit knit” or “sew and knit and sew and knit”), but I’m okay with that. This year I finished up seven sweaters (two of which haven’t even made it to the blog), two boleros, and several smaller things.
I released my second knitting pattern in March, another stranded hat, Nisse. I had hoped to release more this year, but trying to juggle work, life, a blog and designing knitting patterns… not so easy. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to strike that balance effectively. Hopefully I’ll release at least one of the few patterns I have in my pipeline next year, but I’m not stressing out about it.
The year of not doing any tutorials
When I looked back at this year, outside of my nail care series in spring, I didn’t do a single tutorial. Which was surprising to me, since the three posts that had the most traffic this year are all tutorials I did last year. A vintage roller set, knitting seamless set-in sleeves, and making buttonholes by hand still get a ton of love. This year, I kept saying I was going to do at least a couple of different tutorials that just never materialized. Hopefully I’ll be better about that next year, although the way I do tutorials is extremely labor intensive, so I should try not to make any promises. 😉
The year of Instagram
Outside of blogging, the social media I prefer above all else is Instagram (you can find me there as bygumbygolly). Visual micro-blogging… gosh, I just love it! Even when I’m not able to keep up with blogging as much as I’d like, I can regularly be found Instragramming this and that. Gratuitous pet photos, holiday snapshots, hanging out with friends, and lots of outfits that never make it to the blog.
all from Instagram
Oh yeah, and the best thing (in my opinion) that I shared on Instagram this year? The day we were legally able to upgrade our civil union to a marriage, on our 3 year wedding anniversary. Doesn’t get much more special than that. 🙂
The year of not blogging about much else but sewing (oops)
This year I failed to blog about almost anything else in my life but sewing! It was never my goal for this blog to be entirely about sewing, but in 2014, it pretty much was. Hell, I sewed so much this year that there’s lots of projects that never even made it to the blog!
We traveled a lot, although I was bad about documenting, well, pretty much every trip we took except for Dublin (which did get three posts: here, here, and here). But we also visited family in New Mexico, Washington D.C., and St. Louis twice each, and went camping in Wisconsin a few times. I have lots of fun photos from many of those trips, but never blogged about it.
We also painted three rooms in our house. The bedroom and den in one whirlwind weekend, and the kitchen earlier this month. And you guessed it, I haven’t shared anything from that, either. In fact, I had no posts about our little 1955 house this year at all (other than you regularly seeing me standing in whatever corner I can take some decent photos in, ha). I wanted to show off our new paint jobs, our vintage lamp collection… well, there’s always next year!
I’m going to save my thoughts on my (very, very loose) goals for 2015 until next year. Suffice it to say it’s going to involve a lot of vintage. I have a couple of posts in the works to chat about some ideas!
But right now, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank each and every person out there who reads my blog. I started this blog in part because I love to write, and I love to share things I’m passionate about, even if no one is listening. The fact that anyone wants to actually read what I have to say is very humbling indeed. Thank you for making me want to continue on, helping, challenging, and inspiring me along the way. I’m so happy and proud to be a part of the various ways the online vintage, sewing, and knitting communities interconnect.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. THANK YOU! xoxo