A lot of sewing happened in 2023. According to Instagram, here are the top 9 that you, my lovely audience, liked the most!
- Top row (left to right): Gold bias skirt in stretch silk (Fibre Mood Madeline), Terra Pants by Pattern Fantastique worn with Paper Theory Olya shirt (old), Fibre Mood Madou green cord jacket worn with Daughter Judy Adams pants.
- Middle row (left to right): Fibre Mood Harper top, Crosby bias top (old) worn with the same Daughter Judy Adams pants, Style Arc Palmer dress
- Bottom row (left to right): Just Patterns Stephanie skirt (old), Fibre Mood quilted Kaya dress, repeat Terra pants / Olya shirt.
How many things?
No official garment count, but a quick look at my Instagram page, circa 40-50. Averaging one item every 1-1.5 weeks. In reality, I sew in fits and spurts, a few things in close succession followed by a couple of weeks of nothing. There is an option here to get hung up on the number and get stressed that it’s a lot of clothes. But to be honest, numbers don’t change how much I will / will not sew next year.
Probably because as time wears on, my feelings about sewing don’t change all that much. Largely because this is also work for me as well as hobby. While it doesn’t pay my rent (I have a day job for that) I sew for editing purposes, teaching, promotional stuff and also for others. Part of it is also Instagram, to notice what’s trending in the sewing community as well as being involved. Making things & seeing what others are getting up to. I also came to realise how much what I (and my kids) wear impacts how I feel and just how much of my identity is tied up with being a maker.
The kinds of things I sew and wear are straightforward basics and shapes without too much fuss. There aren’t too many big involved projects or things that require a lot of care (blazers, wool trousers I’m looking at you). Because I don’t have the mental energy to do them (can you relate?!) and if they can’t be easily washed then it’s not practical.
How’s your closet looking?
My mum came to visit and took almost 10 things – a win-win for both of us! New things for her closet, and more space in mine! For the rest, things that aren’t really “me” but are sewn in a straight size with no mods usually go to similarly sized friends. Or if it is not ok, (poor fabric/pattern match etc) then I put it in the textile recycling pretty fast. Or cut it up and repurpose it for toiles etc. This year I did try a consignment store for the first time and sold 3 things! Doesn’t sound like much but it was a win for me since I never tried selling anything before.
How’s your stash looking?
Probably the same as last year, I have the equivalent of about 8 large storage boxes. The main thing is that it didn’t increase! Although I gave away quite a few pieces to friends, I was also gifted quite a lot (both stores and lovely presents from friends).
And I’m okay with buying fabric (see my disclaimer below in the 2024 section). If I have a pattern in mind and there’s nothing in the stash, I will go and search for it since the fabric pairing is for me THE most important element. I only want to spend time on garments I think I’m going to love and wear! Of course, it doesn’t always work out, I’m often overly optimistic about how much I think I can do. So while I didn’t manage to sew everything I bought, I think I got through > 60%.
Styling and sewing
My dress sense in 2017 when I started this blog is a bit different to me now in some ways. Earlier this year I came up with 3 words for my personal style following Allison Bornstein’s 3 word method: casual, polished and fun. Using these words I tried to define more what I like.
- Bold colours + strong neutrals (not grey tones or muted shades). My favourite fabric shops this year have been The Fabric Sales for grown-up stuff (Belgium – deadstock), Jinny and Joe (Germany) for colourful things for the kids. Bonnie and Buttermilk (Germany) is a recent discovery for me too with bold and beautiful things, not dissimilar to Jinny and Joe, but much less pink
- Prefer structure and volume over drapey stuff
- Big and bold prints (not mini flowers), or keep it tonal
- Clean lines and a fairly sleek silhouette (not many ruffles/gathers, definitely not romantic / boho)
- A colour pop in my outfits for the fun factor (saying no to all neutral/minimal outfits- too formal). But not so many busy prints that my eyes go fuzzy or I feel like an oversized toddler.
Defining some criteria for sure helped give direction in my sewing and fabric choices & I’m happy with the additions to my closet/stash. I did notice that in the sewing community the seasonal “colour analysis” is becoming more popular again. Not my cup of tea but it seems a useful tool for others!
New styles I tried
- 2 jumpsuits after a lifetime of never having or wearing one because … they didn’t fit. Joys of sewing! Purple one in the pic above, and the red one below.
- Bought a vintage leather jacket after years of searching for one that wasn’t too stiff or bulky.
- Trousers! Wearing jeans for 6+ months of the year is a constant complaint for me and I finally did something about it.
What’s in store for 2024?
I’m thinking of starting a hashtag #SewWhatIHave2024 in January for a month (or more?) to see if we can encourage each other to sew a bit more stash. A bit of a throwback to #SewWhatIHave challenge from 2021 that I ran with Joyce @poplinpeony . But no prizes this time … just reposting some makes to get inspired.
Why? Despite being OK with buying fabric, I feel I’ve been a little too consumeristic in the last few months and now sewn enough of the things I already bought. So I’m keen to do something about that. Maybe there will be others (you?) who want to join.
Also on the list – remove my mental block about the effort needed for big projects and just get on with it. I can and have done them previously. So too much effort should not be an excuse not to finish the WIP graveyard (there’s a trenchcoat & bomber jacket in there). Finally, I took some time off to sew a very involved winter coat since I bought some very fancy wool for it. So just get cracking!
Till next year,