Tuesday, 24 December 2013

2013: A Review

I was going to post this at the weekend, but then I had an unscheduled and most undesirable health situation and ended up in hospital again on Sunday. Pretty much sick of this being-sick thing now. At any rate, I'm at home again now and not entirely dead, so on with the sewing content!

At the beginning of 2013, I set myself a rather modest goal:
In 2013, I want to keep my goals simple: plan well and sew carefully... I'd really like it if, when I look back at 2013, I decided that on balance I'd sewn useful additions to my wardrobe. I'd like to feel that sewing was a hobby that made me happy, not stressed. I'd also like to feel like I'd improved my skills levels and could see that I could do more at the end of the year than at the beginning, and that the bags and clothes I've made reflect that I've taken the time and trouble to sew them to the best of my abilities.
That seems to have worked out pretty well for me! Certainly I made some really useful things that I've worn to death. I actually also had a little post-it note of some other smaller goals that I wanted to hit.

My year in brief:
  • I spent 112% of the budget I set myself for crafty endeavours this year. (Oops.)
  • I used or disposed of 71.5m of fabric (I donated about 6.5m of this total). Unfortunately, I bought 100.5m and since my goal was to use more than I bought, um, oops? I really have to do better on this one.
  • I sewed 22 wearable items of clothing, plus 1 UFO, plus 4 unwearables.
  • I made 7 bags.
  • I knitted 10 scarves/cowls plus 1 UFO jumper.
  • I made a dress and a jacket, but didn't quite crack the collared blouse I wanted to try this year.
  • I managed to make the whole outfit for the wedding I went to in June.
  • I entered 2 PR competitions.
  • I kept my Etsy shop in my preferred stock range.
  • I enjoyed myself!
And in photos:


Jackets: Embroidered beige linen (New Look 6911); Turquoise Linen (New Look 6911)

Even though I'm not very enthusiastic about either of these jackets any more (the beige one in particular suffers from being a colour that doesn't look nearly as good on me in reality as it did in my head) I consider these jackets to have been absolutely invaluable learning experience and I'm so glad I made them. They kind of exemplify what I wanted at the beginning of 2013 -- no way would I have thought that I could make a jacket, even a simple one, at the beginning of the year, and I did!

Tops. From left to right, top row: Black and white patterned 1 and 2 (Ottobre 02-2013-02); Red and white patterned (Ottobre 02-2013-02); Pink and green floral (New Look 6025). Bottom row: White with lace yoke (Ottobre 02-2013-02); Pale blue (Ottobre 02-2013-13); Blue polka dot (Ottobre 02-2013-02); Shades of blue raglan (Ottobre 05-2013-04).

As evidenced by the fact that I made seven of the Ottobre 02-2013-02 'Summer Basics Tee' in total (one never photographed as it was a muslin, which I now wear as a PJ top) this year, I absolutely love this pattern. The advantage of making the same thing over and over is that I can also actually SEE my progression in working with knits from the first version I made in spring to the one I made in late autumn. :D I have worn all of the tops constantly since I made them and plan to make replacements next year. I really like the other two tops and have worn them a lot a well.

Dresses. Grey with birds (Made by Rae Washi dress); Cream with birds (Made by Rae Washi dress, maxi variation); Black ditsy (Deer and Doe Sureau).

The left-most and centre dresses were my first ever dresses! Big skill boost: adjusting the Washi dress bodice into a princess seamed bodice! I love princess seams so much and will probably make this adjustment again some day.

Skirts. Top row: Brown crocodile (McCall 5431); Turquoise feathers (Ottobre 05-2007-03); Layered white and turquoise floral (McCall's 5431). Bottom row: Khaki "safari" skirt (Ottobre 02-2010-15) Border print maxi skirt (Lorenna Buck Maxi Tutorial); Pieced denim (My Image M1103)

I've recapped my skirts before. I really like all these skirts, though they got different amounts of wear. I'm actually really proud of the denim one I made most recently because the pieced sections came out beautifully.

PJs. Border print and non-border print PJ shorts (Ottobre 05-2011-02); PJ tops (New Look 6321); PJ bottoms (Butterick 5704)

PJs are always the most successful of my makes. Nothing has to match, look good, fit particularly well or co-ordinate with anything else in my wardrobe! It just has to be soft against my skin and survive the washing machine intact. (I do love these though, especially my border print version.)


From left to right: Raglan sleeved top (Burda Plus 01-2013-433); "Rose tee" (Ottobre 02-2007-05); Black and white blouse (Burda 05-2012-135); The Saddest Stripy top (Patrones 298-07). Muslins that didn't go anywhere, failed experiments and the boxiest blouse in the world. They have all gone to the great wardrobe in the sky, peace be with them.

I also have a UFO, the disappointing cape (Woodland Stroll Cape), which may or may not be salvaged in the spring and which I am therefore categorising as a UFO rather than an unwearable for the time being. 

Bags & Clutches

From left to right: Top row: Half-moon handbags. Middle row: Owl & Stripe Bag; Seafarers Satchel; Hollyhock tote. Bottom row: High Tea Clutch; Wedding clutch.

Most of these, with the exception of the Seafarer's satchel (middle row in the middle) which I gave away to a raffle and the wedding clutch (bottom right) which, as the name would suggest, was for the June wedding I attended, were made for my Etsy shop, which I then took offline for most of the year. I still like them all though! I plan to make more, more interesting bags this year, in addition to run-of-the-mill shop inventory.


From left to right (links go to related blog post): Top row: Skinny Beginner's scarf; Kit scarf 1; Kit scarf 2; Gaptastic Cowl; Kit scarf 3. Bottom row: Super Chunky Cowl 1; Super Chunky Cowl 2; Firefly scarf; Kit scarf 4; Taffeta Scarf

My knitting this year was basically a WALL OF SCARVES. My favourite is the purple and grey super-chunky (bottom, second from left), which I adore beyond all reason. I should definitely not make any more scarves for the foreseeable future though. I have one knitting UFO, the purple jumper of doom, which is now probably too big in addition to being dreadful.


  1. You have done really well. I especially love your grey bird dress and border pjs. Hopefully you can figure out how to love the jackets more because they look terrific.

    1. Thank you! I love those border print PJs. The only bad thing is that there are little sparkly bits on the fabric and every time I wash them I end up with sparkles on everything! Unfortunately the jackets are about a size and a half too big for me now, but I have put them away for the time being rather than recycling them for the moment.

  2. Congratulations on such a successfully creative year!

    1. Thank you! When I see it all laid out like that I do feel like I made quite a few things successfully :D

  3. Wow, that is a lot of creating! You must be so pleased with how much you have made this year. I wasn't going to do a end of year post, but you may have convinced me it would be a good idea.

    Hope you are feeling better soon. Are you at home, or still in the UK being taken care of by parentals?

    1. When I see it all laid out like that it I am so much more impressed with my output than before! Particularly since so much of it has genuinely, honestly been wearable. I have to admit, I love people's end of year posts and read them all thoroughly, so I definitely encourage you to write one. I am always interested in seeing what people found really worked, and whether that was a surprise or not a surprise etc.

      I am already a bit better. I am with my parents in the UK still, which is great because I am just being looked after thoroughly :)