I was always told that as you get older the years just fly by and I think this must be true, this year has flown. Here I am again, sweating in a boiling Sydney summer and feeling homesick for snow, roaring fires and my family back home. I always feel like this at the end of the year and I suspect I’m not the only one. Time to reflect….
I am pleased to say that some of the challenges I set last year have become habits. This is a huge achievement. My first resolution has definitely become a habit, the challenge to become a conscious shopper. I have bought myself very little this year. I had to really strain my brain to think of actual garments that I had bought and I really think it’s… nothing! Well, not exactly nothing but the only thing that springs to mind are 3 pairs of tights, 4 new bras and some underwear, oh yes, and a pair of shoes. Every other ‘new’ item in my wardrobe has been handmade and even then, I haven’t sewn all that much. Horray to that. Maybe next year I should concentrate on making underwear!
My second resolution was to dive into menswear. Mmmm… well that has not happened. I think that I am going to put this resolution on the back burner indefinitely. I know I promised my husband a shirt about 2 years ago but really, I just can’t be bothered.
My third resolution was to slow down my sewing. Yes, I can confidently say that I have achieved this goal. I have made less and slowed right down. What I have done is work on hand sewing, mainly in the form of Sashiko. As I am sure you know, I love Sashiko and it has a very positive effect on my mental health. The craft of Sashiko feeds my soul, unleashes my creativity and of course, it helps me practise patience.
My final resolution was to reduce my stash. Yes, that has happened. I haven’t purchased all that much this year and what I have purchased has mainly been second hand. I have also been gifted a fair amount this year too. I do think the new year is a perfect time to reassess the stash, so I think I will be removing a few pieces and regifting or donating.
So here’s the fun bit, my sewing oscars. This is my chance to show you the hits and misses of the year. It’s a smaller collection of items in the sewing pool this year, so it was fairly easy to choose. I think I have made about 12 items this year.
MAKE OF THE YEAR
Well that’s an easy one. It has to be my Refashioners dress made from a suit. It’s my favourite make because it was creatively the most challenging and most interesting garment I have ever made. I love so many things about it. The integrated pockets, the golden exposed zip and of course, those shoulder loops, talk about time consuming. I should also be proud that this dress claimed a runners up prize in the Refashioners 2017 competition. Horray!
DRESS OF THE YEAR
If we are talking wearability then my Ellis dress by Merchant & Mills is a clear winner. I love this dress and I have really worn it a lot. It was heartbreaking when Sydney turned up the heat and it had to go to the back of my wardrobe for a while. (BTW: I removed the pockets in the end and the dress sits better for it!)
GIFT OF THE YEAR (aka self-less sewing)
Hands down, it has to be the 70th birthday present I made for my Mum. Hours upon hours of work went into this Genoa Tote AND I loved every moment of it. The triple persimmon flower stitch is the most satisfying of Sashiko stitches.
I did make A LOT of gifts this year and I really do enjoy making for others, especially those friends so far away. Here’s a selection of a few of my favourites.
REFASHION OF THE YEAR
Sorry to be boring but it has to be my Refashioners dress again! But in the spirit of fairness (or perhaps interest!) I thought my golden toes ‘makeover’ deserved some recognition.
FABRIC OF THE YEAR
I didn’t buy much fabric this year, I bought a couple of second hand pieces but I did splash out and buy some Kokka paint brush fabric from Drapers Daughter in the UK. The moment I saw it I know I had to have it, and this is why. Isn’t it fantastic?
PATTERN OF THE YEAR
It has to be the Collins Top by In the Folds. I have made it numerous times and every time I have enjoyed the process. In total I have made 6. The first one was in the very early stages of the pattern development (Emily let me have a go!), it was subsequently re-gifted. The next 3 were all part of the pattern testing process, the fifth was a gift for my sister and the final one was my refashioned suit dress. Oh yes, this pattern has had some hammer.
‘NAILED IT’ MAKE OF THE YEAR
A new category this year as my ‘second hand score’ category didn’t bare any fruit. This make filled me with fear and anxiety, I put it off many times and then bit the bullet and NAILED IT. It’s my Sophie swimsuit from Closet Case patterns. I should say shooting this garment was more challenging than making it!
DUD OF THE YEAR
Well not exactly dud, maybe I should re-word the title to ‘least worn’, ‘nothing to wear it with’, ‘not me exactly’. Any of those will do. There is nothing wrong with this top, but it’s just not me. Maybe I’m not as sparkly as I thought.
Some interesting pieces this year and I feel I have come a long way, particularly in honing my skills and techniques. My sewing confidence has definitely grown and for the first time (possibly ever) I have been able to visualise a piece and then actually achieve it.
I have decided to be more rigorous in my selection process when I comes to choosing patterns and producing garments. I have got carried away in the past by ‘shiny and new’ patterns. I need to be asking myself questions before embarking on a project, the main question being, do I actually need it?
I would also like to continue being a conscious shopper. I saw this fabulous illustration, produced by Fashion Revolution recently, “The Buyerarchy of Need”. I think this is a great concept to use every day. It questions the very nature of what I do which is ‘make’ so this requires more thought from me I think.
I would like to apply this ‘buyerarchy’ to the everyday and our household. I know that I can do this, but I would dearly like this to be a family affair. Brainwashing my children starts now…
Happy New Year!